It’s April? How did THAT happen?

I bet you have been wondering where I have been lately.

Well…

Honestly, I am trying to figure out how to get an extra 8 hours into my day. Apparently it is impossible.

imageI have the Calgary 50th Marathon Weekend coming up June first and to train for it has been a struggle. I am caught in that crazy cycle of too tired to train and need to train so I won’t be too tired. I KNOW you know what I mean.

So what am I doing about it? Well, my  new job has me on my feet all day – seriously all day and I walk tons. So that is great. I am also teaching a Learn to Run Class….but that doesn’t get me any serious miles. Tomorrow is my long run and I need to log 14km. Will I? Sure? I can visualize it. I know the route. I am reasonably certain I will do it.

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You know what I need? A new pair of Ghost 6. I am running in Brooks Pure Connects2 and its great for short distances but my muscles are just not strong enough to get me through a 14k with them. I will give it try though.

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Then guess what else I did?

I am hosting a 10k Trail Run in Emily Murphy Park! you can find the link to sign up here. and the details about the race here.

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Fly into Edmonton, I promise you a great race!

Oh…and then I did something else. (Clearly being finished University has given me some time to think of events to produce)

I am hosting a virtual run for Star Wars Fans, May the Fourth Be With You. It is a 5k, 10, or half marathon run that you do on your own time…hopefully May the 4th (Get it? May the Fourth? Force? Get it?). It costs $30 and if you are a Running Team member at DAWS you get 10% off. All proceeds from this race for to our Foundation Do Away With SMA. Come try it out. The medal is cool.

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What else is new? Well….I am running the Dumbo (a 10k and a half marathon) in Disneyland. I think you should join me for that too. That is bound to be fun.

But mean while…after my long run tomorrow, I will post some cityscapes and get back on track with my fitness. I need to be more accountable and I am just failing miserably. I need this for me.

Happy Running!

Cadence work and knee testing = confidence building

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I signed up for Disney’s Dumbo Double Dare. A 10k and a 21.1k back to back on the hottest weekend of the year.

Why? I want to prove to myself that I can be fast enough to run a half marathon at a Disney race. I hover around the end. There is a risk of being swept. And mostly, I need to over come my fear of running.

Fear of running you ask?

Since I slipped on those damn cups in Walt Disney World and injured myself, I have had an irrational fear of running.

I have 9 races this year, 2 half marathons and a bunch of 10kms. I need to get back in the saddle so to speak.

I have been talking with my speed coach Hoff. He is the 10k instructor at the Running room and great friend of mine. We have been talking about my goals for this year. I didn’t really have any targeted goals, just distance. I can do the distance but I want to increase my speed and lengthen my stride. I am not suppose to worry about either because it will come. I disagree. It won’t happen unless I put the work in.

That is where Hoff came in with some great advice. He suggested I do cadence work.

Huh?

I am supposed to run and warm up, feel comfortable then do a one minute interval where I count my left foot strikes. My first interval was 64.

Okay, Hoff, I did that. Then I ran without counting for a while and then did another interval, I counted 74. I did 10 more intervals and peaked at 85. I found I was averaging between 74 and 75 left foot strikes.

So what does this mean?

Every week I will attempt to increase my average cadence and peak out at over 85. This is supposed to help make me faster, increase my focus and he told me whenever I feel sluggish, start counting. It will increase my speed and take my focus away from pain and drudgery.

My goal is to peak out at 100. This will apparently help with my stride and speed over the long haul. It is the same as a fartlik except I have a different focus. This seems to work better for me and my OCD mind. I am interested in seeing how this will affect my running over the long term.

Friday, Hoff has me running stairs instead of hills. Hills will come later, meanwhile stairs will strengthen my hams and force my legs up higher than when I run hills. Also making my stride longer and stronger.

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I visualize myself crossing finish lines with time goals on the clock. This is new for me. Quite frankly, having a new focus invigorates me.

Thanks Hoff.

Happy Running!

The First Valley Run of the Winter Season

Lately it has been super cold so I rode DangerBike on my office. I haven’t been for a run farther than 8 miles in a while…a long while. I have a month-ish before I have a major race at Walt Disney World, so I made it outside today and the first 7km were lovely! The last 4km? Well, lets just say it was my intent to run 13km but trudging through the city streets made it difficult and exhausting.

(Follow me on instagram to see my video of my run – you can hear what the cold crunch of northern snow sounds like http://instagram.com/ragrobyn)

Today’s run has to be the most difficult 11km run I have ever done. Period. That includes the run I did when I was dehydrated or the run I did in the pouring sideways rain. Today’s run ended with a trek UP Walterdale Hill (FYI – that was stupid and it is a ONE and DONE hill…not again this winter!) after running on un-shoveled sidewalks and roadways. Lumpy, uneven paths are difficult to navigate.

BUT.

Millcreek was ploughed by City Tractors and it was gorgeous running.  I ran down the creek into the river valley. I was hit on by Hobos who wanted to kiss me, I said no thank you. Then they asked if they could run with me, I said, no thank you. They were disappointed, I was a little scared. Running in the opposite direction of them and towards the University Run Club Men made me feel a little happier.

The biggest issue I find with running in the winter is the cleats I have to wear. Running without them is too scary for me. I easily lose my footing and am thankful for the solid feeling my YakTrax Run provide me. But, my feet get tired quickly. I was at about 8km and I wanted to pop the cleats off. If I remember correctly, it will take me a few weeks to build up the strength in my feet again. It should make me feel like I am flying for the WDW Half Marathon!

Next week, my coach has me running 5k on my long run and then 15km the following week. I have to say, 5k almost feels like a waste of time, but 5k I shall do. Why? Because I trust him. He hasn’t let me down yet.

Meanwhile, keep warm and Happy Running!

 

Plankety Plank Plank

download (1)Can you guess what the very first thing I did this morning was? Even BEFORE I had my first cuppa o coffee? I planked. And I hate it. Its boring and hard and boring and the longest 60 secs of my day. Sad…I know.

My Coach Brian started a training challenge called Planksgiving. The facebook chatter about it has been fun. He goes through roll call every day and publicly shames us if we skipped out. He does it in a fun way…he isn’t mean and he has a great sense of humor! But the Planksgiving fun ends there. Doing the planks isn’t so fun.

I was a regular plank doer last spring. Like all good habits I try to create…this one too fell by the wayside. It is much more effective if I have accountability. So I signed up for the DAWS Plank a Day Challenge and commit myself to the scheduled plank amount. Today was a looooong 60 secs. The first day was a really looooooong 20 seconds. I am not going to lie, it was hard for me. But each day I get stronger and hate Coach less.

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I know planks will help my running. They will help me keep my body upright when I want to quit from exhaustion. They will help me fight fatigue especially where I carry it, in my back. The girls I lug around are heavy and I do not enjoy them for running. However, the planks will add strength in areas that will help me cope with them. Planks will also provide stability when I run.

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It is now winter here in Edmonton and I have to run through snow today at 10F….so those of you at the WDW Wine and Dine Half Marathon who keep telling me 68F is freezing…I have news for you: I would SWIM at 68F, 68F is my summer.  I want to run without cleats so Planks will help me find stability – although I am not there yet, I still need the cleats because I fear injury more.

So, today was 60 seconds. Soon I will be planking at 240 seconds and beyond. I will attempt to make this a daily habit. Come join us! Follow us on facebook DAWS and join in the shenanigans! Worst case scenario: you have fun. Best Case Scenario: You look like Gwyneth Platrow. That is a win/win situation to me! Did you see her abs in Ironman 3? Damn girl, its obvious you workout all day long, I want just a fraction of that, so I will do the work.

Meanwhile, back out into the snow!

Happy Planking!

Crisp, Cool and Perfect

I committed an unselfish act of stupidity Sunday. I gave my mom the last of my Voltaren.

To be fair, I love my mom and she needs it more than me. Secretly, I hadn’t had knee pain for a while so I figured I was done with it.

HA!

Oh well, I only had one uncomfortable evening, today it’s better. My bursa sac filled with fluid and its better today. Its been a while since I pushed myself. If I am being honest, I have gone through the post marathon blues syndrome….again.

Getting myself out there without a training schedule sounds great but it doesn’t really work for me. I need more structure. I need a calendar that tells me how far I am running today.

Clearly, I have slacked off for 2 months and now I have a WDW Marathon weekend to prep for and, well…. I need to up the training now.

I was worried I would lose my fitness level and be back at square one again.

I went out for a long-ish run on Monday morning just to see how far I could go. The good news? 5 miles or so. The better news? my initial pace was my race pace – 10:30…but then I had equipment problems and needed to adjust the shoes and long story short…I was a bit slower in the end. However, it was the best run I have had in a long time.

The weather was perfect, cool and crisp with the sunshine sparkling through the trees. I could have used gloves to start off with, but I was fine once I got going. It was perfect. I ran for about 1.5 hours. A good start to see where my fitness is.

Today I will hop on Danger Bike and give her a chance to annoy my knee then I will run again tomorrow. I heard Belgravia Trail is stunning this time of year, or perhaps I’ll check out Emily Murphy Park. But it doesn’t really matter where I go. It’s my favorite time of year to run.

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Back to Back races and I didn’t die

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I live in a so-called Prairie City. When you think about he word ‘prairie’ you conjure up images of flat land. While its true, I live a couple of hours away from the Rocky Mountains, by no means do I live on flat lands nor the foot hills. After my weekend, my butt is thinking about moving to Regina where there are ZERO HILLS.

I ran in two different events this weekend and both had beasts called hills. The first 3 hillbeasts were in the Night Race. Now, because I live in Edmonton, the Night Race didn’t start until it got dark. That means I was at the start line at 10:00 pm. The sun had just set and the northern sky was all twighlighty. The runners all had their head lamps and it was quite pretty. We ran mostly in the trails where I always get lost. The trails were lit by lanterns and our headlamps. It was so much fun! Except the 3 beasts we climbed. If the Night Race comes to your city, give it a go because it is a fun race with fantastic swag! I got a Brooks Adrenaline Race shirt, Energizer Headlamp and a 6 pack of beer.

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Win/win/win!

I got home around midnight, knowing I needed to get up for my Doctor Who Virtual Half Marathon you think I could fall asleep? Not a chance! So at 6:30 I got up with 4 hours sleep to my credit and headed down to the creek to start my 21.1k journey. The plan was to meet up with the walking group in Goldbar Park and go for Brunch afterwards. But I did this 21.1k solo, alone, by myself with only my dying phone for company. Yeah, about that. I forgot to charge my phone the night before. I needed to conserve battery power incase I was about to die and needed to call someone. So no music for me! That really annoyed me because I downloaded some fresh music to my running list, Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen, ACDC, Alice in Chains – you know, GOOD STUFF! Could I listen to it? Sadly…no. Whatever, I am a proud introvert. Being alone with my thoughts is fine, it just doesn’t pump me up, it relaxes me. Suddenly, this became way more challenging.

I ran 10k all over the valley flats and was feeling pretty great. The route I had planned on taking was scrapped because of the Edmonton Folk Fest, so I decided to climb the beast called Connors Hill from the valley floor up to the top.Folk Fest from the Top

Hello Edmonton!

 

This was a new adventure for me. I decided I don’t really like these kinds of adventure. They blow. This was also the point where my Auto Pause on my watch wouldn’t turn the gps back on. YOU REALLY SUCKED GARMIN 410! That’s okay, I had a pretty good idea where I was on the milage scale, I was doing fine….until 14k.

I forgot to pack my Nuun. This was BAD NEWS. I am on a self-induced half marathon, I have zero course support. I needed salt and potassium in the worse way. I had my gels and they helped a bit, but I find Nuun gives me the mental clarity I really need around 14 – 16k. This was the part where the wheels fell off. I wanted to quit.

I fantasized about a phone conversation with my Dadeo.

Me: Hey Daddy, you were right, running this far IS STUPID, come get me.

Dadeo: Okay baby, I will be right there. Don’t worry and now I can claim I was right every time you go running.

<insert record needle scratching sound>

Hold it right there. What is WRONG WITH ME??

I don’t quit.

I decided to walk a bit, drink more water and take another gel. I was NOT QUITTING! After walking a bit, I felt more refreshed. My legs and feet were good, but the shoulders were killing me because the girls are just too heavy. I set a goal of Cap Hill. I couldn’t WAIT to run down it! I love running down hill. The last time I ran Cap hill, I was training for my first half. I knew it was a beast of a hill, but this time I was at the top and running down would be fun.

The view from Cap Hill

By the time I got there, all I could think was….WTF? This is a puny road bump not a HILL. The I started to laugh. I  couldn’t believe how my fitness level had changed so drastically. Here I was at about the 19k mark and feeling fab inspite of no hill to run down.

By the time I reached the end of my route, I met up with the Trusty Steed and his walking group for breakfast. I had run/walked 22km.

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The last time I walked 21.1k, I was a mess. I needed crutches to get around. I could hardly move. This time I put on my flip flops, stretched and didn’t need to sit. I had a great brunch, did stuff in the afternoon, and was suitably tired by bedtime. I am not even walking funny today. Do you know what this means??

I have completed my goal of RECOVERY!

I had set a goal to increase my recovery time and feel great after a long run. Mission accomplished! Although, having the Nuun would have been better for my time, I won’t make that mistake on Race Day, August 25th.

Things I need to remember for Race Day:

  1. There are ZERO HILLS
  2. Bring Nuun
  3. Take Melatonin before going to sleep Saturday Night. Sleep makes you run better.
  4. Charge the Phone!
  5. Wear the new injini socks – blister free feet is AWESOME

There is nothing better than achieving your goals. I recommend it.

Happy Running!

Unzip the fat suit or shapewear?

Shapewear.

Do you know what that is? As my dad would say, “why would you want to wear something that prevents you from breathing?” Good point dad.

There is a conversation on facebook going on about Zaggora. Essentially these are compression workout wear that make you sweat excessively. Some reviews on the site are claim people are “melting”. But you aren’t a stick of butter – sure you feel like you are but … no.

3 fat chicks on a diet have a great piece on sweat and weight loss, go read it here. Basically they remind you or inform you that the reason you sweat is for our body to maintain a healthy body temperature. Sweat IS NOT your fat leaking out through your pores. If that was the case, I would have the smallest boobs on the planet and my legs would resemble chicken legs AND I would have loss my entire face. There is a pretty picture for you.

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When you sweat you are losing salts and minerals. It is the rehydration of liquid that will help you lose fat – not the sweat itself. So don’t forget to replenish what you lost! Be smart about it. Not replenishing is bad, bad, bad. On Fierce Friday, I am talking to 2 time Ironman Pattie Keller and she talks about her first race where she remember NOTHING about crossing the finish line and was hospitalized afterwards due to salt loss. Sweating is a serious deal not a quick weight loss option.

That is not to say shapewear is a bad thing.

As I lose weight and the skin is not as tight as it use to be – it takes time for everything to compress, tighten and lets face it…I brutalized my body to the point where as the fat leaves the wrinkles arrive. The skin just isn’t as elastic anymore. Shapewear firms it up! I bought pair of yoga pants at Costco – shapewear – the first time I put them on (27lbs ago)- it was a workout in itself. I was hot and sweaty just trying to fit all the bits in. I now wear them and I cannot believe how narrow my hips are! Sweet mother of chocolate!  THose puppies make me feel – dare I say it – SKINNY! Of course I am not. I am saggy, lumpy and incredibly muscular. Weird combo I know but you know what I mean if you are heading down the same path as me. It is like I am wearing a fat scuba suit. Unzip it and there is a chiseled goddess under there.

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*Disclaimer I do NOT consider that a fat suit. That is my dream body. One day……………

Collagen cream and shapewear are my friend. Spanx – I love you. Because of you I can wear a Clingy size 16 dress from Jones of New York and feel fabulous. I use to be a size 28. Sure I can wear the dress sans the spanx but I jiggle a bit too much for my liking. And not the good kind of sexy jiggle either.

However, I am proud of those jiggles. Hard work is paying off. I taste junk food to make sure it is worth the calories. Very few things are. My mom’s cake is, my cookies are, and Sabor Divino‘s La Donna is. But that is pretty much about it. The rest of the time, I am mindful about what goes into the mouth. Fresh real, non processed food and water. I eat less and move more. When I move I sweat. Sweating make me replenish. That is the secret. There is no quick fix to sustainable weight loss. Sorry, but that is the truth.

 

 

Riddle me this: Why does it hurt on short run days?

Riddle me this Batman: Sunday I run for 16k and feel fantastic, I am not sore and feel like I could go another 16km the next day. Tuesday I go for a shorter run on 6.5 km and can barely walk today because I am stiff and sore.

I think the recovery plan or lack thereof is the reason.

I decided to compare the two runs:

16 km Run

6.5 km Run

Carried 48oz of water drank 24oz by the half way mark Carried 24oz of water and drank 12oz by the end of the run
Ran at 9 AM Ran at 8 PM
refueled with power get at 5km Still full from dinner felt fine
Stretched after the long run for a good 20 min. Did no stretching because mosquitos were eating me alive. Jumped in the car ASAP
Ate protein/carb combo within 30 minutes of stretching out. Drank Nuun Ate nothing, too close to bedtime, drank water
Showered right away Showered right away
Walked around the house doing chores Went to bed

Obviously I did EVERYTHING wrong yesterday. I know from conversations with my dietician that refueling is very important. It gives my muscles the chance to rebuild with protein instead of eating my fat storage because that is inefficient fuel. I let my body snack on my fat while I am at rest and between meals. I get hungry and I tell myself that is my muscles making my fat cry. It works for the most part. I also have a fairly strict eating schedule. 3 meals and 2 snacks. I will sometimes forget about the snacks if I am really absorbed in work/school but I pay for it come mealtimes. It is never good to go into a meal STARVING – binge eating happens.

Learning Lesson #1: ALWAYS REFUEL AFTER A WORKOUT

Thirsty much? Yes and yes. for some odd reason, the prairies are super humid this year and I find it hot. Now for those of my friends who live in the East or South, I know you laugh at me when I think 60% humidity is high and 72F is super hot. But it is for me, just like you won’t run outside at 32F, for me that is perfect running weather. Obviously we come from different worlds. I am also a mouth breather. I have asthma and some awesome allergies so I have no choice. That makes my mouth dry. I hydrate very well when I am not running, there is a glass pitcher filled with water on my desk and I drink it. I get my daily requirements plus a cup of coffee everyday. When I run I feel better and energized if I drink lots of water.

Lesson #2: DRINK THE WATER YOU BROUGHT WITH YOU

Stretch baby! I think I need to stretch more than the average person. This is not based on scientific fact, it is based on how I feel. Walking like my joints are welded together is not cool. My muscles seize up pretty much immediately after I stop running. It could be age it could be weight, it could be just my DNA, however if I stretch right after a workout and after a hot shower, I feel fabulous. This hit by a truck feeling sucks donkeyballs.

Lesson #3: STRETCH IT OUT

Those are not hard lessons to learn, but why do I feel like I can ignore them during the week? I have hills to run today and that will feel like torcher thanks to my lack of proper prep. Suck it up Buttercup, face the consequences to meet your goals.

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Starting friday I will be starting my new series called Fierce Friday. It will be stories about amazing athletes who I have the pleasure to know and they all teach me something about being a little bit more fierce.

 

 

Go Big or Go Home

I have a really bad habit of going BIG or going HOME. I tend to be an All or None kind of girl and this has gotten me into plenty of trouble. At emotional eating group it was a trend for us, “I over-ate and decided WHATEVER – keep going!”

Luckily I am over that.

When I would plan an epic party, I will go OVER THE TOP and stress myself out with details.

Luckily I am over that now too.

When I would take on work – you got it! I would take on too much and eventually sleep for a week.

Yes – I have fixed that too.

I have learned the art of moderation in most areas of my life – except 2.

One is research, if I want to know something for school or for interest sake I will research the living daylights out if it. I am the girl you want on your team for Trivial Pursuit. I will learn things to the nth degree just to satisfy my thirst for knowledge. So when I have to let stuff go without knowing why – it is so painful it takes me awhile to let it go. I will think about it often.

The other is workouts. I will push myself until I am crippled. Stupid stupid stupid.

I have been in search of my Mojo for a while now. I go out for a run and just….can’t…get it together. I have no idea why and it scares that crap out of me.

My friend and I were walking last night and she asked me if I am scared I will put my weight back on. HELL YA IT SCARES ME! Two years of bad habit breaking and all it takes is one EPIC WEEKEND or VACATION and I am back having to emotionally release those habits all over again. I have realised food management will be a life long struggle for me and I am okay with that. What frightens me more, is not being able to get back into the groove of a workout.

Workouts are important for me many reasons:

  1. They make me strong and compact. Losing weight is one thing but being strong is another. I am the same weight I was when I went to weight watchers 100 years ago (I might be exaggerating about the time frame) but I am in a smaller clothing size and I attribute that to fitness. I am smaller because I have muscles. AND I am not hungry which is awesome because I was hungry every damn minute on weight watchers.
  2. I love that my muscles at rest will burn calories….oh ya….doing nothing and burning calories rocks!
  3. I love that little jaunts use to be big huge deals that were exhausting, but now I can run a 10k, do the gardening and go out at night. I have tons of energy.

Fit = Good

So here I am, freaking out about how hard fitness is lately. I am just so tired that everything is an effort. The minute I feel good do I take it slow and rebuild at a normal rate? HELL NO! I go out like a bat out of hell and push.

Yesterday, true to my word, I told my friend I would run, take it slow and see how I do.

I only did 3km.

I did it at my fastest time yet – THAT IS NOT TAKING IT SLOW ROBYN!!!

THEN, I went for an 8k jaunt through Millcreek Ravine. Granted we did not go fast, but walking is hard for me. It hurts, and it hurts my friend. She can cycle 100k in a day but walking is killer. I can run a 14k but walking is BRUTAL. Yet we did it.

So my total kms yesterday was 12k. TWELVE! That is 7.5 miles. That is not taking it easy.

I had yoga the day before and never stretched yesterday.

STUPID STUPID STUPID

Because today I am feeling it. I will pull out my foam roller, do some yoga, and get my stick to roll out my legs.

Yet there is something very satisfying about pushing yourself. Something quiet delicious about the muscles being cranky because you worked out. Secretly I love that feeling and I think that is why I will never completely give up Go Big or Go Home.

2 months until the Canadian Derby Marathon Weekend. I was scared yesterday but today? BRING IT!

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I need to cry or change the attitude. Change the attitude it is!

Worst Run EVER happen today.

My pal came over early this morning and we headed to Emily Murphy Hill to run 6 repeats.

  1. I hate running up hill but love running downhill
  2. I have felt bad of late, I haven’t bounced back from last week’s 18 hour sleep days
  3. Hurling your cookies because you run is never fun

But those are excuses. I didn’t push myself. Instead I watched my friend take off like a rocket and do all 6, then she went home and signed up for the 10km. I am feeling a little jealous of here today. She is a BEAST, she pushes hard and has serious stamina. I run halfway up and hurl. After 6 halfway attempts I went to the grass and punished myself with core work and yoga poses I hate until she finished.

The worst of it is, I am angry. Angry at me, angry at my PERCEIVED expectations of others, angry at the fact that I am happy running slow and just don’t feel like getting faster, except when I run in WDW on Marathon weekend, I better run faster or my ass will be swept off the course. I am angry because I feel like I am being left behind. I see my teammates progressing or ask for help and get it. Here is the thing:

  1. I know what I have to do
  2. I know how to do
  3. Someone holding my hand while I do it just makes me angry
  4. Crying on my coaches shoulder is not going to help the situation because I KNOW what the problem is!

Here is my plan to improve the situation:

  1. Get some serious sleep! I was up late last night waiting for my girl to come home after a concert, then I had to hear the evening’s recap and oogle the merchandise. It has been a very long time since I have woke up in the morning feeling rested. Sleep by 10:00 tonight and I am NOT setting my alarm. I shall wake up when I am ready.
  2. Hydrate better. Fricken Diet Coke has slipped into my life again. I need to quit it before it becomes an addiction again. More Water Missy! And when I say Missy I mean me for a change.
  3. Find my earbuds! I haven’t seen them since Sunday. I think they are in Trusty Steed’s Truck. He drove me home on Sunday after my long run. Plug in and listen to music that energizes me.
  4. Find a path that isn’t flooded but isn’t dead boring either. I AM SO BORED OF MY TRAIL – the hideous one behind my house. I think I will head to  – I have no idea. I will explore some maps tonight.
  5. Run for fun tomorrow. I have forgotten how to do that. Run without a goal other than distance. No time, no pace, nothing else but fun.
  6. Change my attitude! End my run on a positive note. Smile while I run or at the very least feel like I am smiling.

There we have it. I have vented and no longer feel like crying. I will have a better run tomorrow. I will have fun running tomorrow and as my reward for changing my attitude, I will go to yoga class.

I can’t wait 🙂

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