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Friday, 26 February 2016

FABFRIDAY: Get the FUNK out!

Getting a hitch in your giddyup sucks. Sometimes a run funk happens with injury or sickness or life change or weather.
I have had a wee bit of trouble with winter funk. Perhaps my job loss plays a part...but I just cannot be pooped all the time and am tired of feeling like a sad sack. So, thank you to my pals who have taken time out in the last few weeks to encourage me and keep me accountable in my running.

It is the kindness of friends (and even the smile from a stranger) that has been so meaningful in the past few months. I have had a brutal schedule for work making me miss most run groups I could join in on. Luckily, I have had a few major meetups that have been life savers!

Just hanging out and laughing and being silly helps. A LOT! 
 And, well, so does running!! DOH! 
Never underestimate the power of laughter
Hydrating with pals also helps! It does a body good (and the mind too)....
All that in combination has made MY runs a little smoother. 
Or made it easier to get OUT the door!
I am not running as well as I was 6 months ago, but i am still running. I am struggling with constant hip and back and leg pain from standing on concrete for 8+ hours at a time...time to bust out compression socks for the win, you think?? I am running. I just need to continue to battle the constant exhaustion and get my mileage back up and keep on keepin on! All together it will lead to a heap of #runhappy! I know it. One Step at a Time. 

Friends make it all better! 
It is friends  who send you a hello...hihowareya that help! 

Make sure you smile and say hello to someone today

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Running is Mental

As a Calgary Marathon ForeRunner, I have been given an entry to participate in the 2016 race.
However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
A small homage to The Oatmeal - his musings on running are the BEST! 
Mental Toughness and Running. 
They go together like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong!!!

And let me tell you...sometimes it's lacking. Not the mental part - I have that part down quite well. The toughie part, which I am working on. But the last couple months have been tough being tough! 

I have stopped many a time to tie my shoe, stretch out my calf, or go to the loo. Or cry. That has happened mid run or post run. I let it go for a moment, then wipe my face and carry on. The little cry may be due to an ungodly amount of stress and not the fact that running is seemingly SO HARD right now. But I persevere. My goal is to relentlessly move forward. To keep moving. If nothing else it propels me to a different place I was when I started. 

Sometimes I sing. OUT LOUD. Thank goodness I can hold a tune. Sometimes I kick my own butt mentally and yell out loud "one more mile!!! Or whisper as I run YES, you got this. I have also pulled out #allthemantras. 
Sometimes when I am feeling the blahs, I take a photo and make it into a motivational meme thingy ... good to reflect on later. Or remind me of alltheFAB. WHATEVER gets you through. You may have seen a few of these on my blog...or even on someone else`s blog (but not attributed to me, but that is another story - haha), Hey that means they work right???
So...what to do when you are lacking that toughness...and you HAVE to get out and train because your bit race is say...90 sleeps away (Hello!!! Calgary Marathon! 94 days away!!! ) and the weather isn't cooperating? Or it`s nice out but too icy. Or you feel you need something cause the runs are lacking and its just damn hard to get er done.... 

No matter what the race or where you are in training, we all have those times where its sorta BLAH! 
Here are a few tactics that have helped me on the run 

When you feel like quitting, remember why you started. 
Why are you running? Right now...or you next race. What is the REASON. Is it for someone? or For yourself? Whatever the reason, make sure you remember to keep your eye on the prize and remind yourself why you are out there. Little goals turn into big goals. I never believed that I could run a marathon. But I did. 3 times. A halfmarathon is sooo far. Well now I have run 42 halfmarathons. Sure, I wanted to quit a few times. Some runs have been pretty sucky. I won't lie. I have wanted to stay in bed OR even go back to bed once I started. BUT I keep going. And never regretted it.

Never judge a run by the first mile. Or two. 
Sometimes it takes a while for you to settle into the run. KEEP MOVING!!! And, on occasion, sometimes the entire run sucks. For whatever reason - sometimes its easy to pinpoint, sometimes it just feels the world is conspiring. Well, this is where your suck it up and get it done and count those miles. Or...there is no "or". Those miles count - slow or fast. They happened. Sometimes on a shorter run, I pack it in and tell myself tomorrow will be better. And, it most always is. Don't beat yourself up. Move on. It is done. And, as trite as it sounds, tough runs ARE a good thing. They force you to deal with issues that may come up in a race. Plowing through a hard run will undoubtedly help pull you through a race at mile 12 or mile 20 or even 30. 

Be Mindful. 
I run to keep sane and to regain my mindfulness. I'm so lucky that I CAN run. Celebrate that. Celebrate every damn mile. THEY all count. Do not denigrate a run. Do not say you suck. It goes along with the move along now. Sometimes just giving thanks  is a cool thing. If I have a run partner, I always say THANK YOU for the run. They bring you through so much - good and bad times. 

This sort of goes with celebrating every damn mile. But out on the paths or trails, I find good juju. Smile and wave at your fellow runners out there! I love that many of my running friends tell me that they love to run  into me on the path as I am always smiling. I firmly believe that smiling lightens your step. You know when you are feeling blah and you see someone and then you put that pep in yer step again? Yes. Do that!! 

We are all getting to the point of ramping up those miles. Do whatever it takes to get you through your long runs. Plan a post run meal. Think about how good a beer/cider/glass of wine will taste while you take a hot shower or bath. Think about how you have got to the very spot you are in at this very moment. Think - "OMG i love this song". Whateverrrrrrrr. Long runs (depending on the distance you are training for) can be long. And, you will think about all kinds of stuff on those runs. Make the most of it. And if you get bogged down try switching topics in your brain (or is that just me?) ...or songs if you listen to music. Push through and I promise it gets better. 

Do your homework. Stretch, Make Mr. Foamie Roller your bestie! Strength train or cross-train. If you keep at it you ARE doing the work. And that will keep you on course and your head in the game. 
See you out there on the trails and paths!! 
You. Got. This. 
You Rock! 

How do YOU stay focused and positive during a tough run? 
Got a favourite mantra?

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Will Run for Cupcakes

It's no secret I love cupcakes! So when some of my favourite people put on an amazingly fun spring run (ummm with cupcakes at the finish) you KNOW I am gonna be there. 

I actually signed up last minute for the race...and went into Tri-It to do it the day before the race. Long story...but essentially I tried to register online a few times and (thank you computer gremlins) my computer crashed. Then my credit card was hacked. The world was conspiring. So I went in in person to fill up with some runlove and kombucha (Tri-It has it on tap -- yaaaaas) and register for the race. They had the store decorated and even VD-grinchy Tina got in the sappy mooasd!
I immediately went home with a spring in my step and picked out the outfit. 
Which had cupcakes and running theme. WHODA THUNK. 
I had to work work my regular late shift, but the race didn't start til later, so that meant i didn't have to get up too early when I wouldn't even arrive home until midnight. WHEW. 

I set 3 alarms and then fell asleep. I woke up and thought I had plenty of time. Then realized i was sauntering and the race started an hour earlier than I thought. Now, I live less than a 15 minute drive from the store, so thankfully I still arrived 35 minutes before the gun went off. Oh boy....
I sat in my car. Gave myself a peptalk, Drank some Nuun and tossed back some Energybits. I did some deep breathing and just reminded myself that I was there to have FUN. Not race. and to just relax. I have been so tired and so physically spent from working 2-1130 that I am just sort of not functioning properly. Yes it is a job. Yes, I am grateful. But I have not been happy happy happy. I have been overwhelmed with anxiety and doubts. And, a whole lotta meh
SO today i put on an outfit i love. went to run with peeps who i adore, who adore me.
Surround myself with love and use that to move! I ran, had a couple of walk breaks. I had a couple of moments where doubt crept in, but I stayed focused enought to say to myself YOU CAN....get moving!!! Essentially did what I wanted to do. Got my sweat on and got er done.
It was nice to see some of my wonderful friends at the finish, and my fab friend Dawn snapped this pic. As you can see it was brisk...chilly but still above average temps for this time of year. I felt so happy finishing. And then realized I really was only 4 minutes off my personal best in the 5mile distance. Even more smiles. Because I needed this. I really, really needed the run, the fun and some laughs as I got inside the store to enjoy the Valentine treats! 
And the treats?? Oh my! so delish
Vegan cupcakes....who knew! They were amazing! 
One of the best parts of the day was running into Leana
We had a great little chat and it capped of a great morning of remembering why I run, the great people I have met and to never ever forget that all that is really #allthefab, Because for me is all about the experience and the feeling of accomplishment - not really a time. 

For now, I just needed to know YES I CAN! 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Giveaway: Win some Premier Protein®

I received some free product from Premier Protein and the opportunity to provide this giveaway. 
The opinions are my own. 

I am not a vegetarian, but I sometimes feel I do not have enough protein in my diet. Especially after I run. I do love me a smoothie, but sometimes bringing one with you  isn't all the easy or convenient. so enter the offer to try a (new to me) protein shake product - from Premier Protein! 

Why is protein so important? We kind of all know the scoop here! In short, protein boosts your energy, helps repair muscles after a workout and can help curb hunger by making you feel fuller for longer.

I was asked to try Premier Protein shakes. To be honest, I kind of felt really hesitant after I said I would try em. I mean...I hate some protein powders, and I am sort of super picky. But, I said I would try, share my opinion. So I needed to have an open mind. 

I was told Premier Protein shakes are ideal for breakfast on the go, a snack, or a post-workout boost. Sooooo, the other morning after receiving my package of shakes I thought...OK today is a perfect day to try this product. I am off to meet a friend at the gym - he is going to show me how the heck he runs all the miles on the treadmill. So, since I wont get home for at least an hour after the workout, I should have some portable protein. 
So I packed up my bag and off I went....
My pal Ryan is amping up his mileage while trying to lose weight. He was concerned about the calories. I maintain that after an hour of running, this little fella isn't at all bad for you. As a newbie runner to longer distance, he is jsut learning to balance what he eats. And, it can be hard sometimes. 

So the shake deets: Each Premier Protein shake is low fat, with 30g of protein, and contains 160 calories with only 1g of sugar. They are gluten free, have 24 vitamins and minerals with no artificial colours. Honestly after over an hour of some hard slogging on the treaddy...I was deff, I o ready to try it. And, I asked Ryan to drink up, too! 
And then ..... we looked at each other and said...holy cow! These taste GREAT. Honestly, I didn't expect that. The new vanilla ones taste quite yummy. can get em at Costco stores in Canada. Right now they are only available until April 3rd. But the other two flavours - Chocolate and Strawberries & Cream have been available for quite some time at Costco.

Premier Protein also provided me with a recipe to try, which is delish. It does taste rather like a muffin - handy with only 4 ingredients, too. I also recommend making it with a frozen banana and leaving out the ice cubes. If you are like me, experiment with your fruit! 
I must also admit that in having a post workout coffee, I decided to try out the vanilla shake in my coffee instead of cream or milk. I mean...If was trying the drink anyways....hmmmm. And it made my boring iced coffee very latte-ish!! Score!!! Truthfully - I am glad I tried this. It tasted great and is perfect for road trips or taking it with you if you are in a bit of a rush for a quick boost. 
So wanna try some Premier Protein?? 
Win an 18-pack of Premier Protein® shakes! 
5 winners. Canada only. 

I've been away....

Where did you go? 

I went away for a while. I was still hanging on the IG and Twitter but not here.

Not sure where I went,but it really wasn't a vacay. It wasn't pretty. It was sort of like a dark tunnel with no end. It started right after the most fantastic weekend EVER (hello LAS VEGAS!) I lost my job, there was no work, I started working somewhere part time - making a quarter of my usual salary. But yes I had a job. But I didn't feel grateful. More like this.
And reading some blogs made it worse. Everyone was constantly happy, Having personal bests. Running all the races. All the miles. Looking great. Being successful. Being Sofa King Awesome. All the things I wasn't. It got to the point that I would read and see everything as #humblebragging: "Oh look I just ran a gazillion miles, fed the homeless, picked up all my free stuff from my sponsors and i am so #grateful". YIKES.

But no matter what I did it wasn't enough. I wasn't enough. 

I just got tired. So. Tired. All the freaking time. And couldn't write anything. And could feel like I anything to say. Because I was kind of a failure over in my world. And I was feeling like I was Debbie Downer. And despite battling the flu and still managing a December streak, I still felt like shit all the GD time. Even awesome news was meh.

And finally I had to stop. Baby steps. I got out. Called some peeps. Made some dates. Saw the sights. I didn't "choose happy". I mean, In a a way I did..but for those of us who know anxiety or depression...sometimes choosing ain't all that easy.
But each day in January I chose something. Something to change the overwhelming 'not enough'. Something to ensure I got out. even if it was "only" a walk.  I picked up a phone. I called people. I tweeted. It's the dates that made the difference. I even went a few places on my own. Because if I didnt get my arse out there, I would miss out. And, dammit, I was tired of missing out.
I also had some wine. That helped. Grape is a fruit, FYI. 
Mostly I stopped not talking to people. And then, I stopped crying and feeling so damn awful. I finally got to the point where I reached out and said...hey...whatcha doin? I even got brave with a couple wonderful folks who I know, love and trust. Because I needed help, hugs and a boost. I had stopped asking some people for coffee or a run or a visit...because they are always "too busy". And then I thought...maybe they feel like this too? 

Thank you Cara, Susan, Renee, Cori, Ashley, Melisa and Richelle. 

for listening. for being there. for knowing me and helping. 

And they didn't mind (I don't think) when I just burst into tears in midsentence. 
And suddenly my tunnel got brighter. I better. Um no. But I am working on it. Looking for my daily signs. Doing affirmations. Trying my damn dog best to get my training runs done in addition to walking minimum of 5k every day. 

So what does this mean? It means HIHOWAREYOUIMBACK. Little by little. 
It means I take a breath and start over. I take one step which leads to 10,000 (if your into counting).
I run. And be grateful I CAN run. And be brave. In every day. In small or big things. 
I work on being OK with my situation and making the most of it.