Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rubber Arms

About a year ago, it was sign up day for Melissa's, a popular race in the mountains of Banff.  I signed up for it almost immediately, and then posted on facebook, tagging a bunch of people, telling them they needed to sign up too.

One of the people I tagged was Leana, who would be doing Ironman Canada less then a month before Melissa's.  When she initially indicated reluctance, you might think I would leave it at that.  She did have a pretty good excuse.

Instead, I posted the following:

"Wasn't sure about tagging you, given IMC.  But seriously, it's "just" an ironman, you can't do a little 10K?

You might think that could be offensive, but after a little more back and forth, she posted that she was registered - exactly 15 minutes after her first comment when she said she'd sit it out.

Fast forward to this year.  Yesterday was registration, and when a friend posted that she was registered, I wasn't sure.  I kind of debated it all day.  Maybe I wouldn't register.  It is a super busy race.

Then I arrived at spin class.  And Leana asked me if I was registered for Melissa's.  I did some of my waffling.  Then I decided I should.  Or at least, if there was still space when I got home I would.  Probably.  Maybe.

After class, a bunch of us went out for tacos, and Leana quietly looked it up on her phone to see that the race was 90% sold out.  Now, I don't have a smart phone (yes, I know, it's shocking), but within minutes, I was making use of Leana's and registering for the race.

Sometimes you need somebody to twist your arm.  Your rubber arm.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Optimism and denial only go so far...

I seem to get sick a lot.  A lot.  Sometimes I think my blog is more about me whining about being sick then anything else.  Particularly in the winter months.

So, when I arrived home from my vacation feeling fabulous, motivated, and ready to train my butt off, I decided to ignore the fact that I also knew I had caught a cold.  It wasn't really a surprise.  My husband had it when we left for vacation, my son had it during and my daughter seemed to come down with it on the plane ride home.

I wasn't in complete denial.  I made a choice to put a high priority on sleep and hydration in hopes of getting through it unscathed.  I took it mostly easy, but kept up with my training schedule, determined that I wasn't going to be stopped by a little tickle in my throat.  I didn't even have a runny nose yet, just that lingering feeling that I could get hit with it any time.  When I made the choice to power though, I really was capable of it.  Plus, I always felt better after a workout then before, which I consider a sign that I made the right choice.

Then this morning, it wasn't lurking anymore.  I woke up with a throbbing head, a sore throat, and more then just sniffle.  Boo.

It doesn't mean I have to lose my new found fire or optimism though.  It does mean I might need a little break and a bit of extra rest.  Damn.  I thought that I could beat this thing at the gate, but it seems I'm going to have to fight to get it out of the castle.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A scary goal?

When I received my next program block from my coach, I noticed that some of my runs called for 10K race pace.  It's been a year and a half that since I set my PB at the 10K distance and I didn't have any recent races that I felt represented what I could do.

Angie suggested taking a minute or two off of my personal best and going from there.

My personal best is 56:33, so I knew almost immediately that I should pick 55:00.

Yet, it scares me.

Logically, I know that it is a very realistic goal.  It is even a goal that I firmly believe I will eventually surpass and possibly blow out of the water.  Eventually.  Yet, putting that down seems like a big deal.  I think part of it is that, until the day I set that personal best of 56:33, I considered a 60 minute 10K to be the ultimate goal.  The goal that I would be forever happy if I could reach.

The day I reached that, and firmly set it to rest, something changed for me.  Prior to that, I had frequently self identified as a "slow runner".  I no longer use that term.  That term limited me and it held me back.  Fast and slow are relative terms anyways, and of little meaning.

Yet, when I set that 55:00 goal, I was afraid.  Afraid that I was setting a scary goal.  The math is simple - if you're Canadian.  It means an average 5:30/km (8:51/mi).  And, while, in the immediate future, it's a race pace for workouts, I have a 10K on the horizon on March 17.  It will be tested very soon.

There's a safety net in calling yourself a slow runner.  Once you state that, it's like telling people not to expect to much of you.  You tell yourself that it's okay not to expect too much of yourself.  It's safe.

I have a history of setting safe goals.  The days I set my PB times on the 5K and 10K distances, I beat my goals by 2:50 and 3:27, respectively - a HUGE amount on short races.  My half mary PB of 2:10 was a day I had set out to maybe, possibly run it in 2:15, having recently changed my goal from 2:30.

So, 55:00?  Scary or safe?  Definitely scary.  The day I ran 56:33, I executed an almost perfect race and ran the fastest I possibly could on that day.  Yet, that day was a year and a half ago.  I was still a relatively new runner (still am now in many ways).  I had done no speed work leading up to it.  So, scary?  Yes.  Achievable?  That too.  Safe?  I don't think so, but I'll have a better idea once I start doing some work at race pace and seeing how it feels.

Sometimes your goals should scare you.  Acknowledge it and shoot for it anyways.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

How to break out of the winter blues

Take your family for a trip to Disney World!

My blog has been dark again.  The reason this time?  We went to Disney World!

My fabulous husband was smart and hard working enough to win an employee of the year award at his work Christmas party.  For his prize, his work paid a substantial portion of a trip to Orlando, Florida for us and our kids.  :)

It was fabulous, warm, but not too warm, and sunny.  My kids had a great time on the rides, and in the pools.  It was so nice to spend our days outside, and without any commitments.  We didn't over plan the trip and just took it as it came.  It was magical.

Prior to the trip, I was feeling blah and run down.  I came back feeling refreshed, positive and fired up.  I have never before had a warm weather vacation in the middle of winter, and I think I might be spoiled now, because I'm going to expect it again.

The challenge now is going to be avoiding falling back into the slump I was in.  Aside from moving to warmer climate, what I can do is consider what else brought me that refreshed feeling.

A big answer?  Sleep.  We had a small hotel room that was shared with young children that go to bed early.  While I sometimes did a run, laundry or used my tablet after they were in bed, there wasn't much else to do, so we tended to go to sleep early ourselves.

The other big answer?  Getting outside.  Aside from that sleep thing, we were outside for the vast majority of our days.

So, how to bring that home with me?  When it comes to sleep, it means cutting out the evening vegging and going to bed early instead.   This is key.  I have identified sleep as an issue before, but I need to recognize it's absolute importance.  There are times when I honestly can't get as much sleep as I need, and that makes it even more important that I get it when I can.

Going outside: At home, I have become a serious winter wimp, more so then in previous years.  With easy free access to a treadmill and track, I've done the majority of my runs inside.  We haven't gone sledding or skating once.  Even walks by the river have been almost non existent.  There are going to be days where it really is so cold that it's best to hibernate, but those aren't the majority.  Yes, it's cold out.  But not always, and that is what winter wear is for.  Time to suck it up and go outside more.

Real life is always going to be more challenging then vacation, but it's also where growth happens.  I'm ready.