Tag Archives: race

One Year + One Week + One Day

Today my roots of running resurfaced as I set a new PB for my leg workout. The same death defying workout (not actually but my quads will say otherwise) from last week, except I heaved to completion in almost fifteen minutes less time. In theory, it seems like less time means less pain however that assumption would be incorrect, as I tested this morning.

Cardio strength training is making a re-appearance to my program (unbelievably, no this was not it yet) so I have scheduled myself in with another trainer, R, tomorrow to workout. I am really focused on learning all that I can and so far this year, I can proudly say I have already soaked up so much more about fitness, training, and nutrition. Luckily, I have some co-workers who are dedicated, selfless promoters of all things fitness and I feel like I am standing on the shoulders of giants.

Side note: If anyone has any suggestions how to thank a person for sharing daily life-altering wisdom, I would love to hear it. All I have got so far is the priceless stuff… as in, actually priceless, like high fives and shouts across the gym such as: “YOU DA MAN”!

I am getting excited to start running again to see what a difference my strength makes. I already notice a substantial difference in my strength and in my body composition which feels rewarding enough. Well, I guess not enough, because I am still charging ahead.

There are 14 weeks until I race again.

If I needed a good omen then I found it: this race- to be exact- will be one year, one week, and one day after my surgery.

Let’s do this, PB.

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Started From the Bottom Now We’re Here

I am working hard, I am lifting heavy, my body fat has dropped (stay away Polar vortex), and I am building the body that will carry me to my goals this year.

I made the mistake of not taking baselines post injury because I chose to focus on what I hated (my tight pants) instead of appreciating the potential for progress (referencing my tight pants works here too). There have been many times that I have scoffed at people who say, “I want to work out for another month before I set my baselines”, and I easily point out the flaw to their plan without recognizing myself as a fellow baseline avoider. A sheep in trainer’s clothing.

As much as I would love to know how much muscle I have gained, I will forever be left to make assumptions with my biased interpretations of my self image. The only fact I know is that I was not previously ready for beach season. Now I am ready for it. According to women’s fitness magazines, this is a measurement of health.

Have you set baselines? Go weigh, measure, and assess your fitness. Use any dissatisfaction as motivation to chase your goals. I am diligently working away on erasing any “post surgery restrictions” from my file, and adding to my progress daily. I would love to look back on my journey from a statistical point of view and be able to graph it, chart it, and analyse it… if I so desired.

To tackle this year: my first- and hopefully not last- triathlon as well as a 23:59 5km. If you read along last year, you will know that my current PB is 24:32 and yes I expect you to remember these stats. That was a challenge that came together on my second attempt. Word on the street is that Guelph is a great triathlon for newbies and I will do the tried, tested, and true 5km course in London at the Forest City Road Races.

Right now I am focused on building, re-building, and re-creating in the gym. More squatting than trotting. And let me tell you I am standing on the shoulders of giants and I expect big things from myself this year.

Cue the baselines.

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Gold and Goal

To celebrate my achievement of beating my goal time (by 28 seconds!) and my time from last weekend (by 51 seconds!) I decided to reward myself. So I tried.
Monday was supposed to be a day off from exercise and a guilt- free day to eat anything. One muffin later, my stomach told me to pick something else.
After I was done training for the day, D and K were starting their workouts. Like the good friends they are, they made sure to give me a really hard time about taking the day off. Other tips included “don’t eat cookies!” and “why are you going to bed so early!” which made it feel less like a day celebrating my victory. These guys come in handy when I feel lazy though, so I won’t complain.

So now I am looking ahead at what is next to come. It is too bad that I’m just getting started as racing season is wrapping up but I still have options. I can keep racing through the winter since apparently Mother Nature isn’t totally against me, or I can focus my efforts elsewhere. I have a lot of friends who train and compete in figure competitions so that has crossed my mind but my body is still working on basic level functioning. That would be like trying to take the whole flight of stairs at once.

The best part of making a comeback is passing the benchmark that you had set before.

I still remember my last workout before the car accident. It was the day before and I was feeling great. An easy run to the park, 100 lunges, 10 hill sprints, then I ran home at a 3:51/km pace. I will have to use that as a baseline to see just when I surpass my (old) self. But not yet. Anyways, I am thinking even further ahead than that.

Swimming in a race in a lake terrifies me; the thought of getting back on a bike makes me nervous; but I can absolutely run. So, next summer I will do my first triathlon.

With two attempts, I have achieved my first goal and now it is on to the next one! It is big, and it is challenging, and I am looking forward to every scary step of the way!

Cue the motivation saying!!!

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Hitting My Stride

Eye of the Tiger playing on repeat didn’t work last time so I tried a new strategy today… which was just being normal.

I signed up for a race this weekend after my dreams were crushed in last weekend’s attempt. Well, that is an exaggeration but I had wanted a better result. I had my mind set on beating 25 minutes, but my body didn’t follow through. So I set up a plan to try again.

I came to my parents house this weekend for a visit and of course, for another race. Luckily for me, all conditions were in my favour, especially compared to my last race. The weather was as close to perfect as it ever gets for races, and it was the opposite of the hurricane- like scene of last weekend. I had a ride to the race which also meant I had a warm up buddy (thanks mom) and I could strip down my layers at the last minute. My dad made sure to weave through the women at the start line to give me a firm handshake and yell “Give ’em shit!” which did a great job of clearing me some space.

Due to lots of rain over the past week, the original course was flooded and the new route was much flatter. Like I said, things were turning up in my favour.  We were running an out and back course on a flat bike path, I had a great starting position, my laces were double knotted, and my cheering section was waiting for 25 minutes (as they specified).

The first kilometre was the hardest but at the 1k mark, I was running a 4:50 pace and that was a good feeling. As we ran through the park I saw some old co-workers and after yelling a friendly greeting, I almost forgot I was racing. The bonus to running in my hometown is that I know that park inside and out, and it is easy to get comfortable. As comfortable as racing can be.

Beyond the turnaround, I found I had a new cheering section in the runners behind me. Some friends from old soccer teams or people I knew from the running community hollered my name and yelled encouragement as I headed back to the finish. That felt great and I found more motivation to get myself across the finish line even faster.

Turning the last corner before the finish was when I really started gasping for air… but then I saw the clock. I could roll to the finish line and cross this goal off of my list. Not only did I beat my last time, but I beat my goal time. I really beat it. I happily crossed the finish line at 24:32, high fiving strangers and looking for my parents’ excited faces in the crowd.

As a kid, running races with my family was just an average weekend. It’s funny, though; 15 years later and there is still no feeling that matches seeing your proud parents cheering you on from the sidelines.

Another good feeling is having to set another goal.

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Round 2

Last you heard from me, I had upgraded my comeback to ‘quest’ status. And I take my questing very seriously. So, I am throwing myself back into it. I am registered to race next Sunday. Eight days to get things together is potentially not my best idea but the race payment has gone through so let’s see what happens.

Race photos from last weekend were finally posted so I could witness the pain all over again, as well as experience it from a new angle. My impatient wait for photos was rewarded with pictures I have no recollection of. That is the funny thing about finish line photos; our brains are half dead and half on speed. I swore I was alone but it turns out there are three women right behind me.

And nothing breaks your confidence like seeing someone you perceive as “unfit” in your finish line photo. Is that a terrible thing to say?

My mom has a finish line photo featuring a white haired, frail looking man right behind her, and I remember her pointing that out a few times. The problem is that several races can finish at the same time so you just don’t know who will photobomb your memories. The cropping feature was invented for finish line photos.

Maybe my goal for Sunday will be to make sure I finish with lots of space around me. Who knows, maybe I can photoshop in a Kenyan or two.

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23 Seconds

I spent most of last night laying awake in bed listening to the screaming winds push my Adirondack chairs back and forth on my balcony like it was a ship rocking in a storm. I watched the clock delaying the time I would have to get up to bring the chairs in to rescue the cars below. I probably only slept for about 4 hours partly because the wind kept me up, and partly because it was race day. The Weather Network was left open on my laptop; I refreshed it more times than I could count as if that would somehow stop The Perfect Storm outside.

Once I got up, I had my usual breakfast and put on everything I had laid out the night before, like the first day of school. Not feeling too nervous, I decided to take a cab instead of a bus because I wanted to stay as dry as possible (and yes at the time I thought this might be possible). I arrived to a scene of runners huddled under umbrellas and tents, and spectators looking like they were all dragged out of their cozy beds against their will. The turn out was still really good, it was just lacking the energy that good weather brings out in people.

The race started smoothly and I felt really good. The first kilometre was a herd of women jockeying for position on a narrow bike path while sidestepping deep puddles and slippery leaves. When I saw the first kilometre marker, I felt relaxed, I had a good position, but I was 30 seconds behind pace. This wasn’t the time to panic yet because I consistently run the second half faster. It was on my mind, though. I pushed on and I ran at the pace I had planned on for the next 3km.

At the 4km mark, my watch read 20:39 and that first kilometre came back to haunt me. I ran to the finish by myself on a winding path that made it harder to try to pick off the women ahead. The headwind did not let up but neither did I. The finish line came and I crossed it vertical, and tired, but running. I still felt surprisingly strong, but finish line photos always make you second guess that you were more than half alive. I will report back after I see what state of contortion my face was in.

My chip time was 25:23 and although my initial reaction was frustration and disappointment, those have faded, and a runner’s high is all that is left. I did not reach my goal but I ran, and all things considered, I ran well. Now that I am back home, I am doing the next logical thing anyone would do; I am signing up for another 5km race.

My goal is still a 25 minute 5k, but now it feels like a quest. I haven’t reached it yet but I can taste it. And it tastes like rum and coke… wait no. That’s my celebratory rum and coke.

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‘Twas The Night Before…

As the race approaches, stress increases, and blog posting accelerates! If you love cheesy puns and motivational sayings then keep refreshing this page!

I picked up my race kit today so I am officially ready to go according to my post it note checklist. When I got there, my name was on the registration list twice and my age was wrong (on both). Smooth sailing so far! The weather forecast for tomorrow is cold, wet, extra windy, and extra terrible. Feels like -1 degree Celsius, 90% chance of rain, and winds 45-69km/h. The course is an out and back route, and according to these forecasts the gale force winds will be against us in the second half. I thought I was challenging myself enough but the world wants me to know that it is still the one in charge. You don’t have to be an athlete to realise that these conditions are far from ideal to set a personal best, but stranger things have happened. Or so I keep trying to convince myself.

Today I was a stressed out disaster, accepting all well wishes with a shudder and a wave of nausea. Why did I tell people that I was racing?! I know myself and I know that I will ask this over and over again until I finish tomorrow. Then perhaps continue to wonder. And I probably will never come up with an answer. Us runners are a strange breed.

This is just the beginning, though. Being one race in means big things to come. This is the baseline to my fresh start (again) and I am confident I can get to the finish line even in if it is an army crawl of partial consciousness. That would be more aerodynamic anyways. Some of my parts may be gimpy but I know how to work them like the tricks you learn to keep your parents’ minivan idling without overheating.

Okay.

No more talk of mental strategy or disfigured body parts.

No more weather based (or unrelated) excuses because the race hasn’t started yet.

My game face is on.

And so are my pajamas.

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It’s The Fiiii-nal Countdown

As my pre-race week diminishes, my relationship with my foam roller has been upgraded to intimate and exclusive. I feel like an unprepared disaster, and 5k feels like a marathon.

All I really need to do is stay out of my head. Those who know me, know that over-analyzing is just my “thing”. My mind is already gone down paths of what comes next if I achieve my goal, or how do I respond if I fall short. What I should really be concerned about is how I have run more this week than I have any other week in the past year and that seems like a terrible send-off to race weekend. We will all question our training once the competition gets close, but I may still be adding to questions to the list I will have to answer.

The only thing I can do now is watch YouTube clips of slow motion running montages while screaming along to a loop of Europe’s The Final Countdown.

Join me?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sblvu-PvTi4#t=157 ] Thanks to RN for the slo mo montage!

[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jK-NcRmVcw ]

I have one last tune up (overhaul) with my chiropractor tomorrow, one day before the race. Hopefully he can snap my body parts back in place just long enough for me to give myself my own readjustment, as my runs always seem to disorient my skeleton.

The weather looks like it will be cold and wet which is the condition I ran my 25:05. I will do my best to recreate everything else from that run, and just hope my legs are under me on Saturday! 🙂

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25 Minutes

4 days to race day.

I have run twice in the past two days and my back is tighter than skinny jeans on an emo kid. It radiates up my neck into my brain and prevents the “stop making it worse” messages from reaching my body. My neck is so immovable I will have no choice but to be Frankenstein for Hallowe’en. Oh wait I am a 20- something female in Toronto… I meant to say “sexy” Frankenstein.

My goal keeps changing depending on the stability of my mental state, which I wish I could blame entirely on muscle tension. So I will put it in writing one last time before I race. My goal is to run under 25 minutes.

I work long days and I work hard. So what is 25 minutes?! I can do anything for 25 minutes. I’ve done this before, I can do it again. This is no crazy standard I have set for myself. It is just a time I have picked that will make me feel like I am getting back to normal. If this race doesn’t go as planned, then I am no further behind; the only difference is that the internet has documentation that I had a bad day. And my friends have Facebook so the internet has already seen me when I’m not at my best. Nothing new to see here, folks.

Whatever time the clock reaches before I catch it, I will be setting a personal best for my new self. No one will know what time I expected or if I have ever even run before. No one knows what it took to get me to the start line or what I will do beyond the finish. I will be running for myself, and I will be running for 25 minutes.

Forget about times, injuries, and training runs. Leave behind the disappointment and frustration of uncontrollable obstacles.

This is my first race back and that is unbeatable.

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Ready or Not

I race in less than 2 months and today I had the thought that I wasn’t ready. The “butterflies in my stomach” that feel more like cement mixers. Of course I shouldn’t be ready yet, but my brain had me convinced I wouldn’t be ready in time. All that means to me is that I am nervous which is good because it means I want it.

Ready is such an interesting concept. I don’t know what the weather will be like, who the other runners will be, or how my legs will feel during the race. So can’t you only determine readiness in hindsight? Why do people always ask you if you’re ready when you clearly don’t know the answer?! Do they want you to call after the race: “Nope, turned out I wasn’t ready yet”.

If I have only learned one thing from this world it is that you are never ready- and that’s not a bad thing. Life would be dull and uneventful like a movie watched over and over again. We don’t know what is coming and sometimes we don’t even know how we will react. Half of them time I feel like my emotions are doing one thing while my brain is saying “I thought we were ready”. Luckily, I can remind everyone I am female and be excused for any emotional explosions.

So rather than convince myself I am ready, I can acknowledge with ease that I will never reach my optimal performance level, particularly because I like wine and chocolate too much. I think racing is more about who can get to the start line injury free and who can tailor their training to be able to be the best on that given day. Also, it is about getting to the finish line first… minor detail…

Who wants to be prepared for everything anyways; that takes the fun out of everything! And accepting that you aren’t ever going to be completely ready comes with an contented feeling that could be mistaken for readiness…

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