Sunday, May 3, 2015

NS Lung Run

This is my second year running the Nova Scotia 5k Lung Run.  Held down by the waterfront, it's a nice flat course.  One of my favorite things is having a racing bib with my name on it  All the volunteers and spectators cheer you by name as you pass them.  There is nothing more inspiring then hearing "You've got this Andy" or "You can do it Andy" when you feel like you really can't.

This is my first chip-timed race of the year.  It certainly wasn't my fastest race ever, but I came in with a decent time for me, considering I've really only been running again for a few weeks.

This race had a theme of Superheroes.  There were a lot Batman's, Superman's and plenty of Wonder Woman's.  My costume was unique though.  I went as "Super Mama"!

$5.00 for a cheap t-shirt and a few markers and I was all set.  I got a lot of high-fives and call outs as I ran the course.  I've never considered dressing up in a costume for a race before (there is no way I will ever wear a tutu) but this seemed like a fun idea, and I'm glad I did.

We had beautiful weather, finally!  This was a great race to start the year off with.  I can't wait for the next one.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Accepting Body Image

I love to take photographs. Family, pets, random things on random walks. What that means though is that I am very seldom in the picture. Sure, once or twice a year at a special event we’ll get someone to take a family shot with me in it, but there are very few candid moments of my life captured on film.

Last week was our first Learn To Run session. Since I’m in charge of social media for this year’s Ocean breeze race, I asked one of participants who had a phone with her to take a few pictures that I could possibly use in our Twitter feed or Facebook page to help promote the event. She was happy to oblige and sent me 2 pictures that I could use. One showed the group standing and listening to the instructor and the other is more of an action shot of folks running during one of the exercises.

Both were great shots and really captured what I wanted to show online in hopes of getting more people to sign up. The only problem is that I am in the very forefront of one of the pictures. And MAN! I do not like the way I look. I understand that spandex running clothes are only flattering on about 5%* of the general population. But I am so far from that 5% in this picture that I was mortified and my instant reaction was that I was not using that picture, no way, no how!

That picture stuck with me all day. I know that I am overweight and out of shape; that is one of the reasons that I am running. But what does it say about me if I’m so willing to just toss that picture aside? I’m not ashamed of who I am. I’m obviously okay with people in real life seeing me like that, since I went to the session in the first place and plan on going back. I guess there is just something in seeing myself, full body, in all my lumpy glory that makes it all the more real. This is how people looking at me must see me.

I’m NOT going to throw away the picture. I’m going to use it here and in the social media feeds. Maybe it will inspire someone else who feels that they can’t join because they too are not part of the 5%. And one day I will look back at this picture with pride and joy on how far I have come.

*Not an actual statistic from any recognizable source, just a random guess.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Learn to Run (again)

3rd time is a charm, right? Once again I have signed up for the learn to run program being offered through Liam's school in advance of their Ocean Breeze Trail Run.

I first signed up for this program in 2013 and that began my running journey. I went from huffing and puffing my way through 1 minute of running to being able to finish my first 5k 10 weeks later.

Last year I signed up again, with the intention of running my first 10k at the end (and I did!).

This year? I've signed up because I need the motivation. Knowing that I've paid money to run in my own neighbourhood when I could just do it for free, will hopefully help me get my butt out the door, at least once a week. Knowing that people are also expecting me to show up at a certain time adds to the motivation.

We start tomorrow night and have 8 weeks that lead up to the Ocean Breeze. This year the group is being run by a parent from the school who has experience working at private sports clinics as well as with elderly people in home care. Throughout most of her working career though, she has served as a coach for middle and long-distance runners of various levels, from beginners to elite runners heading for the Olympics. She also has several years of experiencing coaching kids in track and field. I’m feeling a wee bit intimidated!

I've managed to get out a few times for some short runs in the past couple of weeks. It is glorious to be able to run outside again! I even ran in a short sleeve t-shirt one night. Of course we are now entering the rainy season, but that’s okay. As long as it’s not ice, I don’t care. I have my first timed 5k race in 2 weeks, so this is the perfect time to get some official training under my belt.

Have you ever joined a Learn To run program, or do you simply train on your own?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Together We Race

Hot Damn, I feel great!

I ran my first race of the year today.  A virtual 5k in my own 'hood.  I really didn't think I was going to be able to, in fact, I wasn't sure I was going to get out the door.

Of course, I underestimate the power of Hilary - she made sure I got out the door!

It's been 5 weeks since I last ran. and about as long since I've been to TKD.  I was feeling so out of shape, that I didn't believe I could walk the route I had plotted out, let alone run it.

But I did run it!

And with a perfectly acceptable time too!

The sidewalks are finally clear - though as you can see, there is still snow everywhere! Today was a beautiful warm sunny day of 9°C.  Like most runners this time of year, I wasn't sure what to wear.  I was freezing in the house before I left, but I know that I run hot.  I opted for a short sleeve cotton t-shirt with a long sleeve technical running shirt on top.  My worst clothing choice was wearing my winter sock - my feet where so very hot!  I had the long sleeve shirt off by the end of the run and would have been quite happy to roll in the snow, but there were too many people around.

I am sore, and I'm sure I will feel worse tomorrow, but I feel great for getting back out there!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Goals - April 2015

I set some pretty simple goals on January 1st of this year.
“to live a healthy lifestyle so that I can be my healthiest. This includes better eating, more sleep, being happy with my life and exercising.”

To achieve the exercise part I was going to keep up with TKD and running. Those have both been a bust so far this year. The weather has gotten in the way of my running, and I just haven’t been motivated to get to TKD as often as I should. I did test for (and passed) my blue stripe in January, but since then….

I also haven’t been eating better or sleeping very well. I have been pretty happy with my life, in part because I just got back from a wonderfully relaxing week in the Domincan Republic!

It’s now the 2nd quarter of the year. It really is amazing how time flies. My goals still remain the same. I’ve signed up for the Learn To Run program at Halifax Independent school again this year, so starting April 24th I will be out running every Friday night. Nothing motivates me more than having spent money and committed to other people! I have also signed up for 2 5Ks in May, and the weather can only get better…..right?

I’m not sure what to do about getting more sleep. Right now it’s the quality of my sleep that is the problem. I am waking up in the middle of the night with one or both arms numb from shoulder to fingertip. If I lie on my back it doesn’t happen as much, but I’m a side/belly sleeper, so it’s a very hard transition. It does mean that I have very poor sleep from about 1:00-5:00 and then I get up at 6:20. At least I get a few good hours from 10:00-01:00, but it’s starting to catch up with me. I’m going to try some different pillows to see if that helps.

As to eating better….. that is the lifelong change, isn’t it? I know what to do, I even know how to do it, I just need to put on my big girl panties (which wouldn’t be so big if I could conquer this one!) and stop eating crap and get back to better portion control. This is going to be my focus for April. Maybe eating better will even help with the sleep problem!

How are you doing with your goals?  Are you sticking with them, or setting new ones?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Change in Plans

“Some changes might look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge” Eckhart Tolle

I hate winter. I hate snow. I hate ice. I know this is a pretty common sentiment from most people right now. My city was hit with 70 cm of snow last week. That’s more than 2 feet, on top of all the snow and ice we already had. My sidewalk currently looks like this.

That is the same sidewalk that I would usually run on, buried under more than 4 feet of snow.

Needless to say, I haven’t been able to run outside in almost 2 months. I have been able to get to our indoor track and to the gym on occasion, but it’s not as easy as getting home from work, lacing up and heading out the door.

I’m not giving up, I’m just starting over.

So I need to change my plans. I have not trained enough to even consider running the Blue Nose ½ Marathon in just over a month. I would be hard pressed to run a 5k right now. The new plan is to start running again as soon as I can. The weather is starting to clear up, the snow will eventually melt and the sidewalks will be cleared. I have 2 5ks planned for May, and of course the Ocean Breeze Trail run in June. I WILL run a ½ marathon this year, likely in the fall.

Change can be good.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

1/2 Marathon Training Update

Planned training runs = 22 runs / 97.6 km
Actual training runs = 7 runs / 31.4 km

Weeks to go: 13

When I decided back in December to run the Blue Nose half marathon, we were having an unseasonably warm winter with no snow. It seemed like a really great idea at the time. And I had some great runs in the first few weeks, outside on clear trails and dry sidewalks. Then the reality of living on the East coast of Canada hit. We’ve had 22 inches of snow so far this month, freezing temperatures every day with one day of rain thrown in. That makes for a nasty base layer of ice under a lot of snow. The city has not been able to plow the roads or sidewalks down to the asphalt, so everything has a layer of slick snow or slush on it. We haven’t been able to open our back door in over a week. And the forecast is calling for another foot of snow this weekend.

Needless to say I won’t be running outside anytime soon.

Beyond the weather, there has been general life stuff that has kept me from some training runs. I had to travel for work for a full week, and while I took my running stuff with me and the weather in Denver was GORGEOUS, my work hours and being jet lagged didn’t allow me to get in a single run. One night was lost to picking up our new car (SO worth it!) and other nights to parent-teacher conferences, knee injuries from slipping on the ice or just needing a night home with my family.

Sounds like a whole lot of excuses to me.

Last Sunday I decided to stop with the excuses, weather included, and get my butt running. So I packed up Liam and his friend with their swim stuff, grabbed my running gear and headed over to our local sports complex. There was an hour and a half open swim that the boys could go to alone while I ran on the indoor track. Only I had neglected to check out the track schedule before we left and found out that it was closed once we got there. I was not going to let this be another excuse that had me sitting on my butt for the afternoon, so I bought a 10 pass stamp card for their gym facilities. I’ve never really run on a treadmill before, but once the guy on staff got me set up, I was all set!

I felt like I was starting over…. again. It’s amazing what a week of inactivity can do to you, and how hard it can be to get back any little bit of progress you had made before that. While the ½ Marathon training schedule called for a 9 km long run, I managed to do 3 km. My pace was slow, I was pretty huffy-puffy and had to take frequent walk breaks, but I did it!

I think this plan of Liam swimming while I run on the weekends is going to work out well. I still need to fit in some runs after work during the week. I’m sure life will still continue to get in the way, but I am recommitting to doing my best to get out there as often as I can.