Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Time to Run

What time of the day do you run? I vary it but I think I prefer the mornings because then it is done for the day and I feel great all day. I have a little more spring in my step in the am and there is less interference with kid schedules or evening events. I like to shower and dress for the day AFTER I have already gotten messy and sweaty and then I can also check it off the list. The down side is that I tend to eat a little more than I probably should over the day as I think it is "OK".

There have been lots of times where I have run in the evening due to various conflicts or absent husband etc... During the warmer months it is not too bad but now it is cold, dark and very miserable by 6:00pm. I usually can't get out in the evening until after 8:00 (post kid bed time) so it is not so pleasant. However, some of my fastest runs have been in the evening...

What do you do?

Also, I have posted this video because I thought it was a great "mini" inspiration. Enjoy!  Happy Thanksgiving to my American bloggers!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mental Game

First let me say congratulations for all those in Philly this past weekend! I look forward to reading race reports and seeing how everyone is feeling today. I hope it wasn't too cold or wintery. Only crazy people would attempt to run 42km in late November in the freezing cold, snow, slush - mess. You have to be a little off your rocker?? :)

That brings me to today's thought on running - the mental game. As many know, I have had some set backs in my training in the recent months with Plantar Faciitis and some shin pains. After weeks of no running, many massages, orthotics and countless hours stretching - I am back at it. I had two weeks of "building back up" but this week I am back on schedule and while my finishing goal is slighly altered, I am still in the game.

However, yesterday I attempted my first really long run in quite a while. I had decided that it was going to be final test to decide if I was going to make it in the full at Disney. One of the other runners going to Disney was going to come to my house so we could attempt 29km together but on Saturday she advised that a pulled muscle had her sidelined for a week or so. Suddenly, I was attempting to run nearly 30km all by myself and I was totally, 100% terrified. I don't know what was the matter with me but in the hour leading up to the run I was convinced this was a mistake and I was full of dread and doubt. I hated the idea of getting out in the cold to run a distance I had never done in my life, by myself. This is when I really wish I had a running group that I participate with. I know, I know - there are lots and I will hook up. I just find scheduling a real challange with a full time job, two little people and their schedules. Not to mention finding some time in the week to actually converse with my hubby.

Back to my stress... so I was getting suited up and having a near mental collapse. My husband was telling me all the right things and promised to drive by me a few times. I had my cell phone on me to call him (he was taking our son to a birthday party and then grocery shopping with the little one). I finally got out there and within 5 minutes I realized my iPod was dead. Could there be any more signs of failure???? I ran back to my house to put back the quiet iPod and was even more petrified of 3 hours of nothing but my own spinning thoughts. I went.

The first 7 or 8km were horrible. I was sore and it seemed colder than I thought. I thought up all the explanations I could give to the Arthritis Society, our family, our friends - my kids as to why I couldn't do the marathon. I had lost so much training time already and there was no way I could get it back. At about 10km, I stopped at a gas station to use the facilities and while I was there I called my husband to come and get me. If you can believe it, he didn't answer - after he had promised to have the phone practially in his hand! I called twice and got no answer so I had no choice but to carry on.

All of the sudden, I felt better. I had myself a tasty energy burst with a chocolate GU (my favourite) and I was running along. I decided at this point to take off my watch and put it in my pocket. So now I am running with no iPod, no watch and cell phone which proved to be a useless security line because my husband was deep in the grocery megastore and had no service. It occured to me at one point that I had probably passed 20km but I still felt OK!

About 30 or so minutes past this point, I started to go downhill (figuratively speaking). My head was dizzy and my heart was racing. What was crazy is that my husband happened to drive by at that exact moment that I felt like I was going to fall down. I took that as a sign and I jumped in the car and went home. At first I was really upset that I hadn't finished 29km. Then after I got home and had my stardard post long run snack of toasted english muffin and peanut butter, I checked MapMyRun. I had gone 26km. This is the longest distance I have ever run in my life. I have no idea how long it took me and I don't care. I was overwhelmed that I had done it and the lunacy of my head games along the way seemed so insignificant now. If there was ever a moment that I would classify as "pivotal" , that was it.

This morning I feel a little sore but the pains in my feet are not nearly as bad as they have been or as I expected them to be. I feel a level of confidence that I never had before and although we have only 5 more weeks of training before tapering - I know I can do it. Putting aside the possibilites of a dumptruck mowing me down or tripping over a set of Star Wars figures on my staircase - I am going to do it. I don't think I ever fully respected the mental strength and capacity required to run those distances but I see it much better now and I can't wait to go to Disney now and see it through.

So, I have my eyes open for dumptrucks and all the Star Wars figures are in a box on a shelf - just in case.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Olympic Torch Relay 2010

Today I am a proud Canadian runner!  It was announced today that the Olympic Torch Relay for the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010 will be the longest in history.  At 45,000 km, it will take 106 days and will reach the most northern population as well as both coasts

I would LOVE to participate in this event!  I can't think of a better way to be part of the Olympics (at 35 years old, I stand little chance of being a contender for the Olympic pairs skating.. :) )  I know there are likely thousands of others contending for a spot but I plan to jump through all necessary hoops and then hope for the best.   I have no idea when and how these decisions get made but I plan a full effort to be part of it! 

Can you imagine saying you were part of an Olympic relay??? 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Day After....

Many have indicated that I might be crazy to attempt a trip through Disney with my hubby and little ones after the marathon but I really have no choice. Basically, there was no chance hubby and I were going without the children - especially when I am participating in this event for my daughter. Plus they are VERY excited and I couldn't bring myself to tell a parental fib about where Mommy and Daddy were going. (For those readers that are parents - you know the parental fib). I am excited to see them get excited so we are off all together!

However, we have only a short time down there so every day counts. Therefore, the concern for Mommy's legs (or in my case - my feet) will be VERY minimal. My husband is already warning me that within an hour of my finish the kids are banking on a second marathon through the parks. I guess this is when I have to draw on that super human "Mom" strength that you read about!

On that note, I came across a great video. Make sure you watch to the end. I plan to show the family this video and hope they have a little least for an hour or so. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Joints are in Motion

As most know, I am participating in with the Joints in Motion training team with the Arthritis Society. It is a wonderful way to participate in an international event and raise money for something that affects all ages (as we have discovered). This week, I received a call from the organization asking me to be the speaker at the reception and to tell our story. This is a great honour but also very intimidating! I am not a fearful public speaker but I am not normally speaking about things so close to home. Now I will train for my race and practice my speech!
I know a lot of people run for a wide variety of reasons but I recommend that everyone do something like this at least once. There are lots of other organizations that offer a similar opportunity such as the Diabetes Association among others. My husband, kids and parents are all coming so it may be costing us a truckload of $$ but we haven't even given that as much thought as we might have for other trips. It is a great experience and I am getting more and more nervous!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Straight Out of a Movie

So you are running along, you got a good groove and perhaps you are thinking about what to make for dinner or what errands you will complete later.  Maybe you are focused on the pace or what you might name some future unborn child - who knows but I'll bet EVERYONE has daydreamed some big scene, like a movie where you are finishing first in the Olympics or running through jungles from drug lords or maybe your "movie scene" is a romantic connection with the  love of your life who follows you across country.....whatever it is, you KNOW you all do it!  What else are you going to think about running those long distances??  One can only complete mental checklists for so long.

These leads me to consider what the soundtrack would be for my movie scene.  When I make up these crazy images in my head during my runs, it usually depends on the song that is on my iPod or what topics are on my mind in that moment.  Sometimes I have just seen a movie that I liked or maybe my husband is away (as is often is) and I have some ridiculous scene where he shows up at my office with plane tickets to Hawaii and a grandma to watch the kids.   But if I had to pick one song for my soundtrack what would it be?? 

The obvious choice is something by U2 or Coldplay as they are my favourites but they aren't quite as "energetic" as I need in my movie scenes (obviously the romantic daydreams are less frequent :) )  So after careful consideration I have come up a totally insane song that I have determined will be the soundtrack to the video I am making about my experience in Disney with the Joints in Motion.   Some of you might be surprised as it is not very mainstream and not very girly but the mind wants what it wants!

The song is Shipping up to Boston by the Dropkick Murphys.  I know, I had never heard of them either but my husbands friend is a huge fan and he introduced me to best "power song" music ever! 

First, admit that you do this and then I would love to know what your songs are...I am very interested plus it will help me build up my iPod before getting into the super long distances :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

2 Months To Go

Tomorrow is it officially two months until my marathon in Disney.  While I have not fully recovered from my PF injury - I am sucking it up and moving on.  I have a great coach with the Joints in Motion team and he has been really thorough on helping me get back to it.  

I don't normally summarize my training plan for the week (usually out of shame) but here it is:

Monday - 5km
Tuesday - running rest but doing Body Attack class at work (learning to instruct)
Wednesday - 8km (this is also tennis night but I think I may cancel for this week because hubby is away and getting a sitter is impossible)
Thursday - rest
Friday - 4-5 km
Saturday - 6km
Sunday 12km (followed by my traditional Sunday spree at the bulk barn where I endulge on very healthy and nutritious items - that happened to be dipped in chocolate.  Come know you do it to). 

I know I should be much higher on Sunday but as this is my first full week back to running post injury, we thought keeping it lower would be best.  Next week I make a bigger jump and the week after that (provided all is well) we are back on schedule.  I was originally planning for 4:30 but now I just want to finish.  Besides, the trip is already hit our VISA and the kids told Nana they wanted "Mickey Money" for Christmas.  NO turning back now!

On the upside, I have raised $6,300 for the Arthritis Society so far.  It is a little lower than the $10,000 we had dreamed of but higher than my original goal of $4,000.  Do you think if I don't finish, people will want a matching percentage of their money back?? :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

10 Things About Me

Here we go...10 things about me...

1. I am obsessed with French culture and history. I read cookbooks, study maps, read novels set in France and so on. I took French history classes in University as my electives - not because I had to.  If anyone is equally obsessed with the history of France, I recommend one of my favourite series of books - The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B by Sandra Gulland.  It is actually the title of the first book in a series of three (I read them so fast that I considered them all one book).  I can't recommend it enough.  Even for none French history buffs. 

2. I love photography.  Not just photography but photographs in particular.  I would rather have pictures than art on the walls and I have no bias toward any kinds of pictures.  Some of my favourites are food photography, the outdoors, children but really - I like it all. If I had oodles of free time and financial resources, I would study photography myself because in realty I don't actually have very good skills but I like to think I do!

3. I met my husband when we were 12.  We went to high school together but went to separate universities. Flash forward 15 years and we got married!  Next year we celebrate 10 wonderful years.

4. Despite being married for almost four years and being close to 30 years old, our first child was a "surprise"!  Without stepping into TMI territory, I had been training for 1/2 marathons and was in the middle of training for my first full which I was told can sometimes mess with mother nature.   VOILA!  Turns out to be accurate!  Although shocked is putting it mildly, we were very blessed to have a baby boy and couldn't imagine life without him or his sister. 

5. I can say the alphabet backwards - really fast.  Its a gift.

6. I love to play most sports - especially soccer, tennis and volleyball. But I am terrified to play only one - baseball.  That's right, the super dangerous, anxiety filled, extreme sport called BASEBALL.  Here is my logic: someone whips a very hard ball at you, you hit it, then someone tries to throw that same hard ball at the same place you are running to.  Does ANYONE see the danger there?? 

7. I have a great job.  I promote Corporate Wellness for Goodlife Fitness so I meet with companies who want to partner with us to improve the wellness culture in their workplace.  I spend all day talking about healthy living, I am encouraged to work out and get involved in the community.  It doesn't get much better than that!

8. I have freakishly small ears.  So small that I have to by children's headphones because normal ear buds don't fit.  For races, I try to wear the full headband earbuds.  Sounds charming doesn't it?? I also only hear in one ear as a result of a girls night in university that went slightly awry..that's another story that is less than flattering. :)

9. I am a little addicted to cookbooks.  That is not to say that I cook often but there it is.  I especially like cookbooks with really great pictures (no surprise).  Some of my favourites are Supernatural Cooking by Heidi Swanson.  She also has a fabulous website called 101 Cookbooks. I believe she is also a professional food photographer.  My other favourite is Country Cooking of France by Anne Willen which has fantastic pictures. Anyone else seeing the trend? Umm.. 

10. I am fantasy Olympian.  Somewhere is my head, I was supposed to be some sort of professional athlete but sadly, I never caught on until it was too late!  Yet another reason to love running - it is a chance to be a "professional athlete"  at least in my family!

I hope to see a few more of these but I am not up on the "tagging" etiquette!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Run Away Mommy

First of all - Well done Obama!

On the advice of my trainer, I have begun to start of up training slowly but surely. I am anxious to just gun it out of the blocks but I am trying to heed the good advice. How unlike me! However, I am travelling for work this week so it makes it easier to stick to a more moderate training plan. Today I got out to run in the neighbourhood of my hotel but this is hilly territory so I am sure my backside is going to pay for this. Probably just as well as I think my butt was getting a little too comfortable sitting on couches and chairs.

This brings me to today's topic, fitting in the run while travelling. That is the beauty of running isn't it? It is totally portable and can be done pretty much anywhere! Unfortunately I forgot my ipod which changes the whole dynamic of my run. I have a terrible time running without it! Apparently, my own thoughts are poor company.

When you think about it, there are very few other activities that travel as well. Team sports are obvious, while things like skiing, climbing - even hiking require at least some preplanning. All you really need to run is a pair of decent shoes. Today I actually went out without an iPod, phone, Nike+ or even even water and I felt strangly naked.
My other problem with my naked run was that my head was just a little too clear. As much as I enjoy the break from my beautiful but exausting family, I do miss the little monsters. I am sure Daddy has it covered and they sounded perfectly well cared for when I talked to them. It is weird how we do that as Mom's isn't it? My husband is a grown man who is perfectly capable but I am still worried that my son is wearing the same pair of pants for three days and my daughter is eating Froot Loops for dinner (I LOATHE the Loops). My hubby is a great husband and fantastic father but despite running a department of people all over North America - he probably couldn't tell you the last name of our babysitter. I like this picture because my efforts to have perfectly tidy and beautiful children at my sisters wedding were thwarted by Daddy oddly giving them a crumbling, sugar covered biscuit.
I guess my message today is that it is possible to run while you travel, it is also possible to run without all our running gadgets but it is NOT possible to run away from your family (even for work) and not miss them because they creep into your brain all day - especially when you run unaccessorized in a strange place!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

I am a Canadian and therefore cannot vote in today's election.  However, most Canadian's would agree that we have a strong interest in who leads our southern neighbour.  After all this coverage of the past year, I would say running in an election is far more exhausting than running a marathon.
 I have watched a fair amount of coverage and have changed my opinion several times.  There are positives and negatives about both parties and men and it is difficult to say what is best for the country.  As a woman, I admire Sarah P. not only for stepping up but for taking a significant beating by the public and media and still holding strong. However, I am not sure she is ready to take over the country if need be.  I think Obama has some excellent ideas and may be just what is needed but he always seems like there are other motives. However, I don't get a say so I hope the voting public gets what they want!

Good luck to all my American blog friends with today's election and may the best man (whose initials might be B.O.) win!  

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Return of Run Mommy

Well, it is official - I have been given the green light to get back on the training train! I have my brand new orthotics and despite the fact that I still have that sneaky pull in my foot, I am going to give it a go. I plan on being smart about it but I am anxious to get rolling. Thanks for all the great messsages of support...I knew this blog would be a fantastic way to talk to other runners!

With that said, I could use some ideas on races I could do between now and January. I realize many of you are well outside the borders of the Greater Toronto Area but I still welcome some input. I know I need to be aware of my injury but I really want to get a few more races under my belt before the big day.

Here is my training approach until Disney on January 11th, 2009:
  • break in my new orthotics
  • invest in a few new ice packs
  • follow my training plan to the letter
  • schedule 10-12 stretch breaks into my day
  • exhaust all my health benefits by booking a massage every week
  • learn to live with discomfort until January 12th!
  • accept that my goal may now be "to finish" instead of 4:30.
  • Happily rest on my laurels from January 12th until Feb 12th if necessary!

Thanks again to all for the great messages!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Big Day Tomorrow!

Monday morning I have an appointment with my family Dr. and my Podiatrist. I will get new orthotics and will discuss the possibility of running again this week. I am a little nervous because I still have that "twang" in my right foot(P.F) that jumps out with some regularity. However, I have done everything as instructed and have barely run at all in the past two weeks. I have decided that I will not make any decisions about Disney until mid-November. That is not to say we won't go (it is already paid for!) but the question is whether I will just run the 1/2 or maybe not at all. I prefer not to think about this option but it is out there.

Here's hoping for a positive outcome!