Then there was that time I was in the Fall Classic…

A year ago today I ran in the Edmonton Fall Classic 5 miler. I had been running for only 10 months. I ran 5 minutes and walked 1 minute intervals. I finished in 1:28:08. Slow… but who cares? I was 20lbs heavier.

Today I walked the Edmonton Fall Classic 5 miler. I ran 3 times for a total of 6 minutes. I need to keep my heart rate at a certain level until I get the clearance to run again from my Doc. I Had surgery in June, did the Moose is Loose Half Marathon in July, split open incisions and went into shock. It wasn’t pretty. I was put on the injured reserve list by my Doc. No Running, no racing until the end of October. “But I have a half marathon the end of October” Well, I guess you aren’t training for it…said my Doctor.

But I walked, not hard and fast, I went out a few times to push the envelope to see how I was fairing. I felt healthier and stronger than I have in decades. But NO RUNNING.

Thursday I decided to enter the Fall Classic as a test race to see how I react under race conditions. Granted, there was only 160 racers entered. Sure it was a quiet and empty Ada Boulevard on a cool Edmonton Sunday Morning. But I wanted to know what to expect for next Sunday, The Inaugural Vancouver Rock and Roll Half Marathon. My very first RnR, so I decided to do it in Vancouver on their very first one too. Its a big deal for me and I don’t want to be swept. I walk very fast – yet I walk faster than I can run…. not really. Not any more. I have 4 hours in which to complete or they pick me up on the bus of shame.

Anyways…back to the Fall Classic.

I signed up Thursday.

I arrived early this morning because I was going to start with the 10 milers – I am slow, and I wanted breakfast with my team. I started out. In the far away distance, I could see a gal on her second lap. I had met her in Florida last year hanging out in the corrals. She is from Edmonton and she is also slow. I put her in my sights. And I walked.

I find walking harder in many ways from running. If you are consistent, there is no slow speed. When you do the run/walk method you get to slow down and rest. I hate this about walking so I would walk super fast 10:50/km then slow it down to 11:10/km. Now there are walkers in the 109 Street Club who were walking 7/km but we won’t focus on them. They can write their own blog. This fast/slow method kept me focused and I had a target in my sights. By the 5km, I passed her. I PASSED HER! I had never passed anyone before AND I left her in my dust!

That was an awesome feeling!

I knew about 155 people on the course so there was a lot of cheering and high fives. I still didn’t think I was doing very well, but my heart rate was where it should be and I was feeling surprisingly awesome (never before had I felt great in a race – until this one. I thought I felt great at Calgary – but no…I was wrong). The finish line came up fast. Last year I was tired. This year I was not. I finished today in 1:28:52. A few seconds slower than last year and I WALKED IT!

I am walking next week’s RnR. I want to run it. But 2015 will be all about running. My goal is to finish before the truck of shame. If I complete it, it will be my 3rd half marathon this year. Not too shabby for a a fat girl who was injured and couldn’t train the way she wanted too. By finishing next week, that would be a nice feather in my cap.

At any rate, it should be fun.

Happy Running!

This year is a write off

2014 is all about teaching me patience.

I am not a patience girl.

I have copious amounts of patience for other people, children, jerks, co-workers, animals and telemarketers. But not for me.

Karma is teaching me all about it.

If you recall, I injured my knee during the Donald half marathon in January and was pulled from the race. That sucked.

I couldn’t train for a while. But I did end up having the best race yet of the year – Calgary Half Marathon. I felt great, I was so excited to keep training for The Moose is Loose, The Dumbo Double Dare, The Vancouver Rock n Roll half Marathon and finally, The Donald Once again.

Then I had surgery.

It was cool, all good, I looked great. I love the freedom of the upper body saggy skin gone.

I went to Hawaii to run the Coconut Chase….well… I finished-ish…

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The next week I entered the Moose is Loose with my Dad.IMG_7313

We finished!

That was just plain stupid.

My Doc told me no running for 6 weeks. I didn’t run the Moose. I walked, but apparently 21.1 km is considered OVEREXERTION.

Oh, NOW you tell me!!!

Never in my life did I feel so terrible walking. I felt dizzy, all the blood had left my head, fluid was leaking out of my nearly healed incisions and I burst 2 new holes around my surgery scars.

I lost a lot of fluid and went into shock.

I froze all afternoon.

When I went to see my Doc he wrote me a note and told me NO MoRE RACING UNTIL OCTOBER 31.

Crap.

Part of me likes having his permission to rest. I need that kind of permission or I will do too much because I don’t want to be considered a sissy. 2 days out of the hospital and the Hubs thought I should be doing more. The Doc set him straight, but it’s that feeling that I should be doing more because people expect it.

I am reading how excited people are about the Disney Dumbo Double Dare Race, My friend told me I am doing it PERIOD. Well…… no. I do not want to be in bed for the rest of my days in Disneyland because I burst a seam. I do not want to be all shocky and crabby. And I want run the Rock n Roll in October – its pretty close to the end of the month, so I won’t train. Half marathons are all mental right? Ha…

It takes all my energy to work on my feet all day. This new fangled health care system where they send you home so early is frustrating. If you are home, you are fine right? Wrong.

The up side, I put on my capris today…I need new ones. They are huge. I needed a pin to hold them up. Even without running and walking I am still progressing in the weight loss department. I don’t even feel like I am trying. It has become habit…4 years later, it SHOULD be habit right?

Its just taking soooo long…did you hear me whine and whinge there? Well I did.

Resting is hard.

Never in a million years would I ever thought I would be thinking that.

That my friend is progress.

 

Where is WHAT? @Edm_Marathon #EDMarathon

Last night a couple of my girlfriends and I participated in the Edmonton Marathon’s scavenger hunt. I am not really sure why they had one, but it was fun!

The last time I did a scavenger hunt was back in the 80’s and I was stuck with two team members who weren’t very clever and never believed me when I figured out the clues. Consequently, we lost. I had also participated in a couple that were meant for preschoolers and those were DEAD EASY – and so they should be. Last night’s hunt was easy AND fun, but I suspect it was fun because of the company. Doing it without a team would not be as fun.

It started at the Running Room on 109th Street and the clues led us all over the University of Alberta to places I knew about but had a hard time finding. Lost being the operative word. My team of three each knew lots of the clues and so it was a true joint effort. When looking for a Red Door, one said while jumping with glee, “I KNOW I KNOW WHERE THAT IS!” So off we waddled!

We found ourselves hanging upside down from monkey bars, slipping down slides, standing in a teepee and looking for lions. We harassed strangers drinking chai and hot guys in flip-flops. We jumped on busses that were idling and ran across the quad in search of the engineering wall covered in math equations. Part of the rules was tweeting all the pics we found to @Edm_Marathon and using the #EDMarthon so you can go look up the fun there.

We ended up at Hudson’s on Campus and ate the buffet of bar food (best food group EVER),drank water and beer with the rest of the participants. The prizes were outstanding. My friend won a running jacket that didn’t fit her – so she graciously gave it to me and I bought her drink. My other pal won running pants. The crazy thing about this was it was all free. Free entry, free food, free free free – except the drink.

It was decided then and there that this would be an annual event. Free=Good and Good=Fun therefore, why would we not repeat this every year?

Thanks Edmonton Marathon, it was great! Looking forward to Marathon Weekend and running the half – I can’t WAIT!

scavenger

Half-way through the year and I am already so different

I received notice from my Dailymile tracker that I ran/walked 29km last week. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? I only went out 3 times – well four if you count the 1.5k run to the grocery store to buy food.

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It’s funny to me how my fitness level has changed this year. In January it was all I could do to get out of the house 3 times a week for 20 minutes. My pace was something like 16 min/km. HAHAHAHA I can laugh at me now.

This week my pace was slower than I want it to be and I am feeling sluggish still but yesterday I checked my watch at the 10k point of my run and saw that I was 1 minute slower than my RACE TIME in Calgary. SERIOUSLY? I felt like I was going super slowmo. It was afterall my LSD (long slow distance), it is supposed to be slow. Yet it was nearly bang on with my fastest race time to date. AND I was nursing my hip! Running yesterday every stride my mantra was “F*** my hip hurts, f*** my hip hurts” in a repetitive cadence.

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I changed my route and started my 14k run at Garneau just 30 feet west of the High Level Bridge. I made my way along Saskatchewan Drive (Rich and Famous) and down Groat Hill to Hawrylak Park where I ran around it before heading to Groat Bridge. I met up with a squirrel who was trying to bully me into giving it some food, but I always SAY NO to bullies now and kept going.

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My goal was to reach Muttart Conservatory where my Trusty Steed agreed to pick me up.

I reached River Valley Road and I no longer had the parks and streets to myself. Walkers began passing me – UG I hate that feeling but to be fair 5 of them were from a Race Walking club and they were faster than the speed of light. I am not. The other walker who passed me did so when I was on my walk break – so I am getting faster YAY ME!

By the time I got to my 10k point I couldn’t feel my toes.

Crap – I hate running on numb toes it makes my knee hurt and my hip. Now I knew why my hip hurt so much. I was over compensating for my new shoes.

I bought Brooks Ghost 6 this week after doing some research on shoes that support high arches. I had them laced up accordingly and they STILL made my toes numb. Obviously I have FREAKISHLY HIGH ARCHES. At the 11k mark I sat on a bench at Telus field to re-lace my shoes. They are now secured at the toe and at the ankle – but that is it. No my feet do not slide around and instantly blood began circulating once again through my feet. Sweet RELIEF!

The bad news was after sitting for 5 minutes, my hips had seized up. Walking to loosen the joints made me want to quit – but I was 3 km away! Easy peasy…sort of.

I got running again and made it to the top of the stairs at the Low Level Bridge (10 steps – no biggie) but the bridge was packed with walkers – I couldn’t get past them so I walked behind them. By the time I made it to south side of the River I was out of water and felt defeated. I ran to Henrietta Louise Edwards Park and knew I had 1k left. My hip was screaming, my knee was cranky and I was parched. My choices were run 1km in about 45 minutes – true story ¬†I was DONE – OR head across the street and drink the water that was waiting for me there.

I quit.

Muttart Conservatory from north side of North ...

Muttart Conservatory from north side of North Saskatchewan River (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I chose water and yoga. The stretching at the park was scrumpdillyocious and so was the water one filled with Nuun and one plain. There was an added bonus of a banana.

What did I learn from this run?

Quitting sucks.

I would have pushed it if it was a race. But it wasn’t, and I didn’t want a permanent injury.

What will I do next time?

Carry more water. 24 oz is not enough for me on a hot humid day no matter how early I start. I need more. I am going to add another 12 oz maybe 24oz – we shall see how hot the summer gets.

Now that I have perfected my lacing on my new Ghost 6 – I think I will be fine. Vibrams are starting to look very appealing to me but the Brooks will do for now.

Sunday I am scheduled to run 16k so I need to be consistent in my training this week…unlike LAST week where I didn’t really do anything but put on a lot of miles Friday.

Saturday is the Color Run. I am REALLY looking forward to that! I remember in January the thought of running 5 k was so huge! now I will likely walk it with my friend who doesn’t run. I am super excited to do it with ¬†her ūüôā

I can’t believe how much I have changed in 6 months. I now regularly lose a pound a week – that is 30 since January, my pace is 10:30/km 6 minutes faster and my fitness level is amazing.

Here is to 6 more months and I am equally as excited to see the change.

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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Hills are stupid but I am glad they were invented

This time next week I will be finished the 10k in Calgary. My Dad and I joke around about who is going to trip who, and who will sprint to the finish and elbow the other person into the boards for the finish.

Obviously it is going to be me. I will take no prisoners, just leave a bloody mess in my wake.

I will elbow my dad into the boards and sprint pass him so he has to buy breakfast.

We all know nothing ever goes as planned. The¬†likelihood¬†of me beating the crap out of my dad for the win is slim to none. However, a girl has to have dreams…

Today was my last long run before Calgary. I am officially on a taper. It’s not much of a taper seeing I am running 10k again next week, but I have a weekly total of 16k to get through this week instead of last weeks 23k before the weekend.

My run today through Millcreek ravine was fabulous. I had a decent pace for my LSD, kept it slow ran straight through to Connor’s Hill. This hill is becoming a thorn in my side. I am DETERMINED to run up the whole thing by the Edmonton Half Marathon if it KILLS me! Two weeks in a row, the halfway point does me in. I end up walking the rest. This is my new challenge. I WILL RUN UP THAT HILL BY MY BIRTHDAY or DIE TRYING.

Since I began hill training, the rolling¬†coaster¬†hills that use to scare me, now are barely noticed. It’s those steep mountain esc trails that really annoy me and have me sucking wind as if I am not very capable. Of course, that just isn’t true. When I first began running hills, I just couldn’t do it. I would plan my route to avoid hills. Now I plan my route for distance and scenery. Hills are apart of that.¬†photo (21)

Dudley B. Menzies Bridge (LRT and pedestrian b...

Dudley B. Menzies Bridge (LRT and pedestrian bridge) over North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9k into my run today found me on the LRT Bridge Dudley B. Menzies crossing south towards the U of A over the North Saskatchewan River. This was the first time I felt scared. I was heading towards some dark forest and unknown trails. I stopped to ask some cyclers the best route to 109th Street. With all the detours and changes to the river loop, people were a little confused. I had a pretty good idea which way I should go, but it appeared to be straight up. I thanked the couple before I continued on my way and told them if they see me on the news because I was dead, my name was Robyn. Being able to identify my last known whereabouts seemed important at the time.

It was dark because the tree canopy had fully leafed out. It was  empty and lonely on that trail because no one uses it for good reason.

The reason no one uses that trail is because it goes STRAIGHT UP! The last time I climbed something that steep, I was mountain climbing in Jasper and had expected the steepness because I was ON A MOUNTAIN, not the prairies. JEEEZE!  The good news? My ass is going to look AWESOME by summer! The bad news? My pace dropped to 16min/km. Near the end I needed to stop and suck some wind into my lungs, finished off my water and took a deep breath while I mentally prepared for the stairs. I told myself at the top of these stairs I was home free. I would be 2 FLAT blocks from my finish line and car.

HA!

At the top of the stairs was another FREAKING HILL! OH COME ON! I was out of water and was fantasizing about eggs. I know, weird food cravings at 9.7 km. ¬†But I wanted¬†protein¬†and lots of it at that point. My thighs were very¬†disappointed¬†in my choice of route and my¬†calves¬†were just¬†plain¬†ol’ angry.

As I reached my destination, I realized I had mentally conquered the most difficult ending to any trail I have ever taken. This will carry me far next week.

In Calgary should I come across some difficult parts of the route, I just need to think back to my past two weeks of training. Last week I ran 13km. This week I climbed hills from hell. Next week should be easy in comparison.

I am ready.

Roll on Calgary, I can’t wait!

 

Hills, I love to hate them – Thank goodness for coaches!

8503c2e33b94a0c20cb09c257b2689d5I¬†achieved¬†two major goals for myself this week. I ran my¬†first¬†10km distance – training not a race – and demolished some hills my second time out. I feel pretty good! Well…my legs hate me but I am use to them thinking I am mean. Secretly, they love it.

In 2011 I began training for my first half marathon. I walked it, I trained to walk it and it was the hardest thing I had ever done physically. Part of it was my extreme weight and low fitness levels and part of it was the lack of support. People constantly kept telling me I had no idea what I signed up for. That was true, but neither did they. They had never participated in a half marathon either.

My plan was simple, join the Running Room‘s Learn to Walk a Half Marathon class, do what I was told to do and then cross the finish line! YAY ME!

It wasn’t that easy.

The first class we were to walk 4km. I remember thinking, I find this hard. How am I ever going walk 21.1 km? I finished the 4km in just over an hour.

A few weeks went by and we were scheduled to walk hills, it started with 3 x 400m. Ya right – no freaking way could I do that. So I didn’t. What I considered a hill back then, I consider a bump now. A hill to me is serious business and there is an actual elevation change. I trained for my first half marathon and never climbed a hill. Which is fine, kind of, because the Edmonton Canadian Derby Half Marathon course is FLAT – prairie flat. No hills, so why did I need to do them?

I will tell you why I SHOULD have done them, recovery.

Training on hills and doing Fartleks makes you faster, stronger but more importantly, it shows your body that you can do more than it thinks it can.

I had no business walking a half marathon in 2011. I was not fit enough – yet I did…barely. My goal then was to cross the finish line.

This year in 2013 I have two half marathons scheduled. I am running the¬†Canadian¬†Derby half and I am heading to Florida for the WDW Marathon weekend. This time I have a different goal. I am aiming for a finish time and I am determine to have a better¬†recovery¬†time. Meaning – I don’t want to feel like death after the half. I know I will be tired and sore, but my fitness level needs to be raised from the last time I did this so I feel better. My plan is working. After I ran 10k on Sunday, I felt fabulous. The first time I walked a 10k I needed a nap. Not this time. I kept active and did stuff for the rest of the day. I didn’t feel tired, in fact I felt the¬†opposite, I felt ENERGIZED.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not dissing walking. The reason I want to run is¬†because¬†walking takes a REALLY LONG TIME! Walkers go the same distance but tend not to be as fast – although they are still faster than me running but that is another story. So when a half-marathon walker finishes in 3:30 and runner can do it in 2:30… or something like that. My point being, walkers are as fit as runners. They just use different muscles.

Part of my strategy to recover quicker and get faster is

  1. Hill Repeats
  2. Fartleks
  3. Nutrition before, during and after the run
  4. Core strengthening – I have a six pack under here somewhere! I swear I do!
  5. Building up the hamstring and glutes for more power

Wednesdays are Hill Repeats! My first session didn’t go so great. I was to do 3x400m. Well, Edmonton has two types of hills steep get your heart rate going NOW type hills and laugh hysterically and question the incline type of bump. Most southside runners favour Emily Murphy Hill. Not the one out of the parking lot but the one that leads to the U of A. It’s officially called Emily Murphy Park Road. It is PACKED on Wednesdays. Why? Well, most people follow John Stanton‘s training methods because he is from here, he is a famous learn to run guy in Canada and well, people are sheep. We like being told what to do ¬†and when. Training is no different. I don’t like to think about what I need to do, I just want to look on my¬†calendar¬†and know¬†what’s¬†next. Stanton has Wednesdays as Hill or Fartlek days. So everyone goes to Murphy Hill. The¬†Running¬†Room club goes at 6 on Wednesdays, so I go earlier because my schedule is flexible.

My first session had me excited and raring to go, so I ran up the hill – made it halfway, felt like my heart might explode so I walked the rest of the way, and ran back down. I ran up again, this time didn’t make it half way and walked the rest. I did that one more time and felt like a failure, defeated and slug like.

This week, I reached out for advice. I belong to the WDW Radio Running Team. We fundraise for Make A Wish, but more importantly we are a very supportive team. I have yet to run with them, yet I feel like a team member. They are truly terrific! There are a couple of coaches on that team Brian writes this blog and Joe writes this blog. I asked them each the same question :

Question: when running hills and you can’t make it all the way up, is it better to walk the rest of the way or turn around and start again? I’m running on an fairly steep incline for about 600 meters.

I got two different answers addressing different aspects of running. I love those guys! Brian suggested I slow my pace because walking uses different muscles than running. He added a ton more information, but it pertains to me and my fitness level. Joe gave me tips for mental toughness. This guy is the most focused guy on the planet when it comes to goals. He suggested I pick a target and don’t stop until I get there. That worked best for me. Often I could run past that target. I used a combination of both coaching methods and did 6x100m. It was all I could do without my heart exploding. I am a mom, so it’s important I don’t die until my kids move out. Listening to my body is important but it is also¬†important¬†to push it beyond what it thinks it is capable of. I did that yesterday. I kicked it! I did better that I thought I could and finished on a high note. That was the other bit of advice Joe gave me. He said:

Your muscles remember the last they do. So you want to finish a workout by hitting a target that will leave you with a sense of accomplishment, not a defeat.

Actually, it has to do with brain memory and habits – you can read more about that kind of stuff in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg¬†or some Dr. Bruce Perry research. At any rate, Joe’s suggestion resonated with me and by slowing my pace as Brian suggested, I finished on a high.

I know I need work to reach my hill targets, but practice makes perfect. Difficult doesn’t make me quit, it makes me work harder. I will get there and you will be able to hear me yell and scream with excitement when I do because celebrating is now part of my success ritual. Fist pumps for everyone! Woohoo!

The rest of this week’s training requires an easy 6k today (that makes me laugh,¬†remember¬†when I was afraid of the 5k?), 10km on¬†Saturday¬†and I am volunteering for the Police Half Marathon on Sunday. I am a road marshal over at McKinnon Ravine and 142 street so if you run by say HEY! I think it is important to give back to the running community. I¬†appreciate¬†them and volunteering shows it.

Here is a great video on the benefits of hills. Take a look, this Doctor guy is great! and as always, Happy Running!

Hills Get Stronger!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Running!

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.

What is it like to run in normal weather? I have no idea because I am Canadian

photo 1 (7)I have exciting news! I just ran my first 5k! I now have some embarrassing news РI did it in an hour. WTF? I can walk a 5k that fast. SO FREAKING DISAPPOINTING!

First of all, I have no idea why I find that embarrassing, Good Job Me!

Secondly, I did it at my quickest pace yet. Again, Good Job Me!

Thirdly, I need to remember running outside is more complicated than running on a tread mill. My legs have never been this strong. Again, Good Job Me!

photo 2 (5)

So why does it annoy me that everyone runs faster? I don’t know but it does. Perhaps it is because I have unreal expectations. I read and follow distance runners who knock of 21k for fun in 2 hours. I run 21k in a week. Ya…so that time isn’t going to happen soon. These runners have also been at it for years. I am new. I started in earnest January. I am curious to know how I will do once spring¬†finally¬†arrives and I can put away the cleats, the double winter layers, the scarves and mitts and the hats.

photo 3 (4)

I wouldn’t say I ran a 5k, living in Edmonton comes with challenges. I actually did very little running out on the roads and trails. I marched through snow, slid between ice ruts, surfed over giant puddles, scooted down hills that were covered in gravel and sand,¬†tiptoed¬†over ice damns praying they wouldn’t crash into the running streams underneath, climbed over snow¬†berms, tap danced on bare concrete (my cleats sound like tap shoes) and ran for less than 1km on packed snow.

Why can’t I live in a city where there is a normal spring?

Spartan Race is coming to Edmonton in June. After this springs training, I am ready. 5k and obstacles Рeasy peasy.

Meanwhile, I ran my furthest distance to date. I am halfway to my goal of 10k. I feel fantastic and crave running. I am almost ready to start hill training. I am saving that for spring after the sand and ice leaves, this will help me¬†achieve speed. I am going to start fartleks¬†¬†next week, once I get a few more 5k’s under my belt. I want this to become comfortable before I start a new goal.

May 26th is the day I will run the 10k in Calgary with my Dad on his birthday. I am going to be Soooooooooooooooo ready!

Bring it on!

Happy running!