Run quietly

Run quietly

Friday, August 25, 2017

Squamish Love

On my recent trip to Squamish, BC, I decided that I REALLY need to get back to writing. I love it. It organizes my thoughts, and makes it easier for me to identify what I am feeling. Part of my previous hesitation with it was who cares what I write? Now I don't even care who cares! I am going to write because I like it, and write about whatever comes to my mind, and if someone doesn't like it, well they can close the tab. Or tell their pals who much they didn't like it, which may in turn have more people reading it anyway. ;)

Now that I have that out of the way, I am going to start with HOW MUCH I LOVED SQUAMISH! I have been to Vancouver twice. And even though Squamish is only about an hour North of Vancouver, there is no comparison in my mind.

In the last year I have been stringent about who and what kind of energy I will allow in my life. I have created distance from anyone or anything who prefers it if I stay small or wants to blame their insecurities on me. As a direct result I have been able to begin to reveal an innate capacity to live on my own terms. I refuse to walk on egg shells for people and I refuse to fuel anyone's ego. And I am not sorry. In fact, I have never been happier, and every aspect of my life has had a positive up turn because of this.

It would have been hard to imagine my 8 year ago self climbing mountains and travelling to the places that call me now. I had been doing the "all inclusive" or the places that "everyone loved". I always came home wondering why I felt worse. Not understanding that comfort, consumerism, busy-ness, mass crowds, big city life and shopping were the last things on this planet that I truly craved. My favourite destinations this year have made me dirty, tired, sore, uncomfortable and hungry for more. Squamish was no exception.

I knew that upon return to Ontario, I need to make some changes. First, write more. A lot more. About any and all the things I want. Unapologetically. I will continue to focus intensely on the things that are important to me. This is how they will continue to grow and flourish. Lastly, because I have removed a lot of negativity and distraction, I have become more aware of the things that are calling me. I can recognize what I am actually going to enjoy, rather than what is just going to keep me "busy".  I am not really great at this yet, but I have definitely made improvements!

On the flight home from Squamish, I knew I couldn't be too disappointed, as my kids were waiting for us, and I am fortunate that I get to take them on a mini adventure of our own the following week. I still need to write about our last one, I am a bit behind!

Obviously this post didn't have a main point, but as my reintroduction back into blogging, I am happy I wrote it.
Post Squamish50 23km dirt!

Lake Girabaldi. 9km up and 9km down made a 4 hour and 25 min hike the day after the race. OUCH! So sore and tired, but the epic views replaced the pain with gratitude.

Peak 1 of Stawamus Chief. 535m of elevation gain over 3km. This was the day after the Girabaldi hike, and 2 days after the race. Muscle atrophy made more tolerable by red wine at the summit.

Climbing the rock face on the Stawamus Chief.

The heights the trees reach on the Squamish trails makes me dizzy!

One of the lookouts on the way up to Lake Girabaldi. We were lucky enough to have it to ourselves for a few moments. I am grateful for the deafening silence when I am up so high!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Thanks Boston, but I'm done with the Marathon.... For now.

Even with the simple title of this post, there are so many feelings, experiences and hours that were put into this one race. This post also may not be what some readers are hoping to read.

My daughter started JK this year, which left me with 6 hours in the day that I can fill with anything I like. Mostly, I enjoy being able to take clients during the day now, and not having to work every night. I could also forgo the 4:30am-5am wake ups that have been normal for so long, and run after I dropped the kids off at school.

Every runner I know who I idolize for their speed runs a lot. There is no way around that. More miles in your legs seems to correspond with faster times. So I decided that I was going to try what I once thought was impossible; to run 100 km a week.

Between December 12, 2016 and April 16, 2017 I hit 100km 8 times. I averaged 86km a week for the 18 weeks. In total I ran 1472km in the build up to the Boston Marathon. During those 18 weeks, I ran the Boxing Day 10 miler, and the Chilly Half Marathon; both with disappointing results.

In February, I decided to join the Longboat Road Runners. I am happy I was taken on by the head coach Timo! I had been training myself since late 2015, so taking the guess work out of training was nice.

In the weeks leading up to the race, I was becoming more annoyed with training than I was excited for the actual race. After I fell way short of what I thought I was capable of at the Chilly Half, I questioned whether running more is actually helping me or hurting me. My coach said he didn't think running less would leave me strong enough to run a good marathon. So I tried to plow onwards.

Here is my experience on training too much. What is most important to me is being able to feel good mentally and emotionally. When I am doing too much I know the signs from my body. Taking forever to fall asleep. Waking up repeatedly in the night. Short temper and easily annoyed during the day. Running at all is like pulling teeth. Weight gain of 5-6 lbs despite eating properly and high amounts of mileage. A swollen "puffy" look all over as if I am retaining water. Feeling terrible all day and night is not worth any race to me. Sorry folks, but not even Boston. By the time I displayed all these signs it was too late. Boston was a mere 20-ish days away. The taper couldn't come fast enough.

The race itself definitely delivered. The crowds at Boston cheer you like you are their family. They line the entire route from start to finish. I brought an iPod as I am accustomed to running alone sometimes in a long race, and it is a nice distraction. I couldn't even hear the thing; the crowds were so loud. It was wild!

Right before the race begins, two fighter jets fly over the start line. Already a race like no other! That gave me crazy goose bumps as my corral 1/8 began walking towards the starting mat. I found the first 8km very difficult to get around the crowds and get into a fluid pace. Around 10km they fanned out a bit and I didn't have to weave through anyone anymore.

As promised, my husband was at the 12km mark, in front of the Natick train station. It was great to see him, and at that point the race was flying by and I felt fantastic. Even when I hit the 21.1km mark in 1:32 I still felt really good. I made sure to drink at every water station, as well as grab a cup of water to dump on my head to try and stay cool.

The first hill hit around 27km I think? That seems to be where my pace goes out the window. This is also where I stopped sweating entirely and remember thinking "this may end badly". I wasn't acclimatized to the heat, and don't run well even in the middle of summer in Ontario. The heat combined with the Newton hills almost took me down. I pushed through as best as I could. From 30km onwards I refused to look at my watch or check my splits. I don't really remember any thoughts I had during the last 12km either.

My Wild Bruce Chase teammate/friend Kristin's husband spotted me at 35km and called out. It was so nice to hear my name and see someone I knew. That helped me push on. I saw my husband (who is the master supporter and spectator!) again at the 40km mark, and even though it was amazing to see him again, I was really just wanting to be finished. It gave me a final mental push, although I don't think it accounted to anything physically. I have read so many accounts of the final turn towards the finish line. The crowds are insane. You're almost there. You can see the finish. I'm such a finish line crier, and normally an epic event such as crossing the Boston Marathon finish line would solicit tears from me, but that day there were none. I was too dehydrated.

I crossed the line in 3:10:38. About 1 minute over my only other marathon time. That wasn't what I was thinking about though, as I slowly walked through the finishers chute. WATER was the only thing I was thinking about or looking for. I probably would have passed up my medal to get to water faster. Ha! The finish area was carnage! People laying on the ground, falling on the ground, medics rushing to them, people just sitting on the side of the road before making the 1km trek to the family waiting area, and runners being pushed in wheel chairs towards the medical tent. Crazy what a hot marathon can do to a person in comparison to a cool one. I'm not going to lie, the medics waiting on the sides every 10 feet or so with wheel chairs looked so tempting! I am thankful that I finished and didn't need medical services.

One question a lot of people have asked me is "would you do it again?".

After a month to reflect on this, right now my answer would have to be no.

But WHY?! Boston is the "holy grail" of running events! And for someone who is chasing the unicorn, my view point may seem outrageous or even offensive.

 I am grateful to have been able to do something that many people can only dream about. I am also grateful for being able to share the experience with others. I am still in awe of what the human body can do and tolerate. I have only run 2 marathons, and in each of them my limits were tested in totally different ways. My hard "no" has nothing to do with Boston as a race, and everything to do with the preparation, time and effort that goes into marathon training. As well as a large need in my life for those efforts to be allocated elsewhere.

To train "properly" for a marathon, I really only get 1 chance a year. Spring. That way I can train while my kids are in school without disrupting their life, and still being able to have a life myself. A fall marathon would mean 4am wakeups all week. Truthfully, I am not prepared to do that. I want to enjoy summer with my kids and not be exhausted and wiped out all the time. Paying for day care to run just seems ridiculous to me. For me, running should enhance life. Not be life.

So my priorities have changed again. And that's ok. For a long time I wanted to run a "fast" marathon. So I put in a TON of work, all to have the weather foil it. In running, nothing is guaranteed and what you put in may not necessarily be what you get back. And for now, I need a break from that. Shorter faster races will be the only thing on my running related horizon. My three year old 10km PB of 38:01 seems physically impossible to run now. That was off of 40km of running a week and no real speed work. That's also when I loved running the most. I need to get back to that place.

My plans to get back there involve the open communication with my coach, that I have been really appreciating. Scaling back the mileage, and forgoing the standard two workouts a week. If going down to one workout a week means I'm not as fast, but I feel well enough energy wise to enjoy the rest of my life, then I'm ok with that. Every cycle I have attempted two workouts a week, it isn't long before my nervous system is taxed and all those overtraining symptoms pop up.

One major thing I took away from Boston was how much love and support is around me! I was truly blown away by the amount of call, texts, well wishes and messages I received from my friends and family all over. At some low points in my life where I had made many wrong choices, I felt very alone. I am happy to say that that feeling is long gone. And many years of soul searching and realizing that I can choose what types of people and energies I allow around me has paid off! Thank you to everyone who took the time to reach out to me and support me. It means more than you all know. ♥♥♥

To my husband and kids who tolerated me through the thick of this - THANK YOU!

To my coach and Longboat team and previous team Grand River Endurance members- THANK YOU!

Thank you to Saucony Canada, as their shoes have gotten me through 2 marathons, a 50km and a plethora of shorter races without so much as a blister. How could I possibly have carried 5 gels if the shorts I wore on race day didn't have pockets!?

Special thank you to my friend Stephanie who pushed me to try running my first race in 2011 and hasn't stopped cheering for me since.

Next up is the Toronto Waterfront 10km! Since I really don't like running the 10km distance, I thought this was a perfect place to start. :)


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Self love starts with you.

"Mommy? Is jumping up and down exercise?"

A seemingly harmless question from my four year old daughter immediately had me thrown off.

"We jump up and down because it is fun, and because we like to move our bodies." Was my fast reply.

Without thinking I could have mistakenly said, "yes, it is!" As most parents' first instinct is to praise their children for making a correct observation. Although, I did not really see this as correct. I see it as part of a bigger issue that is rampant with young girls. Even grown women.

I became a personal trainer because of how movement, training, and the confidence it has brought me has changed my life. As a child I would count the minutes in school as they seemed to drag by. All the sitting literally left me bored to tears. I sometimes wonder how my life and the things I would have accomplished could be different if I had not been made to "learn" in a way that hindered my learning capabilities seemingly permanently. To this day, I despise sitting. While writing this, my mind is engaged, but by the end, my body is antsy. I thought that helping other women see that movement and the strength and confidence derived from it could change their lives on some level as well.

The issues young women and girls face today run much deeper than gaining fitness or loosing a few pounds. I have met women who are in the gym only because their tween or teenage daughter is depressed, lacking motivation and self worth. They want to be a role model for them. I have met young girls who dedicate the time to come to the gym, but their lack of self worth and therefore confidence hinders their progress. Even if physical pounds or inches are lost, the emotional baggage still weighs them down. Some have faced cancer diagnoses, or invasive surgeries. How about the all too common scenario of the woman who has grown children, or a thriving career, but knows that she needs to do something for herself. She not only has to face the challenges of creating a new habit, being able to put herself first and the physical objections her body will give her; but the hardest part of all will be deciding and believing that she is worthy of what she is trying to do for herself. If a young girl does not feel like she is worthy and deserving of good things, that feeling of despair and lack will be carried with her throughout everything life throws at her. Then that young girl may have children. Guess what the children learn. You cannot teach what you do not know.

The dialogue we use to describe our actions, reasons and motivations behind looking after ourselves needs to change. Rather than speak about "exercise" around children, or that part of looking after ourselves is to "exercise" our bodies, we need to talk about the things we love to do, and how they make us feel good. Children are not born to "hate" movement. Have you ever watched the doors of a school when the recess bell goes off, or it's time to go home? The doors FLY open. It is as if an explosion occurs, and it is all the energy and excitement of being free and able to move. Children need to move. Instead of speaking about a "diet", let's talk about fueling our bodies. If children are offered real food to eat, they will eat real food.

Clearly the issue is not about exercise, weight, diets, calories, fat, skinny or otherwise. The issue is worth. It is the lack of confidence, self love and strength that children are learning because that's what they have absorbed from their environment, or been told. This is a massive loss in a woman's life. When a mother does not have it, or is not actively trying to build it, her daughter will have a hard time learning it. The variables and circumstances that leave women feeling this way are in abundance. They can be culturally or socioeconomically rooted. Or in many cases, learned in their immediate environment. I do not have all the answers, but I can do my best with what I know; with my children and the women I meet.

This is a massive issue that will continue to plague women everywhere. I work very hard to make a conscious choice every morning to choose my words with integrity around my children. I choose to embrace this daily rather than a traditional "career" because parenting is what matters most to me. That's not to say that working mothers do not think their children are important. And I know some women can handle it all, I simply cannot. So I focus on the few things that I do. I am far from perfect, and I make sure to apologise to them when I make a mistake. If I was to do only one thing really well in my entire life, it would be to raise two good people. Who love themselves, look after themselves, are kind to others, display empathy and know they are worthy of and deserve good things. This starts with me. They touch on it in schools, but what children live at home ultimately becomes their lives.

I hope to somehow inspire mothers and young girls to value themselves. I am not yet sure how I am going to do this. Bandaid solutions do not work for me. Fitness and wellness is one avenue, but may not be they key for all. For now, I will do what I can with what I know. Continue to learn and grow. But being able to guide my children in the best direction for them is my main goal. Always.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wild Bruce Chase Part 2- Iroquoia 25km

With it now being 2 months out from the Wild Bruce Chase, it resembles something similar to childbirth in my memory.
Did that really happen?
 No, it did not hurt as much as I remember it did, right?
Sure I could do that again!  
Ever since I completed my last leg of the relay, I have been somewhat obsessed with the trails. Going back and seeing more crosses my mind almost daily. The fact that I seem to be somewhat addicted to various sources of self inflicted pain (think tattoos, racing, running longgggg), does not make this obsession less.
We arrived back at the Beaver Valley base camp around 4:30am. As soon as I got out of the van, the plethora of stars took me by surprise. That is something you do not get to see if you don't get far enough away from the city often. Simply beautiful. I grabbed a quick shower and was lucky enough to nab a top bunk in a room. Unfamiliar surroundings, post adrenaline rush, and nerves about the morning did not allow sleep to come easily. I text my husband around 6:30am and must have finally fallen asleep shortly after that. 8am. The lights flick on, and it is time to get up and start getting ready to go. Yes 1.5 hours of sleep. Oh man. I tried to not think about how lack of sleep makes me an ineffective blob, and got my stuff together to head to base camp #3 in Hamilton.

Beaver Valley Base camp. I wish I had more time there!
I was not as stressed about my second leg, as I knew I would have daylight, and portions of it would probably have other hikers around. Chantal was going to meet me about 14km in. Erin and her husband Rob positioned themselves at some of the spots where the trail headed onto the road briefly and then back onto the trail. These areas are easy to miss and I was very grateful to see them there!

These maps didn't even make it out of my bag once I was on the trail!

Doesn't look so daunting, right!? 
First let's list a few of the things I am not good at/inexperienced at.
1.I am absolutely useless if I have not gotten enough sleep. There are few things in this world I will forgo sleep for, as I know very few things will be worth the repercussions!
2.I am terrible at running in the heat. it seems no matter how much water/electrolytes I take in, my muscles fail and I cannot avoid dehydration.
3.I mentioned in my last post, I am an amateur trail runner at best. Rolling hills on country roads are a walk in the park in comparison to the never ending mega hills I encountered on this 25km.
This leg began around 3pm. It was close to 34 degrees outside. I had ran 17km only 12 hours earlier, then slept for 1.5 hours. And I am so happy I did not know what was coming with this route! Beginning it, I had no idea how many climbs and descents I was in  for. Let's throw everything I am not good at together and see how a 25km run goes.

Elevation from Garmin Connect. #ouch
When Chantal met me, I think I was still doing ok. Somewhere between 14km and 20km my body checked out. I was walking up the hills. I have never had to do that before! Even as a new runner, I was super hard on myself and would not have"allowed" myself to do that. Well how humbling when your body just will not let you! Each incline I was cursing myself for racing a half marathon only 6 days before, climbing Grouse Mountain the very next day, and for being so naïve about how tough this was really going to be. I combated so many negative thoughts; so when Chantal suggested she take over the last 5km for me, it would have been an easy out to say yes.
Truthfully, even though I was dehydrated, tired and probably kind of delirious at that point, I knew enough to realise that I would never forgive myself for backing out of the last 5km, and that the only option was to finish this 25k!
Just a quick note about how bad ass Chantal is. Only a few weeks after the Wild Bruce Chase, she tackled the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler (80ish km). Around the 70km mark she fell. She did not know until she was seen by a Dr. later that day, but she broke her wrist. This woman got up, kept going, and still finished 3rd. Did I mention I could barely walk for nearly 3 days after the relay!? I did not even attempt to run for a week! She is inspiring and amazing.

Chantel and I on one of the rare road portions.
Photo Credit: Erin Dasher

Sherman Falls in Ancastor! SO beautiful.
Photo credit: Rob Scheifley
When we finished under the hydro towers, some team mates were there cheering, and the hand off went smoothly. I could not believe I did it. Up until that date I thought the Toronto Marathon was the hardest thing I could accomplish. Possibly even the birth of my daughter sans epidural. I found the Bruce Trail to be MUCH harder! Not joking. I have viewed road running differently since. I even sold my Scotiabank Marathon bib to a friend, as my heart just isn't in it. Running through buildings in Toronto just isn't very exciting to me right now. My workouts have suggested that I could run a faster marathon than I did in May, and I still have no desire! When your intuition speaks to you, you absolutely have to listen.
I am so grateful for the experience as a whole. It has changed my outlook on my goals, running, and what I expect of myself. Humbling, refreshing and brutally hard all at once.

A few of the ladies finishing up the final leg! A continuous, end to end of the 901km Bruce Trail. And an all new FKT (fastest known time) of 4 days, 1 hour and 39 minutes. Memories for life!

Now, how to recreate an experience that I could possibly fail at? ;)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wild Bruce Chase, Caledon Hills

I knew I had to write about the Wild Bruce Chase, but I needed to let it sink in for a while. It has been nearly 4 weeks since the most epic experience of my life! When my friend Erin asked me if I was interested in joining a relay team of 18 women, with the goal of tackling the entire 880km Bruce Trail, I did not even hesitate. How could I turn down an experience that sounded so unique and amazing?! When opportunities such as this arise, I believe you need to make it work. So even though I knew I would be in Vancouver racing the Scotiabank Vancouver half marathon only 6 days before, I would put off recovery and real life until after.


Only as the July long weekend came closer did I really start to think about what I had gotten myself into. I do not run or train on trails. I definitely do not run trails at night. I am terrified of bears, ticks, rattlesnakes, and the pressure of getting lost or messing it up for the team became crushing! I voiced my concerns with Erin, and she has a fabulous way of bringing me back down to earth. I decided that because it brought so much fear out of me, and the scary things are what enable growth, I had to push those fears aside and start having some faith in myself!

Because I had only just arrived home from Vancouver Wednesday June 29 around midnight, and I had to work on Saturday, it was not possible for me to start with the majority of the team in Tobermory on Friday July 1. I met them two exchanges ahead of where I was to begin my first leg of the relay, in Caledon Hills.  I still had some daylight when I arrived and decided to check out one of the spots I enter the trail from the road.
Admittedly, I still could not believe I would be entering this in the middle of the night in only a few hours!
I went for an early warm up to calm my fears. My excitement was building!
I was partnered with Jon to run with me on my night leg. "A Bruce Trail expert" Erin had assured me! He arrived with about 20 minutes until go time. All nerves and excitement, I repeatedly told him I am not a trail runner, and was terrified. Oh, and did he know how crazy anxious I was?! Poor guy. Ha!
First run with a headlamp. I could not stand how it bounced around and ended up tossing it in Jon's bag. I carried a cheap one in my hand.
Around 1am, the tracker was tossed into my bag, and with all the excitement and my terror, I cannot for the life of me remember who passed off to me. Leg #1 was basically half road and half trail, the first portion of it being trail. I led the way and Jon schooled me on trail running basics that I made sure to remember. Picture something out of the Blair Witch Project movie. You are in the middle of the forest. It is pitch black, other than the head lamps. You can hear the coyotes in the distance somewhere. I was so focused on spotting and following the blazes (the white markings that led the way of the main trail), that I did not have any time to focus on my fear. Every time we were back on the road, I made sure to try and make up my time there, as my pace on the trails was slower than my recovery pace on the road. (5:30-6:30's).
My two main concerns about the night leg were wildlife, and falling. I only half tripped twice, both times saving myself. Phew! The only wildlife we saw was a group of bats we had disturbed as we ran through a tunnel. Or I could count the road kill racoon I nearly tripped on. It was on the side of the road and because there were no street lights, I did not see it until it was almost too late! Face planting a dead racoon would have made for a good story though.
Climbing one of the many stiles on the Bruce. Positioned so you can go over the fences without ruining them. Also guaranteed to get face fulls of spiders and webs as you go over. Note my compression shorts to keep the ticks out of my crotch and the compression socks to keep them off my legs. Have I mentioned I am terrified of ticks? I wore my Saucony Kinvara 5's instead of my trail shoes for this leg as it had a lot of road portions in it.   
We ran through brush, forest, tall grass (ticks, ugh!), but the creepiest may have been the corn field. It had a bunch of random pockets of cold air throughout it, and as I ran I tried not to envision Children of the Corn. There was some barking in the distance that Jon assured me was domestic dogs. I was not concerned about them so much, the real question was WHAT DO THEY SEE?! What are they barking at?! Thankfully whatever it was had ran off by the time we passed. Phew.
Just don't think about it !
Back into the forest for the last time after a few km on the road. Adrenaline had stared to lead to fatigue as I am normally sleeping at 2:30am, not running. We were closing in on 17.50km so I knew we had to be close. The crew was waiting and spotted our headlamps in the darkness before we could see anything but blackness ahead. They began cheering, and there is NO BETTER SOUND than your team waiting for you. I exited the forest, the team grabbed the tracker and Momentum Wrap (our "baton") and Tanis was on her way into the darkness. First leg of the Wild Bruce Chase down. Could not have done it without Jon. Who runs with people they have never met before, through a forest in the middle of the night!? What a great guy, I am so thankful!
Tanis awaiting the start of her first leg. At least the headlamps somewhat reflected off the blazes!
Stay tuned for leg #2 recap!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Tips for Beating the Sunrise on Your Run

It is a rare occurrence for me to be able to run in the daylight. 80% of my training happens between 4:30am-6:30am. For many months of the year, it is dark. My daughter is still at home, my son is in SK, and I work in the evenings after my husband gets home. There is zero chance of me running at 8pm at night after a whole day. My bed is calling at that point! So pre dawn running it is.


I frequently get asked "how do you get up that early?", or "are you not scared?". Truthfully, I love to get up early. 4:15am or 4:30am requires an alarm, but my 5am runs are not a struggle for me. I love to run, I love the alone time combined with the silence, and I love knowing by 6:30am I have already started my day, and feel accomplished. If your goals do not make you want to jump out of bed in the morning, then you may need to alter your focus!

I have only been scared on a few occasions. Usually it is an animal of some sort that seemingly appears out of nowhere, and I end up booking it the other way. I have been chased by a momma duck protecting her ducklings (picture me running down the middle of the road in the dark, away from a honking duck :D). I have run away from coyotes (thankfully never chased), and dodged more than a few skunks and racoons. Only one encounter with a dog that was not on a leash lunging at me. I am still baffled at why people think their animals do not need to be on a leash.

There is next to zero night life in the town that I live in. I may pass a few people here and there when I run that early, and all have been harmless. Most people are waiting at bus stops, or walking their dogs. I could probably use my two hands to count the number of other runners I have seen that early. The only human that ever scared me was a disheveled looking man riding some sort of motorized bike in the middle of the sidewalk. "Look out or I'm gonna f**king hit ya!" he calls out to me as I veer to the side. So strange but funny at the same time. Where was he going? Where did he even come from? Ha!

Bonuses to getting your run finished before the sunrise include:
1. Having the rest of the day to dedicate to other things
2. It forces you to practice self discipline, and be diligent with time management
3. You can practice some carb depleted runs (helps your body become more efficient at using fat as fuel)
4. Increased energy for the rest of your day - the exception for me here is a tempo run that begins at 4:xx am. By mid day I need a nap! Or coffee if that is not possible
5. You can add more mileage (if that is your goal) by adding a second run in later in the day
6. Alone/quiet time before the commotion of a busy day begins - EVERYONE would benefit from this!
7. Seeing the sunrise NEVER gets old for me. I love it.

Tips to becoming a pre dawn runner:
1. Make it a habit
Begin by trying it 1-2 days a week. Gradually work your way up to setting your alarm that early 3-4 times a week. A month or two of this and it will just become what you do. That is how you begin the day. It will seem like you have actually added hours to your day, as your afternoon/evening hours are now free.
2. Invest in some reflective clothing
A reflective vest or even an LED arm light will be necessary so that you can be seen.

3. Do not obey pedestrian traffic signs
Haha weird I know. But I act as if no one can see me. If the sign indicates "walk" and there is a car that is going to turn left, even if I had 10 glowsticks sport taped to my face, I would still not go until that car has turned.
4. Run wide around dogs
Even if the dog's owner is responsible and the dog is on a leash, run wide around them. Chances are the dog and the owner will be a bit surprised when you run past them. You don't want the dog running/jumping at you.
5. Bring your phone
This one is obvious. If something does happen you want to be able to make a phone call fast. Two years ago, I flew over the handle bars of my bike and smashed 3 teeth out of my mouth. I did not have my phone and somehow managed to ride the bike home. Ugh.
6. Do not wear music/headphones
You want to be able to hear what is around you. If you are listening to music or a pod cast then you may not hear someone behind you, a car, etc.
7. Stick to main roads that are well lit
This will ensure that there are always at least some cars going by or people waiting at bus stops. I will run the same 2km stretch back and forth for a tempo run just to make sure I know my footing and it is well lit.
8. Lay your clothes out the night before/have a pre run snack ready
When my alarm goes of, I can just grab the pile and change quickly. I drink some water, eat half a banana or nothing and am out the door within 15min of waking. The exception here is a long workout. Before that I eat toast with almond butter and honey before I go.

In the few summer months, the early mornings make for cooler workouts
I totally understand that not everyone's schedule is the same, and that due to life/work circumstances, running in the early hours is not actually possible for everyone. But If you are simply staying up late and sleeping in, and feeling like you need "more time" to train/read/socialize/work then squeezing your run in before the day is underway will help with time management! That out running, getting it done feeling while most of the city is sleeping will make you feel badass! I promise!
Happy Running!

Monday, March 7, 2016

About Those Insecurities.....

In most situations in my life, and in the endeavours I choose to take on, I dive in head first. All or nothing. Black or white. There is no shaded grey area. But what about the situations that occur that I do not have control over? Or the times that something is required of me that I am not quite confident in my abilities? Well there is that shaded grey area that I like to conveniently dive past regularly.

When I read interviews, or listen to others speak about their lives sometimes, the "insecure!" bell will sneak up on me. Depending on the person, it may fee like 1) a slight uncomfortable feeling, slowly creeping up on me, 2) like the person I am speaking to is trying to stick me with their insecurities, 3) like an alarm bell in my mind that makes me just want to find a way to help this person see past this, 4) like where I am in my life is not good enough/not enough. All of these require me to feel insecure/take on/take blame for another's insecurity.

In any of these situations, the outcome of the encounter is usually the same. Either one or both parties involved leaves the conversation feeling "less than", feeling a little less whole than they did a few moments before. The more intuitive of the two may be able to recognize the feeling and be able to overcome it. Or not. Then a perpetual cycle of not enough, never enough, not good enough continues.

With insecurity always comes guilt. When someone feels bad about something in their life, and they try and stick the blame on you, that "you make me feel >insert the should be owned feeling here<" accusation, you may feel guilty if you can't see that the person in front of you is feeling that "less than" feeling at that time, and it really has nothing to do with you. If you feel insecure about not being enough/having enough/doing enough, then when you perceive someone else as being "more than" you, you will now get to carry the guilt and the insecurity. Both are heavy loads to haul around in your daily life. And in the end, each of these feelings will seep over into more important aspects of your life.

I believe everyone has insecurities that they carry around with them. Some we are aware of and some we are not. The ones we have yet to pin point weigh us down, and play on the perception of our happiness. But like bad breaks in life, or when bad things happen, it is all about how we deal with them. Imagine if everyone owned their insecurities and actively tried to overcome them? How much less guilt/blame/unhappiness would people simultaneously be carrying? Far less I would say. Imagine if we all knew we were right where we are supposed to be in our lives at that moment and recognize that is our decisions that have led us to that point. Nobody else's. That's right, it is your life, and you have control. Insecurity that is left to fester will ultimately led to regret. Regret that you didn't take an opportunity because you believed you were "not enough", regret that you paid so much attention to all the things that really don't matter, or regret that you were forever wanting what you did not have so badly that you missed what was right in front of you entirely.

The only insecurities I am responsible for are my own. Without facing them head on like I do with situations/feelings I am comfortable with, then no progress will be made in my life. Being able to recognize the feeling, own it and take action upon it will not only help to overcome the insecurity, it will help me be a better mother, wife, friend, runner, employee, writer, hairstylist...... the list is endless. You can be better at everything if you ditch the insecurity! Sounds so cliché, I know. But for some reason this topic was weighing on me today! Monday goals: Not to let insecurity rear it's ugly face without being dealt with and discarded accordingly. ;)

                                                            HAPPY MONDAY!