Now What?

After the highs of the weekend, is anyone else feeling a little deflated? What a weekend though! For me, it started on Friday with a trip to the expo to collect my race packets, listen to speakers, speak with some of the other forerunners, work at the 5Peaks booth, hang out with friends and make some great new contacts. Then, a quick change in the washroom, and off to party!

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Race day came around fast (4.30 a.m alarm) but the sunrise on the drive in to Calgary made the early start worth it!

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Happily, I had my VIP status printed on my race bib so was able to get coffee and breakfast in the VIP area which was great. Then it was time to head to the corrals for the start. My goal was to run the half without any pain and to have fun, which I did. I had originally signed up for the 50k again but changed a couple of weeks before the race due to ongoing injuries. Initially, I was very disappointed to do this, mainly because I wanted that huge, shiny medal so much! but it was the right decision. I finished the half marathon feeling great and met up with some of the other forerunners to hang out in the VIP area.

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While we were waiting for the 5k to start, we sat and watched some of the other finishers coming in, which was very inspirational. The 5k was a fun run and a good way for me to loosen up after the half marathon. There were so many people, runners, walkers, kids, strollers so it was very crowded, especially at the start but we had great fun chatting to people and spotting other friends along the way. Finish line, and another medal!What a fun day! The weather was beautiful, the course was great as usual, the spectators were totally awesome and everything about the race organization was spot on, from the packet pick up, to the post race food and not to mention the totally awesome medals!

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So… Now what? well registration is open for next year!
http://calgarymarathon.com/register.html

Who’s Ready for Race Day?

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At last it’s race week! All that training is going to pay off and now you’re tapering, right? Ok, so maybe you didn’t train as much as you’d planned, maybe you got injured, or life got in the way. Maybe you’re starting to second guess yourself and doubt is creeping in. Can you really do it? YES! Yes. you can! Here are my top ten tips for race day:

1. Trust your training. You may not have done all the running you were scheduled to, but you have a good base. The adrenaline on race day will see you through a lot.

2. Now we are just a few days away, make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthily,hydrate and if you decide to run before the big day, make it easy and enjoyable.

3. Collect your race packet and visit the expo, it starts on Thursday at 4pm. http://www.calgarymarathon.com/expo.html?lang=EN Use this visit to figure out how you’ll get to the race and what time you want to be there. (Always allow more time than you think you’ll need and allow for transport delays as well as long lines for the porta potties!)

4. The night before, get everything ready. Clothes, race bib, drop bag, any drinks or gels you plan to use, cash for the c-train, phone for all those selfies and bring a large garbage bag to wrap yourself in while you wait at the start line. It may be a little cool early on and you can stay pretty warm inside a garbage sack!

5. Apart from the elites, everyone else seeds themselves. Think about where you should start. Look for the pace bunnies. They have signs stating their estimated finish time so look for the one nearest your pace and stand near them. If you are planning to walk, you need to be nearer the back of the pack. If you are planning to run fast,then you should be nearer the front.

6. The corral just before the start of a race is a truly exciting and inspirational place to be. Look around you at all the other racers, think about all the sweat and tears that have got everyone this far! Enjoy this special atmosphere. This is what you trained for.

7. There’s the gun, and you’re off! Take it smoothly for the first little while. Everyone is trying to find their pace and a clear space to run. After the first mile or so, things settle down and you’ll find your sweet spot. Enjoy it!

8. If things don’t go quite as planned during the race, don’t worry. Sometimes, no matter how well you’ve trained, your race might not be the one you wanted. This is ok. Enjoy the different experience and use it as a learning opportunity for the next one.

8. Race etiquette is important. Here are the biggies:
i. Don’t run side by side with a large group of friends. This prevents anyone being able to pass you and is annoying.
ii. If you need to slow to a walk or stop, raise your hand and move over to the right. It’s the same as when you’re driving and need to make a manoeuver, please look behind you before signalling and then make your move.
iii. Again, at water and aid stations, don’t just stop dead. Look around for other runners and allow them space.
iv. Don’t photo bomb other runners’ pictures! Of course you want to wave your arms and stick your tongue out for the photographers, but please don’t dive in front of other runners to do so.
v. Remember to thank our awesome volunteers. Without them, there wouldn’t be a race.

9. At last! The finish line! Collect your totally awesome race bling and celebrate your awesomeness! When you’ve done this, taken your photos and eaten something post race, come back and watch others finish. Even more than starting lines, finish lines are very emotional places with runners achieving goals that they never thought possible. You may even see a marriage proposal like last year!

10. Relax, rest, enjoy your achievement and begin to think about the next race!

Good luck everyone, and have the best race day ever!

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I Can and I Will

So here we are, less than six weeks until race day, and it starts…

I don’t know if I can do it.
I haven’t trained as much as I should have done by this stage.
I’ve been injured.
Maybe I should switch to a shorter distance.
I’ll never make that cut off time.

And on and on..

The same thing happened to me last year; the panic sets in and I start to give myself reasons and excuses why I will fail. I even do this self sabotage on training runs when there is a nice, sweet, kind voice in my head telling me that, “It’s ok, you’re tired, you can walk. You don’t have to run. You’re doing as well as you can. You know this is too far for you. Why don’t you cut this run short?”

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Research shows that negative thinking like this can mean that you’ve defeated yourself before you’ve even started. Sports psychologists recommend training your brain like you train your body and studies have shown that positive self talk can increase endurance and lower the rate of perceived effort (RPE) meaning that the exercise feels easier.

I recently read a post on social media where runners were discussing mantras and as you would expect, these were all positive. This started me thinking what my little voice says when I am running and was surprised to realise that I am way too kind! I need to get tough with myself and create a strong and tough mindset.

My plan for this week is to focus more on positive self talk, visualise myself at the finish line with that sweet, shiny medal and come up with a mantra to help banish those damaging thoughts that creep in!
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How do you get through the tough times? Do you have a mantra?

Questions and Frustrations

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As at the time of writing this, I haven’t run for four days…

Like many runners, I have the occasional ache and pain, some of which seem to reappear every so often. However, I am lucky enough to have never had an injury that has stopped me from running. Until now.

Without launching into a long and boring list of symptoms, I think it may be because my hips are wonky! I first saw a physiotherapist about hip pain over 15 years ago, way before I ever started running and I think I have been treating symptoms rather than causes ever since. The latest ache turned into a big ache in the middle of a run and so I have an appointment with a new sports injury therapist in a couple of days.

In my few days off, I have found myself looking enviously at other runners, staring wistfully at snow free trails and surfing running shoe stores online with credit card in hand. All this has made my mind race on from where it should realistically be and start to wonder What if? What if I can’t run for ages? What if I could never run again? What would I do? and more importantly, Who would I be?

It probably sounds crazy to non runners, but I’ll bet most of you readers will understand exactly what I mean. Running has become such a part of me, it’s what I love to do and it’s a huge part of who I am. It has made me healthy and happy. It has helped me through some very stressful and difficult times and been the source of great celebrations. Running has enabled me to meet so many inspiring people and travel to many beautiful parts of the world. It has given me such wonderful experiences such as being an ambassador for brands and races, helping organize local events and being on radio and television.

So as I wait for my appointment, I will try not to panic about the training I should be doing. I will be happy for other runners who are out there when I’m not and I will commit to whatever the therapist tells me to do.

But first, I think I will just press that little button that says ‘order now’…

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Get off the road!

Ever fancied giving trail running a go? A bit unsure? Well that was me a few years ago. I really liked the thought of it, I mean, who wouldn’t want to run trails in our beautiful province? But I kept dismissing the idea as I didn’t really know what trails were good, I was worried about getting lost, running into a bear, and even where to pee (more on that subject at a later date!)

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Luckily for me (and thanks to know it all, Dr. Google) I came across the 5 Peaks website and the rest is history!

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This is just before my very first trail race. I look scared stiff!

I’m excited to announce that I have been chosen as an ambassador for the 5 Peaks race series. This is not only great news for me, but pretty good for you too, as I might just have a discount code for races coming soon!

For me, there is nothing more exhilarating than running down a trail and feeling your body start to go faster than your legs! It always makes me laugh and reminds me of those carefree childhood days, playing outside with friends and running purely for fun!30-kids-running-down-a-hill

I love that the 5 Peaks races have different distances. The shortest one (my favourite) is the Sport category which can be anywhere from 4.5 to 10k long, depending on the venue. The races are usually held each month in the summer and are at a different location. Last year, my favourite races were on the trails at the Nordic centre in Canmore, Glenbow Ranch and Fish Creek Park. It’s always exciting to find new trails to run, especially when they are so close!

Get more information on the Central Alberta races here:
http://5peaks.com/regions/central-alberta/

Trail runners are a friendly and supportive bunch of people and I’ve made some really good friends over the last couple of years which makes the races even more fun!

Oh, and 5 Peaks give out pretty sweet swag too! I’ve had a sport bag, arm warmers, hats and a Buff (my favourite!)

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Hope to see you out on the trails soon!

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Exciting News!

Here we are, a whole new year and a whole lot of races to sign up for! I know I said ‘never again’ but it appears I signed myself up for the 50k again at Calgary marathon. This is how it happened.. not being huge party animals, husband and I were sitting at home on New Year’s Eve, discussing which races we wanted to do in 2015. He decided to do the half marathon this year and I was toying between the half and the full. Then he whispered those special words in my ear, ‘You do know there’s a medal for the 50k this year?’ That was it.. click, click, enter.. Yes, I am that shallow, I have a very strong attraction to shiny things!

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A few days later, I had the exciting news that I had been selected to be a Forerunner, one of the ambassadors for the 2015 Scotiabank Calgary marathon. I had followed the Forerunners last year, and found their stories very motivating and inspiring and hope that I can encourage others this coming year.

You can read more here: http://calgarymarathon.com/forerunners.html?action=1&pID=149

Growing up and well into my adult life, I never had a single positive thought about exercise and would avoid it wherever possible! The reasons why I decided to run are another story, but the feeling of crossing that finish line after completing something you never thought possible, is truly empowering.

I have a real love of running Calgary. Not only is it a beautiful course around my home city, it was my first marathon.

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and my first ultra.

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I’m so excited and honoured to be able to encourage other runners this year and look forward to meeting everyone.

Bring it on!

Aside

As you may know, (because I’ve gone on and on about it for ages) I reached the BIG birthday back in January.. I was 50! I had been a little worried about how I would feel, turning into another decade, but so far, so good. Although the fact that I decided to celebrate my birthday all year could have something to do with it! untitled (29)

Earlier this week, a (younger) good friend told me of how she was mistaken in a store for her child’s grandmother. She was understandably rather upset by this despite our reassurances.  Another friend was feeling down about all the changes that growing older brings to women, and I am slowly becoming resigned to the fact that I’m having to wear my glasses more and more. (Shopping recently at a race expo, I spied a cute jacket that I wanted. It was $80 which I thought was a bit much, but hey, I wanted to celebrate my race in style so I gave it to Mr True North to pay for with the rest of our haul. Apparently the bill came to more than he thought because he asked me what had cost $110. Nothing, I say… turns out that I need my glasses to read price labels too! Oops!)

Anyway, back to the point..Getting older. Happens to us all. Not much you can do about it. Totally inevitable. Doesn’t have to suck though!

When Mr True North was 50, our daughter bought him a book as a joke untitled (27)

http://www.amazon.ca/Younger-Next-Year-Strong-Beyond/dp/076114773X

Turns out it was the best present ever, as it acted as a catalyst for some major  lifestyle changes.( You should all read  this book, even if you are so young you think 30 is middle age, as it has really important and useful information)

Then I saw this commercial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo6QNU8kHxI  Watch it, even if you’ve seen it before as it is profoundly shocking in that so many illnesses are preventable with a healthy diet and exercise.

Over the years of being a runner, I’ve had many people question why I run with  negative comments such as ‘You’ll wreck your joints’ , ‘Your face will sag’, and even ‘Your insides will fall out’. I could go on and on about the many reasons I like to run, but this is one of the biggies.. I want to stay fit and healthy for as long as possible, even if I can’t see where I’m going!

747649-1014-0038sLooking a bit windswept after a Goofy birthday weekend