Monday, July 30, 2012

Half Marathon Monday: resting, pushing and learning along the way

I ran 21km this morning, on a Monday morning!  I tried three times this weekend to run it, but never made it more then a couple blocks from my house due to pain.  I ended taking the WHOLE WEEKEND OFF!  I think I can honestly say I have not taken a weekend off in two years, and I can't remember the last time I took two days off in a row.  Whether the pain was caused by ice cream, or a chest infection or something else, I do think its safe to say I needed a rest.  Maybe my body needed to throw off some crazy pains to tell me to take some time off.

I won't lie and say it didn't bother me.  I was plenty frustrated with my body not cooperating with my mind's desire to run this weekend.  I was slightly panicked at my training plan being thrown off.  But after shedding some tears, and a big hug from Ryan I really did embrace the concept of a restful weekend and took two naps, scrapbooked, read, drank wine, went out for dinner and went to bed early.  I know some people might think the way I workout is extreme, but the thing is I am hooked on running, and training for that race goal is something that fuels and inspires me like no other.  If it was about "exercise" or "burning calories" I would have gone to the gym this weekend.  As it didn't hurt to walk home, and I likely could have worked out on a cardio machine without incident.  But I knew that "rest" was what I needed to get back in my running shoes and doing what I love.

I have been learning a lot lately about myself and what I need.  I am learning that the mind is a powerful thing.  When I set out this morning, I was nervous.  To be truthful I am nervous before every long run, I wonder will I be able to do this? (I know silly right?).  Given that the weekend's attempts were failures I was worried.  I felt markably improved when I set out but still had a bit of tightness in my chest and pain.  It was very mild.  But my mind was focused on it and I was having a hard time letting go of it. I think I actually made it worse being so focused on it, because once I finally let go of it (30 min in) I felt good, as long as I didn't push it.  Its amazing the power the mind has over us, how much of this running thing is mind over matter.  Running in many ways has come somewhat easy to me. I love it, I actually truly enjoy it.  I haven't struggled with it too much.  I have had my share of tough runs, like in the winter when I was out for over 2 hours at a time and my water bottles would freeze, or the first time I ran 15 miles and HIT THE WALL, and the second time I hit the wall.  But other then fairly normal stuff like that, my mind has been very strong pushing me out the door, going further, staying on course.  Sometimes my mind can be too strong, to forceful and I don't listen to what the body wants.  Sometimes I need to be hit with a hammer to take a break.

Like I said I am learning.  This journey I have been on in the last 2 years has been a series of victories, celebrations, goals being met, mistakes and blunders, resets, and getting back on course.  And I am learning, and I am taking care.  This past week I did something big for me, and asked for help.  I have been feeling my anxiety rise lately, and in the past I took medication for it (paxil and prozac) and stopped when I started working out and getting the endorphin rush.  But the anxiety is back, and I don't want to take medicine for it (not yet).  So I made an appointment with a counsellor to talk about it.   Some time that is just for me, to talk about the things that stress me.  I have to say I am looking forward to the time to  talk to someone, without the kids interrupting and whining and causing a raucous.  Heck just that alone should be enough to lower the anxiety levels! LOL. But in all seriousness I am making myself a priority (beyond just taking time to workout) and in doing so am going to be a better mother runner :)    

Sunday, July 22, 2012

One of my favorite things about this blog

One of my favorite things about this blog is when I get to add a new race picture to the right side of the blog.  I love scrolling down and seeing all the fun I have had getting fit with my hubs Ryan and with friends.  It all started at the Army Run and a 5km race and I have no idea where it will go but I plan on filling that side bar up with a lot more pictures and memories!

Thank-you to all those that helped us solve our City Chase Clues yesterday, and for Team Carew for leading the way.  We had a really fun day, travelling the city doing whacky and physical challenges.  By far my top two moments were climbing the Columbia wall (thanks for the leg up Rob), and stopping on course with the Carew's for a beer before crossing the finish line!  Can't wait for City Chase 2013!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


This morning I have plans for 16km, the longest distance I have run since end of May.  I'm back into the Sat or Sun long runs and therefore back into the world of being disciplined to do them.  Believe it or not I actually laid in bed this am thinking about my run and wondering if I should put it off till Sunday. I was having cold feet and nerves and a general feeling of being too tired to get out at a decent time.

But I have been laying the foundation of discipline in the weeks prior.  I remember not so fondly a 15km run on the Norland hills not to long ago after a rather "fun" night with my sisters.  That would have been a very easy run to blow off.  But I didn't.  Last weekend, I had a chest infection, and on Sunday had every excuse in the book not to go out for a run.  I was much to happy about the thought of spending the morning in my pj's scrapbooking and knew I had to set the foundation of going.  So I did a very easy 5km and while feeling "a bit off" was fine.  Every time I get out that door when my mind is chanting PJs PJs PJs, I am setting another brick into my foundation.

Building a strong foundation here, going to go for it!  Sept 23rd here I come!

PS. also getting the hubs disciplined too, Mr. S was out way to late at Bluesfest last night and has to take the kids to soccer while I run.  Poor Baby :( NOT!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Breaking free of the number...

This week marks my first week into my training plan for the Army Run Half Marathon in September and the Toronto Waterfront Full Marathon in October.  I'm excited to share that I have also officially registered for the DISNEY MARATHON in January and will be running with a friend and vacationing with our two families while there!  Very excited. 

Having only just run my first Marathon end of May, it might seem a bit crazy to have 2 more lined up.  I certainly seem to be chasing that "high" feeling again and I most certainly have a love for running.  I love having a big goal in front of me, something to challenge me and motivate me.  But more then that I have found that training for the Marathon distance in particular seems to have helped me on the "mind" front of this healthy lifestyle journey. 

Its been two years since I first stepped foot in the gym and a lot has happened.  My life really has changed for the better.  But with that has come a somewhat "suffocating" focus on "weight" at times.  It's one that I have put on myself.  You don't lose 100 pounds will nilly, you focus, you eat right, you pass up your favorite foods, you count calories, you hop on that stupid scale.  I have been "maintaining" my weight loss since January with small fluctuations here and there (went up a bit while doing 20 mile runs).  Maintenance, is hard.  Trying to find that balance between a healthy and nutritious lifestyle and still enjoying your favorite foods and treats is tricky.  The trap I was falling into was, allowing myself to be defined by the number on the scale too much.  I was allowing "weight" to haunt me.  I blogged for the Losing it in Ottawa blog (which I love, and the community there is my home) but when my turn to blog came up I felt pressured and strange writing about weight loss again. (I know that's not the only purpose or topic of the blog, but mentally it was pardon the pun "weighing" on me).  We also applied to have my life insurance reevaluated to see if we could take away my rating now that I was no longer obese.  I have to say I felt sick inside the day the nurse came to my house and asked how much I weighed and put me on a scale.  I was nervous.  Again, I chose to have my policy looked at.  In addition to that, I had the daily game of getting on the scale and watching the ebb and flow of a week.  The up after a relaxed weekend and the downward trend to normal throughout the week.  Every monday, I felt like "yuck" because of that number on the scale.  When in reality I was fine, the same person I was on Friday, only retaining some water.  I think I am likely not alone in these mind games we play with ourselves, no matter our size, or where we are in our journey.  I believe we all have our moments where our insecurities and these type of games get the best of us.  Where they have the potential to sabotage us. 

So about two weeks ago I made a decision to ditch the scale! I went out shopping instead and bought a new dress and a SHORT skirt that made me feel AWESOME! I decided I was going to let my clothing tell me how I was doing.  If my skinny jeans get tight, well girl you need to lay of those choc chips.  I can't tell you how good it feels to be OFF the scale. How freeing it is for me.  Now when I look in the mirror I see the fit healthy woman I have become staring back at me instead of a number.  

My new black dress, I'm wearing a BELT!!

Ignore the hootchie tank and bra....proudly sporting a short skirt

Part of this probably sounds familiar, I go through phases of being diligent in my "weight loss" or "maintenance" efforts....then have a come to Jesus moment where I see the crazy going on and back off.  I actually do pray for help, and ask God to help me let go of the crazy.  I know this is something I will always battle with.  The Marathon Training helps me let go of the crazy.  Now I know a "Marathon" is extreme in itself, but here's the thing...YOU HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF to run one.  You need to eat well, nourish yourself, you need to sleep, and train smart.  I want to RUN that marathon, and therefore I am very motivated to take the best care I can of myself.  I would rather see myself as an athlete then a number.  

Do you have trouble with the "crazy" sneaking in?  Do you self sabotage yourself with mind games? How do you BREAK FREE?