Half Marathon: Let’s Do This!

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Since my marathons in May I have got myself in quite the running funk.  To get out of this funk I have decided to get a PR in the Harvest Half Marathon or Okanagan Half Marathon in October. I am pretty excited because one of my best friends is going to do one of these with me!  She didn’t know this until a couple days ago but luckily she is really excited too! Heck maybe I can get my dad in it too.  I don’t want to push my luck though!

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What I learned from my last endurance run was that consistency and cross training are key. My friend at the running room commented on how amazing Hal Higdon’s training program is so I am going to give his Advanced Half Marathon Plan a try!  I usually make my own plan but I feel like I should trust those who know best so here is the plan!  The only changes I made was incorporating cross training into the plan. I will be starting on week two since I essentially have done the first two weeks of training already however my pace will be a work in progress for the next couple weeks.

Cross training activities include yoga, barre, kick boxing, zumba, paddle boarding and swimming.

My goal time is 1 hour 35 minutes and my friends goal is 1 hour 45 minutes

A very knowledgeable man/runner (John Stanton) told me to picture my goal and it will be possible. I can see it and I know I can do it.

Race Plan

Here are my pace goals: (min/km)

  • Easy run pace: 5 minute 17 seconds
  • Race pace: 4 minute 30 seconds
  • Tempo pace: 4 minutes 24 seconds
  • Speed work pace: 3 minute 40 seconds
  • Long Slow Pace: 5 minutes to 5 minutes 59 seconds

Monday I started with 3 km’s. Today I will do  7 hills, 3 miles Wednesday, 30 minutes tempo run on Thursday, Paddle boarding  and yoga Friday and a 10k Race Saturday! I am really hoping to get adjusted to these pace guidelines by mid August. I haven’t exactly disclosed how much training or the paces we are going to be doing to my friend yet but will definitely note her response when I send her the workouts.

So here we go!  This is going to be an amazing journey and I will share it with you all as I go. As always tips and comments are appreciated.

Wish me luck 🙂

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Stay True. Just Breathe. Be You.

Connect your head and your heart!

Have you ever wondered why you do what you do? Well over these past couple weeks that has been on my mind. A life and wellness coach that spoke to our running clinic gave me a little direction as to how you can get to the bottom of this with specific question. These questions work to connect your head and your heart.

What do you want to do?

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You wouldn’t think this is a hard question but really think of it.  What do you want?  I thought it through and there are a million material things that I would like… At the moment a puppy is number one but we won’t go there. What I truly want right now is to be fit, strong, fast and happy.  But what does that really mean?  Well fit is more focused on my cardio, I really do not want to lose the progress I have made here.  So realistically my goal is to maintain my fitness level. Strong is pretty self explanatory.  Fast is all about running.  I love running fast and I want to keep that up and keep improving.  Now for Happy… I want to be able to look at my life on a daily basis and know I am doing the best I can and am surrounded by people I love.

Why do you want to do it?

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I feel like everyone wants to be happy, however the other things are more specific to me.  I want to fit because I want to live long and enjoy my life.  I feel like being fit makes me feel confident and capable of handling anything that comes my way.  I also know the journey to being fit has taught me I am stronger than I give myself credit for.  I want to be fast because I love the feeling of running fast.  I am also ultra competitive and love beating my previous records.

What will you have when you are finished?

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This took a lot of thought. I actually went for a run and thought this one through. When I am finished I will have a rewarding career, an impenetrable home life, a goal crushing running streak (full of PR’s and Medals) and a happy healthy body.

What is the mantra that you run your life on? What is your person tag line?

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This mantra is going to be the tag line building the foundation of my journey to a rewarding career, an impenetrable home life, a goal crushing running streak and a happy healthy body.

As a marketing professional I love the power of a tag line and understand the importance of consistency.  When making marketing campaigns which are essentially foundations to achieve goals you need to find a message and stick to it.  As I put more thought into my own mantra I decided it should be something that I not only believe but need to work on.  Kind of like a guide to success.

In the hustle and bustle of life it is easy to lose yourself and take the easy route. I know some days it so easy to do things the path with the least resistance because it takes less time than what you know is right.  Its also so easy to leave little pieces of information out that may hurt someones feelings or easier on you.  I truly believe leaving information out is the same thing as lying and this is something very important about who I am.  Honesty is key!  Speak the truth even if your voice shakes.

Breathing is essential to life.  I am not sure about the rest of you but when I get nervous, stressed or angry I tend to hold my breath.  Even in running I had to constantly work on my breathing.  The first 3 months of running I paid attention to every breath to make sure I was taking it.  Now that I have my breathing under control I have improved substantially with my running. Heck I ran two marathons last month! Now in life I think if I can keep myself breathing when I would usually hold my breath I will improve in the same way I did with running.  Yoga is an excellent example.  Breathing is one of the main teachings in yoga. Yoga not only calms the mind and body but also creates clarity in life.  I know there is more to it than breathing but for this purpose I think the reminder I would like in my mantra is Just Breathe. To top it off this is a great Pearl Jam song.

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For the last part of my mantra I wanted to focus on something that is so important… being yourself.  There are days I need to remind myself how important this is. I am also really blessed to have an amazing best friend who reminds me as well. I am a people pleaser which some days doesn’t work in my favor.  I like to make everyone happy, which is a very impossible task.  I am not perfect but at the end of the day I will do whatever I can to make things easier for others.  I lose myself in this some days.   I forget that I deserve to be happy too and need to take care of myself.  It is great if I go out of my way to make sure everyone else is happy as long as I am not losing myself or going against what I stand for in the process.  I need to remember to Be Me. I am amazing just the way I am and so are all of you!

It has been quite the journey over the past couple years already and I am so excited to see what my goals and mantra has in store for me.

What are your goals?  Why do you want them?  What will you have when you achieve these goals?  What is your mantra/personal tag line?

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7 Lessons Running Has Taught Me About Life

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Over the past year I have learned so many things about life through running.  Through it all I have been amazed at how most things can be related back to life.  Although there are a many things I have learned about myself over the past year, the top seven things I learned about life is a good place to start.

1.  Everything is in your life for a reason, either a blessing or a lesson.

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Over the past 30 years I have literally gone through the same situations over and over. I would often wonder why life put these situations in front of me over and over. These negative situations just wouldn’t stop repeating themselves which was very draining.

That being said not every run is a good run.  Some of the hardest runs, no matter the distance, have been the most beneficial.  These runs are the ones I had to dig deep and really focus on pulling through. I would play with strides, pace and really have to figure out what I needed to get through the tough spot. Similarly in life, those situations you struggle through are the ones that really bring to back to who you are.

In life this showed me if I really listened to my body, I would know what to do. I am far from where I was a year ago both mentally and physically. Don’t get me wrong, I still go through challenges on a daily basis.  The difference is no matter what the situation, it will either be a blessing or a lesson and both are beneficial.

2. Drop expectations and go with the flow.

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This was a huge lesson for me.  I like to be in control of the situation and would honestly plan every day of my life if I could.  I know plans change in life but in the past that change would stress me out (still happens occasionally). I had such high expectations and if things didn’t go my way, I would be devastated.  I am VERY dramatic so when I say devastated I mean it.

Before I started running, a day without a game plan would never happen. I tried to carry this control into my race plans. You can image how successful that was. It usually played out in my 5k and 10k runs but once I got to half marathons and marathons it became especially important to go with the flow.  I mean, do not go in to a marathon without a plan but drop the expectations behind the planning.  Aim for your goals but know that every run is different. Things happen.  When I ran my first marathon I wanted to run sub 4 hours, heck I wanted to do 3:45…. That did not happen.  The day was hot, the course was hard and my body was not feeling it. I had to listen to my body and go with the flow. When I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face my time, goal was the last thing on my mind.  One year ago that wouldn’t have been the case and because of this life lesson I was able to enjoy my accomplishment even though it wasn’t what I planned.

3. Fake it till you make it!

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In business this advice was given to me by some very successful people.  They told me to dress for the job I want, not the job I have. I work in a very male dominant work environment and to be in the position I am currently in, I had to follow this advice.  In life my mom uses the expression “Put your big girl panties on” meaning pull yourself together and make stuff happen.  In both cases it really works.

In running I found this lesson was all about smiling. During my first marathon, even though I finished with a smile on my face, I struggled.  My struggle was written all over my face.  I felt every step, every mile and although I made it through it was a definite struggle.  In my second marathon, I took a different approach.  I smiled, and stayed positive even when it was hard.  This made the world of difference.  Not only did I get a 12 minute PR but I enjoyed the race! I smiled when I was tired, I threw my arms in the air and cheered for people as I went by.  This marathon was still a hard race but it didn’t seem even half the struggle my first marathon was because of the smile on my face.  I pushed to smile until it’s all I wanted to do.

4. In the end its not going to matter how many breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away.

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I have been through many good and bad things as most people. Although running definitely added more meaning to this for me I learned this in other areas as well. I am a very dramatic when it comes to my emotions.  When I am happy I am REALLY happy. When I am sad I am REALLY sad.  Everything I do in this area is big.  When thinking of this, a few scenarios come to mind. When my brother got accepted into AA, I cried like a baby because I was so proud of him or when he got an Xbox for Christmas I was so excited that he was so happy I cried.  Now that I am writing this down I can see why my family looked at me like I was crazy. On the other hand, when I did the Miss Universe Pageant my sister came with my parents and grandmother.  My biggest memory that took my breath away (because I was laughing so hard) was when she tried to teach me to isolate my hips.  As my sister is an amazing dancer, this seemed like an easy task to do.  I am no dancer, the idea of isolating a hip was way out of my element.  We laughed so hard and that moment is one of the fondest memories I have at my pageant.  Those moments that you feel your heart, whether you are happy, sad, excited or laughing so hard you may pee, those are the moments that matter.

Now back to running. During my first marathon there were moments that I was so overwhelmed with how proud I was, that I would start to cry.  Now for those of you who have ever cried while running you may have had the same experience as me. When you cry your throat gets choked up, leaving you out of breath.  Now this is in the literal context of the quote but those are the moments I felt so alive.  I had to calm myself but those moments were the ones that I felt alive and felt the joy of my huge accomplishment.  As I crossed the finish line of my first marathon I cried, barely making out the words telling my dad that I did it.  Those moments were the ones that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

5. Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react.

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This one was another big lesson for me.  As I said before I am fairly dramatic, and by fairly I mean VERY. My reaction to almost everything is over the top which has both its ups and downs.  Just to put this into perspective, one time I fell off a jungle gym and wasn’t hurt but I continued to lay there and scream to my mom that I was dying.  Clearly I wasn’t dying but I needed the world to know that I could be.

When I lost my finger tip I had to stay calm or I would have gone into shock. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about I had a rough couple years and in that time I lost my finger tip breaking up a dog fight.  I wrote about this more in my earlier posts. Anyway, this is where I began to learn how true this quote really is.

When running occasionally things hurt, your lose toenails, you get cramps and if you panic it definitely doesn’t help the situation. Occasionally in my long runs I would get a cramp, and usually I do these runs alone so there was really no one to entertain with my dramatic reaction or to hear me complain so instead of taking the dramatic approach, thinking how I am I going to run 18 miles with a cramp, I kept calm and breathed through it. Now this has not been a way I have really handled any crisis prior so I was very surprised when my cramp went away.  Calm works, hence proving my dramatic ways were not the answer to the worlds problems.  I now use this in my every day life.  I still have my moments but things are always better when you don’t make them worse than they need to be with a dramatic reaction.

6. The mind is everything, what you think you become. -Buddha

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I love this quote and it is so true.  The power of the mind is truly an amazing thing.  I have always heard people talk about the power of the mind and how you create your reality through power of thought.  I am not going to lie, I thought this was the most bogus thing I had ever heard years ago.  I now think otherwise.

When I run I find the first step out the door is the hardest part.  This is not because my steps are very dangerous or there is any big obstacle waiting for me outside the door it because my mind fights me about going.  I don’t know about you but I love to run and hate to run at the same time.  Nothing makes me feel more alive but when I get home from work it takes me a bit to get those runners on and get out the door.

When running my first marathon the power of the mind really stood out.  I thought I had prepared for it, how hard could a marathon be…. WRONG.  It’s hard and I legitimately argued with myself about taking a break (which I never did) at half of the race.  To get keep myself from gibing up I had to positively talk to myself and remind myself to keep going.  Now for those of you who think I sound crazy the next time you do a difficult task try it! You don’t have to say it out loud but remind yourself how strong and capable you are and you will definitely see a difference. The mind is a powerful thing, use it to your benefit.  There are enough obstacles on the road to success not need to be one of them.

7. If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. –Booker T. Washington

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I have always believed in helping others and lifting others up when they need it but this quote really came to light through my journey as a runner.  I have the opportunity to coach some really amazing people through the Running Room.  These people have taught me more than I could ever imagine and helped me through tough times without even knowing it!  Through sharing my running knowledge, guiding and assisting these people to their goals it has added so much to my life.  Building them up and helping them reach their goals has helped me reach mine!

My second marathon brought a lot of meaning to this as well. As I ran I would smile, chat with the runners, cheer them on if they looked like they were struggling and all in all worked to make the race enjoyable for everyone.  Even if they got a laugh at my dance moves at km 30 or singing at km 16, I knew that any distraction would help when things got tough.  This made my race so enjoyable and when I wrote my race recap I realized how much this attitude pushed me to success in this race.

Now, as I said I really could go on forever about running and the things I learned from it but these are definitely some of my favourites!

What have you learned from running? What are your favourite life quotes?

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My Second Marathon Game Plan

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Photographer: Lee Symborski

I cannot believe it is finally here.  In two sleeps I am going to be running another marathon and boy do I have the pre-race jitters! This race is especially exciting because I have three of my girls from the 10k clinics I coached running their first half marathon, my Dad running his first half marathon and my friend Larissa running her first half marathon! I am so proud of them and so excited for them!

Now back to race talk… I am using these pre-race jitters to put together my race strategy and goals so here they are!

I am going to start with my Goals for the race.  As many marathoners recommended I am using this run as a training run.  Of course I am going to put all I have into it but my main goal is to enjoy this run.  I have put MANY months into training to date and I am excited to see my training in action.  I am a touch competitive and am really time driven so on top of enjoying the race I have set three time goals. If I hit any of them I will be very proud of myself.  I broke my goals into 3 scenarios.  My first scenario is that the weather is perfect, my body feels great and I run the best I can.  In that scenario I would love to be able to run a 3:45:00 Marathon.  My second scenario is where I feel is most attainable thus far in my training is to run a 3:58:00 Marathon.  My third scenario is if I struggle I would like to run a 4:07:11 marathon. Realistically if I can pull off a sub 4 hour marathon I will be ecstatic. I know I can do it and I am determined to do it with a smile on my face.

d926f-11241377_359177470958228_1887918709_nNow that I have ran a marathon and know where my struggles are I have moved my Boston Marathon Qualifying goal to next year.  Through my first marathon I had the distance down but not the speed.  I know I can be speedy when I want to so I need to build that speedy strength and confidence for this run. Now back to my marathon plan for this Sunday!

I am pretty consistent with my pre-race day strategy.  Today and tomorrow I will hydrate and make sure to each extra healthy carbs and drink a couple sports drinks. For those of you who are first time long distance runners I suggest you drink water ensuring your pee is always fairly clear. This is a funny concept but it has worked for me through all of my races.  I like to drink two to three bottles of water with a NUUN tablet in it per day as well. In regards to food I always have a smoothie with my oatmeal and a banana for breakfast, a cliff bar for my snack, chicken and rice for lunch, pasta or quinoa for dinner with usually chicken, oatmeal if I am still hungry later in the evening and popcorn if I feeling snacky.  Make sure you listen to your body though because what works for me might be to much or to little for you.

The day before my race I don’t eat to late, I always have a Lush Big Blue Bath (greatest bath bomb ever) followed by laying out my clothes.  I haven’t picked out my outfit yet but I have ran in all my clothes A LOT so pretty much anything I have is fairly chafe free.

My morning will go as it usually does, I will freak out, drink water and eat the regular breakfast.  Get all ready then dance around and drive my boyfriend crazy. This time the race starts at 7 so I am wanting to leave the house at 545.

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Now for the actual race plan…

I usually aim to do a negative split but I am going to aim for a steady 5:20km pace run.  I am going to be a little faster getting out of the coral but from km 1 to 30 I want to keep my pace the same. If I am feeling amazing at km 30 I will pick up the pace.  I will do a head to tow body check every ten km’s and take a gel every 40 minutes.  I also have some honey stingers just in case I struggle hard. I am also going to stop at each station to hydrate.

So that’s my plan! For all of you who are racing this weekend I wish you all the luck in the world and if you are running the Calgary Marathon I will see you there!

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Marathon Psychological Training

The Hardest Part

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 I have been doing a lot of thinking in regards to the last 12 km of my marathon. Do not get me wrong not one part of the race is going to be easy but the last 12 km are the ones that you really have to dig deep for.

When I did my half marathon my psychological training program was based on three areas:

  1. Mental rehearsal and visualization
  2. Imagery
  3. Self-Talk

This is all solely based on the internal struggle associated with endurance running or really any tasks that may take a little extra motivation to get through. 

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I realized how much your brain plays a role in my last marathon.  The last 12 km were a race all on there own.  I had been so worried about being physical prepared that I lacked the psychological training I would usually do prior to the race. This time I am going to be prepared.  I have ten days to get my head ready for the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon.

I always encourage myself to try doing things out of my comfort zone as I find that is a big area that helps me build my psychological strength.  This past couple weeks I have joined a Barre study doing two to three classes per week. WOW is Barre a challenge! Every class is different as I am still very new to it all and boy do I ever have to self talk to get through.  Prior to Barre i thought my legs were strong… I ran a marathon, how hard can Barre be right? WRONG! My legs shake and by shake I mean REALLY shake.  They have a mind of their own and almost bounce right off the floor. Although this is getting easier I spend that hour two to three times a week talking myself into keep going.

Now back to running! For this mental training plan I broke my goals into two categories: process and outcome goals. Process goals are based on the training where outcome goals focus more on race day.

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Process Goals:

  1. Stick to my training plan
    1. Yoga (Once  a week)
    2. Cross Training (twice a week)
    3. Running 3 times weekly (minimum)
      1. Pace
      2. Hill
      3. Long Run
    4. Proper Tapering

      1. 80% Two weeks out
      2. 25-30% Three weeks out
  2. Eat healthy consistently 
  3. Get more sleep
  4. Read before I go to bed
  5. Smile while I run

Outcome Goals:

  1. Breaking four hours in the marathon
  2. Consistent Pace (5:20)

Now how am I going to complete this?

  1. Smile Reminders every km 😁
  2. Self talk
    1. Reminding myself I can do it
    2. If it was easy everyone would do it
    3. If i quit i will be disappointed in myself
    4. The last ten percent in the hardest
    5. In one more hour this run will be done
  3. Pre set music list
    1. Motivational tunes every 3rd song
      1. Fight Song
      2. Believe
      3. Dog days are over
    2. Good sing along songs
    3. The last 6.2 preset as the song list from my loved ones
  4. Visualization
    1. Picture myself running the marathon
    2. Picture the finish line
    3. Picture how amazing its going to feel to finish
    4. Picture all my cheerleaders in the sidelines
    5. Picture my grandparents cheering for me at the end
  5. Imagery
    1. Imagine I am prepping for the Olympics as top runner
    2. Imagine that running is effortless
    3. Imagine being the first in the race

So that’s my plan! Hope it helps you if you are trying to work on mental preparation for a race! If you have any tips they are always appreciated! 

And don’t forget If it were easy everyone would do it!  ❤️❤️

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*Photographer credits: BMO Vancouver Marathon Marathon Foto and Lee Symborski

My First Marathon

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Well it is official I am finally a Marathoner! Yesterday I ran my very first marathon and cannot believe how alive (and sore) I feel!

The weekend in a whole was amazing.  My boyfriend and I left for Vancouver Friday afternoon.  After a very full but smooth flight we landed in Vancouver.

What a beautiful city! The ride from the airport was when things really started to get real! In less than two days I would be a marathoner.

The stay in Vancouver started off amazing. Our room wasn’t ready so they upgraded our room to an ocean view.  The view was amazing so we had to take a couple selfies to celebrate.

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From there we got unpacked and headed to the expo to pick up my race pack.  The expo really made things sink in even more.  I was really running a marathon.  I took some pictures but was freaking out completely on the inside.

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The next day I had everything planned.  I had an amazing breakfast and ventured out for coffee.  I even got to say a quick hello to my friend Bob (and his girlfriend) who was running the marathon.  He is an AMAZING runner and has ran Boston twice now so he is truly an inspiration.  He let me know I was going to do great which was reassuring and nice to hear.

From there we went on an air plane tour of the city. Daine loves this stuff, I am trying to get into it but definitely get scared at time.  It was really beautiful. I really enjoyed it… For the most part.  Occasionally I may have looked like this….

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My boyfriends aunts came and met us to drive the course to calm my nerves. It was breathtaking.  My main concern was the consistent downhills… I mean I train for hills but this course had more down than up.  I knew that I may have to adjust my strategy a tiny bit to ensure I didn’t injure myself going down the hills.

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As I am sure most runners do before a race I have a certain traditions the night before my race. First I always eat butternut squash ravioli.  Its my favorite!  I also always have a LUSH Bath bomb bath with their Big Blue bathbomb. This bath was followed by a reassuring phone call from my dad who is training for his first half marathon at the end of May.  He calmed my nerves, stopped my tears and let me know to relax and its just like my other runs with dad. I don’t know what it is about parents but they are magic in knowing exactly what you need to hear.  This calmed me enough to move on to the next tradition I have, laying out everything I am going to use/wear during my race.

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I think I drive my boyfriend crazy because through all of this I tend to pace and over analyze, which I did the night before this race as well.  I finally fell asleep only waking up 3 times for water and then stayed awake when I woke up a 4th time at 4:30am.

I couldn’t believe it was race day! I started by making coffee, slamming some water of course and jumping in the shower.  I had my banana and my pre-race breakfast of oatmeal and a smoothie then continued to get ready.  I phoned my mom and messaged funny pictures to my sisters and brother saying “Race Day.”

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I know they appreciate my early messages although they are reluctant to say so.  From there I jumped on my boyfriend to remind him it was race day and that I wanted to be 1.5 hours early for my race.  Thank goodness he is so supportive.  He didn’t even question me… It may have been the crazy look on my face.  Once I got all dressed up and stretched, rolled and hydrated I was ready to head out.  As we walked out of the hotel I started feeling overcome with nerves.  My boyfriend reassured me that I was going to do great. I am not sure it helped me believe that but realistically he saw me at my worst in more than one occasion and still had faith in me.  I should probably trust his word right?

We stopped for a quick coffee and then followed the trail of runners to the train.  The train was full of marathoners.  Everyone looked so calm.  I figured they were doing the same run as me so I should probably chill out.  I even heard some great advice, do a body check every 10 km, making sure nothing hurt and form was good. When we got to the race grounds my nerves got crazy.  I saw that start line and panicked.  Nothing a quick call to mom can’t fix though.

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I took my first gel and then I was ready to go.  My boyfriend gave me a great big hug and reminded me I was going to do great.  This time I believed him.  I wiggled my way into my corral and calmed my breath… After a couple selfies of course!

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I couldn’t believe how many people were there! the sea of marathoners to be went on forever!

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At this point it becomes a bit of a blur as I was so focused on staying calm and not letting my nerves get ahead of me.  And we were off! I was officially running my first marathon! The first bit was a struggle to get out of the crowed.  This mile was one of the hardest as everyone was eager to do the exact same thing as me. I remember reminding myself to stay calm and run in the shade.  There was no rush as it was a marathon not a sprint.  That’s the only time I have ever been able to use that saying literally. The km markers flew by! The downhill was not something I had trained for and well the front part of my legs began to get sore but I tried to block it out. When I got to km 9 it was hill time! My music made me giggle as I turned the corner to go up the hill Miley Cyrus “The Climb” began to play. I was quite excited because I like up hills.  I train them and love them.  To top it off it was a nice break from the consistent downhill I had been running the last 8k.  This hill lasted a couple km’s.  When I got to the top I felt so alive! It hit me again… I was running a marathon!

The run proceeded into the UBC area which was beautiful. The old trees were so nice and the shade was even nicer! I made sure I was stopping at every water station even for a little sip of water and Ultima. The km’s began to fly by again.

As we got closer to the water our half way mark started to approach.  At this point I was running slightly ahead of the 4:00 pace bunny.  I could feel the heat.  I noticed people were starting to slow and  some even stopped.  I even saw someone collapse! At that moment I decided that I was going to go as slow as my body needed me too.  I made sure that I was keeping up with my 10 km body checks, stopping by every station for a sip and to pour water on my head.

The crowds cheered which was so amazing, people would say my name (Which was weird at first as I forgot my Bib said it) and fellow runners would cheer me on for running my first marathon. Every few minutes I would be reminded of how my legs still hurt, I don’t really remember any point that they felt 100% but I pushed through.  I would follow that reminder with the fact that I was really running my first marathon!

I don’t think think any runner says they look great in their race photos but man I have no word for mine.

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I made sure to take a gel every ten km’s, It was a great little perk up as I was feeling the energy drain from my body.  As I approached the 30 km mark I knew I was getting close to where I would see my boyfriend as he said he would come around Stanley Park. The only picture I am smiling in while running was the second I saw my boyfriend.

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He was just the pick up I needed.  I mouthed “This Sucks” to him and smiled.  He smiled back and I continued on my way.  Stanley Park is beautiful and was full of people cheering us on.  Stanley Park is GIANT.  That road felt like it went on forever.

Before I started my race I decided I was going to dedicate each mile to a person I love and count down for the last 10k.  The markers were in km so it kind of messed up my flow but I knew about who’s mile I was running. I had also asked each person to send me three songs to listen to while i ran their mile. My music timing wasn’t right so I missed that but I still focused on them.

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10 km to go! My best friend Tia helped me through mile 20.  She has been my best friend for over 5 years and she has been there and helped me through everything.  I thought of funny stories about things we did and laughed at some of the random stuff we have done through the years.  I could picture her say “Go Jocey Go.”  That’s just what I did.  I knew if i stopped it would make the pain in my legs worse so I kept going!

8 km to go! My boyfriend Daine was mile 21. He has been there for me and supported me through everything.  I thought of how lucky I am to have someone that will stand in the sun for four hours with the hopes of seeing me, jumping between cheering stations. I could picture him telling me that I could do it and not to be a sissy.  Crazy techno started playing which helped me pick up my speed a bit. I reminded myself to just keep going because I am no sissy! He always knows what to say to make me laugh. I wish the photograper’s would have caught me on this mile because I would have been smiling or laughing I am sure.

7 km to go! My brother John was mile 22. My little brother is an amazing person. He is hard working and does everything he puts his mind to.  We don’t talk as much as we should but I am so proud of him and I know he is so proud of me.   I am really lucky to have such a great little brother.  I could picture him saying “You Can Do It Sis.”  I couldn’t stop there I had to keep going.  I knew my brother would push through even if he was tired so that what I did.  I just had to keep moving.  I said that out loud every couple second.. “Keep moving, you can do it.”

5 km to go! My sister Sheralee was mile 23. My little sister knows me better than pretty much anyone.  She is strong and supportive.  She is always my go to. The funny part was I she had to coax me to keep moving on my very first 5km run 2 years ago in October. She is also a great cheerleader. This may sound crazy but I think I even argued with her as I could picture her saying I was doing great and to keep going.  I laughed because I figured the people running past me may think I am a little crazy for talking to myself but this was my marathon and I can talk to myself if I want to. Sher would laugh at that too because well she would justify my self talk as well.  I figured I was probably making a horrible face as I run with this almost confused/tired look to me.  Oddly enough I was right… My facial expression was just that.

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4 km to go! Mile 24 was my dear old dad.  My dad had been running with me as he is training for him first half marathon on May 29th.  My dad cheers me on, inspires me to be better, and is there to hold me up when I can’t take any more. In both running and life.  Luckily with running he hasn’t had to help me up because I am stubborn and keep going.  My dad would say (as he did the night before) just think of it as another run with my dad and that I can do this.  He would tell me to quit with the negative talk and that he was so proud of me.  With that I pushed the I cants out and told myself I was doing great and to keep going.  At this point I thought I smiled for the camera but apparently not. My dad always takes amazing race photos… That gene apparently doesn’t run in the family. At this point I remember thinking this was never ending.  I repeated to myself again (almost the full last hour I think) You can do it, just keep going.

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3 km to go! Mile 25 is dedicated to my sister Kathleen.  She is a fighter and inspires me everyday by her strength and hard work.  She is also kind of a hard a**.  I knew with her she needed to be 25 because the last 10% is always the hardest. Kathleen is so busy with her life. She dances for Shumka and is going to school to be a nurse while also working at the hospital. She never gives up on her dreams!  She also really believes in me which I know all family members but it still means the world to me.  Kath would never sugar coat it if she didn’t think I can do it.  Her drive kept me going.  I could hear her say that I’m killing it and that I’ll get through.  She has done dance performances in front of thousands of people with a stomach flu so I knew I could manage a couple more miles.  I splashed myself with some water at the next station and reminded myself I am almost done my first marathon! Just a note for any of you who may be running your first marathon in the future do not cry while running.  At this point I was overwhelmed with emotion and started to tear up, I could feel my airway getting a little blocked so I did some breathing exercises to calm me back down.

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1 km to go! This is where my fearless momma came into play.  I needed my mom to be mile 26.  She is who started me running, She is who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and she is the person who would jump in and run with me if she could have.  The past year my mother has been diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis which has made her have to quit running. I was running this for her because I knew she would have loved to run that last mile with me. A couple days before the race my mom sent me the sweetest message.

 

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I repeated those words in my head over and over. The dog days are over is a song my mom used to run too.  This also fits my life as in the past couple years I had gone through a lot with my poor dogs.  I lived through all that and I knew I could get through this last mile.  I could feel her pulling me forward with her positive words.  As I came around the corner a lady yelled out “Great Form Jocelyn.”  My mom always poked my tummy when I ran and would emphasize the importance of good form.  So what amazing timing.  As I turned the corner for the final stretch I could see the finish line.

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I pulled my core tight and pushed forward. This was it! I was finishing my first marathon! I held back the tears and put all my energy into staying strong through that last UPHILL km which by the way felt like it took a year!  I was doing it! It was real!

As I crossed the finish line I threw my hands in the air and made sure to keep moving I grabbed my medal. 4:07:11 was my official time! I didn’t beat the 4 hour goal but I did it and I felt great! At that moment I realized I was a marathoner, who cares about the time! (I always care about time so this was a big moment in my life)

I saw John Stanton who I would have loved to say hi to as I help train runners at the Running Room and have read his book way to many times.  But I was feeling pretty emotional and would love to not cry on him the first time I met him.

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I did it! I was a marathoner! This wonderful lady handed me an apple juice and I remember just wanting to walk.  I saw Daine and I am really not sure what I said to him but I figured I would find him.  Note to self make a plan on where you are going to meet your loved one after your marathon.  You do not want to have to walk around looking for them.

Everyone kept congratulating me it was so amazing.  My phone rang. It was my dad!  I burst into tears yelling “Daddy I am a Marathoner!!” He told me he knew I could do it and he was so proud of me!  I hung up and was going to take a couple pictures but my phone died. I proceeded to waddle around looking for Daine.  A nice couple talked to me about my time and how I was feeling. I made my way back to the hotel and Daine called my name and hugged me.  I think I repeated “I am a marathoner” and “that was so hard” one million times that afternoon.

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I had some Nuun and a banana, showered and stretched. I then headed to the hotel lounge where I ate the tuna tataki I had been craving followed by beer and a chicken club with french fries.  At this point i remember feeling like food was my favorite thing in the world.

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People smiled at my as I waddled by. I wore that medal proudly. I was a marathoner!

Thank you so much to the BMO Vancouver marathon for putting on an amazing event and for all the volunteers that made it possible!  Thank you to all my boyfriend, friends, family, running buddies, fellow runners and bloggers for you support! Thank you the Sweat Pink and Move More Fitness Community for constant encouragement! You have all made my first marathon one to remember and I couldn’t have done it without!

If I have one tip for anyone going to run their first marathon it would be to believe in yourself, talk to yourself as much as you need and trust your training because you really can do it!

Can you believe it? I am officially a marathoner!

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In It For The Long Run

 


Over the past 16 weeks I have been training for my first marathon.  I am lucky to have made as much progress as I have now done up to 21.7 miles and my last long run this past Sunday! On that note a long run at a slower pace is quite a time consuming task.  It is also very easy to get unbelievably bored and/or discouraged during these runs.  For those of you who occasionally struggle through their long runs here are some ways that I get through my 3 hour plus runs!

1) Make sure my Runtastic app is on for miles not km!


The thought of running 30-42 km’s is very intimidating as I don’t know if I even drive that far some days. I find changing my Runtastic App from Km notifications to Miles was super helpful as it’s almost a mind game.  By doing I have managed to keep myself from getting overwhelmed by long distances, 22 miles sounds a lot better than 35 km.

2) Organizing my music

The night before my long run I adjust my playlist to fit the time I will be running.  I also break it into 3 sections. Each section starts with my favorite run song “Believe” by Mumford and Sons and is followed with music that matches the goal pace of that section. My first section I focus on finding my pace and not going to fast.  Its so easy to run fast in the beginning when you are full of energy but it is definitely not a good idea to start that way. I find listening to country or slowing beat music keeps me on track. If I can still sing along to the songs I am on track. My second section is a tad faster then the first and I usually go into some rock with a couple upbeat songs that give me a little push when needed.   The third section is my race soundtrack.  This music is upbeat and keeps me motivated.  Stuff that I can really give it all to.  I always aim for a negative split and doing this has really helped me accomplish that goal.

3) Feeling Nature and Have Fun With It

This may sound like a funny thing to do so let me explain.  I struggle hard for the first 6 km every long run.  I find when I jump up to touch a tree or put my hands in the air to feel the breeze it not only reminds me of the beauty around me but also quiets that discouraging voice that haunts me for the first 6 km. Take in the beauty that you are experiencing on your run!

4) Bringing a buddy

If you are training on your own for your upcoming race those longer distances can feel very overwhelming.  I don’t know about you but I rarely get excited about running for 3- 4 hours on my own. Luckily I have found that when asking someone to bike with you not only does it push you a little to keep up but also gives you great company.  I am pretty lucky that my parents will join me on my 21 plus mile runs occasionally. My dad high fives me as I go and my mom goes behind me cheering me on.  It doesn’t get much better. So all in all I suggest you bring some cheerleaders on bikes for your long runs when you can.

5) Think through your week
My new take on life is if I can not figure out a reasonable solution in my long run then it’s actually a problem. This has really helped me take up time on my run and also think realistically about my life.  I find it so easy sometimes to think of all the things going wrong in life but by spending some time on my run thinking through the issues at hand it reminds me how blessed I truly am.  Another perk to this is that by the end of the run not only am I proud of my accomplishment but I am have a worry free mind.

I hope this helps any of you struggling through your long runs!

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What Are You Running From?

Running to Me

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My mother has taken up yoga. This past week she had gone to an instructor training open house as she is thinking of teaching yoga.  While in this open house there was a group discussion,  she was asked what kind of activities she has been doing.  She stated that she was a runner.  The first thing they asked her was “What are you running from?” She was taken back and said “I am not running from anything I run because it reminds me I am alive.”  I got the call as soon as she left that experience and she asked me the same question….

Since I have began running regularly this is a question I am regularly asked, but never in this context. It really made me think…. Why do I run?

This goes back to why I started.  For those of you who have been following my blog you know the base of it all.  Last November I lost my Grandmother who was one of my best friends, following that I had a horrific incident that resulted in me losing part of my finger.  This was a painful experience both mentally and physically.  Yes it hurt, the nerve pain was a pain I would not wish upon anyone. I was also struggling with the mental anguish and the anxiety that comes when your physical image is altered. My mom stayed with me for a week after this happened and following that she lost her mother.  Needless to say it wasn’t an easy time for anyone. After the funerals once everything was settled and my wounds were physically healed. I dropped into a form of depression that I had never experienced before.  I went to work, ate and slept until one day my mother and I made a change.  My mother, a runner, got me to join her in her daily workout. I was VERY hesitant. I still don’t know how she did it but I ran with her. During that run not only did I lose that gut wrenching feeling associated with the horrible past months, this may have been masked by the god awful cramp I had in my side and the fact that breathing was something I actually had to put effort into but I could feel my heartbeat.

I was alive!

I was not running from anything, I was running because somehow completely exhausting myself made me feel alive and more true to myself then I have ever felt.  It also taught me that I am stronger then you think.  I didn’t think I could get off the couch to move let alone run for 30 minutes but I did it! I could do it! That is where it all started, I chose the name of my blog “Running mt Own Life” because of this.  Running brought me back to life!

When things get tough it is so easy to quit. Running has shown me that when you don’t give up it’s worth it! Believing in yourself is one of the most powerful things you can do.  You are capable so much more then you could even imagine!

So next time someone asks me What am I running from I will tell them I am not running from anything.. I am running to me!

I would love to hear about other peoples journey’s. Why do you run?

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No More Monday Blues

This morning I woke up and was actually excited to run! I got some new lulu running swag so that helped me get a little more excited! So a tip to anyone who is feeling a tad down in the dumps, wear something that makes you feel good! It helps you not only get out of bed but it assists you with taking on the world! I guess that may be a tad aggressive but that’s how I felt today! I could handle anything in this case running with sore shins was my big challenge.  I am blown away that they are still sore! I felt great after I ran about 5 minutes. My running buddy was perky as ever as well! He is such a trooper! He biked to work today and then ran with me! Amazing right!

We ran almost the whole time today straight! We did 5 km in 30 minutes! I didn’t get a cramp, I didn’t even notice if my nose was running and my sore shins didn’t bug me! Today was a good run! It was so beautiful outside as well which just added to this wonderful Monday morning!

In life it is so easy to not live in the moment.  So much is always going makes its easy to think about the things depressing you, stressing you or even things you have to do.  Today I really focused on the moment and enjoyed the beauty in it.  I usually am thinking of negative things or really anything but my surroundings when I run. The run was breath taking (both by the beauty of it all and my struggle with cardio).  Today take a moment and live in it.  It’s honestly one of the best Mondays I have had in awhile and its because I lived it.

Today my quote for the run would have to be “Never forget to enjoy and bask in the beauty of every moment!” I forget to this more often then no and today was a reminder of how beautiful life truly is!

Cramps and Bananas

Well my title is a tad deceiving because today is actually an amazing day. My day started with a banana and a smoothie which resulted in a crampy run. This made our 5k a little slower then per usual but I am okay with that. Slow and steady wins the race.

I am really loving this smoothie so here is the recipe in case anyone wants to try it!

  • 1/3 cup Strawberries
  • 1/3 cup Bananas
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbsp flax seed
  • 1/4 cup protein powder
  • 1 cup coconut water

Delish!

Today I am feeling good about everything. I have had some really grumpy days over the past week. I have learned to really appreciate the good days.

I have started doing this grateful thing in the morning that my best friend does regularly. Firstly let me tell you a little about this girl, I’m going to call her Vegas because it fits. When we first met she had moved from Vegas to Lethbridge and at first we weren’t really close but our friendship grew and now I don’t know what I would do without her. We both were in some less then desirable relationships for years. Our boyfriends hated each other and I am pretty sure us too. They didn’t want us to hang out so we had to like sneakily keep in touch. We would get caught all the time and as I am writing this I realize how ridiculous this all was. I am pretty sure Vegas’s boyfriend would have fought me if we ran into each other. Anyways she finally left him and I finally left as well. We both felt so much better and to top it off Vegas found an amazing man who she is now marrying! Her wedding is in July and I am just so excited to be part of it! I am so happy for them, Vegas is one of the most amazing and kind hearted people I know. Now back to being grateful. When I am having a hard time Vegas always asks me what things I am thankful for. When you are having a rotten day it easy to forget how lucky you are.

Everyone has at least three things to be thankful for. I am going to share my three things and I recommend that you start your day with expressing what you are thankful for.

  1. Successful recovery
    1. I may be short a finger tip but I have been very lucky to be healing at the rate I am going.  It may look a little different but its getting better every day and I am so grateful for that!
  2. Supportive Parents
    1. I am so lucky to have the support of my parents. Not only have they always been there for me when I am a giant pain in the butt but they have supported my dreams and aspirations.  They helped me get to where I am and I don’t know what I would do without them.
  3. Great Friends
    1. I have been so very blessed with great people in my life.  I have such a great support system.  They all help and support me through everything and I am just so lucky to have them.

So overall today has been great!

Now back to running! This am we ran 4.69 km in 27 minutes. We are getting quicker and we didn’t even realize it today! The cramps were really horrible though so anyone have any tips on getting rid of cramps or where they come from? I am running another 5k today at lunch! Hopefully my cramps don’t come back! Wish me luck!

My quote today is “I am proud of the women I have become because I fought to be her.”  Through the good and the bad make sure you don’t lose you!