Friday, March 26, 2010

So I realize it's hard to write every day :)

It's been a long time since I updated my blog. The initial excitement is still there, but my life has gotten very busy with various projects and the blog has landed towards the bottom of the priority pile. I apologize to all my fans who have checked daily for updates and found none.

I have to say that my training is not happening the way I intended it to, although I have managed to accomplish one run which I am really proud of.

Last week was March break and Tyler was gone on a business trip all week. He left on a Sunday and I hadn't actually had a chance to run since the Monday previous. Yikes! I knew with being on my own that I wouldn't be able to run, so I decided to put the kids in daycare on the afternoon of Thursday March 18th, in the hopes that I would go for a good run. That week was absolutely stunning with warm spring weather, and each day I was itching to go out.

On Thursday I was more than ready. I had downloaded some new songs from itunes and I was excited to go out. I was also looking forward to try my new toy: a Nike+ sensor that tracks my kilometres/times and that I can program to a specific training. I planned my run ahead of time and was hoping to complete my first ever 13 km.

The run was absolutely fabulous. I felt great and the new music was pumping me up! It was one of those runs during which you feel that you can go on forever and ever and ever. Mentally and physically, everything was aligned to give me a great run. I started slow, would speed up my pace every now and then, and when I felt it was too strong, I would pull back to a slower pace to recover. I felt I had great control over my run, the only dark side of which was trying to outrun a garbage truck which kept pulling in front of me and then back and then in front again. I eventually outran it, finally escaping the smell of exhaust which was not the fresh spring air I had  been hoping for!

Around 10 km I started feeling fatigue but I kept on. I realized that at this point, I should have planned for energy gel, or something sweet to eat in order to get a quick boost of energy to carry me in the last part of my run. I didn't stop though. I slowed down and kept going. Towards the end of my planned run, I checked with my Nike+ to see how far I had run. I was over 12 km and felt an incredible surge of pride. I decided to add another loop to my route to try and get to 14 km. I was cheering for myself and I did it!

When I finished the extra loop, I had run a little over 14 km, the farthest I had ever run before, and it was the most incredible feeling of achievement and pride I had ever felt. I arrived home and stretched for a good half hour and then had a bath with epsom salts. The next day, I barely had any soreness.

The high I felt from that run was beyond words. It gave me so much confidence.

On Saturday, two days later, I went for another run. The contrast between Thursday's run and Saturday's was like night and day. Saturday's run was tedious. I couldn't catch my breath, felt like I was dragging my feet and couldn't find my pace. I ran less far, a little over 8 km and it was a run I want to forget.

That's what I find challenging about running. One day you have the best run of your life, the next you barely make it and you hate every minute of it. I just hope that one race day, it is one of those great running days.

I haven't run since Saturday and am starting to worry about the race. I worked out in my house on Monday and am again doing a strength training workout today. Tomorrow, however, Tyler and I are doing our long run and I'm hoping to go one more kilometer to 15 km.

We'll see how I do!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Let the sun shine!

I can't  believe the change that one week makes. From running with double layers, hat and mitts to single layers, and almost warm enough to simply run in a long sleeve shirt. Today's run felt like Spring was upon us, and the warm breeze on our face was an absolute blessing.

My father-in-law is visiting, so we took the opportunity to get Grampa to babysit so we could fit in our long run. Tyler wanted to show me this path he has taken in the past that includes a fair amount of hills. We started slow and had to marvel at how quickly the snow was melting all over. We could see people on lawn chairs outside, chatting with neighbours, while kids played outdoors happily. I have to say that stepping on snow on one or two occasion was almost blissful. With each step I felt like I was crushing the snow out of our way and making it go away for ever.

We continued our path to the big hill that Tyler wanted me to try. Past the hill was this isolated path that went on for about a kilometer with no one in sight. We were surrounded by fields, all was quiet except for the sound of our shoes hitting the ground. The sun was majestic and I was really happy that we had gone out.

As we continued our run, we increased our speed gradually. My legs felt ok, except for some tension in the heel, which is either caused by my shoe or the uneven pavement (the latter, I'm guessing). My knees were feeling some tension. I hope it is simply a sign that the muscles are working and they are getting stronger, not a sign of injury.

We finished the run with a small sprint which was lots of fun, except for the stitch I got on my right lung immediately following it :)

We ran just shy of 11 kilometers in 1.5 hours. It seems like the half-marathon is looking like a three-hour run right now....doesn't seem that great of a time, but I'm going to focus on just finishing it, not how long it will take. We still have 12 weeks to train, so lots of time to improve.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Frustration and a bounce back

So much for daily updates :) But there is a good reason for it. Last week was a total disaster infused with frustration. Mother nature decided to unleash a week of snowy wet weather, day after day, and I looked from the inside not feeling sure I wanted to venture outside.

I have been battling stupid excuses not to exercise and run, but this time, it didn't feel so stupid. I was really, truly, deeply concerned about running on slippery roads and injuring myself, so I made the decision to stay inside and wait it out. Now, thanks to some good friends, I now know that I could buy some straps that I could put over my shoes to keep from slipping on the snowy roads. I also know that some runners run on snowy roads and are just fine. But last week, I wasn't that confident about braving the elements, and I did beat myself up for not running, especially when I saw other runners keep on running. After a day of self-loathing, I decided that my motives were valid and it was ok to decide to prevent injury by not exercising outside. I tried cross-training with my indoor bike on Tuesday and it worked well, but the rest of the week was not as successful.

By Friday, my frustration reached top levels and I just lost it! It felt like I had gone back to bad patterns of behaviour when, once I stop doing something for a day, I just give it up entirely. It took me a few days to build up the confidence to go out again, and promise myself that no matter the set backs, I would keep trying. It helped a lot that I was inspired by our Canadian athletes who are just incredible role models, mentally strong and courageous, and determined to accomplish their objectives.

So on Monday, after putting the kids on the bus, I laced up my running shoes and went out for my first run in seven days. After 53 minutes of running, where I pushed myself a little (some kind of punishment for the time off :), I completed a 7.5 km run that felt triumphant. I had stopped the pattern of quitting, and resumed my path towards the half-marathon.

So the lesson is that no matter what comes across my journey, the challenges and the delays, I will have to be flexible and adapt to various situations along the way. A one-week hiatus will be forgiven by a 7.5 km run that puts me back on track. Two births coming up that will alter my running schedule will mean I will have to make up the time once the births are over. Adaptability, resilience and determination will be my new friends as I continue towards my goal.

There's no turning back, one step at a time, even with a bit of delay, I am getting closer to crossing that finish line. And with Spring around the corner, it seems like snow and slippery roads, will not be a problem for long.