Looking for my Mojo

As I struggle to get back to my mojo, I realize I made an excellent decision about a month ago. I signed up for yoga again.

I love the beginning of yoga, the part before class starts. There is a lot of stretching, sitting quietly and basically chillin’. I love the end of yoga, the part where there is laying down.

yoga-funny-nataliedee

The middle bit of yoga is work and my abs feel it already. I like to think about quitting during the hard part.

But that is not why I go to yoga class. Becky, our blonde cute instructor who is about 22, went around the class asking our names and why we wanted to practice. Poor old Bryce, one of two males in the class, said he needed to gain flexibility. Poor guy, I was behind him and he was right, he is not flexible. I felt badly for him, it looked painful. The entire room said flexibility or fitness or core, except me…I said to get out of my head and relax.

This is not my first rodeo, I have been to yoga class before and I know how great I feel afterwards. As I walked out with my friend, I mentioned how it feels like the runners high I get after a great run (What is that again? I Haven’t had a great run in a while). I love that feeling. It makes me LET GO. 

At the beginning of class – and every time I exercise actually – I talk to myself and offer up an intention. Usually about releasing something…today it was anger. I was still pretty upset from my week. It has been difficult. I stress about my head and how if feels like it’s getting worse. I stress about my fitness level and how I don’t feel like I am progressing. So my focus today was releasing anger. It is hard to release. The monkey mind looks at everything and can be critical.

yoga_funny

By the time I was in Shavasana (final or Corpse Pose) tears were streaming down my face, yet I felt calm. It was a real surge of emotional release. Yoga does that for me. I never look at it as a series of stretches that will enhance my running – but it is that too. Yoga is about the mind/body connection for me.

On the drive to class I was crabby. On the drive home I was chipper. I noticed a difference, I am sure she did too. My friend pulled into my driveway and said you are running tomorrow. You are going to find it fun again. Get your mojo back.

I promise I will try.

I want it back desperately.

I also know if I try too hard it won’t work. So tomorrow, I will go to the valley, I will run at a relaxed pace and not worry about goals. I will run because it’s fun.

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Phase 2: set new goals because I achieved!

734173_366866946755461_645697048_nToday is the day I begin half marathon training for the Canadian Derby Half Marathon in Edmonton August 25.

I am suppose to run 4km at a steady pace.

I laughed coffee out my nose.

In 2011 I was training for the half in August and I met with my walking class to walk 4km. It was really hard for me. It took a lot of visualization and moaning on my part to finish the 4k. It was at that point when I figured I would likely die of a heart attack. I couldn’t quit because I had told everyone I was doing it and the there were nay sayers telling me it was impossible for me to do. Stubborn as I am, I kept at it and finished.

The last couple of weeks, before my taper for the 10k, I was running 38km a week. This week I will only run 24km. I want to run more but I will stick to the plan. I pulled my running plan from John Stanton’s Running Start to Finish. His plan is solid. The theory is based on 3 days of running maintains your fitness, while 4-5 days of running improves it. I want to improve. I have set a half marathon goal of 3 hours. I know it seems slow for everyone I know. Who cares? Lots of people are running a half in 2-2.5 hours. If I make it at 3 or sub 3 (fingers crossed) that will shave 1.5 hours of my previous time. I am the one competing against ME, not the rest of the pack.

I am already ahead of my fitness level from the last time I entered the half.

I ran in the 10k race in Calgary Sunday. I have run 13km – my farthest running distance to date.

That is why I laughed at 4km. My mid-week runs of late have been 8ks or tempos or hill work. This is a nice easy week or 3 steady runs for a total 11k. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

I think these early days for training will help me improve my speed. I will be running 10ks on weekends – not a stretch for me, my body is use to this so I will be able to improve rather than reach for that goal. In fact, I don’t run an 8k mid-week until week 12! Not that I am looking at these training runs as easy – but I won’t have to fight my legs to go the distance. We understand that distance. I just have to coax them to improve the pace. THat means I need to work up to 8:57/km. That is huge. I ran the Calgary 10k at 10:30/km. Dropping 1.5 minutes off my km will be my focus. I can’t believe I am in that position.

I am finally able to do the distance but now need to improve the pace.

Here are my next round of goals for between now and August 25th:

  1. Work up to running tempo at 8:30. My current Tempo is 9:30.
  2. Work up to 8 full hills. I currently can do 6 half hills.
  3. Work up to 6k of fartleks. I currently run 3k of fartleks.
  4. Build core and hamstrings through weights and ball.
  5. Add yoga class to regular yoga stretches. A full class on non run day will lengthen muscles and improve overall flexibility and increase speed.

My head is still spinning. I started running from scratch January 1. Here it is May 28 and I am not worried about distance, just eager to increase my speed.

Life is good.

Happy Running!

 

 

Yoga for Runner’s Plantar Fasciitis made me cry but felt OH SO GREAT!

I feel like I am one hundred today.

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I made the mistake of not keeping up with my full yoga workouts lately, and when I say lately – I mean this year. I typically just do the poses that stretch out the muscles I use for running. Sunday night, I decided I needed to do the full yoga workout.

Sunday was my long run and I was feeling some tension in my lower back. I thought a really great yoga session would stretch out all my muscles and leave me feeling great. The good news was I achieved that! The bad news is I am hurting STILL after 2 days.

Every time I run I stretch out afterwards. I have a few yoga poses that I do regularly that feel great after a run. Saturday night, I was chatting with my girlfriends and I realized I have stopped doing the poses that are difficult. Why? Because they are hard. When I was a regular attender at yoga class, I did them all AND I got better at each pose every week. Why did I stop? I have no real answer other than I am cheap and lazy to the core.

I pulled out my list of poses, turned on my yoga tunes, lowered the lights and went at it for about 45 minutes. I was so disappointed with my flexibility. This is clearly something I need to do on a regular basis. That night I had trouble sleeping because I hurt. I hurt in a good ‘wow that was a great workout’way. Lots of heat was flowing to the muscles but every time I shifted in bed, I would wake up with the body telling me it hated me.

The worst best pose Sunday night was Toe Squat. This stretched out the plantar fasciitis. Yes I wanted to cry. No I didn’t cry. WOW does this pose work great! It is a tough area to stretch out and I have been feeling some tightness lately. I use a baseball to massage the area on a regular basis but I think this particular pose will be done every day after running. I found a great video that explains the procedure very well. Just a caution before you do this, if your plantar fasciitis is tight – this is not going to tickle.

So if you see me around town today and you notice I am (still) walking around like I just got out of a full body cast, you will know why. It is a 6km run today and I am heading towards the river valley, but afterwards? Yoga (she said with a snarl). I need to improve my flexibility and love the way it is suppose to feel once again.

Happy Running!

Meanwhile, check out my latest post for Feets.ca Passing the Miles Away !  

 

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!

Mo finds Yoga Magical

Thursday nights Mo and I hang out at the Yoga Studio. I particularly enjoy it after a tough week walking and swimming. Tonight was no exception. As my strength increases, I find myself slipping further and further into the quiet solitude of the spirit side of yoga. This is an amazing experience. Eyes closed. Soothing voice of my Yogi. Poses at one with my breathing. Tonight I meditated on a single thought. Life is moving along for me at great speed, yet I still find I am lacking fulfillment. I was reminded there is more to life than I am currently expressing.

I am seeking fulfilment through goal setting as a way to search for that something. Life has become tedious, boring, disappointing and empty.

In my quiet thoughts during Shavasana, the final pose or Corpse pose, I asked for guidance. I received a flash of pictures roaring through my minds eye. All of them made sense. The hard part will be being mindful of the choice that is right for me and not the one others think I should make or that I PERCEIVE that others think I should make. I need to listen to my spirit calling. I am currently not. I am slightly off track. I feel it. Yet I also feel I am being pulled towards something. It was, for lack of a better word, enlightening.

As my friend the GoalSetter said the other day, Yoga is Magical.

She speaks the truth.

Oh Mo, Why did you let me do it?

Okay, I did a bad thing. I stepped on the scales. THIS WAS NOT MY INTENTION! My journey was suppose to be about health and fitness, goal setting and structure. NOT NUMBERS ON A SCALE!!!  Damit anyway!!!

The good news is I am down 47lbs since January. The bad news is, I have been hopping on and off the scale all week like a freaking jack rabbit. I have become number obsessed. My ultimate goal is to be half my size, not half my weight. There is a difference.

Half my weight would bring me to unrealistic anorexic numbers of my high school days, where I ate one muffin all day, then had dinner. Not cool. I couldn’t sustain that. It was unhealthy. I also wsn’t as active as I am now. Well…was two weeks ago. I have been put on a NO CARDIO until my pneumonia is better. That leaves Yoga. Cardio is what burns that fat off.

Half my size would mean, I would be fit. I want to be fit. I am noticing a huge difference already. I can get off the floor with greater ease than ever. Zipping around doesn’t make me tired. Hauling heavy bags of groceries is a snap! Building muscle feels fabulous. It is a much better feeling than being thin. Strong feels better.

So why did I do a stupid thing like stand on a scale? I dunno. Maybe I still need that Weight Watcher validation. I know I get asked all the time how much I have lost. I guess I wanted to have an answer. It’s not cool to say, I’m down almsot 4 bra sizes. Or I am 3 clothing sizes smaller. Or that Christmas picture Evil Genuis took of me… I don’t look like that any more. People expect a number.

So guess what? TOUGH TOENAILS PEOPLE!!! I am not stepping on the scale until my birthday. August 16th. I will step on it and see again. It won’t matter though, I will be down more clothing sizes. My Mo Journey is about a healthier me. Not necessarily and lighter me. Muscle weighs more than fat. I want to be fit, not thin. I want to run with my best friend.

I will focus on becoming fit. I will walk the half marathon. I will then set my goal to RUN a 5K. I figure after walking for 4 hours, running for 30 minutes will be a piece of cake.

Stop asking me how much I lost. Ask me how far I swam, or how many km I walked this week…then we can talk.

Mo Make Me some Chicken Soup Please

I was hanging out on twitter yesterday. I often find amazing inspiration or laughs from my twits. Yesterday I found both. I have been following the crazy antics of Team Double Knots. They ran an incredible race in upstate New York. A 200 mile relay that took them 31 consecutive hours to complete. Super human motivation happening there! It was all part of the Ragnar Relay series. There was a time in my life, last May, when I did not understand the need or drive to run. Never mind running huge distances like marathons or relay races. In my quest to have the outside me match the inside me, I get it now. Reading and understanding these monumental goals is like breathing to me now.

I it strange to me that this journey has evolved from becoming a healthy weight to becoming healthy in Body, Mind and spirit. Goal setting has become my lifes purpose. Odd as it sounds, it has become truth. The Goal has become the Momentum. I don’t seem to need any other motivation. I have become all consumed with meeting my goals. I line them up, have several in the fire for when I am ready for the next one. People I have met and Cognitive Behavior Therapy have taught me the importance of goal setting.

That brings me to my obsessive behavior towards my goals. I love swimming. I will not give it up for love or money. I have had to reduce it to 3 times a week and am kind of annoyed about it. My schedule does not allow for long swims anymore. Soon my group will be over and I can continue with hour long swims on Mondays. I cannot wait for that to happen! Group, as much as I hate it, I have learned life changing behavior. I now understand things I never did before and am grateful for the push to attend.

That gives me Swimming 3 times per week for a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Then there is my goal of walking in the Intact Edmonton 1/2 Marathon. Training for that puppy is 5 days a week. 3-4km Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with my long walk on Sundays. That long walk will increase from 7K to 9K next week. By the time my birthday rolls around in August, I will be walking 30-40K per week.

Then there is my goal of Mind Body and Soul connection through Yoga. I do poses every morning but attend yoga practice on Thursdays for the best experience of my life.

Non fitness goals include completing 2 university classes by August 21. 5 major assignments, 3 major papers and several minor assignments.

I have career goals that are in the works, but school needs to move farther along for me to achieve any real purposeful change. My eyes and ears are always open for opportunity, so we shall see where that takes me.

I have two teens that need love and support. I no longer feel guilty that they are not in the forefront of my mind. They have lives of their own and I believe I have a found a healthy balance between putting them first and not leaving me on the bottom of the pile.

Along my journey I have found love and support in the most unlikely places. I no longer feel alone and lonely. I know I can call and count on several wonderful people in my life. I am so grateful for them!! Thank you to all of you.

But that leads me to my obsessive part.  I have pneumonia. Yet I still kept up with my schedule of crazy. Then I read THIS on Twitter :

GOAL: relax and recharge. Don’t let exhaustion get the better of you. Breathe. Meditate. Connect from within.

Another Goal Setter wrote that. The Universe sends me messages all the time. Lately I have been awake enough to see they are indeed for meant for me.

This meant, my short walk should be cancelled and my long walk needed to be cancelled. I want to feel healthy. Stress always makes me sick. I am addressing the stress but really need the summer when I can devote major blocks of time to work it out and change it. It will be painful but the stress is killing me. I don’t live on the bottom of the pile anymore.

I feel like I am about to emerge from the dark cocoon and fly out into the blue sky. Something is pulling me. I use to be in a rush to get everything done. I realized today, missing a couple of workouts is not the end. I have a life time to achieve my goals. 2 days rest may in fact make me stronger.

On Thursday at Yoga, my Yogi handed out Goddess cards. We each got to pick our own. They were face down and we were suppose to pick the card that “spoke” to us. I reached for my card, turned it over and gasped. This is what it said:

Goddess Oonagh

Easy Does IT

There is no need to hurry or force things to happen. Everything is occurring in perfect timing.

HOLE LEE MOLE LEE!!!!

The Universe agrees I am doing a lot, but I don’t need to do more, nor do I need to be fast about it. Everything that is suppose to happen WILL happen for me. That is comforting. It doesn’t help me relax though. I am anxious to to see the end and how it all turns out. But the message for me is THE JOURNEY.

So the time has come for me to have a bubble bath, curl up with a good book and heal myself. Mo, can you make me some chicken soup please? I am taking a much needed break.