Mindful Running

I crawled into bed last night and my muscles complained. I am starting to feel like I am 100.

I am not 100, I am 45. I cannot remember a time in recent memory (since I started this mo journey Jan,’11) that some muscle wasn’t upset about something I did. Secretly, I really like this feeling. I like when my belly aches from planks or swimming, I like when my legs burn from running. I like how tired I am at night.

At some point this week I reached the half way point of the C25k training program. So yesterday I ran the very first route I did  day one. I am not the person who will run the same route day in and day out. I need to switch it up. I do this for a couple of reason.

  1. Because running the same route is too boring for words. I am not running with music because I like to get out of my head, be mindful of what I am doing and I use it as a meditation. I have spent far too much of my life imagining and daydreaming about something else, this has been a fantastic experience of learning to run and I have not missed one painful, dreadful, wonderful moment. I need variety, different things to look at and new experiences. Apparently new experiences makes you smarter and Lord knows I could benefit from being smarter.
  2. Switching up the camber is a injury preventive strategy. My knee has reached the point where I do not even think about it when I run. I do not need to create a new injury in the process. Even when I run the same route for a week, I will head out in alternate directions for each run. Meaning I run a loop. One day I start on the right and go west, the the next day I run left and go east. I think this has really helped because I cannot avoid hills this way. Sure I want to, but I get to it eventually.

So, I reached the mid-way point of my training. I ran the original path I did on my first day. The first day of the C25k was 45 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes with 5 minutes on either end of walking to warm up and cool down. Between you and me, this was hard. I had the stamina and conditioning from swimming but the muscles were different. I was really concerned about running for 20 minutes because that day was going to happen soonish. I am a goal nazi. I have crazy intense focus when I set a goal. So even when I didn’t feel up to running, I did it anyway. I have set my 5k race goal for the first week of December. I gave myself lots of time because I want to have lots of practice and conditioning for my first 5k race. I want to feel like it isn’t hard. I also knew I needed time just in case my knee complained mightily. So here I am half way.

Yesterday I re-ran my first path. I live on the prairies and in the burbs. I love the big sky. My neighborhood, which is great for my kids, is DULL as dishwater for running enthusiasts. There is a running trail/dogrun/power-line corridor the flows north to south behind the local school. It takes you into the creek and up over the bank to the other burbish neighborhoods. I ran this.

I did it at first because it was asphalt, and that is better than concrete for my joints. If I am honest, it is also because there is no traffic and no one could see me. The first day I ran/walked less than a kilometer. I didn’t quite make it to pass the walkway to Kitlitz park. The first couple of weeks I didn’t get very far. Even the 5 minute warm up wasn’t that far from my house. I never quite made it into the park and had to start running on the road when my beeper went off.

Yesterday I did the same route. This time my warm up got me into the park and near the bottom of the incline to join the main path. I ran south for 5 minutes walked one then ran 8 minutes. I more than tripled my distance for the “out” portion. The sun was hot for September and I was running at 5:00pm heat peak. Keep in mind this is EDMONTON so the air was cool-ish but the sun was intense. I loved the long shadows that provided shade. This time of day tons of women were out. This struck me because in the morning I only see men run. Never any women. Apparently us girls are too busy getting families ready to start the day and wait until after work to run or walk the pooches. I also was keenly aware of the smell of fall. The leaves are turning and there is a distinct smell that goes with that. I had a friend who thought it smelled of gym socks, but rotting leaves is a warm musty smell that I love. I saw berries on the path and a middle aged dude sitting in the shade talking on the phone. I assumed it was a secret clandestined phone call. I had long passed my original turn around point and forgot to take note of it, but soon I was reaching the crest of the hill that would lead me down into the creek. At the top of the crest, I remembered the gravel turn off that I used to get extra miles in when I was training for the half marathon when I walked. I then looked to my left and saw the flood waters had subsided from the spring when I came through here and had to walk through 4 inches of water and soaked my shoes. The downhill portion was laid out in front of me and I checked my timer, I was only 2 minutes into my 8 minute run. WOW! I knew I was getting faster. The midway point of the hill brought me to the crosswalk. I scanned the road ready to pause my timer in case I had to wait for traffic. No such luck. I had to keep running because the road was free from traffic. I ran across the sidewalk and onto the cross walk. I was immediately struck by the resistance of the concrete. I didn’t suspect I would notice it, but it was noticeably harder.

Once I crossed the road, I was trying to decided should I turn right and follow the creek or just run over the bridge at the bottom of the path. The hill was getting steeper and i knew I would have to run back up. Just before I reached the point where I would need to decide, my running app voice said “half way”. I replied out loud, “OKAY!” and I pulled a U-ie on the path and started to make my way up the steep hill. A gal who was running behind me, one of those gazelles with a beautiful stride (ONE DAY THAT WILL BE ME!) smiles and said “GREAT JOB!” Thanks running gazelle! I looked at my timer and it was 3:55 into my 8 minute run. So up I climbed and scanned the road once again for traffic. This hill nonsense is stupid and I felt the burn of my calves and my heels and ankles swore at me a bit. Too bad so sad and I kept climbing. I was counting out power-lines and figured the 3rd set should be about right for stopping. I set my sights on the third set and then changed my focus once again. I was thinking about that cute pup who didn’t listen and wanted to keep playing. I looked at the blue sky and thought about how beautiful it is in the fall but not as beautiful as a winter sky. Then I was checking out the berries on the bushes and thought there wasn’t very many. Maybe it will be a mild winter! WOHOO! I then realized I was running past the third tower of my count off. WOW! I am faster! I checked my phone and I has another 42 seconds to go. So I ran.

By the time the beep went off and running app voice said “Walk”, I was nearly at the point of my very first turnaround on my very first day. I walked the 2 minutes and then was told to run again. I had 5 minutes left. I ran all the way to the walkway the would lead me home. I needed a 5 minute cool down still. I walked along my street home. By the time I reached my front porch running app voice said “workout complete”. Never had I gone this far or completed so close to home. I was pretty proud and happy. I stopped on my porch to stretch out. The running stretches I have read about and remember from my basketball days are good for a start, but I always finish up with some yoga poses. Those feel heavenly.

I looked ahead to my next running plan on my app and saw it was run 8 walk 1 run 10. That is for Sunday’s long run. It’s not really a long run. Last year my Sundays were filled with walks that were about 14-18kms, so this doesn’t seem like a big deal in terms of distance. But muscle endurance is a different thing. I then thought about my plan for running my first half marathon. It might sound odd that I have a plan for a half when I haven’t even run a 5km yet, but I am a planner. I plan to run 10 and 1s. Run 10 minutes walk 1 minute. I also told myself that there is no shame in walking if I have to.

My plan this year will get me to become a comfortable runner for a 10km. I will then become comfortable at running a regular 10k. Then the distance training will begin. It’s hard not to get ahead of myself. But I can clearly see the 1/2 marathon medal being place around my neck. I will earn it because I will have ran it in less time than I walked the original one.

I can’t WAIT! Roll on Sunday, I need to feel what a 10 minute run feels like because it is all part of my plan.


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Today is My Last Day as Old Me

Here I sit the day before the first major athletic goal I have ever set. I am about to accomplish it. After walking 20km several weeks ago, this doesn’t seem like such a big deal any more. Except 1 – I have to get up early and 2 – it’s going to be hot tomorrow.

Getting up early is a difficult task. For those of you who just spring out of bed when your alarm goes off, you have no idea what I am talking about. there is a fog that lives in my head until at least noon. I am not the chattiest people in the morning, nor do I enjoy food in the morning. I have been known to need copious amounts of coffee. I need to be at the start line about 7:30 AM. AM as in the MORNING! I know from training, I shouldn’t drink coffee. It makes me feel crappy while I am walking. I also know I need to eat about an hour before. Awesome. So I am packing an egg sandwich. First of GROSS, it will be cold, and secondly gross I have to eat it around 6:30. I am pretty excited about that! I am able to put these small annoyances aside so I may reach my goal. This isn’t a problem.

Hot will be a problem.

I am carrying 2 bottles of gator aide with me. I will drink water along the course route. I have trained mostly in torrential down pours and driving rain. So of course it will be hot tomorrow. I have my coolmax hat and will hydrate well before had, as well as today. I am drinking a ton of water today, all of this will help. I have my ipod shuffle charged and ready for action. I am using my iphone to take pics along the way. Strange, I know, but I want to live this moment and remember it. This is important to me.

Yesterday I went to the Expo Centre to pick up my race day package. I felt like part of the club. The exclusive club where only people with that crazy inner drive get to be apart of. It was a strange and new experience for me. Last year I could care less about being in the Canadian Derby Marathon. I didn’t get why people even wanted to do it. I get it now. I want to do this for lots of reasons.

  1. I worked hard this year and I want a medal for it – an award, some recognition and I will get one if I cross the finish line.
  2. Setting goals has helped me find focus and drive to move forward in my life. achieving goals has been more rewarding than I could ever fully understand. I expect I will be emotional as I cross the finish line.
  3. Walking has been a big part of my fitness plan. It’s working and has made me strong. It also makes me crave more. I like that feeling.
  4. I have had so much love and support come my way as I move towards this goal. People, friends, family and strangers have been more supportive than I ever hoped. By finishing, it shows them how thankful I am for their support and how much I appreciate it.
  5. I am looking forward to the big party afterwards. One of my goal setting mentors encouraged me to celebrate after the event. So I am. I am thankful the weather will be nice for it and curious to see who all comes for food and fun.

Time to set the next big athletic goal. I am going to run 5km without stopping. I have lost enough weight that my Doc is cool with it. The big concern is my knee injury. I have been looking after it, so starting next week, training begins. In someways 5k feels WAY easier than 21k. But walking is WAY easier than running. I know I can do it. It is the next step on my way to running the half marathon next year or the year after depending on the knee.

I look at today as the very last day as old me. Tomorrow at this time I will be apart of a group that does half marathons.  The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.

50 in 50

As I was leaving the pool this morning, I thought about this summer verses summers past. This summer holds definite purpose for me. Not to say the others didn’t, but the certainly weren’t as focused or as meaningful as this one is turning out to be.

Last summer I set a goal of attending every Edmonton Festival Possible. The total was 11 (quite a significant number for me as you may know). I shared the pictures via facebook and emailed a ton of pics to a friend who lives across the continent. My daughter and I had the most memorable summer ever.

This summer ChatterBox is a LIT (Leader In Training for the City of Edmonton Summer Camps), so our festival time will be limited. Not that we want to attend all of them, because quite frankly, quite a few were lame. Genetic Offspring and I have plans to go to the Fringe quite a bit, but other than that, my kids are busy.

For me, I have 4 more papers to write and 2 classes to complete. I hope to be face painting a couple more times and I have my half marathon training to complete. The big day is August 22! I will continue to swim daily and eat properly so I can reach my goal of 20lbs down by September. I am giving myself the whole month of September to do it – just in case! But I am confident I will reach that goal easily. I am fortunate enough to be able to go to Disneyland, sans my family, in August. This is to celebrate my 44th birthday, 1 year as the Edmonton Tourist and to fulfill a dream. So as you can see, my summer is purposeful.

I need to start planning new goals to attain. I have been reading blogs where people have 40 things to do before they are 40. Well I missed that boat. However, I learned this year it is NEVER too late to start a list. I have also learned this year if you tell people your hopes, dreams, wishes, and desires, then anything is possible and dreams become reality. I am living proof. So, this Edmonton Tourist is going to make a 50 in 50 list. I will make the list saying “I Will” not “I want” subtle yet different. That will give me 6 years to complete. Are you interested in the list? I am making a disclaimer right here, right now *list is subject to change*. Why you may ask? Well, I am not the same person I was last year. I don’t expect to be the same person next year. The things I think I will do today may not be the reality for me in 4 years. Does that make sense? For example, I want to lay on a white sandy beach on my 50th birthday wearing a bikini and looking all thin and gorgeous. I know I will physically be able to do it, but what if a better opportunity pops up or wearing a bikini isn’t all it is cracked up to be? I want to have flexibility within my list.  Here we go!

The Edmonton Tourist’s 50 Things to Do Before She Turns 50

  1. I will lay on a white sandy beach on my 50th birthday wearing a bikini and looking slim and gorgeous!
  2. I will walk across the stage at Royal Roads University and collect my MBA
  3. I will walk the Edmonton Half Marathon in 2011
  4. I will run a 5km race in 2011
  5. I will run the Donald half Marathon at WDW
  6. I will spend 3 days touring the Louvre in Paris with a fellow art lover
  7. I will go see a Broadway musical
  8. I will go the the Fireworks Festival in Vancouver
  9. I will take a cruise from New York to Newfoundland and see an iceberg
  10. I will go to the Maritimes in the fall to see the trees different colours
  11. I will eat dinner at the California Grill while watching the Fireworks
  12. I will read 50 of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Novels
  13. I will attend Marathon Week in New York and Cheer people on
  14. I will sit in Central Park on a bench and watch people go by
  15. I will buy a pair of Christian Louboutin and wear them to dinner at the Bull and Bear restaurant at the Waldorf
  16. I will travel to Asia and visit the rest of the Disney Theme parks
  17. I will get promoted and stop working in the classroom
  18. I will wear an Armani Suit
  19. I will go to Tiffany & Co on 5th Avenue New York and Buy my key
  20. I will see magnetic hill
  21. I will drive to Whitehorse, Yukon in the summer
  22. I will enter a karaoke competition
  23. I will go to Vegas and gamble
  24. I will stand before the Grand Canyon
  25. I will skinny dip in a creek
  26. I will go sailing on the ocean
  27. I will climb to the top of a Lighthouse
  28. I will watch the entire tv series of Sex in the City
  29. I will spend several weeks in the mediterranean
  30. I will see the Parthenon
  31. I will read Greek Mythology
  32. I will learn Italian
  33. I will go to the Chelsea Flower show
  34. I will watch dwarf tossing
  35. I will go to a Stanley Cup Final
  36. I will watch AFI’s 100 movies
  37. I will make one last quit – Queen size
  38. I will explore tide pools
  39. I will drink a glass of scotch
  40. I will smoke a cigar
  41. I will photograph a collection of unusual doors
  42. I will stay up all night to watch the sunrise
  43. I will go to a comedy club
  44. I will have my full astrological chart done
  45. I will have my tea leaves read
  46. I will go fishing on the ocean
  47. I will collect tiny pieces of drift wood for a glass bowl
  48. I will finish my sand collection and collect sand from the major oceans
  49. I will nap in a hammock
  50. I will attend a clam bake


What would you add? Or do you have any questions about my list? I like it!!


Bring it

Nine months ago, just seems like yesterday, was my 43rd birthday. That was the day I decided to change my life, take chances and be the girl I always wanted to be. I realized I have some excellent qualities that have been stuffed in my sock drawer for a while. I cleaned out my sock drawer, threw ought the ones with holes and all those mismatched  ugly socks. I invested in new socks. I particularly like my black socks with sheep on them…but I digress. I am not hear to talk about real socks but my metaphoric socks. A few days ago I talked about all my new goals to take me into my first anniversary of being the Edmonton Tourist. I had set a goal of a half marathon for 2012. Well, things changed a bit.

I was a birthday party this afternoon and was chatting with a very dear friend of mine. She teaches a learn to walk half marathon course at the Running Room. I got all caught up in the excitement and suddenly, I am starting her class May 2, 2011….Not 2012 as first thought. I am incredibly excited! The gal who helped me find my Mo said she is in too! I want a medal for all my hard work so far, and this is how I am going to get one. Edmonton Derby Half Marathon here I come.

My Mo partner asked me if I was going to drop out after a few sessions..um…NO WAY! If there is one thing about me that I know, I am super competitive with myself. If I tell myself I am doing it, then I will. Now if she drops out on me, I will still go because I am just doing it – plain and simple.  Doubting Debbie (not his real name) mentioned to me that half marathons are hard and not sure if I could do it based on my past. If I had a mouth full of bullets at that moment he would have been sporting one in the eye. That attitude made me angry. I don’t need THAT kind of support, thank you very much. Suddenly I saw a little bit of the OLD ME resurface. The old me who likes to win and kick some ass at the same time. The old me who laughs in people’s faces when they tell me I am not capable. The old me who was freaking awesome.

The old freaking awesome me and the new fabulous me met today for the first time. They kicked out sad pathetic me and told her to take a hike. Sad pathetic me can watch from the sidelines when I cross the finish line and get my new hardware. I will wear it like the Tiffany Key, I think it will look smashing with my new boots.

August 21st, bring it.

What is Next on the List?

Today was GORGEOUS! 9C and to me that is shirt sleeve weather. ChatterBox and I went for a shopping trip because she keeps growing, it’s kind of expensive having a teen daughter. However, I still like her so there isn’t much I can do about it. We had a lovely day, it felt good to be outside. I’m feeling good too – well physically. Shedding weight, exercising regularly, eating pretty good. It got me thinking about my next goal. As you know I make daily goals and long term goals. I am doing well on the daily goal. I am working on my long term goal (my degree, and sign up soon for 2 more classes!) I think it is time to pursue a long term physical goal. I have the intellectual goal in check. So I was thinking…

In my family I am blessed with runners. They love the feeling and enjoy the mental component of running. While I am in NO condition to run, I need to shed more weight to be kind to my knees. I am capable of walking. Gals at work have a walking group, quite a few walk half marathons. Here is my new goal: I will walk in the Edmonton Derby Half Marathon in 2012.

To do this I need to do a few things:

  • Keep swimming 4 times a week
  • Keep up with Yoga
  • walk 4 times a week ( I can manage weekends and 2 days a week)
  • Buy new shoes for walking
  • keep a log of how many km I walk (how cool would it be to “walk across Canada”?)
  • Join the half marathon walking class at the Running Room next spring

Here is my plan, I will walk Tuesdays,Thursdays, Saturdays and have my long walk on Sundays. I may find I need to build up to 4 days a week, or keep my walks short until I can do more. I am swimming 45mins now but started with only 10min, so I am building stamina. I know I can do it, and by putting it here, I have now told the universe so that makes me accountable. I need to think about a plan for winter. But who wants to do that today with the weather so nice? Not me.

So as Katie Scarlett O’Hara said, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

Wish me luck!