5 Reasons Why I Run

I used to hate running. A few years ago, every single second spent running was pure torture. I couldn’t wait till my next walk break when I was doing intervals and I never used to run longer than 30 minutes. For some reason, I never experienced a runner’s high and I just couldn’t understand how people loved it so much. Seriously, I had wondered how people could even run 10K and enjoy it back then.

But, for some unknown reason, I changed.

Now, I quite enjoy throwing on my running gear and getting out the door. I’m excited to plan out my runs (first 10K training run coming up this weekend!) and track my progress with my Nike+ watch. I get pumped up at the thought of getting outside on a nice day to get exercise and fresh air. And yes, I even get excited thinking about races to do. Such a strange feeling for me now, but I’m going to continue to roll with it. (Check in with me after I run a Half to see how I feel ;) )

Recently, I saw some people on Twitter discussing the reasons why they run. Actually, I often get asked by my non-runner friends why the hell I would want to run 21K. I laugh, but then I have to think about it. So, I wanted to put together 5 reasons why I am motivated to run right now. What’s getting my butt out the door? What’s driving me to complete a speed training run when it’s 29C (84F) at 90% humidity? Well… I will tell you.

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5 Reasons Why I Run (right now)

1. Exercise – first and foremost, I started running again for exercise. Being active is important for a healthy lifestyle, so I like to mix it up with yoga, running, and weights/TRX workouts. I started by only running 2 – 3K before my weight training, but then the distances just grew from there. I registered for the GoodLife 5K in May so that I would have a goal and, well, finishing that race prompted me to want to go further. When I’ve lacked effort to get my bag packed and head to the gym, I’ve found it easier to get my shoes on and get out for a run. I love the burn and feeling great after a good run. Building endurance and keeping fit – I love it!

2. Food – yes, I know, food should not be a motivator for exercise, but right now it is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going for a run and then eating a whole pizza. I actually eat really clean about 90% of the time, and being active helps me not to feel guilty about the less-clean 10%. That means when I have nachos or wine on the weekend, I don’t feel so bad. Plus, it’s a nice treat and I’m not good at restricting myself. (Of course, the other side of the coin is that the longer I run, the more I want to eat ALL THE FOOD. Working on this balance as I go along)

3. Community – even though I run/train alone, there are times when I still feel like I am part of a community. Mostly online through #runchat and #sweatpink, but it’s still nice to know that others out there are going through the same worries, injuries, achievements, etc. as me. It’s fun to share accomplishments with each other, while also getting a chance to vent about the struggles. Everyone is there for each other, so it’s a nice bonus to this sport. I would like to actually meet some runner friends in person, but I know that will take time. For now, my online community is the best!

4. Accomplishment – yep, there’s a certain sense of accomplishment that comes from every long run distance achieved, race completed, or injury rested through (tough to do!). Whether a PR is achieved or not, it feels great to have done something that people think you are crazy for. Doesn’t matter the distance 5K or 100K, we’re still accomplishing something and it feels good. Plus, that medal at the end of the race can be pretty cool sometimes too. ;)

5. Races – not in the sense that I will win them, because ummm no, I won’t. But, in the sense of the excitement – being there with other runners at holy crap o’clock, freezing before the race starts, and looking forward to that free banana at the end. What a rush! I just get so pumped up at races and I really enjoy the atmosphere. Plus, there’s some pretty cool races out there… like, the Star Wars Half Marathon I registered for – seriously, I can’t even wait! So, even though I am not a morning person, I still get pretty excited about races.

There you have it. These are some of the things motivating me to run right now. Keep in mind that I’ve only raced 5Ks, so I will be updating this again at a later date. Possibly during or after my training for the Half Marathon. I figure as the distances get longer, I will have to re-evaluate or be reminded of why I am running. I know there are ups & downs along the way, like with any sport, so the best thing to do is maintain a positive attitude while keeping in tune with my body. Keeping it fun is important too, because once it feels like work it just won’t get done.

What motivates you to run right now?

 

 

Sunday night… where’s your ice pack?

It’s just a regular Sunday night around the yogi household. Food prep is done, dinner is being cooked, I’m watching Supernatural, and icing my knees.

Fun times, right?

Actually, it is. Of course watching Supernatural is fun, but I’m icing my knees because I ran 9K for the first time today! My longest distance so far as I train for a 15K race in September and a Half Marathon in October. Pretty excited right now. Sure, sore knees aren’t so fun, but I know it’s because my running shoes are at the end of their life and it’s time to switch up to a new pair (which I got this weekend).

Today’s run was good, but it was also hot and humid, which I know I better get used to here in Toronto. Good thing I used the rest of my energy bits sample to get me going this morning. If you haven’t heard of them, energy bits are these little tablets made from 100% Spirulina algae. They have over 40 nutrients, the highest concentration of protein at 64%, and just 1 calorie per tab. A handful of 20-30 tabs will fill you up, meet most of your daily nutritional requirements, and give you steady supply of nourishment for that run you’re about to go on. Seriously, check out all their nutritional benefits by clicking the link here. Sure, the tabs smell a little funny, but these things are all natural and free from sugar, caffeine, preservatives, and gluten. Just the kind of stuff I like! If you’re interested, check out their site for more great info or give them a follow on Twitter – they’re fun to chat with and will answer any questions you have.

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Looking back on the the past 7 days, I think I had a pretty good training week. Did some speed training at the beginning, which went pretty well and also mixed up a shorter run day with a TRX/Kettlebell workout. I can’t really be sure, but I think my Onzie Spin Capri pants (below) helped me go faster… seriously, with those great colours, I was zooming! ;) Also worth mentioning are my Onzie Full Coverage shorts – super comfortable and great for my long run. No chafing!

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Oh yeah, can’t forget… I signed up for my first 10K race this week!! Going to run the Toronto Women’s 10K on August 23 and I am really looking forward to it. So far I’m loving the excitement of building on my endurance, while also planning out great running events. Here’s hoping this energy lasts! I know that running can be mentally and physically challenging and I don’t look forward to those days where it will bring me down, but when I’m feeling good, I am going to enjoy it. It’s good to know that there a great running community out there to help when I need (thank you #Runchat & #SweatPink!!).

Have a great week everyone and happy running!

ps. Don’t forget your yoga. Great balance with running… but, you know that. :)

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Hello July!

I know we’re half way through July already, but I still can’t believe how fast this year has gone by. Which means, less and less time to train for that half marathon I am hoping to do in October. Eek!

I’m not really sure I considered how difficult it might be to train for my first half marathon through a summer in Toronto. Yes, this city is in Canada, so we do get some cold winters, but oh my gosh the summers can be hot and HUMID. This city has sub-tropical summers and the humidity can be high from June – September at least. And if you know me, you know that I don’t like humidity. Sure, I grew up with it living in Halifax, but after living in Calgary for 5 years I learned to love the dry heat. Oh, it’s so nice there… you can walk to the bus stop and not be sweating from everywhere on your body. And, most of the time your hair can look good… in Toronto? Don’t expect to have nice hair all summer. Don’t even bother straightening it. Pfft, waste of time.

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Anyways, the point here is that I find it difficult to run in heat + high humidity. Long run in 30C with 90% humidity? – oh please, I don’t even want to get out of bed!! So for me, this makes training difficult. It’s not that I won’t go out and run, it just means that it might be shorter (or slower) than usual. Is this a bad thing? Not really, but I would like to be somewhat trained for the half when I get to that point.

Speaking of Calgary, I did go spend a nice week there at the beginning of July. Enjoyed myself while going to a friend’s wedding, visiting family and friends, and taking in a little bit of the Stampede. I also went out for a couple of runs and oh boy what a difference! Calgary tends to have cool mornings and nights, unlike Toronto which rarely cools down enough to make for a comfortable sleep in the summer. So, it was quite refreshing to get up in the morning and run before the temperature got hot. I felt exhilarated even. But, I did notice a weird difference for me there… in Toronto when I run my lungs (I have asthma) usually feel fine but my legs get tired and heavy. In Calgary, my legs felt energetic and light but my lungs felt a little heavy. Not sure if that means anything, it was just something unusual I noticed. My legs really felt like I could keep going and going there, but my lungs were saying hell no.

That was a great trip, and by the time I got back I received an email from Fit Approach letting me know that I’d been chosen to be a Sweat Pink Ambassador. Pretty exciting! I love this online community of women who are encouraging each other, providing tips, and sharing their stories all along the way. Sweat Pink Ambassadors are runners, cyclists, triathletes, yogis, swimmers, and more! So many people living and inspiring an active lifestyle – who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?! :) Hopefully my story is, or will be, inspiring and I’d love to connect with more Ambassadors and others who are taking on their healthy living journey. You know you can find me by clicking on any of the the social media icons on the sidebar. :)

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Plans for the rest of July? Not sure, but I am trying my best to get on the training track. I’m a little behind in the long run distance, which hopefully doesn’t affect me too much. I guess I will see. Today I did some speed work and while it was difficult, it was also fun. You know what I am not looking forward to? Hill training. Oh boy, look out when I start those…

Have a great week!

Ever been behind on your training? How did you catch up?

June transformation

methumbsup.jpgOh June, you have been an interesting month. Plenty of change, challenges, and surprises.

Sometimes I feel like June is one of those months of transformation. It’s in the middle of the year and it’s the kind of month that can go either way. Good things may happen, or maybe some bad things. But, there’s always some kind of change.

For me, this might be influenced by the fact that my birthday is in June… and that always gives me the opportunity to be reflective (and anxious). Honestly, aging freaks me out a little bit. When I tell people this, they tell me that I am strange. I know, I know. But, ever since I left my 20s, I haven’t been too happy to see those passing birthdays. Part of me doesn’t know why I get so freaked out, the other part knows it’s because I am not where I want to be in life. Or where I expected to be. Oh yes, I know I have a bad case of the “shoulds”. I should own a condo. I should have a high profile job. I should have gone on many vacations already… etc. etc. Something about my birthday and new years eve that brings up all this baggage. Of course, I do my best to let it go and these thoughts usually do pass, but the days around my birthday can be overwhelming.

This year to take my mind off of this silliness, we celebrated my birthday by going to the Lindsey Stirling concert. If you haven’t heard of her, you should really check her out. She calls herself a “hip-hop violinist” and her music is so much fun! She’s very talented and a bit quirky – definitely check out this Game of Thrones based video or my favourite (of course), Star Wars! We had so much fun, it was truly a great night out on the town in Toronto, which we don’t do very often.

Seriously, I can’t believing we are nearing the end of June already. The year has certainly flown by for me, with all of its ups and downs. This month has probably seen the most change – hey, I even surprised myself by registering for the runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon. I’ve really taken on this month to go out of my comfort zone to see what can happen. Maybe that’s what hitting the mid-30s does to a gal… what do you think? ;)

Is there a time of the year that you find particularly transformative? 

 

Goodbye comfort zone, hello Star Wars Half!

I’m going to start this post off by telling you something honest. Here it is… I don’t normally step outside of my comfort zone. I’m an extremely cautious over-thinker. I don’t do many things spontaneously. Also, I deliberate for hours days until whatever I was considering has passed and then I usually feel upset or disappointed about it.

Trips? Courses? Concerts? Networking events? I’ve somehow talked myself out of attending them all.

Of course, I’ve gone to a few events along the way, but I have probably talked myself out of more than I can count. There are times when my reasoning comes from being an introvert, but there have also be financial considerations to hold me back along the way. Seriously, I had a goal to see either San Francisco or Seattle in 2012 and I managed to convince myself that it just wasn’t possible and here I am still hoping to go someday. I won’t even mention how much I’d like to go to Italy!

Well, I found myself in a similar dilemma earlier this week. About two weeks ago I had learned that runDisney released the details for a Star Wars Half Marathon weekend in Disneyland. I can tell you that I freaked out. My nerdiness ran clear as I told everyone about it and that I just couldn’t imagine missing it. I have loved Star Wars my whole life and watched the movies too many times to count. I just had to go.

But then the fear crept up on me. I can’t afford to go… I can’t go with all my friends… I haven’t run a half marathon yet… Well, you get the picture. I basically started to talk myself out of it. I actually tired myself out thinking about all the “reasons” I couldn’t go. But, I also got myself to the point that I would be fine not going and “oh well maybe next year”. Until the morning that registration opened. I really tried to put it out of my mind, but my boyfriend was actually the one to remind me to register. I won’t lie, he basically called me a chicken and said to stop making excuses. He’s seen me talk myself out of a lot of things, but he knew I’d regret this. That’s when I decided… screw it, I’m going to sign up! I’m going to register for this half marathon and I’m finally going to see California. Yeah!

I was a little anxious as I waited for the registration to open… still had those negative thoughts in my head. But, I tried my hardest not to listen. Told myself that I won’t get anywhere or have any awesome experiences if I don’t step out of my comfort zone. But then I almost had another opportunity to back out – I wasn’t fast enough to register for the Rebel Challenge (run a 10K and a half marathon and get 3 amazing medals)(Yes, I know I’m crazy but I’m not the only one!). When I didn’t make it for the Challenge I actually sat staring at my computer trying to tell myself that it wouldn’t be worth it to go for the half marathon only. I know, what was I thinking?! The fear can get loud sometimes. But then I just said screw it and I registered for the half. Boom. Holy crap what have I done? Cue the anxiety. But also the excitement. Wow, I just did something I never would normally do. This is real now and this is good!

It’s now a couple days later and I am happy that I registered for the race. Sure, I’ll have to make some sacrifices and budget a bit more, but I’m finally going to get to see California (and palm trees!). And, I’m going to a pretty awesome event while I am at it. So, I couldn’t be more pleased with myself. Getting out of my comfort zone one small (or maybe this is kind of big) step at a time. It’s time to stop wishing and start doing! Who’s with me? :)

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone? What did you do?

Credit: runDisney.com (click photo for link)

Credit: runDisney.com (click photo for link)

RBC Run for the Kids Ambassador

For those of you who haven’t already heard, I am happy to announce that I was chosen to be an Ambassador for the 2014 RBC Run for the Kids here in Toronto!

I’m very excited to take part and promote this event because I feel that the cause is very important. We are all aware of the stigma that surrounds mental health issues, so I believe events like this help to break down the barriers little by little. The RBC Run for the Kids supports the Family Navigation Project at Sunnybrook, which helps families in crisis navigate the complex mental-health care system, so that the youth can get the help that they need.

Last year the event had 4,500 participants who did their part to raise an amazing 1.2 million for youth mental health. How great is that?! So this year, we are looking to make an even bigger impact for this great cause! That’s why I am raising funds and running 15K (my first!), while being an Ambassador spreading the word both online and offline.

The RBC Run for the Kids has 3 distances to suit your running/walking goals – 5K, 15K and 25K. It’s also a family friendly event, so get the gang together and form a team! For more information on the distances, you can click here.

We’d love your support, so if you’re in Toronto you can sign up here or if you’d like to donate to my fundraising page you can contact me for more information directly. Every little bit helps! You can also follow along my journey on Twitter and Instagram as I train for this run (and then my eventual half marathon – fun right?!).

Thanks for your support and I hope to see you out there on September 20, 2014! :D

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First running injury

Well, it was a long week.

A long week waiting for my first running injury to heal. A long week trying not to feel discouraged and embarrassed. A really long week waiting to be able to do my next run.

Last weekend my left ankle wasn’t feeling great. I had some pain on the inside portion, but I mostly ignored it. I actually ignored it enough through 6.25K and then just ended up making the situation worse. So then I need to be put on rest. Rest! No running for a week. Who knew this would drive me crazy?

I was fortunate enough to get some acupuncture to help, while also icing, and resting it. I was frustrated waiting all week, but honestly this probably helped me a lot. I finally got out there yesterday and ran 4K just to ease back into it. Happy to report that I did not experience any ankle pain during the run or even 12 hours later.

Part of me finds it funny that something so minor could really throw off my training. Was I not taking care of myself? Was I increasing my distance too fast? I’m not really sure what brought this injury on, but I do know that it made me feel discouraged. Negative thoughts crawled up into my mind – what did I do wrong? Is running for me? How can I run 21K if I can’t even run 8K without getting injured? It’s amazing what the mind can do to us at times. The fear was really creeping up on me and I had to find a way to let it go. In this situation it was great to have my yoga practice. I still wanted to be active, but I didn’t want to push myself too much and make the ankle injury worse. Yoga was great for this purpose, but also for calming my mind. Focusing my mind on positive, relaxing thoughts instead of the self-deprecating ones. This really made a difference, helping me take my mind off of things and just allowing myself to heal. Sure, I’m back to shorter distances now as I ease back into my running, but I know it’s a process that I have to go through to get stronger physically and mentally. That’s what this running journey is all about isn’t it? There may be pains and tears, but there’s also triumph and joy.

See you out there!

How did your first running injury make you feel? Were you able to stay positive?

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8K!

Woohoo! Ran my first 8K today!

Ok, so I realize that every distance past the 5Ks I was running are going to be firsts – but I like to celebrate the little victories here. Seriously, even a year ago I never thought I would run longer than 5K and here I am increasing my distance little by little every week. I’m not sure if I had a mental block or fear was creeping up on me, but now I am pumped to run that extra distance. Trust me though, the fear is still there. When I am running and starting to feel a little sluggish or my asthma starts acting up, the fear will creep up into my brain. I start to wonder how I am going to run 21K if on one day I am struggling to run 6? I know every day is different, but those thoughts still creep up (and will probably continue to do so!).

Those thoughts aside, today’s run felt good! Gorgeous, sunny weather. Warm, but not humid. Just perfect. I was worried that I might need water on this run because of it being slightly warmer outside than usual, but I decided not to bring any and I was fine. Not sure when I am going to have to start bringing water (and then fuel), but I am not too excited about it. Water belts always slide up on me and then I waste time and energy always trying to adjust it. Such a pain! I know I’m going to have to get used to it, but not right yet. Suggestions when it comes to this are greatly appreciated. :)

Hours later and I am still feeling pretty good. I did some yoga and stretching after the run, which I consider to be pretty important – mentally and physically. Last week I’m pretty sure I forgot my stretching after 7K and I felt stiff for the rest of the day. Not what I want to happen after every long run, so I am going to make a practice of remembering to stretch and possibly do some foam rolling. After all, I want recovery time to be quick quick quick!

There’s definitely lots to learn on this running journey, so I am open to suggestions and tips. Soon I’ll have to choose a training program, fuel for during the run, recovery foods, and more! Since there’s so much to choose from, I’ll want to pick wisely so I can maximize results and keep feeling great during my training. Excited – and nervous – to be on this journey, so I’m really glad to have this fabulous social media running community at my reach. See you out there! :)

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Chasing 21K

Well, 21.1K to be exact. Or 13.1 miles for my American readers. Either way, who’s really counting that .1 anyway?

I say that now, until I actually do the race. Then I am betting I will be praying for that .1 to be done with!

That’s right friends, I am planning on running a Half Marathon. Why you ask? I’m not really sure. Crazy? Maybe. But, I do know that I want to ramp up my running game and I want to achieve something. Plus, I want a pretty, big medal. Is that so bad?

I’ve completed four 5K races and I just feel like it’s time. Sure, I will probably do a 10/15K race during my training, but the aim right now is that elusive 21K. Which is all pretty funny, considering that about three years ago I hated running. I can’t recall everything that was going in my life at the time, but I was training for a race in the spring – didn’t do so well – and then I declared that I hated everything about running. Makes me laugh now because I love getting out there and I definitely love the atmosphere at the races. But hey, the longest distance I’ve ran up to this point is 7K… so we’ll see what I am saying at distances past 10K. There better be that runners high that everyone keeps talking about!

So, over the next few weeks I will be running longer distances (just did my first 7K on the weekend!) and then I will be following a training program in hopes of running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Half. It’s in October, so I believe I have lots of time to get prepared and I’m not expecting it to be incredibly speedy. I’m going to take the training nice and easily and see what I can learn about myself along the way. Which I believe will benefit me when I aim to run more half marathons and maybe, just maybe, a full. But, I’m not going to get ahead of myself here!

I’ll be sharing my ups and downs and thoughts on the blog, as well as Twitter and Instagram, which you can follow along if you like. I love the online community when it comes to runners, such a supportive and motivational bunch. I highly recommend it if you’re a runner, a little extra help is never a bad thing. Happy running and see you out there!

Any tips for a first time half marathoner? Where was your first race?

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GoodLife 5K!

goodlifemarathonmay2014.jpgLet me start off by saying that I love race day.

Well, most of it. Getting up before the sun can hurt sometimes. ;)

But overall, I love all of the excitement the night before and the morning of a race. At home I may experience a few pre-race jitters on my own, but social media also adds a whole different perspective on the community and the excitement. Fellow runners posts blogs, tweets, updates, etc. and there is always great support from friends and followers. I love the feeling of everyone rallying around a runner and the race. Sure, it feels good when people support me, but I also have a fabulous time encouraging and cheering on others.

Maybe that’s what I like so much about the sport of running. The community. Everyone shares successes and battles, tips and training ideas, as well as nutrition and even psychological tips to keep going. Runners come together and rally around an event no matter the distance or location. You just can’t beat that feeling.

So, yesterday morning when my alarm went off as the sun was coming up, I felt the excitement. I went on Twitter and my fellow GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon runners of every distance were already awake and cheering each other on as their pre-race rituals were just beginning. This only enhanced the energy I was trying to build up, which definitely helped as I rarely get up that early!

It turned out to be a beautiful morning for the race. Partly cloudy, light breeze, and cool air. Perfect because I run much better in cooler weather anyway. We didn’t encounter any issues arriving and parking, which definitely helped with the nerves. But once I got there and saw the others runners, my energy was getting fully pumped up! Everyone in their running gear, and even a few silly outfits out there – the runners were ready for a good time and personal bests. The scenery on the shore of Lake Ontario was definitely a plus as well, but let me tell you, the spring flies that were out were not. I couldn’t believe the swarm that was already out that early, but eating a few flies wasn’t going to slow us down!

I felt pretty good during the race and ended up achieving a personal best of 28:41. I was pretty excited about my time because I was aiming to finish within the 28 minute mark. Today though, I feel like I could have gone a little faster. I’m not feeling any stiffness, so I know I could have pushed myself a little harder to achieve a faster time. I don’t want to be disappointed in myself, but this was a learning experience. I have some kind of mental block that is preventing me from pushing myself too hard. Which is good, but to a point. Either way, I know this for the next race.

Now that I am reflecting on it, I really enjoyed the morning and the race. It was a fun, fast, and flat course that I wouldn’t mind running again. But, I’ve got the urge to take my running to longer distances now, so you never know what I might run next year at GoodLife. Maybe the Half? ;)

Did you run the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon? How did it go?

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