Monday, April 29, 2013

You know that moment in a race where you think...not letting that person beat me?

You know that moment in the race where you think...not letting that person beat me?

Yeah that

Welcome to a peek inside my crazy mind during a road race.

This Sunday I ran the Manotick 18km Road Race, which is just a smidge over 11 miles.  I had 10 miles on the training docket that weekend for a long run.  (I think in miles).   So the race was supposed to be a training run.  My training pace was supposed to be a 8:28 min/mile with a warm up into the pace.

The "race" aka training run started and I set out feeling wonderfully happy to be warm and comfortable and not frozen.  I started off too fast completely ignoring that I had told myself I would warm up for the first 3-5km at 8:40 min/mile.  I was running a 8:15 min/mile.  I just felt so good and my feet were carrying me.  I thought just space out and then settle into the training pace.

Then it happened that moment...where you pick someone and think ummm yeah they aren't going to beat me.  Usually this phenomena doesn't happen till your in the thick of the race, you know about half way or more.  I was 5 min into the run?  Yep...Girl in a pink shirt...not sure why...but I thought I need to stay on her back.  Then girl in the black tank with her perfect toe strike caught up and got on my "NOT GOING TO BEAT ME LIST"  For the first 6km it was me, pink shirt girl, and black tank top perfect strike girl.   Pink shirt was in the lead, followed by perfect strike, and then me.  I was running about 8:15-8:20 min/mile.  (I haven't figured how to download my splits from my garmin yet).  The pace was a bit all over the place.  Did I mention it was a really hilly course? I was running faster then I had planned but I felt great.  In my head I thought this is close to what I want to be running on race day in May, a pace I wasn't sure I could sustain, so there was this wee crazy part of me that was like...maybe you give it a trial run today?  My name is Katie and I have a problem, I like to push it and see what happens.  I passed the girls a few times in first 6km with the natural ebb and flow of the race but they would come back up and pass me. It was funny really.  I wonder if they were doing the same thing I was?  At about 6km a crazy song came on...GREYHOUND..and I felt a surge of energy and went for it. I picked up pace and thought lets break out of this hold.  I did!

Soon there was no one behind me for  quite a stretch.  I settled into my pace and set my eye on the front of the heard.  I had this crazy thought in my could get in the top 10 women finishing today.  You can do can do that.  (got to love small races).  I soon came up on my next target a group of 3 men across.  They weren't old but they were older then me.  So I of course thought can't let these old guys beat me.  Back in the game.  I passed them!  About 10 min later or so they pass me.  Damn!  We are in the second loop I'm tiring from going out to fast, the hills are catching up to me.  The 3 guys are smart and going for a negative split and pick up pace not the reverse like me.  I grumble under my breath, ease off the pace a bit and take a rest.  But I have my eye on them, and the front of that heard in the horizon.  Not going to drop to far behind (but I've slowed down).  I recover start to push it.  So far the running has been "easy" not to hard.  Now I'm giving it more effort, much more effort to stay at that 8:30 min/mile pace or little less.  I'm stubborn.  I pass a couple more girls and 10 top 10!  The 3 guys have split up, one is straggling! He's mine.  I pass him.  2 more guys to go.  I'm after the dude in the crazy compression socks next.  I need better music, I fumble around with my playlist load up some beats and try to pick up pace for the end.  I pass the compression socks dude!  But Blue Shirt dude of the 3 is long gone, I remember his name...for some reason it was on his shirt.  (I looked up his time later he smoked me lol).  The end of the race is near, I take over another girl.  The hills are killing me, my legs feel like lead. 1km to go...and BAM A HUGE HILL.  Oh my Mother Farker! I swore out loud.  Who does that! It was awful.  An older man, much older (got to love/hate those uber fit older dudes) comes up behind me scared me lol.  I was on my own for a bit and didn't think anyone was around me.  He told me to keep going. Bless him!  So we surged up together...I tried to keep up with him, but couldn't. I told him to go 'ROCK IT' he was like maybe 500 meters from the finish line.   You should have seen him fly!

Downhill to the finish line, scanning the crowd for my peeps, there's Ryan's bald head! My beacon!  My girls Kayleigh and Kasey with their hands out, the Carews too!  I got to high five slide them as I ran in!  Filed under BEST MOMENTS! I've never gotten to see my girls at the finish line so this was amazing.

I finished in 1:34:26 seconds with an average pace of 8:26 min/mile my fastest average pace over a long distance.  (last weekend's PR half was an avg pace of 8:32) Finished overall 38th in the race! 10th out of all women! I DID IT! Just made it! and 4th in my age category.  Again I am loving these small races for making you feel like a superstar.

Ok, so didn't follow my training run plan per say.....but I did learn a lot that I'm going to put to use in May.

Most of all I had a BLAST and throughly enjoyed myself.  I had a bunch of friends running that day too and let me tell you my little "woot" is nothing in comparrsion to theirs.  Some ran their longest races ever!  All ran hard!  Some PR'd.  All of them ran with heart and killed it.

Then icing on the cake...running the Family 2km run after with my girls and Ryan.

Had to share this, I finally got to wear my Arm  Warmer's that match my skirt!  I hate them because they are compression and well like too tight jeans create a MUFFIN TOP...on my arms!  But the sleeves of the t-shirt covered that!  Yahoo!  Only wore them for about 5 min in the race, before peeling them off...right about when I got serious about not letting pink shirt pass me! 

Monday, April 22, 2013


Yesterday evening a friend of mine shared this picture online.  She posted the picture exactly when I needed to see it.  Here's the inspiring picture:

This is the link for the pic and FB page called Body Image Movement

These are not your typical before and after shots.  I was so struck by how happy, and beautiful she looks in the AFTER picture.  I also see so much more confidence in her then in the BEFORE.  

These pictures came at the perfect time, because I had just looked at my race pictures online from Zoom Photo and cringed.  All happiness at achieving a personal best in the Half Marathon forgotten.  My immediate thoughts were something like this:

"my I've gotten thicker, I look fat, how did I run that fast and be that heavy? I really need to get serious about losing weight! I need to get on track.  I should start counting calories again. Monday!  On Monday I will get serious."

All of these thoughts were going through my head at the exact moment I clicked on this picture.  Then they went away.  I was totally overcome with emotion when I saw this picture. I get there?  This is my goal.  To sit in my full beauty like this, happy, confident and feeling beautiful.  I want to look at my own soft places, and curves with the admiration that I look at her.  I want this to be my Ever After.  

I don't want to feel the way I have been feeling of late. Last week I found myself in tears, trying on clothes to go out somewhere feeling like nothing looked "good".  Luckily my amazing husband was there with hugs and words of love.  I told him its hard, so hard.  I feel like so often I am being bombarded with messages that tell me I am not good enough the way that I am.  That I am not strong enough if I don't have visible definition in my muscles.  Messages that tell me that what I eat is dirty because it's not "CLEAN" and I guess then that my soft middle isn't clean.  (that's why I like to think of whole food eating vs. "clean eating") I know I'm just being sensitive and its my own insecurities at work.  I worry that having gained some weight will mean I won't achieve my race goals, yet here I am getting faster.  I need to let go, I don't want the life that comes with the traditional "After".  I want the my Ever After, with my happy beautiful family and happy and healthy mom.  

I went to bed with a change of focus and woke with a renewed spirt to honour my self and my body the best I can.  To honour myself by moving and exercising, eating healthful nutritious food, learning to listen to my hunger cues (ie. stop when your full and eat when your hungry!), drink less wine on the weekends but not cut it out.   I wasn't going to "diet", or cut out carbs, or count calories.  I was going to do my best.

Then while at the gym today, lifting weights I caught a glimpse of my reflection.  I was taken aback! That fit pretty girl in pink, that's me!  I wasn't horrified or critical of my reflection.  I was happy.  I almost cried right there.  My perspective is changing....

trying to take a pic without looking like I am taking a pic, that's my I'm checking FB look :) 

This is my Ever After

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Smiths Falls Spring Fling Running Thing Half Marathon

My Running Buddy Rachael and I warming up in a patch of sun before the race
A few months ago my friend Mary (she rocks by the way, super happy bright shiny person) mentioned this race in Smith Falls that was benefiting a family that lost their Dad in a tragic accident.  There was to be a 5, 10, and a Half Marathon.  My training plan for the ORW Half just happened to have me out doing 14 miles today so a Half Marathon Race seemed like a great idea.

Rachael and I hit the road bright and early at 6am to get to Smiths Falls, for those of you that don't know me well, driving with me is always a fun adventure!  We arrived safe and sound with only a few misturns.  I loved the feel of this race from the start.  It was a small race with about 500 runners and most of those were in the 5 and 10km.  The race itself was down an old rail way track, a trail run to speak.  The scenery was lovely (sure beat running Woodroffe!) but also quite challenging.  My legs were not used to to the ground and I felt it, and my neck and shoulders hurt from staring at the ground most of the time to keep from miss stepping.  But even then, I loved the change of scenery.  

Rachael and I ran the race together, one ear bud in so I still had music to power me on but could hear her and chat a bit too.  The race wasn't crowded so we could easily chat, even when I was "eating her dirt" (literally...trail race).   Our plan was to do a "training run" but we both felt good, checked in a few times with each other and thought let's hold the pace we can do this!  I have to tell you I love running with this girl! I of course love her company, her humour, and her spirit!  But I also love those speedy legs of hers, and she's faster than I am.  My goal was to stay on her heels or as close to them.  In my mind if I just stuck to her I would be ok.  I love Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan the US Olympic Marathoners.  I love how Shalane is just that "much"faster then Kara and that they are great friends.  I told myself today, that she was my Shalane and I had to stay close.  Those little mantras that you tell yourself that keep you going. 

Rachael and I :) Just kidding.  
As much fun as the race was it was tough, and I was feeling it.  Without my run buddy I know I would have slowed down.  We giggled, shared words of encouragement, and pushed on to the finish line to come in just under 1 hour 52 min PR for us both!  Rachael at 1:51:53 an amazing and me with 1:51:57!

I can't tell you how much fun I had.  I really loved the feel of the small race, how friendly people were, and we got really neat handcrafted medals.  Oh and did I mention I came in 2nd in my age category?  Yes 2nd out of 3, like I said got to love small races they make you feel like Kara Goucher :)  

BEST MOMENT OF THE RACE: a really hot young guy came up to us and said he had been trying to catch us the whole race but just couldn't do it!  Did I mention he was hot?  


So I have 2 blood blisters, a handcrafted medal and a PR to show for a mornings run :)  Great day in my books.

Friday, April 19, 2013

She thought it would be a walk in the park...she was wrong

So after the Disney Marathon, after 3 Marathons in 9 months I signed up to run the HALF MARATHON May Race Weekend.  I thought it would be a walk in the park.  After all, all the training runs would be under 2 hrs! That's a big deal let me tell you.  Let me also tell you I was wrong.

I've run two half marathon's (The Army Run) but only ever trained for one.  My first half marathon training plan was more about going the distance and being pleasantly surprised when I surpassed my finish goal.  That training plan was marked by firsts, first 15km, first 16 km etc.  It was a plan of learning just how far I could go.  My second half marathon was essentially a training run in midst of my Marathon training plan.  It was my last "long run" before 2 weeks of tapering for the Toronto Marathon.  I ran it nursing an injury, and having not trained for a faster half distance.  I PR'd that race with 1:56 and officially a sub 2 hr!

Last year I while training for May Race weekend, I was training for my first Marathon (I like to use caps on the word Marathon, I think it deserves it lol) and that again was about going the distance seeing just how far I could really go.  Heck I didn't even run the full Marathon distance till race day, that last 10km was going to be a crap shoot in my mind.  Funny enough, those last 10km on race day were my fastest because all my training came into play and was amplified by the years of emotion leading up to that day.  My second Marathon I was dealing with an injury, and the training became about training smart and getting through the race.  Training for my third marathon was about, doing what had become habit and keeping up with the long runs.

So now to be training specially for Half Marathon distance with a time goal in mind, its well very different.  For starters every run, EVERY run has a pace goal.  There are no "just  go run and see how you feel runs".  Correction, next week I get a 6 mile "easy" run!  The first in 11 weeks.  I get the nerves before my three weekly runs (Track Repeats, Tempo, and Long Run) like I do on race day.  My tummy turns and I wonder can I do this?  I recently moved myself up a level in the training program.  My self talk has looked like this before every run:  "ok just try, give it a shot, and worst case you go back to the old pace, or find a place in between the two."  I give myself permission to ease off.  But then I start running and I get close....I can see the finish line Race Day and I tell myself don't you dare give up!  As much as I don't like the pressure I put on myself, nothing feels so good as meeting or better yet BEATING the pace requirement for that run.  I don't always meet them...sometimes I miss a sprint by a little bit.  But overall, I am doing it.  I AM REALLY DOING IT!  I can honestly say that this plan is pushing me harder then I ever would have pushed myself on my own.  I'm excited to see what happens, God willing that I am in good shape race day and all goes well.

If all goes well...after Monday, we now know that things can horribly horribly wrong.  I was shocked when I heard the news of Boston.  SHOCKED.  I hope its ok to say this but, when I heard of the school shooting I was HORRIFIED, SAD, MAD...all sorts of feelings...but I wasn't shocked.  Sadly things like this have happened in our world.  But this, the bombs going off at the Boston Marathon? Shocked me.  Shocked me so much that I forgot my filter and exclaimed it out loud in front on my children.  Who I then had to explain the reality that bad things do happen in our world. I remember the day when I was a kid and I heard something bad on the news and was crushed to learn that bad people did really exist.  I remember being mad at my mom for letting me believe we were safe.  I remember that day.  I hope I did an ok job explaining things in a sheltered way to the kids.  Doesn't help that Kasey said "but Mom you run marathons?"  I hope I made her feel better.  I hope I made myself feel better.  I have been sad and off all week.  I finished my tempo run on Thursday, proud of meeting a difficult run, and then found myself in tears on the couch.  It has been an emotional week.  I am thankful that there have been so many GOOD stories shared, stories of the human spirit, and humanity alive and well.  These stories fill me up and make me want to try harder then ever to make my dreams come true.

So yes I took a little detour for a half isn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be.  But I am so very very thankful that I am able to do this.  Don't take your blessings for granted.

Run Happy. Run Strong.  Run because you can.

Our little Barrhaven Run Club dedicating our 5km to remembering Boston.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

3 Days Rest and the Lessons Learned

I had a really interesting weekend, a great one actually.  Friday night I met up with some of our dinner club girls and we painted pottery and relaxed.  Saturday and Sunday my family (my mom and dad, and my sister and her family) came to visit to cheer my 10 year old niece on in her Hockey Tournament.  I don't get to see my family often so this time was golden.  Amongst all the fun I was also taking some rest from running and working out, my hamstrings were very very sore.  As in it hurt like hell to even bend over to put running shoes on.  I rested Friday and Saturday.  In my head I had pushed my long run (13.1 miles a half marathon) off till Sunday.  Sunday arrived and I had ZERO I mean zero desire to run.  I felt better physically, but mentally I was done for.  My niece was kicking butt in her games and was heading into the gold medal game. I didn't want to miss it.  I wanted to enjoy every moment with my family.  I was tired of trying to fit my runs into my family life.  So I took the day off.

I took 3 days off!  I hadn't taken a weekend off since a similar injury and mental tiredness in the summer.  (and we all know how long ago summer was lol)

I enjoyed the morning very much, I screamed so loud cheering my niece on that I thought my head was going to explode. I soaked up watching my girls and their cousins play together.  They love each other so much.  It was wonderful.  Then we had to say good bye, and that part sucked.  The kids cried all the way home and it broke my heart.  We got home around 1pm and it felt like 6pm we had already beed to two games and packed in lots of play.  A guilty voice in my head said I had time to run.  I didn't want to.  I made the decision to not go. But I didn't own the decision.  Instead I let the guilt and anxiety eat at me.  Then I dealt with those feelings by eating.  You know the emotional numbing kind of eating, sigh :(  By the time bedtime rolled around I was stuffed and even doubting my ability to run a half Monday morning.  I had let an amazing weekend turn into a guilty ball of anxiety all in one afternoon.

Cue Monday morning, I love what a new morning will do.  HOPE.  I was still nervous, but knew once my feet hit the road and I settled in I would find my happy place.  Ryan was working from home that day which took the stress off of having to get home in time to pick up Kasey at 11:00am.  My plan was to run easy the first half and then pick up the pace and run closer to the LSR pace requirements of my new plan.  I settled in.  I forgot about the guilt and anxiety. I did what I love...RAN.  At the half way point I picked up the pace, and I saw I was on target to PR so I ran the last 4 miles at race pace.  OH MY LEGS, they felt like lead in the end.  But I did it.

1:52:04 for a new Half Marathon PR.  (4 mins of Army Time) 

I must say I felt much much better after that.  I've had a great week.  Those three days of rest did me wonders! I also had a massage this week and it really helped with some nagging soreness.  I've been able to exercise with INTENSITY this week.  I did my sprints yesterday and nailed them! Then I did the new Bodyshred class right after.  I'm modifying my running plan this week.  With having done last week's long run on Monday I can't fit two long runs, speed work, and a tempo in.  Not without hurting myself.  So I am leaving out the tempo run and thinking of monday's half as a tempo :) why not?

I have learned a lot this week.  I'm a slow leaner, there are certain things that I just seem to need a hammer over the head to get through.  But here's the thing.  A year ago, I would not have taken those rest days.  I would have pushed through.  A year ago I would have missed my niece's gold medal game to run.  I'm changing.  I am finding balance.  I am learning that resting will get me to my goals better then pushing through and hurting myself.  I am learning that I can play around with my plan to make it fit my LIFE and that if its not perfect its ok, I am fit enough that it won't hamper my progress.  I have also learned that I still struggle with the guilt and anxiety and heavens with the food part too.  I hope next time to really embrace the rest and enjoy the time off.  I hope to let go off the anxiety and guilt completely some day.

I also know that training for a race with a goal in mind does require a lot of work and discipline.  This weekend is a busy one with 2 birthdays.  I will be squeezing in 10 miles Saturday morning before the festivities begin.  Today despite it being a "snow day" and the thought of staying in my pj's being very tempting I will do my lower body TRX strength work so my running machine is strong.

I am slowly finding more balance.  I have literally come a long way in the last year.  I want to be fit and healthy and to kick ass running.  But I also want to have fun with my family, I want to enjoy the blessings in my life without being consumed by a "ridgid regime."  This has been a very good week.  I hope to repeat it again and again.