And now I ride… because I’m cool like that


When I was a kid I had an alter ego persona. Her name was DangerGirl. Obviously I was a superhero at the age of 4. I wore a cape and rubber boots. I flew everywhere and saved the world on my bike because it felt like flying and my cape would flutter in the wind.


Since that day, I always loved my bike. As a teen I would ride long on weekends. From Sherwood Park (a town east of Edmonton), through the river valley and into Downtown Edmonton for a lemonade at Churchill Square. I had power legs.

Then one day I stopped – I think it was because I had kids and it was a hassle.

Lately I have been seeing signs – clues if you will, about bikes. Everyone I know rides lately. Either for triathlons or because they like too. My girl friend rode in the MS Bike Ride (93km) and another friend rides 100km in a day for fun. My running friends seem to be riding to get faster at running or they have taken the next step and have become Triathletes.

Last year I wanted to be a triathlete too. I am not ruling it out as a possibility, but the vestibular schwannoma needs to be addressed first. So maybe one day. I would TOTALLY do a relay, but I need a swimmer for the team – anyone? Anyone?

Today, however, I decided to work at getting faster and so far…I am not BUT I now have a Bike to call my own.

He is a rescue bike. I like my pets to be rescue animals and my bike is a rescue fella too. I have my mom’s windrider for the back end on my bike. It’s red, which is a good thing because everyone knows RED is the colour that makes everything faster (which is why I like wearing red shoes). My rescue bike is blue. A former Canadian Tire Special paid for with Canadian Tire Money. Which makes this bike EVEN MORE special. But now I need to christen my bike. Get a really great name for it. Something that makes me feel akin to it. Something that will make my bike feel loved and special.

I put it out there into the twitterverse this morning and I had some great responses – except one. Flicka…MY BIKE IS NOT A HORSE! My bike is cool like me. We are a couple of rescue kids from South Edmonton who needed love and attention. We were a couple of the lucky ones. Neither of us are homeless.

The windrider resembles the red cape I always imagined I wore (my cape was a faded blue towel tied at my neck – but in my minds eye it was red) So OBVIOUSLY there is only one name I could possibly give my bike.



That’s right, because my bike is cool like me and we are a team. Together we will ride saving the world (although it will take me awhile to get there because the windrider prevents distance)!

Now I need an odometer because I am obsessed with mileage and charting because that’s how I roll.

Hi Ho Danger Bike! Away!!!


Fierce Friday: Ironman Spotlight with Pattie Keller


Fierce. I have been thinking about it lots this week. Mostly because I read this interview already. I read it on a day when I was feeling lazy. After reading it, I put my shoes on and went and demolished some hills and stairs. I am nowhere close to being an Ironman, but Pattie Keller still inspires me to get out there and work my tail off.

I am a fan of Pattie, a pretty big one. Her husband, Happy is one of my coaches on my running team and I must admit to being a fan of his too. A couple of years ago I was watching them intently as they trained for Ironman New Zealand. Weather threw a wrench into that event and it became a half Ironman. Still nothing to sneeze at. A full Ironman is a Swim, Bike, Run triathlon. You swim usually in open water – like the OCEAN, lake or river for 3.8km (2.4mi) Then strip out of that wet suit and jump on your bike for 180km (122mi) and if that wasn’t enough fun for one day, hop off your bike and run for 42.2km (26.2mi). So for kicks it ends with a marathon. By the way, no resting because you need to get it done before you turn into a pumpkin in 17 hours…seriously, true story.

Be ready to start at 7:00 am. You have to swim faster than 2 hours and 20 minutes. Get on your bike and race but make sure you are back in transition for dinner – whatever, eat on your bike because that is the only time you are sitting! Be finished and off your bike by 5:30 pm. Then run like crazy if you just made it and running won’t be easy because your legs feel weird after all that cycling and swimming – actually they feel like you have cement shoes on. Be done before the clock strikes midnight or it’s back to the grindstone for you and maybe NEXT year you will be an Ironman.

The amount of training for a Triathlon is amazing. Swim, bike, run ALL THE TIME. I have noticed a trend amongst my marathon running friends, tris seem to be the next level. I suppose after you have a bazillion marathons it feels easy. UM…no. No one ever said a marathon was easy, that is why people do it. But then swim and ride too? I am not sure I am there. Last year before the vestibular schwannoma came to live in my brain, I wanted to do a tri. I had talked to some friends about doing a relay first. Then maybe if the swim didn’t scare me too much I would go big and do an Olympic distance or a half marathon. Swimming was my sport. Now, I can’t do it…not for a while anyway. But an Ironman is the level of awe for me.

Since that Half Ironman in New Zealand, Pattie Keller went on to Texas, twice. Completed and became an Ironman twice. She is heading back next year to do it again. Amazing. I had the privilege of chatting with her and this is what she said.

ME: What inspired you to run or do an Ironman?

PK: I have always been pretty active. Even as a young kid my mother said I was up early and just could not sit still. I played tennis and softball in my high school days, but I was not a stellar athlete. Moving ahead in time, we moved to San Diego in 1997, and one day I was running and did about 10 miles, so I said, heck, I want to do a marathon. So I signed up for the 1998 San Diego Marathon (which is now called the Carlsbad Marathon), and I did that in 4:38. Of course my shoes were too small, I lost 6 toenails, so went to my new job at HP the next days, and I had to wear sandals with my stockings because my toes were too trashed.

Going forward in time…I continued to run marathons. After 15 of them I joined Team in Training in 2005. I ended up being an assistant marathon coach, and continue to run marathons. But then TNT put together an Ironman team, so I just had to do that. I done marathons and century ride with TNT, why not an Ironman? So that is how I ended up becoming an Ironman. My husband and I both succeeded at Ironman Texas in 2012, which was my 43rd marathon.

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

PK: Wow…I was never a real “physically strong” person, but I realized that I had endurance. I was not the fastest, but I could go and go for quite some time. It has given me such confidence to conquer something that is so unique and special. Mental strength to survive being within yourself, your own thoughts, and your own journey while swimming/biking/riding. Not too many folks you can talk to while blowing bubbles.

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

PK: Like I mentioned above, I am now on my 14th season with team in training. I had done tri/marathon/cycle events with team, so now I have my Triple Crown. I started as a participant, worked my way to being a mentor, then a captain, and then an assistant coach.

ME: Inspire me to join TnT and convince me through your experience that it is a great idea.

PK: Oh my gosh….try this…I am running on my own in Escondido, and my husband, who was with TNT before I joined, would come home from his running with the team and he would say, “I saw dolphins and surfers and beautiful blue ocean while running with such wonderful people. We had aid every 3 miles, then we all went to brunch.” And I would reply, “All I saw was road kill along highway 78 on my run.” Need I say more?

ME: Ironman Texas was your last tri, how many different tris did you participate in before deciding to go Ironman? What was your motivation to try Ironman?

PK: I always said…if I was going to do an Ironman, I would want to do it with team. Why? I would need the guidance, education, camaraderie to tackle such a monstrous event. I have actually done IMTX twice now. Before that I had only done an Olympic distance tri, then a half, and then the full. Go big or go home. I knew I had the endurance within me…just had to put all the disciplines together.

ME: What was your main athletic event/favorite before becoming a triathlete?

PK: My main endurance sport was running marathons. My first marathon was in 1998, and then I have been going strong since then. I should complete my 50th marathon in 2014.

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

PK: I would say the time commitment factor for the Ironman training. You train during the day and then in the evenings, and then both days on the weekends. Luckily my husband was also training, and our only kids are our 2 wonderful golden retrievers, Mocha and Kona. Your social life goes to heck as you are constantly training.

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

PK: 100% mental. First, you have to be crazy. Second, you just need to keep moving forward. You may not have the race you envisioned with all success, so you need to have a plan B and a plan C, and knowing that falling back to those plans is NOT failure.

ME: Is there a secret or ritual you use for mental strength?

PK: I often tell myself and out loud to others that we are lucky we can do these sports. There are many folks who are not physically able or have passed because of cancer or other tragic illnesses. I have 2 arms and 2 legs, so I got nothing to complain about. I also tell myself…enjoy the journey. The detours along that journey are what makes each race unique, and why I keep doing them over and over.

ME: Give me a rundown of your last Ironman, if you would like to elaborate now that you have put some distance behind you that would be great!

PK: My first Ironman was Ironman Texas in May 2012. Let’s say it was not stellar. I finished, which was my goal. Here is how it went: swim was awesome. I must have drafted well as I finished in 1:20, which was much faster than I had planned. I was so happy to be out of the Lake Woodlands water and onto the bike. My T1 was good, about 8 minutes. The bike course is one big 112 mile loop. The first 40 miles or so are nice and shady, tailwind, and so I felt like a rock star. Then I got out into the farmlands, and the heat and winds pick up. I was fueling fine, but not taking in enough salt, which would haunt me later. I finished the bike in 7:25. My T2 was OK, but boy was that tent hot and humid in the later Houston sun. Off onto the run course. I looked at my watch..saw that it was about 4:30pm, so I said…I can just walk/run this thing, and I will finish. The run is 3 loops around Lake Woodlands’ canals and the shopping area. The spectators were awesome. I got done with the first lap, but then I realized I was not feeling too well on the 2nd, and then I really have no recollection of the 3rd lap. I was too dehydrated. I kept telling myself one foot in front of the other. I KNEW mentally that I would finish, but I do not remember the 3rd lap or finishing. I was so out of it. So, I ended up in the medical tent, and then off to the hospital for 1.5 days. So there I was in the hospital, in a gown, but still wearing my IRONMAN MEDAL! 

ME: What do you wish you had done differently?

PK: SALT, SALT, SALT. I had worked with a nutritionist, but I think there was underestimation on the sweat rate for the humidity. For this last Ironman I had so much salt in my system, I remembered EVERY SECOND of the race…it was an awesome experience. I kept telling myself, “ah, so this is what I missed in 2012 when I was so out of it on the run course.”

I wish I would have run more on the marathon course. I was so focused on not overheating in the Houston heat and humidity, so I was too cautious. It is a slippery slope…when I pushed myself I could feel myself starting to get a bit dizzy, so I would back off. I had to find that middle point where to exert enough, but not so much as too get nauseous (as I say many folks do) and not complete my Ironman.

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

PK: I have all kinds of support. My older brother was kind enough to come to IMTX 2013 and be our sherpa. He took care of our bikes, our transportation needs, and he was our biggest cheerleader. At home my husband trains also. Now if we could just get our dogs to understand why we are gone so much on the weekends, which would be perfect.

ME: Do you have new fitness goals and races coming up?

PK: Oh, I have several goals and races coming up. First, get stronger muscularly. Second, do more yoga to keep my flexibility and prevent injury, and third…eat a bit better. Not so much processed food.

Races: On my way to Ironman Texas 2014 (yep, back again), I will do the Leavenworth marathon (WA) with my 2 brothers and sister-in-law in October. Then I will do NYC marathon in November, and then my husband and I will do the Dopey challenge at Walt Disney World in January 2014. That is where we will run a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon on 4 consecutive days. You do all of them, you are DOPEY!!!

pattie1 pattie2 pattie3.jpg

This is why I think Pattie is fierce. Her Ironwill and determination sees her through to the finish line. She is simply amazing. Another athlete I can’t wait to watch cross the finish line and see her earn the Dopey Medal. She is a big reason why I continue to push myself to the limits. Pattie makes believe it’s possible.

Why do I run?

fat-girl-running-fh-outline1I had some friends over last night for a Chick Flick night. We all have big fitness events coming up this year and we were talking about our fitness goals. One friend asked me why I started running.

Huh…good question. I replied with “its faster than walking. Training with walking takes up a lot of time and running is faster.”

Well, it is for most people…I am slow. Yet I still run.

As I laid in bed last night I noticed a trend. I use to fantasize about travel, fella’s, travel and travel before I fell asleep. This has been the way I would make myself calm and accepting of sleep. I now fantasize about races, distance and speed before I fall asleep. My priorities have changed and so have my goals. I think about race destination holidays rather than a lay on the beach type holiday.

This lead me back to the question of why do I run?

When I was training for my first half marathon I did a lot of walking. I would be gone for HOURS. All morning or all afternoon and it was boring. I did it for 2 reasons, I wanted weight off and I wanted to prove to people I was capable of reaching this goal. My husband didn’t think I could do it and said so. My dad kept saying “a half marathon is pretty far” There were two people in my life who believed I could do it aside from my children (My children believed in me because I ALWAYS mean what I say and say what I mean when it comes to them). My coach believed in me and my mom believed in me.

Up until this point in my life I never felt like my mom believed in me. I always felt like I was a disappointment to her. This had nothing to do with what she said or what she did. It was just perception on my part. Her and I went out for coffee on morning and I began venting about people who discount what I wanted to do. She said to me, “You are like your dad. You decide to do something and you do it. It’s like there is no question in your mind. That’s how I know you will do it.”

She was right. When I decide to do something, I feel it, then believe it, then I do it.

So when I crossed that finish line, The fat girl who finished last, The first person I saw was my mom. She brought me flowers, she hugged me and said “I knew you could do it, I don’t know how you did it because it was so far but  I knew you could do it and I am so proud of you!” The next person was my coach, she said “You don’t feel it, but you looked so strong crossing the finish line” – That was when I cried. My kids walked with me on the other side of the fence for the last part of the race. That meant more to me than anything.

So as I think about why I run, why I walked was a big part of it. I walked to eat ice cream on Sundays. I walked because I could. I walked because it was the first step to getting healthy.

Why do I run?

  1. I run because of the way I feel after. Everything is pleasantly tired. My lungs feel full of clean air. I breath bigger and I feel powerful.
  2. I run because it makes me strong.
  3. I run because it is my meditation. Me alone with my thoughts. I plan, I write, I set goals, I work out problems in my head while I run.
  4. I run because it reduces inches off my body. Exercise don’t make me lose weight, it tones, firms and builds lean muscle. It makes me taller and firmer. Clothes fit better.
  5. It makes me hungry. After I run, I could eat a cow that is walking by – I am a vegetarian  I am HUNGRY. I crave food that is fresh, juicy and good for me. I don’t want sugar and crap. My body tells me what I need and I listen – for the first time ever in my life.
  6. I run for the challenge. I set goals and distances and I love amazing myself. I fist pump the air when I reach a goal. You can hear me cheer myself on through the rough patches – up hills and fartleks – I chant “do it do it do it” Then I end with YES! Way to go girl!
  7. I run because I want to start race destination holidays. I want go places because there is a race I want to enter.
  8. I run because I sleep better. There is nothing as satisfying as a worn out body kind of sleep.
  9. I run because it makes my brain feel refreshed and smarter. Weird but true.
  10. I run because walking hurts my healing mcl and running makes it feel strong and pain free. Weird but true story.
  11. I run because I can and no one can tell me otherwise.

I’ve lost my Mo

Somewhere along the line these last few weeks I have lost my mental focus. Stress has built up and some unexpected events happened that knocked the wind out of me. Where did that leave me? Without the will or drive to workout. Its been two weeks since I have worked out consistently. My body feels sluggish and weak.

Last Sunday I was suppose to run the 6.3 portion of the C25k. The weird thing was, the previous Friday I had a Forrest Gump moment and felt like running! So I did. I had put in an excellent effort the day before and ran 10 min, walked 1, ran 8min. Sunday was suppose to be 20mins. But like I said, I woke up Friday morning and felt great! So I put on my shoes and I thought I should repeat the 10 and 8.

So off I went. It was a gorgeous day, I was feeling good, and I ran. Suddenly I was really far away from home and my legs felt bad… like the muscles were going to pull away from my tendons and leave me stranded. I looked at my timer and realized I was running the wrong time section. I had run 13 minutes and was beginning to feel the wheels come off the wagon. So I stopped for a couple of walk recovery time. Then I had a loss of mental momentum. I was not mentally prepared to run 20 minutes non stop. I ended up walking the rest of the way home.

I gave it a go again today after a week off from running, and only a single day for swimming. This time I mentally prepared myself for the full 20 minutes. Off I ran. The wind was brutal and bringing in smoke from the northern forest fires. I was coughing and my asthma was giving me grief. I had to stop at the 12 minute mark. and walked 2 blocks. Then I ran again. This time I only made it 5 minutes. then walked another 2 blocks. Then ran another 2 minutes before I quit all together and walked the rest of the way home.

Frustrated doesn’t even begin to cover the feeling. disappointment, frustration, anger and sadness all have been running through my emotional thermometer.

This leaves me thinking about how to go about achieving this goal. Obviously I need to reach this goal for me or I wouldn’t keep trying. I have a couple of different options. I could run 8mins and walk 1 for the rest of the week because I need to build back up. Then I could repeat all 3 days for week 6 and that would get me to the 20 minute goal. OR just run week 6 until I achieve it.

The thing I understand about goal setting, is you need to have attainable and achievable goals to feel success. I have not felt any success for a while and need to feel good about my athletic goals. Therefore, I think the best bet for me is to build a small base at 8 and 1. Run my route and feel good about it.

I have given myself lots of time to attain the goal of running 5k. The plan is to reach it the first Sunday in December for the Santa Claus Shuffle. I may not be able to run a 5k in the 8 weeks C25k thinks I can, but I will get there eventually with one foot in front of the other.

Thank you John Stanton @runningroom

My last post was an open letter to John Stanton of the Running Room. Here in Canada, he has changed the face of running and made it something for everyone to do, no matter your size or athletic ability. His story is an amazing inspirational one and I encourage you to look into it. Keep in mind, he is the head of a giant corporation that has stores located across the country. The Running Room is THE source in Canada for running and races. Want to run the New York Marathon? They have a class for that and can hook you up with an entry. Want to learn to run 3km? They have a class for that. Want to find a shoe that works for you? They have an expert for that and their expert will spend all the time you need to find the shoe that works for you. It took me 7 pairs and 25 laps around the store to figure out my Adidas were right for me.

I just had an issue with their clothing sizes and told him so.

He contacted me today and told me he wishes for me to talk to and meet with his Senior Apparel Buyer for the Running Room Canada Inc.

How amazing is that? He is willing to talk to the one customer who would like to see change. His Senior Apparel Buyer then contacted me want to set up a date to meet at any store, or just talk.

Never did I think this would happen.

Thanks John Stanton, I am more impressed with you than ever now.

I didn’t wanna do it, but Mo made me.

I have been participating in John Stanton’s learn to run program – self induced. I am not doing this with the Running Room Clinics because I hate crowds. That isn’t entirely true, crowds are fine at Disneyland but not when I am trying to run up a hill. I don’t need someone talking to me to keep me going, in fact, I get slower because I cannot walk and talk at the same time…true story.

I own a couple of John Stanton’s nifty books and have figured out his learn to run program with the exception of a couple of modifications,

  1. I run every other day so my knee will still love me in the morning.
  2. If I am not ready for the next phase of increased increments, I will run another day of the same for strength and practice. Because really, I am in no hurry.

I am in no hurry. This is very hard for me. I am the one who likes to jump ahead to the finish line and check of my goal. I can’t do that this time if I want my knee to keep loving me. I had some very solid advice of late and intend to follow it. I really wanted to run yesterday but spent the day icing and elevating my leg instead. I spent a good portion of yester walking on concrete and my leg didn’t like it. So I babied it when I came home. Smart move. I wanted to run, and thought about it seriously, but I held back. Part of the problem is my pool has been closed for the week for maintenance. This worries me because the water will have ice cubes floating in it tomorrow. It has also made me feel like a slug. Swimming is my zen, my fun and my power. Without it, I am a slug with great shoes.


A Lot of rain!

This morning when I woke up I was ready to face the day and get it started with an easy 3k in Wildrose Park. Problem number 1, the rain was SIDEWAYS. That usually means couple of scenarios are possible,

  1. There is a Monsoon
  2. It is very Windy
  3. it is time to build an ark

I put on my running shorts and tank. Put on my coolmax socks and nikes. Then I sat on the bench at my front door staring and listening to the rain as it pelted down. I was thinking about waiting it out. Then I got a text from a friend

Me: It’s raining sideways, I don’t want to run.

A: Get out there anyways

It is surprising how motivating that was. So I did. I went out in the driving rain in my tank and my hat, water was an inch deep on the side walk so I ran down the middle of the road. Not a soul was out. It was kind of awesome. As I ran I thought about pros and cons to running in the rain.

Pros and Cons to running in a Prairie Style Monsoon


You aren’t hot It is 60F or 15C no one is hot
You get a acupuncture session for free You skin goes numb from rain pelts
You don’t have to share the park, path or road because you are alone It’s too wet to bring your phone. If you fall and need help you may drown waiting for someone.
You don’t get thirsty You don’t get thirsty
People think you are dedicated People think you are an idiot
Newspaper really does work for water absorption in your shoe Water squishes between your toes
You cannot get more wet than drenched Drenched often brings lighting

As it stands, I prefer to run rain free. However, I have a feeling I will be wishing for more days like today when the snow comes and -30C mornings feel biting cold. The good news will be, Mo and I will run faster by then. That way we can be done sooner…or does it work that way?

Sometimes Mo and I just wanna run

Last week I started my brand new learn to run program. I walked for 2 minutes then ran for 1 x 6 sets.  Easy Peasy for me! I am taking it easy because of the cranky knee who thinks I should do nothing. To bad so sad knee. I feel a pull from the center of my chest towards running. It’s weird AND it’s not a heart attack. It is a desire or an energy that is pulling me in the direction of the park. I am not even minding getting up early to run! I KNOW! You have to be a shocked as me.

Want to hear something else weird? I don’t want to drink coffee on mornings that I run. I just about died from shock. Here is me, waking up at 5:45 (who knew there was sunshine at that hour?) putting on a tank and running capris, drinking 16oz of water before I hit the door. By the time I wake up and realize I have left, my run is over and I am walking home. Trust me, no one is more shocked than I!

Want to know what else? I want to drink water all the time. I HATE water – or I use to. Now I want it frequently. Most of my requirements are met by noon – yet I still want more. So I need to be cautious and talk to my dietician about this sudden change in me.

I did that 4 times last week, every other day. I am running every other day for a couple of reasons.

  1. I don’t want to resent never getting to sleep in. Early morning comes EARLY that is why it is spelled that way.
  2. My cranky pants knee is still the boss of me. It’s not cool but what are ya going to do? I must give it a rest in between runs.
  3. Muscle recovery is a good thing – almost everyone says so.
  4. I like to swim every day and I cannot get a long swim in on days I run. It is just too tiring for me. A long swim between one hour and one and a half hours. I go slow and steady and swim about 1km every 30 minutes. Swimming is my zen, my stress reliever, my alone time and my meditation. (I like not chatting with people while I work out. People can’t talk while they are gasping for air, it’s awesome.)

This week, well yesterday, I started my second week of Learn To Run 3Km. That sounds sooooo lame after walking a half marathon. I have to walk 1 minute and run 1 minute for 10 sets. This is harder. I ran on the most blustery day of the year. The kind of wind that pushes you backwards. Yet I still ran. I know! I was surprised too! I will do this for 3 more times this week. Apparently I am in no rush and I can take my time. The book says to run 3 times a week. But I like to make sure I can do it. AND on the 4th day I am faster – although once doesn’t count as a trend…I hope I become a trend setter!

While I was running yesterday, sans the music, I was planning goals. I plan to run – without stopping – 5k for the Purple Hat Parade for Pancreatic Cancer. Now I am assuming it is a run. There are fees etc, but you get to wear a PURPLE HAT! I KNOW! How fabulous is that??? Wearing a Purple hat and running sounds too good to be true! There is also a Halloween howl but the weather is iffy. There could be snow and ice. I am not wanting to run my first race in those conditions. I want to practice first. I want to run the Santa Shuffle in December, but by then I will have some ice running under my belt. But all this is jumping ahead.

So as I was saying… I was planning goals. My walking coach says when training for consecutive half marathon walks. Always start at the beginning to let your muscles rebuild. To apply this to running seemed odd to me. I think I should build on my 3k to take me into my 5k. So I asked a field of “experts”. None of the runners I asked is a so – called expert except for one. that guy has a couple of sports degrees from Purdue. Who knew? He gave me some AWESOME information about my knee and aggressive recovery, as well as cross training. This was invaluable to me. The other fellas are running friends from facebook. They log thousands of miles collectively and have vast experience from doing things wrong. You learn more from doing things WRONG than always being right. It turns out, my hunch was correct. They agreed with me about building on the 3k and not starting from scratch with the 5k. What I will do is run a whole week at 3k before I increase my time. It should only take me 30 minutes to run a 3k. I plan on adding 2 minute increments every week. 2 minutes is soooooo doable. The plan is to run a 5k in 40 minutes. I am not sure the distance will add up, but a 40 minute run sounds about right.

And so it begins. The half marathon walker becomes a short distance runner. This reminds me… I need more shoes!!! No one is happier than me about new shoes.

Mo has a Wild Streak – Let the training begin!

Perhaps by now I’d come far enough that I had enough guts to be afraid.

                                                                                              ~ Cheryl Strayed

I just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. That girl now as it figured it out. Mo does too. Intellectually I do too.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild by Cheryl Strayed (Photo credit: bubbletea1)

I have been at this journey for well over a year. Last year it was about setting goals that were insane for me, achieving them and celebrating them. I then fell into a goal setter let down…

I couldn’t find my focus. I was tired. Not so much physically, but mentally. I let go of some serious things, serious people, toxic things and toxic people. Where does that leave me to date?

I smiled spontaneously this week for the first time in I have no idea how long. I smile a lot. I have the wrinkles and laugh lines to prove it. Smiling because you feel JOY is a whole other smile. It comes from a place of peace.

I found it. I have no idea how long it will last but I am enjoying the ride while I am on it.

Because I felt JOY, I was able to sit down and make some goals that had to do with wants. This is different than last year. Last years goals were about proving myself to people. I finally figured out that I don’t need to prove myself to others, I really needed to prove myself to me.

Things I have learned;

I am smart.

I am strong physically and mentally. I am almost strong emotionally. Baby steps.

I like me. I like spending time alone with me.

I have skills that can save my life in the wilderness, in an urban environment and in a recreation environment. How many people can say that?In an effort to find myself I tried a billion different activities and have weeded out the ones that I do not enjoy. If it is for pleasure, then do pleasurable things.

The quote at the top has deep meaning for me. I now have a healthy fear of life. I respect it. I know how to proceed with caution and not reckless abandon. This is a huge growth for me. I walked a half marathon thinking, pfffff I can do that easy. It was not easy. It was 99% mental and 1% physical. I could have and likely SHOULD have done things differently. Being the smart girl I am, I have taken what I have learned, and am applying it to my next set of goals.

In October 2010, I was in Germany. I was walking back from the camp showers late at night to the caravan. It was dark and damp. I slipped on some muddy grass and tore my MCL on my left leg. I saw stars, I howled, I cried and I needed help getting into the caravan. I hit rock bottom physically. Mentally that was about to happen much later…

My Doctor encouraged me to walk and he is the type of guy who doesn’t want to tell someone not to exercise. I was just suppose to listen to my knee and not push it. What the hell does that mean? I walked the Half a year later, I swam 1.5 hours 4 times a week and walked 40k a week….that was a lot. My knee hated me but I told it to feck off.

I started training for the Calgary half in January. my knee hated me more than anyone could possibly appreciate. I was stronger than ever. My heart and lungs could take me to new heights and I could walk fast enough to pass runners on the track. Once I hit 45 minutes, my knee said…that is IT, I HATE you and I quit.

And it did.

I had to stop walking, swimming and strenuous yoga. I felt soft and gooey. Gross…

When I went back to my Doc and walked up 3 flights of stairs without my knee weeping, I figured I could swim again. So I did. This time I took it easy. I swam 30 minutes for my short swims and 45 for my long. I was faster than before. I couldn’t belive it. I felt strong, healthy and focused.

I still felt squishy. I knew I needed weight baring exercise. I want to run like a gazelle. I see and hear stories of men who were fat and chunky running and then they became these fit Adonis’. Why can’t I do that? Truthfully, there is no reason why I cannot.

I started reading John Stanton. He is a local hero who was a chubby guy, started running then became the go to guy in Edmonton for all things running. He branched out. He is now the go to guy in Canada and owns a string of Running Room stores. I figured this guy knew what he was talking about.

This is what I know. I HATE LEARN TO RUN CLASSES. When I have a goal I turn inward. I prefer the silence and solitude to pull me through. I have an inner drive and focus that will amaze the strongest man. I get this from my dad. When I swim I use this focus. This is why I can swim for 1 1/2 hours. I only stop because I am hungry and have no energy left. Mentally I could go for days.

I did some research and discovered that I should start my learn to run classes at a 3Km. Running for 20 minutes non stop. I don’t want to be surrounded by people when I do this. Perhaps it is because I talk for a living  – but I don’t want to chit chat when I run, walk or swim. I just want to go. It feels like flying when I am alone in my head.

Saturday I did my first session alone at Wildrose Park. I ran 1 minute and walked 2 minutes x6. This took me 19 minutes. I went a distance of 2.07km. My heart and lungs laughed their heads off. It was easy for me. It was EASY for me. The fat girl RAN and it was EASY. I can walk 26km.

When I got home what struck me as I walked in the house was, wow it feels good to not be so tired I want to sleep. I felt energized.

I need to repeat 1 and 2s for the rest of the week. Stanton says to do it every other day. Awesome, that is easy enough to do. I did yoga today. Tomorrow I will run 1 and 2 for a total of 19 minutes. I will then swim after work for 30 minutes. I swim to de-stress and to change eating habits of eating while stressed out. Here is my challenge for the week…

It is no secret that I am a night owl. Mornings are for the birds and the sunrise. To get my runs in this week, I will need to run in the morning before work. Holy Hell that sucks the big one.

That will be the challenge. Not the running, not the swimming – but running in the MORNING for crying out loud. I will do it. Laying out my clothes tonight will help motivate me. I can do this because this is the MENTAL challenge. I kick-ass at mental challenges. Morning run? I accept that challenge!

Besides it has me excited. I am anxious to run 3k without stopping.

I plan on doing that for my birthday. Happy birthday to me on Dead Elvis Day! August 16 incase you want to come cheer me on at Wild Rose park.

Goal #2 5k in the same fashion. I will start at the beginning and work every week until I can run 5km with out stopping. I plan to have that goal achieved by October. Then I will be a 5 k runner and do the Santa shuffle in December, run at the indoor track and perhaps outside if I can figure out the not falling on ice part.

Goal #3 will be to run the Canada Day 10Km.

Goal #4 will be the Donald Half in WDW. I want that medal so bad I can taste it. I will run the 5 k fun the day before.

Doing this slow to re-build the muscles around my knee will be the key. It is hard not to skip to the end. But that is the goal – slow and steady.

I completely get Cheryl Strayed. Her journey made perfect sense to me because in many ways it is my journey. One step in front of the other. I can’t jump ahead to the end and neither did she.

Wake up call at 6:00AM – good grief… I’ve got this.

Life can change on a dime

We last left off with me training for the Calgary Half Marathon. Ya, that’s not going to happen.

2010 left me with a torn MCL. It had been healing nicely until recently. Long story short, my Doc and I feel it would be smart on my part not to keep training and rest up until further medical action can be taken…awesome. Ask me how happy I am? I could power through the pain, but to what avail? It is not worth having a lifetime injury over a half marathon. I give up.

Now, that depressed me for a while, hence my silence here for a bit.

I get into a routine and then it stops, then what the heck are you suppose to do? In my case I took time off. I am in the habit of maintaining weight, so that is good…I suppose. It takes a different mindset to maintain. I have been thinking about the emotional side of eating. I have a friend whose child is in the thrust of it. Thinking about it in terms of how it affects a child was heart wrenching. I know because I lived it. This has had me on a roller coaster of emotions, and how am I dealing with it? I am using the strategies that I have learned with my life coach. My problem is I want to fix everything for everyone. Ug…impossible I know. I actually just want to fix stuff for people I care about and that sends me through emotional turmoil. I let myself cry now and that is something I never did before. I use to eat so this is huge for me.

This week I decided I needed to get back into fitness. I was sleeping after work, so clearly I needed more energy. It sounds screwy but the importance of exercise in making you feel like you are energized is huge. It helps me sleep, it regulates my eating and it makes me feel good. I have not been feeling good…crappy actually. My life looks fabulous on paper but it feels terrible.

I jumped into the pool and the first thing I realized was I missed swimming and I hate running. I was reading BearRunners blog about how boring swimming is. I can see that for some people. Swimming for me is near effortless. Sure it wears me out, but I can find my rhythm and go without thinking about form. I can get outside of my head and plan or work things through. Today I had figured out lots of stuff. Then went to write about it. Before I knew it I had swam 2000m I hadn’t swam in months, and 2k was rattled off like nothing. Obviously my fitness level is fine. My shoulders are barking at me a bit right now, but I feel great.

What I feel like when I swim…

What I look like when I swim

I am pulling back with my goals. I need to live my life and not just go from goal to goal. This is good. That means life is balancing out for me. I learned things today that I wish I knew a year ago. The bottom line is, I know it now and it is good. My life is completely different from a year ago and I love it and me.

Tomorrow’s plan? 2000 more meters, that is an hour of my day. I need it for the stress relief. Friday will be my long swim, 3000m. Ironman swim distance is 3.8km. Maybe this summer I will shoot for that, but for now… easy goals, one day at a time.


Quicken the Pace Mo!

I don’t know what it is, but I am really feeling the Mo! Is it making a difference on the scale? Ummmmm no. BUT! And I say that very enthusiastically, I am feeling it in my muscles. That is a feeling that I left behind last fall when I went on my maintence hiatus. I still worked out 4 times a week, but I wasn’t pushing any limits.The point was to keep my heart healthy. Now I am back in training mode, my muscles are cranky and the brain is saying suck it up buttercup!

Another side benefit is… wait for it…SLEEP. I am tired and I sleep easily. This was a wonderful discovery last spring when I started my training for my first half marathon. It’s funny how easily you forget what you like when there is work involved to acheive it. I just spent some time re-reading my past Mo Chronicles and organizing my blog better. I did this for me because I use this as a journal to help me reflect and stay accountable to myself. I was reading the half marathon blogs and amazed myself. I realized I have com a very long way. Last spring I was stuggling with 4km – 7km distances. This spring, not only do I look at that distance as short, but I am finishing in record time for me. I look back and I can’t believe that was me. I feel so very different.

I went to the gym for the first time with friends. I had always been intimidated by my peers in the fitness department. I am reading Wired for Joy by Lauren Mellin and it disscusses the need for risks and trying new things. Here was a perfect opourtunity for me to really risk. Invite my friends to the gym. We are all on the same running team for the Calgary Marathon. Team-ness is our team name. It has a deeper personal meaning for us that makes us laugh. There are 4 gals on our team, 2 runners and 2 walkers. My MCL doesn’t not want me to run yet so I will walk again. Between you and me, I am dying to be a runner. I cannot wait for the day I am able to.

We hit the track and the 2 gals started running, I was walking. My pace was just shy of their running which THRILLED me. I finished 2 laps behind them. TWO!!! I had my pace set at 10min/km. That was super fast for me, yet I felt great. I could have gone farther, but i know it is important to stick to the training schedule. On Tempo days, I think I will be able to step it up a notch. The key is to actually DO Tempo’s and hill training this time around. Ah the things you learn through trial and error. Clearly it is important to listen to the coach. They know more than I do – clearly. my coach has 14+ half marathons under belt in the past 6 years. At the Vegas Rock and Roll, she brought in her best time. 3:10. I want 3:10.

I have figured out the nutrition, the hydration and now I am working on technique and training.

I found while circling the track at the begining, I was really tense. When I forced myself to relax, I was able to quicken my pace. I also find my hips and legs are tight. I am researching yoga for runners. I love yoga, and I think it can go a long way to helping me become much more flexible and relaxed while training distances. Ask Coach Jenny has some great information about yoga for runners. The hard part for me is to do it. I am great at going to classes to do it. In my own home? Not so much. Maybe it is atmosphere or music… I need yoga music. At any rate, I am making a serious effort to incorporate runner’s yoga into my training plan, maybe Mo will make me do it consitently!

Happy training!