Tag Archives: Strategy

Happy Birthday Shoulder

“And though she be but little, she is fierce.”
           -William Shakespeare

I spent my one year surgery anniversary knocking back rum and cokes, plowing through chocolate eggs, and not exercising. So far off the rails it pains me to put it into print.

All these comebacks sure are tiring. I won’t let health go unappreciated again.

This has been a week of resetting, refocusing, and pushing back. I should be prepping for a 5k race that is four days away and somehow I have ended up exhausting the exercise database in my brain for ways to avoid getting fat. Today a trainer smacked my leg to tell me to activate the muscles to which I stopped and screamed, “Stop jiggling my fat!!!”

Each workout since the infamous doctor-says-no-lower-body-exercise fiasco of three weeks ago increases in creativity. I’ve said this before, but I think it needs to be restated: my clients do not get hurt, I give great advice but I don’t take it. The other trainers just laugh when I walk by carrying a 10lb body bar saying, “This counts as body weight, right?”… People pay me to push them, and this gets difficult to turn off, I guess.

Today I did the Stair Master, single leg Romanian dead lifts (10lbs what up!), single leg hip bridges, and modified knee extensions. My knee felt tired but not painful, so I did some Peterson step ups but three later, I had to stop. It felt like I had just pogo-sticked up Kilimanjaro on one leg. The best part of it all was that a celebrity’s bodyguard was beside me bench pressing about twice his body weight and I was working substantially harder. I tried to play it cool but the sweat stains and muffled crying sounds probably blew my cover.

As with all situations, there is a silver lining. Each time your feet are taken out from under you, the world is opening a door of opportunity to rebuild your physical and mental strength, and develop consistency, resilience, and pride. In my case it was technically only one leg that went out from under me, but my point remains. I would rather be hurt from exercise than develop issues from being sedentary, a hundred times over. Injuries allow us to learn so much about ourselves, and offer us the chance to improve in much more than just a physical way. We can all admit that starting anything is easier with a kick in the butt.

Sure, some things haven’t gone the way I had them playing out in my head. I did, however, spend my one year surgery anniversary surrounded by friends and family, laughing loud and eating well. Compared to a year ago, my shoulder is significantly better, my overall health is definitely better, and I have lots of zig-zagged footsteps behind me. Maybe I need to think less about how I thought things would be and focus on all the greatness that is now.

I can hardly wait to work up a sweat again tomorrow.

(Throwback to my shoulder a year ago…)

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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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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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