Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day to all the Canadians near and far. 

May you celebrate with your family and friends. Eat plenty of good food and of course, drink plenty. And celebrate Canada’s birthday in style! 

Good luck to all those running the Epic Canadian race: 5k/10k or double race like my running buddy Krystol (I’m sitting this one out), and half marathoners. 

Cheers, Piper! 

Running, Guilt and Grief.

If you read my race recap from last week’s half marathon, you’ll know what I am talking about. If you didn’t get a chance to you can read about my fourth half marathon there.

Last week was a sad week around our house as we lost our dog rather fast. She was sick but we didn’t know how sick and were in the process of figuring it all out when she passed away at home.

It was Friday morning when I came home after dropping the girls off at day care when I found her not breathing. My heart broke instantly. I knew that when the day would come for her to no longer be with us I’d be sad and miss her but I didn’t expect to feel so broken and empty.

After I got her to the vets and paper work done I thought I’d take a nap as I was drained. What does a runner do when they are out of sorts? They run. Since my nap didn’t work out, I went for a run. It was a shitty run. I was going to do Spital Road (6k of rolling hills) as I missed my run the night before. After the first kilometre I changed my mind and decided to stay close to home and just run 5k.

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It was a shitty run mid-day in the heat. I wanted to go but my mind and body didn’t really want to move. I think I looked like a pathetic runner and just made my way home. That run did nothing but give me some more freckles and increase my heart rate.

It’s been over a week and though we are sad she’s gone we are starting to get into our new life without her. The girls are fine. Hilary (3.5 years) is still too young to understand, she just thinks we don’t have a dog anymore. Lilly was sad for a few days and has short moments of missing her but is okay. My husband and I have lots of moments of “oh yeah, we don’t have a dog anymore”. You know the normal routine of:

  • walk your dog when you get up (feed her etc)
  • walk her when we get home at the end of the day to get the mail. We haven’t gotten the mail in a while!
  • take her out to pee before bed time…don’t have to do that anymore
  • the snuggles, her soft fur, the noise her id tags made when she shook her head.

Anyway…we’re moving along each day.

When I ran my half marathon last Sunday, I had a lot of guilt leaving my girls after this happened. Should I leave them, should I run, should I be away over night? Knowing they were in good hands (grandparents), I decided to go.

I thought running would be therapeutic after losing her but it wasn’t. I thought getting away would be a good change and less sad, It was nice to get away with Krystol sans kiddies, however the run was just a struggle (and that’s okay). Sure the heat was extremely hot but I honestly don’t think that really bothered me.

I felt like I lost my love of running, my passion, even my interest. I actually hating running many times during that half marathon and maybe that’s why I gave up and walked SO MUCH.

Confession: I haven’t run in a week and am fine with that. Though I want to run, I think I just needed a break. Don’t worry, I’ll get back to it but I just needed a break. I did get out for a bike ride and a yoga class…and may have enjoyed a few more beers then normal 😉

Here’s to a new week ahead and maybe the start of my next half training – maybe.

How’s your weekend going? (We are having a great weekend so far). 

Ever use running a race as a distraction?

What do you do when your mind gives up earlier then your body?

Also, I realise the grief of a person vs an animal might be different to everyone and it’s taken this experience to really understand what it’s like to lose an animal. However, a loss is a loss and I was going through the grieving process during my half marathon.

 

 

 

My Johnny Miles Half Marathon Race Recap

Just as fast as I hit the registration button, the race was over like that! Well, almost that fast.

After taking a few days to put together my thoughts, I will start off by saying I reached my main goal of finishing my half marathon and having no hamstring pain. BIG WIN! I should be really happy with this but keep reading and you might understand why I’m not as happy as I should be.

Johnny Miles Race Weekend – Half Marathon

It was a small town event with a beautiful looped course on what was our first extremely HOT day of the year (25c to 28c). It was scorching outside with a slight breeze every so often. It was a weekend away for my running buddy, Krystol and I. We ate good food, hydrated liked queens and relaxed without kids around – it was kinda odd to be away without our kids and having nothing to do.

Johnny Miles Running Buddies

I slept okay the night before the race in the hotel but woke up around 5:15 AM not feeling well…trip #1 to the bathroom. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t. Our alarms went off around 6:15 and I had trip #2 to the bathroom, still not feeling great. I felt sick. I felt nervous. I felt empty. (I’ll get to that shortly).

We did our things and got down to the race around 8am and had an hour until we started. The full marathon was supposed to start at 8am but they opened it up to FULL marathoners that wanted to started at 7am and beat some of the heat. I really wish they would have given this option to EVERYONE (half, 10k and 5k ers). It was bloody hot and was only going to get worse. Really, this is my only suggestion for next year…start earlier.

Okay…cue the tears….I need to back it up a bit for you to understand how my run was so horrible.

I was ready for this. I ran all the kilometres I could. I did all the speed work I could. I did strength training to get stronger and yoga to make my muscles feel better. With all that, nothing could prepare me for what was about to happen two days before the race.

Our dog Maclean, passed away Friday morning. She was sick but we didn’t know how sick. I had taken her to the vet’s on Thursday morning and by Thursday night she reacted poorly to medication but was improving over night (or so I thought). Friday morning after getting through the night, I told the girls to say “Goodbye and tell her you love her”….because honestly, I didn’t have a sweet clue what would happen at the vets later that day. I drove the girls to day care and came home to find my dog no longer alive. I freaked out a bit, called Saï as he was away, called the vet, called Krystol for help – she’s way more then a running buddy. She was gone. I’m come back to this another day.

Maclean 2002 2016

With a broken heart and empty soul I decided to run my half anyway. My husband was away for work and my parents were taking care of the girls. I thought running the race and getting away for the weekend would help but it didn’t.

The soul soother I was hoping for didn’t happen on my run. The first 5k was fine. My lungs felt great, my pace was great, I was ready…but my heart wasn’t, my mind was elsewhere. At 5k I took my first short walk (WTF?), by 8k I took a more serious walking break (pity party) and by 12km I was crying with tears down my face as I got passed by old guys. I wasn’t crying because they passed me but for the loss of Maclean and the desire to give up my effort.

The course was great. Half on the road, half on the trail with short hills and inclines throughout. Actually, it might be the perfect combination for a race but for me it was a struggle just putting one foot in front of the other. Seriously, one foot in front of the other was all I could focus on for a long-LONG time.

13k….15k…17k…. walk, walk, walk. Run when I could for 15-30 seconds and walk more. More walking then I ever wanted to do. Physically, I know I can do the distance but mentally I was done before I even started the race. I was drained.

By 18k I was just pissed off at myself. I could hear the finish line but still had to run in the opposite direction for a few more kilometres and then turn around. My Garmin kept moving forward in time yet I was just empty and broken inside. (I NEVER thought I would feel this way about losing our dog – NEVER!).

At 19k I ran through a sprinkler for the second time – best part of my run! I had people cheering me on by name as I was running by myself, they could read my bib. Honestly, that helped a lot. Two men called out “your almost there”….I replied with “I’m going for a personal worst”. They encouraged me some more and it helped a bit but they didn’t know I was hurting inside – no one did. I picked up my pace and then saw Krystol who got these shots of me:

johnny miles half marahon done

I picked up my pace again and turned the corner to the finish line. I had it all to myself (kinda cool, kinda weird). I could see the crowd of people and hear the MC but couldn’t bring myself to look up and enjoy it. I just push as hard as I could to finish the race, crossed the finish line and cried. I sat down and cried a little more then went to get some food and stretch on a patch of grass. That’s it…all done my fourth half marathon.

Krystol had, what I would call a great race for those conditions. She was on pace for a sub 2 hour half but just missed it as the heat took a toll on her.

Johnny Miles Weekend

I’m still empty, still sad but that will take some time. I’m not overly happy with my run but YES, I am thankful for completing another half marathon. My fourth half marathon, the hardest one to date. I still don’t know my official time and might not even bother to look it up. You may have seen my posts on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook about my slight disappointment but I only told half the story.

So………that my friends is my half marathon experience. Not the one that I dreamed about during my 400’s on the treadmill, not the one that I worked so hard for and never thought it would be mentally draining and the hardest run I’ve done to date. I’m thankful it’s done and that I’m strong enough to run that distance again pain free. However, I’m just empty and sad for losing our dog.

The end of Half Marathon #4.

PS. I’m 110% questioning my next half marathon in September and may drop to the 10k. I thought a lot about this during my run but haven’t fully decided yet on my next half marathons’ fate.

Happy Hump Day!

Anyone race, train or just enjoy the weather last weekend/this weekend?

Have you ever ran a race after a loss (be it an animal or person) ?

 

 

Half Marathon & Yoga

Happy International Yoga Day!

It’s taken a few days to get back on the blog but I finished my fourth half marathon Sunday (yeah!). It sure was ugly, hard…and horrible. I’ll write a proper blog post soon. There’s been other stuff going on in my life that’s just keeping me down (I’ll share that too).

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Today, I enjoyed yoga at lunch and though my legs were sore from my half marathon (Sunday) or maybe my 10k of biking yesterday (crazy – maybe)…I managed to get through yoga today. My thighs might tell you another story but it’s all good.

Running clothing at yoga class – yah…I’m classy 😉

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Oh…and no pain in my hamstring post half marathon – BIG WIN! Guess you could said I nailed my main goal (even with such a horrible race).

Sorry for the sort post but I’ll share my Half Marathon story with you soon.

Happy Tuesday!

Pain Free Race

As race weekend approaches, my thoughts on running my fourth half marathon seem to be all over the place. Excitement, nervousness, enjoyment, mommy-guilt and fear.

This training cycle has been all over the place too. Physically, I feel strong with my hamstring (which sure is a nice feeling) but mentally I don’t think I’m ready for it. I wrote this post last Sunday shortly after my last long run of 19k. I wanted to post it right away but decided to sit on it for a day or so, which then turned into five days later I’ve hit the publish button. I’ve left it unchanged. It’s how I felt last Sunday and how I still feel today.

{Note: Don’t take this post as a negative rant, it’s not. It’s just how I was feeling and I wrote it all down}.

Half Marathon in Reach

During this training cycle, I managed to increase my strength training a lot more and got in ALL my long runs outside. I feel really lucky that my husband is home now (for the most part) and supportive of me going out to run for a few hours at a time. Secretly, I think he loves his one on one time with our girls in the morning without me around.

I’ve done a few long runs on my own and a few with my running buddy, Krystol. I’ve shed a few tears post run when everything (running & life) just felt so overwhelming yet I still managed to “get that friggin’ run in”. Why am I crying post run…I don’t know but sometimes it feels good.

june 12th long run

I’ve been more frustrated with myself during this training cycle then I ever have before. This will be my fourth half marathon and first this year. I’m second guessing myself but not disappointed in my training. I trust my training but I don’t trust the will I have to keep going when it gets tough. This is going to be a BIG mental game for me. I know I can do the distance comfortably but when I start to struggle get ugly.

After deciding to “take it easy” this year with running and not sign up for every run/race that I really wanted to do, I decided to stick with a few key events. Johnny Miles is a race I’ve never run before. It’s a great event (so I hear) and part of a larger community of events year round.

Expectations

Honestly, I’d love to say I want a PB, which would be better than 2:05 but it’s not in the cards. My body AND mind are not prepared for that. I’d love to do better then my last half in PEI last October (2:13) but I don’t even know if that is in the cards for me.

Realistically, I could be anywhere between 2:13 – 2:20. While I’m on the honest train…I’ll probably be disappointed with this time. Really, I probably will. No, I’m not going into this with a specific goal of finishing in x:xx:xx time but I know mentally this isn’t the time that I want to finish with and I guess I’m struggling with that.

You can only do so much!

I’m at the point where I can only do so much. I know I can do the distance and I know I can run at a good pace. I have to really wrap my head around what my goal is for this race. My goal is to finish 21.1 km and not hurt. Not have my hamstring scream at me. Not have me in pain for a full 7 days post race. THAT’s my goal of this race.

My right hammy that gave me so much pain.

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Though I run a lot, running is not my life but it sure is something that I truly love to do. I like setting goals for myself, whether that be during my training, work or home life. I like to achieve those goals and am pretty determined to do so.

I’d be lying if I said, I didn’t want to finish in a certain time (because I do) but I need to keep the main goal of finishing pain free. Maybe I’ll have to write the words “pain-free” on my hand that would give me a visual to focus on during my run. “You can do hard things” has been repeated many times over the last twelve weeks. I just have to believe it now!

Two more sleeps and I’ll be running 🙂

Ever use a word written on your hand/arm during a race?

What about a running mantra? 

Do you struggle with not running a certain time in a race?

 

Six

It’s six days (if you count today) from race day! However, this post isn’t about running or me.

SIX

You see, we now have a six year old in our house. SIX! It’s been six years since this little peanut joined us four weeks early in an extremely fast birth experience. She was due on my 30th birthday but decided she wanted her own month and day!

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Dear Lillian Mae,

You are the most sweetest little girl.

You don’t always listen to us but apparently you have reasons for doing so.

You LOVE your little sister to pieces and I’m amazed at how much youth both truly love each other when I watch you play. Don’t worry, I see you both when you are fighting as siblings do, by my oh my Lilly…you are awful sweet to your sister.

You love everything. You love to run. You love soccer. You love to swim. You love your friends (who are all very lovely children). You love MacLean (dog). You love our neighbours like they are family. You are a happy kid (don’t change).

You don’t always love doing scary things on your own. You CAN do HARD things like learning to ski by yourself or riding your bike. BUT….but, when you try it over and over again, you succeed at everything. You can know ski happily on your own. You can now ride your bike up and down our street with zero assistance from your father or I.

You are the slowest eater your father and I have ever met. Well, unless it’s grilled cheese, fruit or a Marmite sandwich your father makes you 😉  You love picking out what clothing you want to wear each day and sometimes pick the most outrageous combinations BUT you are so proud and happy.

I honestly can’t believe you are six years old. You are just about to finish your first year of school and are doing so well. I love that your favourite part of school is recess and gym class yet you get so excited about your math, science and writing too!

Your father, sister and I are so lucky to have such a happy, sweet, fun little girl in our lives. I can only imaging what adventures you are going to go on and where you are going to take us.

Happy Birthday Dear Lillian Mae.

xo Mommy

 

 

Johnny Miles Half Marathon Training Week 11

I’m so happy to have finished week #11 of this training plan. This training cycle just seemed to go on forever and I felt like I was going nowhere. Well, I’m finally here, the last week of training (week 12) has me doing lots of short and easy runs this week and to be honest, I’m relieved!

Week #11 started off a little shady with a missed workout Monday as I just wasn’t “feeling it”. Seriously, that was my decision to not work out! The good news is that the rest of the week went off extremely well!

What was Planned vs What Really Happened:

Monday June 6th: Stretch & Strengthen | Nothing. As mentioned above, I just wasn’t into working out. My husband and I took the opportunity to start cleaning the house/getting organized for Lilly’s birthday party that we’d host on the weekend.

Tuesday: 8k | 8k. Had an amazing evening run that turned out to be a negative split that I worked hard for. Once I figured out that it could happen, I worked hard to maintain my pace and increase it each kilometer. It honestly felt amazing!

june 7th run

Wednesday: 10 x 400’s | 10 x 400’s Treadmill. This too was a successful night of running after a full day. I jumped on the treadmill with a lot of caution and a little fear. How am I going to do this 10 times? I ran for 2k to warm up and then started increasing my pace. In the end, I ran 9k and nailed each 400 progressively.

June 8th TM

Thursday: 5k + Strength | 5k. Though this run was on my schedule, life just wasn’t going to line up for me to run it. I was on the road all day with work and NEEDED the night to get ready for Lilly’s birthday party (clean house). It sounds like our house is super dirty but it’s not….we just have stuff everywhere that needed to be put away.

Saï asked when I was going to run and I said I wasn’t. This surprised him as he knew I needed to run 5k. We went on and started cleaning/organizing etc. and finished roughly around 8:40pm. I decided that since it was still light out, I could get in a 5k. So off I went, in the rain and pounded out a sub 30 minute 5k…something I haven’t done in months!

June 9th rain

Friday: Rest Day | Rest Day. Nailed it again! I even enjoyed this amazing “root beer”. This beer is amazing….just like root beer…so good…so bad as you can consume many! It’s Canadian 😉

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Saturday: 5k @ Pace | Party Day at our house! We hosted 12 girls for Lilly’s 6th birthday! CRAZY! No running.

Sunday: 19k Long Run | 19k Long Run. Krystol and I were going to meet at 6:30 AM and head out on the trail for an extremely flat 19k. At 6:20 my phone beeped and my husband said “what time are you getting up”…..After looking at my phone, “oh shit”….NOW!!!! I jumped out of bed, went to the bathroom, got dress, shoved a 1/2 piece of bread with peanut butter in my mouth, went back to the bathroom and then tied up my laces as Krystol waited in her car.

Wow, I felt so terrible for not being ready! Luckily, she’s the most laid back person I’ve ever met. Off we went. The first 10k was great…like I was loving it. Lots of chatting back and forth. Around 13k the wheels started to slide a little and I needed a few random walking breaks here and there.

Post run selfie.

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Somewhere around the 15k-16k the wheels were starting to fall off and the struggle bus was coming in to pick me up. The last 3k was horrible for me. Krystol takes breaks only if I do, otherwise she’ll just keep running comfortably. I don’t now if it was the lack of prep beforehand, lack of fuel during (Honey Stinger Chews, Nuun and Water) or just the fact that around the 14k mark I struggle lately with running. Who knows??!?!?!

In the end, we got it done in 2:07:xx. Add on another 2.1k and you can probably figure out what my finish time will be. I’m not upset about this long run or the time it took me to finish. I’m more frustrated with my struggle and feel that my “fitness” is not where it should be. However, having said that….my hamstring feels great! So, THAT is a pretty good win for me!

KM run this week: 41 km

KM run this training cycle: 384 km (woah!)

Overall: It was a really good week for me and it’s finally nice to feel like it was a good running week.

What’s next: This week’s training plan as me doing the following: Stretch & Strengthen, 6k, 30 tempo run, 5k, rest, rest, RACE DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m hoping to post a few times this week about the race and how I’m feeling about it but haven’t had a lot of time for blogging lately. If you want a short version of how the training is going, check me out on Instagram.

How was your weekend?

Anyone race? Train?

How long goes it take you to get your house ready for a party?