30 Good Things Before 30: #14 – Group Runs

It’s not quite 11 a.m. on a Sunday morning as I’m starting to write this. There’s not yet a stir from my husband or my furbaby. (My husband is making the most of the one day of the week he can sleep in; Kenzy is content having some company for her regular sleeping in routine.)

And me? Well, I’m just sitting back with a strawberry-banana smoothie, a cup of coffee, and a bottle of water (I think it’s best to have at least three beverages on the go at all times). I’m freshly showered, snug inside my office, watching tree branches wave under the rain.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.

Even better? My 10k long run is already done.

For me, that’s unheard of. When I have a long run on my training schedule, I always preface it with several hours of moping around the house, debating if I’ve had enough to eat or drink, wondering what I should wear, what I should listen to, and where I should go. The general rule of thumb is that I do this for approximately30-good-things-before-30 three times as long as it will take me to complete the actual run. Which means I’m always late getting out.

So what’s up with me today? No, I’m not suddenly some super-motivated version of myself. I can chalk it all up to #14 on my list of 30 Good Things Before 30:


Group Runs

Up until this week, I’ve been a lone wolf when it came to running. I’d run with a friend on the rare occasion, but 99.9% of the time, it was just me out there. Alone. With my thoughts. (And often zombies.)

I’d heard about running groups, knew that the Running Room offered free group runs a couple times a week, even met their little running posses on occasion when I was just a one-woman wolf-pack taking on the trails.

And while I always wondered what that would be like, thought it looked like fun, and figured it would be a great way to stay motivated, I held back because:

  1. What if no one talks to me?
  2. What if while they’re all ignoring me, they’re also all running way faster than me?

I ran my first group run on Thursday, the first night of my 18-week marathon training clinic. It. Was. Awesome!

First-ever group run!

First-ever group run!

Today, was my second group run, and guess what? Every. Bit. As. Awesome!

Second-ever group run

Second-ever group run

It’s funny how our minds can work in the face of uncertainty, coming up with worst case scenarios that, when examined under a logical lens, just don’t hold up. For example:

  1. “What if no one talks to me?” Really? Have you ever known runners as a group to be anything other than incredibly upbeat, supportive and friendly? Case in point, this smiling group from my local store’s Learn to Run spring clinic:
  2. “What if they’re all faster than me?” Within five minutes of us arriving for our first run on Thursday night, one of the ladies in the group asked “Are you guys fast?” To which we all simultaneously smiled and shook our heads. Everyone thinks they’re slow, regardless of their PRs! And even if you are the slowest one, so what? This article from Women’s Running sums it up well:

“Chances are there is always going to be someone faster than you. Fast is relative. I get it. You run 12 or 15 minutes per mile and are embarrassed to call yourself a runner because a lot of people are faster. Here’s a secret: ‘fast’ runners feel the same way.”

In my group runs, there were definitely a variety of speeds but no one ran alone. We’d find a buddy, match their pace, carry on a conversation and let the miles speed by. I’ve never ran a 10k that seemed so short!

My only regret about running with a group? That I didn’t start sooner.

So all you lone-wolf runners out there? Take it from me and give a group run a try. I think you’ll be glad you did.

The Fredericton Running Room has free group runs, open to anyone, on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. See you then!

The PR that almost was: Fredericton Marathon 10k Race Recap

Sunday was the big day I’d been planning for since… well, since March 17 at least: the Fredericton Marathon 10k.

Because this race weekend happens in my hometown, I’ve participated a couple of times, completing the 5k in 2013 and my first full marathon last year. This year, my first Fredericton 10k race, was different in one very significant way: I was attempting to run for speed.

2013 Fredericton Marathon 5k

Crossing the finish line at the 2013 Fredericton Marathon 5k

My 2013 5k came less than a week after a mini health crisis. I had a bad reaction after donating blood that culminated in a loss of consciousness, some seizure activity, an evening in the hospital and several days of bed-rest. I was weak, barely walking let alone running. So I set a simple goal: cross the finish line.

And I did with a final chip time of 31:51. I remember very little about that day other than the satisfaction of just showing up, my slow cautious pace, and the relief that I survived it.

The next year, I trained all winter to run my first full marathon during the Fredericton race weekend. Again, I was in uncertain territory. The race would be the longest run of my life. My stomach was churning with nerves for days leading up to it. I could barely comprehend the idea of running 26.2 miles, let alone trying to do it with any kind of urgency. So again, I set one simple goal: cross the finish line.

First full marathon

Crossing the finish line at the 2014 Fredericton Marathon

And I did with a final chip time of 4:42:47. I remember everything about that day: the panic when the 5k, then the 10k, and finally the half-marathon runners veered off toward the finish line leaving me with so many more miles to cover; the feeling of lightness when I passed my family and read the signs they’d made for me; the mantra I found myself repeating when it seemed I might never finish at my glacial pace:

Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

And of course, the tears in my eyes when I reached that final stretch toward the finish line (which are somehow still here a year later when I recall it).

But 2015? Well, the 2015 Fredericton race weekend was different because this year my goal wasn’t just to finish. It was to finish fast.

When I first signed up, I hoped to beat my PR of 53:02, set by a 23-year-old me six years ago. In the final week before the race, I added a couple more goals:

  • Floor Goal: 59:59.
  • Realistic Goal: 57:00.
  • Optimistic Goal: 53:00

When I showed up at the start line on Sunday morning, I was being an optimistic realist and hoping for something around 56:00. At the last minute, I decided to run blind, leaving all my running tech at home because I didn’t want to be discouraged if I fell behind my goal pace. This would turn out to be both a blessing and a curse.

My friend Fidele was in town to run with me. It was his first race and I relished every bit of getting him to the start line. A couple days before, we walked a few kilometers of the course and I explained what he’d see and hear as he approached the finish line. The day before, we picked up our race kits and laid out our gear, while peer pressuring each other to hydrate. The morning of, I introduced him to my go-to race day breakfast: a banana and almond butter wrap.

Finally, at about 7:30 on race day morning, Fidele and I, along with my long-suffering but much-loved cheer team (parents, husband, and brother) piled into a couple of vehicles and, after a bit of a struggle, found a couple of parking spots a couple of blocks away from the start line. Just a short walk to work the kinks out of our legs.

As we got closer and closer, we saw more and more runners streaming in the same direction. I felt the familiar pangs of inadequacy. On race day, every single race-bib-wearer seems to exude way more confidence and experience than me. I thought I would feel more like a “real runner” after completing a full, but until the gun goes off I still always feel like I’m playing pretend. (Wonder if that will ever go away?)

We made it to the start line with about 15 minutes to spare. Time enough for porta-potties (No lines! Amazing!), some snapshots and, of course, the pre-race jitters to get a firm grip.

Ready to run

Fidele and me ready to run

When it was time to line up, we spotted a 1-hour pace bunny in the crowd and decided to hang out near him. We both felt a 60-minute finish would be respectable and, if we happened to get out ahead, knowing where the bunny was would at least help us gauge our speed. We hung out for a bit, I tightened up the laces on one of my shoes (this will be relevant later), and then we were off!

It didn’t take long for the crowd to thin out. We were soon passing other runners and leaving the pace bunny behind as we found our stride. I was breathing heavy almost immediately, but felt comfortable running on fresh legs after several rest days and a welcome freedom at having no idea what my pace was.

The race begins with a loop downtown. There’s lots to look at, some cheering spectators, and by the time you get onto the walking trail for an out-and-back, you’re already several kilometers into the race.

Just before I made the turn onto the walking trail, however, I felt one of my shoes loosen and then, as I was looking down, watched it become totally untied. Cursing myself that I didn’t check on both shoes at the start line, I pulled over, tied it up tightly, and was on my way. This probably took, at most, 20 seconds (this will also be relevant later).

It was around this time that I heard someone say my name, assumed it couldn’t be for me, and almost missed my friend Amy cheering. I spotted her at the last minute, gave her a smile and a wave, and felt that familiar boost that can only come from people cheering you on.

(This, by the way, is why we pay money to run the same routes we could run for free any other day of the year. Any other day of the year, there’s no cheering. It’s worth the $40. Believe me.)

As I made my way across the walking bridge, things started to feel a bit laboured. Time to put into action a strategy I read about a few weeks ago (tried to find a link but can’t remember where it was):

  1. Set sights on a runner ahead of you.
  2. Focus just on overtaking them.
  3. Once you have, repeat steps 1 and 2.

This works wonders: the time passes quickly and it helps keep up your pace (even when you have no idea what that pace is).

In fact, I was having such a great time I breezed by the 6 km water station. By the time I made it to the turnaround (the prettiest pylon I ever did see), I was thinking that might have been a mistake. There was some definite gurgling in my tummy, and I vowed to grab some Gatorade on the way back, hoping some electrolytes might settle things down.

Then I saw Fidele on his way out, not far behind me, and gave him a high-five. A couple minutes after that, I spotted the 1-hour pace bunny and realized Fidele and I were both killing it.

Totally re-energized, I skipped the water station again. Very soon thereafter my leaden legs brought on a stirring of regret. This is when I called on a mantra I’d seen the night before:

The day will come when you can no longer run, but today is not that day.

Today is not that day. With a lot of grimacing and panting, I put one foot in front of the other at what I hoped was the same steady, somewhat challenging pace I’d been maintaining.

With about a kilometre to go, I overheard a runner just ahead of me say something that sounded like: “If we keep around this pace, we should come in between 52 and 54.”

Hold the phone. Did I hear that right? Could I actually be on track to potentially beat that longstanding PR of 53:02?

Unsure and with my tummy now gurgling ominously, I held on hard to the pace and pushed myself around the final bend to the finish line. When I finally came close enough to see the clock, it was ticking away somewhere around the 54-minute mark.

With no clue how much was on the clock when we crossed the start line, I gave it my all until I crossed the mat, smiling at my family as I passed them, focusing on overtaking one last target, and trying very, very hard not to throw up.

“Don’t throw up, don’t throw up, don’t throw up.”

Amazingly, when I checked my official chip time, it was 53:39–a mere 37 seconds shy of my PR.

If only I hadn’t had to stop to tie my shoe. If only I had been keeping track of my pace. If only…

Never the less, I was and am ecstatic to have run so much better than I expected. And it just goes to show that a new PR is totally within reach. Next time.

(By the way, Fidele absolutely killed his first race, coming in at 56:47. We’re already planning our next one. A day will come when we can no longer run, but today is not that day.)

Three goals is better than one

I am now officially less than a week from my first race of the season: the Fredericton Marathon 10k. Training-wise, things are going well.

It’s suddenly spring in Fredericton and the sunshine pulled me outdoors this weekend for a couple of nice easy runs and an interesting discovery: It turns out I may actually be solar-powered. Each sun-soaked run felt light and relaxed and my pace was consistently faster than intended (though still not as fast as I hoped I would be when I set out on this training plan).

image

My legs experiencing exposure to sunlight for the first time in months.

It’s a sharp contrast to last week when slogging out a couple of low-energy outdoor runs forced me to own up to the fact that my original goal of a new PR might be just out of reach. Unfortunately, despite my newfound sun-energy, I think that’s still the case.

Yet, I haven’t invested a single second into re-imagining the race and figuring out what my new goal should be. Somehow, I just couldn’t let it go.

And now, I’ve decided I don’t have to.

Instead of letting go of this goal, I’m keeping it and adding two others. Yeah, that’s right: One race, three goals.

Apparently, this is an actual thing so it may not come as a surprise to you more seasoned runners, but it blew my little mind when it came up in the #RunAtCan chat last night.

The chat was focused on “altering the plan” for training and goals. Perfect timing, right? After a lot of heartbreaking talk about injuries and setbacks, one of the questions that came up was if our training had ever gone so well that we had to change our goals in a positive way. (Wouldn’t it be grand to have that problem?)

One of my wonderful fellow #RunAtCan tweeps mentioned that while that had never happened for her, she always sets three goals and has exceeded her “dream goal” on more than one occasion.

Intrigued, I inquired for more detail:

Here’s another good summary from hillrunner.com:

Floor Goal – The minimum that I would be satisfied with if I have an off day or bad race conditions (weather, course, etc.).

Realistic Goal – What I realistically think I should be able to do considering my stage/state of conditioning and knowledge of the race specifics.

Optimistic Goal – What I think I might be able to do if I pop a really exceptional one and everything goes right.

Love. This.

It removes the black-and-white success/failure dichotomy and gives you multiple options to run a race you can feel good about. And isn’t the whole damn point of this running thing to feel good about what you’re doing?

Here’s what I’m thinking for Sunday’s race:

  • Floor Goal: 59:59. Much longer than this and it will officially be my slowest 10k yet. I just can’t see that happening with the shape I’m in now; regardless, getting in under an hour is still respectable and I’ll take it.
  • Realistic Goal: 57:00. Still kinda ambitious for the paces I’ve recorded during my training but achievable given the speed of my outdoor runs lately.
  • Optimistic Goal: 53:00 (a.k.a. just enough for a new PR). It’s not completely out of the question. It’s definitely a pace I can achieve and maybe, with the right mix of race day adrenaline and cheering spectators, even sustain.

Still hoping to land somewhere between realistic and optimistic (and, let’s be honest, hoping it’s a lot closer to optimistic than realistic), but I’ll take what I can get come race day.

In the meantime, I’ll be focused on eating right, hydrating well, and sticking to the final week of my training plan, which (glory, hallelujah!) includes a few extra rest days,

And then? Well, let race season begin!!!

Adjusting expectations: A tale of two training runs

Today’s run: 3 miles at 9:50/mile

I am now officially two weeks from my first race of the season: the Fredericton Marathon 10k.

I set a goal for this race to beat my PR of 53:02 using this Women’s Running training plan. I’d like to say I’m on track to pulverize that goal. The reality is it may be time to adjust expectations.

As I’ve entered the last few weeks of my training, my plan has called for me to attempt some race pace runs. With the deepfreeze of winter finally lifting, I got off the treadmill and onto the footpaths for such a run. It looked like this:

3-mile supposed-to-be-race-pace run

3 mile supposed-to-be-race-pace run. Goal pace? 8:02/mile. Reality? 8:46.

This run came after a full day of yardwork. I had also just drank half-a-beer while admiring my yardwork and then, after getting some crappy news, decided to run off the disappointment. All this to say, I may not have been in the best physical or mental condition for a high-performance run. Nonetheless, I ran until my lungs burned as fast as my legs could carry me, never coming near 8:02/mile.

A few days later, my plan called for a short tempo run. It looked like this:

3.5 mile supposed-to-be-tempo-run

3.5 mile supposed-to-be-tempo-run. Goal pace? 8:12/mile. Reality? 8:46.

Yeah, that’s right: the exact same pace as my supposed-to-be-race-pace run.

No yardwork, no beer, no inner turmoil on this run, but I was dragging my butt right out of the gate. My legs were lead weights. I was uncomfortable. My inner voice said “screw it” and encouraged me to just slow down, goal pace be damned.

Neither run was close to my goal race pace. More heartbreaking still, neither even matched the average 8:33/mile pace a 23-year-old me ran in my 10k PR.

A few short weeks ago, I was overflowing with excitement and confidence that a new PR was within my reach with this training plan. So what went wrong?

  1. Too many treadmill runs – The weather’s been crap. I’ve been content to stay inside my cozy house, hop on the treadmill and watch reruns of Parenthood. This, unfortunately, is not the same as running outside. It doesn’t prepare you for uneven terrain or headwinds. It doesn’t force you to learn the discipline of pace. I know I can run an 8:12/mile. I’ve done it on the treadmill. Forcing your body to cover that ground at that speed on its own without a belt setting the pace, is a different beast.
  2. Too many missed runs – 11 missed runs over the past 6 weeks. That’s a 74% rate of adherence to my plan, and to be totally honest, that still sounds pretty good to me. I took rest days when I felt worn down, which probably saved me from a lot of illness and injury. Indeed, I’m sure that level of adherence still would have been enough to get me to my goal if not for…
  3. Too many easy runs – The runs I tended to skip were the ones I needed most: hills and interval training. You don’t get faster running an easy pace on level ground, but those were the runs I never missed because they were comfortable, because I could do them with my eyes shut, no matter what else went on that day, no matter how low my energy was.

I’m two weeks out. I know where I’ve gone astray and what to look out for in training for my big event this race season (Hello, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon!). I’m aiming to stick to my training plan for these two weeks, hoping for the best, but preparing for a performance a bit shy of my expectations.

It’s possible that the adrenaline of race day, the cheering spectators, my fellow runners, including (for the first time in a long time) a couple of friends, and my supportive family will give me the kick in the pants I need to achieve a new PR. But if not?

Well, shoot. I still get to experience the adrenaline of race day, the cheering spectators, running alongside friends, and the support of my family.That’s enough to make this a great race no matter what pace I run it at!

It’s a hill: Get over it

Today’s run: 5.5 miles at 10:00/mile (4 miles easy, 1.5 miles HR)

HILLS (1)

Words of wisdom from Hal Higdon (except maybe the “love” part–I’m not there yet). Pin this.

I hate hills.

I have no poetic way to express it, no humorous observation to make.

To be fair, I may have been able to come up with something a bit more clever when I woke this morning, when spring sunshine and fresh coffee infused me with a sense of infinite possibilities for the day ahead.

Unfortunately for you, dear readers, I invested that vigour in hill repeats, causing my body to devour any and all potential creative energy and shuttle it to my quivering quadriceps in a last-ditch effort to save me from a face-full of treadmill belt.

So yeah. I hate hills.

They suck. They’re hard. They hurt. They make you feel like your heart’s going to explode. Or at the very least like you’re gonna throw up. And I loathe throwing up.

I’ve recently accepted, however, that I’m something of a “serious” runner (“serious” in that it eats up large chunks of both my disposable income and free time, not “serious” in that I’m particularly fit, fast or knowledgeable).

And “serious” runners embrace those hills.

Full disclosure: Hills have been part of several of my past training plans, but I ignored each nasty little “HR” on the calendar and used those days to log a few miles on level ground at an easy pace. Which worked out okay. My races have been mostly flat courses and the ones that weren’t–well, those peaks and valleys were a pretty good excuse for a slow pace. But if I’m going to achieve a sub-4:00 marathon this fall or record a new 10k PR next month, the status quo ain’t gonna cut it.

The subject of hills came up in Sunday’s #RunAtCan chat, when a fellow runner asked if anyone had successfully trained for a half- or full-marathon without hill training, and I ‘fessed up. This got me thinking about my stubborn resistance to hills, and I posed this question:

And as the #RunAtCan folk are wont to do, they responded with a slew of good suggestions:

  • Start small
  • Buddy up
  • Try out some positive self-talk and tell yourself you’re awesome at hills
  • Try walking them first and gradually increase your pace
  • Try out some inclines on the treadmill to get a feel for it

This morning when I saw my training plan called for some hill repeats, I vowed to give it an honest effort.

I took the treadmill advice to heart and decided to do my hill repeats indoors since it would give me control over speed and incline. (It would also allow me to vomit peacefully in the privacy of my own home, should the need arise.)

There were a few problems: first being that my plan calls for hill repeats at a breakneck 7:43/mile, which is fast even on flat ground for the likes of me. Not gonna happen. I opted for a more reasonable 8:34/mile.

Also problematic was the fact that I’m in Week 9 of my training plan, which expects me to be a seasoned hill runner capable of completing six 2-minute hill repeats. (Nope. Nope, nope, nope.) I scaled back to Week 6’s HR workout: 1:30 x 5. More reasonable, still scary.

The result?

Well, I did it. And it sucked. Pretty much as badly as I thought it would.

Each repeat was the longest 90 seconds of my life and, I’ll admit, I did the last one holding onto the treadmill console for dear life (a big no-no, I know, know).

But I guess the bottom line is I did it, right? And that maybe next time will suck a little less?

Because after all, I’m awesome at hills! (Or at least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself, as per my #RunAtCan counsel.)

Surviving hot yoga

Today’s run: Not happening (rest day)

There was a time back in 2010 when I pledged to give hot yoga a try. Five years later, I’m making good on that promise.

Hot yoga: the aftermath (a.k.a. sweat bikini)

Hot yoga: the aftermath (a.k.a. the sweat bikini)

My mom talked me into it. As a recent convert, she’s been spreading the good news about hot yoga: that it’s a great stress-buster, that it’s rejuvenating, that it’s one heck of a workout if you want it to be, but that you can also go at your own pace, adjusting to your personal blend of balance, flexibility and fitness.

Sounded like exactly what I needed after navigating a particularly stressful stretch in my life, not to mention the first week of my new 10k training plan. So mom twisted my rubber arm and I found myself at a Saturday morning hot yoga class at Peak Performance Health Center.

I showed up ready to rock: well-hydrated (lots of water that morning and the evening before), lightly fueled (teeny tiny breakfast providing just enough energy to get up and go but not enough to feel like a lead weight in your tummy), and fully equipped (lightweight workout clothes, yoga mat, towels, water bottle).

But I was also pretty nervous. The heat and I don’t have the best relationship. There have been a few fainting spells on hot summer days or in steamy showers. There was also a particularly traumatizing race in 30+°C heat when I crossed the finish line, threw up, and ended up lying under a tree, covered in ice packs, attended to by a paramedic. (Good times, good times.)

So when I entered the room, kept at a balmy 38-40°C, I was feeling the exact opposite of zen.

Thankfully, Peak Performance doesn’t fool around. They have very specific rules set out for hot yoga participants: the first being that you have to show up at least 20 minutes before class, giving you time to get into the room and acclimatize to the heat.

That 20-minute buffer was a godsend. After spending just a few minutes in corpse pose (see, I know yoga stuff now!), my heart rate slowed, my breathing deepened, my body relaxed, and the class seemed doable.

Doable and, it would turn out, enjoyable.

Our instructor was lovely, suggesting variations for the poses as we moved through them so we could all find the proper fit for our bodies. She also maintained a very light vibe: smiling, joking, playing music that was actual music and not just chanting or ambient, ethereal strains.

All the small things that make a beginner like me feel at home.

As for the workout itself? It was a pleasant shift from pounding through interval training and slogging through distance runs to focusing on other aspects of my fitness, like flexibility (pretty on point) and balance (I may have fallen over a few times). There was also some definite strength work, which I felt in my abs during class and in my arms and shoulders for a couple days afterward.

The best part though? Just walking out of there in a state of total relaxation, feeling like I’d done something awesome for body and mind. A feeling I’d love to find again.

A couple of Christmases ago, my dear husband bought me a gift certificate for 10 yoga classes. I never went, too afraid to put myself out there, try something new, potentially make a fool of myself. Time to cash it in…

The plan, the whole plan, and nothing but the plan

Today’s run: 5 miles, 9:50/mile

When I last left you, dear readers, I was getting pumped up to start training for my next race: the Fredericton Marathon 10k on May 10.

image

It’s everything you dreamed it would be.

And since then? Well, I haven’t been sitting around eating pecan butter tart ice cream.

Ok, ok. I haven’t just been sitting around eating pecan butter tart ice cream. I’ve also been working on a plan that will (hopefully) get me to a new PR in less than 8 weeks.

Today, I’ll put down my spoon long enough to share it with you.

As we’ve discussed before, I’m a very lazy runner when it comes to planning. Tell me to run 10 miles and I’m fine with that. Tell me to spend a couple hours researching training plans and, suddenly, there’s at least half-a-dozen Teen Mom episodes that I need to binge-watch immediately.

Luckily for me, Google is extremely adept at crunching up my words and spitting back exactly what I want. Seriously adept.

How adept? Well, I searched “run a faster 10k training plan” and instantly a new training plan, which has literally everything I’m looking for, appeared as the #1 result. The future is now, kids, and it’s amazing.

Behold the new training plan, courtesy of Women’s Running:

The plan!

The plan!

My fav thing about this plan? It leaves nothing to guesstimation.The target pace for every run is laid out in real numbers, not mythical little imaginings like perceived rates of exertion.

It’s also doable, though challenging, and should hopefully get me across the finish line before the timer hits 53:02. In theory, it should get me there around 50:00 but let’s not be greedy. Any finish 53:01 or faster will do.

The only downside? It’s a 12-week plan and I’ve got 8 weeks to go. But who really needs Weeks 1-4, right? To hell with caution, I’m diving in at Week 5 and hoping the decent base of fitness I’ve maintained over the winter will see me through.

So far, so good. I’ve completed two easy runs at 9:50/mile, including today’s 5-miler. (No problems.) I’ve also managed a 3.5 mile tempo run at 8:12/mile. (No problems exactly, but definitely some cursing on the inside and much grimacing on the outside.)

Tomorrow, I attempt some intervals. Right now, though, my dear husband has placed a glass of pinot noir by my desk that I must attend to.

That may be the only thing this plan is missing…

Risin’ up back on the streets…

Cue Eye of the Tiger because I’m about to be back in training!

As I wrote yesterday, I’ve been a bit off-kilter lately. A little up in the air. A little unsure.

With that, I’ve noticed a steep decline in running’s positive spin-off in my life. A run that used to keep me centered for a couple of days now wears off in a couple of hours. It’s made me less excited to run, which means I’m doing it less, which, in turn, depresses me more, creating this whole build-up of bad energy that no run has the power to fix.

Clearly, my lackadaisical, run-when-you-feel-like-it approach just isn’t working.

And so, as many a runner before me has done in the midst of emotional turmoil, I’ve fallen on my knees at the altar of finish lines and medals and signed up for a race: the 10 k event at the Scotiabank Fredericton Marathon on May 10.

Like Martha Stewart says, “It’s a good thing.” Here’s why:

  1. "Pacing yourself? What's that?" A much younger me upon completing the 2009 TC10k.

    “Pacing yourself? What’s that?” A much younger me upon completing the 2009 TC10k.

    It’s 8 weeks away – Enough time to get trained if I start right now; not too long that I’ll put it off.

  2. It’s right here in my hometown – Gotta love those roll-out-of-bed-and-run kind of events.
  3. I know the course – It’s part of my regular running repertoire and (*Hallelujah*) it’s flat and fast.
  4. It lets me work on my speed – 10 km is a comfortable distance so I can focus on achieving a PR. 53:02 is the time to beat, set by a much younger me at the 2009 TC10k. It was my first-ever race, back when I was too naive to know I should be pacing myself. Sigh. A much simpler time.

Next up? I’ll be turning to my own personal Mickey Goldmill, a.k.a Google, to lock in a training plan that will beat the pants off of 23-year-old me.

And it turns out, I’m feeling better already. Amazing what a $40 registration fee and a little healthy competition with oneself can do.

It’s the eye of the tiger, y’all.