My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Goodbye 2015

Well, here we are at the end of another year.

It’s certainly been an interesting one.  I upped my running game this year but faltered in other areas.  I’m still learning how to create balance.  It’s not easy.  I still struggle a lot.  I’m trying my best, but some days are really hard.  I still have days where I just want to give up.  Somehow I find the strength to push through, although I’m not sure how.  I’ve had to find a lot of strength lately, although I kind of wish I didn’t have to.  I know it’s all part of the journey, but some days I wish things were a little easier.

Anyway, let’s get on with reviewing the year…

At the beginning of the year, I set some goals for myself. Some big, some small.  Some fitness related, some not.  So how did I do with them? Let’s see …

First, I wanted to do more races. In fact, I set a goal of 10 races.  That might not seem like a lot, but for me it was.  I actually had my doubts a few times that I would be able to do it.  But I did it.

Second, I set a goal to do my first half-marathon.  This goal terrified me.  I chose a race in October so I’d have plenty of time to train for it.  After a lot of searching, I found a training plan that I thought would work for me.  I had to modify it a little, but I felt it was a good solid plan.  The training went well, and when race day arrived, I felt I was as prepared as I could be for it.  It was the hardest thing I had ever done.  Although it took me longer than I had anticipated, I did cross the finish line.  While I was physically prepared, I hadn’t really mentally prepared for it.  But I didn’t realize that until mid-race.  I gave everything I had to that race, and then some.  To be honest, sometimes I’m not sure I made it to the finish line.

I wanted to do more running this year, and I certainly did that.  I had to log a lot of kilometres in my training.  Once the race was over, though, I didn’t do much running.  I felt like I needed to rest and reboot.  In my training plan, I had built in a rest period after the race.  It ended up being longer than I had planned.  I did some short walks in the weeks after the race, but no running for several weeks.  When I did start running again, my heart wasn’t always in it.  I questioned myself a lot.  I did a lot of reflecting.  I came to the conclusion that I had given  so much to my training and the race, I was mentally exhausted and just needed a break.  I decided not to harp on it and just let myself rest.  I did do some running, but not very much.

I also wanted to get back into the gym.  While I did visit a gym here and there, I still have not joined another one.  I really do miss it.  I really do need to get a membership somewhere.  Circumstances just didn’t allow it this year.  Hopefully next year.

The other goals I had this year were relatively minor — read more, write more, spend more time with my friends.  I did read several books this year, so I’m pretty happy with that goal.  I love to read, so I always think I should be reading more.  There are several books I heard about this year that I want to read.  Hopefully I will get the chance to next year.  While I was training, I regularly wrote on my blog.  Once the race was over, I posted a couple of things but haven’t posted anything since.  Overall, I think I did pretty good with that.  I’m hoping I will do as good or better next year.  As for spending more time with friends, this one was hard.  Everyone is busy these days.  I tried many times, but to no avail.  Maybe next year will be better.

The one goal I continually need to work on is being hard on myself.  I think I did pretty good with that this year, but I know it’s an on-going thing.  It’s something I will always need to keep an eye on.

Overall, I think I did pretty good with my goals of the year.

So what else happened this year?

My job with Celebrate the Hero continued to grow.  I really love working there.  I’m continually learning new things.  It is so rewarding.  I hope things continue to go well there.

My husband and I took a short trip to Delaware this summer.  My dad got remarried, and I was able to spend time with some of my family.  Because we live so far apart, I don’t get to see them very often.  We stay in touch via Facebook, but it’s nice to actually see them. We took day trips to Philadelphia and New York City.  We crammed a lot into the few days we were there.  I wish we could have stayed longer, but at least we got to see them for a few days.

To be honest, not much else went on this year.  My training and race schedule took up a good portion of the year.  I spent as much time as I could at my favourite local coffee shop, Urban Escape.  They moved to a new location this year, but not far from their old one.  I really love that place.  I love that it feels so comfortable.  I love that everyone is so nice and friendly, especially Juliet, the owner.  It’s just a wonderful place to be.  I made a few new friends, which is always nice.  And I even reconnected with an old one.  Overall, it was kind of a quiet year.

Well, that’s it.

I hope you all had a wonderful year.

And I hope your 2016 will be a happy one.

 

 

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Half-Marathon training – Week 12

Another week of training is complete.  And it was a pretty good week for the most part.  My husband and I were supposed to go away on Thursday for the weekend, but ended up not being able to go.  I was very disappointed.  But at least I didn’t need to shift my training runs around.

So this is how the week went: 

MONDAY – It was a beautiful day, so I opted for a short walk to start the day, logging about 1k.

TUESDAY – Work has picked up with the start of the school year, so instead of running in the morning as I had been all summer, I did my run in the afternoon. Not used to running later in the day. I struggled a little, but still logged my 6.5k for the day.

WEDNESDAY – Once again, I opted to go for a walk for my cross training. This week I logged 3k.

THURSDAY – Again, I moved my run to the afternoon. I decided to try the treadmill for a change. It had been about a year since I’d been on one, and I forgot how hard it is! It didn’t help that the workout studio was a little warm. In the end, I managed 4k on it. Then I immediately went over to the indoor track to finish the last 2.5k I needed. Thankfully it was MUCH cooler in there! In total, I logged 6.62k for the day.

FRIDAY – Rest day.

SATURDAY – Long run day. This was my last long run before race day. My plan called for 18k, but I wanted to push that distance a little bit. It was a little hard, but at least it wasn’t raining. I finally stopped at 18.77k. It got a little slow near the end, but I was still happy with it.

SUNDAY – My schedule had me doing a short run, so I decided to do a local 5k race. (My running app actually logged it as 5.26k). It was a good solid run. I was happy with how well I did. Look for a race recap post very soon!

My plan called for 36k, and I logged just over 41k for the week.

With fall approaching, it’s getting lighter later so it’s not easy to go running first thing in the morning. I don’t yet own anything reflective so I’m not comfortable with running in low light.  Hopefully that will change soon. 

I’ve been chatting with more experienced runners lately about my upcoming half marathon. They have been giving me some really good advice.  As race day gets closer and closer, I’m getting more nervous.  It helps to talk to runners who have done the race before.

Only 7 more runs until race day. Until then, my runs will be short to mid range, with the longest one just half the race distance.

I need to remember to do several stretch sessions between now and race day. Stretching is so important. I need to do it more often.  I would love to take a yoga class some time. Maybe I’ll get a chance over the winter. 

I also need to remember to keep myself hydrated. I’m not always good about drinking enough water. But I need to be better at it, especially for this race. I need to be able to keep going. I need to cross that finish line.  I’m going to try keeping a log of how much I drink throughout the day.

I will be going to the running store soon to pick up more fuel. Whatever I decide to get is what I will be using for the race. I’ve rather enjoyed trying different things during my training. 

I’m also starting to think about what to put in my race bag. I’m sure I will get lots of advice from my more experienced runner friends as to what to include.  At least I hope I will. 

Anyway, I think that’s about it for this week.

Race day is just 2 weeks away.

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The ups and downs of training alone 

Since I started this new training plan, I’ve been thinking a lot about working out alone vs working out with a partner.  There are good and bad points to both.  I’m sure anyone you ask will give you different reasons for one over the other.

When I first started working out, I was always by myself.  Which, at the time, I think was good because I was just starting out and didn’t really know what I was doing and there wasn’t a lot I could do. I was shy, unsure of myself. 

When I joined my first gym, I was leery about working out around others, afraid of being judged and/or laughed at. The more I did it, though, the easier it got.  Not that I was working out with anyone, just working out around others.  My self-confidence was building.

I was really nervous when I first asked Tyler to take me on as a client.  But the more we worked out together, the easier it got.  I really enjoyed working with someone else, even if most of the time he was just showing me what to do and then watching me do it.  It was nice just having someone there.

Eventually, I got really comfortable around others in the gym, and even began working out with them when I wasn’t with Tyler.  It was nice having someone spot me or check my form to make sure I was doing it right.  I liked having someone to talk to, joke with, and learn from.

Then Tyler moved on, and the regulars at the gym did as well, so I was left to my own devices again.  So I know what it’s like to be with and without someone to train with.

In my opinion, these are some of the ups and downs of training alone …

The downs: 

1) Being alone.  Sometimes we all just need someone to be there.  Sometimes I just want some company, someone to talk to.  

2) Easy to skip a workout. Without someone expecting you to be there, it’s easy to say “just this once” when skipping a session.  And sometimes that can lead to skipping more than once.

3) No one to spot me or check my form. When working out alone, it’s sometimes hard to know if your form is correct. And if you need help with a heavier weight, there is no one there to help.

The ups: 

1) Not needing to rely on anyone.  Everyone gets busy from time to time, but if you’re working out alone, you don’t have to worry about that.

2) You can set your own schedule. You don’t have to work around anyone else’s schedule. You can workout when and where you want, and for how long.

3) You can do whatever workout you want. Self explanatory really.

There are times that I absolutely prefer to be alone when I’m working out.  It gives me time to think, to process.  I often work on blog posts in my head when I’m running.  I think about upcoming events.  Or I think about something new I want to try, whether it be a new activity or a new recipe.  I don’t have to worry about how fast or slow I’m going.  For the most part, I don’t have to worry about time.

But there are other times that I would really love to have someone else there.  Someone to cheer me on.  Someone to help me push a little harder.  Someone who is counting on me being there at a specific day and time.  Someone who I can bounce ideas off of or share concerns with.  Someone who can help make sure I’m doing things right, and maybe offer ways I can do them better.  Someone who is willing to share their ideas, experiences, concerns with me.  Someone who will listen.

I’ve chatted with numerous people on this subject.  Some are adamant that they only train alone; others will only workout with someone else; while others are somewhere in the middle.  Everyone has their own reasons for their answers.  Everyone’s workout style is different.

Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle.  I can see the benefits of both.  I’ve personally experienced the benefits of both.  And I’ve also experienced the downside of both.  

For quite a while now, the majority of my training has been alone.  While I feel like my running has progressed pretty good in that time, I feel like my strength training has suffered.  Maybe “suffered” isn’t quite the right word, but I’m not sure what word would be better.  I made great strides in that area when I had a coach or a partner.  I don’t feel like I’ve done as well alone.  I’ve received a lot of encouragement and advice from various people, but it’s not really the same as having someone there.  Given the choice, on many occasions, I would definitely prefer to have someone to workout with.

And there are days when I’d love someone to run with, especially as I push myself to run longer distances.  I’m both excited and scared about doing my first half marathon.  Excited because it’s a new challenge, something I never thought I’d ever be able to do.  But scared/worried that I won’t be able to do it.  I worry sometimes that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with this challenge.  Sometimes I think having someone run with me once in a while will help push me, especially on long runs. And I know I can use help with my strength training. I want to be as prepared as possible for race day because I know how big of a challenge it is.  In the end, no matter what, with or without a training partner, I will cross that finish line.

What about you? Do you prefer to workout alone or do you want/need someone else there? Why? 

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Half-Marathon training – Week 2 

So Week 2 is done.

I have to admit, it’s kind of nice following a plan. And I’m glad I picked the one I did.  I really like that I can move things around if necessary.

This plan gives me 2 rest days a week.  I can either completely rest, or use them for active recovery.  Some days my body really wants/needs to rest; others, I just feel like I need to do something, even though it’s not a run day.  After speaking with several runners, I realize most runners are the same.

So Monday I took as a complete rest day.  I think I needed it.

Tuesday called for a 5k run and 30 minutes of strength training.  I ended up doing 5.5k plus the strength training.

Wednesday was cross training day.  I chose the elliptical, and did a really good 60 min workout on it, including several spurts of backwards pedaling for 30 seconds at a time.  Wow, was that hard! I had serious jello legs when I was done.

Thursday called for a short run.  I only needed 3.25k, but pushed myself a little bit and did 4.34k and another 1.51k of walking.

Friday was rest day again, but chose active recovery and went for an easy 3k walk.

The humidity has been high lately, so Saturday I got up extra early to get my run in before it got too hot/humid.  I ended up with 6.11k.  Not as much as I had been doing on Saturdays, but it was still good.

I got up extra early on Sunday as well.  It was supposed to be a short run day, but I ended up with 6k.

The week called for 16.5k, and I finished the week with 26.46k.

When I went out walking on Friday, I went to the library and checked out some books on cross-training and yoga. I want to add more moves to the ones I already have.

Quite often when I’m out running, some stranger will offer words of encouragement.  I really like that.  And it really helps when I’m struggling a bit.

I’m still experimenting with fueling options when running.  The energy bites I made last week were really good.  I made them again this week, just varying the recipe slightly.  I will continue to experiment with them.  I haven’t had a chance to get to the running store yet to get more gels and chews to try.  Hopefully soon.

I realized that my shoes will need to be replaced soon.  Thankfully I have another pair waiting in the wings.  The problem is I’m not sure when to replace them.  I don’t want to replace them too early and then need to replace them again just before race day.  I’m going to try to eek out a couple more weeks in the pair I’m running in now.  We shall see how it goes.

All in all another good training week.

I’m looking forward to pushing myself more in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned. 

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Pre-training ends and Training begins

I’ve spent June doing what I called pre-training. I had lost some of my base over the winter and early spring because I didn’t do that much running, and I wanted to make sure my base was solid for training.
During pre-training, I made sure to run on a variety of surfaces, like sidewalks, roads, and trails. I also incorporated some hills, going both up and down. Running downhill is an art form, which I think I do pretty well. I struggle going uphill sometimes, but I’m getting better.

I also ran with and without music. I used to need music to run, but now it’s not necessary. I still like to have it sometimes, though.

My biggest concern is fueling while running. I tested out several flavours of GU energy gels, and was pretty happy with the taste and results. I think there was only 1 flavour I didn’t really like. There are more flavours I want to try, but I haven’t had a chance to pick up more of them. I also want to try out some chews. I also tried out mini pancakes (I’m a little obsessed with pancakes LOL) and homemade energy bars. I will be trying more things throughout my training.  I want to find something that tastes good, doesn’t upset my stomach, is portable, and will give me enough energy to get me across the finish line.  I will report on how my search goes.

I also want to try different ways to stay hydrated.  I’ve tried plain water, Gatorade G2 red (fruit punch), and NUUN strawberry lemonade.  All of them work well.  I want to try more flavours of NUUN, as well as other brands.  Again, I will report on my search.

I want to try different pouches and fuel/hydration belts as well, but haven’t had a chance yet.  I do have a handheld that I really like.  It’s good for short runs, but I think I need something that can hold more for longer runs and the race.

If you have any suggestions for things to try, please let me know.  I’ll appreciate all the help I can get! 

Throughout my pre-training, I managed 19 runs of varying distances, and a few recovery walks as well.  My shortest was 3km and my longest was 8.34km.  I think I did pretty well.  And I feel like my base is solid once again.

When I decided to do my first half-marathon, I knew I’d need a plan to follow.  The funny thing about that is I’ve never followed a plan before.  I just ran.  When I was still working with my trainer, he would tell me to run, so I ran whatever distance he told me to run.  That got me through several 5K and one 10K race.  But a half marathon is different.  It’s more than double my longest race, and just under double my longest run.  That scares me a bit.  It used to terrify me, but not anymore.  

Anyway, I wanted to make sure I cross that finish line.  And that means preparation.  And, to me, that means an actual training plan.  I looked at many different ones.  Many seemed too rigid.  I wanted something more flexible because sometimes life just gets in the way.  Most were 10-12 weeks.  I didn’t think that would be enough time for me.  After a lot of search, I finally found one that seemed to have everything I needed/wanted.  It’s a 14-week plan, which seemed the perfect length.  It has me running 4 days a week, which I think is perfect.  And it seemed pretty flexible, in case I need to move things around.  It also incorporates strength training and cross training, which I think are important too.  As well, I will be doing core work and stretching.  Hopefully it will all make me a better running and help me get across the finish line.

So today is Day 1 of my training plan.  

And I must say, I’m pretty excited about getting this started! 

It starts with shorter runs than I was doing during pre-training.  Today’s run was scheduled for 3.25km, but I pushed it to 4.15km.  I might push the first few runs a bit, since I have been running farther than that already.  As long as I go at least the distance the plan calls for, I think it’s okay to go a little farther.

As my training progresses, I will do my best to post regular updates on how it’s going.

When I first decided to do this race, I was terrified, worried if I could even do it, thinking I must be crazy.  And now I’m pretty excited, especially since the official training has now started!  I’ll admit, I’m still a little scared, but I think that’s okay.

Here’s to training for my biggest goal yet! Woot woot! 

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New challenges

So we’re a couple of weeks plus into the new year now and I’m doing my best to push myself, but it’s not been very easy.  Running outside here in the winter is not easy.  I don’t mind the cold so much, but it’s hard to run with snow and ice on the ground.  I don’t have gear for that.

Right after the new year, I was able to do a few short runs before we got the first real snowfall of the year.  I have asthma, although it is well controlled.  Most of the time it doesn’t bother me at all.  But it does when it’s really cold.  The super cold air burns my lungs.  That’s why I was only able to do short runs.  Anyway, because of the cold and the snow and the ice, I haven’t been able to do much running outside.  I have been able to walk a bit, but even that hasn’t been much.  I can use the indoor track, but to be honest, I have been a bit bored with it.  And I still haven’t been able to get back into a gym, so I don’t have access to a treadmill.

So what’s a runner to do?

Well the logical answer is to get gear to run outside in.  I’m working on that.  And I’m still working on getting back into a gym too.

So what else do I do?

I do what I can at home.  I work to strengthen my legs to help make me a better runner.  I work on my core.  I do things every day to help me along in my journey.

So with that in mind, I’ve set up some new challenges for myself.  Some daily, some weekly.  Nothing too big.  Just little things to keep me moving and motivated.

I have a small group on Facebook with some friends.  We are all on our own journeys.  We use the group to share stories, offer support, and try to keep each other motivated.  With that in mind, we set up weekly challenges.  Something for us to do each day for a week.  And then the next week, we change it to something else.  Again, nothing big, nothing too hard.  The first week, it was 10 squats a day; the second week, it was 10 lunges a day.  No pressure either.  Do the challenge or don’t, no judgement.

Along those same lines, I joined a 3 week challenge put on by my friend Wendy on Facebook.  Part of what drew me to this challenge is that it’s all about glutes.  This one is more challenging, to say the least!  So far, we’ve done all squats, different variations, with rest days mixed in as well.  OMG! My legs burn by the end of each day’s workout.  I’m interested to see what else she has in store for us.  I hope she plans on doing more challenges after this one is over.

I also started doing meditation.  This is a bit out of my comfort zone.  I’ve never done it before, but I’ve always been intrigued by it.  I did a little research on it, and watched a few videos on you tube.  I got a new yoga mat for Christmas, so I figured this would be a good use for it.  I laid down on the floor on the mat, closed my eyes, and just listened to myself breath.  I turned the tv and my phone off so that the room was quiet.  The first time, it only lasted a couple of minutes.  But each day, it lasted a little bit longer.  I tried sitting up, as well as laying on my bed.  The floor seems to be the best position for me at this point.  My goal is to do meditation every day, even if it’s just a few minutes.

I also spend several minutes stretching.  When I first joined a gym, I took a stretch class.  I don’t remember everything we did in the class, but I remember quite a bit.  I stretch for at least 10 minutes, but preferably more like 20.  I’m always looking for new moves to add.  Again, I do this every day.

After stretching, I do at least 1 plank.  Sometimes it’s a regular plank (also called a solider plank); other times it’s a bridge plank.  I hold it for as long as I can.  Some days are better than others.  Sometimes I struggle to get to 30 seconds; others, I can hold a full minute.  Again, something I do on a daily basis, or at least try to.

My goal is to keep myself moving.  I’m hoping setting up these daily and weekly challenges will do that, and encourage me to do more and more.  Hopefully, the things I’m choosing to do will also help make me a better runner.  Time will tell there.  But I’m feeling good about all this.

As I go along, I’ll add things as I think they are needed.  I do have a few things at home I can use to work out — a set of resistance bands, a kettlebell, some dumbbells (2lb, 5lb, 10lb), an aerobics step, and 2 stability balls.  I also got a foam roller for Christmas, which I’m still figuring out how to use.  I am looking forward to nicer weather, where I can be outside again.  But until then, I’ll do what I can inside.  Tyler taught me quite a few exercises that don’t require special equipment.  And there is also you tube if I need more.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good with how things are going so far.

And it’s a good start to the year.

 

 

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Hello 2015!

The start of a new year.  A time when many people make resolutions to improve themselves.  I used to do that.  But like most people, I’d usually give up on them fairly quickly.  It took me a while to realize that the resolutions I’d make were too much, too big, too far out of reach.  And that’s the case with the ones most people make.  Eventually, I stopped making them because I knew I’d just end up forgetting them in a matter of weeks.

But a couple of years ago, I took a different approach.

To me, the word “resolutions” has an almost negative sound to it.  So instead, I decided to set goals.  I think it’s a more positive word.   And I’m less likely to give up on a goal.

So that’s what I do.  I think of things I’d like to accomplish throughout the year, and set them as my goals.  Some are small; some a little bigger; some pretty big.  I like to challenge myself, but not so much that I get discouraged.  It’s a fine line.

2014 was a tough year, lots of ups and downs.  I managed to push & challenge myself in some areas, but not in others.  I’m hoping to do better in 2015.

So that being said, what do I want to accomplish in 2015?

1) Do more races.  In 2014, I exceeded my own expectations and finished 7 races.  In 2015, I’m shooting for 10.  It’s a bit lofty, but I think I can do it.

2) Along those lines, for one of those 10 races, I’m going to do my first half-marathon.  And let me tell you, I’m a bit scared.  No, not scared.  Terrified is more like it.  That’s 21.1km.  I’m never even walked that distance all at once, much less run it.  But I’m going to do it this year.  I’m not officially registered yet, but hoping that I will be soon.  The race I’m looking at is at the beginning of October.

3) More running.  As in 2014, I want to up my running game.  And doing a half marathon certainly will help with that.  But in general, I want to run more.  I want to run farther, longer, and maybe even faster.

4) Get back into the gym.  I left my gym in early 2014 with the hopes of joining a new one quickly.  The car accident put a damper on that.  So I spent much of the year working on my cardio, and doing workouts that require little to no equipment.  I was in a gym a few times in the last couple of months, and I realized just how badly I need to get back in there.

5) Spend more time with friends.  I don’t get to see my friends nearly enough.  I know we all get busy with life, but friendships are important too.  Even if we just meet up briefly for coffee, or go for a walk together, anything really.  I just would like to see them more often.

6) Write more.  My blog was a little neglected in 2014.  I hope to do better in 2015.

7) Read more.  I said this for 2014, and while I did read several books, I didn’t read as much as I really wanted to.

8) Not be so hard on myself.  I’m my own worst critic.  I get down on myself far too often. I need to get better at that.  I need to remember that I’m not perfect and that’s okay.  I need to remember that every little bit counts.  I need to remember that it’s okay to make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world.  I need to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep going.  There’s a Japanese proverb that says “Fall down seven times, Stand up eight.”  I need to remember that.

Okay, I know that’s not much in the way of goals for the year, but a couple of them are pretty big.

I’m looking forward to seeing just what I can do this year.

Happy New Year everyone!

 

 

 

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Goodbye 2014 – a year in review

Another year is coming to a close.

2014 was a year of ups and downs; struggles and triumphs; good times and some not so good.

I started the year still struggling a bit with working out on my own, but determined to keep going.

It was much harder than I anticipated working out on my own.  I did the best I could, though, with the list of exercises Tyler gave me before he left.  It was made even more difficult with my gym being nearly empty every time I went.  Without having someone around to spot me, I couldn’t go very heavy with the weights.  And being by myself, it was hard to know sometimes if my form was correct.  I started almost dreading going to the gym, which is not a good thing.  Sometimes instead of going to the gym, I would just shovel snow for my workout.  And let me tell you, shovelling snow is an awesome workout – cardio and strength training in one!  I really missed the social aspect of the gym.  It was nice having people to chat with while working out.

I’d been at my gym for over a year, and I really liked it when I first joined.  But the last few months of 2013 things changed.  And they only got worse at the beginning of 2014.  It wasn’t kept as clean as it should have been, there were issues with some of the cardio equipment, membership declined, and as I said before, there was almost no one there when I was there, including staff.  All these things started me thinking that I needed to find somewhere else to work out.

The thought of changing gyms was scary, but I knew deep down that it was the right choice.  But it still took me a few weeks to realize that.  Eventually I started checking out the other gyms in town, and in the meantime, I was using the indoor track at the wellness centre for cardio. running as much as I could.  And it felt like I was getting better at it too.  The first time I ran around that track for 5k without having to stop or walk, I was over the moon with excitement!  And I was still shovelling snow too.  And walking outside if the weather was decent.

One of my goals this year was I wanted to get better at running.  Sounds like an easy thing, but not for me.  I don’t think I was born a runner.  I hated running as a kid.  I think that was partly due to my asthma and partly because I was overweight.  I still find it funny that I somehow became a runner.  Anyway, I wanted to really improve this year.  Because I was now doing races, I wanted to be able to run for longer periods, and not take as many walking breaks.

I did my first race of the year near the end of April.  It was one I’d done the previous year called the Pitter Patter.  I only did it was a 5k this year, but I ran the whole thing start to finish.  I was pretty proud of that!

A few days later, I was set to go visit my friend Jeff in Arizona.  On the way to the airport, my husband and I were involved in a car accident.  We got lucky and only had minor injuries, but the car was a write-off and I never made my trip.

The accident forced me to take a break from pretty much any kind of workout.  I took the brunt of the impact in the accident so the right side of my body was pretty sore.  I had several cuts from breaking glass, and a few bruises.  After some tests, it was discovered I had a tear in my rotator cuff too.  A few days after the accident, I went for a walk, but I didn’t get very far.  I tried again a few days later and was able to go farther.  I was pretty proud of that, even if it hurt a bit.

I had planned on joining a new gym when I got back from my trip, but the accident changed my mind.  I decided to hold off until winter and instead, I would spend the next several months enjoying the outdoors as much as I could.  I also figured it would be just what I needed to improve my running.  Or at least I hoped it would.  And I would still use the indoor track when I couldn’t be outside.  I was really happy with that plan.

After taking about 6 weeks off after the accident, I decided to try running again.  I didn’t really know how long I would need to recover, but 6 weeks seemed a good amount of time.  I decided to try a short run to begin with, just to see how it felt.  Let me tell you, that first run hurt!  But I didn’t give up, I kept going.  I ended doing 5k that first time out again.  While I was pretty sore afterwards, I was really happy.  I decided to run every other day (or at least try to) and see how it went.  It went well.

On July 1st, I did my second race of the year.  And it was one I hadn’t done before.  It was a very hot and humid day, but I crossed that finish line feeling pretty damn proud of myself.  A couple of weeks later, I did my third race, the Run for Reece.  This was the first race I had ever done in 2012.  This time I ran it start to finish.  It felt awesome!  And in between races, I was trying my best to run every other day.  Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn’t.  Because it would get pretty hot and humid, I often got up and out early in the day.  I’m not a morning person, but I am a coffee person, and that definitely helps (haha).

I still missed being in a gym for strength training, but I did what I could with little to no equipment.  There are actually quite a few things that I could do.  I know it’s not exactly the same, but at least it was something.  I was concentrating more on my cardio.

August brought more running, but no new races.  I didn’t have another one planned until September.  My goal was to do 5 races and I had already done 3.  There are a lot of races in the area where I live, so I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have a problem doing 2 more.

August also brought Tyler home after graduating from University.  I’m incredibly proud of him for making the commitment to get his degree.  And he brought home his new fiancee.  I somehow knew he’d meet someone out there.  I met them for coffee not long after their return.  Her name is Angela and she’s wonderful.  They are perfect together.  I’m so happy for them both.

He and I began working together again.  It felt good to have someone to workout with again.  And he had me up my cardio.  I had been trying to run every other day, and I was running at least 5km each time.  But now he wanted me to do 8km, 5 days a week.  I’m pretty sure I called him bat-shit crazy, but I did it anyway LOL.  When I first started doing it, I had to walk quite a bit, but eventually I got to the point where I could run the whole 8km.  Another proud moment for me.  A few times, I even went a little farther just to see if I could.

September was pretty busy.  First came my birthday, which is always a good time.  Then Dan and I went to Muskoka for his work trip.  I had never been there before, so I was super excited.  I even got a few workouts in while I was there.  I also did 2 more races in September, both were ones I had never done before.   There were both in neighbouring towns, which was also new to me.  Up until then, all the races I had done had been in my little town.  Now I was expanding to other areas.  Another proud moment.

No races in October, just more running and workouts with Tyler.  I could have done a race or two, but decided against it.  I had met my goal and wasn’t sure if I wanted to push it further.  The weather was still nice, so I was still running outside as much as I could.  And to be honest, I was started to feel a little bored running around the track.

November included another new race for me.  This one was also in a neighbouring town, put on by the local running store.  It was called the Egg Nog Jog.  A couple of things drew me to this race.  First, it was a free entry — hard to pass that up; second, it was for charity, the local Coats for Kids program.  I was nervous about it, but hard a great time doing it.  And I made some new friends too.

Near the end of November/early December brought an end to working out with Tyler again.  And while I miss working with him, I understand.  He’s building a new life for himself and his family.  We remain good friends though, which is important to me.

It started getting cold in November, but I still ran outside as much as I could.  I’m determined to run outside as much as I can this winter.  Of course, I need some warmer clothes, but I’m working on that.

I did another new race in December.  This one in the same neighbouring town as the one in November.  This one was called the Run for Food.  Another free entry, this time taking donations for the local food bank, another worthy cause.  It was very cold, and there was a bit of snow and ice on the ground, which made it a bit tough for me, but I crossed the finish line, and that’s what’s important.

My goal was 5 races this year and I did 7 … super proud of that!  I know it may not seem like a lot to most people, but it’s huge to me.  I never thought I’d be this person, but I quite like it.  And I never thought I’d be a runner, but I am and proud to say I actually really enjoy it!  I don’t have to run — I get to run.  Hopefully, I will be able to do most, if not all, of these races next year too.

I really wanted to up my running game this year, and I think I accomplished that.  Between running and walking, I logged over 835 kms, and most of those were from running.  Actually, those are only the kms that I logged on my running app.  There were a few runs and walks that didn’t get logged, so the total is probably closer to 900 kms.  I’m extremely proud of that!

I also wanted to volunteer more of my time this year.  And I did.  I continued working with Celebrate the Hero.  I so love working there.  It’s an amazing organization and everyone there is so great.  Being there makes my heart and soul happy.  And I feel like I’m making a difference, which is important.

This year, I was hoping to have part of the skin removal surgery I need.  I had consultations with 2 plastic surgeons, but surgery didn’t happen.  And looking back, I honestly don’t think I was ready this year.  It will happen when it’s meant to happen.

I wanted to do more reading this year.  And while I did read quite a bit, I didn’t read as much as I really wanted to.  I love to read, I have ever since I was very young.  It’s something I really should do more often.

One of the most fun things about this year was discovering chats on twitter.  I started going on twitter more and more this year, and by accident I came across chats.  I participate in several of them now.  Most have to do with running/racing or fitness/wellness, but my favourite is actually about coffee.  I actually get up early on Sunday mornings to chat about coffee on twitter.  I’ve “met” some really nice people through these various chats.  They’ve really helped me stay motivated and together.

Well that’s it, my year in review.  While I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to this year, I’m extremely proud of what I did do.  I’m looking forward to the new year and a new set of goals.

*~*~*~*~*~*

I’ve been working on this post on and off for several days, and I’ve been struggling with what to say and how to say it.  I mentioned it on facebook, and my friend Jess had this to say:

“Quite honestly, I feel like this year was a learning experience about our inner selves. Our capabilities, our strength, our perseverance, our will power”

And I think that really sums up this year quite nicely, thank you Jess.

 

 

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December 2014 recap

Well here we are at another months’ end.  Time is just going by so fast lately!

I started December with something different.  I decided to try a run streak.  Instead of doing 8k a day, 5 days a week, I wanted to see if I could do a short run/walk every day.  I made it 10 days before I was exhausted and needed to take a few days off.   I think the problem was trying to do too much, which is why I think I couldn’t sustain it.  I was doing 3-5kms each day, sometimes longer.  I think if/when I do it again, I’ll have a better plan.

The weather so far this winter has not been too bad.  We have not had a lot of snow so I’ve been able to be outside more.  It has been cold, so I’ve been layering up, but I still need some warmer clothes.

I even did another race this month.  It was another charity run put on by the local running store.  Another free entry too.  This one was for the local food bank, a great cause.  They said it was 7.3km, but my running app said it was almost 8km.  Either way, it was a good run/walk.  I was cold and my muscles were sore afterwards, but I’m glad I did it.  I hope to do it again next year.

Tyler and I had to stop training again.  I knew it was going to happen.  He’s busy building a new life for him and his family.  I’m super proud of him.  And we remain good friends.

I spent a lot of time in the Celebrate the Hero office this month too.  I love working there.  It makes my heart and soul happy.  And the people there are so great.

As usual, things got busy with the holidays.  I baked a lot of cookies and gave most of them away.  I even tried a couple new things this year, which is always fun.  Dan and I spent a couple of days at his brother’s house for Christmas, which we do most years.  I love spending time with them.  We don’t see them as often as I’d like though.  We didn’t have any snow for Christmas, but that’s okay.  After opening gifts, I decided to go out for a run.  It was a nice day, although a little chilly.  I had intended on just going a couple of kms, but I was really enjoying myself, so I ended up going almost 6km.  And then the next day, we all went out a family walk.  It was awesome.

I’ve been doing a little more relaxing this month than normal.  I felt I deserved a little bit of a break.  I’ll hit it hard again next month though.

Well that’s it, I think.  Like I said, this month went by really fast.

 

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October recap (2014)

Well another month has come to an end.  Where has the time gone?  This year seems to be going by really fast!

I didn’t run any races in October.  I had the chance to run one the first weekend of October, but I was still pretty sore from the race I ran the last weekend of September, so I decided against it.

I continued to log a lot of kilometres between running and walking.  Most of the kms this month were from running.  Between running and walking, I covered a total of 173km in October.  I would have logged a few more, but I had a little issue.  Earlier this week, I was running around the indoor track and landed a little funny on my right foot.  It’s been a little sore for a few days, so I’ve been taking it a little easy.  Hopefully I’ll be back on track for November.

Around mid-month, I started stretching more before running.  I’ve always known stretching is important.  I always did a little bit beforehand.  But for some reason, I decided to do more to see if it would help.  So a couple of weeks ago, I started stretching for about 20 minutes before running.  The first class I ever took when I joined my first gym was a stretch class, so I tried to remember some of the stuff we did in that class.   Nothing too hard or strenuous, just easy gentle stretches.  And I think it’s really helping.

I continued my workouts with Tyler.  We did more leg work, which hopefully will help my running.  And we started working with weights more.  It feels good to be back at it.  I haven’t done much with weights since before the car accident.  I still have to be careful with my shoulder, use lighter weights and watch movements, but I think I’m making progress there.  It will be a while yet before I can do heavier weights like I was doing last year.  But I’ll get there.

The biggest thing I did this month was deciding to do a half marathon next year.  It’s something that’s been on my goal list.  I had been thinking I was probably 3 years away from being able to do it.  But Tyler thinks I can do it next year.  So after talking with him and a few other friends, I decided to make the leap.  I’m terrified, but excited.  It’s not until October of next year, so I have lots of time to train.

Overall, I think October was a pretty good month.  Some days felt better than others.  I just have to keep reminding myself that every little bit counts.  Hopefully I’m making progress with both my running and my workouts.  I’ll just keep doing the best I can.

 

 

 

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