Motivation

There are lots of reasons why we lose momentum. Sometimes it’s an injury, changes to routine, you’re not seeing enough progress, you’re seeing progress and think you can afford to take some (lots?) of time off, burn out, distractions, etc. Whatever the reason, it can be difficult to get back in the saddle and keep on going.

For myself, being in recovery mode can get me lazy since I’m not specifically training for anything, but I need to keep up be strong to hit the ground running when I’m able to. For others (wink and wave! hehe), you have to jump on the training-for-a-race train and hang on. Whatever your situation, I thought I would share what Ipersonally do to help motivate myself through a race training cycle (complete with loads of inspirational quotes from Pinterest, but of course).

Get pumped. Watch the promotional video for the race. These videos are designed to get you pumped for the race, so it will be a good starting point for the items below. Also watching videos of people you admire doing great things will get you stoked to do the same.

How can you not be motivated by the Flyer? (source)

Also read this article by The Oatmeal. It’s hilarious, realistic and strangely motivating.

Set goals. Write the reasons why you are running the particular race. It could be a time, a new distance, fun with friends, etc. But write down the feelings you expect to experience.

Visualize. Remember the feelings you wrote down, close your eyes and imagine running, crossing the finish line, etc. Do this again while running. During hard workouts, like tempo or long runs, imagine you are in a tough part of the race, then imagine the finish line and how you will feel crossing it. Relating the two will help you when you are in that pain zone, as your mind will go to the reasons you listed.

that finish line elation

Triggers. Come up with some key phrases that kick your butt into gear and repeat them to yourself when you find you’re having trouble getting out the door or struggling during a run. Some of my personal favorites (don’t laugh) are:
– Dig deep
– Break on through to the other side
– Want the results? Do the work
You better work, bitch
– Relax. Inhale. Exhale.
– It’s not supposed to be easy
– Don’t give up
– You got this
Think about past experiences that make you feel accomplished or happy. It doesn’t even have to be running related, any positive thought will help.

Rewards. Another tip to trick yourself into staying consistent is to think about what you like to buy or do and use them as motivators. This takes some willpower and focus, but so does anything worthwhile in life.

For example, there was a time where I wanted to buy all the new clothes and risked going overboard with the spending, so I told myself that I would buy one clothing item a week if and only if I met all my workouts. If clothes ain’t yo thang, but maybe going out for dinner/drinks is, and let that be a reward. The only catch is that you and ONLY YOU are responsible for ensuring you don’t get your reward without completing your goals. It’s a practice in willpower but that’s not a bad thing! Practice makes perfect and it will get easier.

Celebrate.Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Bad days come from any number of factors, but your best days are indicative of your abilities, you cannot fake those. This is why I advocate keeping a training log. Looking back to previous weeks/months/years you will see a gradual improvement, and if you keep on keepin-on then think of where you can go!

Adapting. If you find that your certain motivational triggers are becoming ineffective and stale, take a step back (not longer than a few days to a week) and repeat the above steps again. Don’t be afraid to try different angles as your brain will try to trick you into becoming lazy and complacent. It will get easier, however, to push through these tough times and re-motivate yourself.

7. Keep your eyes on the prize. Giving up or putting in minimal effort is easy, but warrants few rewards. Make the most of your training and see what you can do when you dedicate yourself to something, chances are you will surprise yourself. Sure, it’s going to be hard, but as I said earlier, it’s not supposed to be easy. It’s when we challenge ourselves we grow stronger, build confidence, and refine us to become the best we can be.

Be determined to find a way.

 

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The Long Run

I cannot WAIT until I no longer feel the need to talk about my shins/calves/lower legs, and I’m sure anyone who reads this or hangs out with me IRL feels about the same. I’m sorry. But when you have something this annoying and shitty it kind of takes over your thoughts/life.

Anyways. After running Icebreaker the shin pain and tight calves returned. I iced periodically all day long while at work and took another break from running. Actually, I was pretty lazy overall in the cardio department. Oh well.

This past weekend I threw caution to the wind and ran. Outside. On my legs. For 30.5 whole kilometers (19 miles for the imperially-inclined). This was my last “long run” before the race and I wanted to see if I could do it. So while visiting family in Saskatoon, I plodded along a nice single track dirt path (to minimize impact) along the river.

2014-04-13 09.07.59

My pace went from 9:00/m to 14:00/m since last 10km was fairly walking-heavy. But as my friend Tyler reminded me, that is still forward propulsion and therefore still counts. And it hurt. Not my shins (thankfully) but my butt. My butt had enough. I had forgotten what long run pain feels like.

For the remainder of the day I laid on the couch and watched my 5 year old cousin perform his interpretation of a Chinese Lion Dance. It was just as amusing as it sounds.

But I did it.

They always say that you don’t have to win the workouts, just the race. And this long run, no matter how slow it was, will help me get to my goal of finishing the marathon. I’ve got three weeks now to keep up with my running conditioning yet tapering at the same time, and of course making sure I am as healthy and pain-free as possible. This simplistic, “just finish” approach reminds me of running my very first marathon, so hopefully I’m as happy as I was the first time when I cross that finish line, regardless of how long it takes me.

An interesting side effect of this long run has been my desire to run. As hard as it was, I came back wanting more. Previously I was teetering on burnout due to frustration, but now I am looking forward to summertime races and a fall marathon. I’ve promised myself to not sign up for anything until after this race, but I think you could bet on me running the Regina Marathon on Sept 7, claiming my running redemption (hopefully).

Maybe I was a little inspired by this guy

 

Women of 2013

As this year comes to a close I’ve read many a posts about years in review, revisiting resolutions and discussing achievements.

2013 has been a time, both good and… challenging. I started a run club and started a blog. I PR’d in two marathons, one half marathon, and two 10k’s. I adopted a cat. We got flooded out, and I saw my city pull together and rebuild (with help from the best mayor ever). I got injured and recovered. I grew closer to my friends, my parents, and my boyfriend. I’ve learned things as a runner, and I’ve set my sights high for 2014.

To close out the year, I’d like to acknowledge the various female influences that I’ve come across, that have helped ignite the spark of feminist energy inside of me, thus propelling me towards my goal of becoming a woman of both mental and physical strength. Like these women, I hope I can inspire others of any gender to set and achieve goals, persevere in the face of adversity (whatever that means in your world), stand up for their rights and the rights of others, and look at the world and themselves in an objective and curious manner.

Janelle Monet

“I want to redefine beauty and goals for young women. It’s about breaking down stereotypes, fighting against oppression, trying to save the world.”

When I first heard Janelle Monet’s music, I was blown away by her voice but also impressed with the fact that she clearly doesn’t feel the need to be 90% naked to perform (unlike some artists…). Coming from humble beginnings in Kansas, Janelle Monet’s intelligence and talent lead her to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Feeling stifled she quickly dropped out because she felt creatively stifled.

“I wanted to write my own musicals,” she recalled. “I didn’t want to have to live vicariously through a character that had been played thousands of times—in a line with everybody wanting to play the same person.” – source

She is clearly a person that does not look to societal norms as the desired path, and I love the fact that she doesn’t feel the need to be 90% naked to be a successful female artist. Evident in her collaboration with Big Boi of OutKast, Prince, and Erykah Badu, I think she is on the right path.

Pussy Riot

(source)

Coming from a long lineage of strong Slavic women on both sides of my family, Pussy Riot holds a special little place in my heart. These women present their ideals in an aggressive yet tangible manner, away from the passivity that is commonly associated with the “fairer sex”. While I don’t totally agree with their church performance (but understand their motives and meaning behind it), their arrest and trials were indicative of the intolerant nation they call home. These girls never caved, gave up, or strayed from their beliefs. Watch the doc below (warning, some NSFW parts).

Fit and Feminist

My displeasure with the “fit is the new skinny” and “fitspo” trends somehow lead me to this blog and caused me to spend most of an afternoon going through post after post thinking “holy shit! It’s like she’s writing my thoughts out for me!” or “holy shit! I never thought about _____ and that makes me angry too!”. It’s nice when you find someone that you can totally agree with. She seems funny too, and totally the type of person that I would want to go for a run with then crush several beers and have some good conversations. Tons of great links to other blogs too.

Oiselle

(source)

Putting it lightly, Oiselle was a game changer for me. A company by women for women, supporting female runners and are taking the athletic (and fashion!) world by storm. Their team is filled with women of all shapes, sizes and running speeds supporting each other through events and social media. They promote a sense of both running and sisterhood in a time when individuality and competition seem to prevail. From them I’ve been inspired to approach running and life with a “heads up, wings out” attitude to “go fast, take chances” with love and gratitude in my heart.

I guess I should also mention that they have some pretty awesome running gear. Some of my favorites:

Distance short (Lots of pockets, doesn’t ride up)

Mio mesh top (so light and cool, perfect for hot summer days)

Lesko bra (boobs can’t move but I can still breathe. Doesn’t even feel like I’m wearing a bra)

Raglan slub (THE best white t-shirt ever. Period.)

Also an FYI, my birthday is coming up….

Diana Nyad

“Find a way”

As I’ve discussed before, this lady’s swim across the channel between Cuba and Florida really inspired me. Her three main points:

– Never give up

– You’re never too old

– Find a way (believe in perseverance)

*The final two (well, 2+) don’t have the same notoriety on a grand scale as the previous ladies, but deserve the same credit for making my year incredibly awesome and helping me grow. I’ve also put them here as a reminder to look in your immediate circle for inspiration and encouragement, and to feel gratitude for the things you have in your life. As Diana Nyad said, “it takes a team” and your team is already there, ready and willing to have your back*

*I also want to note that I have some pretty awesome men in my life too, and I don’t want them to feel left out but this is a lady-focused post. I still love you guys! (especially Dad and Dan)*

My Mom

A feisty one at the top of her career game in Real Estate Development with two Masters degrees, she’s never afraid to try something new like run a marathon, climb Mt Kilimanjaro, or learn Muy Thai kickboxing (a small sample of her hobbies, btw, although she claims that she’ll never run another full marathon).  Through thick and thin, my Mom has been there for me. Always the one to prod me when I need it, tell me to aim higher, be bold, brave, and remind me that she’s proud of me. She’s never given up even when we’ve had our battles, and she’s my best travel companion.

pie time 01

the first pre-race pietime EVER prior to my first full marathon

Me, Mom, and a trilobite

Mom, me, and a trilobite during our nerdy hike of 2013

My Girls

Over the past 3.5 years I have procured the best group of girlfriends I’ve had since high school. Having felt like a lone wolf for most of my young adult life, I’ve now got a great collection of ladies that I’m proud to call my friends. They show me support in all aspects of my life, and constantly remind me that I am strong and smart when I don’t feel like I am. We’ve had a great year together!

2013-12-04 22.11.09 2013-10-13 11.48.41 2013-09-08 13.43.18 03 2013-08-10 09.51.30 2013-08-10 06.47.15 photo(18) Sept 2011-Sept 2012 020 Sept 2011-Sept 2012 004 goats

Happy New Year everyone!

xo

v

Spectator Love

Physical achievements aside, races are pretty neat and 99% of the reason why I love running so much. There are up to tens of THOUSANDS of people coming out to major races to cheer on friends, families, and complete strangers. People write signs for their friends and family, hand out orange slices, volunteer and stand with their arms outstretched holding cups of water, little kids give you high-fives, bands play, people from ALL walks of life read the name on you bib and tell you to “keep going!”, “you make it look easy!”, or “you’re almost there!”. Even companies and corporations get involved. I heard somewhere that “if you start to have doubt in the human spirit, just go watch a marathon” and I agree wholeheartedly.

I get so emotional thinking about all the support I’ve received from the sidelines throughout the years. The first 10k I ran I remember my Dad meeting me and my Mom at the finish line. My friend Sarah has been at the finish of  every Vancouver 1/2 Marathon I’ve ran. My Mom was my pre-race-prep all star for my first and second marathons, making sure I got to bed on time and stuffed my face with carbs. She followed me on a bike (to the best of her ability) in Portland, and ran the last 100m of my Vancouver marathon with my, in flip flops, after she ran her own half marathon! And like I mentioned before, my boyfriend Dan biked along my side when I wanted to call it quits during my last race. And not to forget the other friends I’ve had that have watched me cross the finish line. Thinking of them is the fuel to my running fire.

The unfortunate events in Boston left a lot of people in shock and confusion, but I see the running community coming together and supporting each other and the others involved and it really warms my heart. Keep running, loving and supporting each other. We’re stronger than what is thrown at us.

To move forward from this, here’s a tune that Jamie got me hooked on last Saturday during our late night chat (4am… woops!). Seems appropriate.

Enjoy the weekend! I have a tempo run to go crush and then a run for Boston tomorrow am. I’m hoping there’s a good turnout and I get to meet some local run peeps. Ciao!

Friday Inspiration/Rant

My Friday Inspiration post today comes from a touchy, yet current and important subject. As much as I’d like to keep this blog about running, this is something I cannot keep quiet about, but I will try to keep it brief.

In the past year there have been far too many instances of bullying/sexual assault and rape that have been popping up (Rehteah Parsons, Steubenville, Amanda Todd in the media, and another case that was closer to home). What has really struck me, like many others, is not just the fact that these acts were committed to these young women, but is the fact that there are men/boys out there that felt it appropriate to participate in such acts. I believe that their behavior is directly linked to their perception of women, which is something learned and can be changed. A major, MAJOR influence in this is the media. And I know many have talked about women in advertising and fashion but I think the documentary Killing Us Softly really brings up some valid points.

I think it’s generally important for us to have respect for each other, and the way women are presented in the media does nothing to garner that respect. And the same goes for men. I was watching TV the other day and Hair Club for Men’s ad came on, and completely belittled balding men. Watching this as a woman, we get told that a bald(ing) man is weak, sad, and less worthy of our attention. We are constantly told by someone else who we should respect and who we should not.

So, if you have some time today, watch this documentary, regardless of what hangs out between your legs. You will see WHY the youth of today have such skewed perception of the female gender. And for all of us adults here, the first step towards change is being aware of the problem.

This is inspiration for me, as a woman and a runner, to not give into society’s media-prescribed role for me. I, as many female runners, focus on our strength, our ability, feel pride in the fact that we can run 5, 10, 21.1 or 42.2km rather than the fact that we fit into a size 2 (which I most definitely DO NOT). I focus on training to be strong, not slimming down so I have an idiotic “thigh gap“. I gain much more from this approach too. I gain self confidence from achieving goals, a sense of perseverance and knowledge that I strive to share with others. And I demand respect from others because of it, instead of striving to gain approval for something as trivial as my appearance.

Anyways, that is my rant, hopefully next week I’ll have a more lighthearted inspirational post for you all, but this was near and dear to my heart. Ladies, I hope this inspires you to be the strong, capable woman that you are. Fellers, I hope that this inspires you to ensure that the next generation of your kind is brought up to respect the lady-folk.

Find a woman today and tell them what you admire about them!