Run ALL The Races

I have a problem.

A race problem.

I want to sign up for every race under the sun. When I can’t find a local race I have been feverishly scanning for ones in New York State (don’t worry Shawn, haven’t found any yet).

I have been having problems with my rotator cuff in my left shoulder so swimming has been infrequently lately, which puts my triathlon season sort of up in the air. Because of this I have been concentrating more on road races, and have tentatively come up with a race plan. I haven’t signed up for anything yet so things may change.

May 18 – 5000m track race. Weird, right? It’s $3 so why not?!

June 2 – 75km Heart And Stroke Ride for Heart – 75km on my bike!

June 15 – Triathon. Not sure if this is a go, but if it is I will probably be a baby and just do the Try A Tri again this year since my shoulder is being a bitch.

July 28 – another triathlon, sprint distance this time

August 11 – Toronto 10 miler. This would be my first 10 mile race and fit in perfectly for my fall half marathon plans

August 31 (I think) – sprint #2

September – no idea. Maybe nothing!

October 20 – take #2 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.

It looks kinda crazy to me! I’m really looking forward to training for this half, it was my first last year and it is a great course. Also I think I just love training and the long runs.

Who knows, maybe next year I will eat my own words and sign up for a full.

Or not.

What’s next on your race schedule?

What It Means To Be An Athlete

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be an athlete.

Oh sure, I have run a few races, trained (and DNS) for 2 half marathons, completed a triathlon, and can throw some heavy weights around, but does that make me an athlete?

Dictionary.com defines an athlete as “a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength”.

When I think of an athlete, I think of those sub 20min 5k runners, the talented runners who can run a marathon in nearly 2 hours, those that complete an Ironman, or those guys who deadlift 600lbs.  Sure, when I’ve raced and lifted weights I’ve trained, so I have that in common with my idea of athletes – but my training is nothing compared to their hours of hard work. 

I’m definitely not talented at anything athletic; I have to work my butt off to get the mediocre results I do get.  Some people are just born to run, to lift, to play tennis, or to swim – their genetics, talent, and drive all come together to make the perfect athlete.

So where does that leave the rest of us – the middle-of-the-packers, those of us that put the time in, show up and perform, but still aren’t winning our age groups, or setting new records? Well, if we go by the definition above, then we are definitely athletes.  However, for me it’s easier to attribute the athlete title to others, even those like myself, because I just can’t see myself as an athlete.  And I don’t know that I ever will.

To that extent then I guess being an athlete is more mental than anything – kind of a state of mind.  As long as we put the work in, and train hard, and show up on race day, game day or competition day and show everyone what we’ve got, and we truly BELIEVE we are athletes, then that’s what we are.

I hope that I can get there someday myself.

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What is your definition of athlete? Do you consider yourself one?

Just Don’t Call It A Comeback–Race Weekend!

One more sleep until race day!

I’m still hesitant to have any kind of finishing time in mind.  I’m a slow runner as it is, and I’m still even slower since starting back running, and it’s a trail run.  As I said before, I’ll be happy to finish upright and smiling.

I ran on one of the many golf courses in Uxbridge Thursday while I was at my parents’ house for the afternoon.  This isn’t the golf course the race will be held on, but the golf cart paths and grassy areas were a nice change from road running, and the hills really worked my legs (and lungs).  It was a gorgeous day, and even thought I got lost on the golf course (who does that?) I still had a great run.

I picked up my race kit from one of the local Running Room stores Thursday evening.  It had a lot of stuff for a smaller-ish race, and I was surprised to see that they actually had samples.

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The race shirt is really nice as well, and it was lovely that they had men and women’s sizes, and not just unisex like a few of the smaller races I’ve done. 

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Since this race is sort of a “comeback” (I guess – I was never really anywhere before, ha) and the start of something new, of course I had to come up with a new playlist.  I’ve been running with the same songs on my old playlist for far too long.  The new stuff definitely makes running more fun (for me – I know a lot of purists won’t run with music), and even hearing the songs on the radio makes me want to hit the pavement – er, trail in this case. 

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On the CrossFit end of things, I had 3 great workouts this week, particularly yesterday’s.  The workout was:

3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x3 of bench press
Then:
6-5-4-3-2-1 of cleans (increasing weight each round, up to 90% of 1 RM)
Between each round, do 5 box jumps

I suck at bench pressing, but managed to do 60lbs for 3 reps. My cleans were as follows: 65lbs – 70 – 75 – 85 – 90 – 95, which is a new PR for me – I had never cleaned 95lbs before! Not only that, but my box jumps (at 20’, not on the tire for once, but used a smaller box and 35lb plates to get up to 20’) were solid, AND I finished first for once, in 10:26.  I’m normally the slowest. It was a killer workout, and talk about a CrossFit high – I don’t think I stopped smiling all afternoon.

Besides the race on Sunday, it’s also my mom’s birthday (hi Mom!) – she comes back from Florida today, and brings with her cinnamon bears for me.  I’ve never had them but have heard a lot about them, and now my desire for cinnamon-y, gummy goodness can be satiated.  I’ll also put the finishing touches on my try-a-tri training plan which I will start on Monday. Oh and I also added a page for the dogs at the top of the blog – check out their cute faces!

So many workouts, so little time.

Have a great weekend!

The Great Speed Debate

Callie over at The Wannabe Athlete wrote a great post about 10min+/mile runners last week, and it got me thinking.  Thanks for inspiring this post and for writing such a great blog! :)

Look at me run (in the pink) - I'm so fast I'm blurry

One thing I am not good at is running fast (and there is great debate over whether I run well at all, anyway, I’m sure).

Oh sure, I try, but my “speed” tends to be around 10:00/mile (or 6:00/km) while on longer runs.  I can hold a fairly decent pace while on the treadmill doing  shorter repeats but I cannot sustain it for any length of time.

I’m usually more comfortable around a 10:30/mile pace but that’s comfort – I seem to be unable to push myself, unless it’s just for a short period of time.  My brain tends to wimp out way before my body does.

Regardless, I have improved tremendously since I started running in April.  My first 5K race, I crossed the finish line at 39:16 (with minimal training).  My next 5k, 2 months later, I ended with a time of 34:48, and during my 10k a few months later I managed a 31min 5k.  So clearly I’m getting faster.

But when will I be “fast”? Is there some sort of unwritten (or written, I don’t know) rule that once a runner hits a certain pace they qualify as a “fast” runner? I know I’ll never go sub 20min in the 5k, nor will I ever hit a 45 min 10k.  I’m short and muscular and still have extra weight hanging on which makes me the runner’s body antithesis.  But how fast can I go?

I know that everyone has their own opinion on what fast is, and that it varies based on their experience and own abilities.  However, it really beats me down when I see faster runners complaining about their “slow” splits when in reality I will never be able to run that fast.  Their fast is my unfathomable, while my fast isn’t even in their running repertoire anymore, and probably never was.  This is my own mental game and I know it, but I admire some of these runners a lot and their opinion matters to me, even if none of them know me.

So probably I should just suck it up and get over myself and my insecurities, or get faster, or just give up running altogether.  Clearly the last thing isn’t going to happen yet, and the second thing is debatable, so I really should just give up and be proud of the fact that I am out there running anyway.  Being fast shouldn’t be the only thing I strive for, right?


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What, in your opinion, makes a runner “fast”? Can a slow runner get faster?

It’s Been A While & Workout Update

Yeah, so clearly I did it again.

Disappeared, that is.

But it’s the end of January, the holidays are over, and I am determined to make this little blog here thing work this time around. So I apologize to anyone who may have been missing me (ha!) and I promise to stick around this time.  I have some exciting ideas for the blog and I’m looking forward to rolling them out over the next few weeks.

Workout Recap – January 23-29

Monday – 16km 10km on the treadmill
I’d had a rough weekend at work, it was raining out (ok it was pouring), and I find the treadmill to be super boring. I fully intended to do my full long run on the ‘mill but after 6miles I just couldn’t do it any more.  I was mentally and phsyically exhausted so I called it a day. 

Tuesday & Wednesday – rest due to work

Thursday – Olympic lifting class
So I am completely smitten with Oly lifting & power lifting and lifting in general.  I have gone to 2 classes at my Crossfit box and I will continue to go, as often as I can.  If you follow me on twitter you may have seen a photo from that class, me with a 60lb jerk. Love it.

Friday – Crossfit and 8km on Treadmill
I did a 15 minute crossfit workout – every minute on the minute for 15 minutes – 2 strict presses (55lbs) and 5 box jumps (20 inches).  It was a lot more tiring than it looked.
I hooked up with the treadmill again as it was (again) raining and getting dark (and lately I’ve been afraid to run on my own, especially in the dark).  I started with some easy mile repeats, then ended up doing 4 x 400m repeats with 200m rest in between.  I apparently can run faster than I thought! This was also the first run with my new shoes (more about them later).

Saturday – Crossfit (again)
19:30 workout – 5 rounds for time, 100′ farmers walk (40lbs each side), 10 burpees (I subbed 10 situps and 5 push ups), 100′ bear crawl, and 10 pull ups.  My pull ups are getting a lot better and I think I will have to go down a band soon.

Sunday – 16km
This was my first long run with my new orthotics and I think they helped tremendously.  My knees are achy today but I believe that is due to my crappy old shoes (which shall never be run in again!). Between my new shoes, my foam roller, and my orthotics I hope to have this pain thing figured out in time for the Chilly Half in 5 weeks!!

This week I plan on stepping up my running and getting back to proper running workouts, and potentially taking a step back from Crossfit.  My plan is to concentrate mostly on running until after the Goodlife Half Marathon in early May, and then turn my focus to muscle and strength building for most of the summer.  I refuse to give up my Crossfit completely though, but as evidence by my slow and painful run yesterday, I need to give my legs a break every now and then in order to be able to run, well, better.

I am really looking forward to yoga tonight – need to stretch out all my sore muscles.  I hope everyone had a great weekend and that you all have fantastic workouts planned for this week! :)

Carly