Thursday, December 27, 2012

A new, yet not so different, sport!

"Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety."
Francis Bacon

"It takes some cardiovascular fitness. You are going to end up being fit if you do a lot of snowshoeing, and I think that's one of the reasons a lot of people do it."
Dave Rehm

My Christmas gift from Uber H :)
There is a regular shoe with laces inside the cover - it is all one piece. The boot is attached, sort of like a cross-country ski - very solid.

My family and I are registered to complete the "Pentathlon des Neiges" in QuĂ©bec city on March 3rd! The race is made up of five winter sports and we are doing it as a team. My son Kevin will start us off with 15km on the bike (yes he will be biking in the snow with some winterized tires); then comes my daughter Jessica who will run 5.5km in the packed snow; we then have my husband (aka Uber H) who will cross-country ski for 9kms; followed by my daughter's boyfriend who will skate for 8.4kms and finally, I will be bringing us home with a 4.5km snowshoe run (for a grand total of 42km) :) I am super excited to have the latest and lightest technology. I did a 1km trial run on Christmas day and it will indeed, be a great workout. It requires more cardio than running only with my shoes and it works the quads, because I must raise my legs higher. With the storm going on out there today, I have a feeling I'll be able to give it a real try tomorrow! 

As for the training, I am pleased to say that it continues to go well. I even took pictures when I went for my long run on the morning of Christmas eve. It was so beautiful outside and the view made me smile :)

It was one of those runs where I figured I'd see how it went. The plan was 18km, but I didn't know if I had it in me. My grand-daughter was sick and had slept over two nights prior - she was throwing up and had me sleeping with only one eye. So, although I had slept better the night before my run, I didn't know what to expect. Well, it was one of those really nice and relaxed long runs and 18km felt easy. I took a few iphone pictures and the weather was amazing. I'm also pretty sure this long run is partly why I'm the only one in the family who didn't get sick (I sweated out the toxins). Everyone else got a 24 hour bug - throwing up and sleeping. The other reason could be the Super-mom gene (we've had contact with almost every bug raising our kids), makes us a little stronger ;)

Yesterday was my first tempo run on this program and I liked doing it their way. It was a short 10 minute tempo with a warm-up and cool down. All tempos are out-and-back with the first half at about half-marathon pace and the second half at close to 10K pace. So I'm supposed to do the first half of the tempo in one direction, then come back for the second half, which should end further than where I started (since I should be running faster). The goal is to work on negative splits. Last week was also my first time ever doing fartlek. I had to include 4 surges of 90 seconds into my run. I'm really loving all this variety within my program.

I hope you are all enjoying your holidays! My favorite part is having all my kids around for a few days :)

Cheers!!

Have any of you ever tried snowshoe running? What did you think?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gratitude

“Regardless of Sunshine or Rain, Be Thankful for another GREAT day…and treat Life as the ULTIMATE Gift.... Because IT IS”   Pablo

There are no words to express my sadness and disbelief...my thoughts are with all the families who will not be celebrating the holidays with their little ones this year. My thoughts are with the teachers who will be missed by so many. There is nothing that can explain such a tragedy...nothing.


This morning, it was cold, windy and snowing outside when I went for my 18km long run...and all I felt was gratitude. Not a day goes by that I don't realize how very lucky I am. I'm so grateful that I have the privilege of making training for a PR one of my priorities these days. It seems incredible that planning today's run was deemed relatively important by both myself and my husband. Of course, I'm not saying that running is the most important thing in my life, but I'm saying that at this point in my life, running can be important to me...and I'm so unbelievably grateful. 

It's been another good week...which included one spinning class and a session with a personal trainer to put together a program for me to do at the gym. I plan on going twice a week to do this workout. It is made up of two mini-circuits and each included 3 series of 3 X 1 min per exercise. The focus is on legs and core, though there is a short section for arms and back. I'm pleased with this program and I look forward to seeing how it helps. This Friday, I will try the yoga class at the gym...I'm also looking forward to that.

I'm really enjoying my new running training program as it has nice variety. Already in the first few weeks I've done "Strides", some race-pace segments, and I'll add some Fartlek this week. Along with Steady runs and Long runs. There will also be some out-and-back tempo runs, where the second half is expected to be faster than the first half. I'm still feeling motivated, which is a nice feeling.

Take care everyone...hugs to you and your loved ones.
Cheers!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Week 3 has come and gone :)

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
Oprah Winfrey

Week 3 was a recovery week...nice! Although I am still feeling the passion...I'm not really feeling the energy these days...not enough daylight!

On Tuesday, I decided to try the spinning class at my gym. I really enjoyed it and I hope to go at least once a week. Also, I will be meeting with a personal trainer at the gym on Friday and she will do a few tests on me (?) so that she can better prepare my program. Then next Friday, she will spend one hour working on this program with me. I felt a little pressured to buy a few individual sessions! But, since I really do better when I have a program to follow and I also like that program to be modified every few months, I agreed to some individual sessions. However, they tried to get me to buy 2 hours a months (a test and a new program each month)! No way...not going to happen...it's not like I don't do anything else. I finally decided to go for 2 hours every 3 months (for a total of 8 hours). It's worth a try, but if I don't feel that it's worth it well I'll have no problem saying no next year!

Do you guys ever feel pressured into paying for individual sessions at the gym?

Overall, I had a good week, but I was really busy and I missed my 30 minute run on Thursday. Not really a big deal. I used to get anxious if I had to miss a run on my program, especially when I first started running. I'd worry that when it came time to do the next session I'd have a hard time and I thought it might have an impact on race day :) No more! I've run too many races where I had to miss months of training due to injury and still managed to maintain my normal pace on race day. I even became a little too zen about the whole thing at some point...I think I'm finding a balance finally.

Nothing much to report this week...today was a 16.5Km long run and I continue to feel strong. Although, I was really tired the last few days. Yet, despite the lower energy level, my running is going well!

Next week, I'll tell you all about the Winter Pentathlon we have registered for as a family...it'll be great fun I'm sure!! :)

                                                     Have a great week! Cheers!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A good week!

Unknown

Week two included a 16km long run and a total of 44km. Today, week three began with another 16km long run. I'm feeling good and figuring out some interesting things. 

For example, for the last year, I ran three days a week and my long runs were much shorter. It's true that it did not affect my pace and I still manage a 30 second PR on my last half-marathon. However, although my pace remained stable, there was very little improvement. Also, my long runs were by time and not number of kms, therefore quite short, yet I remember often finding myself looking forward to finishing. They rarely felt easy.

Now, about six weeks ago, as I've already mentioned, I started running more often and my long runs are longer. Here's what I find very interesting. Although I run longer, the fact is, I'm not as anxious to get to the end of my run, I feel stronger and better able to handle the long runs. They feel easier! Hmmmm so I guess that's one thing I hadn't figured...doing more makes me stronger, being stronger, makes the task easier to deal with. It's only been a while, but I'll see if the trend continues :)

Another thing I did this week is join the gym after being away for two years. I want to make sure I have access to a treadmill when I want one, I want to work on my core and it'll get done if I follow a program, I also want to try Zumba, and do some spinning and power yoga classes (all free). So, I'll try and go two days a week at least (the days when my run is only 45 minutes)...that's the plan for now.

Yesterday was the Santa Shuffle on Mont Royal...I participated with my Super SIL and my amazing niece

We had a blast!

There's one more thing I wanted to show you. When I stopped blogging last year, I decided to turn my blog into a book of my journey to 42.2 as a souvenir for myself and for my children. I used Blurb (blog to book) and was really pleased with the result, so I thought I'd share. Here is a glimpse :)
 This is the Front cover (I chose soft-cover)
 A glimpse at the inside (very good quality paper)
The back cover, with a message to my kids :)

This book has over 200 pages and lots of photos, so my copies ended up costing a little over $50 each (CDN), even with a discount, but to me they were worth every penny! I just wanted to mention this to you in case you were hoping to find a way to keep a souvenir of your own journey. You can cut it down to as few pages as you want. It took me a couple of weeks of working many hours every evening to edit and decide what to keep and where to put the pictures on the pages. So, it's a lot of work, but again, totally worth it!

Have a good week everyone!
Cheers!
P.s. Can someone please explain the +1 that appears next to my blog posts? It says I need to join Google and then add these friends to my "circle", but I'm not sure what the difference is. Thanks :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I am strong!

"There are only two options regarding commitment: you're either in or you're out. There's no such thing as life in between." - Unknown

One down and 22 to go...the first week of my new program is done. A grand total of 43km. Today, week two begins with a 16km run and I'm feeling motivated. All week, as I was eating lentil soup and filling up on healthy snacks, I would jokingly remind my husband that "I am an athlete". The truth is, I want to take this round a little more seriously, training and fueling like the "athlete" that I want to be. Not the older asthmatic woman who is injury-prone and needs to take it easy athlete, but the healthy and strong woman who is willing to work hard athlete. Big difference...and it's all in my own mind! 

It's so easy to let our mind go in the wrong direction, convinced by ourselves and others that it is the TRUTH. Yet, we all know how important our perceptions are in fashioning our reality. It's a vicious circle that leads to the famous "self-fulfilling prophecy". Here is one of mine (but not for long):

"My asthma is very severe and requires a lot of meds. My doctor tells me that I will always need these meds and that I may eventually need more. So I'm quite sick and it definitely affects my lung capacity and my ability to run too fast."

I honestly believed that this thought running through my mind was realistic (the truth). Being a psychologist, it is my job to help clients view life more realistically and in a less depressing or anxiety-provoking way. So, I truly believed that in general my thoughts were mostly realistic. There was just one problem. If I thought something was realistic (for example, I'm sick - and it affects my lungs), then I believed it. I don't think that I let it restrict me too much, but I definitely considered it. 

For some reason, something clicked while I was reading another book on healing. I can choose to believe  that I am completely healthy. No, I will not stop taking my medication, but I will stop thinking about myself as someone with health problems. In fact, I've stopped already. 

I am healthy and that means I expect my body to adapt well to this increase in mileage and pace!

Cheers!

Do you have any beliefs that may be restricting you?
   


Sunday, November 18, 2012

First run of my new program - Check!


"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
St. Francis of Assisi

Today was the first run on my new training program. It started with a 14km long slow distance. Well, that's not exactly how it went. You see, my daughter started running this year and she has caught the bug. So now, she has a part time job working for a running store called, "La maison de la course" where she also leads a running 101 clinic. I'm so proud of her! So this morning, I wanted to go shopping for winter running clothes and I decided to go with my daughter and join one of the running groups at the store. The longest run that was going close to my pace was an 8km distance group, so I joined them. Usually, when I do my Sunday runs, I use a 10/1 ratio. However, this morning, my run was non-stop and at a steady run pace...it also included two solid hills. It was a beautiful day and I truly enjoyed running with the group, but I was 6km short for the day.

I then went shopping and my daughter asked me to wait for her and we could run 6km together after her work. So this evening, when she came home, my son joined us and the three of us went for a run. How lucky am I to get to run with two of my kids :)

So once again, the run was at a steady pace and non-stop. This means that today I ran a total of 14km, as per my program! That's it, I've taken the first necessary step towards my goal.

Have a great week everyone!
Cheers!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Starting this Sunday - Byebye comfort zone ;)

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
Neale Donald Walsch
I agree that life is more exciting when we dare to step outside our comfort zone, but I can't say I've ever enjoyed taking those first steps. Although I've never regretted it, ever! 

Mostly, when I've stepped outside my comfort zone, it was to do something that scared me (such as teach a class for the first time or fly in a small plane). But, once it was over, it was over! I then felt super proud and glad I'd said yes. However, this time, the outer zone I'm planning on stepping into is one that requires enduring some degree of pain. I've been there a few times and it's not something I've gotten used to. I don't particularly enjoy pushing myself too hard. It's kind of nice to just run at a comfortable pace and enjoy the scenery.  BUT...

When I signed off after running my marathon in September 2011, I remember specifically writing that I wasn't looking to run faster. I wanted to enjoy running and stay injury free...and I did. Now, after a year, I do want to try and run faster...but, I'm a little scared. Yet, I get it that if I step out regularly, eventually, my comfort zone will be a little bigger...and that's the whole point! I'm motivated and ready to give it my all!

So I'm scared excited to start my new program this coming Sunday and my first long run is 14km. :)

Thanks for welcoming me back blogger friends...I really appreciate it!!

Cheers!

How often do you step outside your comfort zone? 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I'm back with a new goal!


"You are the person who has to decide. Whether you'll do it or toss it aside; you are the person who makes up your mind. Whether you'll lead or will linger behind. Whether you'll try for the goal that's afar. Or just be contented to stay where you are." Edgar A. Guest
 
 
A fun run with family!
 
Since last September, when I ran my first marathon, I have continued to run races and have been enjoying a wonderfully long injury-free stretch! I am so grateful...really, really grateful (please don't think I'm tempting you, injury gods).
 
For those who don't know, I started running a little over three years ago at the age of 50. The main goal initially was to improve my cardio to help with my severe asthma. I completed my first half-marathon in May 2010 in 2h21m?s (there's a point to why I'm giving you my finish time). I then went on to complete two more half-marathons that year, then again the next May (for each one of those, I had registered for the marathon, but injury prevented me from completing my training). I finally ran my first (and only so far) marathon in September 2011. Since then, I have run three more half-marathons with my last one being in September 2012 in 2h17m55s!
 
So, six half-marathons and one marathon later, my time has improved by a grand total of 3 minutes and some seconds. Now, I admit that my training program has been more of a maintenance type program. I was running 3 to 4 days a week and using time instead of kms, which means that I never had that much mileage under my belt. Still, I figured that not being injured and being able to actually get through almost all the runs in my program should have helped a little more than a 2 minute PR (last race). I guess not. I know I'm 53 and a half years old and that most people lose speed at my age, they don't improve. But, since I just started not so long ago, I thought I'd still have a bit of room to grow, right?
 
Therefore, now that my body seems to have adapted to running and is not so easily injured, I have decided that I am going to try and ease out of my comfort zone (not somewhere I especially like to visit) and try to aim for a PR. I have found this great program that is geared towards this exact goal. However, it requires me to run 5 or 6 days a week. Therefore, over the last four weeks, I have been running more often in order to prepare my body for this new program. So far, it's going well :)
 
My training program starts the week of November 18th and lasts 23 weeks. I am registered for the Scotiabank half-marathon on April 28th, 2013 in Montreal and best of all...my daughter is now a runner and will be training (not the same program) to complete her first ever half-marathon at this same race!!! I'm super excited!
 
I'm hoping that by following a more intensive program, as well as joining the gym again (giving me access to a treadmill on those icy freezing days) and encouraging me to do more core work, will allow me to reach my goal of a true half-marathon PR.
 
So, that's why I'm back...as with the marathon, I want to keep a journal of my journey towards this new goal. We'll see how it goes!
 
Cheers!