Morning workout update

So far… not so good.  Am I the only one that sets goals and then immediately something comes up to derail my efforts?  At least it seems that way sometimes, guess I’m just feeling a bit pessimistic right now.

I am still convinced that if I can manage to work out in the mornings, I will be more successful at being consistent with my workouts.  First week, I managed three morning workouts.  I did yoga each time, and I felt so good at work each day I did!  I had more energy and generally felt happier all day.  However, I was not able to be consistent each day.  One night I didn’t sleep at all, so just getting to work was huge for me.  Also, I was not able to run at all because of this suspicious cyst that has developed in my right foot. WTF??  This is what I mean by setting goals and having a derailment.  I have dealt with all kinds of running injuries which is exactly why I am being very cautious getting back into regular running, lots of walk breaks, slow speed.  And then this lump shows up in my foot. Good grief!

This week, Mr. B and I are on vacation and getting lots done around the house. In other words, I haven’t had time to stick with the morning workouts, my routine is completely out of whack!  I ran once, and the lump seems to be subsiding after a laser treatment from my massage therapist last Saturday.  Hopefully (fingers crossed, hard to do when typing – ha!) this will mean I can get back on track for my running goals for the coming year!

Back in the Saddle

This post is hopefully a return to regular posting on this blog. I have neglected it for several reasons.  First of all, I felt like I wasn’t able.  Last fall my health was on a downward spiral, and I needed a lot of energy just to take care of myself.  Secondly, I was not doing much running or any sort of activity and that’s what I wanted my blog to be about!

I have finally returned to some form of regular exercise.  For several months I was unable to stick with anything.  I was mentally and physically exhausted.   My family doctor told me that the vigorous exercise might not be helpful with the anxiety I was experiencing.  She said sometimes the high release of adrenaline can actually make anxiety worse in some people.  She encouraged me to scale it back for a month or so, walking, yoga, some form gentle activity.  And of course being the over achiever I opted to do nothing for months. Not exactly what the doctor ordered.

I attempted to get back into running in the spring because I really missed it.  I had been running consistently since 2006 so it was really a big part of my life.  It was so tough getting back into it; my cardio was crap, my legs felt like lead.  I was a beginner all over again and I felt so frustrated and discouraged.  I was pushing myself and was not enjoying it.  Then I ended up with the flu and I took another month or so off.

I stopped making running a priority and decided to try to get back into cycling, it was also tough but I saw improvements fairly quickly and I was in a better place mentally and I was able to stick with it.  The weather this summer wasn’t great, but if I couldn’t ride outside then I’d go to Spin class at the gym.  I had a goal, my husband and I would ride in the MS Bike Tour in Niagara.  It was a great goal for me to work towards; 75km was not overly ambitious.  I actually felt really good until the 60km checkpoint, and the only thing that bothered me was my butt!

Now I’m back at building my running again and doing more strength training, but all gradually and without forcing it.

It feels good to be active again, and with the focus on fitness instead of fat loss it feels much more rewarding.

Defending slow running

A recent conversation with someone pissed me off.  I have had similar conversations before this one with other people, and they have had to do with the definition of a runner.  We were discussing another runner’s time in a long distance run.  I said something about how long it would take me to run the same distance, about an hour longer.  This person stated, “Yes, but he’s a runner.” ….pause… “Well, I mean you’re a runner too but you know what I mean.”  No, actually I do NOT know.  I was actually kind of shocked by the comment since this person knows how much I run.

So first of all, since 2006 I have completed 21 races, which included 8 half marathons and one 30km run (that one in pouring cold rain-yuck!).  Therefore, I have logged thousands of kilometres of training runs since 2006. According to my Nike records since mid 2010 I have logged 1,339.18 km and that was with some big non-running periods in there when I focused on cycling, and a few months when I just didn’t feel like running.  I also run sometimes without any gizmos, so there’s no record of those runs.

I have also had several running related injuries: planter fasciitis, IT band syndrome, morton’s neuroma.  I’ve recovered from all of those, and learned stretches and exercises to prevent further injuries.

All that said, I don’t think anyone has to run as far as I have or suffer injuries to be able to call themselves a runner.  Nor do I think you have to be fast, which I am not.  That brings me back to the comment above.  Was the comment because I am not a FAST runner?  No, I’m not fast but really the vast majority of runners will never win a race, and even if you do win that still doesn’t mean that winning a local small city race will make you competitive enough for the Olympics, not by a long shot.  I think there are runners and then there are professional runners.

I really don’t care about my speed compared to others.  I like to compare my time to my previous times but even then I don’t beat myself up about it.  I like to run; it makes me feel good and keeps my heart healthy, which is very important given my family history of heart disease.  I also know that I have limitations on the speed I’ll be able to achieve.  Everyone’s body is different.  For example, I can do pushups from my toes, and I can do so with fairly little effort.  I know some women that struggle with pushups from their knees and they work very hard at building strength to be able to do a pushup from their toes. In the same way, some people are just naturally faster runners. But that’s no reason to disregard my efforts as runner, and I don’t disregard other people’s efforts to build strength.  We all start from a different place and work towards OUR best.

I don’t like to hear other runners say they are not a ‘real’ runner.  If you’re out there pounding the pavement or logging mileage on a dreadmill, I don’t care the speed or the walk breaks taken… you can call yourself a runner.

I am a runner.

Where’d my Mojo go?

I am terribly UNmotivated lately.  Last night I ran a local 8k race with my fav running buddy.  Problem was neither of us really trained for it.  Well, it was a problem and a blessing that neither of us trained because we both felt the same, sluggish as hell with heavy-leg syndrome.  You know, when your legs feel like tree stumps? But we got it done and enjoyed some refreshing beverages afterwards. J

That brings me back to my opening though.  I’m not entirely sure what is going on with me lately but I don’t feel like running, biking, walking… not even yoga. I am still trying to do something 4 times a week but ½ hour is most I can muster and I have to really coach myself to do it.  I know I will feel better when I do it, but sometimes that’s not enough to get my butt out the door.  I was reading an article about starting to run in the early morning.  I contemplated it because I am just pooped when I get home from work and wondered if that was leading to my lack of motivation.  But I am also not a morning person.  Can I change from being a night person to being a morning person??  Is that possible?

I also wanted to start lifting again, and had planned to start back up last month.  I did more weight training in my 20s, before I had started karate and before I started running but those last two things took over and I felt I had no time left.  Then I lost interest in karate, and started doing more cycling.  Perhaps if I start the weights again the new activity will renew my excitement about working out.  I don’t want to be someone that works out just because it’s good for me, I want to enjoy it.  I have seen far too many people stop working out because they began to hate it, unfortunately because they didn’t see the quick weight loss results they had hoped for.

I’m hoping this slump doesn’t last long.  I know it is a slump, I have been working out long enough to recognize it now.  The last one was 6 months!!  Fingers crossed this one is much shorter.

Mississauga Half Marathon

This past weekend I ran my 8th half marathon!  The Mississauga half was great and I will definitely return next year!

Weekend recap:

Saturday morning I caught a ride with a friend that was also running and his wife, and we were meeting Mr. B (hubby) at the expo.  We picked up our race kits at a small, but well organized expo and then checked in at the host hotel (Novotel).  The check in went smoothly and our entire stay with them was perfect.  They extended our check out Sunday to 1pm, which we noted wouldn’t really be enough time for someone running the full marathon in anything over 4.5 hours.  The time worked for me and my friend since he was planning to finish the marathon under 4 hours. We relaxed for a bit at the hotel bar. (read: beer!) Next I took Mr. B to the shuttle for the start of the 5k race.  We caught the shuttle at a community centre with lots of parking.  Once he was off to the start I caught another shuttle to the finish line.  He said that sitting around to wait for the start of the 5k for an hour was kind of a drag.  He ran a great race and set a new PB by .3 of a second, he was pretty pleased.  Another issue he had with the race was the path they were on narrowed at one point and he had to come to a stop because there wasn’t enough room for everyone.  We took the shuttle back to our car and went back to the hotel and had our pasta dinner, which was nothing spectacular but decent.

Next morning I was up EARLY. I was very nervous about this race, because of the early start time at 7:30am.  I am NOT a morning person, I prefer to run at night and I’m always slower in the morning.  The second reason was because I was unfamiliar with the course although they do boast it as a net downhill course.  But there are still hills going up!  Note to self, more hill training next time would be a good idea.  Actually, more training in general would have been a good idea. I was not anticipating a personal best on this one since I did skip a few runs including a long Sunday run due to a head cold, a funeral, and an exam.  In other words, I need to plan better for life stuff getting in the way of training.

I walked to the start line with my friend.  He was running in the full and hoping to qualify for Boston. The weather was perfect, sunny but still cool.  He headed into the corral near the front, and I kept walking until I found the marker for the half time of 2:25 to 2:45.  Before the start we heard a few words from the Mississauga mayor, Hazel.  I believe she’s 92 now.  She’s pretty awesome.  We also had a moment of silence for Boston, as well as a group sing-along to Sweet Caroline, bah-bah-bah!!

Then we were off!!  Well the front was, from where I was it was about 4 minutes before we crossed the start line.  I took off knowing, no personal best today.  I felt sluggish starting out and my legs were a bit heavy.  But those first 8km went by fast and there was quite a bit of downhill and looking at my time I was beginning to think maybe a personal best would be possible.   First issue I had at this race (and I mentioned it to them in their post-race survey) was the fact that early in the race they ran out of Gatorade at one of the tables, and they were behind on filling up cups of water at the next one.  Perhaps they had too many check points and they were thin on the volunteers?  They had a water station every 2km.

So I am cruising along thinking my pace is awesome and how awesome I am, but then there was the steady incline and continuing increase of said incline around the 10km mark.  Ya, that slowed me down. The neighbourhood we ran through was beautiful, the homes were HUGE and the spectators along the way were great. Fast forward to the 17km mark and I knew the PB was not going to happen and then I talked myself into walking because I was so tired and feeling a bit pouty.  But didn’t I already know that a PB wouldn’t happen?  Every race is different, and every half-marathon I’ve done I have felt different.  Not huge differences but I’ve run enough of them to know that I can’t plan for how my body is going to feel that day or how I am going to feel emotionally.

When I started walking I was just plain tired and I wanted this sucker done! I decided to walk to enjoy the view of the water and the enthusiastic crowds.  One spectator looked me in the eyes as I passed her and she said ‘you can do it!’ with so much sincerity that it choked me up a little and it did get me running again. There are always spectators like that, and I suspect that they are also runners because they just seem to KNOW.  Oh, but then there are the liars that say ‘almost there!’  Okay, now what the heck is their definition of almost there??  4km is not almost there!  Liars!  My favourite spectator sign of the day was ‘This sign took a lot of work too!’

I am a slow runner and I used to think maybe I will get faster some day.  I have had friends start as runners with me and I watched them become faster than me.  I have done speed training, hill training, fartlek, cross-training, used walk breaks, eliminated walk breaks.  Nope.  Still slow.  This sometimes gets to me and sometimes it doesn’t.  That’s what I mean by the emotional differences in runs.  Sunday it was bothering me and I did beat myself up for being slow.  But that’s just the way my body is, I am a slow runner and I’m learning to accept it.  The same way I am learning that I’ll never be skinny, and that’s OK.  And regardless of how slow I was, I still felt great when I crossed the finish line, and the view at that finish line is gorgeous with the view of the water.  The transition after the finish was nice and open with lots of room for the runners to walk their way to refreshments.  I did have to guess which group of volunteers I was supposed to go to for my medal, would have been nice if someone stepped toward me to give me a medal or if they said ‘half marathon over here’. Maybe I missed a sign?  I had to ask, ‘Is that the medal for the half?’

Other than a few minor snafus with perhaps inexperienced volunteers, it was a great run.  I would recommend it to anyone for either a first half, or someone looking to qualify for Boston.  Unfortunately, my friend did not qualify however he set a new PB on that course!

Great race Mississauga!