My favorite running motivation: Running Frenemies

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Finishing a full marathon with my running Frenemy

 

I didn’t have a name for them until recently. Those friends. The long time running buddies, the ones that have been close friends even longer … and the ones who make me lose my mind during training.

I read an article this past year in Canadian Running magazine about why you need running rivals, and I finally had a term for them. Frenemies.

I have a couple of these friends. We don’t live too far from one another, but far enough away that training together isn’t usually possible. So we often “virtually train” together through Strava. I have often logged on to Strava and uploaded the run I’ve just completed, only to find that my frenemies have also completed their training run, but…only a little faster, or a little longer or with a lot more elevation.

And I lose my mind, just a little bit. 🙂

I always feel guilty about my reaction. After all, they are my friends, and I am genuinely happy when they meet their goals, get faster and get new PBs. I often race with them and I am never disappointed to come in behind one or both of them. I can’t wait to get to the finish line to see if they killed their time or not. (of course, being the first of the group in is fun too…)

I finally realized that I am losing it, not because I’m unhappy that they are doing well, but because I’m irritated at my own lack of discipline. My firefighter friend is disciplined at speedwork, and does his crosstraining regularly (ugh – I hate speedwork… and crosstraining). And my other frenemy is a dedicated gym goer (gym, weights.. also yuck) and is much more conscious of being a healthy eater. For instance, not long ago she posted in Instagram picture of her dinner: steamed veggies, because she was too busy/tired to cook that night. I too was unable to cook that evening, however my dinner consisted of pita chips and hummus, followed by half a bag of ruffled chips with Hellavagood onion dip.

No word of a lie.

But, I am happy that I have frenemies. The friends, that whether they know it or not, (well, they do now) are pushing me to push myself harder. My best races and fastest times have either been run with them, or because of them. And my favorite race memories have been made with them.

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Pre-race compression sock selfie with the firefighter frenemy.

 

 

Now, I’ve got to get out and do my speedwork. I just checked my Strava and my friends already did theirs… 😉

 

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Walking to the starting line of the Around the Bay 30k with two amazing running frenemies.

 

 

Jackie

Jackie

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This month’s Strava challenge: 1500m in elevation

Strava’s monthly challenges often give me that shove I need to go a little further, a little faster, a little longer, a little higher…

One of Strava’s challenges this month is to get 1500m in elevation over the month. I love these elevation challenges. While I don’t live in a super hilly area, I also don’t live in a flat neighbourhood. I often rue the fact that I don’t have a flat place to run and that since I live on a hill, my last km is always uphill.

When Strava has an elevation challenge, I end up seeking out instead of avoiding all those hills with 40m of elevation. I find myself doing my best to pack as much elevation into a 5 or 10k as is possible and taking advantage of every little up and down.

 

All my hill training pays off in races when, without any extra effort on my part, I find myself passing people on hills.

It’s amazing what a Strava Climbing Challenge “digital finishers badge” in my virtual Trophy Case will make me do…

Need some motivation? Check out Strava.com to track your runs, train and challenge yourself.

Jackie

Jackie

 

Update:  With a little help from my week in Vermont (I will do my best not to complain about my “hilly” neighbourhood anymore…) I completed the challenge and then some. Happy running.

Finding motivation wherever I can…

This morning was the kind of morning where I actually sat on my closet floor to get dressed.

I paused for a moment trying to decide whether to get dressed for the day or put on my running gear and sneak in a run on a rather damp day. Then, from my spot on the floor, I noticed a brightly colored pair of Lululemon running tights on the shelf that I bought in the summer and hadn’t worn yet. The happy thought that ran through my mind was how embarrassed my 16 year old son would be to know I was running around the neighbourhood in those tights… and my decision was made. 🙂

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While I was at it, I pulled out a pair of zero drop Altra running shoes that I got last month and went for a short 5k to try them out.

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We have a store in town that sells gear for outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, skateboarding etc. Twice a year they have a clearance sale where they sell last season’s shoes for $45. I enjoy the sale, because the store sells shoes that I don’t see as much in the running and sports stores I usually shop at. Their sales give me a chance to get try out different brands and models of shoes that are regularly around $150 or more for not too big an investment. This time I tried a pair of Altras that feature a “zero drop”, a foot-shaped toe box and a gender specific fit.

While it is early to say whether I will switch to these shoes from my Mizunos, they felt comfortable and I felt good after the 5k. I could definitely feel the difference from my regular running shoe, so I’ll continue to work them in between runs in my regular shoes and see what I think.

So, I set out after my teenagers headed off to school (and after the 16 year old told me I looked ridiculous). I passed a lot of parents and grandparents walking their little ones to school. I enjoyed being the bright flash of colour running through the neighbourhood on this rather blah morning. As I said good morning to those I passed, the smiles were a little bigger than usual – I choose to believe I brightened their day. 😉
Jackie

Jackie

 

 

 

 

Fitting in Strength Training

The last few weeks, I’ve been trying to find a strength workout to add to my workout schedule.  In the past, I’ve used lots of different online workouts, books, dvds, and apps.  I tried some of them out again, but nothing was really exciting me.  I used the Nike Training Club app for a few workouts, and while I like it, I was finding some of the moves over my ability right now.   

After scouring the internet for the perfect workout for me, I decided to just piece together some moves that I really like into my own routine.  I usually try to fit in a workout while my baby girl naps in the morning.  She usually sleeps for about an hour and half, so I wanted something quick that I could fit in, shower, get ready for the day, and still have a bit of time for some chores.  

For this workout, I just need some weights, an exercise ball, and my basement stairs.  🙂   This is what I came up with:

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I’ve been doing just one round.  It’s enough to work up a sweat and feel like I put in a good effort.  On the weekend, when I have some more time, I’m going to fit in two rounds.

What is your favourite strength training workout?
 

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Yeah…I’d Run That – Photo Inspiration – Mountains

Ever since my trip to British Columbia when I didn’t get to climb Grouse Grind, I’ve been dreaming of mountain running….

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Oh yeah… I’d run that. (Okay, maybe not the third one though…scary)

Hope you can get out running today. 🙂

Jackie

Jackie

What I Saw Running, Dipsea Challenge Update and The Grackle is why I haven’t posted….

First of all, this charming little fellow is the reason I haven’t had time to blog about running this week:

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Last weekend I was doing some gardening a couple days after a big wind storm and I found this little guy on the ground. The nest was nowhere to be found, his little siblings were already dead, and after observation I found that his mom wasn’t looking after him. The kids and I couldn’t leave him behind, so we took him home and have been feeding him hourly all week. Our next task is trying to figure out how to teach him to fend for himself so he can survive. (any suggestions?)

So between the hourly feedings, I managed to get some running in, at the cottage and at home. I’ve been taking pictures more often as I run because I find it helps me to not get so caught up in my performance and to enjoy my running more. So, here is my week and a half in running – and some things I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t been out running!

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A beautiful morning to be out running in Bayfield.

I had a beautiful run in Bayfield, I ran past The Black Dog Pub (man wish I could have gone in for a burger)

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and saw the smallest library ever :).

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I also tried out some new shoes. They felt comfortable, but after my run, my foot looked like this:

notagoodsignI showed my husband and he said “you probably already took a picture of it, right?” Hmph. It turned out that it looked worse than it was. For a few days the blister on my middle toe kept making a dramatic blood stain on my shoe, but after a few days in a row of no running (feeding a baby bird) it healed up.

I’ve been doing the Dipsea Challenge on Strava for the last couple of weeks, trying to do 6600 feet of elevation while running over a 3 week period. I have one week left and I am at just over 4000 feet. I wasn’t sure I could complete it, but I think I may just get it done! The good news is, whether or not I complete the challenge, I’ve already noticed that I’m getting much faster at my hill segments. So it was worth the effort.

Some new Lululemon tights always brighten up the week as well!

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I hope you had a good week running!

(I have to go for a run – raising a grackle is stressing me out – I’m having dreams of giant gaping baby bird beaks…)

Jackie

Jackie

 

Gearing up for a new STRAVA challenge – the Dipsea Climbing Challenge

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Run up 6,600 feet in three weeks!

Strava.com is the site that I use to upload my runs off my Garmin. I love analyzing my runs, seeing my pace and elevation and giving “kudos” to my fellow Strava runners. I find it really keeps me on track with my training.

I also find Strava’s monthly challenges very motivating, and this month is no exception. The Dipsea challenge for runners, that started this past Saturday, is named in honor of one of the oldest and wildest races in the US, the Dipsea. The challenge is to run up 6,000 feet of elevation during your runs over a three week period.

I figure I’ll be lucky to run half that, but the calf muscles I get attempting this challenge will be well worth the effort. The Dipsea sounded interesting, so I decided to do a little research. It is the oldest cross country trail running even and one of the oldest foot races of any kind in the US. Located in Marin County, California, it is 7.5 miles (12k) long and has about 2200 feet of elevation gain. It has been held almost every year since 1905, and June 14th will mark the 105th edition of the race.

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The unique handicap system allows the oldest and the youngest racers to get up to a 25 minute advantage over the fastest competitors. That couples with the permissible secret shortcuts, make it possible for the winner to come from any age group. Previous winners include children as young as 8 and women as old as 72.

 

The first of several sets of stairs.

The first of several sets of stairs.

As of this morning, I have 642 of the 6600ft covered and 20 days left… We’ll see how close I get to the goal, but already I’ve been seeking out the hills in my neighborhood that I usually avoid. Win/win.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

What challenges are you doing? Would you ever consider a race like the Dipsea?

Jackie

Jackie