Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Self Doubt

I had a strange thing happen to me today. 

I had a look at the map of the New York City marathon which I pulled out of last months issue of Runner's World.  I have mentioned previously that I plan on running this marathon in November of 2011.  As I was looking at this map, the start line at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the pathway through the 5 boroughs, the finish at Central Park...

I felt doubt.  I suddenly didn't feel so sure that I could run in and finish the marathon.

This would be common if NYC was to be my first marathon experience.  But it's not.  It will likely be my 9th time pounding out a 26.2.  I have no idea where the doubt came from.  Maybe because I've been hibernating from the cold for a few days?  Maybe because I haven't run any distance at all since Chicago?  Maybe?  Maybe?  Maybe?  I know that self-doubt is something that everyone experiences from time to time; life is full of new and unique situations, all of which likely force us to consider our level of confidence and how we do perceive ourselves in the world often dictates our response to these situations.  But I am CONFIDENT in my ability to complete a marathon.  So why the doubt?  And why now?

I may never figure out where this (hopefully!) moment of doubt has it's roots but I do know one thing for certain; I am confident it will go away.  I am confident because I will help it the only way I know how...

I'll go running.

Winter Wonderland

Eep! Winter has arrived.  Snow.  Cold.  Ice.  Sigh.  This runner is most certainly dreaming of warmer days, running shorts and ice free sidewalks!

Photo from the Calgary Herald November 23rd
First, an admission.  I planned on running the reservoir Sunday afternoon, which usually takes me about an hour and a half.  Instead, I had a lovely 2 hour afternoon nap.  Yep, I sure did.  I'm like a bear in hibernation.  Eating.  Sleeping.  Eating some more.  If only there was some kind of award for marathon eating and sleeping.  I think I'd win...or at least have a very, very good chance.

So.  Winter running.  All kinds of fun.  Please be careful if you're out there on the sidewalks and paths because it is SLIPPERY.  And gear up- it's C-O-L-D.

And, read these tips, they just might save you're life...or at least your FITNESS!

Tip#1- Stabilize, stabilize, stabilize
When you run on ice or when you are running in the winter and your brain is worried about the potential of hitting ice, you change your stride.  Trust me, even if you don't think you do, you just do.  The muscles that help stabilize your bod when you're running are working much, much harder than a run on the dry pavement.  This can lead to soreness in different areas than normal- groin, abs, hip flexors, calves...not that this is bad, its just different and is something to be aware of.

Tip#2- Gear Up
Dress in layers, wear a toque and remember- cotton is your ENEMY!  You definitely want fabric that pulls the sweat away from your body but doesn't make you cold.  Most of the running companies make some pretty sweet winter running gear so it is possible to look sort of cool under all those layers. And don't forget your mitts or gloves; mini gloves work very well unless you're in Calgary where it's the second coldest place on the planet, in which case I highly recommend mitts.

When I run outdoors in the winter, I stick with the same shoes I wear at every other time of the year.  There are shoes that you can purchase that are more for the colder temps and snowy conditions, some people swear by them,  so it's definitely an option.  There are also warmer socks that are still quite thin, which are good to consider if its brutally cold.  And last but not least, you can purchase something called Yak traks which fit on your shoes to provide you with some more traction when its icy.

Tip #4- Relocate
California would be nice.  So would Australia.  Oh- and how about Mexico?  Yes, please!  But if moving to a lovely, humid, warm, tropical environment is not in your near future, you may want to consider moving the running indoors when the mercury dips to the lowest of the low.  Hate the treadmill?  You can always hit up an indoor track.  I had to relegate myself to the treadmill once this week and while I was not looking forward to it even a teeny bit, I felt fabulous afterwards.  Cabin fever had set in and I was like a rabid dog.  Rabid.  So I ran it out.  I pounded away on the treadmill and if felt fabulous.  FAB-U-LOUS.  So if its the only option, give it a just might surprise yourself and end up loving it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Read Me!

If you have a second, have a read...

National Post Article: The Black Toenail

National Post Article: The Party that was the NY Marathon

Two inspirational articles worth a moment or two of your time!

P.S. Went for my first wintertime run last night.  Calves are SORE.  More later...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Guess WHAT?

This is a photo of the start of the NYC marathon.


My plan is to be there...

NEXT YEAR!  YES! YES! YES!  Exciting!  SO exciting!

I discovered in my interweb travels today that the NYC has a guaranteed entry if you have run under a certain time.  For me that certain time was a 3:23.  My 3:09 in Chicago just became that much sweeter, as next year I plan to be in that pack, pounding the pavement on the means streets of New York.  The only question now is how am I going to manage to contain myself for a full calendar year.  Curious.  Tips anyone?  Do share...

But that's not the ending of the running excitement and news...

This past weekend was Winterstart.  Yes, THE Winterstart, which, in previous years, has resulted in everything from an altercation with a VERY irrate hotel employee over the Inn Keeper's Act to intense Flippy Cup competitions hard fought at the Rose and Crown.  I'm pleased to report that this year we managed to avoid any legal disasters and cup casualties.  The 5 miler up Tunnel Mountain was conquered by all and we managed to keep our behaviour in check.  One item of consequence I would like to highlight is the fact that ARJR, Bergie-Lynn, Ellis and I finished the race in a solid tie- around the 47 minute mark.  There really is nothing quite like holding hands and crossing that line together.  Nice work, ladies!  And for that matter, nice work to ALL the ladies that made the trek to Banff for this event- a job well done!

And last, but definitely not least, I'm running again.  YES!  So happy to be back at it.  It just feels awesome to get out there and work it out people.  I think I've decided that my next 26.2 is going to be Vancouver in May.  Having said that I'm open to suggestions...any other ideas for a spring marathon?  I'd love your input...yes, YOU!

And one more small thing...I'm training the Tech Shop half marathoners again.  The target race is the Calgary police half at the end of April and I'm really excited to be working with Nolan and his crew again.  If you are considering this kind of training, I highly suggest checking out their website (The Tech Shop) or stopping into the store to sign up.  If the half distance seems a bit daunting at this point, there will also be a learn to run clinic, which usually has a shorter distance for the target race.  Go for it, people!  I promise you won't be disappointed!