27.12.12

The Holidays

The holidays... filled with laughter, food, more food, more food. I am sufficiently stuffed. I'm not a big sweets person so I've been rationing my white chocolate covered caramel my aunt makes. I can't however resist the salty, greasy, potato chips in my house. But don't worry, I polished them off today so I'm in the clear until at least New Year's eve when a bowl or two is bound to show up at a party.

I've been less than steller with my fitness record over the holidays. My streak came to an abrubt halt on December 11 due to overwhelming stress from a school project and too many hours dedicated to that - oh and a severe uncomfortable feeling in my abdomen.


Yes, I'm pregnant! And this baby is not a fan of running. Since early December runs have been slightly uncomfortable even though I'm still relatively early in the pregnancy. It was really apparent on the 9th and 10th when my mile was more walk than run. Today after a break I tried to jump on the treadmill again and see if a couple weeks had changed anything. Not so much. While I wasn't as uncomfortable my bladder was going for a run of it's own, despite a trip to the toilet pre-run. So, I'm thinking there is much more biking, swimming, and walking in store the next year than there will be running. I can deal without running I think - I'm not sure. I would just love to have the option to run even if I don't always want to.

I had hoped to coach a learn to run clinic starting in January and I'm sad to have to pull out of that. I was looking forward to easing out of the 1st trimester drag and working through to gain stamina myself in the 2nd with my clinic. Today's run was more like 4 minutes run w/ 2 minutes walk to catch my breath. Let's hope this blood volume shifts back into my favour real soon.

I am still going to investigate a support belt and see if that takes some pressure off my bladder. Otherwise I'm generally feeling pretty good. Mostly fatigue is catching up with me and I'm quick to have lights out by 10 or sooner - and waking up with Coach M is a struggle at no matter if it's 7am or 8am. Fortunately, my family has been around over the holidays so I've had a few fortunate naps. I will only be so lucky to get them when hubs is off from work though starting now. Coach M likes to have me in her presence at all times if I'm home so sneaking away to sleep is going to be an adjustment for her.

Thankfully I haven't been plagued by Kate Middleton disease and my infrequent and mild nausea can be cured by a healthy dose of food. I know the experts say you don't need extra calories in the first trimester but let's face it - they happen. And while I would be keen to grab for the potato chips I've been fairly dilegent and been grabbing oranges, yogurt, and toast.

So the new year holds no plans for training or racing for me - maybe something short in the fall. The hubs is working hard toward an olympic distance triathlon so I will be happy to help support him with that. I've signed up for a yoga class starting in early January and hope to fit lots of pool time in. The few times I swam in December felt really good.

More news to come and updates as I navigate this pregnancy. We have a dating ultrasound tomorrow so we will have a finalized due date - which is looking right now to be end of July or very early August.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and wish everyone the best in 2013!

6.12.12

Streak

Well, almost a week into the Strides Run Streak and I've had some great runs and some, 'do I have to?' moments. Overall though I'm loving the challenge of getting a little something done everyday.

Day 1 - 5.5km from the store with a good group of runners. Later that day we packed up and trekked through the snow to get our Christmas tree.

Day 2 - 1 mile on the treadmill at home on some tired legs. I followed this with 20 minutes of gentle stretching yoga.

Day 3 -  Hectic and tired today so a moderate 1 mile on the treadmill.


Day 4 - 1000m swim in the morning then 1 mile outside pushing Coach M. Who by the way was not very motivating as she slept the entire way!


Day 5 - I was just putting my pj's on and remembered I hadn't done my mile yet. Ugh. I dropped a huge f bomb because I so didn't want to do a mile tonight. I had been up since 5:30 with Coach M and had a long day of too much to do not enough time. It was 10:40pm but I changed into my running clothes and got ready to go. Original thought was to walk most of it but two minutes in I decided I wanted the mile over much quicker so I ramped up the pace and got it done. Off to bed.

Day 6 - Drag my butt out of bed day! Coach M had a sleepover so I could have theoretically slept in but I had somewhere to be at 9. Darn it all. At 10 I met up with my daytime clinic I've been coaching to do our mile followed by some intervals and some body weight strength training. The sun was out and shining and the sidewalks relatively clear for some speed. With warm up and work we got in 4km.

Day 7 - 1 mile. It was late Friday when I got to this mile so it was a brisk walk while catching up on some Grey's Anatomy. My body is feeling the everyday effort and my right hip/butt pain which I thought was resolved is coming back. I have to bust out the foam roller and get doing my yoga! (Pep talk to self - let's see if it works.)

Day 8 - Saturday group run at the store. The store had Streak shirts printed and we asked participants to bring donations of food/cash for the Calgary Food Bank. We collected two large boxes and $125 cash. Merry Christmas! We ran about 25 minutes and I think we did about 4km.

Day 9 - 1 mile inside on the treadmill. A pyrimid run starting with a walk warm up and then getting up to speed then working my way back down to a walk. I really like this workout - it makes me feel like I get a warm up, cool-down, and speed work all in 10-11 minutes.

Day 10 - 2 miles fairly steady on the treadmill while Coach M cheered me on and simultaneously watched a show. She kept saying - 'mommy running; mommy go fast'. Love her!

Day 11 - TBD - likely something later tonight, hopefully a mile followed by some yoga (see day 7)

Total kilometres so far: 26.5ish (give or take .5)

Mostly I'm still really encouraged by the challenge and look forward to more dual days combined with swimming, yoga, or biking. I'm wish I had the energy to do more than the one mile minimum most days but as Coach M seems to be in a sleeping funk with no naps and sporadic waking times plus finishing a course that has me up late most evenings completing projects, I am just going to take every mile I can. I can't wait for class to be over next week and hopefully M will be settled into her new non-napping routine and sleeping consistently at night.

I'm feeling pretty resilient doing something everyday - even if it is 10 minutes or so. As the month continues I hope I can get outside more. The treadmill is a great addition and very helpful/convenient but there is nothing refreshing about it. And - I need to get my phone out and snap some more pictures - and not of the treadmill screen! Plan of action - yoga, pictures, get outside.

Anyone else blogging about their streak?

26.11.12

Fornication

When I started the 50 post challenge I asked for some F titled posts. My brother: 'Fornication - let's see you blog about that one'. Well brother here it is.

There has been a lot of talk surrounding fornication in our household for a while now - more specifically as to whether or not it should lead to conception. I was pretty resistant to baby #2 for a long time but late August my brain shifted and decided I could mentally/physically cope with having two needy humans to be responsible for. I had (mostly) gotten over the physical aspect back in the spring (weight gain, weight loss, impact on being active etc). I can't say what it is that made me decide but I can say I'm still not 100% settled on the decision.I guess once I'm knocked up I won't have much choice will I?

While pregnant with Coach M I gained nearly 60 pounds on my 5'2" frame. Partly due to genetics and partly due to sour cream & onion potato chips. Yes, I lost it all but part of me really wishes I could not gain that much weight the second time around. I feel though that even if I avoid potato chips (not likely), keep running (I ran until 30 weeks w/ M), I can't entirely control the process.

I know people survive and cope with more than one child regularly - but to be honest - I have no idea how. Then again, I just found out a friend who is already surviving/thriving with two kids is expecting her third - surprise! So that made my life feel like it would be a little less hectic.  So I guess I - well we, the three of us, just will.

As the year comes to an end and normally I would find myself looking to plan races for 2013 I'm not sure I should. If all goes as it did with Coach M I'll be busting out of my tops by the new year and  my pants soon after. I am planning to streak in December with Strides Running (aka, work) - run one mile every day. There are some great group runs planned and I'm still coaching my daytime clinic until near the end of the month. I think the run I'm most looking forward to is Christmas day - I'm hoping the hubs and I can sneak out together for a ten minute jaunt around the neighbourhood. If not, there's always the treadmill with the sideways glances from our families.

As this is the last post in my 50 challenge, here's the link to the first post.

29.10.12

Forty Nine (Almost Done)

Well, after what feels like forever (more than a year) especially after losing steam a few times I am nearing the end of my fifty post challenge. I haven't said much about what I've been doing since the triathlon in June. So before I look forward I will give a (hopefully) brief summary. I have some hopes to add some photos soon.

A week after the triathlon I had a 3km race in Canmore. I was happy to place third overall and it was probably one of my best runs of the year. A week later I had a 10km race. I spent the weeks after the tri doing some moderate workouts (plus the 3km race). I felt primed and ready to run a great 10km - ideally sub 50 minutes. Also trying to follow a half marathon plan I chose an ambitious 4km warm up. Well, being a bit tired off the line and soaring temperatures I crashed at km 5 and ended up not being able to keep my heart out of my throat. 53 some minutes later I was deflated and defeated. Not the race I was imagining. But there's a sunny side to the story - Coach M ran her first race ever! It was mostly a carry between my mom and I - then Dad (hubs) at the end. I think the hubs and I were far more excited than she was - between the heat and time of day she was just ready to nap.

Originally I had ambitious plans to PB my half marathon scheduled in August. Things quickly shifted after my pitiful 10km and picking up coaching two clinics three times a week. My runs became theirs and landscaping dominated the rest of my time. I do have a wicked back and arms though to show for shoveling/wheelbarrowing 30 cubic yards of dirt. With no runs further than 10km since early July I knew there would be no PB. In Edmonton I met up with two friends who were running 'naked'. Watchless, garminless, and with similar goals in mind we had a great time running together for 15km. From there we surged and fell back at different points. At kilometer 17 I was in agony and wanted to be done but somehow I willed myself through the last 4km to finish in a respectable 1:58. Chris was a minute or so ahead and Molly just a few seconds behind. Despite the last 4km hurting a lot it was one of my best runs this year. Running without referencing my wrist every 27 steps was freeing. A flat and uneventful course meant we could chat a bit and catch up on each other's lives - kids, weddings, spouses. I finished hot and happy and knowing that I just don't really like the half marathon distance.

Back from Edmonton I was determined to get on my bike a bit before the duathlon mid-September. I think I got out once on vacation in Kelowna. Vacation was great - a 5km trail run near our resort, the ride, and a gruelling 18km race. Yes, I'm that dumb one who thought running an 18km race from the top of a mountain then back up a hill into a vineyard would be the best thing to do before driving home 10 hours the next day. Peak to Beak was a great way to see Kelowna - and I would consider training for this race again. Despite the challenging course I loved this race; the friendliness of both the runners and organizers, a well organized race, and wine as finisher prizes made for a great morning to run.

Duathlon on the brain I still didn't get any more rides in or great focused runs. Knowing that my training wasn't really up to par to 'race' I went out again garminless and hoped at the least for a result similar to the year before even though the course was different. For the past for years I had either volunteered or raced the event and I will have to say that this year was my favorite course by far.  I hope this one sticks around for a few years. I had a lot of fun on the course - found a 'buddy' to pace for the run - lost him on the bike - but then caught up with him again on the second run. I had great transitions and finished a respectable 12th O/A female.

With two last races in the season I decided I couldn't continue to ignore a plaguing injury since July. My right hip flexor and right SI joint were now excruciating and I couldn't sleep. Some IMS at physio calmed things down enough to have a PB run at Ambulance Chasers 5km  and a decent run at Ekiden to help our store team secure a third place win in our category. About the only thing that got me moving at Ambulance Chasers was the dream of a new running jacket. Yes, I bribed myself into running fast. I inwardly chanted 'polka dots, polka dots' as I struggled through the race in no shape at all. It has been a frustrating second half of the year - injured, little motivation, time and efforts being devoted elsewhere - it was good to get the PB - and the jacket!

I think I will do the Twitter Road Race on November 3rd. It might be my last sanity saving 10km run before I embark on a 15 day cruise with the in-laws. Plus it will be in San Diego - which could make for some fun getting lost no idea where I am running. I'm hoping for some yoga on the boat, playing in the pool with Coach M, some snorkelling excursions, and some sleep - which has been eluding me for many many reasons.

Functional

This morning was one of my last physio sessions. I've been trying to see my injury in a positive light; Trying to make the most of the rehab and learn. And I am. I'm learning that I need to continue to focus on all those stabilizing muscles no matter what the mileage is. I'm learning that rest does equal recovery. I'm learning that I have a lot to learn about being a better runner - more than 3x400m repeats, or go long and slow, or don't forget to put bodyglide on.

Physio has been kind to me. I love physio. I was discussing with a friend about being able to buy passes for treatment access but not necessarily one-on-one attention. How great would it be if you could drop into a physio clinic and use the hot/cold tubs, or give yourself some ultrasound, maybe hook up the TENS machine. But, as it doesn't work like that I'm happy pay for a painful rub down and some light hearted conversation.

The thing I love the most about physio is that the prescribed excercises are functionally appropriate. I'm doing hamstring work by doing B drills with a resistance band, A drill balances to trigger my glutes to fire - both excellent running specific exericises I can continue to practice and use. Neither are a quick fix but rather a long-term plan to mould me into a better runner. I'm working on having a stable pelvis while running so both sides of my body are used equally - this requires and enormous amount of core strength - both in my abs and my butt. After a 6km trail run on Saturday last and an 11km run on Sunday my left glutes were very tired, a good sign they were being used.

There are hundreds of exercises out there I could do but I have to beg the question - if they're not functional to my sport are worth the effort? Straight leg dead lifts - sure they build strength but doing B drills in a specific motion exactly related to running - very effective. I hope to come out on the other side of this injury a smarter runner who is more educated about her body. And hopefully in turn I will be stronger and faster too.

I've also decided that to make the best use of my time while I'm doing wall fonda's - yes a totally technical butt killing exercise - rest periods shouldn't really be rest at all but rather a time to strengthen some other part of my body other than my butt. Pushups, rows, core work - I'm going to become all around strong. So, this is exactly what cross training as an endurance athlete looks like. Physio has made it habit forming and I hope to ride this wave for the year or more to come. The current plan is to do my exercises 3x/week - I'd ideally get it down to two - but add in some other exercises as my strength increases.

Overall I'm feeling - or my knee/IT- is feeling much better. But that's the catch - feel good and go out too hard. Tonight I did some hill work with the Personal Best group at Strides. I was slow and conservative in my efforts - not wanting to aggravate or undo all the good work I've done. The foam roller and I had a good make out session when I got home and the ice pack is always ready and waiting.

I'm going back to physio in a couple weeks to redo a treadmill video test. Maybe I'll be able to get my hands on the videos and I'll post them to share. I'm confident there will be some improvement. For now, I'm looking forward to the weekend. Doing a great 12km run in Canmore on Saturday and then the Mother's Day 5km walk with my family on Sunday. Happy to still be out there running!

17.10.12

Faithful

A few weeks ago I wrapped up coaching two clinic thru Strides. The first was a Personal Best
clinic. The group humoured me through some great workouts including running lines in a parking lot and a final game of tag in the field which had us laughing so hard we could barely run. I feel so fortunate to be a part of the transformation because often I find it's myself who is inspired and encouraged by their hard work each and every week.
 
I really love coaching - why? Because of people like Kevin. Kevin joined my Learn to Run clinic with this goal in mind: run a marathon in 2014 - after completing the swim & bike portion of an Ironman. Insane? But Kevin gave it his all for 12 weeks - dropping weight, gaining speed, and I think mostly having a pretty good time doing it. I would get emails that ended with - I love running! I'd say to the hubs - I feel like a proud mama bird. I hope to see Kevin in the spring when he comes back to do a speed work clinic.
 
 
Kevin is super fortunate to be supported by his awsome wife Robyn. Robyn and I ran together last winter when we were both training for Vegas. Having a supportive spouse is a huge deal. The fact that they are both working towards a mutual goal makes the deal that much sweeter. Kevin ran an awsome 5km race at 30:30 - just 31 seconds shy of his sub-30 goal - but I am SUPER proud of him.
 


Kevin & Robyn
 
Thanks to everyone who inspired me - for inspiring each other - and for keeping it light hearted. 

 
 

18.9.12

FYI

Fellow mother runners Dimity and Sarah started a 10 questions game and I figured this is the kick start to finishing the 50 F title posts. Only a few more to go (big sigh). More on what I've been up to lately but for now...

Q1: Best Run Ever
Without any question is was one taken in February 2007. I went out with a coworker from a new job and we spent more time at coffee after than we did running. I married that man in 2009 and we are both still running - just no longer together as he was holding back and I was pushing to keep up.

The hubs and I this past weekend - ready for our Duathlon
Q2: Three words that describe my running.
Inconsistent, challenging (in the good way), and improving.

Q3: My go to running outfit is...
Without a doubt a Moving Comfort sports bra. More than likely an Icebreaker top. And black capris. Plus my favorite pink Mizuno visor which I had altered to fit my impossibly small head.

Q4: Quirky habit while running.
I'm pretty sure I talk to myself, out loud.

Q5: Morning, midday, evening?
Ideally after breakfast and when it's warm, not cool, or not hot. So approaching fall I'd say between 9 and 10am. Hence why I'm super excited to be coaching a daytime clinic starting I a couple weeks!

Q6: I won't run outside when it's...
Windy. We honestly moved from our old house that was on a windy hill to a better spot because of this. I loathe the wind.

Q7: Worst injury and how I got over it.
I think I'm in my worst. And I don't know exactly what it is. So denial is my getting over it for the mean time. Four more weeks then racing is done for the year.

Q8: I felt most like a badass mother when...
I was 27 weeks preggo and ran a 5 race. When I passed three younger blond girls running together I felt unreal. What is it with you blonds that make us brunettes so competitive with you?

Q9: My next race.
Ambulance Chasers 5km. I've been coaching two groups for this race and their 10km. I am also hoping to PB my 5km injury and all. I PB'd last time injured so why not this time too?

Q10: Potential running goal for 2013.
Well, I guess this depends largely on if I get pregnant this winter. So let's say a) run pregnant as long as possible or b) be injury free and PB my 10km time.


Finishing strong after the duathlon

13.7.12

Footwear, aka. Running Shoes

As I have accumulated no less than seven pairs of running shoes in my repertoire and having spent a few months back in the shoe selling industry I thought I'd impart some wisdom your way. But first you're probably wondering how someone who only professes to run three (maybe four) days a week has seven pairs of shoes to pick from. So here's the breakdown.

New Balance WR10 - My first minimalist shoe. I used it on the treadmill for a few weeks and then raced my triathlon in it. I plan to use it when I'm coaching Personal Best in the upcoming weeks as I'll be doing short distances and drills only on those nights.

Minimus


Orange Wave Precision 11- These have a pretty high number of kms on them but are no means dead so I've been wearing them on the treadmill (soft surface) on those blustery days or days I get too busy w/ the rest of life and I'm stuck doing a run at 9pm.

Blue Wave Precision 11 - These shoes have about 400 kms on them so it's time for them to be my speedwork shoe. They've got cushioning to do the long distances but moving them to a shorter distance now will preserve their life.

Pink Wave Precision 12 - New long run shoe. I just love love love the colour. I am owever not love love loving the fit. I'm going to give them a few more runs but this definitely isn't my favorite update. Rumours are that the Precision 13 out this fall fits much better.

Wave Ascend - Trail running shoes w/ lots of life left in them.

Wave Rider - I won these shoes at the Game of Life 5km and I'm not sure how they're going to fit into my running life as truthfully I don't love them. I'm thinking of keeping them in the car as an emergency pair.

Brooks Green Silence - You may recall that these shoes became the start of my knee problemd. I've decided they just aren't a great fit and my body doesn't love them. I bought them with few other options for my tiny ladies foot. At a 6 or 6.5 it's harder to find a wide selection of racing flats. So, they'll become a work shoe this winter.

Clockwise from top: Green Silence, Wave Rider, Orange Precision, Blue Precision, Pink Precision, Wave Ascend

Now, you'd think that'd be enough but... I'm in love with the New Balance 1400. So, I'm getting those too. They are going to be my racing shoes most definitely and I'm going to see how they hold up on the long runs weekly. With so few left before Edmonton I figure that even with having about 200km on them they'll still be good for racing.

My Dream Shoes


So... what's the difference and should you have seven (nearly eight) pairs of shoes in your closet? Probably not that many but I would say that most runners running four or more days a week should have two or three pairs of shoes to rotate through. This will help preserve the life of your shoe. All that foam (EVA) needs time rebound as close to original as possible so the longer you can give it the better.

When do you need new shoes? The ballpark is 500-700km but that is totally person specific. Someone who runs in their shoe 5 or 6 days a week might get 500km out of a shoe where as  person who runs 3-4 times might get 600km. But it also depends on how long each person is running. So if you're only doing 25-30 minutes on the treadmill 5 times a week your shoes will (theoretically) last you longer than someone running 60 minutes three times a week outside even though the weekly milage is roughly the same. And then it depends on your weight, running surface, etc. Oh, and the shoe itself. Lightweigh racing flats aren't designed to last as long as 'traditional' high cushioning shoes. So... how do you know? Sometimes a shoe can have a flat feeling and little bounce under you. Other times your knees or ankles ache a bit. Or maybe you have no clue until you try on a new pair and think, oh yes, this feels much better. Other signs - the tread on the bottom is nearly flat and has relatively low grip; The upper portion of the shoe is feeling loose and sloppy; A fun coloured update of your favorite shoe is available.


Overwhelming, right?
Inside of your shoes look like this? That's your cotton socks ruining your shoes - time to invest in a proper running sock.
So, ideally you'd go to your local independent running store where the staff are well educated and care about getting you in the right shoe (and if you're lucky the left one will be free). Save that you might go to a running specific chain store w/ high employee turnover and if you're desperate for the exact same make and model as what you're currently wearing you can go to some big box sporting apparel store or buy online. A recent study on said that 49% (the majority in this case) prefer to buy local (32% online, 11% large sport store). Yes, everyone wants the best deal but keep in mind when you shop local you're bound to hear about the latest and greatest trends in running, great races, find other people to run with, and have some friendly staff member hold you slightly accountable to your running goals. In fact just the other week, at work, I gave a gentleman a semi-custom running program for his 10km goal race, for free!


Barefoot, minimalist, two pairs, three pairs? Ok, so here's my thoughts. If you're running five or more times a week you should rotate between two pairs of shoes. They can be the same, or different. For example, use a cushier shoes for your longer runs and something more lightweight for speed work and tempo. Three pairs? Why not - match your outfit or your mood. Barefoot/minimalist. Hmm, maybe. That depends.


First, there's no perfect science to getting the right shoe but here are three things you can do to help you get the most out of your experience.
1. Bring in your old shoes - the wear pattern can tell a lot about your foot movement.
2. Keep an open mind - been wearing a specific brand for years - don't be afraid to switch it up.
3. Don't be afraid to try them on a treadmill if you're not sure.
4. Ask lots of questions.

When the sales associate brings you three to four pairs out, know that they are choosing those based on the shape of your foot, your arch height or lack there of, and what you've asked for in a shoe - cushioning, lightweight, etc. I see a lot of feet in my week and from that I've learned what shape of foot fits best in what shoe. My colleagues are similar. Sometimes it's a randomized guess but most often the shoe or shoes we're bringing you are because people of similar height/build/foot shape/running goals/etc like this shoe as well. So don't be surprised if you come shoe shopping with your mom and you end up walking out with the same pair of shoes if you happen to look a lot like her.

As an average running for fitness runner weight, drop, and all the fancy tech lingo shoe companies use to explain their product isn't going to make you a better runner. Training will. Training is a shoe you're comfortable in will only aid in your desire to slip them on and head out the door.


So then, here's my position on minimal shoes and the average runner. First, what kind of shoe do you wear currently? High stability - best not to leap into minimalism - try a high cushioning neutral shoe first. High cushioning neutral - try incorporating a light weight racing flat for a few months first. Been wearing racing flats for a while now? Minimalism could be something you want to explore - but why? What are your running goals? Moving into a minimalist/barefoot shoe requires not only foot strength and stability but stability through your core. Minimal alone won't make you faster or a better runner. Adhering to a program that challenges your body to be stronger from head to toe should be your first step. If you go minimal, know it's a gradual process and you need to pay attention to your strength in your back, your abdominals, and your glutes so you can maintain proper running form in your minimal shoes throughout the duration of the run. As a population who sits heavily we are often weak and don't have the endurance in our mid to upper bodies to support proper posture over long runs in a minimal shoe which requires a very upright posture. So what I'm saying is, minimal shoes can be a tool to help you become a stronger more efficient runner if you do some work beyond running in them alone.


Finally, here's an infographic I found, hich is mostly informative and slightly funny.

Running Shoes Infographic: How to Choose the Best Running Shoes


27.6.12

Fizzle Out

I'm not sure I've wanted to write a blog post less than this one. But, how can I not talk about my very first triathlon experience? I could totally pretend it didn't happen - which is actually what I want  to do, but then you'd probably just call me a big cry baby. And I am. I'm the first to admit it. I should probably be living some high of doing something pretty challenging and new, but I'm not. I guess I've been having what I'd deem a pretty successful year so not hitting my goals is a huge mental set back.

I don't hate triathlon and I will do another one. It's just that next time I need to focus on me a bit more. Mostly I'm sitting here really mad at myself for decisions I made that ultimately affected my performance. I suck at not living up to my own expectations - not anyone elses, mine. And having only myself to blame for the outcome of the race is hard. So, because I don't want to dwell on it, and you just want the gritty details anyways here's the synopsis.
Tri Family - Aunt Kath, Hubby, cousin Tricia, Me, Dave, cousin Christine

Because the race was out-of-town we opted for a hotel room and left Coach M with my mom at my aunt's house. Smart. Lights out at 10 - asleep at who-knows-when. I didn't really sleep. Wake up call 5:30 am - I was already staring at the alarm clock anyways. Quick load up of the bikes and gear, out the door by 5:50 to get to the Starbucks that said it was open at 5:30. It wasn't. (Curse word).  Have I mentioned I'm starving?


Family Photo Pre-Race
Bikes racked and transitions are set up by 6:10. The weather seems to be holding and the forecasted showers seem to be willing to wait until after the race is over. Meet w/ the family, get a bit excited, get numbered, get timing chip, and state to hubby that I'm getting hangry - off to the car to eat breakfast for 6:35 so we're back for the pre-race meeting at 6:45. At this point hubby and I should have left to get coffee but we didn't. We headed into the pool w/ the rest of the family and watched swimmers until it was finally our turn at 10am. I tried to listen to some music but I felt really rude. I ate an apple at about 8:15 but should have really walked to the car to get more food as I knew we still had a while to wait. Mistake which ultimately lead to a crappy run.

Hanging out in the pool pre-race - I took my headphones off for the shot.
My Aunt - She's got such a great sense of humor about things including her race number.


Hubby and I were originally slotted to be in the same heat/lane but were able to change. Good for him. Not for me. I ended up swimming w/ a dude doing breast stroke the entire time and who refused to let me pass for a couple lengths. I spent so much mental energy worrying about him I didn't get to focus on my swim. Mistake which ultimately lead to a 18 minute swim instead of the 15-16 minute mark which I'm more than capable of.

T1 went fantastic. Both transitions were probably the best part of the race. They went smooth as I visualized and I had great access to both the bike exit/entry and the run exit. I guess something had to go good. All in all I spent less than 4 minutes in transitions and considering the lengthy mount/dismount runs both from pool to bike and bike to road I think that's pretty fair.

Leaving T1

The bike was probably the best part of the race in terms of performance. I didn't hit my goal time but I did maintain a high cadence through out which was one of my main goals. I passed and got passed. I killed the hill for sure climbing really well but have some speed work to do on the flats. The wind was no help but everyone had it so not much I could do about that.

Cheer Squad - Coach M and her cousin Coach A, who after the race said to her mommy (Tricia) - I don't want to watch you race ever again. No reason, just 2.5 year old logic.


I grabbed some electrolyte mix leaving for the run, swigged a bit then tossed it to my cheering family. But in hindsight I should have grabbed my apple juice. About 500m into the run I knew I needed calories. Pushing as hard as I could I managed to pass a few runners which helped my spirits some but did nothing for my actual energy levels. I passed hubby as he was on the run back and he looked strong. So now it was just me on the course, the last of the family. This somehow defeated me mentally; It made me feel slow and like they were waiting for me. Which they were. High fives from my cousin's daughter and Coach M helped give me that final push to the finish line. All in all I was the 9th fastest female runner but it was by far my slowest 5km time in a long while.

Heading out on the run


Here are my results from the women only.

Place-12/117; 6/41-F3039; Swim: 65th-17:53 Bike*: 16th-46:35; Run: 9th-26:06; Total: 1:30:33.6

*includes transition times, about 4 min total I think.

High five for hubby in the final stretch

Ultimately I had the training to be about two minutes faster in each discipline but it didn't come together for me that day. Live and learn right? After the race we headed back to my aunt's. I ate copious amounts, napped w/ Coach M, and finally had a cup of coffee. My body is feeling a-ok and I'm ready to be back into the high gears of training.

And what about the fam? Hubby was the 15th overall male (17th overall) and finished in 1:18:58. He had a great run and was 8th fastest runner on the course. He is super excited about racing and I'm sure will be talking about triathlons more than ever now. My cousin Tricia blogged about her experience too.

Hubby looking strong finishing

Tricia finishing her run

Coach M and Papa

Post race shot - Christine missing

For now I'm just letting it go and focusing on what's next. I've got a 10km in two weekends and then lots of serious focusing for my half in August. I haven't lost the will to train and if anything my desire to be better burns even stronger.

21.6.12

Fears

Warning: this is very much an internal dialogue ramble that I'm typing to make myself feel better. But please, read it and validate me just a little. A couple more sleeps, then I will be a triathlete and not just a wannabe. Everyone is asking how I'm feeling. A couple of my coworkers have kindly reassured me that I'm going to 'kill it'. I guess that's the lingo twenty year olds use these days. So, am I feeling liking I'm going I kill it or like it's going to kill me? Well, not the later, but I expect to be breathless at the end and parts in the middle. I expect it's going to hurt, and maybe not in the hurts-so-good kinda way. I expect to wonder 'why am I doing this?' but also have moments of 'I've got this'.

I suppose the overriding emotion is curiosity. I'm curious how my swim will go. I'm curious if I've done enough bike training. I'm curious if my run will be as fast as I hope. I'm curious to see if I've trained decently and if I'm cut out for this sport. Am I going to enjoy it - mentally? physically? I recently read Chrissie Wellington's book A Life Without Limits. That girl has guts - my goal - be more like her - push past the hurt.

I have set some lofty goals for myself which others seem to be holding me to as well. Last week or so hubby says to me, I think you could win it. I ask, my age category. He says, the whole thing. I think he's on drugs or lack of caffeine. My goal would be top five women but knowing that's ambitious for a sport I've never done I think top 15 is more realistic. And if living up to hubby's expectations aren't enough, my cousin Tricia has set an actual time goal for me. Eep! Ok, to be honest it's my goal for myself too but I'm allowed to be an over achiever in my own brain. Then, a friend if ours is doing a sprint the same day in another city. He bet me that if I win, he cooks dinner, if he wins, I cook. Great, I'm competing with a testosterone filled male, how is that fair?

Legitimate Triathlon Fears


So what else? Well, I'm afraid hubby and I will be slotted in the same swim lane as our predicted swim times are identical. I really don't want this because I will get overly competitive with him and try way too hard to beat him out of the pool rather than focusing on my own swim. I'm just not sure how I could ignore him in the same lane as me. He is likely a stronger swimmer than I am but I not-so-secretly wish it was the one discipline I could be faster in than him.

The bike. I am seriously afraid of a flat. Hubby is going to teach me how to change one tomorrow but in such a short race it would just kill all my good vibes. So, positive thoughts. My goal is to have a steady high cadence through out the ride. I worry about the bike because I'm still relatively fresh in that department. Knowing how to dig and push doesn't come as easily as it does on the run. Also, I don't want to ride so hard that it sucks me dry for the run.

Then there's the run. Probably the factor I'm least worried about but still. The course goes down, flattens a bit then goes back up. My goal is not to attack the downhill too aggressively. Downhills can take just as much energy as the uphills.

I've been working a lot on visualization this week. Especially for navigating transition. The word I keep repeating to myself is precision. Not fast, but precise. I don't want to be redoing anything. I think if I can keep this in my head and not rush the process I will come out level headed and hopefully quicker.

What else. Well, as it's a staged pool swim I worry about the wait. They are going slowest swimmers to fastest. Hubby and I are taking lawn chairs and we plan on wearing our compression gear. Hopefully there's a shaded quiet spot we can rest as we have to wake at 5:30. I'm not opposed to going back and sleeping in the car. Then there's the balance of food intake while we wait. Its frustrating. The race isn't posting heat times until the morning of the race which leaves for so many unknowns even though they are sold out and final swim times had to be submitted last week. I'm sure they have their reasons but c'mon.

What else... fluids. I really don't want to have to reach for my water bottle during the bike but I think this is inevitable. A co-worker told me about a system at MEC that I need to go check out as the website hasn't turned up anything. Ideally I'd love a straw/hose to come up to between my handle bars from my water bottle so I can just lean forward and sip. I'd have a diluted electrolyte mix with my favorite Nuun flavour - citrus. Yum! As it's a road bike and not a tri specific bike I can't use any of the funky aero water bottles. Otherwise I have no plans for nutrition on course. I am going to put a box of apple juice in transition that I might take between the bike and the run to help keep my brain happy with carbs so I can keep going strong.

Maybe I could use Aero bars like these?

And that's it. Rambling complete. Off to catch some zzz's.

17.6.12

Fathers

Well, what would a bunch of 'F' titles posts be without a dedication on Father's Day to a very special father who is my constant and biggest fan. Hubby is an amazing father to Coach M and I am grateful for that everyday. M is truly a daddy's girl and he relishes in that fact. He is often the one who takes her grocery shopping or to swimming lessons. He's a real hands on dad. At a recent race I took M to go cheer on some friends while Hubby stayed home to sleep off his night shift. M cheered for a while as runners passed us, 'go Daddy'. She definitely knows he's a runner and loves him for that. Back to him in a bit.

Always lending a helpful hand! On course where I set a PB for a 5km last fall (since broken)
Doing gymnastics with Coach M

Growing up my dad wasn't particularly interested in my sporting activities. He did his dad duty and watched from time to time but by no means was I encouraged to be better. Oh well. That's the past. Now a days you won't catch my dad lining a race route with a 'Go Kourtney' poster but he is happily taking Coach M for the night (albeit along with my two teenaged sisters) while we go stay in a hotel the night before we race in his hometown. My dad has fully embraced being a grandpa and just loves doing anything with Coach M. Plus, he will cook us a fantastic pre-race meal the night before. I suppose the irony in the fact that my dad was the least invested in my sporting activities is that I'm the child who is the most active now.

My Dad with my niece and Coach M

Coach M has two other important grand father figures in her life. Papa is my mom's significant other and he was so generous as to push M so I could race last October to get my then 5km PB. He has qualified and ran Boston and is going to be embarking on a special quest for his 50th year of being alive on the planet. Hubby's dad, Grandpa to Coach M, is the kinda guy who randomly decides to take up running (again) and rather than a casual 30 minutes he busts out a 10km. Then he decides it's too hard and should stick with walking. I've witnessed this a couple times in the years hubby and I have been together and it never fails to make me shake my head, he's an all or nothing kinda guy.

Coach M's Papa

Heading out for our New Year's Eve Run - Papa & Dad & Coach M
Back to hubby. Hubby wasn't always the svelt English/Irish/Dutch/Canadian figure he is today. He was once very overweight. He still ran but was filling his body with beer, wings, and nachos. He was staying up late and generally being a single male in his twenties.  Between seeing a picture of himself and moving into a career that dealt with individuals struggling from health issues closely related to their physical state hubby started making positive changes. He didn't stop cold turkey but gradually decreased the quantity he put in his body and eventually starting swapping towards healthier options.
Hubby at his heaviest. I think this picture was a wake up call.

Sometimes his thought patterns are as complicated as his genealogy/heritage/citizenship. But I love him. He is über passionate about his family, his health, and lately, anything Triathlon related or training for running. He's kinda geeky. In training for our first triathlon hubby approached learning to swim by reading a book. Yes. You read that correctly. Once finally plunging in the water and practicing balance he is a competent and relatively good swimmer. Yes he eventually joined me with a coach and took some more pointers but you should have seen the look on her face when she asked him where he learned to swim.

Toeing the line against a 10 year old? She gave him a good run for about 100m. Hubby set a 5km PB at this race and was third overall!

My brother got hubby a shirt for Christmas that says 'Lazy but talented' He's not (always) lazy but to some, me included, it can seem that way. The effort he puts in, which is still fair, but compared to many others, gets him leaps and bounds ahead. He makes incredible progress very quickly. He is naturally talented and I think he's going to make an excellent triathlete, if only he stops talking about it and only it because if he doesn't I'm going to cut up his swim trunks and break his bike chain. I jest. It keeps him going, and me, plus he sets such a positive example for Coach M. I am so fortunate to share my life with such an amazing man. Happy Father's Day!

Lazy - but a very talented tandem slider.

11.6.12

Filthy

It's not just blogging I've been neglecting but house work has gone the wayside of training . No, the dishes aren't stacked up in the sink and I'm not wearing the same stinky running attire but the vacuum is collecting dust in the closet along with all the surface in the house. The room our computer is in has become the catch-all so going in there to blog or upload photos is painful because I crave organized spaces and it's anything but. Blame high levels of training for both hubby and I; more time being spent getting out yards in working order and not just a pile of dirt; and really wanting to spend our non training/landscaping time doing quality things with our daughter - it adds up to one messy house.

Eep!
We've been in the house two months and I haven't posted a photo of the new home gym. My dreams of waking at 6am to run or do weights was/is delusional. I have yet to do an early AM workout down here but many an nightly one. We bought the treadmill used but it's been good to us. When it's been pouring rain I can still do my brick workouts indoors. It's not a huge space but it accommodates hubby and I well. Knowing I'm not sweating on the carpet is also helping have some sanity in the filth department - rubber floor is easy to mop up.

All we need is an infinity pool and we're set to roll out the Branagan method to the triathlete community (not).

So, this is where tapering for the triathlon on the 24th comes in oh so handy. The 'plan' (yes in loose quotations) is to use the time and energy not training into tidying, organizing, cleaning, and otherwise getting our household in order so I can at least stand to sit down at the computer and blog about how training is going or how the race goes.

Training! Since being at physio and working hard at building some glute strength and releasing my very tight left IT, I've been going pretty hard the last three weeks trying to be über prepared for the triathlon. Overlapping tri training I'm in the early stages of half marathon prep which included a pain free 18.5km run yesterday with the mid 4.5km at race pace. The week before was 16km with the mid 3km at race pace. So for the most part I'm pretty injury free though I continue to do my exercises as regular as I can and use ice/heat along with lots of foam rolling post working out. That being said, I'm currently at physio typing this post. Mostly here for a follow up gait assessment but the IT band is twangy like a small town country band today so some work is being done.

Anywhoo. My swim times are steadily dropping and the bike is still fun and refreshing. So, I'm feeling good about my training but I am very very nervous about the race. Specifically the run coming off the bike. My bricks have been successful with pace and easing into my run stride fairly quickly so I'm hoping that will happen race day too. I'm anxious to cram in some more high quality workouts. But, I also have a proven track record of having great races when I allow my body adequate time to rest up and recover. So the plan is off (today) hard (bike) easy (swim/run) hard (run) easy (swim) hard (run) off this week. Then easy easy off easy easy off race next week. Likely no running next week just biking and swimming. And hopefully I will finally get my blog post about running shoes finished.

30.4.12

Flying - 5km Race Report

Well, ok, maybe not flying - but I decided I can't call the blog post Faster - too easy. Want to know what wasn't easy - my 5km run Sunday morning. Being injured (major IT pain) and having been to the chiro twice last week and to physio once, the plan was to run steady - but not race. I took off with the front group to avoid congestion but it became quickly apparent that it wasn't an overly competitive field. Strike one against the mental game of going steady and not fast. Strike two, I passed the girl who was in second place (yes I counted). Strike three, I got passed by another girl - now I was in it to win it - ok, well, maintain third place at the very least. Strike four, shoulder check at km 4 - there is a girl about 150m behind me, move it! So,  I hung in there to place third overall and PB - definitely not what I had my sights set on this morning. Clearly this being very relaxed before a race is working out in my favour - seemed to work last year for the Ambulance Chasers too.

Here's the thing - nothing about my training would indicate a PB. Nothing. I've done four measly weeks of speed work, and two 500m repeats on Thursday in pain certainly don't count. There has been one quality long run - which of course started the whole IT issue in the first place. So how could I PB? I can only think of two things. 1. Weighing less. I'm five pounds lighter than my last PB. 2. Swimming - I guess it is ultimately the best cross training. I've been on the bike very little, running very inconsistently. Honestly, I can't think of any thing I've done well except maybe rest. Hubby has a shirt that says 'Lazy but talented' - perhaps I should shrink it to wear for myself. Right, PB time - 23:24.

Speaking of hubby - he also PB'd. 19:05. His training plan has been consistent and has certainly paid off. I think that's a PB by over 2 minutes. Huge! Being so early in the year I think we're both feeling confident that we're on a great path towards having a great racing season. To boot - we both won a pair of free shoes too! Mizuno's even, exactly what we already love to wear. Here are the results from the race.


I'm not sure I had on the best race outfit, something to tweak. I did have on my new racing capri's - my Sugoi Piston Knickers. They are moderate compression and I could really feel a difference in my legs. They didn't seem to fatigue throughout the race as my heart was pounding and lungs crying out for oxygen. As a Sugoi Brand Champion I splurged on them and can say they're worth every bit of what I spent. I've been touting the benefits of compression post run and now I can say without certainty that during can be very effective. The part that didn't work was opting to wear my jacket over my sports bra. I guess I must have been warming up in the shade because I sure wish I would have just opted for the t-shirt. Roasty in the spring sunshine this morning.

So now, it's recovery week. As I write I'm hooked up to the TENS machine. This is post foam roller and stretching session, later, Ice of course. I've also got a chiro appointment and two physio sessions this week. Must get better! I'm going to take this time to really work on the weak spots and create a habit of taking care of them. I think it's also time to start putting in some more quality time on the bike and of course time in the pool. I don't think I will stop running altogether but I want to look at doing some deep water running as an alternative. Ideally I'd do one session outdoors a week (trail perhaps) and then start building back up as the triathlon approaches. I want to get there healthy and stay healthy for my 1/2 in August.

I still have some trail races in the back of my brain that are upcoming I'd like to do - so perhaps that one outdoor session will be in the wilderness of the city. In any case, I seem to be back blogging and inspired to achieve my goals to be faster (check), go further (hmm), and be fitter (c'mon glutes).

24.4.12

Frenemies

So here's the deal. I really really want to be running. And by running I mean lots, frequently, far, and fast. But I'm not. Because as much as I want to be best friends with running, currently we are enemies. Of course there is third party involvement here and that is my left knee. More specifically my IT band. Its current state is torture. Painful, swollen, and as far as I'm concerned, plain old uncooperative. Humph! So after finally feeling like my chronic relight hip pain has been resolved thanks to our new mattress I know have this. I suspect the culprit is my shoes. Green Silence, you hurt me! Ok, well I hurt me.

I do love you.
First, I went for a 16km run with none other than amazing Olympian Kyle Shewfelt. At km 13 my knee said, please stop. But was I really going to wuss out? I mean Kyle came back after breaking both legs, simultaneously. Now, I haven't ran more than 6km in forever, so 16 was obviously ambitious, and stupid Then I did hills. Um, ow! Then I ran home from work and quite literally seized up 1/2 a block from home.

Second, I preach a conservative approach to using minimal shoes/racing flats but it appears I've failed to heed my own advice. Too much speed work (and hills) with a compromised form in my (very pretty and comfy) shoes is what else is surely to blame.

So... My plan of action. First, suffer the ART compliments of Dr. Dan. Then RICE as much as possible. Definitely hard to do with a very active Coach M racing around outside and inside. The compromise is she gets a bit more tv time so I can ice, compress, and elevate. If you overhear me rambling cartoon tv jingles, I apologize.

Not part of the plan and I might be dumb, I'm registered for two 5km races this weekend. The first, Saturday, is the second Twitter Road Race. After standing all day at work this could be more like a jog. The second is Sunday. Hubby is attempting a PB and I hope to have a consistent run ideally sub 25 minutes. Please cooperate body.

Part two A of the get better plan: I will put my shoes into retirement for a while. I'm hoping I can try out some semi-custom Sole footbeds in them soon to see if that helps with my running mechanics. If not, the greens will become work shoes and I can get these beauties:

NB1400 - Super comfy, and great colours!

Part two B of the get better plan: be conservative with my running; Slower, shorter, not so often.And I guess I can keep focusing on the swimming (you should see my arms and back!) and the biking for the fast approaching triathlon. And a little whining and a tub of ice cream will also make things better, much better.

12.4.12

Forget Me Not!

I didn't drop off the face of the Earth. I swear. And I know it's been nearly two months since I've blogged a single word about doing anything even remotely related to running, biking, swimming, triathlon, or anything else in my life.

So I'm taking a very quick minute to say, I'm alive, and kicking, and stroking, and running, and biking. Just not blogging. Because we've been moving. Ok, we've moved but the work load setting up the house seems endless but I can see the end of the tunnel (only a few more curtains to hem). Oh, and I've been doing some schooling too so that's been ridiculous. And then, I'm just busy trying to be a mom and not park Coach M in front of the tv for too many hours each day so I can accomplish some menial tasks. And being back at work, I'm just trying to figure it all out still. But school is almost done and work will always be there, so this is the start of being back to blogging. Well, Monday will be.

For now, some teasers:
We have a gym in the new house, whoop - photo to follow.
I'm running with a very very cool and decorated Olympian on Sunday - can you guess who?

21.2.12

Flattered

Two great things happened this week - which I needed because we're moving, and I'm a basket case. As a result of moving and being a basket case I haven't been doing much training. The TRX has been snuggled in it's case and the bike hasn't seen the trainer in way too many days. I even opted out of swimming last week due to lack of energy or will power to not drown. And as we're going to be in a temporary residence (in-laws) for an unknown number of days I won't be doing any biking any time soon - except tomorrow - which makes me sad because I am missing the bike.

But - back to the good news. The flattery. First, ran into an acquaintance, got talking about life, told him I had had a baby and he said (HE) in front of his wife (WIFE!) Wow! You don't look like it. Made my day.

Then! What arrived in my inbox today - a congratulatory note saying that I've been selected to be a SUGOI Brand Champion! This means sweet deals on their clothes and never having to figure out what to wear on race day because I'll be wearing the special Sugoi BC apparel. Whoo Hoo! I applied just a couple weeks ago and really didn't think I'd be chosen. I love that SUGOI recognizes that everyday people are the ones who are out promoting their products while trying to achieve our best. Oh, and they're a Canadian company!

I already have a ton of SUGOI stuff - lots of bike shorts especially. I think I've got pants in this pile that I've been wearing for years (like 5 or 6) that still look and feel great. After I had Mallory I gave away a few tops thinking I wouldn't be able to wear them again - definitely regretting that move. I'm super super super excited to be a brand champion - I've loved SUGOI products for years and can't wait to take advantage of the opportunity to invest in more high quality pieces for training and racing, especially some tri specific pieces.


So, look for me out and about sporting some new SUGOI. Off to be incredible. Well to bed really.

6.2.12

Funny

Alright. It's time for some funny. My training as of late has been pretty static. TRX, run, TRX, swim, TRX, bike. Repeat. While my swimming is improving and my strength increasing, sometimes we just need to break away from the monotony and laugh.

I found this Funny Running Infographic - When I saw it I 1. laughed because I know pretty much all of these runners yet won't admit to being any or all of them myself and 2. I mostly thought of Sarah & Dimity from Another Mother Runner in their fastinista outfits from way back in May of last year (refer to pic 3 - gear junkies). Yes, the image of two amazingly powerful women busting it to the finish is memorable.


Then, because I have a sick sense of humour I found this. The only reason it made me laugh is because I'm pretty certain the runner pictured is well and truly alive. He's my 'boss' and owner of Strides Running. I don't even know if he knows they used his picture to write up all these scary statistics about running.

As I'm venturing into the realm of becoming a triathlete I thought I'd share one of the funniest blog entries from a very funny lady with regards to being a newbie triathlete. Brain Bills Job Kids and Triathlon is a great read.

Then of course there's the S&%# videos circulating the internet. The runner one not too funny. The bike one, I had a few chuckles. But of course, the triathlete one - hilarious. Especially when it pokes fun at the very thing I'm doing, blogging. Oh man, I can't believe I'm going to start saying this stuff - wait, I probably already do. Sorry :(



That's all I got. Hope you had some chuckles and feel free to send me some laughs.

28.1.12

Fort

Lately Coach M has been all about the fort building. It's a great place to play. It's also fun to do bum-drops on the couch. Something about her in the fort last night got me thinking - about what it represents - safety? strength? security? I think we all build forts around ourselves and it's hard to step outside the safety and security of what they do for us. The thing is, if we don't get outside our forts we're never going to become stronger. What does your fort look like - three, hour long runs each week that follow the same route? The same boring black shorts and white shirt? Easily mastered distances, 10km, 1/2 marathon? The same races year after year?



Sure, familiarity is good. But, the thing is when we break away from the fort - even for a short while we morph into these adventure seeking enthusiasts. And that is a good thing. This year, I'm adventuring into triathlon - sort of. In fact, it still feels pretty safe, I'm confident in the pool and know the bike and run will go relatively well. Ok, so I'm doing Mud Hero - but wait, still kinda safe, I did two obstacle course runs last year. I know what it means to train hard to PB a race and I'll be doing some of that too. So what's my challenge? It seems that I'm stuck inside the fort.


So now I'm on a mission - to do something radical this year. For now, it's a baby step. I accepted a position at one of the local specialty running stores, Strides. I've worked in running and fitness retail previously but haven't been in the game for nearly five years. I'm nervous about being savvy enough about all the new technology on the market. I know I'll catch on quick but none-the-less I don't want to be walking around the store sounding like a nincompoop.

So, I need an adventure. A quest. Maybe it's carrying Coach M in the backpack up a mountain. Maybe it's a road race on my bike (eep! large group riding). Yeah, that sounds adventurous.

What's your adventure in 2012?

21.1.12

Fellowship: Twitter Road Race

Looking East - my run route.
I never thought I'd run a race in January, dressed in capris. Capris, even though fleece lined, were a little chilly this afternoon. The forecasted chinook hadn't rolled in yet so it was a brisk -10C. Brr, not my ideal running weather. But, with no chinook there was no wind, I despise wind. On the way to my start point I saw my friend Jenny booking it with her dog Pepper. Seeing her, even though I  knew I was unlikely to cross her path was a great boost. Here's a pic she posted after her run:


Pepper, still alert, after his 22km run at a 4:40/km pace.

There's something about seeing other runners, especially friendly faces that gets me wound up to run. I can be driving home and see runners out, and even though I've perhaps completed my workout or have one scheduled for later in the day, I just want to get out and run right now because of them. That's why I couldn't pass up the Twitter Road Race. Sure, I didn't toe the start line with anybody physically, but virtually, 800 plus runners signed up for a race in January. Now that is social media power at its infinite. Tweets were coming in all morning about icy, snowy, blustery conditions, but the idea of running a race with a fellowship of worldwide runners was clearly too good to pass up.

I had minimal expectations going into the run today. In fact, I had no idea what to expect. The plan was to run hard and hope for something around the 25 minute mark - I even thought that might be ambitious. Months ago I did a 24:18 5km and I had no expectations of being anywhere near that number. Let's be honest, the work effort since Vegas has been minimal to moderate at best. There's been little consistency with my training. So, when I posted a 24:26 today I couldn't actually believe it. However, despite my time it wasn't a great run, but it wasn't bad either. Average.  It wasn't a great run because I felt inconsistent. I couldn't hold a steady pace so I felt like I bopped between working too hard and not working hard enough. It's like there's this area I can't quite hit - the comfortable uncomfortable. As much as I wanted to be out running, I didn't want to be racing. But! To be able to pull through mentally, with no one around to be competitive against, was perhaps the biggest accomplishment. I amazed myself and I feel like I've still got a great base and perhaps with some consistency and commitment to my training I'll be able to PB my 5km this year after all - that is, break 23:30.

But as much as the TRR is about personal achievements it's really about something more. Being part of a virtual community of runners is inspiring and humbling. Knowing that you have the support and encouragement of like-minded fun, adventurous, and spirited individuals within your constant reach has become a big part of why I keep running and keep blogging. I know some days I'm barely a blip on the radar but I have to hope I can be for someone else what many others are for me. Congrats to everyone else who went out for the inaugural Twitter Road Race. I am proud to be part of such a great group of people!