“But I never get sick”

As soon as I heard the words fly out of my mouth I knew it was the kiss of death.

Not long ago I was being lectured on flu shots from a group of friends. I nodded obediently as they discussed the benefits knowing that I would probably not go get a flu shot. I haven’t gotten the flu in over ten years. I couldn’t be bothered.

Flash forward a couple weeks and I am one of the fallen ones. The flu has wiped out a good chunk of Winnipegers this holiday season, many people saying that it’s a strain even newer than this fall’s flu shot.  My Christmas holidays were spent huddled in bed with the shivers, a high fever and a debilitating cough. I haven’t breathed through my nose in over a week.

As much as I’d love to ring in the New Year in a subzero 5k first thing in the morning (not sarcasm), I know my body well enough to tap out of this one. Even the best athletes in the world have their limits when their body isn’t well. It’s the only body I’ve got, I have to take care of it!

To everyone going out tomorrow to run the Resolution Run in Winnipeg or whatever city you live in, you are awesome! I look forward to cheering you on from my window and setting a new goal for myself in the New Year.

For those of you sickos who are stuck in bed this New Year, check out this article. It’s got all you need to know about when to start exercising again after being sick and how hard to push yourself.

http://www.eatmoveimprove.com/2012/01/when-to-start-working-out-after-being-sick/

Staying motivated when you don’t have a finish line

I started plugging in my car a week ago. It wasn’t even December. It’s not even officially winter for three weeks. It’s not fair. This is what it means to be a Winnipeger.

I’ve already read a handful of articles predicting what the weather is going to be like this winter. I think many Winnipegers (including myself) labour under the cozy delusion that this winter isn’t going to be as bad as last winter. It’s pretty hard to get worse than last winter. Whatever helps us sleep in the subzero, frigid night I suppose.

Personally, I find myself still recovering from last years brutal winter. The side effect? I have absolutely no desire to run outside. Whatsover.

I know, I know, I’m a wimp. A sham even, as I sit here discrediting my own blog. Allow me to explain.

I’m not exactly the best role model when it comes to running. My routine mainly consists of two things: training for a marathon full force, or hardly running at all. To combat that, I try to compete in a race at least once a year. When I’m really feeling it I do a half marathon, when I’m not I’ll do a fun run. I haven’t decided on my next challenge and therefore I’m struggling to find the motivation to even hit the treadmill, never mind run outdoors.

In this apathetic phase, I am turning to the advice that I have once given others, but forgotten for myself.

1. Motivate in the way that’s best for you

2. Baby steps

Totally simple, yet easy to forget.

For me, I’m not motivated by having a workout buddy. I am motivated by signing up for a class with a starting point and end point. I am not motivated by sharing my progress (kms, weight loss) with others. I am motivated by giving myself accountability like announcing a challenge on this blog.

For me, the best way to combine what motivates me with starting small—baby steps— is to finally decide on my next challenge. So I have decided that my next running goal is to run the 26th Annual Brita Resolution Run in Winnipeg. If you haven’t gathered, it happens on New Year’s Day every year, no matter how cold the weather may be. For me, this is the perfect ‘fun’ run to start off the New Year.

Check out info on the run here:

http://www.events.runningroom.com/site/?raceId=5951

What motivates you? How to you keep a regular routine? No matter how cold it is outside, motivating your mind can be the biggest challenge in winter running.

For more advice on motivation, check out this article on www.lifehack.org:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/thirteen-tricks-to-motivate-yourself.html

To quit or not to quit… that is the question

It was the combination of a friends recommendation and this photo that made me want to try something new:

www.Pinterest.com

                   www.Pinterest.com

I am pretty knowledgeable about diet and exercise. I know that to be a good runner, it’s important to practise strength training along with running to rev up your metabolism. When I’m training regularly I do this at least once a week. To keep things exciting, I’m usually up for trying something different and rock climbing seemed like a brilliant idea.

It was the classic case. The girl in this photo is clearly more advanced than I am, but surely I’ll be able to perform at an intermediate level despite not having rock climbed since I was 13 years old at summer camp. Well boy was I wrong.

I elected to try a form of rock climbing called bouldering. Not attached to a harness and rope, you basically make your way through a series of thoughtfully determined, colour coordinated routes. The routes aren’t particularly high because of the lack of harness, but usually traverse the wall quite a bit for added challenge. The goal is to only use rocks assigned to the route. And when I say rocks I mean silly little nubs with no space for gripping.

Can you guess how it went?

I was the only novice there. I decided to try out the kiddie wall for a laugh before I tried one of the beginner routes while the rest of the room watched. To my surprise, I couldn’t even do the kiddie route. After some pouting, I kept trying until I managed to get it. I was humiliated. To say it’s harder than it looks is an understatement. If I was climbing straight up, it would have been doable. But in this case, I was fully relying on my upper body strength to switch feet as I made my way across the small children’s wall.

I was there for over two hours watching an encouraging others. Every fifteen minutes or so I’d give a route a try in a less populated area. I’d maybe make it three feet off the ground before falling to the mat in frustration. My fingers hurt so bad. My thumb still doesn’t feel right. My arms hurt for over a week.

The regular climbers I went with assured me that everyone struggles their first time. If I kept at it, I would surely improve. They’re probably right. But I’ve decided to chalk this up as a learning experience rather than my latest conquest.

Do I consider myself a … quitter? Not really. I’ve never aspired to master the art of bouldering, it was just a ‘fun’ activity to switch up my routine. However, the friend that I went with was less than impressed with my attitude. Maybe I shouldn’t have given up so quickly, but I consider it a bigger crime to give up on a goal I actively pursue: to run a full marathon.  And no way am I going to let that happen!

Since my climbing experience, I switched up my routine. I’m working my arms better than ever before, and readying myself for my next experiment so I can come out feeling slightly less deflated than the rock climbing fandango of ’14. Who knows, maybe I’ll try again next year.

For those who are up for the challenge, check out your local coupon books and Groupons. Vertical Adventures in Winnipeg currently offers a 10-pack discount with over 50 % savings. I recommend trying it out once before buying a package, just in case climbing isn’t for you. On the other hand, it can also be a good motivation to keep going back to use up your pass. Whatever works for you!

Have you ever surprised yourself by failing at a new fitness venture? Did you give up or keep at it until you succeeded? Share your stories.

Call it a comeback?

Happy September, everybody! I am happy to finally get a chance to write this post which is long overdue. I spent the last three-ish months with very limited Internet, so having the luxury of wifi back is more than a treat.

For the last two summers, I was away working and living in Alberta. The first time I went, I brought my running shoes and had a calendar full of goals to accomplish while I was there. I was looking forward to new terrain, a less humid climate and new scenery to accompany my weekly jogs. Turns out, I worked around the clock, ate way too much (even though the food was not too tasty) and didn’t go for a jog once. Not once.

How on earth could I let this happen? I was so consumed by the crazy, fun, challenging work I was doing and every spec of time that I had for leisure transformed into drinks with friends or naps or a bite to eat in town. When I came home at the end of the summer I was exhausted, but also plagued with guilt because I had completely failed all my expectations over the summer for running. After all, that was right around when I started this blog and I wanted to start strong, not rolly polly and out of shape.

Flash forward to this past summer. I did the same job and knew what I was in for. This summer I did not even bring my good running shoes (I did bring runners though.) I knew my running regime wasn’t going to happen. I wound up going for a really cool hike near the mountains, did morning yoga regularly (if even for only fifteen minutes) and did ALOT of walking. I’m happily back in Winnipeg now and back to my running regime.

The moral of my story is there’s no reason to ever feel failure if you can learn to set reasonable expectations for yourself. Feeling satisfaction in your fitness regime should never require comparing yourself to the person on the treadmill beside you, the jogger passing you on the trails, or the Tweeter who shares every time they go for a long run. Do what works for you, and set goals that are reasonable for you. If you can’t measure up to the goals you set, SET NEW ONES. There’s nothing worse than giving up on yourself entirely because your goals were too out of reach.

My message is one you’ve probably heard before. But one of the reasons I’m saying it anyway is because this is an absolutely beautiful time of year to start new goals!

Fall is my absolute favourite time of the year to jog. The air smells so fresh and crisp, and the temperature is near perfect for pushing yourself and wearing normal workout gear. No snow pants and facial Vaseline, no overly revealing and unfortunate jogging shorts. Just autumn breeze and a light jacket.

Don’t wait for New Year’s resolution time to challenge yourself, get out there and accomplish something new! Just keep your motivation high and your expectations reasonable.

Here is a link to a great article by Runner’s World I retweeted last week about getting back into your routine after taking some time away:

http://www.runnersworld.com/getting-started/7-secrets-for-making-a-comeback

Five races to try in Manitoba this year (2014)

Happy springtime, fellow runners!

Though I had (mostly) a good time training through the long, dragging winter, I am happy to say that now is the time to sign up for spring events! Signing up early means you save on early bird fees, you don’t have to worry about the race selling out, and you motivate yourself to get out there and train. Since marathons/runs are non-refundable, I understand that it can be nerve-wracking to sign up for a race far in advance. For me, signing up early is the best motivation to train possible. However I always promise myself that I won’t push my body on race day if I’m simply not ready. No matter what race we’ve signed up for, we must listen to our bodies before trying to get our non-refundable moneys worth.

So without further ado, here are my top five runs to try this season (in order of race date):

 Royal Canadian Air Force Run

Winnipeg is home to many flight operations support divisions and several training schools. Its primary RCAF lodger unit is commonly known as 17 Wing Winnipeg. To celebrate the culture of fitness within the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Air Force Run takes runners of all ages and abilities through the base and along the RCAF flight line in an annual race. The website says everyone receives a medal directly from one of our members in uniform. The event also features a post-race barbeque.

  • Race day: May 25, 2014
  • Events: Half marathon, two-person relay half marathon, 10 kilometre race, 5 kilometre race/walk
  • Early bird fees end: April 25, 2014
  • Proceeds: go toward supporting ill and injured troops and their families
  • Register here: http://rcafrun.ca/register/

Manitoba Marathon

It’s the biggest marathon in Manitoba, attracting around 14,000 participants from around the world, so you’ve probably heard of it. But I can’t make a list without this event. The Manitoba Marathon is just something you have to experience if you live here. The grand scale of the event, the new Investors Group stadium, the side street entertainment that shows up year after year…it’s a wonderful experience that happens every Father’s Day. My Dad and I have run in one event or another for at least ten years. I feel like I’ve grown up with this race and it’s such a classic Manitoba event that I recommend to anybody.

  • Race Date: June 15, 2014
  • Early Bird fees end: April 20
  • Events: Full marathon, half marathon, relay, 10 k, Super Run (2.6 miles), Mini Mites (non-competitive event)
  • Proceeds: Go to supporting projects for people living with intellectual disabilities.projects for people living with an intellectual disability.
  • Register here: http://manitobamarathon.mb.ca/race-day-events/

Paws in Motion

Is there anything better for the soul than spending your day with hundreds of cute dogs, puppies and other animals? The Fairmont Winnipeg Paws in Motion is an annual walk-a-thon for people and their pets that supports the Winnipeg Humane Society. The event takes place at Assiniboine Park and features a 3 kilometre or 1.5 kilometre option with “Paw Stop” activities, treats, and watering holes along the way.

Grand Beach Sun Run

Grand Beach has long been a Manitoba landmark with it’s white sand beach stretching over 3 kilometres long. This well-kept beach happens to be home to a beautiful sun run in toasty-hot July. Choose your distance for a leisurely fun run that takes you through the Grand Beach community including 1.5 kilometres of running on sand.

Electric Donkey

If you haven’t heard the term EDM, you may be living under a rock. Or you’re not a night-clubbing twenty something. Regardless, the recent explosion of electronic dance music has slowly been fusing with the other recent explosion of novelty 5ks. Colour me Rad ring a bell? Well Colour Me Rad didn’t make my list this year (it’s so last season) but Electric Donkey did! From the makers of Dirty Donkey Mud Run and Ice Donkey run comes the next big thing in larger-than-life races, a 5 kilometre glow run. According to their Facebook page, projects for people living with an intellectual disability.projects for people living with an intellectual disability.the run goes down at dusk. It starts at The Forks and ends at Memorial Park for a 5k full of awesomeness, music, lights, and memories you’ll never forget.

There are so many more races to check out, this are just my top five picks. Check out the Manitoba Runners Association website for a whole list of other races to check out year round: http://www.mraweb.ca/Dec15_RaceCalendar.htm#raceCal