Global #SportsBraSquad Day! What it is, and why it matters!

If you don’t know about the #sportsbrasquad, here’s a quick and dirty run down for you.

Kelly Roberts, also known as RunSelfieRepeat, was on a hot, sweaty run last June and was thinking about how f*cking glorious it would be to rip her shirt off instead of having a sweat-soaked top stuck to her skin. Thankfully, against the odds she won the all-too-familiar debate with the inner critic about what she’d look like, how she’d feel and what others might think or say. She ditched her shirt and continued on, far more cool and comfortable. You can read all about it at RunSelfieRepeat.com. Reflecting on the experience afterwards, the #sportsbrasquad was born and Kelly started her movement. Mission: empower women to embrace the strength and ability of their bodies; destroy the stereotype of what a healthy and fit body is “supposed to look like” based on a lack of representation of different body types in the media. Change how the world recognizes STRONG.

Oiselle, one of Kelly’s sponsors and my favourite running brand for whom I also run for with the Oiselle Volée, got right behind the movement. The world needs a reality check on how broad the spectrum is. We need a better representation of real, healthy women and the diversity of shapes, sizes and body types that strong and healthy exist as.

I believe in this. I love what Kelly Roberts stands for. I love that Oiselle is all for women in sport; all levels and all bodies. Oiselle and Kelly declared June 24th as #sportsbrasquad day, so I decided to establish the Prince Rupert #sportsbrasquad among all the others popping up around the world.

On June 24th at 7pm, the Prince Rupert Chapter was born!

But why? Why is over twenty women, from best friends to perfect strangers, gathering to run without shirts on, such a big deal? And why do women care so much that they organized their own bra-crew runs earlier in the day if they weren’t able to attend the event?

 

 

Because the issue behind this movement is so real and it affects everyone. The inner critic is real. Comparing one’s self to others plus totally restricted image standards, a completely self-sabotaging thinking habit, happens to be extremely common, and some might even say it’s human nature. The generally accepted health and fitness standard represented in media for decades has been a thin, very small-framed woman with basically zero body fat (possibly with the exception of full breasts), smooth, even, tight skin and whose flesh somehow isn’t affected by gravity. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this woman (the real one, under the makeup and airbrushing), but she does not represent WOMEN. She represents ONE out of eighty kazillion body types.

 

 

The simple fact that a standard has come to exist is the problem. Show this standard on every TV show, movie, commercial, magazine and billboard across lifetimes and it’s no wonder there has been a mix up regarding what healthy and fit “should look like”. Why has it ever been about appearance over function??

News flash, mankind: healthy is a feeling, not a look. It feels strong AF. It feels like goals, challenges, effort, victories (and failures), growth, revisions, sweat and endorphins. Self-care and self-love! Maybe throw in an ugly-cry for good measure! This all relates to what our bodies are capable of and how empowering it is to exercise those capabilities.

Getting the ball rolling in the healthy and strong department can be really scary and really hard. Keeping that ball rolling is a whole nother story. Add on the fact that we ALL have our insecurities…those spots that are immediately apparent to us (and probably only us) when we look in the mirror or see a photo of ourself. Take into account the useless comparisons we make. Finally, top it off with the sad but true habit of judging one’s self more critically than any friend, acquaintance or sister, and people, we have a problem.

 

Christina went on a solo mission and killed it!!

 

Think about how you identify with the word Christmas tree. I bet you automatically envision an evergreen conifer such as a spruce or fir, or an artificial lookalike. It’s what we have been exposed to and accustomed to via tradition and little or no variance.

Alternative scenario. What if when we were little we were shown right off the bat that a Christmas tree can be any tree or plant you want, and it was different each year. It’s purpose, we would understand, is to be strong enough to stand up and support itself and some super fun decorations, which make it fabulously unique. If this were the case, Christmas tree and 🎄 wouldn’t automatically go hand in hand. A much more broad idea would come to mind. Let’s take on that alternative scenario now, with respect to what strength stands for.

This is what the #sportsbrasquad is about. Simply providing the world with more exposure to the variety of packages that strength comes in, while at the same time teaching ourselves to feel good to look good, not always vice versa. Variety. That’s the key word here.

Kerry reppin’ at K2 Cycle Fusion!

The #sportsbrasquad works because there is power in numbers. Support. Camaraderie. VARIETY before our eyes. Throw in some sweat, laughter and endorphins and there you have a step in the right direction. A big step out of the comfort zone that can lead to so many productive things, such as positive self-talk, the chance to inspire yourself, someone else or both, or a conversation that backs this whole movement.

On Saturday I arrived at our group run to find ten women already there. More came. Most got out of their vehicles wearing shirts or jackets. The vulnerability level went from an 11 down to a 10 and we all began chatting and feeling out the situation. Fast forward two minutes. We are taking group pics, shirtless. Fast forward another, no one is freaking out about a reporter showing up because we are together and rallying for something important, even if feeling hesitant. Now we are running. I see people pair up. I see people getting acquainted. I see women running back and forth, checking on friends or making sure nobody is too far back. I hear again and again how liberating and literally cool our physical activity is on this muggy evening. How enjoyable and empowering sweating is.

And now we are back in the parking lot, hollering at the girls finishing up, throwing out high fives to people we may have never met until today and SWEATY HUGGING. Oh fuck ya. Not just some chicks running around in sports bras!!!

Lets try our best not to see this movement as a struggle. Get fired up and consider it as doing society a favour and helping shift the perspective of strength and fitness. Do it for yourself, your daughter, sister, mom, best friend and neighbour. The guys too, they arent exempt from insecurities or stereotypes. Of course it’s not easy. Change is never easy. But the #sportsbrasquad is a change maker and we are doing it again really soon so stay tuned.

@jammiekomadina

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Alaska Airlines Rock’n’Roll Seattle Marathon 2017!

Woooo hi!

Just over three weeks ago I ran the Calgary Marathon and didn’t have the best day. Personally, it wasn’t my day, but I also didn’t find the event overly exciting, so I came home feeling dissatisfied with my overall spring marathon experience. Waiting until the CIM in December for the next marathon seemed out of the question, so I started looking into the possiblility of running another three to four weeks after Calgary. In many peoples’ eyes, this is crazy, but we aren’t going to get into that.

Living where I do, it’s impossible to take a weekend trip to just anywhere you want. In a perfect world, I’d have flown my personal jet to Duluth, Minnesota and run Grandma’s Marathon, which was this past Saturday on June 17th and has been on my bucket list since I fell in love with the marathon in May of last year. Since we do not, in fact, live in a perfect world, I looked into the Alaska Airlines Rock’n’Roll Seattle Marathon. Pretty big event, awesome city, same timezone I live in, and accessible (in the grand scheme of things) from Prince Rupert! The course looked  challenging but since I was on the hunt more for a good time than “redemption” from the Calgary race, I decided to go for it.

Then, I convinced my friend Marcie to come along and run the half. We booked our flights, AirBnB, and registered for our races. WOOOOOOO!!!!

THIS RACE WAS SO AWESOME and I feel like the Rock’n’Roll’ness of it was just bonus because it was already such a cool route in a wicked city!

We arrived to the expo at the CenturyLink Field Event Centre in the early afternoon on Saturday to get our bibs, shoe tags, shirts and shuttle passes (purchased online before hand) and everything was organized and problem free. The race shirts are basic black t-shirts but I guess that’s safe…imagine trying to please twenty thousand people? The expo was pretty big, busy, and in a cool venue in an accessible spot. I’m not usually one to purchase things at the expo, but there was a huge merch area of Brooks gear, what looked like a gait anaysis treadmill station (with a big lineup) and then past that section was the exhibitor area. There were lots of free samples, and the girl manning the JellyBelly Sport Beans table LOADED us up after we obeyed the “2 per person” sign. LOL. Good karma! Love Sport Beans, thanks to my friend Sam for introducing me to them! Also worth mentioning was the diary-free cheesecake by Daiya. Legit. We also scored free sunglasses which I love.

Next we made a trip to the Oiselle flagship store and Lululemon in University Village (via Uber) and then it was time for a big, early dinner.

One of the girls at Lulu recommended Mama Melina just down the road, and YOU NEED TO GO THERE. Best pizza and pasta ever, Marcie and I agreed, and it was early-ish so it was happy hour and our bill was CHEAP. Score. Then we hit QFC for breakfast food and went back to our AirBnB to get as much rest as possible.

ended up being too muggy for the Canada socks..dang.

Both of us woke up on Sunday at 4am having slept WELL, which is so unusual for me the night before a big event! After getting ready and eating breakfast we took another Uber over to the CenturyLink/Safeco (finish) area to hop on a shuttle to the starting line at Husky Stadium. A sticker on our bibs that was given to us at the expo when checking in with the pre-paid shuttle table was all we had to show the driver to get on the bus. We had no problems or waits and arrived to the start area by 5:45 for the 6:30 start. I heard stories about shuttles getting lost one year and the race start being delayed, so it was nice that it was so organized!

There were good tunes blasting when we arrived and it was exciting from the get-go. I didn’t see any obvious signage pointing out where the gear check was specifically located, but it’s easy enough to follow the crowds or ask, and we did both and found the bag check UPS Trucks towards the very back of the start chute. Checking gear was simple and quick, but waiting for a portopotty after that was not. It was just so busy and slow because there wasn’t really an oranized lineup system, but regardless we both were able to use the bathrooms and head into our corral by 6:20, and we didn’t start running until after 6:30 since we obviously weren’t in corral number one! No rushing and no panic.

Go time! Speaking for the full marathon course, it was so scenic!!! We ran across Montlake Bridge over the shipping canal, through the beautiful Washington Park Arboretum, south along Lake Washington with lake and mountain views, and ran the full loop of Seward Park. The middle section was along Ranier Ave and Dearborn Street back towards the Centurylink/Safeco area. Then the last quarter of the race was a big out-and-back with amaaaazing views of the ocean plus all of downtown, running across the Alaskan Way Viaduct (apparently this is the last year it will be part of the course) and then all the way up towards the west side of Lake Union, getting to pass the ferries, Seattle Great Wheel, aquarium, and the Space Needle along the way, twice! SO GREY’S ANATOMY.

There were lots of live music set-ups along the way, and I loved running past and hearing covers of Foo Fighters, Passion Pit and I can’t remember what else. I knew coming to this event that Rock’n’Roll Seattle is not one of the most rock’n’rollie of the race series, meaning I didn’t come expecting the intensity of say, RnR Vegas, San Diego or Nashville, but that’s not WHY I registered. I went because Seattle is awesome and the event is big and fun, and it was easy for me to get there. If you are looking for a mind-blowing Rock’n’Roll experience, I probably wouldn’t suggest this one because I know it’s not one of the biggest or most popular, and you might be dissapointed theme-wise, but overall this event is SWEET. Also, if you really feed off of spectator support, I didn’t find it to be overly involved in that sense, so just something to keep in mind.

gahahaha

As for difficulty, I barely noticed any major hills during the first half, aside from literally about a 100m steep part up to where the half-way timing mat was located. In reality, there was a gradual incline for about 5k leading up to the half-way mark and that definitely took  more out of me than I was noticing at the time. Sneaky! I ran with the 4hr pace group for the entire first half, but at exactly half way I had a stomach emergency and had to make my first ever pit stop during a marathon. One in five so far, not bad. This didn’t throw me off much time-wise, but unfortunately my stomach was fairly cramped up for almost an hour after that…it interefered with my plan, but it did not mess with how much I was enjoying myself! I had lost my crew but continued on. My elusive 3:59 goal wasn’t going to happen, that’s for sure, but I’ve let that go now until the fall. I kept going and enjoyed the experience and worked on my mental game as it continued to get more difficult.

The next section was mostly flat and the less interesting part of the course, and finally, my ass got handed to me by the final 12-ish kilometeres where you see those three giant bumps!

I’m really glad I went into this with a main goal of having a good time and scratching that marathon itch before having to wait until the CIM in December!

Finishing along the viaduct and back into the stadium area was seriously so cool. I loved this course! The finish-chute wasn’t anything to write home about but there were lots of photographers as usual and quite a lot of snacks, CHOCOLATE MILK (my favourite) and Gatorade and water. Marcie was there for my finish, and she found me at the exit of the finish area and we went to grab my gear (easy) and head to the concert area, which wasn’t very busy at all but had an awesome energy.

We stretched and relaxed on the stairs, took photos and enjoyed the post-race vibes. There was a free beer ticket on the bottom of each bib, so lucky Marcie, she got two free Michelobs hahaha. Full marathon finishers also received a finisher’s jacket, which in the pics online that I saw before hand looked super cheesy, but they actually are kind of awesome! I won’t be rocking mine around daily life or anything, but it’s a really good wind breaker and tucks up super small. Useful swag, and so great to have it to throw on as another layer while hanging around being sweaty and getting progressively colder.

The medals for both the half and full marathons are sweet. I love the colours and the glitter and the boldness of SEATTLE.

Marathon number five, in the bag! The weather was perfect for running, it was overcast, a big muggy but not too warm, but it wasn’t ideal for hanging out at the concert stage afterwards, and we wanted showers, so it was time to head back to the AirBnB.

Post-race epic meal this time around consisted of Mexican at Poquitos (YOU NEED TO EAT HERE) in the Capital Hill neighbourhood (so great) and then dessert at Kurt Farm Shop (omfG, CHEESE FLAVOURED ICE CREAM!!?!?). Such a bang-on post-marathon meal.

In summary, the Alaska Airlines Rock’n’Roll Seattle Marathon & Half Marathon was a really fun, exciting event. I love big, busy running events, and they said there were approximately 18,000 runners lined up at the start line on Sunday to run either the half or full.

pic from the event site

The course was so great with some cool on-course music and features, although challenging and maybe not for PR chasing, the medals rock, the organization was without fault, and Seattle is just a very cool place! The expo was basic, and the post-race concerts didn’t seem too exciting, but the finish venue and general area was super cool. I had a really great weekend and I would definitely run this race again and I recommend it to anyone to who has easy access to Seattle!

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How Running taught me to give fewer F*cks

What’s uppp! Summer is almost officially here, the days are long and there’s so much daylight before and after work to get outside and have fun! By fun I don’t just mean running, but that’s mostly what I mean ahaha. I’m really pumped about something happening on June 24th. Kelly Roberts and Oiselle have declared that day Global Sports Bra Squad Day. You can read about it HERE. The positive messages behind this amazing day really got me thinking about how running has boosted my confidence in so many different ways. Recently I had an experience that really showed me this. It was actually the day I joined the #sportsbrasquad. Myself and other #rupertrunners will be hosting our own Global Sports Bra Squad Day social run in Prince Rupert, so if that’s where you live, stay tuned.

About ten days ago I ran the Calgary Marathon and for me personally, it was REALLY hot out. I live somewhere very mild with a lot of rain and up until then I had never run in a sports bra before. The 25 degree weather in Calgary was starting to get to me on my three mile shakeout run the morning before the race, so I decided then and there that I’d join Kelly Roberts’ #sportsbrasquad at the marathon and run in just my bra. One less thing to worry about – feeling disgustingly hot for over 42 kilometers! When I arrived to the race, most people around me were wearing tank tops or racing singlets, some were even wearing long sleeves, and there I was in my small shorts and favourite race bra (Lululemon’s Stuff Your Bra…PLEASE MAKE MORE). It wasn’t even hot out yet, it was 7am. That’s when my inner critic started up.

I’m 32 years old and most days I feel like I’ve had enough time to accept the uniquenesses of my own body, meaning the parts that are NOT my favourite. However, insecurity arises in many forms and can pop up anytime, anywhere. Whether these insecurities relate to size, shape, weight, complexion, whatever, we are always hardest on ourselves. A friend can tell me something she doesn’t like about her appearance, and I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about. On the other hand, I complain about things that people have complimented me on. Prime example: I have huge calves from walking on my tippy toes until I was twelve (just way too excited all the time) and I hate them, but other people have told me they like them and they’re nice. When I look in the mirror on a non-confident day, I think they look so ugly and gross and like man legs (no offense, guys). I didn’t start wearing shorts until I was in my late twenties, except for at soccer when below the knee was hidden by shin pads and socks. Why do we pick out shit we don’t like about ourselves, but then look at others and see them as nothing but strong, beautiful, unique and natural? This topic is enough for a whole series of posts! Anyways, that morning when I left the hotel, all I cared about initially was not overheating once the sun was high in the sky, so I headed to the marathon with my bib pinned to my sports bra.

Then I arrived at the race, tossed my throwaway layer after warming up, and started comparing myself to other people. WHY DO WE DO THIS??? What was making me feel uncomfortable on this day were thoughts coming from various categories under the big umbrella of worrying about what other people think, not so much about my own body, but about not wearing a shirt. Here are some of the things my inner critic was throwing at me:

“put on some clothes, you’re half naked”

“you must think you look pretty good to wear no shirt.”

“stop trying to be hardcore like Shalane and Kara.”

“it’s not even hot you’re just trying to look cool.”

Years ago, I would have probably freaked out, begged for my checked bag to dig out a shirt and re-pin my bib, and then SUFFERED even more than I did anyway in the heat that day. Guess what. It’s not years ago, it’s now. Suzanne Fetting came to mind (if you don’t know who I’m talking about, read THIS) and I immediately stood up to these ridiculous thoughts that were coming up.

“put on some clothes, you’re half naked” – Inner Critic

“I’m about to run 42.2 f*cking kilometers and it’s going to be 25 degrees by the later stages of my race. I don’t give a flying f*ck if someone thinks I’m scantily clad.” – real Me (I know, I swear a lot. YODO)

“you must think you look pretty good to wear no shirt.” – Inner Critic

“I have been training for months and my body feels stronger than it ever has. Also, I’m here to run, not to look good.” – real Me

“stop trying to be hardcore like Shalane and Kara.” – Inner Critic

“Hardcore isn’t a look it’s a feeling, but if this ends up helping me stay cool and FEEL hardcore, BONUS.” – real Me

“it’s not even hot out you’re just trying to look cool.” – Inner Critic

“Let me explain a second time since you weren’t listening. I don’t feel like roasting, and I’m going to be REALLY warm by 7:03 am. Also, define cool!?” – real Me

I ran my race, it wasn’t my day and the heat affected me regardless. But guess what? I was way more comfortable that I would have been with a sweat-soaked tank stuck to my skin instead of air. Also, multiple runners said to me “I wish I was as smart as you and went shirtless.” Yes, man in full-length sleeves, you do wish that, don’t you! Why I was able to just not care in the end, is because running has taught me that I am strong, capable, mentally-tough, confident, and it has proven to me over and over again that I can and do believe in myself – and most importantly, that NONE of this has anything to do with what other people think about me.

The bra story is just one of many examples of how I’ve realized that running helps us get better at not giving f*cks. There are so many instances where, as a runner, you’re presented with perfect opportunities to tell that inner critic to shut up. Each run is practice!

When I first started running, I was so concerned with what I was going to wear, who might see me, what I would look like out there…I’d be cruising down a busy street and see people walk/drive by and glance at me, and my brain would invent thoughts like:

“I must run funny, bet that’s why they’re laughing.”

“I probably look like I’m struggling.”

“people are gonna know I’m new at this.”

“shit, people might see me taking a walk break and think I suck at running.”

“I don’t look like a runner.” (WHATEVER THE HELL THAT EVEN MEANS)

But after getting out there more often, I believed in myself more and more, and realized I do it for me, and me only. I was too busy working hard and taking care of myself to worry about other things. The stress-relief that cardiovascular activity can provide is amazing, and all of a sudden you feel more relaxed and the problems that seemed big, now seem small. Ahh, yes, less f*cks to give about molehills, save them for the mountains!

We become stronger. We start to feel more empowered. You’ll come to realize, as I did, that people may notice you running, but not negatively! Maybe they’re looking to see if it’s someone they know. Or because they feel guilty that they aren’t out exercising. Or because that new bright-coloured gear is so nice AND helped them not run you over! In most cases, it’s probably just curiosity. The BEST part though, is getting home from a run and realizing you didn’t think any of those silly things. The only thing on the radar was footfalls, breathing, Macklemore and spending some sweet ass quality time with yourself.

I stopped caring (in the good way). If you haven’t already, you will also stop caring. Every single run is a reminder of how amazing it feels to be strong, capable, driven, and most of all, excited to ask yourself “holy shit, what ELSE can I do if I can do that?” This is self-care people. Self-care increases self-love, and self-love decreases the giving of f*cks. HEY SELF, I CARE ABOUT YOU. YOU ARE AWESOME. YOU ARE FUN. YOU ARE STRONG AND SWEATY. ALL CHALLENGES: ACCEPTED.

Running is also a form of self-expression. Run where you want, when you want, wearing what you want. The opinions of others are completely bogus. Period. This becomes oh so clear as the sweaty journey continues.

It’s about you. It’s not about anybody else. Imagine a free activity that leads people to increased health and feelings of happiness, accomplishment, confidence, positivity AND to put a high value on how they FEEL about themselves, vs. what other people might THINK about them. OMG it’s real. It’s called running. Thanks to whoever invented it 😉

@jammiekomadina

Picking out Positives – Thou shalt not freakout about a non-spectacular run!

This morning’s long run was interesting. It had some qualities that could easily have lead me to decide that it wasn’t very good, or even BAD, and then proceed to freak out. Gut problems started around 6km. Accumulated fatigue resulted in a pace that was a little discouraging. Then side stitches on both sides. Lastly, the option my coach gave me for an up-tempo finish wasn’t looking good, and then didn’t happen.

Despite the latter, I didn’t have to force myself to look for positives today, they were apparent. I did, however, need to make a conscious choice to focus on them and to form a list of all the great things that came of this training run. Being with my best run buddies was a game-changer as always, but in the end, making that choice is what allowed me to NOT let a tired, crazy-stomach run with many walk breaks get into my head and trick me into thinking negative (and total bullshit) things about training like:

“I’m not ready”

“I suck at this”

“I’ll never reach my goals”

“Worst run ever.”

etc.

Here is the list. Maybe it will give you some ideas the next time things aren’t going as planned on a long run, which I have come to find happens as often as not.

  1. I have a sore, ripped-open blister on the inside of my big toe and it’s been bothering me even when not running, BUT I tried a blister cushion bandaid and it stayed put and was legit! I didn’t have pain or notice it during the run, or at least not enough to let it piss me off.
  2. No chafe! I confirmed that my favourite Oiselle shorts, which I’d like to wear at the Calgary Marathon, can withstand 26k. I’ll put them to the test again next weekend for +30km.
  3. I had no specific muscle or joint discomfort. Often I’ll get painfully tight calves and/or achilles during the first kilometres as my body continues to warm up and find the groove. My left ankle also tends to get really achey from old soccer and volleyball injuries. Today, everything felt good, aside from general tiredness.
  4. . Love the new Salt Stick chewable tablets I picked up at REI in Seattle last weekend. Once my stomach wasn’t going buck wild anymore I tried a couple. Small, not chalky, good flavour and great reviews so I really wanted to test them out on a long run, and I really wanted to like them! Success.
  5. Renewed appreciation for outhouses! Not just for avoidance of pant-pooing, but because a time will come when a stop during a race is required, and in that case, efficiency is needed! A pit stop can be made in a minute and I have realized it doesn’t necessarily have to effect overall time by much!
  6. I spent hours on my feet, working on endurance and simply getting it done. Yes, I was instructed to run the last 6km up-tempo IF feeling good, but I just worked on completing the prescribed distance. General goals of a long run (increase aerobic base, improve running economy, build confidence in distance and duration) were achieved.
  7. My Pro Compression socks were good to go, and I may want to wear these on race day so this is good news. I love my CEP and Tiux socks too, but I find the PC ones less hot. My feet are gross, chewed up and sensitive and seem to hurt from so many different sock materials and thicknesses…strange since my feet are comparable to the skin of a rhino. LOL. Anyways, no issues with blisters, callouses or painful friction. And, tall socks can’t slip down the heel. Another win.
  8. We beat the rain. Aside from a little at the very end which was refreshing, the weather was super cooperative precipitation and temperature-wise. So satisfying to have a long run completed by 9am and to have taken advantage of the nicest part of the day.

 

It’s almost May. The Calgary Marathon is less than a month away. My brain is already trying to freak out. No! The next four weeks of the training schedule have been and will continue to be examined suspiciously. I have added Calgary to my Weather Network app and have been checking it approximately every eight hours ahahahaha, it doesn’t even show May 28th yet!!! It is so easy to let doubt creep in, instead of having confidence and trusting in the training that has been put in and ignoring the uncontrollable factors. This goes for anyone approaching their goal spring race. Shout-out to all the people running BMO Vancouver next weekend, you know who you are! Lets pick positive things to focus on. I will if you will haha.

Today’s training run is very meaningful to me because I actively decided it was good and not bad. It’s like that basic saying, “man I really regret that [run]…SAID NO ONE EVER!”

For all people appraching a big race, lets think about the good stuff!

Why Oiselle is Awesome (+training Recap Mar. 27-Apr.2)

So, see this racing singlet? I’m pumped to race in it going forward and to rep this company because they are wicked! Oiselle is a Seattle-based running apparel company established in 2007. The apparel is made by and for women athletes. and they’re brand is about success not just in athletics, but in life! Oiselle’s mission is to build a family, or sisterhood of support, at all levels from beginner to pro. It’s always growing, and part of that sisterhood is the Oiselle Volée, which is the team of amateur runners I’m now part of and what the singlet above represents. “We are only as strong as the bonds we build. We work hard to raise the bar in terms of how women support other women, fostering strength and leadership – not just through healthy competition but in daily actions, big and small.” Oiselle encourages savouring wins, owning losses, speaking up for what we believe in, supporting each other and setting big goals and going for them, hard. “Go fast, take chances.” They also have a professional team made up of incredible women who are are making a difference in the world of athletics (girl crush, Kara Goucher), AND a team of emerging elite female athletes who make up the Haute Volée team. These ladies are working hard to compete at the highest level of their sports and have the support of Oiselle and the Volée along their journeys.

The reason I chose to join the Volée is because some of the things I believe in most (goal setting, growth, pushing our limits, running as a way of life, women building each other up, equality, etc) line up exactly with the messages that Oiselle conveys. I can’t even wait to head to Seattle in three weeks for the Tenacious Ten, which is presented by Oiselle, and to run in this girl-power event with my friend Whitney and a bazillion other people who care about all the stuff Oiselle represents! And to wear the freakin racing shirt!!!!

I should probably mention that their gear is the best. Just don’t order lots at once or you will get unpleasantly suprised with duty charges from Canadian customs..

Favourites: mini stride shorts, new satellite tank, flyte tank and flyte long sleeve. I find the bottoms fit big, so I order a size down than usual.

 

Weekly Training Recap

MONDAY March 27th

Planned: 4k EZ, 3k hill climb @5% with max heart-rate goal, 4k EZ

Actual: 4k EZ, 3k hill climb w/ a couple breaks and trying not to die, 3k struggle shuffle

this day was the final evidence of some burnout happening, I let Coach Andrew know and we planned the following three days SUPER easy and a Skype for the following morning

TUESDAY March 28th

Skype with Coach! Aside from talking about resting, we are planning some fun stuff for the Fall marathon training cycle in preparation for the California International Marathon in December; things like REALLY “scary” goals and lots of coverage of the process, training plans if you want to join in and run this race (excellent choice for a first marathon, they even have their own first-timers program) and tons of training tips to follow along with and get to know Coach Andrew and the rest of the crew at Lifelong Endurance!

Hard nap.

11.84km easy – average heart-rate 150
5.5km on my own, a little >6km with the Learn to Run Clinic (10min run/1 min walk)

stretching

WEDNESDAY March 29th

60 minutes in the pool + stretching + many naps

I don’t trust the swim data – I was indoors!

THURSDAY March 30th

more naps

11.7km easy total – some hard hills, HR wasn’t as low, but kept it easy effort

8km on my own + just under 4km with the Learn to Run Clinic

FRIDAY March 31st

back in the game! Timed intervals, sooooo sweaty!

“I was just going really fast” face

3k super easy warm-up, [4x 5 min @ 7:35/mi, 3 min recovery jogs], 3k cool down – amazing. Felt strong af.

 

SATURDAY April 1st

Long run as workout: 16km (10 miles)
3mi easy, 2mi fast, 2mi easy, 2mi faster, 1mi closing hard

Pit stop at the end of the 3 mile warmup, looks like I stopped completely when I turned around at halfway, and then quick calf stretch and had to grab my headband off a post at around 8 miles because I was overheating from the start and ditched it earlier because it’s SPRING NOW WOO! No gloves today, either! I’d love to run this workout on 10 miles of flat, but we must work with what we have.

SUNDAY April 2nd

Easy 8km along the 8k road race route next weekend! 

Great week!!! Local race coming up next weekend for me! The Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon (& 8k), which follows a 14 mile (22.5km) training run on the Saturday, so we will see what happens!
 

Three weeks out from the Tenacious Ten in Seattle!

oiselle

Eight weeks out from the Calgary Marathon!

calg

Real Talk: Shit Happens (training recap Mar. 20-26)

MONDAY March 20th

Flat-to-Hill repeats! 9km total (treadmill)

4km easy, [8 x 1:30 flat-to-hill reps, 1:30 recovery jogs], cool down jog. So good!!!

TUESDAY March 21st

10.5km easy with the 6am lady crew + extra stretching. Love those chicks. We love “morning pace” haha

WEDNESDAY March 22nd

60 minutes in the pool swimming lengths!! Ummm swimming is SO HARD. Unexplored territory since the 90’s!  + foam rolling

THURSDAY March 23rd

11.4km easy with 6am lady crew + extra stretching

Learn2Run Clinic – 6km run/walk intervals. Spring weather!!!

FRIDAY March 24th

Timed intervals! 11km total (treadmill)

3km easy up, [4 x 5 min @ 7:35/mi, 3 min recovery jogs], couple cool down kms. BOOM.

*notice how the week up until now has no real kinks worth mentioning..

SATURDAY March 25th

4.5km death march with frown on face, quit 12km early and walked home…

Background info: I am a terrible sleeper. Even when I was little I had trouble falling and staying asleep. The situation has improved a lot in the last few years, especially since I quit drinking, but I still have a hard time getting enough quality rest on a regular basis. More often than not, I go to bed early, fall asleep for a few hours, and then roll around fake sleeping until 5:30 or 6 when I get up.

This morning (Saturday) I dragged myself out of bed for my “long run” of the week, which actually isn’t that long at all, and I had an off-feeling that was building since last night. All week I wasn’t getting enough rest. My training load is up there right now too. Normally I do a very good job of operating on not a lot of sleep, but it caught up to me this week hard.

The scheduled was for 10 miles, or 16km, with a fast finish in the last 5km for a Zone 4 heart-rate, and I was really looking forward to it earlier in the week! I look forward to 99% of my runs and really love getting them done before work, it’s so satisfying, but by the time I left the house just after seven this morning, I was beyond dreading it, and I wasn’t meeting anyone which didn’t help. The dread built up as I got dressed, had coffee, got my shoes on…it was just one of those days where I did NOT want to go anywhere. You know the kind. What I wanted was to be able to take the day off work, get back into bed with my husband and sleep for a really long time and do the run later or tomorrow. “Poor me” was the theme of the morning.

I hit the road anyway, planning to get it done, feeling heavy and slow on my feet but telling myself that it’s always like this for the first 10-20 minutes. It will pass. I’ll feel energized soon. I get to warm up for 10 kilometres! The wind and rain will stop pissing me off as soon as I find my groove. I’ll wake up! But after just about 5km and a couple walk breaks (I think I was walking with my eyes closed?) I started having a conscious debate in my head (you know the one):

Fuck this shit.

But doing it now is always way better than saving it for later!

But I am so tired. I feel like the walking dead. I could go to sleep on this sidewalk

You have to be able to push past this kind of shit.

I have no energy, and I never quit, so today it’s fine to just go home this one time..

You will be so happy after work if you already did it!

It’s supposed to be nicer after work though, and maybe I’ll have more energy.

But quitting sucks and you will feel shitty for giving up. That’s the worst.

It’s only 16km. It is easy to reschedule. Later or tomorrow are both options.

And then I stopped running, turned left instead of continuing out the highway where I was headed, and walked home pouting. FFFFFF!

I was in the worst mood! I hate giving up and I know I could have powered through, but it’s easy to say that after! I showered, went into my bed for the sixty minutes I had before it was time to get ready for work and actually slept, got up sadly to a second alarm, was a total asshole to my husband, and left in a miserable mood, looking as lovely as I felt. LOL.

Things I learned from this by Saturday afternoon

  1. even though I have far fewer “shitty runs” than when I first began running regularly, they can and do still happen, and will. They happen to everyone. Don’t forget.
  2. It’s okay to reschedule things around “life” which includes being exhausted.
  3. It’s really dumb and unecessary to let a bad run affect my mood for any longer than it takes to shower and change.
  4. The belief that “I’m a bad sleeper” doesn’t serve me. “I love going in my bed and resting as much as I can” is better. Also, naps are good for me. Nap more.
  5. Lack of sleep can make a sub-optimal situation seem far worse than it actually is.

Oh, and ordering a new pair of runners and registering for an inexpensive 10km race six months away is mood boosting…hehehe

Things I learned, generalized

  1. Shit happens and always will. Try again.
  2. Be flexible
  3. Let it go.
  4. Do what you can.
  5. Reality checks are helpful and necessary.

The point of this reflection actually boils down to things like being flexible, letting go of things that didn’t go as planned, and trying again when the first try wasn’t a success.

I really hate the feeling of quitting, who doesn’t? But, life is life, and in this particular situation I have more than enough time to give it another go before Monday. For those of you for whom endurance training is not a passion, you might be thinking that I’m a drama queen who has attached an extremely odd level of importance to the scheduled run I didn’t complete (yet). I won’t get into it too much, but the goals I’m working towards and the schedule I’m following from Coach Andrew are really important to me, and what I love the most when it comes to extra curriculars. The point of this reflection actually boils down to things that apply to any situation in life, like being flexible, letting go of things that didn’t go as planned, and trying again when the first try wasn’t a success. You don’t see a ton of content on social media platforms about shitty, unsuccessful anythings, so this is just my account of what actually went down in my life this morning to keep it real haha. I have officially decided to go for sushi with my sister after work, go to bed early, and start over tomorrow.

You don’t see a ton of content on social media platforms about shitty, unsuccessful anythings, so this is just my account of what actually went down in my life this morning to keep it real haha.

SUNDAY March 26th

Planned: 60 minute cross train (active recovery)

Actual: 16km – last 5km up-tempo into a Zone 4 heart-rate

Nailed it! 11km by feel, 5km up-tempo. Every day is different. Things that were very helpful this morning, however, were bright colours, a new playlist with some House of Pain, Aqua and Coolio, and actually sleeping last night! The weather was very cooperative too, but that’s just pure luck of the draw.

An interesting observation is that the first five days of my week were bang-on and awesome. Then one day of shitting the bed on a run and everything seems crappy. Lame! Focus on the positive. And this is why I am doing a weekly recap now, because the big picture of this past week was really REALLY good. Don’t let a shitty run F with you. Or a shitty day or meeting or exam or gym sesh. Have a good Sunday!!!

 

Four weeks out from the Tenacious Ten in Seattle!

oiselle

Nine weeks out from the Calgary Marathon!

calg

“Everything you want is on the other side of Fear”…or in this case, Five.

I’ve told you about this before. Back in 2013, I subconsciously joined a non-existent club called the Slow Sucky Runners Club. Next, I developed a complex around running paces per kilometer that start with five. Anything below 6:00/km I classified as “too fast” and “too hard” for me. The numbers really don’t matter, this is just my example of something ridiculous and NOT REAL that I decided to believe about myself. Do you have a belief like this?

How can that be scary? Well, not being able to do something we want to do can be really scary. Fear of failing, not being good enough, etc, are common fears among many of us, not just relating to running or athletic performance. In running, the only way to fail is to give up. I am not giving up. And what does enough even mean? Good enough for what!?

Last Sunday, at the West Van Run 10km, something cool happened. It didn’t happen to me, I made it happen! I went in with a similar mindset to the Historic Half race in November when I broke two hours for the first time in the half marathon; I felt confident in the work I’d put in and I knew what I was capable of. I wasn’t thinking negatively about myself, I was believing good things and ready to try really hard and make good things happen. But first, rewind a bit.

I wrote exactly this in a recent post about self-limiting beliefs and upcoming race goals:

 

West Van Run 10km – March 5th

  • don’t go out too fast
  • say yes instead of no to discomfort
  • average pace goal 5:15

 

I’m calling myself out right now on the third bullet point. What a load of shit! I knew I wanted to run faster than 52:30 in this race, I wanted to run something closer to 50 minutes, with a very deep, secret goal to get down into 49:something. But I low-balled. Just in case I didn’t pull it off. WHY? After giving it some thought, I know it’s because if I didn’t do it, people would know because I shared it online. Because I thought I’d feel embarrassed that I thought I could run that time but I actually couldn’t. Because I’d have to admit to myself that I, on that given day, in those given conditions, didn’t manage to run as fast as I hoped to, although I knew it was physically possible and realistic. All kinds of inner-critic crap.

Just reading those reasons truly reminds me that it doesn’t matter if we set goals and don’t reach them on the first try, or second or third, or even ever! The point is that we are trying. I know deep down what is difficult yet realistic for myself, and so do you, for yourself. I also know that even though something may be possible, I still need to execute when the time comes to perform, and that isn’t always guaranteed to happen because I am a person, not a machine or a robot. From now on, when I share goals I’m going to triple-check with myself that I’m not bullshitting. If you read something I share and you think, “she’s bullshitting, that’s a sandbagger goal” then please, call me out. I’m going to go and edit that post with the spring race goals.

I didn’t go out too fast in the race on Sunday. I listened to my body, but also took full advantage of all the little downhills and wasn’t too conservative. I kept a close eye on my watch to make sure I didn’t make a rookie mistake and accidentally run a sub-5 minute kilometer early on. I reminded myself to respect the distance, like my friend Jeph told me to remember, and forced myself to keep holding back a bit. I trusted my training, and myself. My pace was pretty even up until around the seven kilometer mark and I told myself after that to start chipping it down. I definitely said yes instead of no to discomfort in the last couple kilometers. Mile repeats on the treadmill came to mind. Very hard, but manageable! The last 800 meters were basically gross, but I’ve gone there in training and I just focused on the fact that faster = being done sooner. I kept telling myself “you’ll be done in a sec!” and “today is the day” and “do it now.”

 

Shannon Banal Photography #westvanrun

 

The stupid fear of 5’s can piss off because I’m over it. My last three kilometer splits were 4:48, 4:40 and 4:30 !! Who am I? I’m myself, not that runner I decided I was before who never went out of her comfort zone. The times don’t matter. It’s the fact that I, and that we all, can do things that our inner critics tell us we cannot.

 

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Shannon Banal Photography #westvanrun – hmm my pain-face is a little misleading LOL

Guess what my average pace was, overall? 4:59/km hahaha! That’s right, not anything in the 5’s, 4:59/km! So yeah. Everything I’ve been wanting, or at least some of the things I’ve been wanting, like to trust my training, believe in myself and run my best 10k, were just on the other side of some fear. Where I’m at right now, it was just on the other side of FIVE. I know that what intimidates me will change over time, depending on where I’m at with running and what’s going on in my life; lots of what I want will be on the other side of other “scary” things. But what I have learned is that it’s not scary to try harder, it’s actually really fun and VERY rewarding.

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woo! like my Momentum Jewelry bracelet? I’ll have one to give away soon…