The epitome of the love/hate relationship: Running


Remember my previous post, Signing up for Runs… Well, I finally completed the Scotiabank Toronto Half Marathon that I signed up for in May or June.

It has been a battle and that battle has been between two extremes: loving and hating running…. let me tell you about the loves and hates and we’ll see where we end up.

First, I have posterior tibial tendonitis, and that sh*t is PAINFUL. Well, I have two types of tendonitis, but it’s enough of an effort to remember that first one so I don’t remember the second. Between hundreds of dollars in physio, foam rolling like crazy and orthotics, I’ve devoted a lot of time and energy to making the pain of it bearable, and to be able to run past the pain.

Hate=1, Love=0

Running is cheap! Besides signing up for runs (if that’s what you’re into) and the actual equipment (proper shoes and gear), you can’t really find a cheaper sport. Running is a great way to test yourself without having to invest as much money as other sports require.

Hate=1, Love=1

Running is the most boring. I know a lot of people will disagree, and there are certainly points about running that are interesting… like watching the seasons change, having weird thoughts when you’re on a long run, scoping out and seeing new areas in your community…. But to be alone with your thoughts and the same running playlist you’ve had for months… I mean, it’s boring as hell a lot of the time.

Hate=2, Love=1

Two words: RECOVERY MEALS.

Two more words: CHOCOLATE MILK.

Hate=2, Love=2

Running is the ultimate test. It is so hard on your body. I feel like garbage the day after a long run. My legs somehow feel simultaneously like jello and stiff poles. Recovery is rough.

Hate=3, Love=2

I just checked my time. Holy smokes– I placed in the last 1000 half marathon runners of tens of thousands. That’s horrendous because I don’t have any excuses- I’m actually that slow. I run like a minion mixed with a turtle running through peanut butter. I’m just a slow runner and that’s a reality I’ve had to face through my training.

Hate=4, Love=2

And yet, I can’t put a value on the pride I feel. My favourite questions people asked me after the race were “how did it feel?” “did you finish?” and “when are you going to run your next race?” My least favourite question has been “what was your time?” I feel so much pride in having finished the race! Though I sheepishly tell people “2 hours, 35 minutes,” I then remind myself that means that running is a longer effort for me than for others. And yet I do it because of the strength of my will, and having a concrete representation of that in my finisher’s medal is completely invaluable.

Hate=4, Love= a BAJILLION.

You can have ten thousands reasons to hate something, and sometimes you just need one to love it anyway.

Your’s, in health.

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I am a Wellington Warrior!

A few weekends ago, I had the privilege of running in the Wellington Warrior Challenge. It was an expensive race to be in- about $80 for a 5K run. Part of the appeal of the race is that it was going to be at a winery just on the outskirts of Guelph. The primary appeal was the cause- raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society is something that I try to do as often as possible. What I like about donating to the Canadian Cancer Society is the focus on local initiatives for people with cancer and survivors. I also like the notion of donating for general cancers, rather than for one specific type.

The Wellington Warrior Challenge was SO much fun. We got to the winery in good time for our race start, and everything was extremely well organized. We even noticed a “Free Beer” station beforehand. The only problem- it was FREEZING out!! Instead of hitting up the free beer, we bought some hot wine (all for charity, of course) before the race started.

The race was a 5 K, and there were 23 obstacles!!! Some of the obstacles were “easy,” like climbing over tube ladders. Others were more difficult- scaling a wall with minimal ledges, climbing over boards, and flipping tires. There was one that was absolutely impossible for me: wooden plank monkey bars. If you’ve ever tried monkey bars as an adult, you’ll recognize that they are a lot harder than when you are an adult. Add in the fact that each bar wasn’t on hinges and wouldn’t swing to the next made it too difficult for me.

I’ve never had so much fun at a race. I also don’t think I’ve ever been so cold. My “team” of 3 agreed that our favourite obstacle was one in which we had to work together. My lack of upper body strength made it impossible for me to climb over a wall that didn’t have a place for my feet to help me up. Instead, my teammates had me stand on their shoulders to give me the leverage I needed to hoist myself from one side of the wall to the next. There were four of these walls, so my teammates were exhausted and yet laughing the whole time.

When we finished, we definitely took advantage of the free beer!!

I’d definitely recommend an obstacle course, and to try and find one that is for a cause that you value. Fun runs are the best, and I’ve done a colour run, a zoo race, 2 Santa Claus suit races, and I intend to run the Pancake Mile in March. I recommend these runs for a number of reasons, including that people of all ages and abilities participate, and because they are a good reminder of how much fun you can have when you are healthy. I hope to see you at the next fun run!

Your’s, in health.

The WORST Meal of the Day

I feel as though most people would agree that lunch is the WORST. It’s hard to plan ahead for, it seems to be the meal that could be eaten at way too wide a range of times (11 AM or 3 PM lunches, when you’re hard at work, aren’t uncommon) AND it’s usually eaten from behind a computer screen. You’re taking a 15-minute-lunch break, right? So then it’s time for Facebook, news online, etc.

The fact of the matter is, if you can, it’s a great idea to get up and walk around a bit when you’re taking a lunch break. You’ll feel much more refreshed, especially if you can manage to get outside and walk, than if you stay seated. If you eat lunch in a staff room, take your 15 or 20 minutes to eat, and then suggest walking around with a colleague… I did this last summer and it was fantastic! If you’re like me, your job and your life are way too sedentary… I really need to start doing something about it. Squeezing all my movement into one hour of working out isn’t doing enough, according to this article and many others like it: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/sitting-for-too-long-can-kill-you-even-if-you-exercise-study-1.2918678

Oh, right… lunches… let’s get back to the fun part: FOOD!

Here are a few ideas to make lunch food packing a little easier:

  1. Plan. Unfortunately we hear this a lot, but it’s because it’s THAT important. Find planning that works for you. Some people like to make all their lunches for hte week on Sunday night, some the night before, and some first thing when they  up. Find the timing that works for you.
  2. Leftovers. If you have a fridge and microwave at work, this is KEY! You’ll notice in the lunches I post, most meals involve leftovers.
  3. Invest in a cooler lunch bag. Not just a hipper lunch bag, but a lunch bag that keeps your food cool! Every since I bought a Roots lunch bag at Costco, I’m much more excited about packing my lunch.
  4. Look for packaged food that are as close to real as possible… look for yogurts, granola bars, apple sauces, trail mixes, etc. that are reasonably portioned, with easy-to-read ingredients and no added sugar.
  5. Consider treat day. Just like in grade school, it’s nice to have a day of the week that you buy a part of your lunch out. Maybe even pack the money in your super cool lunch bag (see tip #3). I usually allow myself a fancier drink at Starbucks on Fridays. Sometimes I’ll get an order of anitjitos instead, at my favourite place on campus. Obviously this doesn’t work if you don’t have access to these kinds of places. If you do, though, it’s fun to save the treat for a special day of the week or when you really need it, knowing that you’ve earned it by packing your lunch each day.
  6. Fruit!!! Especially if you don’t have any at breakfast, lunch is a great time of the day to pack grapes or berries– it’s even easier if you include fruits like apples, pears, peaches, etc. that require even less prep!
  7. Supplement your lunch with snacks that you keep at work. My favourites: almonds, snappea crisps, extra granola bars, and sometimes I’ll even bring skinny pop (or other pre-popped popcorn). This is so nice on days when I haven’t packed enough, or I’m extra hungry after my workout.
  8. Pack more. I think many people would look at my lunch and be surprised by how many calories I eat around noon. My defence- I workout in the mornings AND I’d rather load up on calories in the morning rather than later in the day, when your body has a harder time burning them off. ALSO, why have we created a culture where people look at your lunch and judge it, or compare it to theirs? Don’t be that person who compares their lunch- unless you tell someone that their leftovers look or smell unreal, and that you want the recipe!

Here are some pictures of my lunches from 4 days… Note, this is the most boring thing ever I think. But I love looking at what people pack for lunch, so I thought I would post in spite of the boring-ness.

This one is leftover broccoli and cheese frittata, grapefruit segments, a homemade pumpkin muffin, a true-to-nature cranberry bar and a grapefruit perrier.

This one is leftover broccoli and cheese frittata, grapefruit segments, a homemade pumpkin muffin, a true-to-nature cranberry bar and a grapefruit perrier.

This one includes carrots and cucumber slices, chocolate milk, a cranberry true-to-nature bar, and some kind of leftovers... I think it might be taco salad. YUM.

This one includes carrots and cucumber slices, chocolate milk, a cranberry true-to-nature bar, and some kind of leftovers: fish with homemade tartar sauce and sweet potatoes. YUM.

Pasta salad made the night before, a homemade pumpkin muffin, cucumber slices, a brazil nut true-to-nature bar, and a greek yogurt.

Pasta salad made the night before, a homemade pumpkin muffin, cucumber slices, a brazil nut true-to-nature bar, grapefruit perrier and a greek yogurt.

Carrots and celery sticks, apple, apple sauce, brazil nut true-to-nature bar and leftovers. I use a "wine writer" which is a marker for wine glasses to differentiate my leftovers from my boyfriend's :) Note that I also have a cold pack, because it was a hot day and I didn't want my leftovers to spoil.

Carrots and celery sticks, apple, apple sauce, pumpkin muffin, brazil nut true-to-nature bar and leftovers. I use a “wine writer” which is a marker for wine glasses to differentiate my leftovers from my boyfriend’s 🙂 I also have a cold pack, because it was a hot day and I didn’t want my leftovers to spoil.

Yours, in health…