Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sometimes It's Good To Not Keep Score

I started out on a 6 km run yesterday when all of a sudden ... my Garmin died.

At first I cursed myself (why didn't you make sure your watched was charged up? Geez!) but then came to the realization that it really wasn't the end of the world (chill out, girl - it's no big deal!). 

So often I have become reliant on doing what my Garmin tells me to do. Before I was injured, on long runs I would be timing myself to walk every 10 minutes; now that I'm still in recovery, I've been timing myself to walk every four minutes. I adjust my pace based on what my heart rate is doing. Each kilometer my watch is programmed to beep and indicate how long it took me to run that kilometer. It can get a bit much.

But not yesterday!

When my watch blinked off, it was a great opportunity to just run. There was no need to track my heart rate, or monitor my pace, or obligation to stop every four minutes for a walk break; I was slave to my data no more! I took it easy, sure, but it was a chance to truly listen to what my body wanted to do. If I felt like walking, I walked. If I wanted to run, I kept going. If it felt like I was speeding up, I slowed down. 

It can get so analytical, tracking so much of my running information and using those results to be prescriptive in my training. Yesterday's blip felt a bit unnatural at first, but in the end, I'm glad it happened. It was unexpected but I think, just what I needed. 

"You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometime,
you just might find you get what you need." Makes sense to me. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

In Appreciation

When I started writing Five by 35, I was unsure how it would be received and if anyone would even read it. It's been a little unbelievable to run into friends who assure me, "I'm reading!" or exclaim, "I love your blog!" or even, "You've been really inspirational!"

Hearing all these wonderful words and knowing that there are people out there who actually enjoy reading what I'm writing (who knew?), I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of my own sources of inspiration.

Here are just a few of the people in my life who have recently committed to their own fitness goals, and who I have been incredibly inspired by these past few months. In no particular order ...

Howard and Carole: started cycling recreationally a few years ago as a way to improve their health - and who, between them, have gone on to participate in races such as the Whistler Gran Fondo and Van Fondo, and also now have completing the Tour de Blast in their sights;

Tory: ran the London Marathon to celebrate turning 35 years old;

Jen Q: returned to running shortly after having her first child, switched to VibramFive Fingers in the hopes of appeasing her "leathery IT bands" and took no prisoners when she finished her first ever 10 km race last month;

Jackie: took over my spot in the Whistler Half Marathon and ran an amazing time, despite some crazy elevation;

Kathy P and Barry: cycled from Vancouver to Seattle in support of the Ride to Conquer Cancer;

Tera: completed two legs of a five-leg relay at Edge to Edge, despite torrential rain and having to run a distance she wasn't originally expecting to run;

Rochelle: is fighting a battle with cancer and taking part in The Underwear Affair for a second time, bringing awareness to below-the-waist cancers;

Jatinder: a speedy runner previously beset by injury, back on the wagon and training for the ING New York City Marathon after having to sit out last year's race (and who is also pondering moving up to an ultramarathon); 

Sabrina: amazes me with her sport-specific training regime and constant new personal best times on the Grouse Grind;

Jeny Y: for the first time ever, is running two half marathons in one year; and

Christina S: who has signed up for her first ever 5 km race!

You may think of yourselves as "regular" people, but I think you're amazing because you are willing to try things that other "regular" people are scared of or unwilling to do. You set goals to improve yourselves, look to achieve those goals and then draw from your own strength to get 'er done. I'm really proud of all of you! 

Way to go, my peeps. Thanks for the inspiration.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Marathon #3

Here we are. It's race day in Tofino and Ucluelet and instead of running Edge to Edge I am sitting in front of my computer in Vancouver. 

I made the executive decision last weekend to not run. My recovery's been going well, but I wasn't feeling strong enough and didn't want to risk re-injury after making so much progress.

But here's the thing. This is probably a little strange, but in the past few weeks I've found myself alternating between the five stages of griefdenial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Is that weird? It's an injury, not a death in the family ... right? But often I'd wonder what I did differently (why now? What did I do wrong?) and then feel outraged that my Five by 35 schedule had been disrupted without any explanation. Or I'd get off the treadmill in my apartment building and be on the verge of tears, so upset that my leg still didn't feel right. 

I think part of the reason why I haven't blogged in the last week or so is because my emotions have just been all over the place. Quite honestly, I've felt a bit mental about it all. Is this normal? Part of me thinks that it is really strange to be having such a strong reaction to an overuse injury.

Then again, this was my first marathon after being off running for so long. I'd made such a big stink about it, starting a new blog and telling everyone about my running goals. And then, as you know, I'm a huge believer that good things come with bad; training was going extremely well and after I'd PB'd at the BMO Half Marathon maybe I should've seen this coming.

As for right now, in this very instant, I am okay. Even though I woke up thinking about the marathon I was not running today, and the finish line I would not cross, I also decided to go outside for a slow 6 km; I'm walking every four minutes but things are improving. 

So I guess this is acceptance - for now, anyway. And as best as it can be on a race day that I am not running.

Working my way back. Today's 6 km: almost feeling normal but not quite there.