Top 10 – Running Thoughts

Yesterday I went on a LSD run as a part of my half marathon training.  These runs average from an hour and a half to two and a half hours so I end up spending a lot of time with my thoughts.  While on my run yesterday there were several reoccurring thoughts that came to mind so I figured it would make for a fun light hearted post.   Perhaps you are a runner and you can relate.

20140415-091529.jpgTop 10 – Running Thoughts:

  1. I am so fast like the wind! I could keep the pace up forever!
  2. Why in the world didn’t I pace myself at the beginning I knew I had 22 km to run right?
  3. Look at that guy/gal running so fast! Whatever they are probably only out for 5k
  4. Finally someone waved back!
  5. This song is my JAM! wait I am singing out loud, how many people have I run by?
  6. Why am I doing this again?
  7. It doesn’t matter if you want to you already paid to.
  8. Everything hurts, if a cab comes by you better believe I am hailing it!
  9. You are half way just 12 more kilometers
  10. Thank god it’s over!

What are some thoughts that cross your mind when you are running?

Weekend Round Up – A day late

This weekend/ Monday really just got away from me. Last week I had the opportunity to sub in some other teacher’s yoga classes, as well as teach my two classes per week. It was really great to have such and opportunity and it also kind of three my regular weekend schedule of meal prep, studying and maxin’ and relaxin’ out the window.

This weekend I kind of resembled the Flash. Zooming from one place to the next.

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Besides my zooming back and forth and not actually sitting down until Sunday evening I had a pretty great weekend. Lots of yoga (teaching and for myself), lots of reading, and starting to get ready for a deep and dirty spring clean!

Oh my goodness I know this is super weird and maybe a little sad but I just can’t wait to do a huge spring clean through the house. Open the windows amp up the air purifiers and wash EVERYTHING.

20140407-214042.jpgIt is just something about cleaning away the winter that makes me feel so happy, light, relaxed and peaceful. Also seeing how for the past month I have been cleaning up my insides and digestion it only feel fitting for my home to follow the same process.

Am I the only one that goes bananas for spring cleaning? Is anyone else excited to give their home a good scrub down?

Happy Tuesday!

Half Marathon Breakdown

Over the years of reading various runners blogs and health and fitness blogs there is one thing I have always wanted to do.  A breakdown of my race, so this past weekend when running my first half marathon I was sure to make a mental note of how I was feeling and what I was thinking at various points throughout the run.   Now this breakdown might not be as detailed as some out there, but it will give a pretty decent overview of the gambit of emotions I felt while running.

finishersFirstly, I would like to point out that prior to running this race I had been warned by a 1/2 marathon veteran that this particular course was full of hills. I took this information in but figured  “how many hills could there actually be?”  The answer to this was an infinite amount of hills, these hills are responsible for a lot of emotions I felt during this run.  But getting back to the point of this post, here is my race breakdown.

Pre-race: organization of the website and kit pick-up was a bit of a frustrating mess.  The types of organization mistakes that were made was something I have experienced before from races that were in their first year however it is definitely not something I expected from a company who’s business is literally running dozens of races every year. It was a little frustrating to say the least, but on the upside this frustration gave us runners something to bond over while waiting to start our run.

ankle braclet1-3km:  The first few kilometers of the race were through a bit of a residential area and were mostly flat if not slightly downhill which wasn’t a bad way to start off. However, I am not sure why but for any race I run, regardless of it’s length, these first few kilometers always feel like they will never end, although they do always seem to.

4-5km: This is where the hills started. I had prepared mentally (and physically although I often feel like the mental part is really the challenge) for hills but as they started coming I realized that I had mentally prepared for one hill, not the multiple hills I was about to be faced with.

starting6-8km:  This part of the race wasn’t so bad, nothing too exciting to look at around you and besides another couple hills and some cows nothing too exciting. However at about the 8km mark we ran through some rows of trees whose leaves had all turned yellow and were cascading down the race route.  My running buddy and I described it as “majestic” and both wished we had camera’s with us to capture the moment for everyone else to see.

9-11km: These kilometers really weren’t so bad either,  I was feeling pretty great and mostly strong.  I had to stop for a rest room break and was slowed down a bit by the fact that there was only one outhouse for all the runners, but after my mini break I was back on track and feeling pretty refreshed.

20131015-111254.jpg11-14km: Still feeling great, starting to feel the benefits of all those hills on the way out because now everything was downhill. My feet were starting to feel as though they had been trapped in 5inch heels for about 8 hours, but the downhill momentum was giving my legs a much needed break from climbing.   I became pretty thankful for my music and the sharkees I had purchased as fuel (candy) for the race.

15-16km: the anger was starting to set in. I kept telling myself “just a few more kilometers, just a few more kilometers” and reassuring myself that I had already run this distance and that “I had this”.  This is also when Can’t Believe It by Flo Rida featuring Pitbull came on my iPod and gave me the extra boost I needed to keep my stride consistent.

17km: I realized I had 5km left and felt hopeful. Besides tight hips and my knee starting to nag at me I was feeling alright, my energy was fair, the anger from running for forever had subsided for a bit and I was ready to finish up.

18km: My running buddy and I decided that we would stay committed to running our own races and this meant if one of us needed to pull ahead or respect our body and take an extra break we would commit to that.   My playlist also capped out at this point and I had to manage to get out my iPod to turn the music back on while not tripping, my efforts were successful!

19km: I am now running on my own and my Negative Nancy voice is starting to rear her ugly little head.  It was time to put in both of my ear buds and try and silence her dirty little mouth.

20km: I saw a hill and became extremely discouraged.  The wonderful marathon runners were full of smiles and positive words for all of us half marathoners that were finishing up which was extremely appreciated. I did my best to power through the last hill but ended up walking about half way up so that I could have some energy left to “finish strong”

21km: Came into the fair grounds and didn’t realize it wouldn’t be as simple as just crossing the line. The route had been set up to circle around the entire grounds to get our last couple hundred meters in.  This sucked! I likely looked like the grumpiest runner out there, luckily I had a mini cheering section of friends (one who had just finished his own half) and my husband taking photos.

20131015-111211.jpgAs I crossed the finish line I was overwhelmed with satisfaction, pride and the strong desire to get my shoes off my feet IMMEDIATELY. I had set a goal of just finishing the race, with the hopes of being around the 2:30 mark and I was happy to have finished in 2hours and 31minutes

20131015-111144.jpgJust a couple short minutes after I past the finish line Susan (my running buddy) came around the bend and finished with the biggest smile I have ever seen on someone’s face.

aftermathIn the end despite the poor organization and all the hills I was so happy that I did it and was able to see just what these legs are capable of.  I am not sure if I will make running half marathons a habit but it is definitely nice to know that I am capable of them.

I hope you all enjoyed my recap of the race and you all enjoyed great weekends this past weekend.  Happy Tuesday!

4 Tips for Setting Goals – Post Race

I figured seeing how the Gingersneezes run club just completed their goal of a 10k race it would be a good time to address the “now what?” feeling. Personally I feel that it is great to think of what is next, and it is even better to plan a little for what you want that to look like. The last thing you want to do is train your butt off for months just to finish a race and think “well I am never going to need these running shoes again”. So how do you keep motivated? and what can you do to keep yourself moving in a forward motion?

Running, lifting, yoga, or anything really is full of endless goal setting potential. Hopefully while practicing or training you didn’t think “if I do this once I never have to do it again” and you are interested in trying new things and taking your skills to new levels, and if that is the case then post race won’t be too difficult for you.

Now that you have accomplished your goal it is time to set new goals and remind yourself of what has changed and what is now important to you.   Here are some simple steps to help you set new goals and keep yourself motivated.

Run Club Shirt Collage

1. Look back at your old goals.  Maybe you had made a list of goals you wanted to meet when you first started training or stepped on your mat or picked up that set of dumbbells. Check them out, see which ones you have accomplished, which might need work or reworking.

2. Make it a challenge. When thinking of new goals try and think back to things you felt challenging during your training.  Do they still feel that way? Are there aspects of these challenges you would still like to work on?

3. Set a date.  It doesn’t have to actually be a day, but there has to be a timeline so you know when to check in.  It is great to have over arching goals, but in order to work towards them it is helpful to have smaller time sensitive goals.   Things like picking another race, giving yourself two months to learn how to do a headstand or to be able to curl an extra 10lbs are helpful smaller tangible goals. Whatever it is be sure to give your smaller goals a “due date”.

4. Explain why.  It is important to set goals but it is also important to address why you are setting something as your goal.  Understanding the why will help you to create a plan of attack and when things get challenging will help you stay committed to your goals.

I know I have spoken about goals several times before and it might seem a bit redundant to write about setting “new” goals but it is a whole other beast.  Once you accomplish a goal it can get a little tricky to think of what you want out of the next phase of your training.  Hopefully the four tips above will help you out next time you meet one of your goals and will keep you pushing forward.

Happy Wednesday everyone.  I hope you are all having a wonderful week so far. 

Furthering my Education

Over the past couple of months I have been doing my best to work towards my physical goals. Pushing myself to work on a faster mile, on doing an unassisted headstand, and increasing the weights I am able to lift when I started to realize that I had been neglecting my brain a bit.

Of course I read articles and books and pay attention to the news. I brush up on different nutritional and exercise tidbits and I am slowly making my way through the piles of magazines and books I have sitting on my coffee table, but in all honestly learning has kind of fallen to the sidelines the more summer has progressed. So I decided A) it was time to pick up a book and finish it B) it was time to finish my runners magazine from June! and C) it was time to sign up for a course.
weightloss CollageFor a while now I have been bouncing back and forth with the idea of pursuing my certification for personal training because it is something that interests me, and I have gotten some pretty great encouragement to go for it from my running group and my personal trainer so I finally did it. I am sure to some of you out there it doesn’t seem like a huge step but I tend to shy away from things that will likely involve team learning, I am a serious solo learner so doing team style learning is a serious step outside of my comfort zone (hence my back and forth on signing up).

When I started working with a personal trainer one of my main goals was obviously to get into great shape and lean out, but the other major goal was to learn. I wanted to learn about how things worked, how to properly target muscles and how to motivate myself. After 6 “full-time” months of training with Alannah and now almost 5 months of “part-time” training I can honestly say I have learnt an incredible amount. Having learnt so many new things,like your butt is made up of three muscles – maximus, minimum and medius, I have become all the more curious.

My other motivating factor has been the Gingersneezes Run Club, I mean learning can only help me be a better leader and can only help to encourage stronger runners out of the members so really it is a win win situation.

CanFitPro-Logo1My course is through Can-Fit Pro and doesn’t start until the end of September but there is an online component and they send your books basically right away so I have cracked them open and started reading. I am excited to get a bit more knowledge on human anatomy and I think it will be really great prep for my yoga teacher training in November so I am all jazzed up for it.

So there you have it my big news for now. What types of goals have you been setting for yourself? and what types of steps have you been taking to reach your goals? I would love to hear from you!

Happy Wednesday!

Struggling

This is going to be a short post. Kind of more like a rant than a post but I hope someone out there can relate I feel like I am going batty. The past couple days (okay it has been over a week) I have been struggling with respecting injury and as of this past weekend illness (just a cold). I know I have mentioned before how important it is to listen to your body and to remember to take breaks and relax when you need to but for me it is likely the most challenging part of my fitness journey.

Relaxing and taking it easy or recovering always seems to feel somewhat counter productive to what I am trying to achieve. I want to build this healthy, fit, active lifestyle and resting and relaxing is a puzzle piece that just doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. I for some reason seem to feel like there should be a designated time or place for such a luxury.

DR3Like a beach vacation or a trip to a cottage, those are designated relax times.Times like now when I am in the downward phase of my training for a race (um…this weekend) taking some rest to recover just feels so innately wrong. So making myself sit back and relax/ do nothing becomes a huge inner struggle. Luckily I have a great husband, good friends, and an amazing trainer to keep my ego in check (I am assuming it is my ego that is making me so thick headed when it comes to this type of stuff.)

So what am I doing? not much to be honest. I am doing my rehab moves to help strengthen my ankle and build up some more stability and I am stretching. I know these are essential components to healthy training but sometimes I get this “if you don’t sweat it doesn’t count” mentality. So I am doing my best to respect my injuries and my sickness and I am learning how to take a step back, which by the way is surprisingly difficult. I am hoping that soon enough I will be able to acknowledge that rest is just as important as physical exercising when it comes to training so that I can learn how to properly integrate it properly in the future.

Have you ever had to deal with something like this? How do you find balance between rest and training?

I hope everyone is having a great Wednesday!

Jello Legs – Running Hills

Lately my posts have been focused on the Gingersneezes Eats Clean challenge seeing how it is the big thing I have going on right now, but I don’t want to forget about our Run Club. The Gingersneezes Run Club has been going great, and remember it is never too late to join in! The club started as a learn to run and 10k training clinic and the women who joined are quickly becoming great strong runners, it is so exciting to see each and everyone of them excel week after week.

Now that I have gotten my gushing out of the way I figured I would do a bit of an informative post on hill training and why it is important to a balanced running program. There are other forms of training (tempo and interval) that are important too, but today I want to focus on hills because I personally think they are so very important to good form, strong legs, glutes and abs and good performance as a runner.

Yesterday because of my bum ankle instead of going on a 60 minute run of 5:1 intervals we (running partner and I) decided to take the group over to a magnificent hill. We figured at least everyone would still be getting in a good workout, and they wouldn’t be penalized by my bum ankle. It also gave me the chance to see everyone’s form and encourage the group from the bottom of the hill while Susan (my running buddy and co-leader of the group) ran the hills with the group to keep them moving.

Hills CollageThe hills maybe weren’t loved by everyone but it was a nice way to shake things up and a way to give the group a little taste of things to come as training progresses.

Why are hills so great for you as a runner? Besides me loving hills just because I personally find them challenging, they do a whole load of great things for you. One of the main things is that hills (either hilly runs or hill repeats) help remind you of your form. As runners we sometimes take our form for granted or we get a little stuck on what “perfect form” looks like. With hills you have no choice but to straighten up a bit and remind yourself of your abdominal and glute muscles so that you can power through each hill.

If you exercise poor form while running hills your body will let you know almost immediately, everything will feel much more challenging, and you are likely to become winded much more rapidly. But a quick reminder to engage your core and glutes will have you up right and taking on those hills in no time.

running form

Hills are great for your form, but are they great for anything else? The short answer is YES! The longer answer is that by doing hills and being mindful of engaging the appropriate muscles you are actually working those muscles out much more than you would be had you done the same run on a flat surface. Hill running allows you to build your running muscles (quads, calves and glutes primarily). Building these muscles helps you to avoid injury and to make you a faster stronger runner.

The run is shorter am I still burning enough calories? Hill running is awesome for torching calories. The high intensity of the hills challenges your body to rev it up, more than it would if you were just running on a flat surface. The quick bursts of energy are completely exhausting for a reason, you are burning up your fuel source like no one’s business and the steeper the hill the harder the workout.

Now that you are all super excited about running hills and are all itching to lace up and test it out yourself. I have a wonderful beginner’s exercise to share with you.

running hills

Test it out and let me know what you thought.

Happy Tuesday! The sun is peeking out. I am hopeful that it is warming up!

P.S. remember to be careful when running hills. It is important to watch your footing and to stay alert, you don’t want to slip and then stall your progress from an injury that could have been avoided.