Sunday, December 30, 2012

That time of year: Goal Setting for 2013

The end of 2012 is almost here, and its been an amazing year.  Hard to believe that I am finishing the year off tapering for my third marathon.  Hilarious given that my big goal of 2012 was to run one marathon, to just get up the nerve to do it ONCE.  I remember how many times it took me to attempt clicking register for that first one in May (barf!)

I've been "running" lots of ideas and plans through my mind this last month, thinking about next year and what kind of races I want to do and what my goals will be.  I've always loved making New Year's Resolutions there is something magic about them.  I started thinking of New Year's Resolutions and it led me to thinking of races.  I soon found my heart beating extra fast and myself getting carried away.  Needless to say I think I found "my thing," the thing pushes me and keeps me motivated.

I started a post a while back on setting up a race schedule for 2013...I never posted it.  It went something like...I want to do this and this and this...oooh this one too!  I may have gotten carried away. Me carried away? No!

So this is where I sit now, I am conflicted.  I am reading this really fascinating book right now, "Run Less, Run Faster."  The plans in the book will help you run your best performance.  They stress not how far, or how many times you have run in a week, but the INTENSITY of your runs.  The plan also stresses picking one or two key races and focusing on those. (ummm...not back to back races like I did this year).  The plan also talks about recovery time after key races (again...mmm...what's that?)

What has my heart racing, and so excited about exploring this book is the way the plan is set up.  You choose your training plan based on your current fitness level's 5km time.  So my current 5km time is 24 min (23 something in the summer).  The intensity of your plan is based on this!  Obviously my 5km pace is one hell of a lot faster then my half or full marathon pace!  This plan has me running 3 key runs a week (1 track, 1 tempo, and 1 long run). The key runs are pace specific and challenging. (the marathon plan has 5 -20 milers in it!) I also do 2 days of cross training (non weight bearing cardio, ie. swimming, biking, or rowing with INTENSITY, there's that word again).  You also do full body strength training of about 30 min 2-3 times week (love that they did not forget this key component and stress the benefits to your running machine).

Here's the real tease...based on my 5km and 10km times I could potentially reach the Boston Qualifying time for a Women's Age 40 category!  I'm 36 so it makes me think that this "pipe dream' is possible, that I could do this in the next few years.

The Qualifying time for Women 40-45 is 3:45.  According to this book's plan if you can run a 5km in 23:10 and a 10km in 48:30 and a half in 1:47.25 you can do this!

So my goal is to run the May Half Marathon in 1:47:25 to see if I have the potential to do this.

and then.........

Here's the conflict...I want to run Tough Mudder, and Spartan, and try a Duathon, and do the Army Run (my fav), and the TO Marathon, and do CrossFit and and and.....I want to do it all.  I want to play and sweat and hang out with my friends.

But I am slowly coming around to the idea of simplifying this year and focusing on two key runs.  A Half May Race weekend, 2 weeks recovery, and starting training for the TO Marathon.  (I could still run the Army Run half like last year as my last long run, slightly pushing the plan here but it's my favourite race and where it all started for me).  Committing myself to doing my very best, means not doing Tough Mudder even though I really want to.   It means following the plan, and being strict with myself (rest days, recovery periods etc).  It means being ok with picking my goal and setting my eye on the prize and cheering my friends on and not having to be "part of" EVERYTHING LOL!

So I am going to mull it over, prepare for Disney in two weeks and then set my Goals in stone so to speak :)

So go for it!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Getting Strong

For much of the last year my strength workouts have focused on full body workouts, with compound movements.  Strength workouts to keep me strong, and to to help me build a strong running machine.  My focus has been on lots of lunges, squats, and dead lifts for my legs.  I work my core a lot with the TRX and other exercises.  A strong core has really helped me on those 2 hour plus long runs.  My strength training has been designed for running and to fit into my training plan for the marathons.  But in the last month I have been changing things up a little and giving my upper body a little extra attention.

A group of friends and I have a 4 WEEKS TO FITT challenge going on with the idea being that we want to look extra awesome in our Christmas Party Dresses.  I say extra awesome, because we all look beautiful as we are, but a little extra bump on the shoulders sure is "SEXY"!  My goal was to have some definition and to rock some strong fit arms.  Arms are a big deal for me, my arms used to be a source of embarrassment and something to hide.  I would never have dreamed of baring them.  I had a shrug or sweater for every dress and top without sleeves.  Summer's were hot let me tell you.  

So bare with me when I share these silly pics of me in my bathroom trying to flex my muscles and looking like I am constipated (which I a sure you I am not, CHIA SEEDS!) because I am really excited that I have some muscle pops!! Now to figure out how to wear my dress and walk around looking like a sexy hulk woman while making the I have to poo face :) 

I still have some hanging skin under my arms, I don't think I can get rid of that, but I will wave them like VICTORY FLAGS!
This poo face is brought to you by, trying to hit the damn camera button on my phone with one hand in the air LOL!  
Seriously, this back shot makes me happy!  When I first started working out to Jillian Michael's the SHRED in my basement, my back flab slapped together when I did jumping jacks.  It was such an awesome noise, not.  

The best part about this last month of extra focus on "Strength" is that it is has also coincided with my break from the scale.  Instead of getting on the scale in the morning, I give my arms a little flex, and think STRONG, FIT, HAPPY and HEALTHY.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Muffins: A different Perspective

When I was little my nickname was "Muffin,"  I can't remember if it was my Dad or my Grandpa that named me that but it stuck.  I really did love muffins!  In fact, one of my fondest childhood memories is of being at grandparents house and my Nana baking muffins.  My Grandpa (who was always up to mischief) would sneak them for me while they were cooling and Nana would get playfully upset with him.  I have so many memories of eating muffins at my grandparents house, a place that was filled with love and fun and adventure.  My grandparents lived on a lake, Nellie Lake, and it was a truly magical place for my sisters and I.  After a long day of adventures outside, after we were scrubbed clean and powder puffed up, we would gather at the kitchen table for a bedtime treat.  My favorite bedtime treat was one of my Nana's muffins.  My Grandpa had this trick where we would take "his" butter knife (he had a special one with a yellow handle) and would scrape all the extra muffin stuck to the paper wrapper off it.  That's a lot of extra muffin goodness!

mmm...muffins..warm out of the oven, sliced in half and buttered on BOTH sides.  Filling.  Satisfying.  Comforting. Happy Muffins. 

So where am I going with "muffins"?  Well I had the opportunity to experience a Life Coaching Session with my good friend Jay Dziuba this week.  She is a life coach and well you just need to expereince the magic of what happens in a session.  We were meeting on Tuesday and I didn't really know what we would focus on in our session.  Would I choose to get help with growing my business, would we talk about running goals, I wasn't sure.  The neat thing is that it's a very organic type of session, what I need help with seems to surface on it's own and that's where we go.  This session ended up focusing on letting go of the "weighty" feelings.  "Weighty" being that tight constricted feeling around the heart, the racing heart, that anxious feeling, the worry, feelings of unworthiness that seem to cling to me.  I feel as though I am on the verge of another big change, ready to let go of the "weightiness" that is holding me down.  In previous posts, I've talked about the challenges of maintaining weight loss, and making the mental shift from weight loss to "healthy and fit".  In my session with Jay, we worked on finding perspective, so we talked about how I felt doing different things.  Like when I run.  When I run I am present and I  am connected to my body.  I feel fluid, like a machine, and happy when I run.  We talked about things like scrapbooking.  When I scrapbook I feel grateful because I am telling our stories.  Jay asked me to think of a happy place or thing and "MUFFINS" came to mind immediately.  Muffins represent the memory I shared with you at the start, that safe, content, satisfied, happy place with my grandparents.  So we took that "MUFFIN PERSPECTIVE" and from that perspective looked at the "weighty" issues.  Let me tell you the "weighty" issues look and feel much different from the perspective of muffins.  Do I need to get on the scale each morning if I am feeling muffins? No. Do I need to count and track what I eat if I am feeling muffins? No.  

The real AHA moment came when we looked at my upcoming Marathon in Disney from the perspective of Muffins.  (honestly, I have been doing really well with staying off the scale, and I have taken a break from counting and tracking etc, but the idea of this next race has really been weighing me down) So this was the real CHRISTMAS LIGHTBULB MOMENT right here.  If I RUN DISNEY from MUFFINS...I am running to celebrate the gift on this last year.  I am running to celebrate three marathons, to celebrate being healthy and strong enough to accomplish that life long goal. I am running because I LOVE TO RUN.  I am fluid, I am connected.  I am not watching my garmin.  I am not running to beat a time.  I am running simply what feels good, happy, joyfully, MUFFIN-LIKE.  I am running with my Grandpa.

Interested in finding your muffins?  I highly recommend looking into Jay Dziuba and her life coaching sessions.  You can send her a message through her linkedIn Profile here.