Run quietly

Run quietly

Monday, July 27, 2015

Scotiabank Vancouver! Desination Runcation

"Anyone interested in racing the Scotiabank Vanocuver Half with me?" As soon as I read my friend's tweet, I knew I had to make it happen. I wanted to go out last year to visit another friend who had just moved there, but I didn't get to go. I wasn't about to let this opportunity slide. I had to make it work.

My friend Marco had moved out there a little over a year ago, and said I could stay with him. He made sure I knew all the tips about when to book my flight; being an Air Canada Rouge flight attendant, I could not have asked someone more knowledgeable! By using every one of my Amex points, I got a sweet deal on the flight. Booked it, registered for the race  few moments later, and the excitement set in. Van City!

I landed on the Friday before the race into Vancouver. It was HOT! Everyone kept saying how "It is NEVER like this here!". Great weather all around, for racing not so much. I stayed optimistic that the heat wouldn't ruin my race experience.

What do you think the first thing I did was after I unpacked my bags? Run of course! I knew Marco was a bit jet lagged from his travels for work, so I got out of his hair to allow him some time to nap, and set out along the Sea Wall. The scenery on the run was simply amazing. I could not believe how lucky I was to be running there! Mountains, ocean view, a cool breeze and all the sunshine! I had gotten up at 3am Toronto time to get my flight, but this run quickly made me forget how tired I was.

I really don't think the views here can ever get old.

Later on we set out for a late lunch and some exploring of Vancouver. A grocery shopping trip through Granville Island Market was so much to take in. So many things to see and do. The apples were the size of my head!

We did some touristy things, like take a ride on one of the tour boats throughout False Creek. For the most part we were both wiped by 6pm and went to bed. Waking at 2am that morning was 5am home time. I was right on schedule! :p
My 4:30am shake out run the next morning was interesting. I had already been up since 2am, and I wanted to see the sunrise, so I set out the opposite way I had ran the day before along the Sea Wall. The streets of Vancouver and the Sea Wall are a VERY different place at that time of the day. I had planned on a 5:30/km pace for the run, but it may have ended up a bit faster almost as soon as I walked out the door. I was definitely out numbered by some creepy Granville Street characters, but by the time I got to the Sea Wall, all seemed well. Other than the sex trade worker in the middle of her task at hand, I saw few people along the Sea Wall! :/
However I did get some beautiful pics and nice views if I looked the other way!

We headed up to Whistler the next day. I didn't want to be on my feet too much the day before the race, but I also didn't want to miss out on anything. So I thought sitting in a car for a few hours that day wouldn't hurt. A quick trip to pick up my race kit first and we were on our way. I got to see my friends Alison and Mike who were also at the race expo! Of course we had to take the obligatory race expo pics. These guys are two of my favourite people. Seriously. Vancouver first got Marco, and now Alison and Mike! Lucky place. 

I enjoyed Whistler, but I have to admit I spend most of the day before a race trying not to think about the race, and trying to calm my nerves. Trying to stay hydrated. Trying to stay off my feet. All this trying kind of stresses me out more than it needs to. I should have planned it better like I did for the Reggae Half Marathon. Arrive less than 24 hours before the race, then enjoy the rest of your vacation. I learned my lesson for the next runcation!

Race morning came quickly. I was able to have my normal pre race breakfast, but wasn't able to have my normal pre race coffee. I took care of this by putting a GU gel containing 40mg of caffeine in my oatmeal. I usually only have mashed banana in it as a sweetener, so it was extra sweet, but at least I got my dose of caffeine! Mike saved the day and leant me his watch. Mine had been finicky for a few weeks prior to the race, and I had a feeling it wouldn't work come race day, and I was right! It ended up being cool-ish at 6am, but the race itself was HOT. Way too hot to be able to run what I knew I was capable of. And going all out and then feeling terrible and wasting the rest of my vacation with heat stroke or something just was not worth it to me. So I went in with a positive mind set. Told myself I would stay on the pace Rejean had set out for me (4:05/km) unless I felt good and wanted to drop to 4's, or if the heat was getting to me I had to make a decision. The course is net downhill, and I should have learned by now that means rolling hills. And some big ones too. To combat the heat, I tried to stay in the shade if there was some, I slowed at every water station (4 or 5 of them?) and drank from one cup and dumped a second cup over my head to cool me off. Despite the water being warm, they felt like ice water once it hit my head. The hills were killer for me. Once the rollers began, they seemed to not stop. Them a MASSIVE hill at 18km, right near the end. OUCH! Despite the heat, the numerous stops for water and the hills, I still managed a personal best time of 1:27:36. I can't be upset about that! A tough course on a tough day and still run a PB?! I will take it! I realised after the race that I had taken almost 10 minutes exactly off my first half marathon time of 1:37:27, in 2011.  Marco was waiting at the finish line for me ringing the bell the whole time. I always feel lucky when I have friends who will take the time to come and cheer me on! The support means so much!
I usually will not spend the outrageous $30 that is charged for these pics. But this is one I just had to have.

A post race pic! Devon asks me: "You have already showered and changed?", Ahhh, no just managed to finish the race soaking wet from the aid stations. :D

After the race a group of us hit up Cactus Club. A patio right on the Sea Wall with a great view, good friends, and good beers made my heart so happy! Alison did not have the race she had hoped for, but her spirits seemed to have lifted a bit by the time lunch was over.

                                       Second in my age group?! Another awesome surprise!

Post race lunch. Every meal I ate out in Vancouver was delicious.

Since I borrowed Mike's watch, I had to quickly jot down my km splits on a napkin before I returned it. Yes, I know I can put them I my phone, but I am a paper and pen girl! I can tell where all the hills were. Especially the big one from 18-19km. This, and the fact that I was not sore at all the next day, tells me that a flatter, cooler course in the fall, and I'm really hoping that sub 1:25 is within reach for me. This is the first longer race ever that I have not had any foot problems at all! I wore my Altra One2 racing flats. Perfect!

My last full day in Vancouver was the next day. I had to get myself onto a mountain! I could not come all the way here without a hike. Marco had not been to Grouse Mountain before, so it was the perfect opportunity! Day after the half marathon, and I wasn't sore? Maybe I should try and make myself sore. :p

Grouse Mountain is only 3km up. That's it. Imagine 3km though straight up. Well nearly straight up. It is so steep, you are not allowed to go back down the way you came. You must buy a gondola ticket and ride it back down. Alison, Mike, Jenna and Nick joined us. Such a fun group! It is an intense hike up, but so worth it at the top. A definite must do when in Vancouver! I really hope I get to return one day.

Beyond excited to be there!

The height of the trees was like nothing I have ever seen!

Alison's face here kills me. :D

Some parts had man made steps, others were more technical.

How small do I look here?!

Marco and I proud of our achievement!

A group celebration at the top! Beers and food waiting for us.

The view from the gondola is so overwhelming. Crazy to believe how high you just climbed!

My last morning in Vancouver, I took a solo walk along the Sea Wall. Reflecting about how lucky I was to have had this opportunity and how amazing it was to see so many friends I had not seen in so long. Makes me so happy to know that we can all just pick up right where we left off!

I spotted this painted on the ground on my walk. How fitting! I noted I will have to remember this when I retuned home to real life again.

I tried to wake my kids up when I got home around 11:30pm on the Tuesday. They sleep like logs and wanted nothing to do with me. Haha. It has been full blast into summer since I got back, and we are all loving it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

You Have to REALLY Want it. Journey to my First Half Marathon

Because I am the worst blogger ever, this is my first post in over a month! Ok, maybe not the worst, but the most inconsistent? Life takes over sometimes, and that's ok!

I am coming up to my eighth half marathon this weekend! I know my fitness level right now is capable of a PB. Although mother nature may have a different idea for me. The forecast for Vancouver for that day is low of 17, high of 28! EEK! A beautiful day, but not so much an ideal temperature for a half marathon. It is an early start (7:30am), but it may turn into a long hard effort rather than a race effort. Feeling terrible for the rest of my trip is just not something I want! I am armed with electrolyte tablets and will hydrate properly in the days leading up to it either way.

I was thinking about my first half marathon in 2011. I signed up on a whim! The Run Ajax Half Marathon was perfect for me. SO close to home. I was clueless, had no idea about nutrition, pacing, proper training, or how to prepare. My son was only 9 months old when I signed up. My body was still recovering from child birth. I was breastfeeding, which requires more nutrition to begin with. I dove in with my all or nothing mentality.  How do you train for a half marathon? Well you must run a lot. and fast. All the time. You're tired? Well that was a constant as my son was so young, and breastfeeding made me feel terrible, so I probably did not even notice the growing fatigue. My body crying out for some rest. In the middle of another epic run I felt an odd feeling in my left ankle. Odd but not painful, but it made me stop and walk. A few moments later when I tried to run again it was SO PAINFUL. It took a long time to limp home feeling frustrated and a bit scared over what I may have done. When it didn't get better in a few days, but worse and swelled up, I got a requisition for a bone scan. Although once the woman on the phone suggested I stop breastfeeding or pump and discard of the milk for 48 hours, oh and "don't hold the baby too much, as you will be slightly radio active", I cancelled the appt. As a new mom who had to begin working again when my son was only 6 weeks old, I was already overwhelmed and tired. I felt if it was fractured, what would they do anyway? I had it tensor bandaged for about 7 weeks. It took nearly 8-10 before all the pain was gone. I was able to begin running again only 2 weeks before the race. I thought my longest run was 17km about 1 week prior, but when I finally bought a GPS watch a few months later I learned my little foot pod was very unreliable for distance! I probably ran 14km as my longest run. I managed to finish the race in 1:37. Good enough for 3rd place female that year! I paid dearly for my lack of proper training in the hours after the race. I have given birth 2x, one time without an epidural or any pain meds. I felt better after both births than I did in the hours after that race. Haha. Everything is a learning experience! Despite all the troubles I was hooked. It sounds strange but I wanted to be better at it. I wanted to be faster and to learn from my mistakes.

My 2nd year at Run Ajax (2012), I was 6 months pregnant, so I opted for the 5km!

I always remember how far I have come, and I will never know everything. There is something new to learn in each race and each run. Four years after my first Run Ajax experience, I have been asked to be a Run Ajax Ambassador. I am thrilled to be able to work so closely with something that involves my passion! I have also started a running group geared towards women called Miles Per Stride. My overall goal is to inspire women and girls who are new to the sport to try running. To try their first race. To feel the same sense of freedom and confidence running has granted me.

This summer is shaping up to be a good one! Check out the Run Ajax web page for details on FREE tune up runs and other fun things going on! Hope to see you out there!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day off my chest.

With Mother's day just behind us, it got me thinking. Mother's Day makes me mildly uncomfortable. I don't love the idea of being "spoiled", "pampered", or having new things I don't need purchased for me. I DO love the cute little things my son makes for me, now that he is old enough. I am not usually a flower person, but when your 4 year old is thoughtful enough to choose purple flowers specifically because he knows "purple is your favourite", then they become special.

Oh, and to not heave to deal with "these moments" on Mother's Day would be great  :D
On the way to brunch, C decides that walking is no longer needed. Yonge and Eglinton seems like a nice place to sit.
My feelings towards Mother's Day have been characteristically shaped by how I have been mothered, and what kind of mother I am today. The media, and society will lead you to believe that a higher kind of praise should be adorned towards mothers everywhere on this "special" mothers day. Realistically yes, all mothers have given birth, or adopted a child. We have all endured the hardships and joys of parenting, heard the word "mom" 1000+ times a day, and experienced highs and lows we never expected. Some may hurt on this particular day as they long to spend it with a Mother that has passed. But how has a Mother handled the emotional roller coaster of parenting?  How has she chosen to react to these things? How has she chosen to make her children feel. In the exception of mental illness, or physical disability I do believe we always have a choice. I am however very hard on myself when it comes to how I parent!
Nobody will mess you up like your parents. I mean this in a sense that the way I was parented can either make or break the way I parent my children if I let it.
At the age of 12 I found myself in the care of the Children's Aid Society and living in a foster home in Guelph, Ontario. The agency was thoughtful enough to find a spot for me in Scarborough, so I could go to school where I was the year prior. Under the care and guidance of the East Metro Youth Services I lived in a group home run by the agency for a year. I tried to live with my parents for about 6 more months total, (on and off) over the course of the next 2 years after. I have been on my own since I was 17.  If I could go back to my youth and change this, I would chose not to. Ever. A lot of people can't imagine a scenario as this one, but I am forever grateful for it. Although it still took me years to build confidence, realise what I am capable of, remove toxic people and situations from my life, I believe that EMYS Megan House was what planted the seed. I still keep in contact with the staff today. I was in no way an angel child. I own that. But children most need a hug when they are the least huggable.
As a child it is easy to believe what you are taught at home. Easy to believe that how people are related to, and how people relate to you is acceptable and normal. It is all a child knows. The home environment is where a child forms her belief systems about the world, and herself. As an adult I am grateful and happy that I have been in situations that have allowed me to see outside of where I have come from. As a mother I am grateful to know I always have a choice in how I feel and how I react.
As a Mother, I consciously focus every day and every moment, to provide a different kind of childhood for my kids. I want to end the cycle of negativity and self hatred that was so prominent when I was growing up. I want them to have all the tools needed to build a fabulous self image. I want them to be ambitious, put themselves first, and show them that they are more than deserving of love and that they should love themselves. I want them to learn to always be grateful, and to have altruism guide their actions towards others.
Thanks to his upbringing, my husband is better than I at the whole altruism thing. Guess we have some good balance!
When Mother's Day rolls around, I don't want gifts and praise. I feel like I chose to become a mother and it is my choice what kind of mother I am . For the Mother's Day weekend I got to spend the majority of it being with my kids and doing what I love. (Sporting Life 10k!). The only Mother's Day gifts I want are to see my children happy. To see them try something new and be excited about it. To be able to hear them exclaim "I did it!", as their confidence grows. And to see them become their own little people with their own unique quirks and traits.
N, age 2.5, Excited he completed all 3 puzzles on his own!
Checking out the horseshoe crabs at the aquarium.
Every mother (and person!) out there is usually doing the best they can with the situation and resources they have available to them at that time. You really can't do better until you know better. In no way do I blame my mother (or any mother out there) for her choices. But as parents and adults we all are lucky to be able to change, try something new, and know that just because our parents did that, may not make it ok. I will continue to experience and learn from each moment with my kids, and take every opportunity to learn something new that may enhance the way I parent. :) Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend with their families!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Shut up and RUN Princess!

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to represent Altra Running Canada at the 1st Ontario 5 Peaks Trail Race of the season. It was located at the Terra Cotta Conservation Area, and from what I was told it was going to be a mud bath! It was my first time at a 5peaks event, and it would be me and both my kids first trail race!

The Altra crew! I was pumped to finally meet fellow Ambassadors Erin and Ignacio!

 Bibs pinned, let's go!
I really did not know what to expect. I have ran trails before, but they were all well groomed, clear pathways that just so happened to be surrounded by trees! The kids race was a short 600 metre fun run, mostly mud free for them. I had chosen the 10.8km Enduro course, which is 2 laps of the 5.4km Sport course.
As mainly a road racer, I wore a long sleeve pullover thinking I would not be working as hard, and I may get cold. HA! After the first lap, I ripped off my bib, and tossed my sweater towards the aid station. Yes, my pace may have been slower than if I were running a road race, but all the dodging of tree roots, rocks, all while running up and down the endless hills of the Niagara Escarpment was keeping me pretty warm! Thrown into the mix of tactical footing was plowing through ankle deep mud. This I actually thoroughly enjoyed. I was trashing my Lone Peaks with mud, and all over my legs! So fun!
In past road races, I have complained about everything from the terrain to the wind. I am generally accustomed to getting from point A to point B in a race as fast as possible. To me this means, taking the tangents on a course, staying on an even part of the road, hoping for no wind, hoping for good conditions. In a trail race, I found I had to concentrate on my footing immensely! After my ankle sprain in February, I am probably more worried and conscious than the average person. You don't like uneven footing? Shut up and run. You want a flat, fast course? HA! Shut up and run. Mud slowing your footing down? Shut up and run. Tangents? I'm not sure that is even relevant in a conversation about a trail race. Shut up and run. I definitely felt like a princess road racer after I conquered the 10.8km course!
While a trail race is obviously very different than a road race, I think it is something that everyone should try at least once! The contrast in conditions and terrain is something I think will make a stronger runner overall, physically and mentally. If you have mainly stuck to the roads, and found the trails a little intimidating, there are shorter races available in the 5 peaks series and they are great for all levels. Personally, I am happy that I had the opportunity to run there! My muddy shoes are kind of like a badge of honour to me. I am proud of them! I am looking forward to retuning to Heart Lake in this series.
After the races were over, the awards ceremony began. In this series everyone is acknowledged, age groups, overall, even the kids 3km! (SO CUTE) When "Heather" was called up as a 3rd place female, I stood waiting for her to walk up. When race director Erin, called "Heather" again, I clued in and realised it may be me. I was baffled at how I managed this in my first trail race, but I will take it! Last surprise in a day of many was when I was all packed up and ready to head out, and Erin called me up one more time as first in my age group. The medals are super cute and very unique! Given that I am a total newbie to this, I am very grateful to have made it to the podium!
Photo credit: Sue Sitki Photography
Photo credit: Sue Sitki Photography
Have you ever tried a trail race before? ANY reservations you may have about them, toss them to the side! Try something new. Get dirty. Run through mud like a kid. Admire the awesome scenery around you. It was refreshing to not be running past building after building in a concrete jungle. You may surprise yourself and love it. There are still five races left in the 5 Peaks series. Comment below on this post with which race location you would like to try, and why. A winner will be chosen at random and awarded FREE entry into a future 5 Peaks race of YOUR choice! Entered and didn't win? That's ok because you will still receive a code for $5 off the entry fee. That way you have no reason to miss out! Comment by May 15, and winner will be announced May 16th!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Around the Bay 30km Recap!

What a day!

The week going into the race, my main concern was the weather. Obsessively checking each morning and evening, and it didn't give me what I wanted until the night before the race! -4 by 10am (race start was 9:30), and 20km/hr winds. SHORTS MY FRIENDS! You can do all you can to train for a race, but then having something you can't control ruin it, like the weather conditions?! Ugh. With the last piece of the day that had been causing me anxiety resolved, I was feeling confident on the ride to Hamilton.

I completed bathroom trip #3 (who wants to have to stop running to use a washroom?!), and dashed to Corral A with 3 minutes to spare. A warm up should have occurred, but washroom lineups are brutal. I considered my running back and forth a pathetic attempt at what should have been a 5-10 min warm up. Oops!

When the gun went off and the fun began, my watch still had not found a GPS. I programmed it to only give me 1km splits, and elapsed time. Looking down and seeing a pace stresses me out, and wastes my mental energy. As usual, I went out too fast. (oops #2) My watch picked up GPS maybe 400-600 metres into the race, and says I ran the first km in 4:01. I think it was probably 3:xx if it had started at the beginning. Too fast! I intended a 4:20/km pace until 10km then pick it up a bit. In every race, going out too hard is something I have to work on!

Fellow GRE teammate Mike Thornton found me about 1km in. I knew he was aiming for a 4:02/km, so I stayed with him briefly and then fell back to my 4:15-4:20 pace. I wish I knew I could have kept up with him. Having a teammate beside me, even only briefly was a great kick of energy.

I felt great until about 18km, when I felt some strange spasm/burning in my left foot. It seemed aggravated by the inclines. It became too much, and for the first time EVER, I stopped in a race. I whipped my shoe off, and had to massage it out. The pain gave me a 4:42km, and the stop gave me a 5:06km. It came back again around 22km. I stopped for a 2nd time, massaged it out. This gave me a 4:44km. I had to stop one more time at 25km, did the same thing again, and ended up with a 5:14/km. Precious seconds were adding up!

Once the rolling hills were over, it was mostly downhill to the finish, and the foot didn't seem too bad on the downhill.  I was able to pick up the pace and book it to the finish in the last 2km. This makes me SO HAPPY, as in past races I have never had a finishing kick. Always just tired. So after 28km of running, I still had a 4:17km and a 4: 20km in me makes me feel great!

At about 29km my husband and fellow GRE teammates Mike, Josh, and Tanis were all there cheering me on. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for this support, and the feeling you get when you know others are sending you some energy to finish strong! They snapped this picture of me, and at one glance it is screaming BAD FORM! I know I was tired as it was the end of the race. But this is very poor running form. I have made an appointment for a gait assessment at a friends recommendation. He believes with a few small tweaks to my form that I can reach a whole new level. Hoping that the foot issues can be resolved by this as well.

My chest should be forward, my shoulders back. I should also be landing softly under a bent knee, not overstriding (like above). I still have not mastered avoiding a heel strike as well.
Despite my stops, I still managed to finish strongly in 2:13:22. The Bay awards medals based on time. Women who cross the finish line under 2:15 are awarded a gold medal. So for my first crack at  a distance longer than a half marathon, 3 separate stops, and some strange foot pain, I am beyond happy and pleased with my result. Hard work really does pay off. If you had asked me last year if I thought an average pace of 4:26/km for 30km was possible for me, I would have laughed!
Averages for the last 3-4 months
75-80km a week
5 days per week running
1 spin day
1 complete day of rest with yoga for recovery
2 easy runs per week
1-2 speed workouts (tempos, 1km repeats, etc)
1 long run each week of 28-32km
I lost 9 days early February due to an ankle sprain that thankfully has not given me trouble since. I don't believe that I could have  gained any more fitness in those 9 days.
It is strange that it is over now. I have never ran this type of mileage, or completed numerous long runs of this length before. AND made it to the start line with a healthy, injury free body. I did not have a goal time for this race, simply to feel good throughout, and finish strongly. I am happy to say both those wishes were fulfilled!  This week I will focus on recovery. Even though I am sore and tired (stairs?!), I am still very excited to become stronger. After Toronto Yonge Street 10km recovery, I am already planning the build to a strong fall half marathon.

The support and inspiration these 3 give me is unbelievable. Our first (definitely not last!) photo all together! Mike finished with an 8min PB in 2:03! Josh placed 4th in the 5km amongst a very competitive field. Tanis would have torn through the Bay, but is coming off an injury. Mississauga half will see her!  
Congrats to all the fellow ATB racers! 


Monday, March 23, 2015

Race week nerves!

You are going through the training plan, things are going well, you are feeling confident, then you look at the calendar. Race week. EEEKKKK! How did this happen so quickly?!

I signed up for Around the Bay way back in November. It's very easy to register for a race. "first 30km race, surrreeeee, no problem!" Point, click, credit card info, voila! 30km here I come. It is quite a different feeling when it is looming around the corner, and not just in your computer.

A lot of firsts for me at this race. First time racing 30km, first time wearing my Grand River Endurance singlet, and my first race representing Altra Running. In past pressure has crushed me. Something like this list of firsts would nearly debilitate me, and keep me up at night. Too many expectations (self imposed), and not running a good race is NOT an option. (concocted in my type A mind only).

I have already second guessed what shoes I will wear, and what fuel to bring with me on the course. Never try anything new race day is a golden rule. I have to know that I have put in the work, and the miles are in my legs. Unfortunately, bubble wrapping myself until Sunday morning is not a realistic option. At this point there is not anymore fitness to be gained. Worrying that I have not done enough, or not trained properly is wasted energy. What I can do this week is work on my mental game, which is a weak spot for me. I need to arrive at the start line feeling confident, strong and able. And with a mind set that refuses to settle. The later kilometres of this race, I know I will have to dig deep. If I can arrive in Hamilton Sunday morning with a clear mind, and strong legs, I will be happy!

Can you believe this is my (at least) 40 something-ish race? I should probably count one day. You would think this would be WAY easier by now and these kind of things wouldn't even phase me. Just know that all your "why am I breathing so heavily during this easy run?", "is my nose getting stuffy?", "is this enough carbs?", "maybe I should google this, it may be a fracture.". Or my favourite, (and one I seem to do the week before every race) , nearly lunging away from anyone who emits even the smallest cough. Wanting to run screaming for the hills if someone close by sneezes. Why do we do this to ourselves again?! ;)

I'm sure most, if not all runners can relate! What crazy thoughts have you had the week before a race? I apologize in advance if you see me this week, and I seem "off", or just plain odd. :D I have rambled A LOT in this post. My nerves spilling out everywhere !

                                   EXCITED FOR AROUND THE BAY! 6 DAYS TO GO!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Work hard, but stay humble

I got some fantastic news the other day. It was via e-mail, and I read it while at the library with my kids. On our way out to the car, my daughter tripped and fell. I was so busy day dreaming about the news in the e-mail, that I totally missed the fall (even though she was right beside me), and I stepped on her arm. That's right, I stepped on my 2 year old. I also dropped all the books, but thankfully not on her!

Small things in life will pop up to teach us lessons. Sometimes they are big things. If we learn to be intuitive enough to catch the smaller things, I like to think that the catastrophic lessons can be minimized or avoided. Or that's what I tell myself at least to feel better ;).  When I was younger there were times I used to think "why does this keep happening?" or "why is this not changing?". As an adult thankfully I have learned that things never go away until they have taught us the lesson we need to learn. The paradox here is that you won't learn the lesson until you are ready and willing to.

Running has taught me a great deal about myself, about life, humility, and hard work. While it would be easy for me to prescribe running to the world as a "natural anti-depressant", a perfect "find yourself" pathway, or an easy feat in any aspect, I won't be so na├»ve. Everyone has a different path. Like any workplace or group of friends, there are always a few who will abuse the system. Or miss the mark entirely.

 I was excited when I completed my last 30km run of my Around the Bay training cycle. The plan that has led me to this point (without injury!) calls for a 2 week taper. This simply means reduced volume. Letting my body repair, gain strength, and feel fresh on race day. I received some backlash online regarding a taper period. I was taken back at first, as generally the running community is the most supportive group I have come across. Have they not started somewhere once too? Is there something wrong with me wanting to do well at something I have dedicated this amount of time to? It got me thinking about the downsides of running and racing. Sometimes people forget where they have come from. They forget that not everyone is a marathoner, an ironman,  runs a 4:10 kilometre, or is even thinking about the "prizes" available at the finish line. Some have a goal simply to finish, and this will be life changing for them. Some compete in the races for the fun and camaraderie of the sport. Some have raised money for a charity or cause that is close to their heart. So when I come across those who seem to have forgotten these simple things, it makes me sad. What happened to being humble? Humility? Even transparency?

The e-mail I read at the library that day informed me that I was accepted into the Toronto Yonge Street 10km Sub-Elite category. I then stepped on my 2 year old while thinking about it. Brutal. If that wasn't a perfect sign shot at me to KEEP IT REAL! Or STAY HUMBLE!? Or maybe it was just an accident. Either way, It certainty made me immediately think about what really is most important at that moment.

I am continuously learning that whatever I do, work HARD, but always remember how far I have come. Not everything has been or will always be easy. And the best things will come after you have tackled many, many obstacles. The key is to stay humble, choose happiness, and keep going.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

So many thoughts, a single way to express....

More times than not, not all of your Facebook friends actually care about your analytical thoughts. While some may be inspired, it is probably safe to say that the majority probably don't know what you mean when you speak in the language of miles, kilometres, splits, and elevation grades. While I do have a Facebook account, and use it regularly, I mainly use it for friends and family only.

I'm not entirely sure just how many thoughts go through the average human brain per minute, but I'm sure with each child you have, it can be multiplied by 5. Twitter limits my thought to 140 characters, which is why I don't find myself using Twitter much. How can one possibly shrink thoughts down to that size!?

Instagram is by far my favourite way to share. But in all honesty, I feel if I write more than a few sentences in my caption, it becomes redundant, and many don't have the time to read it all.

Being a wife, a stay at home mom of two by day, a working mom in the evenings/weekends, and a pre-dawn runner, way too many thoughts, and way too many ideas pass through my brain at any given moment. I know some thrive being busy, and living a fast paced life. Personally, I need solitude to recharge. I enjoy being productive, but I crave down time, and self care. As of late I have also found myself craving a single place to write it all down. I have attempted blogging before, and it felt forced, so I shut it down.

So here it goes! My second attempt at blogging. My second attempt at creating a single platform to organize my thoughts, ideas, and share about the things I find interesting helpful in my life. I hope I can inspire some, or spark a new thought process for an individual looking for change, or even just provide some entertainment!