Summer of less run, more bike

Woah, it’s been awhile since my last post.

To be honest, I can’t believe how fast time flies. {Who doesn’t say this?!} Seems like it wasn’t that long ago when I was training for my first full marathon and going through all the emotions involved. All that worry and anxiety is now over and I’m now starting to plan for my second marathon training… Which reminds me, I still need to do a race recap about my first marathon! I haven’t done this yet because for some reason it seems difficult for me to sit down and articulate all of the emotions and memories involved in that race. Part of me can’t even believe it’s finished. Like, did I seriously run that far? Crazy! I wonder if anyone else can relate…

Since the marathon I’ve been on a bit of a break, running less and trying to enjoy other activities. I’ve mostly added cycling into my weekly routine, which has been a fun change. Cycling is a nice challenge, while also being a little easier on my body. I’ve been bike commuting to work more and last Sunday I did a 52 KM ride with the bf all around Calgary. It was tough, but also so much fun! He’s trying to encourage me to ride 100KM… we’ll have to see how that goes!

Post 52K cycling smile!

Post 52K cycling smile!

In all honesty, I’ve been struggling to find my motivation this summer. I’ve been finding it difficult to get up in the morning (even when it’s sunny) and occasionally struggling throughout the day. Usually, the summer months are prime for me to get up early either to workout/run or to just relax with a cup of coffee & a book on the balcony. But, not this year and I’m not sure why. Granted it’s been a very tough past 7+ months for me as I’ve battled with some tough situations and also grief, so I am guessing that some of that comes into play. I’d certainly like to turn this around soon because September is about to get very busy & I’m going to need all the motivation I can get!

Anyone else feeling a summer slump? How do you stay motivated? Got any fall goals? (Eek, I don’t even like writing out the word “fall”… hahaha no rush!)

Looking forward to the road ahead!

Looking forward to the road ahead!

5 Things I Learned With 5 Days Off Running

Shortly after I posted my last training update, I had an old running injury flare up on me during my long run over a week ago. I was scheduled for 27KM, but “only” managed 25.30KM because my left ankle was nagging at me. Then, of course, I made the silly mistake to attempt a short run the next day. This run was supposed to be an easy 60 minute recovery run, so I was going to attempt 45 minutes, but I only made it to 36 mins when my ankle started to hurt enough that I was almost limping. I’m not exactly sure what the issue with my left ankle is, but there’s definitely a combination of bad shoes (another story for another day) and exhaustion.

Runner Calgary 2016

Contemplating a tough long run…

After that short run last Monday, it took a bit of deliberation – and almost some tears – for me to decide to take a few days off running to give my ankle some recovery time. I will say that it was mentally challenging to take this time off because I worry a lot about losing fitness. It also was difficult to see pics of others running & racing, so I was experiencing some runner envy for sure!

Through those 5 days off running, I learned a couple things…

– It is OK to take a few days off to recover… even during peak weeks of training. (Occasionally this is almost necessary.)

– It is OK to ask for advice/support from other runners & athletes who have been in this situation before.

– Sometimes rest actually makes you mentally/physically stronger.

– Sometimes you just have to adjust your goals depending on what’s going on in your life during training. (Trying to have some compassion for myself here, which is easier said than done.)

– You’re still a runner even if you take some time off. (Duh! No kidding.)

Runner Calgary Edworthy Park

So, after all the stressing and bringing myself close to tears, it turns out that 5 days off from running (I still cycled) was probably very helpful. I managed to get myself out yesterday for a long run (18KM) and I felt good for the whole run! I’m pretty pleased with this and definitely ready to get back into training. Only 5 weeks ago, so it’s go time!:)

Do you find it hard to take time off running/fitness/etc when injured? How do you handle the mental game?

My First Marathon Training Update #2

Marathon training is starting to get serious, so I know you’ve been wondering how it’s going. My last update shared some of my ups & downs and I can say that these past few weeks haven’t been much easier.

I’ll just say it here now… Marathon training is hard. Mentally, physically, and spiritually. Training for 42.2K has tested my resolve and my physical capabilities every damn week. I can’t say that any run has been easy the past few weeks. I have questioned my goal many times over and over, but I have also felt strong and rewarded. What a roller coaster!

Riley Park 2016

Week 7

45 min run ~ 7.3KM
Yoga
7.78KM run
7.4KM run {10 min easy, 4 x (5 min tempo, 2 min walk), 10 mins easy = 46mins}
96 mins run ~ 14.52KM

Week 8

50 mins run ~ 7.7KM
25 mins run ~ 4KM (was supposed to be 50 mins of speed work)
42 mins run – 7.15KM {10 mins easy, 10 x (1 min fast, 1 min jog), 12 mins easy}
20 KM run ~ 2 hours, 14 mins — breakdown around 16K, cried on a park bench, almost quit running (was supposed to be 22KM)

Week 9

50 mins run ~ 8.66KM
Bike – 31 mins (1st outdoor bike ride of the season!)
45 mins run ~ 7.8KM tempo run {10 mins easy, 5 x (3 mins tempo, 2 mins jog), 10 mins easy}
Bike – approx 60 mins
24 KM run ~ 2 hours, 43 mins (no breakdown around 16K – woohoo! Pace a little slower than I would have liked, but still nice to finish this run!)

Calgary Bike 2016

1st Ride of the season!

Week 10

Bike – approx 60 mins
50 mins run ~ 7.87KM (treadmill)
Bike – approx 60 mins
30 mins run ~ 5.2KM {10 mins easy, 5 x 224m speed bursts, jog recovery, 10 mins easy} (indoor track) (was supposed to be a 56 min tempo run but I had limited time this day due to schedule changes, so I improvised)
30 mins run – 5KM easy
25.30 KM run + 1.70 KM walk (27KM) ~ 3 hours, 1 min (minor breakdown at 19.5K, hot, dehydrated, and left foot/ankle hurt so I tapped out at 25.3 K and walked the remaining 1.7 K to reach 27K. Considered quitting running & wasn’t impressed with myself. Definitely a tough run.)

There you have it, the last few weeks of my training. As you can see, it hasn’t been easy. Not that I thought marathon training would be easy, but I thought that I might be stronger than this. I had more confidence in myself and my abilities, but I feel like I am falling short. Learning lots about myself this training cycle, that is for sure. I definitely need more strength training after this and possibly more time spent meditating to boost my mental game.

In spite of everything, at least I can say that I am doing my best.

I’m 6 weeks out and I am doing my best.

I’m not telling you this to bring the mood down or to be negative… I’m telling you this because I’m real to a fault. This is my honest marathon journey. As you can see, I need some moral support. So, if you’re offering…πŸ˜‰

Anyway, it’s crunch time… I’ve got this!

How do you find motivation when training gets tough?Β 

Thinking Out Loud #3

Feels like a good time to think out loud (ramble) this week on the blog… So, here it goes!

  • Have you ever seen a runner have a breakdown on a park bench? Well, now some of the nice folks of Calgary have witnessed such a fine moment. Yep, I had a little breakdown around 16K during my long run on Sunday and I just couldn’t hold it in. I seem to have a mental block (or a wall) around 16K and I’m not sure why. I’m going to try a different strategy pre long run this weekend to see if it makes a difference because this needs to change if I’m going to get my distance running done. I had 22K on the schedule, but managed “only” 20K because my form started to suffer and I didn’t want to aggravate my old left foot injury. Hoping this weekend’s long run will be better!

Post run contemplation

  • On a more positive note, I’m happy to announce that I’ve been chosen as a Momentum Jewelry Champion level ambassador! Super excited to collaborate with this awesome company and other inspiring ambassadors this spring/summer.:)
  • On the hydration side, I’m looking for your tips on the best sugar free hydration tabs/powder/etc. These things tend to aggravate my stomach big time, so I’m worried about trying them but also think I need to add some extra electrolyte love to my body.
Momentum Ambassador

Yay Momentum Ambassador!

  • Went for my first bike ride of the season yesterday and I loved it! I seriously have so much fun cycling, I’m like a kid when out riding. I hope to start thinking about training for a duathlon someday, but of course the marathon training is first!
  • I haven’t made any huge announcements in regards to this point on social media, but I wanted to put it out there now. There are 2 charities that I’m unofficially training/running my marathon for. I know I should make this more official, but I’ve had so much going on in my life that my mind and focus has been taken away from these things that I deeply care about. I know these are tough times, but if you can spare some funds please consider donating to the Diabetes Association in memory of my grandfather who recently passed. Or, I’ve also teamed up with JP’s Team to help spread the word and raise awareness for this great charity – Little Warriors. You can make a donation by going to this page here. (Keep an eye out here or on Twitter/Instagram for more details on this in the future:) )

So, that’s my past week… just a few ups & downs!

Feel like sharing? Let me know what you’re training for and if you’ve encountered any “walls”. How do you get over the humps?

My first marathon training update

Awhile back I told you, my fine readers, that I had registered for my first marathon. This was a big, exciting, and terrifying moment for me and now a few months later, and 6.5 weeks into training, I would say those feelings haven’t changed much.

The thought of running 42.2 KM (26.2 miles) scares me, but it’s also a really exciting time to challenge myself to do something I never thought I would do in my entire life.

How’s training going you ask? Well, I thought it was time to post a little update on my training and some of the ups & downs I’ve been experiencing. As I’m sure you know, marathon training is not all fun times and rainbows… it’s tough. There’s heartbreak. But, there’s also elation and feelings of accomplishment along the way too.

Tough Run

Week 1

40 mins ~ 6.91 KM
50 mins ~ 8.55 KM (15 mins easy, 5x(2min speed, 2min easy), 15 min easy)
80 mins ~ 12.80 KM (long run)

Week 2

44 mins ~ 7.36 KM (10 mins easy, 2x(5min speed, 2 min easy), 20 min easy)
Cross train – 30 mins stationary bike, 10 mins elliptical
45 mins ~ 7.81KM
25 mins ~ 4.08 KM (1 big hill in the middle to challenge me)
Cross train – 40 mins power walk + stretching/yoga
90 mins ~ 14.70 KM long run

Week 3

Cross train stationary bike & yoga
40 mins ~ 6.80 KM fartlek run
55 mins ~ 8.89 KM (with run crew)
100 mins ~ 15.66 KM long run (got lost on route)
Yoga/Stretching

Week 4

45 mins ~ 7.35 KM fartlek run
Yoga
37 mins ~ 5.95 KM hill run (with run crew)
Cross train – 30 mins stationary bike + stretching/yoga
102 mins ~ 16 KM long run (very sluggish, didn’t feel great)

Week 5

Cross train – 35 mins elliptical
Yoga
50 mins ~ 8.45 KM
Cross train – 35 mins stationary bike & stretching
28 mins ~ 5 KM

Week 6

Long run moved into week 6 due to scheduling conflicts — 103 mins ~ 16 KM ( *mental block, very tough run* + 2K at gym later to reach 18 KM for the day)
Yoga
Cross train – 25 mins elliptical & stretching
4KM Shake out run (steady speed, 1 big hill for challenge)
Run for L’Arche Half Marathon (21.1KM) – 2:06:31 training run
Cross train – 35 mins stationary bike & 20 mins treadmill walking & stretching

Run for L'Arche

If you’re thinking this looks strange, well it kind of is. I’m referring to two similar plans for my training and trying to keep things on my level. Unfortunately, I don’t have the resources to hire a coach right now, so I’m doing this on my own. I personally believe that I am doing ok, but may need to push myself a little harder becauseΒ some of my speed work may be lacking. Speed/interval training is not my strong point, so I do suffer in this area. Certainly trying to get better within my ability for this training season, but not without difficulty for sure.

During my week 5 (moved into week 6) 16KM long run I started to think that I hated running. How I don’t like putting my body through this “crap”. I started to question my sanity. But when I really thought about it… It’s not that I hate running. It’s that I wish I was better at it.Β 

Ending off week 6 with the Half Marathon was very helpful and I’m glad I registered. I needed the help to get over the 16KM hump that I couldn’t seem to pass for some reason. This Half gave me a boost that I needed to keep training. I will be honest here… when I finished that race I immediately thought about how hard it was going to be to run two of those in a row. It’s scary to visualize the full marathon and I admire those who are out running them all the time. The physical toughness is important, but damn the mental fortitude is necessary. Learning lots about myself this training cycle and right away I can see that I need more confidence in my abilities… in both running and in life. I guess I’m a work in progress, as they say.:)

How do you keep your mental game strong when training?

Getting Lost in More Ways than One

Did you know that every time I try a new path while running, I get lost?

I often run the same paths/trails over and over again because they’re comfortable – or guaranteed to be clear – and that gets a little boring. So, occasionally I’ll decide to go a different direction to try a new path and to take in new scenery. And then I get lost. It’s actually quite funny. This happened to me a number of times in Toronto and now here in Calgary.

On the weekend I went for my long run in the morning in an attempt to beat the rain coming in the forecast. I took one of my usual paths but then decided I would run on the opposite side of the river for a change. Well, that path turned out to be still quite icy and slushy and it’s actually changed since the floods ripped through the city in 2013. I forgot about this. I forgot how this might change the path from when I last ran/rode my bike on it in 2012. Silly me. I went far enough on the path until I realized I would get very lost or I would end up in too much ice/snow and possibly hurt myself.

Run Calgary

There was a point that I stopped and cursed myself. I was upset for getting lost AGAIN. Was this a stupid move for me? Was this a sign that I shouldn’t try new things – in running and in life? Yeah, I went there for a moment. I was approximately 11KM into my run and I was feeling a little tired after negotiating icy paths for about 3K, so my mind went a little crazy for a few minutes. I also managed to somehow mess up my watch and lost my distance, so that frustrated me too.

But then I had to tell my brain to f*ck off. Seriously, there was no need to go into the dark thoughts. It was a nice day out… the dark clouds were coming and I wasn’t dressed for rain, but it wasn’t too cold out. I just had to shake it off and go back the way I came to get back to a familiar area. No big deal. So, I took 3 deep, long breaths and started my watch again and took off back the other way. I negotiated all that damn ice again and got back to a familiar spot on the trail so that I was able to navigate myself back home. I beat the rain just in time and only ended up going .66KM over my planned distance for the day (10 mins over my goal time though).

Once I just let it go, it ended up being a nice run and a bit of an adventure. But, isn’t that how life goes sometimes? Occasionally we can take surprise turns, get frustrated, but then end up back on a path in the right direction. Sometimes it may be the wrong direction, but that’s the journey, right?

Yoga March 2016 YYC

Got to hide those runner feet lol

Funny enough, this run almost parallels where my life is right now. Running in all directions, getting lost, getting frustrated, and having to tell my mind to be quiet. Thank goodness I went to a wonderful 2 hour yoga class hosted by Kim McNeil Yoga so that I could take my mind off things and be around supportive and wonderful people. I realize I need more of this in my life right now. I probably shouldn’t get lost too many times during my runs, but being “lost” in an amazing yoga class can be relaxing and freeing. And seriously, this is what I need right now.

How do you deal with getting lost (life or when outdoors)?

Thinking Out Loud #2

Oh hey look, I’m Thinking Out Loud on a Thursday… Now I’m doing it right!πŸ˜‰

(ps. If you’re sitting there wondering what I am talking about, check out Running With Spoons to find out more about this great blogging opportunity excuse to ramble on about a few key topics in your week.)

I’ll just get to it then…

– I am exhausted. Yes, I know we all are really, but I haven’t slept very much over the past 4 – 5 days and it’s starting to get to me. I can’t seem to sleep through the night, I toss & turn, and wake up A LOT. Not really sure what’s going on, but I need to figure it out fast. If you’re wondering, yes I do drink caffeine. I have one cup of coffee in the morning and then one decaf coffee later in the morning/early afternoon, so I don’t think I’m consuming that much. I might have to switch out the caffeinated coffee to test it… but, I’m going to wait a few more days to see what happens. It’s puzzling to me because I’m running & working out more as my marathon training has ramped up + I have magnesium before I go to bed. I guess I will have to see if this is just a minor thing or if it lasts longer. Either way, I’m sleepy!

Running Calgary

– Somewhat related… maybe I need to look at my nutrition and make some adjustments. My weekly mileage isn’t extremely high yet, but I have amped up the runs and workouts and it may be time to add in more foods to keep my energy up. I generally eat quite healthy with a few small treats here and there (wings & nachos, hello!), but I may start to need more protein and possibly some supplements as training goes on.

– Back in 2013 I wrote this post and submitted it to the Elephant Journal. It was a goal of mine & it actually came through and now here I am 3 years later finding myself in the same situation that the post refers to. At the time I was working with an amazing cause called Power of Movement and I was surrounded by yoga and great teachers pretty much every day. I had completed my yoga teacher training in 2009 and sort of got away from teaching as I moved to Calgary to Toronto and back and lost my way a little bit. After this article, I did not go back to teaching. I got sucked up into my admin job world and didn’t pursue additional steps to get back into teaching. Why? Well, because I actually have a huge fear of speaking in front of groups of people. I want to teach yoga/fitness and this is my major fear. Crazy, right? I think so. It’s kind of ironic that I’m back in this place that’s mentioned in the post, thinking again about how I want to get out there and teach classes, have fun, and inspire people… but I’m afraid. There’s something to admit, eh? The next step is to really consider what I should do to move beyond this fear. To put myself out there. To go after what I want.

Home Yoga

GoPro + Yoga + Coffee =:)

– Can I just say that I’ve been enjoying this mild Calgary winter so far? It’s helped my running by allowing me to get outdoors to train more & I think it’s also kept some of my seasonal affective disorder at bay. I’ve been through a lot over the past 2 months, so I’m glad that the winter blues haven’t really been thrown into the mix. This city is going through some tough times as well (economy down, job loss, etc.), so it’s nice to have the mild weather allowing people to be outdoors and staying active during this downturn.

– Anyone else scoping out spring running gear yet? Mild or tough winter, I think it’s fun to check out the new colours and patterns coming out for the spring. Now, to just keep my wallet in my purse and to only purchase what I need. (New Saucony Guides are in my future because I need them for trainingπŸ˜‰ )

What’s got you thinking out loud on this fine Thursday?Β 

Thinking Out Loud on a Monday

I know, I know… Thinking Out Loud posts are usually scheduled for Thursdays, but I wanted to think ramble out loud today.Β My running motivation has been a little better over the past couple of weeks (life is still in chaos), so I thought it was a good time for an update.:)

~ Starting week 3 of training for my first marathon with a rest day today… Ok, I lie. I might go to the gym later to shake out my legs on a stationary bike or something after yesterday’s 14.70KM (9.1 miles) long run. I’ve been a little nervous thinking about my first marathon, but so far training has been good. I can’t let thoughts about how long 42.2KM (26.2 miles) actually is get to me right now. Just focus on this week’s training and do the best I can. Still need to get my head around strength training and the best exercises for me in this case, but I have been doing better with low impact cross training on non-runs days with biking and yoga.

Calgary winter running

Looking at the open road ahead…

~ Been comparing myself to others on social media a little too much lately. Anyone else do this? I don’t know if it’s because my life is in a little bit of chaos right now or if there’s some other reason, but I need to cut it out. We all have our own stories and journeys and I need to keep my focus on mine. It’s tough in this day & age, ya know?

~ Got the opportunity from Fit Approach / Sweat Pink to try the new Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bars. They sent 1 chocolate and 1 cinnamon bar, and I’ll be honest… I really only enjoy the chocolate bar (big surprise, right). I have purchased more of them since because I do believe they make a nice quick snack on the go or after a workout. Each bar has 10 grams of protein & 10 grams of omegas, so they make great fuel during any time of the day. If you’d like to try them, Manitoba Harvest is offering 15% off of a box at the checkout with the code hhbarlaunch1015 until March 31, 2016. That’s an awesome deal!

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Bars Saucony

Mmmm chocolate after running:)

~ I haven’t even ran my first marathon yet and I signed up for my second! I couldn’t help it… the Honolulu Marathon had a fantastic registration deal going on for the month of January & I just signed up on a whim. My boyfriend convinced me to travel somewhere different for my next racecation than California, so this seemed like a great idea. I’m going to plan and save for this one & hopefully can make it work. So excited though… it looks like an amazing race!! Have you ran Honolulu or travelled there? Tips?

~ As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently going through a major transition period in my life. Some not so great things have happened to me and now I’m in a place of trying to figure out what to do next. I’m trying to make the best of what I have and where I am, but honestly, some days are better than others. I am sure there are many out there who understand and who’ve been through similar situations. I just hope that you can bear with me through it and I’m always thankful for your support. This is seriously such a great community to be around!

Ok, that’s it for my ramblings today. Maybe next time I’ll do it right and schedule it for a Thursday.:) Otherwise, I hope you all have a great week! Stay strong out there!❀

How’s winter run/fitness/triathlon/etc training going for you so far?

Planned your 2016 race season yet?

Crisis of Runner’s Faith

Is it lack of motivation?

Is it fear?

Or, is it just time to take a break?

For the past week or so, I’ve been experiencing what I’ll call a Crisis of Runner’s Faith. I finished Star Wars Half and the next day I started to wonder why I am doing this. Why have I been putting my body (and mind) through this? What am I trying to accomplish?

I Love Running

Source: Unknown (downloaded image awhile ago)

The only race I have planned as of right now is my first marathon on May 29. That’s about 4 months from now and it seems both so close and so far away at the same time. I’ve been trying to think about the reasons for taking on my first marathon. And of course, while I am thinking about it the fears come up and my crazy mind takes over.

Can I do it? Can I handle the training? Will I ever qualify for Boston?

Seriously, my mind has been running rampant.

Of course, I have a lot of other things going on in my personal life. I’ve been hit by a bit of a rough patch, and I’m just trying to keep in mind that this may be affecting my runner’s faith. Plus, returning to winter running after a nice break in California certainly has had an effect on my seasonal affective disorder. At this time I need to remind myself that other things are going on and that running is actually good for me. Running keeps me sane. Running helps with my anxiety. These kinds of benefits are important to my life. So, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to quit.

No, I know I don’t want to quit.

runners crisis

But even though I know I don’t want to quit, I still need to find ways to remind myself of why I am doing this running thing. I need to remember how it helps with my depression and anxiety. I need to read and see inspiring stories. I need to know that I can overcome these obstacles both in running and in life. Sure, I need to live in the here and now, but I also need to look ahead and realize that this current rough patch isn’t forever. I need to remember that I can get through this.

Side note: Having awesome support all around me helps a lot, that’s for sure! Plus, watching inspirational Ironman videos like this one and this one. Or, this Xterra Championship video here. Plus many many more if you go down the YouTube rabbit hole.:)

Have you ever experienced a crisis of runner’s / triathlete’s / swimmer’s / fitness faith? How did you bounce back?

My Word for 2016

Over the past week I have been inspired by fellow bloggers and Instagrammers who have posted about their word for the year. Since I don’t really do resolutions, I thought that considering a word – or short mantra if you will – would be more productive and meaningful for me.

I thought it over for a few days, but really I already had the word in mind. In my last post I mentioned that instead of a resolution I was just going to try to be more gentle on myself. To tone down the self-criticism and negative talk. So, as a result, my word for 2016 will be… Compassion.

Compassion.

For myself and others.

compassion Jan2016

Unfortunately, during tough times I can become quite negative. Trust me, I’ve been trying to work on this over the years because it isn’t productive and it just drains energy. Life can be very difficult at times (hello end of 2015), but being negative does not make things better. Beating myself up and blaming myself, definitely doesn’t help either. So, I need to be more compassionate towards myself. I need to go a little easier on me when life’s shitty moments happen. I’m not to blame for everything, so I need to cut that out.

I need to be compassionate and caring about the state that I am in (especially when others aren’t). Some people don’t understand depression and anxiety, and that’s fine, but when someone says to me “omg just get over it” I need to let that go and be caring toward myself instead. I also can’t spend energy taking on everyone else’s shit when I got enough of my own. But, compassion towards others who need it most is important too. Seriously, in this day and age we need to take care of each other more. Times are tough for a lot of us, let’s have more compassion for others and help when we can.

Truth be told, I’ll probably have to revisit this post many times throughout the year. I’ll need to remind myself of this promise, so I’ll write it in my journal and repeat it as a mantra when needed. This word for 2016 is very important to me and I need to do my best.. I owe it to my self, soul, and heart.❀