Sunday, January 27, 2013

The TM and another week!

"The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights."
Muhammad Ali
The weather in the province of Québec this week was Siberian (actually, it was warmer in Siberia last week than in Québec)! To give you an idea, temperature 'felt' outside during the day, with the sun shining brightly, was something like -17°F on Wednesday (night time temps were down to -30°F...crazy). The whole week was extremely cold. So, having just gotten over a cold and still being on prednisone, I ran on the treadmill (TM) this week. Although I prefer to run outdoors, I am not one of those who hates the TM. You see, when I run outdoors, I never listen to music. It's not about safety or any reason other than the fact that I just don't feel the need and I don't enjoy it that much, especially when I'm out for a long run. However, when I'm on the TM I always listen to music. It's part of my routine and I really enjoy's completely different than running outdoors for me and it makes TM running fun! I wouldn't want to always run on the TM, and after three days in a row this week, I was definitely looking forward to my long run outside today, but I did enjoy my runs on the TM this week.
Yesterday, I ran 4.5km with my snowshoes on! I barely walked (just a bit during the first km, which was quite a bit uphill and I wasn't warmed up enough). Otherwise, I ran! It gave me an idea of how long it might take me to complete my 4.5km run during the pentathlon (it took me 39m02s). The goal is to try and complete it in 35 minutes...we'll see!
Part of the trail is on the mountain in the background, this was where I finished.
Today, long run Sunday, I woke from a good night's sleep with some sore legs :) ...okay, maybe snowshoe running the day before a long run wasn't my best move! Regardless, it was beautiful outside, sunny, dry and 8°F (temperature felt was 0°F)...amazing weather when compared to the last three Sundays. So I did what I had to do, got myself out there and ran an awesome 24km in 2h41m. I am so proud of myself for just getting it done. Despite the sunshine, water still tends to freeze in the bottle at those temps...but, today, I came up with a plan. I was wearing two pairs of gloves at the beginning of my run, but I was soon too warm and had to remove the top pair. That's when I had my flashbulb moment...
Totally worked! The water still froze some, but not enough to prevent me from drinking :)
Let me leave you with some great mantras that some of you have shared:
"Say yes more"
"Be your own hero"
"Just keep moving"
"Strong and smooth"
"I can. I will. I am."
"Keep calm and run strong."
and of course..."Whatever it takes."
Have a great week!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Obstacles will happen

 "An excuse becomes an obstacle in your journey to success when it is made in place of your best effort or when it is used as the object of the blame."
Bo Bennett

Asthma blip: Two weeks ago, I was fighting off a cold and I thought I might win...but, then that Friday morning, I woke with a sore throat and things started going downhill. By last Saturday, it was decided that I had to go back on prednisone (an oral corticosteroid). It had been 101 days without prednisone, but I'm still trying to beat my longest stretch of 143 days without. Anyways, after five days on prednisone, I still wasn't feeling better and my symptoms were feeling flu-like (although I had been vaccinated). I was still training and if you remember well, my 18K last Sunday was in the rain. But finally, I decided my body needed a rest and I didn't do anything Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, I started to feel better, I went to yoga, and then continued to rest. Saturday, was a relaxed 5K on the TM. I'll probably be on prednisone for another week, but I am definitely feeling better. Moving on :)

It's good timing that this week was a recovery week...but, I now know that even if I have to miss some of the runs on my program, it doesn't matter! I'm glad that it was such a minor obstacle and starting today, I'm back on track.

Today starts week 10 of my program and I had 22K to run...which, I did. The weather was unbelievably all over the place. Crazy wind all the time, but the temperature was relatively mild and the sun was shining when I left (I even wore my sunglasses). By about the 3rd km, the sky gets really grey and it starts to hail in my face (I kept my sunglasses on for protection), then it switched to huge wet snowflakes (had to take the sunglasses off then) and it lasted for a few kilometers. Followed by normal snow, sun, more stormy and intense snow, all to end with sunshine and the wind at my back. Seriously!! When I got home, my husband was worried, "I called you twice, I wanted to go get you! It was awful there for a while." My thoughts while I was running against the wind and snow during the stormy parts went something like this, "If it becomes unbearable, I will go onto someone's porch and call home." "But, I'm actually okay, and so I guess I haven't reached the quitting point yet." In the end, I was able to do the whole thing and I was done in 2 hours 32 minutes (a minute faster than my 20K two weeks ago). 

I wanted to mention something that touched me this week. Some of you may have seen the video of the 85 year old woman who ran like 80 marathons since she quit smoking at age 64.

At one point she says something that really strikes a cord with me...she's talking about doing what needs to be done to stay on her own. Something like, "If I have to exercise, I'll exercise. If I have to watch what I eat, I'll watch what I eat. Whatever it takes!" Those three words...they are my mantra in life. I realized that whenever I have a goal that is important to me, I get into this "Whatever it takes" mindset and it really keeps me motivated. If it doesn't have the desired outcome, well it doesn't, but I aim to do whatever it takes. I will soon be 54 years old, and let me tell you that, so far,  those three little words have served me well! 

Do you have a life mantra?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Warrior Week! :)

"The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes or other people's opinions." Paulo Coelho

I wonder if following a training program is considered a formula or a recipe or someone else's opinion :) ...probably, but giving it my own touch makes is a little bit original...right? Okay, so let's just say I had a Warrior week!

Tuesday's short run was switched to snowshoeing - the snow was deeper and so I mostly walked those 5K, but it was a good workout. Then Wednesday was a 60 minute run that included 20 minutes at race pace (had to do that on the TM). Then Thursday I ran 70 minutes easy (outside). So far, so good, but on top of last Sunday's 20K, my legs were feeling heavier.

Friday was a beautiful day and we still had snow, so instead of a short run I went CCskiing with a girlfriend on Mont St. Bruno. Not super flat, but we stuck to the easy trails. It was my first time back after about three years. The distance was difficult to figure out, but it looks like we did about 7km.

Having a blast!

However, I got up Saturday morning and I wasn't feeling well, I'd been fighting a cold for a few days and it seemed to have won. Plus some groin pain from the skiing...bla bla bla. The reasons for not doing my run and strides were good and plenty. My mind was having a field day, "It's okay to miss one run", "Maybe I can just do a short run", "I can just stop if it's too much", "Maybe I can just do four strides", "Well, I can cut back on the cool down", OMG the chatter going on in my mind, and all that time, my body got out there and did all eight 100m strides, as well as the whole 50 minutes! I felt like a freaking warrior for getting it done.

THEN, today was an 18km long run, and believe it or not, it was RAINING with weather in the low 40's (warm for this time of year in Québec). Shut the brain off, get dressed in a way that I hope will keep me relatively dry-ish and head out. Two hours later, I'm done, I'm soaked through and through and I'm smiling! Warrior Week! :)

Next week I have two rest days on the program - I guess even Warriors need rest days once in a while ;)


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Healthy and strong in 2013!

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other."
Abraham Lincoln

As usual, the holiday season was both wonderful and exhausting, making staying with the program much more difficult. Still, only a few runs were missed and I mostly stayed on track. I'm amazed at how well my body has adapted to this increase in mileage over the past two months. However, the most important change is the one in my mind. Before beginning this intensive program, I was terrified that it would be too much for me and that I would regret it. Yet, the most important part of me (my mind) was convinced that I could do this, that I was healthy and strong enough. Of course, I still have a long way to go (week 8 of 23), but I am thrilled with my progress so far.

On December 30th was the resolution run on Mount Royal - so the first half is all downhill and the second half is all uphill. Not an easy run. Plus, it was cold and windy...but we were there as a family and that kept us warm. Also, because I had 16K planned for that day, I ran 10K in the morning and then we had the race in the evening. I felt kind of hardcore doing a 10K on the morning of a race :) ...the best part was running the whole thing with my daughter!

My son, myself, my daughter, my niece and my daughter's bf.
Those are the cool jackets they gave us!

One thing I have been doing is replacing one of my shorter steady runs with snowshoe running. It's great for the cardio and gives my legs a more intense workout. The next day's run always feels much lighter and easier. 

We're lucky to have a huge field in the backyard...
I'm off for a snowshoe run on someone's skidoo tracks :)

Finally, the thing that had me most terrified was the length of the Sunday long runs on this program. The first one of the program is 14Km and by last Sunday, it was 20Km, which is pretty much the whole half marathon distance. Add to that the fact that we have tons of snow this year, it's often snowing while I run and the roads have a layer of light feels like I'm running on a sandy beach (without the tank top)...and despite the Yaktrax, my ankles are working harder. I guess the point is that I'm glad I didn't know it would be like this, because I probably wouldn't have found out that I can do this! It's like my mind has a, well...a mind of it's own (haha) and it merely shuts down. There's no hesitation, I just don't THINK...I get dressed, I get out there and I just DO kilometer at a time.

My proud shoes after 20K in the snow :)

What's cool about being out there for over two hours - actually it took me a grand total of 2h33m to complete 20K in the heavy snow...anyway, so what's cool is that it's a long time and things happen. For example, I don't make much noise in the snow, so as I pass this man who is walking, he jumps and says "Oh! You scared me!" Me: "Sorry! Didn't mean to scare you." We smile and wish each other a nice day. Then a few kilometers later, I had taken a detour and came upon the exact same man, this time, I slowed down as I went by him and when he saw me, he smiled this huge smile, "AH hello :)" and I said, "Didn't want to scare you this time." I grin and he was a fun encounter. Another interesting encounter occurred when I ran by a driveway that had a snowplow in it. The driver saw me go by, but that was it...however, almost half an hour later, I come upon the same snowplow in another driveway, this time, he was about to go into the street when he saw me coming, so he waited. I looked up at him and smiled as I increased my speed a bit, he put his hand up to let me know that I could take my time and he smiled. Not much later, he went by me on the road as I was, of course, still running. He fist pumped his encouragement, which made me smile big as I waved to him. That, plus a ton of smiles from other walkers and runners...they just make it feel not so long and not so difficult. 

Okay...time to get out there. Today is a snowshoe run!!
Cheers Everyone!

Have you had any cool encounters when you're out for your long runs?