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Archive for February, 2013

Turn back time and a few weeks ago you would have found me sitting here at my desk reading one of my favorite blogs while sipping my morning cup of Italian roast coffee. The blog is called Shut Up & Run and the topic was an inspiring one, surrounding mantras and the “internal self talk” that distance runners often utilize. I was connecting with her post because I’ve learned that what goes on with my thoughts can really change the outcome and feel of my long runs.

While running is very physical, it’s also very much a mind thing. I would daresay that it is more in the mind than the body although I would have denied the mind connection back in the beginning. Ray, the coach who has been giving me gentle guidance, has a saying. “Endurance is 90% mental. The other 10%? Well, that is all in your head.” As my distances get longer the head game becomes more important for me. Keeping my mind in the positive place where it should be is as much a part of my training as speed work, hills, and recovery runs. I find using mantras helps to push me through those times where I just want to give in to the negative voice inside my head that tries to tell me that I haven’t got what it takes. That voice always pops up when it gets difficult and I start to become fatigued. That is when I think of Ray’s words about it being mental.

So here are some of the things I think of in order to quiet those negative thoughts while I’m in the midst of a run. These little phrases propel me forward and keep my run positive. I can’t express how many times I’ve wanted to give up and this sort of brain game has helped me reach my goal. I call it “my personal pep-talk” and I can’t stress how helpful this part of my run is.

  • You can do it. Don’t stop now.
  • Breathe.
  • Quit thinking about it. Relax and have fun.
  • You are a runner now… so run.
  • You are more than halfway there. Don’t give in now.
  • Think about the finish line. Imagine race day and how that feels.
  • Look how far you’ve come.
  • It’s a long slow distance. Don’t worry about your pace.
  • Keep running. Just keep running. (inspired by Dory in Finding Nemo)
  • People donated to the charity you are running for. Don’t let them down.
  • Mind, get out of my body’s way. (thanks for that one, Dolvett!)
  • Bryan and your friends believe in you. Believe in yourself.
  • Listen to the birds and feel the breeze on your cheeks.
  • It’s a training wind. Think of it as Mother Nature’s fan.
  • Just suck it up and run.
  • It’s your pace… no one else’s.
  • Be happy. Run happy. Just enjoy it.
  • Push harder. You know you can.
  • This is your time to prove to yourself that you can do anything.
  • It’s not a hill… it’s an opportunity to get stronger.
  • One stride at a time.
  • Set an example for Tobias and Kaia. We don’t give up. We work hard.
  • Think of how difficult it would have been a year ago.
  • You are doing it.
  • It’s the distance that matters today… not the time.
  • Be tough. It’s just a run.
  • Run. Push it. Okay, last kilometre. Make it count.
  • You’ve worked so hard. Don’t let yourself down now.
  • You are strong. You can do this.

As each week progresses and my distances get longer and longer this will be an exercise that will be relying on to help me stay in a positive mind space while I train for this half marathon and my other events.

I’d love to hear about what mantras or self-talk you use and how you work through the tough parts of your long (or even short) runs. Please feel free to leave a comment.

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I’m writing today with the purpose of inspiring those of you who have considered running but are in that place where you feel as if going from walking to running isn’t something you can possibly do. You may think it is too hard or that you aren’t strong enough. I’m here to tell you that you do have what it takes.

I was there once and not so long ago. A mere year ago I could barely run 3K and that was after a few months of running on a treadmill several times a week. At first it did seem daunting but that was my mind playing games. I would cry because I felt like I was going to fail. I told myself that I had signed up for a 5K race that I didn’t have the physical capacity to complete. I’m not generally negative and I am utterly stubborn… so I would quit listening to that voice in my head that kept screaming “can’t”. I put my running shoes on and went to work. It helped that a friend reminded me that we all have to start somewhere and that every runner has had their challenges. I listened.

I wasn’t fast and I wasn’t particularly graceful. It would take me more than 30 minutes to run 3K, however, a few months before I could barely run a full minute. I used a free website to track my progress and I could see that I was getting better when I looked at my training summary. I was getting faster and running further. I proceeded with the attitude that I could not fail. Even if I had to walk half the race, I would still finish. I was not going to quit.

March 2011 came and nearer the end of the month, I ran 5K for the first time after 4 months of gently increasing my endurance. I did it! I really did it! I can’t express the sense of achievement that I felt that day. It was amazing. I ran the distance two more times before my first race and that gave me confidence. Sure, I was slow and I had to have walk breaks. It didn’t matter. What mattered to me was that I knew I could cross that finish line and prove that I could do what, at one time, I thought would be impossible. That’s what counts and still does.

A light bulb went on with the help of my husband Bryan. One night, when we got home from the indoor track, Bryan and I were chatting about running. I was whining that the run wasn’t one of my better times for 5K. Then he said something. Something that is quite amazing to me. “Laurie, do you realize that 5K is now your standard distance for fitness runs? You couldn’t do that a year ago.” He’s right (he’s going to love that I said that publicly – lol). That distance, which seemed so horribly difficult to achieve, is one that I run several times a week now. On Saturdays I run more than 10K now. Go figure!

I hope that you look at my progress and that it gives you the courage to quit thinking about it and give running your best shot (of course, be sure to check with your doctor first and find a good training plan). You might even consider booking a race, allowing yourself ample time to train for it, of course. That will keep you motivated especially if it is a charity run and you are collecting donations. Then you are giving yourself a great gift while doing something amazing for someone else.

Training can be tough but the rewards are worth it, I promise. You can do it!

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it wasn't a finish line

it wasn’t a finish line after all

With all that was going on in my life I needed to take some time for myself especially after losing my Mom. I tend to retreat a little when grief strikes but life moves forward whether we want it to or not. And it is moving forward around here. With that I figured it was time to return to blogging.

Of course, this time of year always brings about lots of planning. There was a time when the only planning was for wilderness camping trips but now there is so much more. I’ll be doing my usual camping, canoeing and hiking but this year we are venturing out on a 9-day bike-packing adventure in Quebec that will cover almost 460K. There are also lots of running events in my future and three of those cover consecutive weekends. Part of me wonders what I was thinking but I am committed enough to conquer these goals and have fun at the same time.

Here is this year’s race schedule…

Happy 5K (5K Run)
Brantford, Ontario
March 17, 2103
Status: Registered

The Ford Race to End Diabetes (5K Run)
Oakville, Ontario
April 27, 2103
Status: Registered

Mississauga Marathon (Half Marathon)
Mississauga, Ontario
May 5, 2013
Status: Registered

TREAD 6 Hour Trail Run Relay (4.2K per loop)
Mansfield, Ontario
May 12, 2013
Status: Registered

Brantford Grand Trail Run (10K Run)
Brantford, Ontario
July 27, 2013
Status: Leaning towards registration

Oasis ZooRun (10K Run)
Scarborough, Ontario
September 21, 2013
Status: Registered

Run for the Toad 50K Relay (12.5K loop)
Paris, Ontario
October 5, 2013
Status: Registered

Colours of Hope (5K Fun)
Hamilton, Ontario
October 6, 2013
Status: Waiting for Registration to Open

Some of these events are about fun and others are about achieving new milestones.

It’s going to be a year full of adventure… so bring it on!

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