Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Running Inspirations

Why I Run

I saw this the other day and it really got me thinking about why I run and why I'd like to continue to run....

I know I started my first post by saying it was because I was unhappy with my middle age rolls and muffin top but that is superficial and vain.  Not that there's anything wrong with that! I mean I am a girl after all and of course I want to look good and I am loving seeing the results and feeling stronger - I am getting abs again- whee!

How I look on the outside is a great motivator and it got me thinking about how to be healthier but it goes much deeper than that.

Let's be honest, running is damn hard work! Sometimes it downright sucks and sometimes it is such a high. It can be painful, frustrating and tiring but when you finish that long run the amazing accomplishment you feel outweighs all the bad and you just want to do it all over again. I can't say yet that I LOVE running but I love the sense of accomplishment it gives me. I am growing to love it.

So that brings me to the heart of the matter. I run because I can and my inspirations come from my heart. And in my heart is my family.

My Daughter Mikayla

My gorgeous teenager makes me proud every day and I want her to be proud of me. We push her to always do her best in Basketball and Field Hockey. We stress how important it is to have a healthy body so I want to be a good example. How can I tell her to get out there and do her best at sports if I just sit on the couch. My running is an example that you can do anything you set your mind to. If you put in the work, it will pay off. I like being that example! I also want to be fit and healthy enough to be around for a long time for her.

My Husband Jeff

I am so lucky to have him in my life. He is my running partner, my partner in crime and my partner in life. I am so happy that he wants to be on this journey with me. I am not surprised though as he is so easy going. Easy to be around, easy to like and easy on the eyes ; ) He really does everything he can to make me happy and him wanting to be there for every step of this running goal means a lot to me. He is my pacing coach, my strength training coach, my biggest fan, my biggest cheerleader, and my sounding board. I really do vent a lot to him about being slow and he is always positive. He is a LOT faster than me but he is just happy to run my pace by my side. I truly couldn't do this without him. I mean I probably could but I wouldn't want to. All the sappy stuff aside, who wouldn't  want to look hot for the man in their life!

My Siblings

I am constantly proud of my brother and sister. They are super accomplished, amazing individuals and I look up to them. I always wished I could be more like them in terms of taking risks and going after their dreams and their goals. Training and running for a 1/2 Marathon is a huge risk and a huge goal and I think it will be one of the hardest things I will ever do.  I would like to inspire them as they have always inspired me. I know they will be proud of me.

My Parents

I run because I can. This doesn't have more meaning than it does now. How lucky am I that I can put one foot in front of the other and run for miles and push my lungs, heart and body to their capacity. My parents can't do that anymore so I need to run while I can. My Dad has had Parkinson's Disease for the past several years and his body doesn't do what his mind wants it to anymore. It's hard to see him become less active than I know he wants to be. It sucks but he is dealing with it. My mom has had heart problems for a long time due to Mitral Valve Prolapse. It got worse this last year so she finally had open heart surgery to replace her valve. It was a scary time but the surgery was successful and she is on the long road to recovery. It's hard to see her constantly out of breath from a simple walk up the stairs. When I am huffing and puffing away and my legs are screaming in pain from a run , I think of my parents and think that I am lucky to be feeling this way. My mom and dad can't run so I am running for them.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lululemon Fit Report and Seawheeze Shorts!!

So last week my Seawheeze shorts arrived! My husband's came a couple of weeks ago and I was very jealous. I LOVE them! They are SO fun and colorful and funky!

I ordered the Run Speed shorts in a 4 and they fit perfectly. Very excited to try them out but the weather has taken a bit of a turn for the worse.

I also decided that I needed some shorter tanks for wearing with the Speed shorts. I mostly own tanks that are on the longer side that cover your tush. I have lots of Cool Racerbacks and Swiftly tanks but they look funny over my running shorts since they go past my hips and the shorts are on the shorter side.

The new version of the Swiftly tanks are made shorter and everyone was complaining about them but I thought they might work for wearing with shorts. I love the Very Green color so I picked up one in a size 4 and it works perfectly with shorts as it falls just at my hips! I love it.

I also LOVE the Ebb & Flow crops. They are my favourite Lulu crop of all time. I just love the material. Very durable and they don't pick up lint. When I saw they uploaded an Ebb & Flow tank in Power Purple I just had to try it so I ordered one online in a size 4. When I got it I really liked the style. It is a heathered color instead of solid.  The built in braw is awesome and very comfortable. It fit good but was a tad too tight. I could have gotten away with it but it was pulling on my neck and hurt a bit. It did fit like a second skin though and was just slightly longer than the short Swiftly tank. I decided to go to a store and try a 6 instead and it was much better so I exchanged it. So far I really like it.

                                                      Ebb & Flow tank in Power Purple

I had to post this one because my cat Kit Kat snuck in! 

Very Green Swiftly Tank

My Hubby also wanted to do a report on his Precision Run Hat that he just bought at Lululemon. He is a sweaty beast and looks like he has taken a shower after our runs. He has one Nike hat that he wears but he constantly fiddles with it and takes it off and on during runs. I suggested he try a Lulu one so he bought the Precision Run Hat in black and he LOVES it! Best running hat he has ever owned. By the end of our 12K run he didn't take the hat off once and only had to wipe away drips of sweat around his ears. He said his head felt relatively dry and the hat wicked away the majority of his sweat. He is very happy and highly recommends it! I might have to get one myself!

And here he is in his SeaWheeze shorts. He really likes them as well but he thinks the lining may be too warm for his sweaty ass (his nickname is Thermonuclear Boy because he overheats like crazy!). But he says he will for sure wear them for short runs and around town.

This makes me think of you honey!

Sunday long run

The weekend schedule was a very busy one. My daughter had field hockey games all weekend in Coquitlam plus I had to work 9-5 on Sunday. I was worried about fitting in this long run. 

The plan was to bring our running stuff to the field hockey games on Saturday and see how we felt and if we could fit it in between games. Well it poured rain that day and we only had about an hour in between the 1st and 2nd game but we also didn't want to watch the game soaking wet. Anyways it turned out that they won both games so we didn't have to stay for a 3rd game at night. 

We went to visit my family instead who lives nearby.

Plan B was to set the alarm early for 6am and run before I had to work. I am lucky enough to work from home so it's nice to have this option. Alarm went off the next morning and I promptly looked at Jeff and said "No way! Not gonna happen!"  I was too tired and sleepy after a not so great sleep. Alarm got shut off and back to sleep we went until I had to get up for work.

Plan C was to run after work.

I was SO bummed to be working as I was missing a family birthday party and my daughters games. I was SO sad! 

My daughter's team ended up making it to the finals of the U16 BC Championships and they WON in a shoot out!!!! SO PROUD!! Jeff got it all on video so I could watch it.

Here's a pic of the Gold medal champ. Isn't she beautiful!? 

So work finally ended and we fuelled up with some Power Bar Jellies and Honey Stinger Waffles. Off we went. We were planning on doing 2 loops of our favourite long road but nope that SHIT smell was still there! Gagged some more and turned around. It was kind of good because we discovered some other beautiful back roads in our neighbourhood that weren't so stinky. Have I mentioned how lucky we are!? I love our area!

There are rarely any cars on the back roads we run on as again we are near a lot of farmland but when there are cars we have to manoeuvre around the road to avoid them. I find I have to run in the middle of the road otherwise I get really sore on one leg to compensate for the incline on the side of the road. This can be a bit distracting but the price you pay I guess for the beauty we choose to run in.

Okay so this run was feeling awesome!!! I was really nervous as this would be our longest run to date! I have never run over 10k before. I was worried about starting out too fast and not being able to last.  I just went with what felt comfortable and it seemed we were going faster than any of our previous long runs. We don't have a Garmin yet but really want to get one. Our trip to France next month is holding us back! We rely on the MapMyRun app. However mine is always quite a bit off of my husband's stats and my phone is a lot older so we go with his results.

I was feeling really solid and strong for the first 8k. My mantra was "you got this!" And I kept saying it over and over. At 7k we ate a few more jellies. They are really chewy so they definitely need to be washed down with water.  At this point we turned around and I was elated to be more than 1/2 way through and still feeling strong.  At 10k I asked Jeff for our time and it was about 1:09 which was slightly faster than our previous 10k's so I was happy with that. Only 2k more to go!! I can do that in my sleep! Ha!

Total time: 1:22
Pace: 6:54

It's certainly not breaking any speed records but it was a nice solid run and it felt good with no major aches or pains!! There were high 5's to go around!

Here are some cool pics Jeff took along the run:

Horrible pic of me but whatever who said running was glamorous!?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weekly recap

So for our training we have been doing 3 runs per week plus some cross training with free weights and a kettlebell. I told Jeff ( my Hubby) that I wanted to ramp up our runs to 4x a week and we did just that!!

After our 10k on Sunday this is what our week consisted of:

Tuesday - 4 k Tempo

My daughter has Field Hockey practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays right next to a track so we like to change things up and do track laps on these nights.  Tempo runs tend to be really hard for me but I know they are good as I am pushing my pace a bit. The weather was nice and cool, a bit windy but I like that.  I felt tired but good and of course still itching to be faster.

Total time: 24:15
Pace: 6:04 (faster than last week's 4k so improvement is nice to see)


I have been testing out all kinds of energy bars/ gels etc since our long runs will be getting longer. It has been hard to find something I like. Gels gross me out. I just can't get them down, the texture does not work for me and I have a really bad gag reflex! I don't mind the sports jelly beans but they are a little sweet. My fave so far are the Raspberry Power Bar Gel Blasts. YUM!!! They taste just like real candy gummies. I love them!

Jeff just recently brought home the Honey Stinger all natural waffles for me to try. I really like them! They are like a tasty little cookie! I tried chocolate and vanilla so far and like them both.

So I think I am all set! It's all trial and error so I am just glad I found some things that I can swallow!

Wednesday - 4x400m Hill Repeats. I have decided to rename this WICKED WEDNESDAY!

UGH! Hills are SO hard for me! I am just not used to pushing my heart rate like that. Therefore aptly titled Wicked Wednesdays. Not the good wicked but the evil wicked!

So we live in Richmond which is completely flat. Not a hill to be seen. Good for regular runs but makes hill training tough.  Last week was our first hill training on the schedule so we had to drive about 20 minutes into Vancouver to get an appropriate 400m hill. We did 3 last week and I thought I was going to die after the first one but I did them all without stopping. However I did walk down the hills to recover instead of run.  We didn't time it properly so I don't have any stats.

This week we did about a 2.5k warm up and cool down plus the 4 hill repeats. We just timed the hill repeats. This time I only walked a few steps at the top of the hill and then ran the rest of the way down. I did feel stronger this time and felt like I was recovering faster. Still hate hills but nice to feel improvement. Still don't know how I am EVER going to get to 9 repeats but one Wicked Wednesday at a time, right!  Hubby really helped me this time by staying ahead of me so I had to work harder to keep up with him. Oh and JayZ and Kanye also really helped get me through the last repeat!!

Total time: 20:58
Total distance: 3.2k
Pace:  6:33 (faster than I ever thought or hoped for)

Thursday - 5k steady

I was really tired on Thursday and did NOT want to run. I almost bailed because Mikayla (daughter) got a ride to Field Hockey practice. But alas we laced up and got our butts out there. The steady runs are supposed to be at a really slow pace and I told myself I was going to run as slow as possible since
I was tired and not really feeling it. I said I would NOT run over a 7:30 pace!

Oops, I was feeling really good as soon as we started and did the first 2k in an average of 6:58. So much for that! I think because I just put zero pressure on myself I just really enjoyed this run and was loving how I was feeling. I also did nasal breathing again which I haven't done in a long time since I have been trying to go faster.  I find nasal breathing really calms me.

It was a beautiful night and we are so lucky to live by the water. BUT we also live by a lot of  farmland! So we were almost at our 1/2 turnaround point and I was SO in my groove.... "What's that smell!!??" Jeff is scrunching his nose too. "Keep running, just cover your nose! Oh NO, it's getting worse... OH GOD IT'S LIKE SOMEONE SHIT IN MY NOSE!!!!"

I proceeded to gag about 5 times and came SO close to puking!! I just spit a bunch and immediately turned around. There were tears in my eyes but I kept running mostly to get away from the smell. There is nothing grosser than ripe, fresh, thick manure!! Luckily it subsided when we turned around and surprisingly it didn't ruin the run. We just had a good laugh!

The rest of the run was great. I even had a negative split. I just really enjoyed myself and that hasn't happened in a while!

Total time: 33:47
Pace: 6:45 (not bad considering I said I wouldn't go over 7:30, more importantly I enjoyed it!)

Friday - Rest Day for the MUMFORD & SONS CONCERT!!!

LOVE, love, love this band!! Have been dying to see them for awhile!! They were amazing live. The venue kinda sucked but we still had a great time! They have gotten me through many runs!

So to recap:  4 runs this week - GREAT!!! 0 strength training - NOT SO GREAT!! Will work on that next week!!

An awesome couple of shots Hubby took on our Tuesday night run. Beautiful scenery in our neighbourhood! Love these shots!

Mumford & Sons concert at Holland Park

                                                            I heart Marcus Mumford!

The gang enjoying an amazing show!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A much needed attitude adjustment and LSD (Long Slow Distance) run report

Let me start by saying that I am truly my own worst enemy! I really do need to celebrate my accomplishments more. That can be my new goal!

LSD report card as written by Negative Mel:

Sunday morning had a long slow 10k on the schedule. Hubby and I stayed up late watching a movie (Lawless - was quite violent!) so we didn't get up til 8:30. I usually wake up at 7:30 on the weekends unless our 2 cats decide to pretend our bed and backs are a jungle gym. We got up and had a banana, peanut butter on toast and some power bar jellies.  I am still struggling with breakfast. I have never been a breakfast person even though I know it is important. I don't mind bananas as long as they are not too ripe but I find peanut butter gross. I gave it a chance though. I know I am going to need to figure out a breakfast routine for early morning long run days.. sigh. Still working on it.

We warmed up and off we went. In my mind I told myself "ok Mel this is going to be a great run, you are going to love every step!" Too much pressure I think. It actually started off well. We did the usual loop of our neighbourhood. We are fortunate enough to live in Steveston so our hood is beautiful.  The first 6k were really good but then a 50 year old lady passed us and it went downhill from there. Nothing against her at all but I just felt so defeated. She was amazing and fit but I just got so mad at myself for not being able to keep up with her. I got grumpier as I watched her fade into the distance.

The next 4k were not fun. I felt really gassed like I was breathing way too hard for how slow I was going. Frustrating! We do 10:1's for our running and the next walk break could never come soon enough. Anyways we finished but I did not feel great and had nothing left to push hard at the end.

Total distance: 10k
Total time: 1:11
Average Pace: 7:09

I complained my hubby's ear off about how slow I felt and why can't I get faster!? Such a whiner! He is so positive and tries to make me see the good things but I am too stubborn for my own good!

Sheesh let it go Mel!!

LSD report card as written by the new positive Mel:

We woke up on Sunday morning to a beautiful day feeling lucky to be alive! I had a delicious breakfast to fuel my body and off we went!

The run was beautiful! We are so lucky to live where we do! On our run we saw a pack of the 6 cutest dogs out for a walk with their dog walker, a baby eagle in a tree and some awesome fit older runners who totally inspired me!!

We completed the run and it felt amazing to accomplish that on a Sunday morning! Yay for us!! We ROCK!!

Our average pace was about 2 seconds faster than last weeks 10k. Not much but still an improvement! At least it's not slower. For the Running Room program they stress that the long runs should be on the slower side to build endurance and not worry about pace. They suggest 7:19 to 8:12 for this day so being at 7:09 we are laughing!

I am very proud to be where I am at with my running as I have come a very long way.

Okay so maybe a little exaggerated but you get the picture! ; ) It's all about attitude and I need an attitude adjustment!

The long road we run down about 3.5K total

Happy to be done 10K for the day

Me and the Hubs

Friday, May 17, 2013

First blog ever

Wow, where do I start!? How about with what the heck I am doing here!? 

I really just felt compelled to chronicle my journey to my first 1/2 marathon because otherwise it doesn't seem real.

Here's some background information - I am turning 42 years old this year and have ALWAYS hated running! I have always been skinny and never really had to do much, lucky I know. Don't hate. I just have really good metabolism. I did ballet and jazz growing up but was never really good at sports. I dabbled at the gym here and there but never anything consistent. I was never unhappy with my body but I never felt strong or healthy.

I am married to the most amazing man ever and he is THE best cook! Because of him I started to eat.. A LOT! As I got into my late 30's I started to notice a little extra softness and rolls that I had never seen before. It was actually that time that my body was going to start rebelling on me! I was not happy and knew I had to do something. 

That is where running came in. I was SO not into going to the gym or taking any classes (time and money reasons) so the only other choice was running - my nemesis! I was actually ready to take it on. My hubby said he would do it with me so I had no other excuse. I downloaded the Couch to 5k app and thought I could NEVER run for more than 2 minutes straight. Never! But I did. Can't say I enjoyed the whole process but I was SO happy to accomplish something that I set my mind to. For once I started something and I finished it. I was quite proud of myself and my Hubby too! 

That was about 2 years ago.  I really only ever wanted to try for 5k, maybe 10 but after finishing the program we became inconsistent again. We would take a couple months off here and there and then get really into it again. I realized I didn't have a new goal to work towards and I have a hard time staying focused without a concrete goal. I never started running to try to run any races or get faster and that was just not working for me. I am a SLOW ASS! Not even kidding! I think my first 5k was something embarrassing like 45 minutes!  I just never cared about time or pace.. or so I thought. Turns out I am too competitive for my own good! I started doing some speed training with hubby cuz I hated being so fricken slow! Worked my way to a 5k PR of 28:13!! That happened ONCE! Got my goal and fell off the wagon again. Needed a new goal.

One other thing about me - I am OBSESSED  with Lululemon! I almost think I run just to justify buying their stuff. When I heard that they were holding their inaugural 1/2 marathon, the Seawheeze, in Vancouver I really wanted to be a part of it but not as a runner... yet. I volunteered my hubby and I to work at an Aid Station. We LOVED it!! It was such an amazing experience and I came away SO inspired. I said to myself "I am going to run this next year!"

And here I am a registered runner with my Hubby and another good friend who started running around the same time as us. It's less than 3 months away and I am SO nervous and excited!

If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would be signed up for a 1/2 marathon I would have told you you to GTFO!

We are currently on Week 7 of a Running Room training program that a friend of mine gave me. It's going well but I wanted to do more and start documenting it. You can only train for your very first 1/2 marathon once so I really want to remember it.

First training post will be for our second 10k long run on Sunday.

p.s. I know no one will read this as it's just for 'lil ole me!