Sunday, November 30, 2014

First Race Anniversary

On December 1st, 2012, I ran my first 5K race and it sucked.

I often ran short routes through my neighbourhood and thought I was ready. I saw that the Santa Shuffle was in Ottawa and boldly signed up. The race wasn’t awful because of the cold, or the organization of the race, or the fact that I had to get up extra early to bus my way across Ottawa; it was because I honestly still wasn’t up to running 5K straight.
Instagram from my first race
Running isn’t for everyone, but as I look back to two years ago, I can’t imagine that was me struggling with that race and walk/running the course. Since December 1st, 2012, my love for running has only grown. I’ve run many more 5K races, a 10K race, three half-marathons, and already have half a dozen races of varying distances scheduled for 2015.

Honestly, though, I don’t know what happened. I fell in love with something that I think is really tough to do, I made some goals, I did some research, and I have slowly improved from that struggling 5K runner I remember two years ago.

This is not to say I’m a great runner now – I’m still slow and I still have those runs I struggle with – but if you had told me two years ago I would be running 21 kilometers without stopping I would have laughed. Now, I’m constantly inspired not only by the runners I follow, but with my own progress to run faster and further than I ever could have imagined.  

Two years later, hanging out in my race shirt

Friday, November 28, 2014

Neglecting my Body

My body is send me signals it hates me.

I`m bloated, my skin is breaking out, I`m having trouble sleeping, I`m irritable, I`m lethargic, and it`s 100% my fault. This is what happens when you overeat and stuff yourself full on junk.

I have indulged so much that my body is just craving sugar and is constantly telling me it`s hungry. It`s no joke when people make claims that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine -- my name is Courtney and I am a sugar addict.

But here I am, admitting to my faults and ready to step up to try and change my ways, I want to be nicer in my body and let it recover. I vow to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, eat more healthy, homemade soups and warm dishes that didn`t come from a box or bag. I will drink all the water, pee all the time, and run all the kilometers while breaking PR`s because my body will be thanking me for finally taking care of it.

But let me have one last latte...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Under the Weather

I was so excited and bragging to everyone how healthy I was (I'm always sick so I felt like I had figured my life out) and of course I jinxed it. Since Saturday I've been feeling a little under the weather. A little stuffed up, tired, irritable... just blah.

Some people I know lose their appetite when they get sick. Not me, I reach for all the junk food I can find. Saturday I was trying to eat as much fresh fruit as possible to combat the cravings.

And my vitamin collection is slowly growing.

But mostly I'm trying to drink as much liquids as possible and get a full eight hours of sleep.

What do you do to fight being sick?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hug a Runner Day!

According to the internet, today is "Hug a Runner Day!"

I loved seeing photos of post-race hugs all over Twitter and Instagram, so after work I raced home and gave my favourite runner a big hug -- hi, mom!

I'm seriously so proud of her. She's only been running for about a year, but just last month she ran her first half marathon. I don't know many runners personally so it's so much fun having someone in my life that I can share my love of running with.

Hug a Runner Day makes me want to go out and hug all the badass runners out there, runners of all speeds, sizes, distances. It reminds me in my off season how inspiring other runners make me feel.

So go out, hug a runner, and tell them how amazing they are.

Question: did you hug a runner today? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Into the Gym

After living in Ottawa for four years I thought I was so tough. I used to laugh at my friends and family, proclaiming it's cold while I would spout the various temperatures of the harsher Ottawa weather that I endured. Only two years after moving back home, and I hate to admit it, I'm back into Toronto-mode.

The moment I let the dogs out this morning I knew they weren't getting walked by me today. From my sidedoor to my backyard I had been scared into hibernation. What's even worse? My ego was crushed even further when I got into the car to go to the gym, and the temperature only read - 4.

...I'm going to blame my wussiness on the crazy wind.

I've been trying to get over my hatred of the treadmill. So far I've only used it for speed training and easy runs, but I think my long runs are going to move inside if this wind keeps up. Tonight's speed training went really well. I meant to only do about two kilometers (working up slowly; 2015 is all about speed for me), but I ended up completing just under five. I have yet to figure out how to change the treadmills into metric. I feel like I'm getting stronger and faster (if even just slightly) already.

Since I missed my walk with the dogs I jumped on a bike to cool down for about 20 minutes and read The Shining. Even though I commute by train to work I still manage to get most of my reading done at the gym. Whatever, I'm weird.

After my workout I had to head over to the grocery store to pick up a few items, and by the time I got home my sweat had almost dried and I had the worst chill. A hot shower, a hot meal, and an even hotter tea has warmed me up, but now I'm dreading taking the dogs out one last time before bed.

Maybe this is an excuse to go buy more running gear. Hmmm...

Do you hide in the gym or tough out the cold weather in the winter?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

First Snowy Run of the Season

We've had a few light flurries this fall, but when I woke up this morning it was the first time I had seen snow on the ground this season. It's too early for a really heavy snowfall, but even if there was I wasn't too concerned because I had only scheduled 6 kilometers for today.

Usually I'm an early riser, but this weekend I haven't been able to pull myself out of bed until 10 or 11. As I was figuring out what I was going to eat, my boyfriend got up and made me pancakes. I don't think it's a typical pre-run breakfast but it might be my favourite.

My run went really well. I'm taking it easy because I'm forever working through IT band issues, but the conditions were great. Once it gets snowier and icier I won't be able to run through my favourite paved trails anymore (the city doesn't maintain and if I slip the creek is too close for me to feel comfortable), so I'm taking advantage of them while I can. The pavement is too warm for the snow to stick, but the trees looked beautiful.

Side note: I'm really hoping I get a hat with a ponytail hole for Christmas because I hate braiding my hair for running.

I drank a small banana and peanut butter smoothie while I started to prepare some meals for the week, followed by hot water with lemon, honey, ginger, and echinacea, and a bowl of alphabet soup. I usually try to make my own soup instead of eating stuff from the can, but I`ve discovered Amy`s at my grocery store and I`m falling in love!

Question: How do you like to fuel pre and post run?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Life and Routine

I feel like everytime I try to get into an exercising routine something happens. Maybe I'm just making excuses but I started this week with a migraine so bad it made me sick on Sunday night, a sick dog midweek, and what feels like my first illness (excluding my usual migraines) of the season. 

I felt better on Monday so I was able to fit in my dog walking and yoga, and Tuesday I got in my speed training, but after waking up to let my sick dog at 1:30 in the morning, an easy 2K Wednesday morning before work was out of the question. I tried to fit it in Wednesdau night but after seeing my dog still getting sick on our walk, I decided to skip it. 

Thursday I usually aim to cycle, walk the dogs, and do some yoga. Because I was eager to get in that 2K I decided to skip the yoga and fit in that run. 

I'm aiming to do yoga on Fridays. I'm sure I'll fit it in tonight but I'm excited for date-night with the boyfriend after work. I've made headstands my focus for November and it's crazy how much improvement I've made. I can't wait to compare it with a picture I took way back in the summer.

Do you feel guilty when you stray from your workouts?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Back to Running

After my last race I decided to take a couple of weeks off from running. I've been feeling exhausted and rundown, so it was hard for me to want to fit even half an hour of running into my schedule. With so many races that I'm already registered for in 2015, I decided to get a schedule together and force myself back into it.

So, yesterday, I went on my first run. Sunday's are going to be my new long-run days and I started my training schedule with an easy 5K. I ran through the marsh near my house and it felt really good to be back.

I followed up with some fresh green juice, made with spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, apple, and ginger. 

The rest of the day was a lazy Sunday, mostly spent in bed with my dogs watching Gilmore Girls. My IT band was feeling pretty tight despite all the yoga and stretching I've been doing lately, so a lazy day was perfect.

How do you prefer to follow up your long runs?