“Start where you are” and Half Marathon training!

Hi! Been a while! I went home up North last week and a good friend said, “it’s like you moved to Mars! How is it??” ahahahaha (Love you, Shelby!)

She was describing it like that in a good way, and I totally agreed with her. I moved to another planet to put my head down and work hard to get myself a new career! It’s been very busy, but not too busy to forget about my number one passion, which you all know is running. That being said, after that DNF at the Okanagan Marathon and finally addressing my IT band syndrome, I definitely haven’t been running as much as usual. AND THAT’S OKAY! I can see that now. Lol. #olderandwiser

I used to have this serious fear of losing any of the fitness I worked so hard to accumulate over the two years I worked with Lifelong Endurance. Due to student life, I don’t have a coach right now, but turns out that’s totally fine during this piece of life. As runners, we gain more and more knowledge about the sport and training as we move along, gathering experience through training cycles, races, rest periods and injury, etc. That’s really cool, but I find it equally as interesting when I think about all that I DIDN’T know in the past, and how much I still have to learn. This rest period has given me the chance to really think about this.

One thing I thought I understood (but totally didn’t) and believed I was respecting (but wasn’t at all) is the need for adequate recovery. I’ve brought this up before and here we are again. I’m talking about both recovery within a training cycle, as well as recovery between cycles. That little set-back after the Ok Marathon was something I really needed. Thanks, Universe! It’s also given me time to think about how fatigued I felt pretty much all the time when I was running six or seven days a week and how it really compromised the quality of my runs.

My fear of losing fitness left the building a while ago. Now that I’ve rehabbed my ITBS, taken it easy more than I have in years and done some planning with respect to my new life schedule, it’s go time. The concept of Start Where You Are is exciting, because I don’t really know.

After hearing my friend rave about the FIRST Run Less, Run Faster book and training program, I’ve decided to give it a try. If you aren’t familiar, this is a program based on three key workouts per week – a track workout, a tempo run and a faster-than-usual (for me) long run, and no other running. At least two cross-training sessions fill in the holes where easy running would usually be, and for me, it will be swimming and pool running. I think this will work perfectly with my schedule, and also being not-so-good at recovery runs. The three runs are pace-specific, based on one’s current fitness level. Which takes me back to the cliché quote “START WHERE YOU ARE.

What is my current fitness level? I actually don’t know! The first thing that happened when I needed a “recent” 5k or 10k time to select target paces for the half marathon training plan was… my ego chirped in and started making suggestions as to avoid running a fitness test.

“that 10k PR was only eight weeks ago…bump it down a bit”

“You can definitely run faster than that 5k PR during that long run fast finish last year”

“use that 10k time from six weeks back, it wasn’t the best race so it’s not overly optimistic”

“just guess, your goals are based on much more than current fitness”

No, no, NO! I’ve raced one 5k in my life, and I haven’t raced whatsoever since Thanksgiving, which was long distance. I don’t have any idea of what a 5k race effort would be today and I haven’t done any fast running since September. I took a few weeks off completely for injury and since have been running two to three times per week (usually very slowly), eating shitty, and I’ve only done a couple of vertical training sessions with P.A.C.E. when it comes to workouts. Because I don’t want to set myself up for frustration, disappointment or emotional abuse from the inner critic (that dick), I am going to do this honestly.

There is a really good chapter in the book called Realistic Goals. It is fantastic. Some of the things touched on are why/how exactly we establish the unrealistic goals we often do, how to set a realistic goal based on current fitness, how we often undermine our results (even when they’re impressive) and why selecting arbitrary, round-number finish time goals can easily fuck us over. So good!

So, my first track workout tomorrow for Week 1 will actually be the suggested 3 x 1600 (plus rests, plus math formula) to get an estimate of a 5k race pace. I might surprise myself, or I could be like, oh fuck…way too many Halloween chocolate bars. Who knows. But I want to follow the training program properly, and there’s always the option to reassess along the way!

I’m stoked to hit the track tomorrow, find out where exactly I’m at, and start from there. Yahoo! Who’s planning for 2019? I plan to run First Half in Vancouver on February 10th, which is 13 weeks away, and the 10k at the Tenacious Ten in April in Seattle. That’s it for now! Hope you’re having an awesome Fall!

Jamie xo

 

 

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My first DNF and what comes with it…

Hi. I’m so sad. But I’m happy, too. Also proud. Angry. Frustrated. Hahahaha. So many emotions over here right now!!

Sunday was my first DNF, which for those who aren’t familiar, means Did Not Finish. There are many old sayings about finishing no matter what, crawling across the finish line if necessary, doing WHATEVER it takes, etc, which are total bullshit when real pain is involved. But still, versions of these quotes were swirling around my head for the good part of an hour before I had to make the call.

I have a confession to make (mostly to myself, LOL). I AM INJURED. FML. There I said it ahahaha. The denial has been going on for over a month. I’ve been experiencing moderate to sometimes intense lateral knee pain during most runs, especially long ones, and after. Not every single day or sustained, but it’s sore or painful in the morning, while running, going up and down stairs, hovering over the brake pedal, and even walking when it’s flared up. Pretty sure this stems from the excessive sitting I’ve done since going back to school. Close to an hour in the truck each way, plus 4-6 hours of sitting in class daily, depending on what we’re doing. As my friend Karmen says, “sitting is evil.” She says this because it’s true. It shortens, tightens and weakens multiple areas that are important for running.

On Sunday morning the marathon began and I felt good but a bit paranoid, wondering how it would go with respect to the right lateral knee. By 4k I felt some sensation, but nothing worrisome, and the rest of me felt great. I continued to be aware of tension in the problem area and so I didn’t want to walk through aid stations – a characteristic of ITBS is pain upon stopping-restarting. It kept getting more and more noticeable, becoming uncomfortable, and then at a water station ~24k I paused briefly to properly drink, and as I resumed running I felt pain to the point that it took my breath away.

FUCKKKKK!!!!!“…I saw two spectators look at me like, whoa she’s going down, but I felt it out and got to jogging, hoping it would calm down, which it just barely.

At this point I started the chat in my head. Totally fine with slowing down – this was not a goal race and I was doing it simply because I love this shit. But I did slow way down and it still hurt badly! I had tears in my eyes, a combination of pain plus just knowing this was a bad sign. Then I asked myself if maybe I could truly jog, like sloowww. I don’t care if it takes me six hours to finish this thing. But that didn’t work either. Every step felt like I was doing harm to my body. I took some walk breaks but it still hurt, as walking still requires knee flexion..

By now I was on my way south to pass City Park for the second time (it’s a two-loop course) and I asked myself if I could make it twelve more kilometers safely. The answer was no 😦

It really was the best choice – to stop repetitively flexing and extending a joint that was causing me pain, and which was getting more aggravated and inflamed with every step. So I called it. I walked onto the grass in the park and started un-pinning my bib. It was so sad, like an extremely emo music video or bad part of a romantic comedy. LOL. There was no ugly crying but I wanted to.

I felt embarrassed, which is ridiculous because I made a wise, responsible decision. But still. I folded my bib in half so no one could see the colour, went and collected my gear-check bag and put on my sweatshirt quickly and put away my sunglasses and headband. I was soooo sad you guys. I am sad. The inner critic spoke up and made it worse:

“you SERIOUSLY couldn’t have gone twelve more kilometers?”

“how bad could it have actually hurt?”

“there must have been a way to finish?”

I limped out and waited for my friend Joey to finish, happy cried for him and sad cried for me. Had a brief visit with another friend, Gary, who smashed his sub 1:30 half goal, and slowly made my way to the truck.

Now I’m sitting here (with my right leg propped up) writing about this. It’s still bothering me. I’m mad at school, because that’s where I sit all day. I’m frustrated with my body because it isn’t allowing me to do my favourite thing in the entire world. I am so upset that I didn’t cross the finish-line, yet proud for being responsible. I’m happy that what’s going on can very likely be healed with rest, different therapy approaches and strength training, but I’m fuckin annoyed that I have to now initiate operation get un-injured!!!! I’m also worried about how long it will take to get fully better and how much fitness I’ll lose. Sigh.

In one day I got a reality check about so many things. The importance of rest. How crucial it is to address little things that feel off before they turn into bigger problems. The fact that I haven’t actually taken even a partial off-season in the last two and a half years, and now I’m being forced to. How hard it is to check the ego and call it off in a race or even a training run. To honestly differentiate between discomfort and pain, and between what’s safe or unsafe.

It’s interesting to me that I was beating myself up about this, and still am a little. If a friend of mine told me this story, I would commend them for making a smart choice and not causing more injury or prolonging the rehab period. Why are we mean to ourselves, but not others???

So now..I’ll get to devising a rehabilitation plan that will include a lot of yoga, swimming, clam shells and pool running, if it feels okay. Getting better is a goal of its own, and great things seem to happen after set-backs so I look forward to what will happen after I take this time to heal up. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, some things I’m thankful for with respect to the weekend’s DNF:

  • it wasn’t a goal race
  • nothing is broken, torn, detached, etc.
  • I can still swim and do as much yoga as I want
  • I will rest and recover, ease back into it, and hit the next running related goal HARD

I hope you had an awesome long weekend, and if you raced, I hope it went well! So many I people I know ran fantastic half and full marathons, smashing goals related to both time and mental strength. For anyone dealing with an injury right now, I get it, and for anyone who has or does find themself in a painful DNF situation, remember what I’m telling myself…

Listen to the body.

There are many, many races to come.

Rest and recover now so that there’s the choice to continue in the future.

 

TTYS xoxoxo Jamie

 

 

 

 

Adult marathon addict goes back to school…LOL.

Hi!

AHH!! The adjustments happening right now in my life are major! From the summer off work to full days of school, small town to a city, no commute to an hour each way…no traffic to traffic. Add on top the fact that I actually care this time around (LOL) and I’m swamped! I was texting today with my friend Ali, we did our pharmacy degrees together years ago, and I told her this:

Ali. The tables have turned. I AM NOW KEEN.

Thank God for this! The RMT program used to be three years but now it’s jammed into two! Me and my classmates’ lives are kind of over. I better be keen! But, HOW is a person supposed to fit in regular exercise, let alone legit training, amongst meal prep (no income, no buying lunches!), commuting, over six hours of classes a day, more commuting, studying (even already, yes), chores and trying not to forget about EATING, SLEEPING and communication with family and friends? People with kids are like stfu hahaha

HAHAHA poor me! Just kidding, don’t worry, I know I’m not the first person in history to have a very full schedule and feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day. I’m just writing about what’s going on with me and the little obsession of mine called running. I like writing about stuff that might be relatable to you reading this in one way or another.

After week one, I’ve made a few conclusions:

  1. I can and will still run often. I can carve out time.
  2. Maybe not QUITE as much as before
  3. If I don’t meal prep and be organized, I’m doomed
  4. For the foreseeable future, I can’t effectively prioritize training like I did before

Just had to read number four again and ask myself if it has to be true, but it does. Unless I wanna not sleep, run myself into the ground or fail school, training has to take a back seat. OKAY THE MIDDLE ROW OF SEATS LIKE IN A MINIVAN.

I did a couple of evening runs, which isn’t my style but I’ll take what I can get, and then I did two experiments that confirmed everything is going to be cool..😅

Morning running in my hood would mean hitting the road when traffic is annoying. But, if I’m up at five and leave the house by six, I can:

  • have an hour to run in Vernon, shower and be seated in class on time (8:30)
  • get to the Sails in Kelowna for November Project on Wednesdays, then make it to school with time to spare
  • be home in West Kelowna around 5pm with time to eat, study, do tasks of life, get ready for the next day and be in bed by 9:30

I will also have lots of time to swim in Vernon in the mornings once the pool opens again. Fewf 😂

This post is so dramatic. I don’t care! Running and training are my true passions and how I stay physically, mentally and spiritually healthy. I refuse to become any kind of unhealthy while becoming a registered massage therapist. I refuse to give up my passion. My husband, home, family, best friends, training buddies and cat all got left behind for this career change endeavor and the one thing I didn’t have to say so-long to was running. I’ve never had to care about time management this much before, but it can be done and I’ll do it! 🙂

The Okanagan Marathon is in four weeks and I will be ready for it! It’s not a goal race, but I’ll be ready for the distance and who knows, maybe I’ll even be prepared to give it my best shot.

Are you going through any challenging adjustments right now?

Fitness freak in a new city…my tips!

yoooooo!!!

I feel like I fell off the face of the Internet. LOL. Seriously. Didn’t even post on Instagram for eight days! hahahaha

The move to the Okanagan was hectic. It went a bit like this: Prince Rupert, flat tire, Kelowna, Vancouver, wedding, Kelowna, flat tire, Kamloops, Kelowna, Kamloops, new set of tires, Vernon, Penticton, wedding, Kelowna, Vernon….HOLY F*CK. It was pretty overwhelming and I felt a bit homesick almost right away for Northern BC.

Moving involves so much change and it can also be really intimidating. Social circles, training buddies and comfort zones get left behind. Then add on the task of maintaining a fitness routine…yikes. That part is like trying to stick with exercise habits while on holidays..except not just for a week or two.

I knew that if I waited to get on top of this necessary re-creation of my fitness routine I would feel shitty, sad and it would be hard to get going again. Choosing to see a new place and situation as an adventure, and as an opportunity to explore new things (sometimes scary) is the key to success, in my opinion.

Tip #1: just fucking go.

A couple days after ALL THE DRIVING was done, the first thing I did was go on a short run from my new spot at my MIL’s house. I’ve heard people say “I don’t know my way around.” or “I’ll get lost.” as an excuse for not running in a new place. Good try. It’s called an out-and-back, plus I know we all have Google maps! I ran for 3k in one direction, found a sick hill and ran up and down it, and then back the way I came. There. First run done and no longer feeling shitty about a few days in the vehicle sitting on my ass. The next day I planned a far longer route, also using maps.

Tip #2: do some simple research

Google around for some mainstream running/walking/cycling spots to start out with. Even look at a few hashtags or other stuff on social media! Seriously. I clicked #runkelowna, looked at segments on Strava, searched for paths and trails and looked up local races to see what areas they are in. Also, familiarize with the general area with Google maps or even a real map ahaha. Sounds touristy but who likes feeling like they don’t know which way is up? Not me.

Tip #3: find a crew

Go to a meet-up or an event of some kind and meet a couple people! Even in very small towns you can usually find something sooner or later like a small race, fundraiser or fun run. Lots of running stores have group runs, and I always come across different activity squads on Instagram. You don’t have to show up and start yelling “HI EVERYONE I’M JAMIE I JUST MOVED HERE WHO WANTS TO BE MY FRIEND??” nor is a full commitment necessary. Unless it’s awesome you don’t have to stay or return! Just put yourself out there. People are generally nice.

When I go to any city I check if they have a November Project tribe. If you don’t know what this is, you need to know. So far I have gone to NP in Montreal, Seattle, Vancouver and now Kelowna. Always a good time and always good people!!!!! I’m 2/2 for Wednesday mornings since I got here and plan to see how long I can streak. Some of us went for coffee after today’s workout. People are nice! #JustShowUp

Tip #3: join a training clinic

I met some amazing people when I trained for my very first half marathon in 2013 with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, many who I’m still connected with today in one way or another. Yep, the first time you show up it can be scary, just like the first day of a course or a new job, but that’s normal!!!

Most communities have beginners’ programs too, like Couch to 5k, etc. I just signed up for a trail running clinic with P.A.C.E. that was recommended by one of my Instagram friends (Instagram friends are real) as well as a friend-of-a-relative who I just met last weekend. It starts September 19th and I’m stoked for new connections, learning the trails around my new area, variety and accountability!

Tip #4: find a buddy

Even if you don’t know a single person in an unfamiliar place, someone else you know might! Ask someone at home to hook you up with one of their contacts in the new location, even for one run or just to be in contact for recommendations. Six degrees of separation, people!

There are a few people in my new area who I can meet up with and I plan to, but I really lucked out this first week – two of my favourite run buddies were in town from Victoria. They showed me part of the Okanagan Rail Trail that’s being developed from Kelowna to all the way up by Coldstream!

I have no problem exploring new places solo (thanks to Suzanne) but if you feel you need a buddy, I know you can find one! I’ll have lots once school starts, I’m sure!

Tip #5: take advantage of new amenities

Gyms. Yoga studios. Aquatic Centres. I know many people don’t like going to new places alone, and I admit it’s not my most favourite thing, but once arriving at these places we get busy! I like to remind myself that people go to these kinda places primarily to be active and feel good, and any socializing is usually secondary.

There are so many places that offer amazing discounts or promos to new visitors. Last night I went to a complimentary hot yoga class with my mother-in-law, I was her guest since I’d never been there before. Even if your first visit somewhere isn’t complimentary, just drop in, it’s not like you have to become a member to try out a new class, pool, workout space, etc. I dropped into a sweet pool yesterday because the one I want to go to on my way to school is closed for maintenance.

______________________________________

I think moving requires lots of trial and error. Learning the area and how to get places. Testing out spots to hang out, run, workout, practice. Interacting with new people who start out as strangers, may become part of your life, but might just be acquaintances or even remain strangers! New colleagues, classmates, instructors, coaches, roommates, you name it. The unknown is uncomfortable but fun, and I plan to have as much fun as I can with this! If you find yourself in unfamiliar territory, I hope you take a similar perspective.

talk soon

Jamie

Alcohol: just somebody that I used to know

Coming up on ONE THOUSAND days sober, I wanted to check in with my relationship with booze. Where are we at today?

It’s so crazy you guys. I fantasized about a time like now, way back when. So many of the times when I said “I’m never drinking again” I’d also imagine a future life that seemed unattainable. The life I was envisioning was one where I wasn’t letting alcohol make me feel, look and act shitty on the regular. There was none of the anxiety, depression, regret or guilt that stemmed from binge drinking and the behaviours that go hand-in-hand, during or after. I saw a vibrant, peaceful, fresh life where alcohol didn’t have a place. Out loud, I would test out what it felt like to say “I don’t drink“, but then I’d feel sad because I didn’t think it was possible to get to that place. But it is a place. It’s a thing. It’s awesome.

I don’t drink.

Guess what else? I don’t think about it much. That’s where me and Booze’s relationship is at. Like an ex who I’m truly over, or an old friend from the past who I’ve lost complete touch with. Or remember that cartoon Denver the Last Dinosaur? I think about drinking about as much as I think about Denver. That was random.

Never before has the name of the website tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com made so much sense. Even thinking about drinking was exhausting, and I can see that now that drinking isn’t a part of my life. Alcohol is not on my radar.

It took so much commitment, learning and change to get to this place, but it has happened. Just like a break-up with a human being, after I “dumped” booze, I had to make a ton of adjustments and reassess my time, what I did, who I spent time with, where I hung out, etc. Even after a year there were things I was still dealing with and working on. It wasn’t easy but now I find myself 965 days sober and the happiest I’ve ever been.

If you ever have the fantasy I used to have, about being able to say “I don’t drink” out loud and for it to be true, it can be and you can do it. Trust me. If I can, anyone can. I wish I had someone telling me that when I needed it, so I’m telling you in case you need to hear it!

#yodo

August! Now What?

Hiiiii!!!

How’s it going? Since Jack and Jill I have been taking it a day at a time – doing whatever I want! Some swimming, short easy-effort runs, quite a bit of trail and elevation and yesterday a solid 10k with a slightly faster finish. Oh and a couple full rest days ahaha. Lifelong Endurance and I are still in close contact but we’ll officially pick back up with training in September.

This weekend some friends and I head to the Hah Nic Na’ Aah mountain half marathon in the Babine Mountain Range! This is basically my first non-road race aside from the Mount Hays Quickclimb and I’m stoked! The terrain and views look stunning, and since I’m not actually racing it, there will be time for lots of photos!

Next weekend husband and I take off on a wedding tour/moving me to the Okanagan. Exciting times! School starts September 4th, but first I’ll zip back up north for our annual Labour Day Weekend celebrations in the beautiful Bulkley Valley. Same hood as the race this weekend, as well as the Tyhee Tri. Lucky me!

Coach Andrew and I had a chat about training and have a loose plan. We will most likely attack the half marathon distance over the fall season (after the Okanagan Marathon) and into the winter. I hope to pick out a goal half to race in early 2019! Into the new year we will start to build on that fitness for a goal Spring marathon to continue chasing down the unicorn! 🤞 I look forward to running as many local 5 and 10k’s along the way.

Some of the marathons I’m considering (at this point) include the Eugene Marathon, Blooms to Brews, the Windermere Marathon and BMO Vancouver, though I’m pretty reluctant about Vancouver, it’s just nice and close. I’d prefer to be able to drive to said marathon, and I won’t run anywhere with more than an hour time difference. April is my preferred month, but I’m not against March or May! If you have any suggestions that I should add to the list of options, please let me know!

I hope you are having a really good summer!!! Recently I opened the sober app on my phone and it’s passed 950 days!!! I’ll be at 1000 days by the end of September, holy shit. The blog has obviously been very focused on running over the last few months but I hope to do some writing about sober stuff in the next little bit here.

Hope August has been fun and talk to you after the mountain half!!!

jamie