It's been a phenomenal summer and although I say I'm back it's not at work, after a great holiday in Penticton I am back home and getting ready for the best training sessions yet! I'm back in the sense of I feel finally myself again. The fog is lifting bit by bit every day and my soul is healing with each day I wake up grateful to have another day to do better.
As I was in Penticton I had the privilege of running outside every morning (since it was too hot during the day!) and not only that but running from the very top of a mountain where we stayed with a view of all the lakes in each direction. The beauty was stunning. And it was my kind of running; hills! It was 1200 ft of elevation gain in a 2.5 km run one way up, just a little steep. And on the morning of my 37th birthday I decided I would run all the way up without stopping and when I decide to do something it is going to happen no matter how hard it gets, I am thankful for my stubbornness sometimes.
I thought to myself as I was running it's been 10 years since I really started to run and as a newbie runner I remember reading that after 10 years of running you start to reach your peak. Well it's been 10 years and I can say it is true. You become wiser, stronger, faster, more experienced and somewhere along the way running just becomes a part of your soul.
There are days I don't like it, that it feels like I'm drowning in sand while running or that I just don't got it. Then there are those days I feel like I am Usain Bolt; free, easy, fast and loving life while running. That is just how life is and running is no different. We all have good and bad days, those bad run days make our good days feel so much better and perhaps that is why we have to feel good and bad in life. Joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure all opposites and all guaranteed to be a part of our lives. In the above picture as I stared at Mt. Robson over the river while my daughter fished, I just felt so lucky to have been able to see and do as much as I have in my time.
I can still remember my first 5 km race it was the Garlic Fun Run at Hawrelak Park in Edmonton. The nerves before it, not knowing what to expect and all the neurotic things new runners think before their first race I've thought. That's why I try to help you calm your brain before an event. Now before a race I would probably be doing what is shown in the above pic. A drink, relax, friends and food. Life is short and I'M the one who entered the race, my life doesn't depend on it and it is for me and me only if I was last (which I have been) the world truly does not end. Just do my best.
Running has given me more than it I have ever "wasted" time on it with, I have seen so many things is a short period of time because running I can cover 5 km in less than half an hour and see so much.
It's cheap therapy some say; hell yes! I have cried until I nearly hyperventilated and thrown up on many a run releasing emotions that were pent up and I didn't even know were there until I started to move my body. Some days I just want to stop mid-run and touch the ground in thanks for this life and I have a few times. All I ever need no matter where I travel is running shoes to see most of the sights. And although I am NOT a morning runner usually I have had some really phenomenal quiet time runs in the morning while being a tourist.
Some of the most enjoyable runs were those mundane daily runs while training for an event, such as seeing porcupettes (baby porcupines), grey owls, deer, moose, eagles and so many other weather, cloud related formations, flowers, changing leaves, green grass, wheat waving in the wind and countless other grounding sights while out moving on my own two feet.
You may not consider yourself a "runner" and that's ok, there's no need for labels when you are out moving. Run, walk, crawl as long as you are moving forward you are farther ahead than sitting on the couch. One important key point to remember is that some days you do need to have a break or a rest day. Obsessions with running every day or worrying that you will fall out of habit if you take a day off is common to new runners but often times ends in INJURY!
Plan to give yourself a day or two a week off or change activities to treat your body to some R & R, it is essential to improving your fitness level.
Many new runners struggle with not being able to run for a long period of time, the biggest reason? They are going too fast for their ability! Start out slower than you think your should run and then gradually increase your speed over time, trust me you will be a runner because you are not sprinting and stopping every few minutes in a sporadic unplanned run/walk/stop pattern.
Consider having someone train you to learn to run, this I wish I would have done sooner in life instead of muddling my way through it. That is what I improved on over 10 years: form, skill and expertise.
Clothing and footwear. Wow! Have we dramatically improved even in 10 years with regards to design and function. Sometimes though there is just overthinking with too much information. Here are two things you NEED:
1. Good shoes/socks: They should fit from the first time you put the shoes on NO BREAKING THEM IN! And the socks should be thin or risk blisters! Buy them from a running store please, they are a better quality than from department stores.
2. Technical clothing: From Wal-Mart brands to CWX they are all price ranges but they all work! Do not use cotton and get heat rash, smelly and uncomfortably hot!
There are a million gadgets and products for running but keep it simple or you will ruin your run because your Garmin didn't start, the heart rate monitor failed and you didn't time your pre-exercise drink just right. Seriously keep it simple. Eat a larger meal two or three hours prior, a snack if need be an hour-half hour before and keep well hydrated throughout the day and if going over an hour in duration only then do you need some kind of rehydration/electrolyte fuel to ingest while running!
This above picture is a good example of hour crappy you can feel after a run in high heat and humidity. Although I ingested food, salt and water along the run sometimes if you run hard in heat you will just feel blah! Keeping cool is important, over the years heat has been my nemesis but with smart technique and protocols to help keep cool I have come to grips with it. Also I do train in the heat of the day when I know I have an event that will be in heat. Ice wrapped up in headbands and around my neck saved me literally!
The most important part of running? Friends. Over ten years I have made friends and helped my friends learn to run and drug them along on some crazy running adventures! Although I do not generally run on training run with people very often just due to time constraints I really enjoy going to races with friends and meeting new ones! Sometimes it is just too much scheduling to run with others when I often times just throw on my shoes and head out for a quick run when my schedule permits, as well I am not relying on others to run but it is nice if you have someone who is on the same time as you to train with. It makes for fast mileage!
I try to picture my next 10 years running but as I've evolved with my running over the years it has become less and less about the distance or races and much more about simply enjoying each day and just feeling good while running! This year has been really quiet compared to most, my only race of the year is upcoming in September at The Heli-Run in Nordegg, AB! I can't wait to run in the mountains or in my part of it 21 km straight down a mountain, but that is where I love to run the most in the big rocks!
On holidays I drove past the start line with ominous clouds, I even get a helicopter ride in this race. I can't wait!!
Ten years sure has gone fast. What will you do with your next ten years? Recall all you have done or what you wished you would have?
I Live Life Now,