“Just the Highlights Please” – The May Edition

I feel like I can say this about every month but can you really believe it is May already!?!?! I can play “this time next month” and I will be in a very different place and that excites me. Life is busy as the school year comes to an end but that’s okay. When you can see the light at the end of the tunnel… you can handle almost anything. This school year has definitely been a stretching one and I will be happy to see it packed neatly away but there’s still much to do before that happens.

PROUD OF: Almost finishing my 9th year of teaching overseas!

GRATEFUL FOR: A workplace where conversations can take place. This has been a very difficult year in some regards but I feel very supported by the admin at my school and most of the people I work with. It’s a good feeling to know that I can talk things out with people and receive support when I need it most.

LETTING GO OF: Gossip. Yeah yeah. This is a struggle especially in such a close knit community. Working together and playing together can be tricky. Recently I was reminded that it’s so much better to speak “with” a person than “about” a person. I feel like I’ve been working on this since I was about 9 years old and it doesn’t seem to get much easier. I remember learning Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips“. Also kind of nice to know that David had a similar problem 🙂

OBSESSED WITH: Alba and Kiss My Face products. A friend of mine started telling me all about the dangers of sulfates and… parabens (?) in hair and skin products and I quickly jumped on her bandwagon and ordered a bunch of “organic” products. I love them! Plus they are quite cheap and don’t all smell like patchouli…

EXCITED ABOUT: Summer! I am really looking forward to being back in Canada for 2 months!!! Plus I’ll be attending a workshop in Toronto for a few days (geek!) and then I have trips planned to New York City with a friend and Chicago with my sister. Two places I haven’t been to yet!

COMMITTING TO: A 20-minute 5K. Okay I said it. My running has really fallen apart lately and I am planning on coaching cross -country again and those girls are fast! So I’ve set myself a goal of being able to run a super fast 5K. I have about 3 months. I think this can happen… Goals are good and hopefully since I wrote this down and told the internet.. I’ll be more motivated to achieve it.

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Making it Happen in March!

January and February were very dark months. Not only due to the obvious lack of daylight and uncomfortable amount of cold but I was in a schlump. I was stressed with work stuff and family stuff and friend stuff and so instead of turning to my running shoes for comfort, I found comfort in curry and my couch. Melted cheese and glasses of wine. I would drag my butt out for a run or two but nothing consistent and nothing too difficult. I’d claim to be getting back on the wagon but that didn’t really happen for very long either. My head was too many places. It wasn’t pretty but at the time I didn’t really care.

Then one day, I did.
I was getting ready to go out and changed my outfit about 5 million times. I was trying to find something that wasn’t tight and looked good. It was pretty impossible. I realized that this clothing angst hadn’t happened for ages and I remembered how it used to happen all the time. I realized that I was starting to make excuses for not going out and staying in because I just didn’t feel good about myself.. and that’s when it all clicked back again.
I wrote before about how unless something clicks, it’s nearly impossible to lose weight and make healthy choices. We have to want to change and we must crave the results. For some reason, during January and February, I didn’t want that. Note: I wanted it, I just wasn’t willing to work for it.
And so now March is here, I’m eating much better, making healthy choices, getting caught up with my running shoes, doing high intensity workouts and just generally feeling better about things. My mood is improving and I’m getting reacquainted with the motivated and healthier me! I missed that girl!
The dark days of winter are behind me and summer is less than 4 months away. The goal is to be back to feeling good and fit when beach season hits! Not long now……!

Alone Time

Since August I have been running in the mornings 4-5 times a week. I should be in amazing shape however I’m running with 40-60 girls who while lovely in their own ways, take up more energy than the actual workouts. It’s been fantastic running with them and coaching them and getting to know them and seeing them improve but I’m starting to become anxious to get this season finished.

I miss my alone time. Running for me is about so much more than exercise. It’s about processing and breathing and getting my head in the right place before the day begins. It’s about being in tune with my body and what my body can do and should be able to do. It’s about getting myself grounded before the day begins.

When I’m not coaching, I actually do the 4:44am thing which is earlier than my coaching wake up call at 5:21 but I find I’m way more tired with this coaching thing. From before 7am I have the little voices asking me all sorts of things and it doesn’t stop until I’m tucked back into my hobbit hole of an apartment at the end of the day. I’m not complaining, I’m just noticing that it’s starting to drain on me. But the season is fairly short and we’re in the final stretch so I know it will all right itself.

I have learned so much from coaching and am forever grateful for the opportunity to do it. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about my students, myself and running. I am now in the process of setting my own personal goals and trying to figure out what’s next for me in terms of running and races and all of that fun stuff. I’ve been able to witness the excitement of meets and actually, right now I’m in Guam for a tournament. All good things but I’m also happy that the season is short.

I am so looking forward to November 5th when at 5 am it will just be me and my running shoes.

I run because he can’t.

Hanging in my parent’s basement is a calendar. My dad put it there. He uses it to keep track of the many miles he runs each month. The calendar has been blank since April. You see he, the man who has been a healthy runner for as long as I can remember, has become very sick. About 18 months ago he had a non-cancerous brain tumour removed. He miraculously recovered from that and we spent Christmas running together, for the first time. We ran lots of miles, he and I, talked about many significant and insignificant things and I loved (almost) every minute of it.  I planned to return to Canada for a bit this summer and continue to run with him as he added miles to the calendar.. but that was not to be.

You see, at the end of April he was diagnosed with a very serious kind of cancer. The word “terminal” has been used by health care professionals. This Thursday he started radiation and chemotherapy. I came home as soon as I could and will spend the summer taking care of him and being with him and just loving him. It’s all kinds of horrible. To see a person you have loved for your entire life, in pain, sick, weak… is really quite earth shattering. We are believing, hoping and praying for a miracle but at the same time, trying to accept the reality that he is indeed a very sick man.
And so the calendar continues to hang in the basement. He told me that if he can’t add miles to it, I should definitely do that. And so, with all sorts of heavy emotion, I lace up my shoes, head out the door and run along the roads we ran along together, not so long ago. In a time when I feel so helpless and unable to do that which really needs to be done… unable to cure horrible diseases and fix scary medical conditions– I look for simple solutions and coping techniques and so, I run for him because he can’t.

My One Year Runniversary

A year ago, I ran my first ever 10K but this post isn’t really about that…

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Around kilometre 19 of my first half marathon (3 weeks ago) I really considered packing the whole running thing in and never putting on my running shoes again. I regained a bit of oomf and made it to the finish but I must say that a part of me left my runner’s heart back there at Kilometre 19.

After surviving my first half I really had problems getting back into running. I took some days off (mainly because I could hardly walk) and tried to stretch and pep talk myself back into wanting to run again. It was tricky. I went for three measly runs, varying in unimpressive lengths.. 3km, 5km, 6.5 km. Each run feeling sluggish and pretty darn awful. I wondered if I’d ever get my groove back.

When I woke up Saturday morning, I checked the weather hoping for rain. I did not want to run the charity 10K that I had signed up for months ago. But I had friends there and I knew I probably should. You can just quit after 5K, I told myself and that was my secret plan.

I got to the Registration table, got my number and free t-shirt and proceeded to psych myself up. I would be able to do it. I could talk myself into it. Actually, once I got going It wasn’t very hard at all. It was a completely beautiful day! Bright sun, blue skies, warm but not too hot. My friends were all in high spirits and it just felt like a good day.

And so I started to run… I decided to use my trusty 10/1 interval medley and off I went. And you know what? It felt great! It was fun! My pace was consistent and I felt strong. I remembered and appreciated all of the energy during races and loved being part of the whole thing. I had friends waiting for me at the finish and cheering me on and that’s just a great feeling!

I had told myself that I’d just run for fun and hopefully not be too much longer than an hour but I finished in 57 minutes which I’m happy about. But what I’m really happy about is what happened somewhere around Kilometre 7: I started to love running again!

Somewhat Despicable Me

dear-me Dear Me,

Sometimes you are really rather stupid. I’m writing this so that you can avoid such stupidity in the future. So you ran a race and then what happened to you? Yes, you were sore and tired and a little over the whole experience of putting on your running shoes and so you just… stopped? True, people told you to take a few days off, to recover and to just take it easy. But you took it a step further and just stopped. You know what happens when you stop doing something that deep down you ultimately love…. you get all weird.
Today you went for a run for the first time this week and notice how awake you are now? Notice how much better everything seems to be? Notice how good that morning shower felt? Don’t forget that.
Running in the morning is something that makes you, you. Keep doing it, even on the days you don’t want to. You know that you actually really and truly are a better person on the days that you run. Running affects everything: how you feel about yourself, how you feel in clothes, how you feel about life, what you decide to eat for breakfast, what you choose to mull over in your mind and what you choose to ignore. Running helps you burn through negativity and shows you what to focus on. You love running and you know that it is especially good on the days you really don’t want to do it. So no more! You are back to being the girl who runs 3-4 days a week whether you want to be or not!
Stop being lazy and stupid. You’re better than that!
Sincerely,
The Better Version of You.

Psyching Up… Yikes!

So my first half marathon is on Sunday. I suppose I could say I’m a tad anxious about it. My training has been going but not going all that well. I think a week off was probably not the best idea but that’s life.. Hopefully I didn’t do too much damage. I ran a final 10K on Monday morning and have just been doing cross-training activities this week, like Zumba. I’ve got my “outfit” ready and am just working on the perfect “psych up” playlist.

I’m actually looking forward to being done this whole thing. I don’t know what happened but in the training process I seem to have lost my love of running. I mean, I still love being out there sometimes but I somewhat resent having to run certain distances and care about time etc. I want to just be able to run. Plus I think I’m kind of scared of the whole 21km thing. It’s probably going to hurt. I know I should be psyching up but I’m just documenting what’s going on in my head.

Anyway the plan of attack is to just run the thing. I’d love to say that I want to break 2 hours but realistically, that’s not going to happen. People tell me that your first half is about finishing and I know I can do that.. so that’s the plan. Hopefully I’m not the last one over the line!

We have a nice plan, my running friends and I. We’re going to take the train to the area on the Saturday, walk around one of the local parks and just have a nice day. Then after the race on Sunday we’ll be going to one of the nicest onsens in Japan. If you don’t know what an onsen is.. google it. Basically, it’s hot spring water baths. After running.. they feel so good! Excellent incentive to cross the finish line.

Alright well I’ll stop dilly dallying and get on with the important business of psyching up for this thing because hopefully, this time next week, it’ll be done and I’ll be sore but happy!