Good News! I didn’t Die Today

It’s been a very difficult year for. I once sat in front of a gal who was gazing into my crystal ball and she told me that my life was going to be difficult for a few years to come. That was 3 years ago.

She was right.

It’s not that my life has been terrible, on the contrary. Growth and learning have happened at an exponential rate for me. All the great life lessons come to me at a price. They are never pleasant and they are never pain free. I learn best from hitting bottom than I do from skipping along smelling daisies. I am pretty sure I have reached Super Genius Level with all the life lessons of late.

My ‘not running’ lesson has been hard as well.

Since my Calgary half Marathon – my plans and goals were shelved.

Calgary was the most kick-ass awesome race experience to date.

  1. I felt strong
  2. I recovered quickly
  3. I was ready

I had set some pretty amazing goals for right after the race. I had planned on not losing my distance. I was going to maintain the ability to run16k for my longs. That to me works perfectly for half marathons – well, for me. I had the Moose is Loose lined up to walk it with my dad, then I was going to Disneyland to Run the Dumbo Double Dare (10km on Saturday and 21.1km on Sunday). The Vancouver Rock and Roll Half Marathon would be next the last weekend in October and then FULL ON TRAINING for the Donald in January. As you may recall, I achieved a DNF in WDW for a knee injury.

So where did I leave off?

Well, I had surgery after Calgary and my world fell apart. For the record, Patience is not a Virtue that I am very good at. I should have not walked the Moose with me Dad, but it was with my Dad and it was his first half and I am very happy I did it even though I experienced a major health scare. When I say major, I mean major. My Doc was not happy and wrote me a note forbidding me to run in Disneyland. So I deferred it until next year.

I watched all my pals and my daughter cross the finish line.

It sucked.

I was happy for them but I was sad for me.

Now looking at my calendar, the time table tells me that Vancouver is 6 weeks away.

I have been walking, I can do the distance, but time is a major factor. I am not elevating my heart rate lately so speed eludes me. The other side of that coin is…I am afraid I have lost my mojo.

Today was the day I would attempt to run again. I announced it at RunClub on Wednesday. In front of 60+ people who know me as the RunClub MC. IT made me accountable. So what did I do?

I went for a run today. And I didn’t die.

I brought The Captain with me. I knew that we would be stopping lots because he has to sniff everything.

I am out of Ghost6 runners. This makes it sound like a grocery list item. Well, for me it kinda is. I work in the running industry, so shoes are one of those ‘milk, bread and eggs’ items. I have a wall rack FILLED with shoes of every make and model you can think of. But Ghost 6 is my long distance shoe. My last two pairs are finished. I wore one yesterday on the floor at work, walked over 5k just doing my job, and got home to find my joints, back and shoulders were pain riddled. This is a sure fire sign that my shoes are done. I had discussed my shoe issue with Nic, my shoe whisperer. He had suggested that I give my Nike Pegasus 31 a try (I have 2 pairs) They are a neutral shoe with nice cushioning and a drop similar to the Ghost 6 that I have been using. I wear them all day for work and feel great! Odds are this was going to be a reasonable replacement and I was happy with that idea!

I began my run this morning at the top of Mill Creek Ravine. It is an old rail line that has been converted into a running path. It is paved and tree lined. When I say tree lined I mean it is bush. IMG_7680

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It feels like you are in the middle of no where. I love it. It is my favourite place in the whole world. It isn’t tainted by memories with others because I will not share it. It is my place. In fact, it is my happy place.

I just lied, I share it with my Captain, but only him.

The run started off pretty good. My legs felt good, lungs felt good, I kept my pace slow so I wouldn’t over do it. It was good….not great or fantastic, but good!

Half way I needed to stop and sit on the bench. I was getting dizzy and I blame my brain tumour. It makes me dizzy all the time, sometimes worse than others. Sitting calms things down. It was at this point The Captain decided he needed to chase rabbits into the bush. Ummm, no.

I was not going to bush-sack today. He looks at me and speaks like Chewbacca with groans and such. I looked at him and firmly said no. He actually  “harumphed” followed by a pout. He wouldn’t look at me for the next 10 minutes as punishment.

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Off we went, further into the valley.

It was at this moment I listened to my feet.

Feet: Hey Robyn, WTF is on us?

Me: Nike Pegasus 31

Feet: Where are the Ghost 6 that we love?

Me: I don’t have any left. Brooks has the Ghost 7 out now and we don’t like it remember?

Feet: Oh right, but that doesn’t explain the Pegs.

Me: True, but they felt so good on a 9 hour day, I figured they would be awesome!

Feet: well, now we know they aren’t. To prove this point, we are going to make the arches burn now. Followed by telling the knee you injured to get cranky because your arches burn and compensating for us is really going to make your knee cranky.

Me: DAMN, why can’t you two just be happy you are out running again?

Feet: Because, we want Ghost 6 strapped to us and we are not going to behave until you meet our demands.

Me: Seriously? you are holding me hostage? You are going to regret this feet.

And they did. But in turn, they made my last 3km H E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICK!

To make them suffer, I did a long a steep hill. This made knees really pissed at me. Heart and lungs were cool with it though.

Once I reached the top I paused to check out the view.

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To me there is nothing prettier than a prairie blue sky! The feet were finally relaxed about the running thing and felt happy again. Then Cap and I hit the road once more and the feet were ANGRY!

I ignored them, but ran to my store.

I entered the building, walked back to the clearance room, found the last 2 pairs of Ghost 6 size 10 Women’s and marched to the counter where I did a product check for other shoes in the province.

These were the LAST 2 SIZE 10 WOMEN’S SHOES LEFT. DAMN YOU BROOKS!!! So I bought them, and some KT Tape for my knee.

I ran just .2 shy of 7km. Not bad for my first day back. It took me a while, but that part will take practice. I have a 10km scheduled with Karen on Sunday, so I will run a couple of 4-5ks this week to keep the joints moving.

AND I will run in my new Brooks Ghost 6, training has begun for the Vancouver Rock and Roll. I have my health, the motivation and the shoes.

Bring it on.

 

Suddenly it was a lifestyle

39176_413620261539_5541464_nRemember way back when?? 2011 when I made the decision to move forward and change my lifestyle, I had hoped it would stick. It has taken me longer than I wanted but I haven’t gone back to that dark place where the weight piles on.

I am still losing weight.

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Shocking given my lack of focus, however, I have certain habits now that are healthy ones that haven changed. So that alone is what has seen me lose 7lbs in the month of January.

Cool.

Sure I went out for a lavish dinner when I was in WDW and had an appetizer, main dish, AND a dessert – along with 3/4 of a bottle of wine. My dinning partner had some of the bottle but was also indulging in other libations that were present at the start of dinner. I ate a churro, a couple of cookies and other than that, nothing outrageous. Why? I think food doesn’t hold that same appeal that it used to. I no longer think of food as a ‘treat’ or a ‘reward’. But I do enjoy it and make sure the calories are worthwhile. I am often heard asking “Is it worth the calories?” Dinner at the California Grill was a resounding YES, dinner at Captain Cooks? Not so much – so I played it safe, move vegetables less bread.

I was asked again recently how am I doing it? To be honest – I am not sure because I haven’t recorded my calories in a long while and I over indulged in sweet over Christmas and that is always hard because it is hard to ween yourself off of sweets – at least it is for me.

I do have a list of things I always do out of habit now. This makes it easier to cope. These are things my nutritionist encouraged me to do.

1. Weigh yourself once a week. Weight will fluctuate 7lbs in a week. Seems like a lot. But female cycles, water retention for too much sodium or not moving enough for a few days can really make a difference. any more than 5lbs is a warning to me to be more conscious about what I put into my mouth.

2. Keep track of your daily movement. I sucked at this until I go a Polar Loop. I lost about a dozen pedometers. The loop stays on my wrist and converts all movement to steps for me. I started out with a baseline and increase it by 10% per week.  When I was in WDW I was doing 37 thousand steps on average. That is 3x my goal. Pretty sure that is why it was okay with me eating a little more than normal – I was hungry and for good reason.

3. Eat enough protein. Protein keeps me from craving carbs. Who would rather eat a loaf of break than a steak? Well, I would, but by making sure I get enough grams of protein every day – I can reduce the carbs in my life. I no linger have them with dinner. I do at breakfast and lunch – lets face it, your body needs carbs. It is a quick energy and if you choose wisely, it will be good for you too. But protein feeds the muscles I am building and keeps me fuller…longer. The longer is good because my new job prevents me from snacking. This is good AND bad. Eating every 2 hours – smaller meals – is ideal for me. however, circumstances prevent me from achieving this. But I do get to drink more water than before. That is good.

4. Drink water. Don’t drink it all at once. spread it out during the day. Stop drinking your calories. This includes Juice, sugary drinks, frothy sweet coffees and smoothies. I admit to drinking alcohol. I enjoy wine and beer and scotch and rum, but not every day AND not binge drinking on weekends. If it doesn’t enhance my experience than I don’t drink it. So Alcohol is a rare beverage for me.

5. Eat different food every day. This shakes up your metabolism and keeps it cooking. Sure it is easy to eat cereal every day of your like. But changing it up keeps your body from becoming complacent. This is important. AND EAT more not less. Starving yourself and keeping yourself hungry puts your metabolism into survival mode. Not cool. You don’t want it saving your fat, you want it to USE your fat. Because quite frankly, you aren’t using it for anything useful anyways.

5. Don’t eat 2 hours before bed time. Breakfast is called Break-FAst meaning you fast all night and brake the fast by eating breakfast. The 2 hour window is because that is how long it takes your body to typically digest your dinner.

6. Don’t skip meals. This makes you binge eat at a later time of the day. Not helpful.

7. Are you hungry? Are you really? Do you know where you are hungry? Odd question for some. I get hungry in my mouth. This means I need oral stimulation – quiet from the peanut gallery thanks. Gum or a mint helps, so does drinking water through a straw. I don’t know why, but it does. I also get heart hungry. Anger, sadness, broken heart will have me in search of food to feel that deep chasm. I now make myself sit in my emotions and feel it. It doesn’t last long and then its over. Numbing it with food just made me this fat in the first place. Hungry in the tummy? There you go! EAT! Never feel shame about eating. Eating is good for you if you eat for hunger. It is fuel.

Remember Food is Fuel not Therapy and you will make out just fine.

Meanwhile, I hope to lose another 50lbs this year. 7 down and 43 to go. Totally doable because it is now my lifestyle.

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Why am I always hungry?

It’s been a while since I thought about how my nutrition is impacting my weight loss. I have been on this diet lifestyle change for about 2.5 years. With about 6 months taken off for bad behavior. I suppose that is what makes me normal. Eating off plan and indulging in yumolicious things. However, I have had an epiphany of late.

This past week, I have been hungry. The kind of hungry where if a cow would walk by me right this minute, chance of it walking away without a large bite taken out of it would be slim to none. I don’t get these hungry episodes very often, but when I do look out if you are holding a sandwich, I might take your hand off.

I haven’t done anything particularly different. I have switched up my running days. Surprising my body and metabolism into a new routine. I added cycling into the mix and although I am not going any great distances, my legs and ass hurt from the newness of this sport. (secretly I am thinking about trying this out Diva Duathlon next fall. My dream of a Tri has fallen by the wayside until I can get my dizzy under control from that schwannoma that has taken up residence in the head. The good news is on land, I am golden! In the pool – not so much. The distances for the Diva are 3 km RUN – 12 km BIKE – 2 km RUN. So doable I find it exciting! Can you picture it? Me and Danger Bike working together to conquer this course? I will ride all winter with this in mind. The running 3k – then 2k should be fine.

Getting back to the HUNGRY. This past week I have noticed I have made choices based on what will fill my tummy and provide good energy. I have turned my back on the vegetarian me for a bit and have indulged in MEAT. Shocking, no – I am not a hard and fast vegetarian, I mostly am because I don’t care for meat, the flavor, the prepping of it, the look or smell, be lately – I JUST WANT TO EAT IT!. So I do. I have learned the hard way that listening to your bodies cravings is a way to keep you healthy – not the sugar cravings…that is different. But if your body wants and apple…eat an apple. If your body wants water, DRINK WATER. Simple formula but it takes time to be able to listen to what your body wants and  needs. My focus is not skinny, a number or anything related to the diet aspect. My focus is health, and awareness. I want to be aware of my nutritional needs because that is what enables me to run farther and be active, with a side benefit of brain power. Given that I have eaten non stop for several weeks. Beef/Chicken/Fish/Beans/Legumes/Eggs and all the organic veg in my fridge, one would think I am getting bigger rather than smaller.

HA! Tricked YOU!

I put on a long sleeve shirt that I purchased when I began losing weight. It is a stretchy, comfy shirt that sat snugly on my hips – well – just at my hips. It was still quite snug last year around this time. I put it on today and it fell below my butt. I have to make sure I am wearing the right undergarments because the cleavage factor is more prominent, meaning that what use to be a modest amount of chest showing, I could easily get arrested now. I am not ready to buy new clothes. I have a limited of suitable items for business meetings and a closet full of race shirts I can wear around the house. I am going through a rapid weight-loss phase right now, when I taper off – then I will hit the stores again.

I look at myself and can’t see the difference. My family can’t either, although Chatterbox will hug measure me and is able to hug up to her elbows where before she couldn’t reach around me. That is cool.

I have changed running tech shirt sizes. I have gone from finally fitting into a 2XL to being very comfy in a L. I have stopped recording my food intake. I want to try to listen and respond better. I think I am deceiving that.

In this photo, to me I look the same. Except my shoulders and chest are much smaller. My hips are smaller too. It seems that the hips and butt will be the last place the weight leaves me. Size difference? 26 in 2011/16 in 2013. That is progress and my hair is better too. Nutrition makes a difference with all facets of the body. my nails are great, hairs is healthier and my skin is clearer. All wins in my book.

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Moral of the story? Make it a habit. Habits are hard to break.

Fierce Friday: Half Marathon Spotlight with Tiffany Vanderzyde

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I met Tiffany while I was sitting at a large empty table at the Police Half Marathon in the spring. It was a weird day for me. I had just finished course marshalling and came in to warm up. I was frozen, so I was sitting drinking coffee and waiting for my ride. A couple of people had recognized me from my Edmonton Tourist blog, particularly the one about Fat Girls running, and had approached me. One gal asked for my autograph. A very surreal moment in the life of a blogger.  Once they left, Tiffany and her coach came and sat with me. They too were volunteers.

Tiffany recognized me from the blog and we began to talk about what else? RUNNING! She was in training for the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon with Team in Training. I had a ton of questions for her because I am thinking about joining Team in Training so I can run either The Women’s Nike Half Marathon or the New York City Marathon. I am still seeing how training goes and will make up my mind in the new year. Meanwhile, Tiffany and I have struck up a friendship of sorts in the twittersphere and facebook.

There is something about Edmonton Runners that I have a real soft spot for. They aren’t my teammates, so it is different. It is more like a sibling connection – the common community of yeg runners. After hearing Tiffany’s story and seeing the deja vu like similarities to our lives, I asked her if she would let me interview her for Fierce Friday. AND she said yes! Thanks Tiffany!
ME: What inspired you to start running?

TV: My friend had approached me about this program and I knew I needed to change as I wasn’t feeling very good physically and mentally. Also 2 weeks prior a girl and I knew had passed from a rare form of cancer and I knew this was something I had to do.

 ME: Aside from the physical aspect, how has it changed you?

TV: It has leaked into every aspect of my life. I have way more energy for my kids and daily house stuff to even just my mental state I am way more positive than I used to be.  I used to joke saying running was my anti-depressant. Keeps my head clear.

 ME: Tell me about your involvement with Team in Training.

TV: TNT changed my life, when I first signed up I was raising money for a cause that was close to my heart and was just hoping that I would be able to make it through training. As training started I had no idea the impact it would have on me down the road.

MEInspire me to join TNT and convince me through your experience that it is a great idea.

TV: Raising money for a  great cause (my momstown teammates and I raised 33,000 dollars something we  are very proud of), tons of support, there is no way I would be able to continue without my awesome coaches and teammates. Meeting the honored heroes and hearing their stories of survival through the toughest times of their lives and the stories of the people who did not make it had a huge impact on me.

 ME: Was Vancouver Half Marathon  your first run or did you participate in smaller events first then decide to go big?

TV:BMO was my first race. Some called me crazy as I started with no experience and extremely overweight. There was a lot of people who thought  for sure I would never be able to do this and that I should have started off with  something smaller…. But as that just wasn’t me 🙂 it was go big or go home.

 ME: What was the toughest obstacle to overcome with training?

TV: Honestly, just being able to run… as I mentioned earlier I had no experience and was massively out of shape. My first training session ended up with me in tears in front of people I didn’t even know and only being able to run for 30 seconds. But I went back to my next training session and kept going back….. Then we started hill training and at the point that’s when it got real for me 🙂 I was actually doing this!

 ME:How much is mental toughness a factor in your success?

TV:Mental toughness is something I still struggle with, and I know the more I exercise it, it will get better. Doing the half really showed me what I was made of but there was a lot of ups and downs and still are. But I fight through and have an amazing support system.

 ME: Give me a rundown of your race, elaborate now that you have put some distance behind you.

TV: Well the night before was a gong show, I was so nervous and I broke down crying at the mention of the sweeper. That is the one thing I was not mentally prepared for. I also broached the starting line with an injury ( I had severe Plantar fasciitis in my right foot and had been seeing a PT 3 days a week 3 weeks leading up to the race) Being at the starting line was torture 🙂 I just wanted it to start,  waiting was so hard. My stomach was doing flips and I wanted to vomit. The race was brutal it was so hot that day and we had trained all winter I was not used to running over 14 C.  I found a girl who was my pace and we ran most of the race together which was a huge help when we hit our walls we talked it through together. My coach Julia met up with me at about Km 16 and finished the race with me. It was about that point where I really felt like giving up, my foot hurt something fierce but I kept going. My coach listening to me as I talked my way through it and yes there was lots of tears. At one point a race marshal came up to us in a SUV and I thought… this was it I am getting kicked off the course  but he just stopped to tell us that they were merging the half course with the full course and that there was still a few halfs behind me. I have never been so happy in my life and kept going. My pace at this point was slower than a snail but I just kept going I had to finish this. My coach kept along with me encouraging me and I was great full to have her by my side. We started to get near the finish line and I can hear all the people and I got a second wave The last 2km felt like 10km but I was I about to hit the finish line the people on the side lines kept shouting out things like “you got this” and you’re doing an awesome job which felt pretty awesome as well. I saw some of my teammates waiting for me and I sprinted over the finish line and threw my crying self into their arms. I got my medal and got my after picture taken. It was NOTHING like I have ever felt before. I can’t even describe the emotions I felt (I compare it to having a baby haha).  I walked around for a few minutes to catch my bearings and found my husband who also was bawling and told me how proud he was of me. I then got to take a picture with john Stanton which was super exciting. So I couldn’t believe I did it. I was very disappointed with my time 4 hours 19 minutes but whatever I freaking did it!!!

 ME: What do you wish you had done differently?

TV: I wish I wouldn’t have stressed so much and been so nervous, nerves really got the best of me.

ME: What kind of support do you have or is it lacking and it is something you need to overcome?

TV:I feel like I am super blessed that way. I have a huge support network I have some amazing people in my life between friends and family that are with me every step of the way. And all though crappy things happen such as people yelling things at me out the window as I run etc. I can drown that all out with the people who lift me up.

ME: Any new fitness goals or races coming up?

TV:  It’s funny  actually I have 2 more half’s planned this year (Edmonton half and Vegas rock n roll) and a bunch of fun races and I am actually doing another training program with TNT as well called Moms in training ( 7 week program for a 10k that’s in September), but after  reading my breakdown of the race I’m sure people would wonder why I would do it again 🙂 I know it will get a little easier each time and I really want to keep pushing till one day my half time is under 3 hours. I will do it. Someday.  As for fitness goals I have lost 50 pounds so far and I would like to lose another 50. I also want to do the Try a tri next year so we will see how that goes 🙂

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Tiffany and the Hubs!

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Crossing the finish line is ALWAYS the best feeling ever!

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Tiffany hanging with John Stanton after she crossed the finish line.

Now you all understand why I think Tiffany is FIERCE! See you at the Edmonton Half Marathon Tiffany and feel free to latch onto me for support to finish if you need it, but I have a feeling, this next race will feel easy for you because you are more than ready!

Happy Running!

I am my mom’s worst nightmare

When I was 9, my family (with Granny included) traveled all over Europe for the summer. I had no idea how amazing it was until I was older and learned history. It wasn’t all fun and games though.

There was that time when we were vacationing on the Italian Riviera (sounds WAY more glamorous than it was) 7 of us in a caravan, sleeping on the side of the road (often) rarely getting proper showers. We looked and smelled like Hobos.

My aunt (5 years older than me) and I were the prudes of the bunch. Europe is very free and easy with their bodies. At the caravan park we stayed in, there were actual showers! We noticed everyone walking down NAKED – shocking for us Canucks who aren’t even naked when we are born. We all have toques.

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This was my first gander at a fellow without clothes – other than my baby brother who didn’t count. My Aunt and I were gaping out the window when suddenly THERE GOES GRANNY in her bra and undies!. GRANDMA!!! She was totally overdressed  – BUT STILL!

When I think back to that day, My granny was just 3 years older than I am now. I blame her for the shenanigans that happened at the park today.

I checked the weather before I left and decided on a long sleeve Tee. That was my first mistake. I am a 45 and 11/12’s (August 16th people! Mark your calendars!) PRE-menopausal woman. I get hot just thinking about socks. By the time I got to the park, and ran 3km I figured I needed to lighten the layers or go home. After the drama of my day yesterday – going home wasn’t an option. So what did I do?

I whipped my shirt off. My mom would be SO PROUD – HA! My dad will go ballistic when he finds out. I am half the size – almost half – of what I use to be. I am still a big girl, but I feel confident enough in my own skin to run in the sports bra – I just never thought about doing it before.

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TAAAAAAAAADAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! HI MOM!!!

Obviously my belly never sees the light of day, but after running in just my skivvies, I will DEFINITELY be doing this again! It was so freeing to be in a SINGLE layer! I know you fellows don’t understand, but ladies…. IT WAS AWESOME! The wind was cooling and the sun was warm. The sweat running down my back didn’t bother me because it evaporated right away. It was like that time when I swam out of my bathing suit bottoms because I lost so much weight. Although that was way more embarrassing…

You are correctly assuming that my girls are not those of a runner’s. I have been cursed blessed with fancy girly parts. I am curvy. There are way less curvy girls running around in their sports bras – but I don’t care. I was on the trails, in the parks and not downtown – a bit different still…Since when do I care what people think? Hmmm it’s been a few years anyways. I got some looks, a couple of winks and smiles from the male runners out there. Let me tell you, it has BEEN AWHILE since a fellow checked me out. Yay me! I am now going to search out coloured fashionable sports harnesses for the girls. I am doing this again and often.

I now have my fear of Florida figured out. Off comes the shirt if I am too hot. Which I will be because it was only 17C today (thats 62F for my American friends) Obviously I will be too hot running in Florida for the WDW Marathon Weekend in January. I am a Canadian girl who thinks 4C is perfect running weather. That was the temperature in Calgary for the 10k I was in. It was awesome.

I came home still under dressed by my son’s standards and he did the “MY EYES! I CAN NEVER UNSEE THAT!” routine. So I looked up whether or not my attire was suitable for running.

According to Runners World the verdict is a resounding YES!

YAY!

OH…and to all you skinny gals who hate looking at me when I run – bite me. But be careful – I bite back.

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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Push and be Fierce

Today is National Running Day. My runner friends are celebrating by running. I also ran, but I would have anyways because I run Wednesdays. I am a creature of habit. I have a schedule and I do what it tells me to. Today was hill repeats.

Earlier in the year, hills scared me. As I conquer more hills, I achieve better results. One day I woke up and I liked hills. Weird. Running down is way more fun the running up, but you can’t run down a hill until you reach the summit.

Last Sunday I kicked Conners Hill and I vowed I would attempt to beat Emily Murphy today.

I did.

The plan was to run 3x400m. Emily murphy hill is 380m with an elevation rise of 30m. It doesn’t sound like much but to me it was brutal. It is the hill the South Edmonton Runners use for hill repeats. I had never before run to the top more than once.

I ran  up and had to tell myself to slow it down, conserve energy so I could make it up. I did. Then I did the fun part of running down. Back up again for a repeat – much harder than the first time but I made. Then the fun part! The third and final time, I thought I might not be able to make it up, but my schedule said 3 so 3 it must be! By the time I made it 3/4s of the way up my lungs were heaving pretty good and I could feel my heart beat in my ears. I kept telling myself to push it.

And I did.

I left my guts on the hill today. Nearly puked.

Next week its 4 times up. That will be harder but I think I can do it with a longer rest at the top.

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I learned something else about me this week. I can do more that I thought I could.

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I am not slow, I am Bionic

Sunday was the longest run I have ever done. I have walked that far, I have cycled that far, but I have never run 13 km. It is an empowering feeling.

13km

Last week when I was talking to my former coach, I told her which program I am using to train for Calgary‘s Jugo Juice 10km road race. On that web site there was a link to John Stanton’s 10k for beginners and intermediates. Clearly I am not an intermediate. I wouldn’t even call myself a beginner, is there a name for before beginner? Pre-beginner? At any rate, I followed the program when I wasn’t even ready to run 6km at the beginning of training. Yet here I am 3 months later and put in 13 km. I had asked her the logic in running 13k while training for a 10k race. She said it is mental training. That makes sense. That way when I am in Calgary and I find it tough because I went out too fast because the adrenaline kicks in, I can look back and think “I did 13k, this is only 10k – I’ve got this!”

YAY ME! I did it!

I stopped and walked twice – mostly because I cannot refuel and run. I am just not coordinated enough. It is hard enough to sip water and run, never mind ingest food.

I realize something. I often compare my chapter 2 story to other people’s chapter 26.1. I need to stop doing that. I’ll  explain what I mean.

I ran 13k through Edmonton‘s River Valley from Millcreek Ravine at Argyll Park to Hawrelak Park. I had only 1 stop light at Walterdale Bridge. It took me 2:29 at a pace per km 11:26. Apparently I am not slow, I am Bionic. Remember how the Bionic Woman would run in super slow-mo speed? Ya…that is me.

Only I have better music in the background.

My 13k time is my dream time for the Edmonton Half Marathon.  Obviously I need to lose more weight and keep up with speed work. I have decided not to stress about progress. It will happen for me as I keep up with my scheduled effort.

My goal of faster recovery time was achieved! I didn’t need a nap and feel fantastic this morning as I am moving around. I could run today but it is a scheduled day off, so I am honoring that and doing some yoga later.  Tomorrow I run 8k steady pace and I run 8k Wednesday at a tempo. I have never truly run a tempo before, so we shall see how that goes for 8k. I do not expect a miracle, however, I will try my best. Then Thursday is an easy 5k. It’s weird to think of 5k as easy when I struggled for so long to be able to complete a 5k. 12 days until my 10km race with my dad. I am super excited! I hope the view is half as nice as my 13km run was. Here is to 2 more weeks of productive training!

Happy Running!

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

Calgary

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.