Spring is (hopefully) here!

AHHHHHHHHHHHH.It’s officially Spring as of yesterday. It has been truly winter-like for us here on the northwest coast of BC where it’s usually super mild! It has lasted longer than I can ever remember in the past and since I’ve pretty much trained straight through between Fall and Spring racing seasons due to Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, I’VE NOTICED.. I’m not complaining, just noticing and feeling ready for the weather to change!

 

I BOUGHT A TREADMILL AND I’M SO EXCITED!!! (is that weird?)

I’ve spent a fair amount of time on a treadmill since the fall and I have actually come to love doing certain speed workouts and hill intervals on the infamous “dreadmill”. I EVEN BOUGHT MY OWN. Never thought I’d say that. My machine hasn’t arrived yet, but it’s shipped and soon this baby will be mine…probably the day the last bit of snow melts hahaha.

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NordicTrack C1750 coming my way!

I plan to use my new treadmill throughout the year (and probably decorate it to reflect festive times) to throw in a few extra miles here and there when I have spare time at home, for specific workouts from Coach Andrew, and when the weather is BRUTAL.

Over the snowy months I also invested in some (run)Yaktrax and have not only come to highly appreciate them, but to love them! So awesome! If you like to run outside regardless of the snow and ice, you need to get a pair of these. Unreal. I wonder if they go on sale in the non-snowy months?

yaktraxI’m ready for any late(r) dumps of snow that decide to suprise us, AND I have the option to train in the comfort of my own home any time I feel like it now, too. Yess.

 

Okay, back to Spring.

The things I’m most excited about, besides feeling my runners come into direct contact with the pavement, are more daylight to accomodate both super early and after work runs, spring & summer gear, and RACES. Duh.

Bring on the shorts weather! Shorts & fun compression socks! I have a few new pairs of new shorts from Oiselle that I can’t even wait to be free in! And speaking of compression socks, I was recently contacted by a rep from Tiux who asked if I’d be interested in trying their new endurance socks. (Duh). He sent me the True Red/Maroon Endurance graduated compression socks and they are REALLY awesome. My feet are crazy (and gross) and I really don’t like socks that are too thick, thin (blisters & calluses), slide down, don’t breathe, etc, etc, etc. These socks are awesome. I tested them out on a treadmill run of about 8km in a pair of shoes I don’t wear outdoors, and then again in my usual long-run Nikes last weekend for a very long, very soggy 33km with Sam, and my feet were feeling totally fine by the end of it. The leg compression feels good, not too tight but tight enough, and the colour is sweet. They are also specific to left and right. I’m sold. If you want to get yourself a pair, here is my link for 15% off! http://tiux.refr.cc/jamiek

 

What is Coming Up?

Now that my two goal races for spring are approaching, I’ve decided to recap each week of training on Sundays here on the blog going forward so stay tuned for that on Sunday if you are a runNerd like me and enjoy that type of thing! This is going to be mostly for accountability and reflection, but who knows, maybe it will be interesting to you, motivating, or spark ideas.

First goal race is THE TENACIOUS TEN presented by my most favourite running apparel company, Oiselle. I love Oiselle and I recently became part of their Oiselle Volee team, which is a global community made up of women with diverse running backgrounds and competitive goals.


This race is happening in Seattle on April 22nd which also happens to be Earth Day, starting and finishing in Gasworks Park. There is a ten mile as well as a ten kilometer race. I’m running the ten miler, while my friend Whitney is taking on the 10k. I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS WEEKEND TRIP! The medal is A COWBELL and all runners get a Tenacious 10 trucker hat.

Woo. I look foward to leaving it all out there – shit is gonna get (the good kind of) ugly – and then I will use the experience as a way to refine my goals for…

The CALGARY MARATHON on May 28th! This will be my first time attempting to break 4 hours in the marathon. I have run three full marathons so far and I feel ready, but anything can happen on race day. There is a crew of #rupertrunners heading to Calgary for various distances during this event weekend and it’s going to be a very Canadian time as the weekend theme is Canada’s 150th birthday. Canadian flag compression socks from Running Skirts will be a must at this race. Will report back, of course.

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New, very far in advance plans

OH and lastly for today..I have a problem. I want to run every race. I’m also pretty impulsive, not afraid to run alone or travel alone, and I like planning shit. So yeah. I picked out my fall marathon already, California International Marathon, and then, when I somehow came to notice that registration for the BMO Mesa-Phoenix is already open (a February marathon I’ve been interested in for a bit) I did some more reading to find out that it usually sells out, so.. yeah I registered for that too. Whoops. At least defferals are allowed.. 🙂

Sober Project Update: How I get buzzed lately. (I haven’t had alcohol in 444 days).

It makes me sad when I think about the fact that for fifteen years of my life I incorporated alcohol into as many situations as possible, no matter what I was doing or who I was with. This is not an exaggeration. Don’t worry, then I get really happy because it’s not like that anymore. I try all the time to understand why I (and bazillions of others,) feel like alcohol is essential for a good time, or even an “alright” time. It’s so fucked up.

Living is how we learn things about the world and about ourselves, and we all do it at different times and rates and in different orders, but now that I’ve had a significant time away from booze and can see that I used it to blur the lines of life for so long, I have a new perspective and I’m just sharing a piece of it with you in case it’s helpful in any way. I’m not an alcohol hater and I’m not trying to preach, just sharing.

Before I began the sober project at the end of 2015, I didn’t really know I was doing it but I was constantly trying to use booze to feel more confident, care-free, relaxed, funny, adventurous or warm and fuzzy, just to name a few feelings that we are socialized to believe alcohol provides, or enhances. Why? I either didn’t have the personal resources to create those feelings on my own, at the time, or it could just be that I never tried! Drinking, I felt, was fully required to enjoy, succeed at or simply handle:

  • basically any meal with friends, family, acquaintances or strangers
  • work functions
  • meeting new people
  • a day off
  • bike riding
  • catching up with someone
  • time spent at the beach
  • cooking
  • shopping
  • casual walks or exploring
  • campfires
  • flirting, dating, romantic experiences
  • coping with loss
  • being the passenger on a road trip
  • winding down or de-stressing after work
  • boredom
  • watching TV shows, movies or sports
  • playing softball
  • golfing (yes, I’ve golfed a little)
  • riding a bus, train, ferry or plane
  • holding conversation at social functions with people I had nothing in common with
  • cleaning the house
  • enjoying a bath (or sometimes shower)

Okay, that is like the longest list ever. It’s SO EMBARRASSING!!!! (my opinion). I feel like I could sum up it all up by saying something like,

“hello! I have no real hobbies, interests or passions and I’m so uncomfortable in my own skin/head that I partially numb myself to all experiences! I also don’t like my friends or family (or myself) enough to enjoy spending time with them in my right mind!”

HAHAH like wtf!? Okay that’s an extreme statement and I’ll stop being mean to myself now, because that’s not cool. I was just trying to make a point. Most of the things on the list above are really fun, if you actually like the task or activity at hand, the people you’re with, you are in the right mood and have an open mind. It’s so simple now that I have a new frame of reference. Alcohol was decreasing the authenticity of all my experiences and therefore my life as a whole, as well as my future. For real. I feel like I’ve made the discovery of a lifetime!

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Kate is right!

I don’t care if you think this is corny or me attempting to stick up for sobriety because it has a bad rap for being boring and lame. Additionally, I understand that many people do not have issues with alcohol and everything I’m saying might be making you raise your eyebrows. This is just my experience, but the feedback I’ve gotten from previous posts about my counterproductive relationship with booze tells me that I’m not the only person who feels this way about alcohol. So back to the point. Now, I get a buzz by actually fuckin experiencing things in the raw. Undisguised, intense and unedited real-life shit!

Legit conversations with people I like and who I find interesting, vs. what I used to do at social events which was make small talk with anyone and everyone, as many of us created a false sense of camaraderie around drinking alcohol. Instead of sleeping in and feeling like shit, getting up before it’s light out to run, get fresh air, maybe see the sunrise and sweat my balls off with my friends before half the time zone has even woken up. Laughing at seriously funny shit and remembering it clearly later. Being by the ocean, on the lake or up a mountain, and fully experiencing my surroundings instead of chugging fireball and being half checked-out of the moment. Feeling fresh, happy and energetic in the morning, ready to start an awesome day because I don’t have a dehydration headache and I washed off my makeup before bed. Getting to enjoy a coffee with my amazing husband, hangover-free. There is way too much to go on and on about here!

For far too long I made the mistake of believing that booze made things more intense. Woooo let’s get pissed and have the best time! Wrong. Not drinking intensified everything in my life and it’s indescribable. Events, emotions, relationships. Not every intensified feeling is positive, don’t be fooled, but even facing shitty stuff head-on and coming out on the other side unscathed with some new wisdom and no hangover is pretty sick.

So that’s my non-drinking update. Yes, it’s stil going really well, and yes, I’d recommend it. No, I don’t miss having drinks, and no, I’m probably not going to ever drink again. My life is better and more fun and exciting than ever before. Okay, and I’m so sober right now and overwhelmed by how happy I am, I’m like crying. That’s some intense shit man ahahahahah ✌✌

“Everything you want is on the other side of Fear”…or in this case, Five.

I’ve told you about this before. Back in 2013, I subconsciously joined a non-existent club called the Slow Sucky Runners Club. Next, I developed a complex around running paces per kilometer that start with five. Anything below 6:00/km I classified as “too fast” and “too hard” for me. The numbers really don’t matter, this is just my example of something ridiculous and NOT REAL that I decided to believe about myself. Do you have a belief like this?

How can that be scary? Well, not being able to do something we want to do can be really scary. Fear of failing, not being good enough, etc, are common fears among many of us, not just relating to running or athletic performance. In running, the only way to fail is to give up. I am not giving up. And what does enough even mean? Good enough for what!?

Last Sunday, at the West Van Run 10km, something cool happened. It didn’t happen to me, I made it happen! I went in with a similar mindset to the Historic Half race in November when I broke two hours for the first time in the half marathon; I felt confident in the work I’d put in and I knew what I was capable of. I wasn’t thinking negatively about myself, I was believing good things and ready to try really hard and make good things happen. But first, rewind a bit.

I wrote exactly this in a recent post about self-limiting beliefs and upcoming race goals:

 

West Van Run 10km – March 5th

  • don’t go out too fast
  • say yes instead of no to discomfort
  • average pace goal 5:15

 

I’m calling myself out right now on the third bullet point. What a load of shit! I knew I wanted to run faster than 52:30 in this race, I wanted to run something closer to 50 minutes, with a very deep, secret goal to get down into 49:something. But I low-balled. Just in case I didn’t pull it off. WHY? After giving it some thought, I know it’s because if I didn’t do it, people would know because I shared it online. Because I thought I’d feel embarrassed that I thought I could run that time but I actually couldn’t. Because I’d have to admit to myself that I, on that given day, in those given conditions, didn’t manage to run as fast as I hoped to, although I knew it was physically possible and realistic. All kinds of inner-critic crap.

Just reading those reasons truly reminds me that it doesn’t matter if we set goals and don’t reach them on the first try, or second or third, or even ever! The point is that we are trying. I know deep down what is difficult yet realistic for myself, and so do you, for yourself. I also know that even though something may be possible, I still need to execute when the time comes to perform, and that isn’t always guaranteed to happen because I am a person, not a machine or a robot. From now on, when I share goals I’m going to triple-check with myself that I’m not bullshitting. If you read something I share and you think, “she’s bullshitting, that’s a sandbagger goal” then please, call me out. I’m going to go and edit that post with the spring race goals.

I didn’t go out too fast in the race on Sunday. I listened to my body, but also took full advantage of all the little downhills and wasn’t too conservative. I kept a close eye on my watch to make sure I didn’t make a rookie mistake and accidentally run a sub-5 minute kilometer early on. I reminded myself to respect the distance, like my friend Jeph told me to remember, and forced myself to keep holding back a bit. I trusted my training, and myself. My pace was pretty even up until around the seven kilometer mark and I told myself after that to start chipping it down. I definitely said yes instead of no to discomfort in the last couple kilometers. Mile repeats on the treadmill came to mind. Very hard, but manageable! The last 800 meters were basically gross, but I’ve gone there in training and I just focused on the fact that faster = being done sooner. I kept telling myself “you’ll be done in a sec!” and “today is the day” and “do it now.”

 

Shannon Banal Photography #westvanrun

 

The stupid fear of 5’s can piss off because I’m over it. My last three kilometer splits were 4:48, 4:40 and 4:30 !! Who am I? I’m myself, not that runner I decided I was before who never went out of her comfort zone. The times don’t matter. It’s the fact that I, and that we all, can do things that our inner critics tell us we cannot.

 

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Shannon Banal Photography #westvanrun – hmm my pain-face is a little misleading LOL

Guess what my average pace was, overall? 4:59/km hahaha! That’s right, not anything in the 5’s, 4:59/km! So yeah. Everything I’ve been wanting, or at least some of the things I’ve been wanting, like to trust my training, believe in myself and run my best 10k, were just on the other side of some fear. Where I’m at right now, it was just on the other side of FIVE. I know that what intimidates me will change over time, depending on where I’m at with running and what’s going on in my life; lots of what I want will be on the other side of other “scary” things. But what I have learned is that it’s not scary to try harder, it’s actually really fun and VERY rewarding.

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woo! like my Momentum Jewelry bracelet? I’ll have one to give away soon…

Race Reviews: Vancouver Hot Chocolate Run & West Van Run 10km!

I started my weekend even more pumped than usual after being selected as a Momentum Jewelry ambassador on Wednesday, and then registering for CIM on Friday while waiting on the results of my (unsuccessful) NYC Marathon lottery entry! (More about these things another time.) Also, this time around I didn’t need to travel six thousand kilometers through four different airports to get to my races! How nice, lol! Even so, I dealt with a flight delay in both directions…I’m so over delayed flights! The weather showed this statement for Vancouver area over the weekend and I got a bit nervous…lots of my friends suffered the disappointment of First Half being cancelled in early February!

It was a relief on Saturday when we woke up to a really nice day! Try Events’ Vancouver Hot Chocolate Run was the first of two events this weekend. Since my friend Emma is the coordinator of the Try Events volunteers, we got there early and I helped with packet pickup while she did her thing with her fifty or more volunteers! If you live in the GVRD and are looking to volunteer, this is a fun way to help out.

The start and finish area was at Lumberman’s Arch Concession in Stanley Park, which wasn’t open (too bad) but it was a good spot either way. Getting there was easy – it’s right beside the aquarium and it looked like parking was convenient and easy for those who drove. Not going to lie, the packet pickup could have been WAY more organized, but even so, I highly appreciate the option to pick up on the day of the race. I found my own bib and shoe tag and then helped out at the table as best I could. The gear check was more legit than at the Historic Half, where it was an unattended coat closet in Stanley Park Pavilion…sketchy. Never bring valuables with you to a race, and keep your ID and phone on you!

As it got closer to the 10am start, November Project Vancouver lead a fun warmup and then the 10.4km runners (250 ish participants) were sent off, and shortly after the 5km runners, which had about the number. Seriously beautiful day!! The course was well marked and the volunteers along the route did a good job making sure nobody took a wrong turn. Even though it was a simple loop of Stanley Park, there are a couple turns where a runner could easily go the wrong way. The two water stops were minimal but seemed to work fine for the size of the race, and I got to see two friends who were volunteers at the first water station! There are a few places on the route with public bathrooms, like by Second Beach Pool, which I unfortunately had to stop at but didn’t really mind since I wasn’t “racing.”

As far as I know, there were only photos taken at the start and finish of the race, and from what I saw on Facebook I didn’t end up with a finish line photo myself. Dang. These photos are just in a big album so you need to go on to the Try Events Facebook page and look through them to find yourself if you want a race pic. My friend Joe, the finish-line announcer, did a fine job shouting out to I’m pretty sure every single finisher, and once crossing the finish mat all runners received the cutest finisher’s medal. How cool is this medal? All finishers also received an event mug and hot chocolate!

I didn’t take a race shirt when getting my bib before the race because I never end up wearing them, but the shirts were actually really nice, long-sleeve tech shirts in a royal blue colour. People loved them! Stanley Park is such a wicked place to run, and the start/finish area worked well. Unlike my last Try Events race, however, there wasn’t a venue to actually go inside, so it was lucky that the weather cooperated precipitation-wise.

I totally enjoyed this event. I definitely got a fun-run feel vs. a “race” feel, which was what I was there for that day myself anyway, to warm up for the official 10km race the following morning in West Van, but I know there are people who race to win regardless of the event and in their case it probably felt more competetive. It’s what you make it, right? There was a kid’s race as well which made the whole morning very family-friendly, if that’s something you’re looking for. I’d recommend the Hot Chocolate Run for sure if you’re in the area, but I wouldn’t make my way to Vancouver just to participate in this one.

Later than night Emma (above) and I treated ourselves to a sleepover at the Four Seasons hahaha. A hot tub and lazy evening followed by the best sleep in a huge comfy bed was the best before event #2.

It snowed over night! But West Van Run was on it and I woke up early on Sunday morning to an email from the event coordinators letting runners know it was STILL ON! Highly appreciated, it really sucks to be left hanging and unsure if the event will proceed!

After my breakfast and slimroast (no time for gut problems today, no thank you!) and figuring out what to wear in a cold, slushy race that I was taking seriously, I took a cab to the West Van Community Centre because I didn’t feeling like dealing with transit on the way to the race, although it was definitely an option. It was about $20 from downtown Van.

I need to be honest here, I’m pretty dissapointed in how poorly the event theme, which was Super Heroes, was promoted. I didn’t see anything about it anywhere aside from on the West Van Run website under “info” and they were pretty good about promoting the event all over social media, just never mentioning anything about super heroes! I made a sweet batgirl costume but after waking up that morning with a bit of a sore throat, snow, and a little sad that Emma wasn’t coming with me because she’s injured, I just said forget it. I’m glad I did, because there were only two people I saw dressed up out of just about 500 participants! Anyways. Getting to the community center was easy and parking looked good for those who drove. The restrooms got pretty busy, but nothing out of control. Same day bib pickup was smooth and easy and participants got a West Van Run water bottle (pretty nice, actually) and then I got to hang out inside for an hour and stay warm and comfy. Bag check was just as easy, and the gear was transferred for us to the finish area at Dundarave Park. I did my own little warm up inside, and then five minutes or so before the 8:30 start time, I went outside and joined in with the warm-up crew. Then we walked to the start line which was just a few meters in front of the community centre on the street. It was a mass start with chip timing and there was basically zero time spent outside getting cold. Awesome!

My shwings were the extent of my costume..

The course was fast, mostly flat with a few downhill sections, and the second half was beautiful and scenic going through Ambleside Park and along the West Van Seawall. No complaints about the first half, I just wouldn’t call Park Royal beautiful or scenic haha. I actually can’t even remember if there were multiple water stops because I felt REALLY good during my entire run and was on a mission, not looking for water, but there was one place I remember volunteers handing out bottled water. I also don’t remember noticing Porta Potties, but there had to have been somewhere to go the bathroom? I hope so! The last two kilometres along the seawall were amaaaazing and it was really motivating being able to see the finish line over a kilometer in the distance!  I made friends with a young girl running a similar pace and we pushed each other and both finished under 50 minutes! Sallee won her division and I destroyed my 5:15/km pace goal that I set for myself…I low-balled hard, probably in fear of failing. Must stop doing this. YES! 4:59/km average pace! So proud of myself!

No participant medals or shirts included in this race, just medals for the winners, and I didn’t buy a shirt when I registered, but the post-race food was great; it was indoors, simple to exchange the tear-off part of the bib in exchange for a snack bag, and there was some good stuff in those paper bags, including this mint birch sap beverage by 52 North that deserves a mention. Check it out here. It took seriously one second to get my gear bag which I was thankful for because it was cold and my feet were soaked from the slushy course, and then I walked a block up to Marine Drive and hopped on the bus back to downtown Vancouver. It couldn’t have been easier! You don’t need a vehicle to get to this event, that is for sure!

I loved this race! Although I didn’t stick around for long after because I wanted to get back to the hotel to my friends, it was a great race experience! There was an awesome balance of competetive and fun vibes and it was extremely well organized. The slushy roads weren’t the best, obviously, but it could have been so much worse. I highly recommend this event and I would plan a Vancouver weekend to participate again in the future. There is a 5km race on the Saturday and 10km on Sunday, and next time I think I’ll register for both. Very good experience!

Overall, both of these events were great and I recommend both. The best part for me, of course, was having another breakthrough racing experience like I did in November at the Historic Half, but that’s not part of these race reviews so you can read about that sometime very soon in a separate post if you’re interested!

Peeeeace!

Running Past Self-Limiting Beliefs! (+ scary goals for spring race season)

WOOO it’s officially spring in less than a month, and spring training is well underway. Where I live, we have just four local races per year. Each is awesome in its own way, but I am extra excited this year. Our first one is April 9th and if you’re interested you can read more about it here #rupertrunners yayaaa

If you keep up with this blog at all, you may be familiar with the “category” I originally put myself in as a runner, which I now identify as the “slow, sucky runner” category, which isn’t even a real thing, by the way. If you run, you’re a runner. The terms slow and fast are totally relative and mean completely different things to different people. I do my best not to use the term slow anymore, because it is often used negatively, plus slow for one person is light speed to another. Running is running! However, I know I’m not alone when I say that right off the bat I decided I was slow, non-competitive and simply running to cross finish lines, stay fit, feel proud and collect bling. That’s it. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But looking back now, this was my way of protecting myself from failing, although I couldn’t tell you what that means exactly, and my way of avoiding doing difficult, scary stuff like trying new things and pushing through and past comfort zones. I didn’t even try to run faster until last summer!

Looking back now, this was my way of protecting myself from failing, although I couldn’t tell you what that means exactly, and my way of avoiding doing difficult, scary stuff like pushing through and past comfort zones.

I spent a large portion of last Fall working with Suzanne on extinguishing (or taming to the best of my ability) some self-limiting beliefs. Being a slow, sucky runner was one of mine that we focused on a lot, which really boils down to the Trump of all self-limiting beliefs for the majority of people, which is “not being good enough.”  When a person is born, he or she doesn’t have any beliefs about themself, the world or about life yet; we develop these beliefs over time based on our experiences and our interactions with parental figures and other authority figures such as teachers, coaches and care-givers. We then can find ourselves as adults with some very unhelpful ideas about ourselves. As we wrapped up the limiting beliefs unit (which was unbelievable, by the way,) the so-called finale was when I went to Vancouver to run Try Events‘ Historic Half with some friends. I got the chance to execute my race the way I wanted to based on everything Suzanne and I worked on together and it was a huge breakthrough race for me!

Here’s the story. In 2013 I ran my first half. The training was with Team in Training and I was very inconsistent. Despite half-assing the program I crossed the finish-line at the Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon in San Francisco in 02:32:xx and got my first taste of the complete race-day experience. Absolutely incredible! At the time, I knew nothing about pace or how long it took different people to run 21.1 km. I ran it to complete it, and in my opinion that’s exactly what should be done the first time around, whatever your first goal race is. I got a lot better with consistency and trained through the following spring to run the BMO Vancouver 1/2 in May 2014 and finished up with a 02:10:54. I was surprised and very happy with that 22 minute improvement! A new PR! (Personal record.) But I was still running totally within my comfort zone. By that time I’d gotten myself a watch for running (loved my Garmin Forerunner 10) and it was during that spring that I developed a full-blown complex around paces per kilometer that had a 5 in front of them. I for some reason decided that 05:xx/km was really fast, too fast for me to maintain, and that I was content staying where I was, pace-wise. These numbers are irrelevant to my point. Running faster was scary, hard and uncomfortable. So scary. But I decided it was okay because I believed I was just running to log distance, stay in shape, collect bibs and finisher’s medals and enjoy the camaraderie of running. At races, before even starting, I accepted that I was just there to participate, take it easy, let the “fast people” do their thing and be a part of the running community. The next three half marathons I ran I did not improve my finish time nor my race day experience, largely because of the things I believed about myself as a runner.

At the Historic Half, I didn’t believe that shit anymore, or was doing my very best not to believe it. I was focusing on new, inspiring beliefs that had real evidence. I proved to myself that I am not in fact a “slow, sucky runner” but that I am strong, and continue to get stronger every day. I can run faster and for a longer period of time than I believed was possible just a few months earlier. The sub-2 hour half was mine! This is just the beginning of a whole new mindset! If you are someone who has decided to believe something like I did about yourself, I encourage you to examine that belief and start to do what you can to change your thinking, which will in turn change your actions and your reality. Taking myself out of the slow, sucky runner category was the first step to seeing some great results and loving my sport of choice even more than ever!

Taking myself out of the slow, sucky runner category was the first step to seeing some great results and loving my sport of choice even more than ever!

side note: I am not saying that races are solely about finish times or about trying to win. What I am saying is that they’re the perfect opportunity to test the limits and prove to ourselves that we can do hard things that previously seemed out of reach or impossible.

I’m telling you all of this because self-limiting beliefs are a HUGE LOAD OF SHIT. Do NOT believe that you are not or cannot become as strong as you’d like to be! After I ran my first full marathon in 2016 there was a shift and I knew I was capable of more than I was giving myself credit for. Once I started experimenting with different kinds of speed work and doing workouts from my coach that intimidate me and make me uncomfortable (or even almost puke at times, lol) I realized that blasting through my perceived barriers was part of the exhilaration of being a runner! With all of this, and with Suzanne‘s help, I finally began to believe new positive and true things about myself and my capabilities instead of untrue things that held me back. We really do set our own limits. What we believe becomes our reality. Do not put yourself into a box. Don’t label yourself as a “back-of-the-pack’er” or “just average” or even as a runner who “places sometimes.” Try as hard as possible to shake off those preconceived ideas and GO FOR IT every single day. That’s my goal this season: to fully believe that I can keep getting better and better and continue to surprise myself by reaching new milestones – not every single race, but as often as possible.

That’s my goal this season: to fully believe that I can keep getting better and better and continue to surprise myself by reaching new milestones – not every single race, but as often as possible.

 

Really “Scary” Goals

(will be revised as races approach, and Coach Andrew might make them even scarier)

West Van Run 10km – March 5th

  • don’t go out too fast
  • say yes instead of no to discomfort
  • average pace goal 5:15 (totally bull. I wanted to, knew I could, and DID run faster than this. 4:59/km average pace!!!)

Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon – April 9th

  • be mentally tough – don’t let the monotony of a road I run almost every single weekend psych me out or mess with my beliefs
  • approach “the big hill” as confident as ever
  • average pace goal 5:30, try for a final km split of 5:00

(this is not a sandbagger goal, I am running a 14 mile (22.5km) training run the day before and this is not a goal race of mine. If it were, I’d aim for more like 5:20/km average)

Tenacious Ten 10 miler – April 22nd

  • don’t go out too fast
  • 5:10-ish pace goal
  • be excited instead of nervous for this new and unique race distance
  • let the West Van 10km be a confidence booster!

Scotiabank Calgary Marathon – May 28th

  • STAY PRESENT and run the kilometer I’m in
  • trust my training
  • negative split the marathon for the first time
  • sub 5:40/km average pace goal

 

Remember those t-shirts that were an absolute must-have in the 90’s, NO FEAR? I want one. And that will be the end of this post. NO FEAR of discomfort, “failure,” new challenges or trying really f%#&ing hard.

nofear

 

Life: Some of the Worst things People say or ask. Whyyyy

You know those times in life when you’re left standing with a puzzled look on your face, crafting a delayed response to a question or comment someone made a few moments earlier that was dumb, unhelpful or even downright insulting? Yesterday at the gym I found myself in this situation and it inspired me to write about a few of the dumbest ways that people ask and say things to others – without thinking first! And often to people they don’t even know very well!

WHY. Seriously. Why is it necessary for a person to offer up their opinion in question or comment form when it wasn’t requested, needed or wanted? I’ve had conversations about this with others before, so I know I’m not alone in my confusion regarding this topic. This is a rant, really, but I hope it’s relatable and I hope we can all learn from it, because I know I’ve accidentally been “that guy” before. It happens. But COME on. And, the worst is when we come up with the perfect come-back after it’s too late. Dang.

 

“You look tired.”

sheldon

Ahaha, why, thank you! WTF? This is like going up to someone and saying, hey how’s it going, you look shitty today! Everybody has a bad night’s sleep here and there, or a hectic week or even just an off-day! What purpose does it serve to point out to a person that they aren’t looking as fresh as usual? Extreme confusion. Quit saying this to people! It’s not nice.

 

“What are you doing working on such a nice day!?”

seth

What the serious F kind of question is this??? HAHAHA. Well you see, I got up this morning and it was supposed to be my day off, but I saw how nice it was outside so I immediately phoned into work and said, “Hey! It’s super sunny today so I think I will work instead of having the day off!” Hahaha are you kidding me? For those people who work for someone other than themselves, do you wake up in the morning and decide then and there if you will be working or not on a given day? NO. People have schedules and they don’t usually come with a special “great weather clause” to accomodate a warm sunny day. Jesus. And in the case it is someone who is their own boss, they’re probably working because there are things that need to get done, or their business has hours of operation!

 

“Where’s Jamie? Did she move?”

melissa

I’m dead serious, people ask my colleagues this when I’m not at my place of work. She’s not here, so she must have moved. WHAT? LOL. Have they not heard of a day off? Do most people who work with the public work seven days a week, every single day of the year? I have nothing else to say about this. Except that it leads me to the next one, this usually happens at the grocery store or while doing other errands on a day off…

 

“What are you doin’ off work today?!”

chelsea

People get days off sometimes.

 

“Why don’t you have have a boyfriend/girlfriend?”

rock

How do you? hahaha. Hmm. Maybe this person you’re rudely cornering likes being single, hasn’t found the right person yet, won’t settle, isn’t looking, just got dumped or really looks forward to being in a healthy, happy relationship but it just hasn’t fallen into place yet? Go away. And, why does it matter!?!?!?!!!?!?

 

“What are you doin’ workin’ on the weekend!??”

arya

Uh. It’s the year 2017. I’d say the majority of businesses, or at least half of them these days, are open more than just Monday to Friday. At places that the general population (including the person asking) expects to be open every single day, someone has to work on the weekend. Sometimes that person is me. Like, do they think I’m some A-hole who forces another employee to work every single weekend (as if, and impossible) while I go do whatever I want each and every Saturday and Sunday? Wrong. And please, don’t make the pity face. Days off during the week are some of the most peaceful and/or productive days in history. Ask any server, nurse, shift-worker, flight attendant, pharmacist, retailer or restaurant owner, just to name a few. Or, if asking someone who does work for themself, maybe there’s stuff that needs to get done!

 

“You have really (insert unneccesary observation about someone’s appearance)”

amy

Example from my experience: “You have really short legs.” Crazy, I haven’t noticed in the thirty-two years that I’ve been alive! Let’s estimate that I have looked in the mirror once daily for my entire life. Obviously it’s been many times on some days, and zero times on others, like when I was a baby, but just to simplify, let’s go with 11,721 times. I’VE NOTICED. There is a very good chance that something noticeable about a person may be their biggest insecurity. Don’t point it out! What purpose does this serve? Hey, you have short legs, have you heard about that leg-lengthening potion on Dr. Oz? F off hahahaha.

 

“You’re not going to like that tattoo when you’re an old lady.”

betty

First of all, how does this concern you in any way, person making stupid comment? It’s the 21st century; we, the people who get tattoos, are fully aware that they are permanent. That’s the point, haha. We are also fully aware that as living beings, as days go by we age and our bodies, including our skin, change. We also do not care. I’m sorry that you are so concerned with what others think, but lots of others are NOT. Give your head a shake. Personally, I have no idea if I’ll be wearing tank tops and shorts when I’m elderly, but I’ll decide for myself when the time comes and I’m not going to ask some random person if they think it still looks “good”, whatever the hell that even means.

 

“So, you got married! When are you going to have babies?”

fran

How do you know the person in question even wants kids? Why are you assuming that this person’s next item on the to-do list is to reproduce? How do you know this person is capable of having children? Why do you think the person wants to discuss this with you? Maybe they had a miscarriage, abortion or hysterectomy yesterday. Why do you think children are what automatically follow marriage?? I could (and likely will) write an entire blog post just about this question. STOP.

 

“Do you work here?”

eric

HAHAHA. No, I’m just wearing this embroidered jacket/vest/apron/lanyard and name tag to pretend I work here and look cool.

 

And, the comment from a fellow gym member that got me writing this post:

“I’ll tell you right now, you’re gonna mess up your back stretching like that.” (Or any other remark lacking supportive, helpful or positive feedback)

Interesting. First and foremost, who asked you? Not me! Next, how do you know more about my body than I do? For anyone who’s into yoga, are you familiar with Supta Virasana, also known as sleeping/reclined hero pose? I am (that’s the pose I was in) and the reason I’m familiar with this pose is because I’ve been doing it for eight years, originally taught by certified instructors. I’ve been teaching this pose myself for four years, because I am a certified yoga instructor with over 570 hours of training. Also, I don’t have a “messed up back” from doing this stretch and if I did, I probably wouldn’t have been able to run the seven half marathons and three full marathons that I’ve completed more recently than the day I began practicing this yoga pose, plus hike, jump, twist, bend and do the movements off The OA. Just sayin. Unless someone is in a dangerious situation, asks for help, or is putting others around them at risk, it’s likely safe to just keep to yourself. .

supta

 

Let’s think before we speak. Not doing so can lead to exremely annoying interactions. Sometimes it can even create things like self-consciousness, sadness, anger, embarassement, frustration or simply putting a damper on what has been a good day so far. I am NOT saying I’ve never commited a single one of these crimes. What I am saying is that as human beings we can all do each other a favour by keeping our observations to ourselves at times, or before speaking asking ourselves, is this question/remark:

  • helpful
  • supportive
  • constructive
  • positive
  • welcome
  • open-minded

Or, is it:

  • meddlesome
  • presumptuous
  • useless
  • insulting
  • intrusive
  • biased

Have a great day!! And good luck out there bahaha

Common things people Ask or Say to Runners..and some Insight!

Ask anyone you know who runs and they’ll tell you about the common questions or comments they get all the time from non-runner folk. It’s totally okay, why would a non-running-obsessed person know all about running-related topics? It gets a bit old though, especially when the question or comment is delivered in a negativish way, which happens more than you’d like to think.

Here are some of the ones I encounter the most, and my truthful clarifications. I’ve read similar articles to this, but many of them have been all sarcasm or cynical in style. These are just some real answers and comebacks to the curiosities of others that we runners don’t always have the time (or patience..) to explain properly.

runner1

“I can’t believe you have to PAY to run a race!”

Yep. It’s true. A running event, or any other organized event for that matter, has a TON that goes into it! There is insurance. Permits. Road closures. Participant shirts & medals, and often cash prizes for winners. Other swag. Volunteers, sometimes by the thousands. In big enough races, on-course entertainment! Often a huge race expo, and a venue to host it. Water, fruit, granola bars and sports drinks at the finish line. There are medical tents, emergency responders, traffic control, chip-technology timing in the race bibs, bags provided for gear check, tents for gear check, sometimes transportation back to the start if it’s a point-to-point course, and lots of other stuff I’ve likely forgotten to mention. So yes, we pay to race. But you can’t put a price on the pride experienced after crossing the finish line and receiving your bling!

“Don’t you get bored?”

Nope. Never, actually! Personally, I’m too busy looking around, sorting out my brain, taking in the surroundings and being happy that I’m sweating and that I’m not at work. Sometimes it’s really hard, and I’m thinking about how difficult the moment is, but it’s definitely not boring. As runners we might also be paying attention to foot-strike, breathing, arm swing, heart-rate, relaxing the shoulders, holding a tall posture and keeping the muscles in the face and hands soft. Oh, and then there’s the list making, singing, meditating without even knowing it, the self-talk while approaching a massive hill, the satisfaction of reaching the top. Rocking out to a new playlist. Feeling strong AF. Doing all sorts of math to do with kilometer splits and average pace. It’s different for everyone, obviously, but not boring.

“You’re going to wreck your knees!”

Oh am I? LOL. Do you go up to soccer/squash/football/basketball players, snowboarders and obese people and tell them this too?

For real though. I do as much cross training and strength training as possible to use other muscles and keep my joints supported and stable, and I work on my running form constantly to make sure something like a high impact foot-strike isn’t going to foil my passion! In 2016 alone I ran over two thousand kilometres, which isn’t even that impressive in the realm of running, but it’s still a lot of distance and I’ve never had a knee injury. If I did develop knee discomfort, I’d rest accordingly and see a professional to help correct the issue. And at the very end of the day, if my knees are worn out when I’m seventy-five from being super active earlier in life, there’s no way in hell I’m going to say “damn, I really regret all those endorphin-packed workouts that helped me live a happy life and have some of the best experiences EVER.”

“How long was your marathon?”

The marathon is actually a specific distance. It is officially 42.195 km, or 26.219 miles. People round it to 42.2 (or 26.2), depending on whether they operate in metric or imperial. A half marathon is half the marathon distance, haha. That’s right, 21.1 km or 13.1 miles.

There are many other race distances, for example the 5km, 10km, ultra marathons and tons of track distances like 100m, 200m, 1500m, etc. And of course, there are totally random distances and events like Ragnar Relays or the Skeena River Relay, but the marathon always has been, and always will be, 42.2 km.

42

“I don’t know how you do it, I can’t run.”

I can almost guarantee that you can! It’s totally okay if you aren’t interested, but I know you could if you really wanted to! Running isn’t something that most people just decided they wanted to do one day, hopped up and headed out for a ten kilometre rip. If you live where I live, come join us for the thirteen week Learn to Run clinic, and if you don’t live in Prince Rupert, look into a local running group that I can basically promise will offer a couch to 5 or 10km. Yep. Couch can be the starting point. These kind of programs are for absolute beginners and commence with jog/walk intervals that start off really short!

“I don’t know how you have time to run that much.”

index

I don’t necessarily have the time, I make the time. I get up hours before work because my day is better if I’ve run before my shift. Or, I blow off steam between getting off work and making something for dinner. No, I don’t have kids, but some of the most dedicated runners I know, or follow in the online running community, have children. Check out my friend Martina here, she is a mother of five boys and runs ultra marathons! (An ultra marathon consists of any distance longer than the marathon distance, usually 50km or longer, and is commonly run on trails or other non-pavement terrain.)

“Runners get a lot of injuries you know.”

Okay. So do hockey players, skateboarders, thrill seekers and people who like trampolines. Like I said before, myself and most informed runners work on strengthening the muscle groups that support the areas prone to overuse injuries. Cross training, weight and resistance training, plyometrics and simply creating variety in activity are things that athletes do so they can prevent injury as best as possible and not have to take time off from what they love.

“What place did you get?”

Hahaha. Very flattering to be asked this question, however the answer is usually something like “not sure” or “200th” if it’s a big race. For example, at the Walt Disney World Marathon, which was big, there were a total of 17,751 runners. I got 103/1525 in my category (F30-34), 534/9355 for all women, and 1976th overall. This was a great race for me! The people who win massive-scale running events are usually elite athletes. I got third in my age group once in a small race, out of three people 😉

You run so much, why do you go to the gym/yoga/hike too?”

Using the same muscles over and over again leaves the other muscles that aren’t being used to weaken. This is a common cause of running injuries, and I don’t want running injuries because then I can’t run. So I use all the muscles. Also, exercise is very addicting. It feels awesome to sweat, create your own high, crush goals and often do these things in the gorgeous outdoors. Once exercising becomes routine, it is no longer a chore, it’s a treat.

“I don’t know where you get the energy for that.”

venus

When my alarm goes off at say, 5:30 am on a Saturday for long-run day, I (usually) don’t fly out of bed fist-pumping. I know, however, that I love how I feel once I get going. I also likely have a friend or friends to meet at a specific time and place. The energy comes from the run. During the week when that alarm goes off, the inner dialogue begins. “If you run now, you’ll have a wicked day AND you can do whatever the hell you want after work!” And then I am awake, feeling alive, happy, nice and more patient all day long. The energy comes from the run! If you’re more of an evening person, burn off every single annoying thing you dealt with or encountered all day long with your run and return home feeling good energy only.

“Do you actually enjoy it?”

Absofknlutely.

We all ask questions about stuff we aren’t familiar with or don’t understand. It’s allowed. But, I encourage us all, myself included, to inquire with open minds and try our best not to make assumptions about another person’s chosen passion.

If I’ve missed anything that you’re just burning to know, email me from the contact page!