When Runners Don’t Run

Lately, I have not been running.

Unusual, considering the fact that running was one of the founding reasons that I started this blog. Not surprising considering the amount of exercise classes that I am teaching as the holidays approach.

I think it is normal for runners to go through a hiatus. I find my year cycles through times when I am running almost every day and some times when I go months without strapping on my Garmin and heading out for a decent run. I think a break is necessary and vital for almost every runner to exhale, cross train and prep themselves for the next race.

I am used to this hiatus now, but before I settled into a rhythm of running and taking breaks, I would think I was less of a person, less of me, because I wasn’t running. It sounds ridiculous, but I know I am not alone in this. I have seen many friends journey through injuries and sink into a slump. If this is you right now, my encouragement to you is if you love running, you are a runner whether you are off for cross training, due to injury or simply for a mental break!

As the New Year is looming, I am reflecting on my race schedule of 2012 which truthfully was quite meagre. The busier my year is, the less races I can fit in because I want to make sure that I have proper time to train and prepare.

March 2012: Around the Bay:

Image

A fantastic race where I got to run with some of my best runner friends that started with a sleepover and ended with a surprise appearance from Jesse. It did make me rethink doing a spring 30 km + because it is hard to train when the weather gets nasty because I love training outside. There were more heart attacks and ambulances at this race than any other I have ever seen. 

May 2012 – The Starbucks Run for Women

Image

This was a fantastic 10 km race. How could it not be? There was Starbucks coffee and I met Catriona Lemay Doan.

Since May, I did a couple of varsity 5 KM races. And that’s it!

Looking ahead to the New Year, I want to do a significant race in the spring and the fall. I am leading a half marathon clinic in the spring, so I am thinking I will aim for a Triathlon in June and a marathon in the fall. The crazy thing is I have never ran a marathon. I have done a 1/2, 30 km and 50 km, but never the actual marathon distance. This is my year!

What are some of your running goals for the New Year?

Not a runner? What are you doing to stay healthy and strong in 2013?

555048_10151446408040704_524150703_23501688_1493494223_n_phixr

Around the Bay Race Recap

Hello friends!

I am surfacing from my essays, tests and projects to talk a bit about the race last weekend. My friend Leanne and I went down to Hamilton to the expo the day before the race to pick up our race packs and crash at Emma’s house for the night. To refrain from going buck-wild with the expo goods, we sat in the Copps Collisum and had a long talk about life with the finish line looming in front of us. Probably the most symbolic talk about life I have ever had.

We left the stadium and headed to Emma’s beautiful home where we spent the evening eating brown rice pasta, swapping stories and laughing over ridiculous videos.

Leanne and I woke up to an oatmeal bar in the morning (Emma is a ridiculous hostess…she was smashing brazil nuts so we could have some protein). We got ready, said good bye and met up with Mia to go run this race!

We were arriving at the starting line just as the gun had been set off. We madly searched for a place to jump in and it was only until I was trotting along at a 6:00/km pace for the first two km and I saw the 3:30 hr pacer ahead of me that I realized I had jumped in at the wrong spot and there was no way I was going to make my goal of 2:30, especially because I need to run 5:00/km pace for the whole race to get there.

I let that go but I picked up the pace, darting around runners and trying to increase my time. I lost Leanne in the crowd which is understandable because it was a lot of people running (10 000) but I was disappointed because I was hoping to do the whole race with her.

I kept on running and followed Barney Stinson’s rules for running a marathon.

I was really gaining ground and had already passed the 2:45 hr pacer when at around 18 km I felt the familiar stab in my knee from my IT band. I forged on waiting for it to get impossible for me to continue but miraculously, it never did. What did happen was intense pain for the rest of the race which caused me to slow down…WAY down. I drew energy from the crowd and from my music. Surprisingly, the part where I did the best was the hills. All that cross country training on hills really paid off because they were not as bad as what I was expecting.

I was even able to sprint across the finish line at 2:51.51. My best time of 2:34:02 has yet to be matched, but there is always next year.

I was so lucky to have Jesse there to cheer me on and listen to my race, get me some sushi and drive me home. It is only love that would make a non-runner battle those crowds, yell out “You’re looking great!” to runners who look awful, and listen to excited chatter about negative splits from his girl friend and her friends. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

This was my first distance run done with friends and I had a lot of fun with them. It felt like more of an event then just another race.

They speak my kind of crazy.

My thoughts on Around the Bay? Crowded. But that can only be expected with the amount of participants. Lots of energy from the crowds. Bystanders have no idea the positive influence they have on the runners. Organized expo and a lot of history behind the race: It is the oldest road race in North America.

Would I run it next year? Probably not because I am hoping to be living in Quebec at this time, but I also did not love doing long runs in snow storms. I feel like there were quite a few  people who were undertrained for this race. I saw a heart attack, numerous collapses, ambulances and people stopping and pulling out of the race along the way.

I am glad I ran it and I am ready to enter a new season of my training with shorter distances and higher intensity.

5972602907p

Exactly what they tell you not to do.

I am busily packing for Around the Bay. This afternoon, Leanne, my long distance running partner in crime and I are headed to the race expo and to my good friend’s house who is letting us crash at her house so we don’t need to drive back for the race in the wee hours of the morning.

I am really excited about this race. I have been racing 5 km for two seasons now and although the speed training is what I NEED, what I WANT is a wide open road where I can run. And run. And run. So it is refreshing to do a long run again.

I am trying out a few new things for this race, which is exactly what they tell you not to do…

- I have freshened up my running playlist and a few of the new songs to make the cut are:
1. Not your Fault- AWOLNATION

2. Whole lotta Skillex, Chemical Brothers, Liquid Stranger and the imperative Infected Mushroom

3. Body Work – Tegan and Sara

4. Starships- Nicki Minaj

5.We are Young – Fun.

Recently Jesse and I were out to dinner with one of our very musically talented friends and he was quizzing me on the music I run to because I analyse the rhythm and arrange my music accordingly so I do mild interval training in my long runs. I always try to run to the beat. He asked me what music will never, ever ever leave my running playlist for any reason. I had one song for him.

1. Going Insane – Infected Mushroom (the 8 minute version)

I have never had a running playlist without this song.

- Another new thing is I have a brand new lululemon shirt and Leanne and I are rocking new black arm warmers to intimidate people as we run by them. Actually, we had taken a trip to the local Nike Outlet store and couldn’t find anything so we decided on arm warmers. I think it is brillant.

- The last new thing I am trying is Chaganol. I recently started working at a gym that has a health food section and my manager told me I MUST have this if I am running a race. Perfectly natural/legal/all that good stuff so we shall see how it works.

I always dedicate my runs to a special person in my life. This race, I am dedicating my sister and soon to be brother in honor of the amazing promise they are about to make to each other.

Wishing you a lifetime of happiness!

See you at the finish line!