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Archive for July, 2013

This morning Daniel, an awesome photographer and avid Bruce Trail hiker, posted about gratitude on Facebook. It inspired me to write a little about what I am grateful for today and share that with you.

Since November 2012 I’ve been getting rid of a lot of the negative influences in my life and that has made room for some very positive aspects to move to the forefront. I often reflect on all the wonderful things in my life and I try to pull the lessons out of the not-so-great things that have happened. Doing so keeps me grounded and my outlook focused where it needs to be.

I am grateful for…

  • Bryan
  • my darling children — Tobias & Kaia
  • love
  • true friends
  • our dog Thomson
  • coffee
  • camping trips
  • naps
  • my bike — I love our family bike rides
  • Tobias being a great big brother to Kaia
  • air conditioning
  • my friend Laurie dropping in to say hello
  • story time with my baby girl
  • my camera
  • wildflowers
  • our local trail network
  • hugs from Stephanie
  • my running playlist
  • the full fly on our tent
  • simple pleasures
  • running in the woods
  • listening to my kids play, sing & be silly
  • sunscreen
  • swings — they bring out my inner child
  • freezies — brought over by my sweet neighbour when she spots us coming back from a bike ride

So, what are you grateful for today?

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“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” ― Zig Ziglar

I talk about motivation quite a bit and there is another tool I use to help with that—dailymile.com. What is it? It is a fitness log and social networking tool geared towards runners, cyclists, and walkers. Even though a many a runner is down on this free online fitness tracking website, for me it is a matter of perspective. Let me elaborate by telling you how I use dailymile.com.

Inspiration

There are days when I don’t feel like working out or sticking to my training plan. As I sip my morning coffee I pop online to read what my friends on dailymile.com (DM) have been up to from a fitness perspective. Seeing everyone’s posts seems to spark my desire to get off my ass and go do something. When I see a friend who is tight on time or one that is coming back from an injury moving forward with their workout it reminds me that I really have no excuse to be lazy. Reading my friends’ race reports or about their latest trail run through the woods makes me want to get out there. Some feel that DM is nothing more than a competition. I only compete with myself and the people I connect with are very much like-minded so the competition factor doesn’t play into it for me. Inspiration certainly does though and it is my hope that I inspire others like they inspire me.

Camaraderie

There are a few people in my DM circle whose posts I love to read. Alan, the Barefoot Kilted & Shirtless one has the most detailed run data I’ve seen and I love seeing the older photos he posts. Marina writes interesting posts that often make me smile and sometimes even wince. Peneloperae is a tri-athlete who is on quite the planking streak and always has witty twist on things. Mari is the queen of hot yoga who was also at my first race. And then there is Emma, who posts about which song was her best during her run. Thanks to Emma I have a much better playlist. There isn’t enough room here to list the things I find endearing about my friends on DM but suffice to say they are an interesting bunch.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet many of them as our paths cross at races and some were part of my life long before I ever used DM. Many of the people I see in other facets of my life. We’ve planned non-fitness excursions together. Some of us have camped together or just hung out for an afternoon. There are some friends that I even see a few times a week for a bike ride or a run. As much as fitness can be a solo activity, it can be a social one as well and it is great to connect with people who have similar lifestyles and really get what I’m trying to do even if we are involved in something totally unrelated.

Motivation

I do find dailymile very motivating. When I look at the week ahead as a blank space it makes me want to fill it with fun fitness activities. And when I post an activity it is really nice to hear feedback from those who I am connected with. This isn’t just the “good job” pat on the back sort of thing but often there is solid advice in those comments. Also knowing that posting a goal makes me accountable is huge for me. Accountability is a terrific motivator, at least for me. Knowing that I have support is super-motivating too and it is something I never had when I was younger.

Seeing my goal approaching helps tremendously. Take the half marathon I ran in May. When I would go in and post that I ran 15K or 17.5K and each week it was a new distance for me, I would get excited. To see it in writing made it seem so much more of a reality and that really made me exuberant about the next week and the next milestone.

Reassurance

Sometimes I just need reassurance because I tend to second-guess myself. While I have a great support system there are people that don’t understand my passion for being as fit as I can be. Like-minded folks, like the people in my DM circle get it and they also experience similar ups and downs… like post race blues. Reassurance is helpful when I aim for a new and daunting distance or I plan to do something I’ve never tried before.

Take yesterday for example. I am training for a 460K cycling trip on Le P’tit Train du Nord in Quebec that will take 8 days. I’m going to be towing my daughter in a trailer specifically designed for a child her age. The trailer is stable and safe—it even has a roll bar. Me… well, I’m not so stable and I’ve been stressing about this vacation. I had taken her behind my bike once on campground roads that were wide and with zero traffic but yesterday evening was a proper training session.

My post read… “Scared out of my freaking mind! This was the second time I’ve towed the child trailer and the first time I’ve ever done it on city streets or single track. I was terrified, to say the least. In fact I was going so painfully slow at the beginning, out of sheer fear, that I could have probably run faster, after all… precious cargo. By the end I was up to my regular 18-20 km/h pace and going in-between barrier posts like I didn’t even have the trailer. I hope that the weather cooperates enough tomorrow that I manage to get in a good strong ride (one where I am a little more confident).”

One of the replies, from a lady who knows the area, was “I can imagine that being quite the challenge (emotionally too!). Glad it worked out in the end. Oh, it is so safe on the P’tit Train du Nord that you’ll be rolling along with no problem (no cars!!!).” 

And… it really helps with my confidence concerning this upcoming journey.

Reflection

I’ve been using dailymile for quite some time—enough to see great changes in my fitness level. I do love that I can look back and see how I have improved especially when it comes to running. For example, in November 2011 my first official Couch to 5K training run was 2.4K in 30 minutes at a pace of 12 minutes and 30 seconds per kilometer. Since then I’ve run 5K and 10K races, trail relays, and a half marathon. This week I ran 3K in 23 minutes and 28 seconds at a pace of 7 minutes and 49 seconds per kilometer. Seeing this and how far I have come is a form of self-inspiration. It makes me want to keep moving forward to see where I can go in the future. Another great thing is that I can go back and re-read my comments about why a specific run or bike ride was really wonderful or why it wasn’t my best. I’ve also been able to export my data into Excel as a chart and share that with my medical team which has proved beneficial on more than one occasion.

dailymile.com, is an invaluable tool for me when I use it in conjunction with my training plan. Aside from all these things I’ve mentioned, I also appreciate that I can store my routes and see countdowns of when my next races are. Inspiration, motivation, camaraderie, reassurance, and reflection are all extremely helpful in keeping me on track with the goals I have set out for myself. There is a Pro version of the website and while I haven’t had the opportunity to try it out, but I am seriously considering it.

As of last night I’ve logged 1,851 total kilometers, 244.13 hours, and burned the caloric equivalent of 1,148 donuts since I started recording my workouts a year and a half ago.

B(e) Positive!

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