Goal Achieved! Calgary Marathon Weekend was fantastic! Well done Calgary, well done.

099Remember when the wheels fell off my training and I went into panic mode on Friday? I was scared and really I was actually a little terrified, but then I went for a run and Jess my girl crush at Scoot a Doot gave me some solid advice and calmed me down.  I was scared about these things:

 

  • What if I can’t find parking?
  • What if I injure myself and get pulled?
  • What if I feel crappy race morning and can’t pull myself together?
  • What if I run out of fuel/water/water and water?
  • What if I don’t push myself?

Jess suggested I write on my arms, so I did. I bowed to her wisdom and she was right. It worked for me.

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I wrote my pace that I needed to finish with a Personal Best, I wrote PUSH because I can get lazy and NO FEAR so the wheels didn’t fall off and I don’t go a bit crazy with an anxiety attack. All of these worked. Push was a big one that I needed and so was the 10:30 pace because there were moments when I was too fast. I know that sounds crazy but being too fast would deplete my energy stores and I would have to walk the last bit of the race. I was not ok with that. I want to have a steady race pace that would have me running the last 2 kilometers. AND I DID THAT! In Fact, my walk breaks were my fuel breaks because I cannot run and eat/drink/slurp gel. It think it stems from childhood and hearing “Robyn, don’t run with your food! YOU WILL CHOKE!” Well, no one wants to choke, either physically or mentally so don’t worry mom, I walked while I ate. THat slowed me down but not as much as not being able to throw garbage on the ground. I just can’t do it. Finding the garbage can was really important and it slowed me down or had me stop. That is not going to change, I am not so competitive that I have to become a  litter bug, therefor I need to improve my regular pace. I am cool with that.

The trip started with me (Robyn 45), Dadeo (my dad – 65) and The Boy (my son – 17) driving the 3 hours to Calgary in the pouring rain. We were prepared to run in the rain. It is better than snow. THere has been snow for past Calgary Marathons, so you just never know what kind of weather you will have.

We arrived at the Stampede Grounds and went to the Big Four for the Expo. It is small by other city standards but huge compared to Edmonton’s Marathon Expo.

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The Road Carpet was cool. It was a tribute to the Calgary Road Runners.

 

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That is Dadeo picking up his race package. There was a lot of stuff in there, power bar, noise sticks, magazine, coaster – you know…stuff and junk and coupons.

We went around the exhibitors and my fellas left me to go sit at the end while I explored the booths.

I met Martin Parnell, he took at year off at the age 55 and ran 250 marathons. He was amazing and interesting. We chatted for awhile and he signed his book for me.

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I learned more about the Nike San Francisco Women’s run. Did you know they have Fire Fighters in Tuxedos handing out these little gems while giving you a hug? Who doesn’t want to run THAT race? I am putting that on the bucket list. Because I love Tiffany jewelry, I am a medal whore especially if it comes with a blue box and white ribbon and I love hugging firefighters….sigh….can’t wait until I am ready for that one!

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I then caught up with the fellas and we went to explore Calgary for a while. The next morning we were up at 5:30am (or stupid o’clock) and got ready to catch to the 6:30 C Train. WHICH WAS PACKED! Apparently there were 15 000 runners headed to the Stampede grounds. Edmonton has 1500 runners this race was massive compared to what I am use to.

We arrived at the Start Line and discovered there were no corrals which is ironic because we were steps away from The Corral where the Flames use to play. We just lined up with thousands of runners.

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Dadeo and I were ready. He made me fist bump and the we elbowed each other like we do – hockey style – for luck. He hugged and kissed me then we agreed this was an awesome way to spend a 65th birthday and wasn’t it nice of Calgary to throw him this fabulous party?

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Then we were off. We started 30 minutes after the Full and the Half runners. We were doing the 10k with 2500 others. Dad took off like a rocket and about a billion people passed me but I kept running. It wasn’t until I reached the first bridge that I settled into my run and my breathing eased. Why is that? Why does it take about 3k for me to feel like I shouldn’t quit?

By the time I reached the first water table, I needed to stop to drink because I slop and miss my mouth. Soon I was off again. I had ran up the bridge at Memorial Drive and ran past the zoo. By the time I was on 1 ave NW Random walker Steve caught up to me. He stalked to be and said, “I have been trying to catch for 5k. You are amazing.” I said so are you but he said – “no you are unbelievable, don’t forget to smile at the finish because they take video.” I replied with thanks and said see you at the finish. It didn’t really registered why he thought I was unbelievable until people were calling my name and shouting how amazing I am. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I had a lightbulb moment. They meant that because I was a fat girl running I was amazing! AND the fat girl running has a ton of 10k -ers behind her unable to catch up! I am halfway to my weight goal, so I feel less amazing than when I began. It was harder to run 20lbs ago, now I am 90lbs down and running is much easier. I can only imagine what it will feel like when I reach goal weight.

This is me, the fat girl running in Blue with all those people behind me. That felt AWESOME! The purple bibs are the 10kms and the blue bibs are the 21.1kms

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When I reached the 6k mark, I was directed into traffic and was nearly killed. I figured out I was on the wrong side of the road and the water table people saved me. THANK VOLUNTEERS! ALL 1000 of you were AMAZING!

At the 7k mark I was the victim of a water fight with sponges. Only in Canada is it considered hot at 8C with the sun shining. Therefore we needed to be drenched with water sponges. It felt great, I had more water…so I needed to walk…then I was off again past more dancers, DJs, crowds and cheering. The fan turnout was unreal. Well Done Calgary, Well done!

I ran to the last mile marker and this it was I saw:

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Alberta Blue Sky, the Calgary Tower and runners ahead of me. People were shouting “LAST MILE!” so we ran. we ran back to Stampede Grounds and into the shoot. People kept yelling my name and congratulating me on being amazing. 2 more corners and I was done. Thanks random stranger for tell me I had 2 corners, I hate it when people say “You are almost done!” they are liars. Last corner and a hill/ramp/mountain combination to get to the top.

The grandstand was full and I was the only one in the shoot because I sprinted the last km and pulled away from the pack. I ran sub 10, my tempo time of 9:30 for the final km. I fist pumped as I crossed the finish line and yelled YES!

I was given a groovy 10k purple medal for my efforts and heard my daughter calling me. WHAT??? There she was at the finish holding a present for me. My Trusty Steed brought her down from Edmonton so she could be there. They got up at 4am to make the trip. It really meant a lot to me to have my whole family at the finish line. I was given this because I am a medal whore

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Then she took my picture with my Dadeo who was also at the finish (15 minutes before me)

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On the trip back to Edmonton, my Dadeo announced that he has retired from racing but not from running. He gave me a big hug and kiss and thanked me for the fabulous birthday weekend. He told me he was proud of the way I am working hard to be fit and lose weight the right way. Slow and steady. Then I had to promise to run a 10k on my 65th birthday.

I promise Dadeo, but YOU have to be at the finish line.

I am scared, so the dream must be big enough

Checking out my countdown clock I am told I have 2 days to go until the Calgary Jugo Juice 10km race.

I feel sick.

Why you ask? Good question.

I can run 10km, I have done it before and quite recently in fact…last Sunday, the Sunday before, the Sunday before that…

But nerves are attracting the butterflies and the butterflies are scared off because my belly is filled with bats.

Can I do it? Absolutely.

So what is the problem?

Well…

I am afraid I will not push myself. If I go at a relaxed pace that will have me finish the 10k like I do on my LSD days, I will reach a time of 1:55:00 for 10km. For those of you who don’t run, that is super slow-mo speed. Most people will finish the race at about an hour to an hour and a half. If I push myself to my limit, I will finish in 1:40:00. I dream of finishing in 1:30:00. My body isn’t ready for that. I think I could push it but I’d be puking and Jeff Galloway frowns on puking during a race, that means I am over exerting.

There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself to the limits of what you can do. I know for a fact that my body can do more than I anticipate it will, but by how much? There is the question that no one ever gets to know the answer to. We can always do more than we think we can.

My support team is all happy and sunshiney, saying things like “It doesn’t matter if you come in last” – well, I fully expect to come in last…I just don’t want too. They say things like, “The medal is the same for first and last place finishers” I know, that is why I am doing it. My medal will be made of sweat and tenacity. THey say things like “You’ll do fine.” Sure I will, I have trained for this, my muscles know what to do – it’s the brain that scares me.

A whole bunch of ‘What if’s’ are rolling through my head.

  1. What if I can’t find parking?
  2. What if I injure myself and get pulled?
  3. What if I feel crappy race morning and can’t pull myself together?
  4. What if I run out of fuel/water/water and water?

That is the problem with race day. You plan and train for the best, but nothing ever happens as planned. You hope for a personal best but race day is like the Mickey Mouse Club equivalent to ‘Anything Can Happen Day!’  I can mull over all possible scenarios but the reality is I am nervous. My first running race…with my Dad…on his birthday…in a City that isn’t mine…on a course I don’t know…filled with Calgarians who taunt Edmontonians…

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My coach says “If your dreams aren’t scary they aren’t big enough”. I didn’t think 10km was big enough. I am scared. It is big enough. I need this to take me to the next level. To calm my nerves I think I will go for a run in the rain – at race pace. I need to remind myself I am ready.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

In addition to running the 10k in Calgary with my Dad, my other goal is to raise money for the Dream Team Make-A-Wish Project. I chose to run for the Dream Team project for several reasons, the team, the support, the coaching but the most important reason is to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Project. I have family and friends who have benefited from this amazing charity and it is time to give back. Our Team slogan is Because you can’t smile on the outside without feeling better on the inside. 

Please consider donating on my behalf, Robyn Engel Couture here DONATEYou enter any amount from $1 – infinity and beyond

I thank you, my team thanks you and some little kid who’s wish came true thanks you.

For more information about the Dream Team Project, please visit here.

 

Conversations with my former Coach, proof that everyone improves – even me

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I had the pleasure today of sitting down with a woman I admire TREMENDOUSLY.  As my daughter says, “She’s the Bomb-Diggity!”

We were talking about how my running is going. Coach was there for me with support and extra courage when I walked my first half marathon. Today, she provided the same support. It was like walking into a cozy sweater. She asked me how things are going with my training.

Me: Well… I am slow.

Coach: That’s okay. Its faster now that you are running.

Me: HA! I run as fast as I can walk.

Coach: That’s okay, how are you finding hills?

That is when I had to think about how far I have come.

2011 I didn’t hill train or do speed work or even think about recovery. I walk every kilometer in the same slow pace. My goal was to cross the finish line.

It is still a goal to cross the finish line, but I have set a goal of faster recovery time. To achieve that goal I need to do hills and speed work, I need to fuel properly before, during and after a training run, and most importantly I need to accept that I am WAY FASTER than I use to walk a 14:30 min/km and worked my way up to 12:45 min/km. When I started running in January I was running (in snow) 13:35 min/km – see! I was a faster walker!! Now I run a steady pace at 11:04 min/km. On really great days when the stars align, I can run 10:30 min/km.

If I look at the my running logs, I can see marked improvement. Does it make me happy?

No.

People keep saying, speed will come. I know. People say, you get the same medal for last place as you get for first place. I know. People keep telling me it isn’t a race – well it is – but it’s not. It’s like golf, the only real competitor you need to worry about is you.

I know.

I also know that if I keep doing what I am doing (LSD, Fartleks, Hills, Steady, Tempo) I will improve.

I have a fantastic support system for team runners and other runners in the community. We cheer for each other on facebook, twitter and dailymile – come join! Sometimes it is PAINFUL to post a super slow 8k (like today’s run – I have a million reasons why I was slow, but it doesn’t matter – they are just excuses) and I see someone post a 10k in 1:01:00. WOW! An hour! I am still hoping I can complete the Calgary 10km in 1:30:00, but realistically, I think I am looking at 1:55:00. I have to be okay with that.

The point to this race is to run with my Dad on his 65th birthday.

I am running farther than everyone else who will still be in bed on that Sunday Morning.

I am running faster than I ever have in my entire life.

I am down another 2 clothing sizes, the more weight that comes off, the faster I will be. That is the biggest part I need to remember.

I am carrying the weight equivalent of my 17 year old son on my back when I run. My friend who ran a 10k in an hour, just has to carry her water. She already is the ideal weight for her height and age. If she had to carry my son, she would be slower too.

This I need to remember.

I also need to remember to keep moving forward because there is NOTHING sweeter than the taste of achieving your goals.

Thanks Coach for teaching me that.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 

 

In addition to running the 10k in Calgary with my Dad, my other goal is to raise money for the Dream Team Make-A-Wish Project. I chose to run for the Dream Team project for several reasons, the team, the support, the coaching but the most important reason is to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Project. I have family and friends who have benefited from this amazing charity and it is time to give back. Our Team slogan is Because you can’t smile on the outside without feeling better on the inside. 

Please consider donating on my behalf, Robyn Engel Couture here DONATE. You enter any amount from $1 – infinity and beyond

I thank you, my team thanks you and some little kid who’s wish came true thanks you.

For more information about the Dream Team Project, please visit here.

 

Nothing EVER GOES AS PLANNED!

Running lately has been terrible. I go through these cycles as does everyone, but I sure don’t want too. I want every run to go as planned and be swell just like a Leave it Beaver episode!

Sunday it was the first hot day we have had since last July.

Don’t move to Canada.

I took myself out to the River Valley Loop at Whitemud Park and PLANNED on running 11km for my long run. It was so gorgeous, I was feeling fantastic! I had a great pace and ran to Keillor Hill. I made it up to the first switch back before I started to feel a stroke coming on. So I walked the next two switchbacks up to the top of Rich and Famous Blvd to a place called The End of the World. It is a gorgeous view and worth the climb… sort of. It was hot and the hill was packed with long boarders and cyclers. I didn’t come across too many runners – note to self THIS IS A LEARNING LESSON. THE RUNNERS WERE NOT ON THE HILL!

When I reached the summit (according to my garmin it was a 748 ft climb) I took a rest with the other 50 or so people at the top. It was quite comical. We were sprawled all over the place fighting for shade because we are CANADIAN and when the temps reach 27C we don’t know what to with ourselves! I drank water and realized I did not pack enough. My chest was wheezing a bit but I figured it was from the steep climb so I just waited for my heart rate to normalize. This hill is a tough one for all fitness levels so I didn’t feel so amateurish hanging at the top with the rest of the fit population. I made a realization at that moment, I am fit! Sure I have extra poundage but YAY! I am fit! That thought energized me enough to get me going again.

I headed south towards Belgravia Road and was immediately lost. Not really, I knew where I was but I was lost in the view. AH MAZE ING! THen there were the HOMES! WOW! It would not hurt my feelings to live in this neighbourhood even in the winter!

I had reached the 4k mark and I had an asthma attack so huge, I serious thought I should call an ambulance. Luckily I had my ventolin with me. The weird thing is, I NEVER bring it – EVER. But after Wednesday and the wheezing in the chest after running 5k I figure it would be prudent to bring it along, so I popped it into my fuel belt. Good thing I did! It took 4 puffs to get air into my lungs. I usually only need 1 or 2. I sat on the curb in front of some rich old guys house and just thought about how the hell was I going to get back to my car? I figured at that point, running was out of the question. Ventolin makes my heart feel weird when I take so much of it. I didn’t need to die in the river valley. People hate coming across bodies in there.

So I walked back the 3km to my car.

Walking hurts more. My feet hurt, which is weird because they never hurt when I run. My shoulders hurt, also weird because they never hurt when I run. I must shrug when I walk. Walking TAKES SOOOOOOOOO LONG and felt SOOOOOOOOOO FAR! I really hate walking. Don’t ask me to ‘go for a walk’ it is dull and boring.

Today when I woke up I thought about what one of my coaches said to me about hills. He said your muscles remember the last thing you did. Well if that is the case, I will never run again. So I decided I needed a short, quick EXCELLENT run. Something that would leave a good memory in my muscles and in my head.

Off I went, on a super hot morning – again weird because last Monday we had a blizzard and this Monday we were the hottest city in Canada 31.1C That is somewhere around 90F. Edmonton is bi-polar. Anyways…I went for a run. Short quick and only 3km. Ran the entire distance without wheezing or dying. I notice I am recovering quicker. I didn’t even feel like I had run today. I hope this is a good sign for Calgary’s 10km in 3 Sundays! I am taking it easy this week to get back into it. I plan to do 4k tomorrow, the 5k then 3k. No hills this week. I don’t want to tempt fate. By Sunday I PLAN to be ready for 11km in the River Valley again. Just this time I am avoiding the mountain climb. Perhaps something less steep and possibly flat. We shall see. In the mean time I will be packing my ventolin on every run. Lesson learned.

Happy Running!

The first night run of the season: Rich and Famous Blvd.

Here is a major surprise, it is suppose to snow tomorrow. April 13 and 14 and we are to get snow and lots of it. Insert a BIG EXASPERATED SIGH right here —->

In spite of the cold and the wind, the snow is mostly gone and I thought it would be a great day for a run along the river. The sun was out and I kept thinking, “I have to go for a run! It looks so nice out!” But the thing about work is…it is work. Sure I am the boss of my own hours, but sometimes I get on a roll and don’t want to quit. That’s what is was like for me today. Great stuff poured out for my final paper and I didn’t want to stop the flow.

After dinner, I invited my trusty Steed to come for a run with me along Edmonton’s Rich and Famous Blvd. (Actually its called Saskatchewan Drive. The yards are massive and the homes are beautiful. It would not hurt my feelings at all to live there.) I typically do not want to run with anyone but it would be dark, and running in the university area alone at night isn’t the smartest. Plus, The Trusty Steed speed walks? Power walks? Race walks? Walks…every weekend here with his team so I thought he could show me a great new route. I was not disappointed. The other reason was I am concerned about my stride and my running form. I run like this:

Only without the bowling ball and I am not on my tiptoes. But I am pretty sure those are the sound effects and that is my stride length. I did a full out sprint and The Trusty Steed didn’t laugh – to his credit – but he did say it was penguin-esc.

What is the deal? I think I need to do some knee lifts to work on my stride. I don’t know. It’s weird. Perhaps as more weight comes off, the less penguin like I will run. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, knee lifts it is.

We did an out and back for 6k. The views were spectacular and I think I will head there on Sunday for my 8k long run. I will likely be able to see more in the daylight. Only this time I am going solo. That guy TALKS A LOT. He kept asking me questions so he could see how out of breath I was. I finally snapped and yelled” THIS IS WHY I NEVER ASK YOU TO COME RUNNING. STOP TALKING” Then we began to enjoy the view and the silence.

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The Faculty Club at the U of A. A Dixieland Band was playing upstairs…and they still have Christmas lights up.

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The view of downtown from the south side of the river.

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The HUB – it is student housing and a mall. Windows open into the mall. The roof changed colours. It was kind of Chrismassy.

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One of the houses on Rich and Famous WITH CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! I expect this from students, but not the faculty or doctors. 

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It wouldn’t hurt my feelings to live here with a view of the valley. Gorgeous!

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But I’d rather live here with the floor to ceiling windows and stone walls. The unending prairie view. This also would not hurt my feelings.

Can’t wait to see what this place looks like in daylight!

Happy Running!

Virgin Snow is not motivating for runners

There is nothing more spectacular than standing on top of a mountain in the Rockies and being the first person to carve into knee deep powder  Virgin powder is awesome if you are a skier. If you are a runner…not so much.

I was working on my redundant paper in my office this morning and turned around to look outside. We had 6″ over night + the 6″ from the day before, another 2″ tonight and it isn’t suppose to stop for three days. That tells me it isn’t melting any time soon. I have 5.5k to run this weekend and another 20k to fit in this week for training. So I looked at this view:photo (12)

Closed up my laptop and went to suit up for my run. The temp was hovering around -14C with a windchill of about -20C  with gusts changing that to colder. Not ideal conditions but such is the life of a runner who lives in Edmonton and who HATES the treadmill. I wore a thermal pair of leggings under my winter run pants. I wore a long sleeve dri-fit under a mid layer and my winter outer layer. I had gloves, scarf, headband, hat and winter weight socks. I was dying inside – too warm. Once my Garmin was ready, so was I and out I went and hit a wall of biting wind. Swell…

I should have brought an avalanche locator and a St. Bernard complete with brandy keg – What was I thinking?

There was so much snow I walked in the middle of the road where the cars had packed it down…slightly. By the time I reached my trail start it was 6 minutes (I walk it in under 4) I knew this was going to be a tough run because my toes were cold already.

I looked at my trail head and noticed I was going to be the first one out today – not so motivating in -20C temps and a foot of fresh powder.

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I turned north and ran into the wind, by the time I had reached 1.6 my cheeks were burning, not good, first stage of frost bite. I pulled up my scarf and kept going.

By the time I reached 2k my legs were numb from cold and exhausted from trudging. The snow was thigh deep in places and it was a seriously difficult resistance training workout. It reminded me of aquasize deep water running… only cold. I was shivering. Hmmmm first stage of hypothermia. Ok Robyn, this is stupid, GO HOME. So I turned to head towards home and the flat light made it difficult to tell where the path was suppose to be. I missed it and fell. Awesome…not really – that is sarcasm.

As I laid in the snow, I thought about how tired I was and how warm I felt. Perhaps a nap might be in order…uh oh…Stage two hypothermia. GET UP ROBYN AND GO HOME!

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I rolled over and crawled to where I could find the path – it felt different than a snow bank  – looks are deceiving. I then headed home. My friend Chicken Hawk offered to follow me with the the hazard lights on her vehicle with warm beverages inside – I should have taken her up on it.

I am not running for a while. I want my next run to be awesome, and in a blizzard it just isn’t. Perhaps a visit to my Dad’s treadmill is in order. That’s right – it has become THAT desperate.

Enjoy your spring runs! I let you know when spring arrives here …in about 3 months or so.

Lucky for me I have a vivid imagination Mo!

I had a craptasitc run on Friday. I wasn’t smart about it, I didn’t dress warm enough and I went out to fast for too far.My last blog post I spoke to the problem of negative self talk. On Facebook my friend commented on that blog post, it was the only good thing that came out of Friday’s run. She is known as ‘The Friday Fun and Freedom Gal’ and she wrote this on my facebook wall:

I’m going to start running beside you because I will fill your ears with positive talk about how amazing you are! And how much you are admired. I can do that for you! Except for the whole running part. I can’t run. So I’ll just text you as you run.

Gulp!

Those words meant a lot to me. So as I ran my craptasitc run on Friday, I felt her sitting on my shoulder texting me goofy stuff to keep me going. I could actually visualize her there. I thanked that night when I saw her at Book Club. She laughed, but the support is insurmountable to me.

My run was crappy enough that I sat down yesterday, pulled up my Google calendar and plotted my mileage for the next 3 months. May 26th is my big day with my Dadeo. We will run 10k on his 65th birthday. He is the running man. This guy is fantastically fit for a grandpa and is my inspiration for this race. I have always dreamed of running with my dad and now I am going to make that happen. Only thing is, I am worried.

I am worried I won’t finish in Under 1.5 hours.

I am worried I won’t be able to keep up with my dad.

I am worried about crossing the Bow river 6 times – that mean 6 bridge inclines.

I am worried about being able to run that far.

I am a new runner. I ran last summer, stopped because of illness and didn’t start again until January. In Dog years, I am a puppy sans the ADHD energy.

I pulled up my Dailymile training log and studied it. Since January 1st I have walk/run 57km. That impressed me. My first week I walk/ran 6km. My past week I RAN 16km. This week I am adding another 2km to my totals – or at least plan too.

Then I was thinking back to when I walked my first half marathon. I was 65lbs heavier, 2 years younger and not fit AT ALL. I remember showing up for my first class being the heaviest person there. I was always last. Our first walk was 7km and it was all I could do to keep moving forward. I had to visualize me walking over the finish line and having the medal placed around my neck. That summer I could walk a 10k in 2 hours – full out. That was my race pace. Everything I did was about distance. I would walk the miles and it would take hours. I need to celebrate a small success, I am faster, thinner, healthier than that girl.

As I was plotting out my training, I scheduled in Fartleks, Tempos, Hill repeats and LSD (Long Slow Distance)s. My plan is to improve substantially, not just try. There is nothing wrong with trying, that is how I got here. This time I am going to improve. My motivation? My worries and the medal and my Dad. At the point I was most tired (for some weird reason it is always within the first 6 minutes – then I am fine) I kept visualizing my Dadeo and me posing for a picture together holding up our medals. That got me through the rough patch. Visualization works wonders for me.

Today was my first scheduled LDS. I did a Run/Walk of 10 and 1s. Can I just say that 10 and 1s are awesome? I bet I would go for MILES AND MILES doing 10 and 1’s Jeff Galloway is a smart dude. That single minute of walking refreshed my legs to such an extent, I felt like I had new legs each time I ran again. 10 and 1s are going to be my back up plan for the 10k. I can always run/walk and likely get there fast than straight running, because who are we kidding, as much as I say I am a runner – I am not a gazelle…yet.

Spring is coming as evidence of the snow/sidewalk/ice road combination seen on my street. I can’t WAIT to run without cleats and long pants. Since it is only February, I think I a few months left, but the clothing layers will start to resemble spring layers rather than winter layers. For THAT I am happy!

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So here is to celebrating small successes and for friends who support me along the way.

Happy Running!

Dude, THAT IS MY RACE PACE!

Self talk can make you or break you.

As I headed out for my run today, I had to small goals in mind. 1) run past the creek to the south side of suburbia and 2) No walk brakes except for my warm up and cool down.

I like to run without noise in my head but on cold days its hard. The thoughts that keep coming back to me are negative abusive ones. I would NEVER say things to another human being that I say to myself! So Why am I abusing myself? I call my self names, berate me, shame me and self-sabotage myself. Why? Human Nature?

Today I decided to make an effort to turn that self talk around. I stopped myself from the name calling and started using positive talk. It started having some really good side effects, like head up, smiling, feeling good and steady breathing. Once I got to the creek I had run farther than ever before without stopping AND without knee pain. Both huge gains in my book! But then that negative self-talk started again.

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As I was running down the steep incline I was really worried about falling and screwing up all the progress my knee has made over the past 2.5 years (NEVER EVER TEAR YOU MCL Seriously! Get a different injury) I began talking myself through it, warning myself to watch my footing. It was really icy. Once I made it to the bridge I relaxed a bit. It surprised me how tense I became. I could hear the water moving under the ice – Spring? HAHAHA no… that won’t happen for another couple of months.1058

I kept running as I began the incline on the other side. I had it in my head I would run 2.5k south and 2.5 back north, with no stopping and treat myself to a steamy hot shower, because did I mention how cold it was? Well, I made it halfway up the hill before the negative self-talk started again. “You are so slow, walkers are passing you. Run your race pace. Who are we kidding THIS IS the race pace.”  I made it to the top without stopping and ran a bit further but the knee was burning so I walked it off for about a minute.

Huge disappointment engulfed me.

I thought about my dad and figured I would have to let him run ahead of me during the 10k. He doesn’t want to be last. No problem there, as long as I am in the race he will never be last. I looked at my Garmin and I had run without stopping until this past minute. I decided to run to my turn-around point and head back through the creek. When I hit the other side of the creek I ran focusing on one step at a time. Then the burn came back. I stopped and walked it off. Frustration was going to be my pal today. Clearly hills are bothersome to my knee. That means I need to go back to the resistant band and beef up some of my exercises that I have been lazy with. I need that pain free strength to stay for the long term. By the time I reached the top of the hill and the path leveled out, I started to run again. The lungs felt great and on the level path my knees didn’t complain.

Yet all I could think about was I only met one of my goals today. I couldn’t even let myself be happy for me. Usually I celebrate my small successes by fist pumping or telling my self ‘well done!”  But today all I could think was “your race pace needs work.”

The bottom line is I have OVER 3 months until my race. I know I need to get some more miles in, but perhaps I will avoid the creek for a while. Inclines are fine but steep inclines are a problem. I will give it another shot tomorrow and turn right at the creek and run along side it. That way I can likely meet my two goals and cheer. I am hoping by spring my knee will be able to withstand some hill repeats (not that I am excited about those but I need it to get faster) I don’t want to disappoint my dad. I don’t mean to make him sound like an ogre because he isn’t. My dad is awesome, but I know the pace he runs at and I want to keep up with him, not the other way around. So I suppose I don’t want to disappoint myself.

The solution? Rain, Shine, or blizzard I have to run. Luckily, I want to run.

 

Canadian Graffiti on my bench “Conformity Happiness” – I’ll get the happiness thing figured out.1059

Mo’s Victory was clouded in darkness

I took a week off from running. Why? Mostly because I was exhausted. Between work and Mid-Terms I had very little sleep. I slept 13 hours Saturday morning and had a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. I then went to bed exhausted at 10. I think I was a little knackered from my week. Perhaps not running was smart because I tend to injure myself when I run  tired. But part of it was a mental block.

Today is Family Day here in Alberta  I know it is else where too, but some places had it last week and the States has Presidents day, so it is a long weekend for many. Myself included. Except after a weekend of sleeping, I knew I needed to get my sorry butt out the door. Today  was my scheduled 20 minute non-stop run with the C25K program. I have had a mental block about getting it done for a while now. My evening last night gave me some news that I should be super happy about but instead I thought….”Crap, that is the day my 10k is. I don’t want to miss it. But I might have to because the obligation is a big deal…a marriage or something big like that. Perhaps I won’t get invited…one could hope but likely I will have to go being she is my sister and all.

I kid… I kid….

Sort of.

I actually don’t care which 10k I run with one caveat: There has to be a medal.

The thing is, I like winning stuff. I never expect to win a race, however I like the medal around my neck. It feels like I accomplished something. If there isn’t a medal, I will save my cash and run for 10k on the trails behind my house. I could care less about the tech shirt or socks or whatever else the swag might be. I want hardware.

These were the thoughts that ran through my head as I ran towards the creek in the driving wind. Damn that wind was cold. I then was tossing out the idea of running the half the next day instead. That is me all over Go Big or Go Home. I could run the half, but my dream is to run the 5k and the 10k first. the 5k color run is already screwed up. It sold out in Calgary in about 3.2 seconds. I might be exaggerating a bit…but it sold out quick. The Edmonton Color Run is rescheduled for September. SEPTEMBER! That would be AFTER I do a 10k!!! Talk about doing stuff backwards, but that is my life. I walked a half before I ever had walked a 5k.

I took a quick peak at upcoming runs. There is the 10k in Calgary May 26 but I have no idea if that is a medal race. I need to investigate  There is the 10k in Canmore, but chances are it is running up a mountain. Think Hills on Steroids. I am not sure my knees would like that. However it is a possibility. Or there is the Half in Edmonton on the 18th. Running it is a big deal for me. I just ran 20 minutes without stopping and didn’t die, so perhaps I could work up to this with a schedule of 8 and 1s or 10 and 1s. I think 8s would be the smarter choice for a gal of my size.

Anyway you slice it, I ran 2.5k without a walk break and without thinking about it because I am busy planning. I prefer to be mindful when I run, but this helped me over come that mental block. Next goal, run OVER the creek to the south end of Edmonton. I still need to think about baby step size goals because my Garmin says I haven’t run a 5k yet, that is no where close to a 21.1k!! I guess I need to worry about the 5k first before jumping ahead.

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Holy Mo(ly) I didn’t expect THAT!

20130204-201758My head hasn’t been in the game lately. It was BRUTALLY cold and when I say cold, I mean windchills of -45. That is stupid cold. It’s not safe to run in that without proper equipment and gear so I stayed inside and focused on circuits and yoga. Not ideal, but fine for a week of stupid cold.

Then this weekend warmed up. Did I run? Ummm…no. I have no excuse other than my head wasn’t in the game. I have several work projects on the go and part of that was to be at a medical symposium this weekend. I was part of round table discussions that found me in front of a media scrum for half an hour and in an in depth interview for 40 minutes, giving insights, opinions etc on service delivery. It was a very cool experience – until I saw myself on TV. For the record my grandma loved me! She was impressed with what ‘that lady’ was saying and then she realized it was ME! Apparently I sound smart – yay! Smart = Good.

The bad news – The first thing my cousin said to me was, “OMG YOU SOUND SO PROFESSIONAL AND SMART! But the camera adds 10lbs.” Wow… I cringe at the amount of weight I still need to lose. Holy hell I have a long way to go. The up side is I have come a long way. 80lbs and I feel fantastic. I think of 80lbs and I see my daughter. I lost MY DAUGHTER off my ass! YAY! But now I need to lose my son. Metaphorically people! I am keeping them because they are swell.

I am chugging along with weekly weight loss, I am averaging about 1.5 -2 lbs a week. Occasionally there is a week where I hold fast but I know it will come off. I have become the queen of bulk. High volume food for low calorie keeps me full. I have pretty much cut out junk, meaning anything processed. My favorite food has changed from cookie loving goodness to a giant bowl of kale chips. Weird…I know but damn kale chips are awesome! Recently I discovered a way to cut out rice and add the rice texture and bulk I love. I put a head of cauliflower into my food processor and grind that puppy up! It looks like Quinoa. I made Vegetable Curry and added the cauliflower last minute. It soaks up the curry and because it is a neutral flavor it tastes like white rice to me. I had a big bowl of curry through in white beans for protein and BAM – dinner that was less than 3oo calories AND filling! My dietitian will be so happy, she is making me shoot for 4 cups of veg a day. So far, so good.

The food part is taken care of that meant I needed to get back out and run.

I went back to my grandparent’s old neighborhood because it is quiet with little to zero traffic and running on the road is fairly safe – for the city. I still had day 3/week 4 of the C25K program. I have been doubling up the weeks to give me stamina and to be honest, running in the snow is more like marching. It feels harder than running did last fall.

I started my Garmin and started my iphone’s C25K app. I walked down the street as a warm up for 5 minutes. Then she says to me, “run now’ Okay lady! I am running! But I ran and ran and ran. It got to the point where I began to think I did my app shut off? I checked my watch and saw I had been running for 5 minutes  – not 3. I realized my app skipped a couple of days and had me running 5.2 (week 5 day 2) That was run 5 walk 2 run 8 walk 2 run 3. I went with it. Last fall when that happened I quit. I am NOT QUITTING THIS TIME AROUND. When I ran 8 minutes I felt surprisingly great. It didn’t feel like I had missed a session at all. It makes me wonder how I should proceed on Thursday.  Run 5.3 or go back to 5.1 and build that base. I may just run 5.3 for a week and then move on to 6.1. That would have me running 8, 2 and 10. So doable it is exciting. I know it sounds like baby steps but that is what I need. I feel like I could be running longer but looking at me, maybe not. Baby steps and I will get there.

Color Me Rad has added a race here in Edmonton. This thrills me beyond belief because now I don’t need to go to Calgary. It will be a precursor to my 10k in August. My dad is going to run that with me. That is one of my dreams come true. I have always wanted to run with my dad but never thought I could be a runner.

Guess what? I am a runner.