Thursday, April 29, 2010

I wasn't last!

"Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them".
Albert Einstein

Tonight was running group and we had an 8K steady run non-stop planned. Remember not so long ago, when 7K was my long run and I was doing it with 10/1 run/walk intervals?! Maybe you don't remember, but I certainly do. I also remember how glad I was when we finished some of these steady runs during previous weeks. What about today you ask...well, let me tell you about today. As usual, the first K was hard, but I quickly hit my groove and I was feeling great. I even passed a couple of people! Yes, you read that right, I passed a couple of people :)

Around kilometer 6 I met up with Carole, who is usually WAY ahead of me. Granted she was taking it easy today, but her easy is usually still not possible for me to follow. Not today. So I ran the last 2K with her. As we were approaching the stopping point, I mentioned that we were only at 7.7K, so Carole says, "let's keep going until 8" and off we went, because I was still feeling really good. I really hope I feel this good on May 9th when I run my first 10K race!!

I may be giving you the false impression that my pace was in the 8 or 9s or something...No no, it was 10.33m/mile (or 6.34m/K), which for me is very respectable. Remember this was a steady run, the type where you should be able to talk to a friend throughout.

Another cool thing is that there was no prednisone high or prednisone low, tonight was all ME. Yay! I loved my run tonight :)

Last two things...

I wanted to thank Psyche of "Run Like Ya Stole Sumthin'" for sending me a bunch of Pomegranate and Blueberry husband is enjoying them! I'm a wimp I still haven't tasted them (the texture of GU freaks me out a bit)! This was a few weeks back, but I was waiting till I tasted them and well, that's not happening just yet so I'm not waiting anymore...Thanks Psyche!

Although I'm not sure why me, I was quite pleased to see my blog on this list here.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Holy Crapoly!

"To escape criticism - do nothing, say nothing, be nothing."
Elbert Hubbard

THIS is what I woke up to this morning!

It has been snowing ALL day...unbelievable. Yet, I should not be surprised, this happens every year! Well, maybe not this close to May, but there's always one last snowstorm just when we think winter is really over.

Okay, so the plan today was to go to the gym, do my workout and then go do my hills. After putzing around for a little longer than necessary, I head for the gym. I'm actually feeling good, I like my new training program. First, the jumps...five high jumps and five long jumps. After the second long jump I feel a pull a very light pain in my abdominals on the right side. I figure I must not have been standing straight, but I don't think much of it. Get back on the step, jump down and jump across...OUCH! I actually turned a few heads at the gym. Last week, I did lots of abdominals and it seems I may have been slightly vulnerable. So, I think I may have pulled my right abdominal muscle. The pain is not that bad as long as I'm not doing any core work...I was unable to do my plank or situps and everytime I had to get up off the floor, ouch. Okay, moving on. I did all the other exercises and hoped that it wouldn't hurt when I ran. Because, YES, I did 8 X 500m hills in the wind and freaking snow! Those were the last hills on my program before my half-marathon and I was not pushing it off to another day. Bring on the fartlek...I'm ready!
 Wanted to show you MY hill...although this picture doesn't do it justice.
    Post-run...and proud :)

As for the ab muscle, I may skip yoga and gym this week...hopefully, it'll heal quickly.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

18K (or 11.2 miles)...Been there, Done that ;)

"The body is a sacred garment...and it should be treated with honor."
Martha Graham

My dear friend Miglena said something in a comment to my last post that hit home...her exact words were: "Hang on and just ENJOY being (physically) able to run!" You are so right my dear! It made me think of all of you out there, Miglena included, who are dealing with injuries. I may have had a difficult week, but I can run and I am not in pain...believe me, I am very grateful and will not take this gift for granted!

Speaking of all must have sent some serious energy vibes my way, because my 18K today went extremely well. First of all, it took me 2h11m (11.41min/mile or 7.16min/K), my pace was faster than it was for both my 16Ks. Also, it is only during approximately the last 2Ks that I felt mild pain (right knee and left hip - and my feet) and none of the pain lasted. Right now, I'm feeling good! PLUS, the weather today was perfect for running - beautiful sunshine, very light wind and 11°C/50°F...perfect! That helped me feel good today I'm is so freaking important and totally out of our control. Newbie realization :)  

Yesterday was also a good day (I'm guessing the very relaxing massage helped)...although, I have a feeling my energy level is pretty much back to "my normal"...Yay!

Have a great weekend everyone...thanks again for your amazing encouragement!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tough week so far...

"What is passion? It is surely the becoming of a person."
John Boorman

Passion is the wind beneath my broken wings...for it has been a difficult week. Yesterday, I ran a 5K tempo run that, based on how I felt, should have been at an amazing pace...NOT! I was tired and it was hard, I could not seem to make myself go faster. So my overall time was a good two minutes over my best 5K time last week. Then today was my running group run and we were doing a 7K steady run. I was steady all right...steadily last. Within about two minutes, everyone had passed me and I remained a good 500 meters behind the second slowest pair for the whole run. Although, around 1K before the end, one of our trainers came and ran with me...she's so sweet. She wanted to know how I was doing and telling me to just listen to my body. It made the last K go by much faster. Still, it was hard tonight and again I added two minutes onto my last weeks 7K time. Hopefully, by next week things will be back to relative normality (not loving the prednisone low).

What keeps me going you ask? You weren't even wondering were you? I'm tell you anyway :) Of course, there's more than one thing that motivates me, but one of those is surely passion...I am nothing if not passionate about running. Yes, I am determined to reach my goal, but that's because I love running, I love how it makes me feel, I love the idea of being an "athlete", I love following a training program and wearing running clothes and talking about running and reading about running and well...I think you get the picture. I am passionate about even though I'm having a tough week, the idea of not running is not an option that I consider. I knew I would be slower (hard to believe that is even possible)...but, I did it and I'm proud that I did it. Saturday, I have 18K planned, my longest run so please, send lots of energy vibes my way!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Good day today....

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston Churchill

This morning I went to the gym and went through my new training program. I always enjoy the novelty of a new program. This one includes some power moves: 1) Jump down a low step and immediately jump as high as I can with both feet. 2) Jump down a low step and immediately jump forward as far as I can with both feet. It was fun, I have to do each 3 X 5 jumps. Then a few leg workouts and then the core. She put in three new core exercises. I felt good and I was proud of myself for getting it done early in the day. I then met up with my super-sis-in-law and we went to costco to get her very own GARMIN :) ...I am so happy for her! I love my Garmin and I know she's already loving hers too.

Then, before lunch, I stopped at my spot by the falls and headed out to run my hills. Today was 7 X 500m hill repeats. As I got started on my warmup run, I wasn't sure how it would go. I realized I hadn't gone to the washroom since before going to the gym this morning and I was a little worried about my bladder being too full, I actually looked around for a spot just in case (finally, I managed to wait till I got home). I was also feeling tired. The first hill was a little tough, but I know the first is always the worst...and I reminded myself of that. The more I did, the better I felt and although I was certainly glad to be done after number 7...I didn't stop and just continued right into my cool down run. I felt strong and I write today up as a Win :) 

Congratulations to everyone who ran in Boston, I can not wait to read all the race recaps! How cool that the weather was so nice. 


Sunday, April 18, 2010

10 miler number 2 - Tough one today!

“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult undertaking which, more than anything else, will determine its successful outcome.”
William James

Having the right attitude is such an important part of success. Today, it was raining and windy and chilly...and physically, I felt tired before I even started. Plus, this morning I had an appointment with my trainer at the gym to update my training program (I love the novelty of a new program). However, that means I had to try out these new exercises so she could tell me if I was doing them right. I didn't do lots of repetitions, but I still had to do them. Then, when I got home, uber hubby suggested we go for our 16K before lunch. So, I got ready and off we went. As you may have gotten from my title, today was hard...I felt tired and my legs were heavier. Last week, I ran 16K and half the run was on serious hills, yet it felt easier than this week, which had fewer hills. Actually, it took me longer this week...I completed  my 10 miles in 2h03m, thats a 12.18min/mile pace (7.40min/K). Although, I should mention that after 3K I once again had to take a "necessary" bathroom break, I also changed my bra (I had forgotten to change into my sports bra) and I didn't stop my watch right away, so I'm guessing that affected my time. Still, did I mention it was hard...BUT, it never occured to me to not do the whole thing...I knew I could get through it. They can't all be easy, but I'm still confident that I will be able to complete my half marathon in May. Although, I admit that after today the full marathon feels a little scarier. Perhaps NYC in 2012, as my friend J suggested...but, don't hold me to this :)

Regardless of today's run, I'm still very proud of myself, because I have never run so many miles in one week (24 miles/38.5Kms)!! I completed every single workout on my training program for this week (I often end up skipping one of the runs - but, not this week), and the mileage was increased on most days. I also went to both yoga classes and did my strength training at the gym (plus some extra core work). So, it totally makes sense that I was tired on my long run today. What did I learn from that? Well, perhaps it's better for me to skip one of the short steady runs on my program when I include all those cross-training sessions. I'm adapting and learning as I go and I'm going to keep on doing what I have to do, to do what I want to do!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Boston...and not Boston :)

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face...You must do the thing you cannot do."
Eleanor Roosevelt

First, I would like to wish Good Luck to all of you who are going to Boston...particularly to Meg, Jill & Marcia...have a great time and hopefully, a great "time" ;) 
Not Boston: If you had told me 10 weeks ago, that I would be running 7K non-stop as a middle of the week easy run, I would have seriously doubted you. At first, when I would look at my Running Room program, I really wondered if I would be able to follow along. Today, I am amazed at how well this program is working for me. Every new challenge I attempt, I feel ready for. This week was 6 X 500m problemo. Heartrate remained controlled with a max of 154...and no pain. I totally did it! Then tonight, a 7K steady run, which I completed at a 6.35min/K pace...and I know I could have kept going. Granted, I'm always near or at the back of the pack, but I'm faster than everyone who dropped out :) ...and everytime there was a red light, I would catch up with the middle I wasn't that far behind. That's what I find most helpful about running with this forces me to push myself a little more than I would on my own...but, not so much that I'm doing tempo runs. Plus, everyone is so nice. I will just mention that I'm still feeling the post-prednisone fatigue, but it isn't stopping me from getting all my runs in and some cross training. I am feeling strong and I love it!

So, what do I know now? I know that I have what it takes to complete my half-marathon...AND I believe I will be able to complete a marathon one day. Perhaps sooner than I first thought.When I first started running, I was far from convinced that I would one day be able to complete a marathon...I don't think that anymore! 

One step at a time...First, a 10K in three weeks!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cool encounter & She's comin' along!

"Chance encounters are what keep us going."
Haruki Murakami

While at the book fair yesterday, I had a really cool encounter. It's one of those situations that I am sure was just meant to happen. I'm standing talking with my sister and I suddenly feel the need to check out the book on a table to my right. The title of the book is, well it's in French, but it translates to "A mother on the summit of Everest" and the author is right there.
I feel myself pulled to this book and I begin having a discussion with the author, Sylvie Fréchette (no, not the synchronized swimmer). She's an extremely nice and very inspiring woman, who climbed Mount Everest at the age of 45, and she is the mother of three daughters. We talked about self-actualisation and I was telling her about my journey to hopefully run a marathon one day. Of course I bought her book and when I was in line waiting to pay, she called me over to introduce me to her brother, who has run 5 marathons. I thought that was so sweet. She wrote a nice message in my copy of her book: "To Anne, Self-realization through marathons. Bonne route. Bonne réussite" (too complicated to translate the whole thing), but you get the gist. She gave me her card so I could check out her website and she asked me to please email her and keep her posted on my progress. When I got home, I checked out her website and I couldn't believe it! This woman is from Val d'Or, Abitibi (which is a small town in northern Québec) and which is where I'm from (no one is from there :)). I found that incredible...AND, she has worked as a psychotherapist with children, adolescents and adults. We were totally meant to connect...I love these chance encounters :) 

Running and asthma update: What goes up, must come down...after the prednisone high, we have the prednisone low. After a few days off prednisone, my body is feeling the withdrawal and I am quite tired these days. About 20 minutes before heading out for my tempo run today, I was feeling a bit nauseous and tired. I ate half a banana and an apple, which made me feel better and then I got ready and headed out. Today: a 5K tempo run. My expectations were naught, especially considering the low energy. However, when I reached 3K, I realized that if I pushed it a bit, I might be able to get in under 32 minutes, which would be a PR for me. WELL, my last K was at 5.30min/K (unbelievable!!) for an overall average of 6.11min/K...which means I completed my 5K in 30m57sec. YES! I am so close, I can smell that under-30 minute 5K :) So, despite feeling tired, my lungs are good and I guess I'm in pretty good shape!

Have a great day...Cheers!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I AM Hardcore - 16.1K (or 10 miles)!

"If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.”
Frank A. Clark

This weekend, I am in Québec city. I'm having a wonderful time with my sister, who is here for a book fair. Saturday, I had 16K on the menu (of course I planned 16.1K, which is 10 miles :)). Now, Québec city is beautiful, BUT it is VERY hilly. I'm guessing runners who train here must do great in races! Also, today was a VERY windy day...I'm talking gusts at 80K/h. I was quite worried about what that would mean for me, being a rookie runner and all. The nearest park was "Les Plaines d'Abraham", which I was told had lots of nice running trails.
This is at the entrance and it scared me a little.
There were also these paths around the park.

The first 3 to 4K were done on hills and even on a trail in a wooded section. It was beautiful, but by the end of the trail I actually had to walk up the hill, it was so steep (this happened twice in all)! Then after a little more of the hills...there appeared before me, my saving grace...a track! It still had a little climb and a little descent as you went around, but really it was nothing. I'm not sure how long it was (at least 1K), but I went around about 7 times and I was at 12K when I left. Back to the hills I went, heading towards where I had come from.
The last K was almost all downhill and I was grinning like a fool as I was running down this beautiful street, towards my goal distance. This run was relatively slow, what with the hills and the wind, but I'm totally pleased with how I did. I completed 16.1K at 7.28m/K (or 10 miles at 12m/mile), which took me exactly 2 hours. Plus, I was feeling no pain and I felt good.Yay me!

I hope everyone had a nice weekend...looking forward to reading all the race recaps.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lifestyle changes - Goals and Expectations!

“The best things in life are unexpected - because there were no expectations.”
Eli Khamarov

When I crossed over from the “world of those who walk” into the “world of those who run” I found my expectations quickly shifting into high gear. Within only a few months, I went from being so proud of myself for running 5K non-stop, to feeling so disappointed at how slow I was. It is almost impossible not to make comparisons, and as competitive and ambitious human beings, we are definitely biased in our comparisons. That is, they tend to be only with people who are better than we are. There is also the tendency to not take into consideration the reasons they may be better than we are, which certainly doesn’t make the comparison fair. It is so easy to get pulled into this cycle of expectations.

Believe me when I say I know this is much easier said than done, but I’ve been working on it. When I first started running, I only had one barometer and that was myself. It was easy to feel proud for going a little farther each week. I still found it difficult sometimes, because I kept thinking it should feel less hard, but I was improving and I was proud of that. Then I started blogging and I started running with a group and I started running with friends and family and all of a sudden, the number of barometers I could measure myself against increased many fold. Initially, I totally got caught up in it all. Taking nothing other than running speed and distance into consideration, I was slow and I wasn’t so proud of myself anymore.

I am not talking about goals here, it is VERY important to have goals, but then ideally we need to let go and enter each situation with no set expectations. The difference between a goal and an expectation is that a goal gives you direction and motivates you to push yourself, whereas an expectation sets an emotional barrier on the goal. My goal is to run a half-marathon in May. This goal is motivating me to prepare to the best of my ability so that I feel ready to take on the challenge on race day. Ideally, I would go into this race with no expectations. If I expect it to be a nice sunny day and it’s raining, I’ll be disappointed; if I expect to finish in style and with no pain, I risk disappointment; if I expect to finish under a certain time, I highly risk being disappointed; and if anything doesn’t go as expected, I risk being disappointed regardless of the fact that I may attain my goal of completing a half-marathon. What a waste of a great achievement!

Everything I do to reach this goal is life experience that will stay with me forever, no matter how it goes on race day. So I am trying hard to appreciate being able to run injury free today and to work towards my goal of running a half-marathon in Ottawa in May. As for how it goes on race day, well: “Que Sera, Sera.” :)

“The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.”
Jim Rohn


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Today...Two Things Tuesday!

Life is a process. We are a process. The universe is a process.
Anne Wilson Schaef

Running: I have run 300Ks so far this year...I'm way on track to complete my 1000Ks in 2010! Also, I decided that it was probably a good idea to complete a race before my first ever half-marathon (considering I have never raced before in my life). What's it like to be in a race? So, I am now officially registered for a 10K on May 9th (check out the countdown  widgets on my sidebar)...Woohoo! I'm very excited to have two upcoming races in May.

Asthma update: Today was 5 hills and I was wondering how it would go. You see, prednisone is an immunosuppressant (that's why it works so well on auto-immune symptoms). What that means is that while I'm on prednisone, I am more susceptible to infection. So, now that I am about to stop taking prednisone, I find myself fighting non-asthma cold symptoms. This is actually quite common. When I used to be dependent on prednisone, I would get pneumonia every fall. Anyways, the point is that I wondered how my lungs would do with hills. Plus, I had done my weight training in the morning and it was raining lightly and humidity does not help. Well...truth be told, it went very well. Heartrate did not exceed 154 and my warm-up and cool down runs were at a very decent pace. I felt good when I was done. No coughing. The reason I'm telling you all this is that sometimes, when we have asthma, it is easy to hold back and use it as an excuse. Not that we are looking for an excuse, but we get used to being more cautious. More and more, I'm realizing that taking charge of my health has lead me to push my limits and taught me that I have no idea what the actual limit is! Perhaps, the sky :) 


Sunday, April 4, 2010

My longest run so far...14.5K (or 9 miles)

"The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life."
George Sheehan

Yesterday, uber hubby and I had 14K planned...but, before heading out, I decided to check how many miles exactly 14K was and realized that I was just "this" short of 9 miles, so the new plan became 14.5K...which, hubby thought was pretty funny. The weather was absolutely amazing! You'd think months had gone by between last weeks "ready-to-go-here's-my-new-jacket pic" and this week's "ready-to-go-I-can't-believe-I'm-wearing-a-tank-top" pic!! Meg, I lathered on the sunscreen and wore a cap...and am thinking of you.

Before going on, I must make a short parenthesis is not necessarily that I love pink. I actually own nothing in pink other than running gear, but the running clothes I like all seem to come in only one color this! I'm liking it though...just saying :)

Okay, so the longest run I had done to date was 13K in 1h45m on January 22nd of this year. Saturday, we ran our 14.5K in 1h44m, so 1.5K more in one minute less (my pace was 7:11min/K). I AM improving! We followed the bike trail further out and it looks like it's going to be perfect for our upcoming long runs...and it's by the woods if we need a serious bathroom break. Speaking of which, thank goodness we passed by our home around the 9K mark, because I was this close to pulling a Shut up and Run ...enough said I'm sure. So apart from that little bathroom interlude, the run was a complete success! I was feeling good and I was feeling no pain. Whenever I felt a little twinge in my left hip, I would straighten my shoulders and right away, the pain would stop. This is definitely helping me improve my posture. 

As we were running along on the trail, uber hubby had a great idea! "You know what would be fun, is to go leave a car with a picnic in it at a park along the trail and then from home, run a 25K back to the picnic." Me: "Maybe we could get some of our running peeps to join us." Him: "That's a great idea, let's try and plan that at some point over the summer." I just love that we both think this is a great idea :)

Overall, another amazing run...and next week 16K!
Hope you all enjoyed your weekend...cheers!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Lifestyle Changes – Your perception is your reality.

"One has not only an ability to perceive the world but an ability to alter one's perception of it; more simply, one can change things by the manner in which one looks at them."
Tom Robbins
The thing with perception is that it is real to you. The way you view a situation, is what influences how you feel about it and guides how you react to it. It doesn’t matter how someone else sees the situation, only your perception is real. Therefore, trying to “reframe” our perceptions is an excellent tool in changing our behaviour.

Wednesdays are very busy for me, I have clients in the morning and then again in the evening. I usually have phone calls to return and paperwork to organize in the afternoon. PLUS, according to my Half-Marathon running schedule, I have a Hard Run (i.e., hills, or fartlek) to run! Wanting to avoid as much pain as possible on actual race day, I thought the best thing to do was to try not to skip any part of the running schedule. So, when I just didn’t end up having time to do my run on Wednesdays (which was almost always), I would get anxious as the day wore on, my mind was not as focused as I tried to return phone calls and finish up paperwork, and I would end the day feeling disappointed with myself.

We all know that the best way to fall off the wagon is to be disappointed with this was a “bag-of-chips-waiting-to-happen" situation.

My distorted perception: I really need to get that Hard run in, but I just know I won’t be able to do all I have to do today.
Feeling: Not so proud of myself and worried that work or running will suffer.

Reframing to more realistic thinking: After asking about this, it seems that many people only complete 4 of the 5 workouts suggested in the program and do fine...AND I do not have to do the Hard Run on Wednesday! Perhaps I could do the Hard Run on Tuesdays, because I have more time. If I have time on Wednesday, I’ll do a short run (which I won’t feel bad missing if I can’t).
Feeling: I enjoy taking the time to focus on my work and I am pleased with myself for doing a good job. If I get a run in, bonus.

Pride in ourselves is the best way to stay motivated...and you guess it! The last two Wednesdays, I did manage to get a run in. Knowing that my Hard Run was out of the way, I have been more relaxed and focused with my work and managing to fit in a self-esteem boosting short run on Wednesday afternoons :)

Important points to remember:
1) If a situation is causing you to regularly feel disappointed with yourself, re-evaluate your perception of the situation!
2) Assess: Am I being realistic, “Is it really that serious if I don’t bake the cupcakes myself for the class party?”
3) Reframe: “I know exactly where I can buy some very good cupcakes and I’m sure the kids will be thrilled. There is no obligation to absolutely bake them myself. I can go for my run and be on time to pick up the kids after school, without rushing like crazy.”
4) Outcome: You have an enjoyable day and feel better about yourself!

If you can perceive your life as more manageable, it will be :)
Have a great weekend and remember to give yourself some leeway.