Moving On From Self Doubt

Yesterday I ran the EY River Run Classic Half Marathon.

RIVER CITY 2011
This was my first ever half marathon, back in August of 2011. (above)
I had just finished nursing school, just started my dream job as an emergency RN, just got married, and was in the best shape I had ever been in up to that point. I was able to train with three friends who through running became some of my best friends.
The race kicked my butt. It was painful, it was hot, it was hard. I left feeling more accomplished than any other day in my life. Non-athletic Sarah just did something few complete. She ran a half-marathon. Running was an outlet, a way to prove to myself I was capable of anything I set my mind to.

Flash forward to July 10, 2011: it was a humid, overcast day. One of my best friends and mentors signed up, and paid the $70 just to pace me. I was full of expectations. There was no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t achieve my 6-year goal of running a half marathon in two hours and thirty minutes-just one month ago I ran a 2:34 with digestive issues.

By 8km my  mind started to collapse. I started trailing behind, loosing time. I started thinking about how stupid I was for trying to conquer such a lofty goal (4 minutes faster in less than a month). My toe went numb, and then incredible pain. I was nauseated, my hands were swollen. I started working myself up so much I couldn’t breath because I was fighting back tears.
This is pretty much how the rest of the race went. I beat myself up emotionally. “You can’t do it”, “Just quit now”, “Why did you ever think you could do this? You aren’t an athlete!”, “What a bad friend, wasting Rebecca’s time”…. and on and on it went.

I knew my goal was gone….and then a few minutes later, a PR was also gone. I basically whined, and cried on and off from 8km all the way to 20km. I was ready to pull out my debit card and call a cab. I threatened to hitch hike home. I didn’t fuel properly, because I had already given up in my head. I drank way too much water, not enough salt…and hardly any carbs. Becky wouldn’t leave me. She encouraged me. She pushed me to work harder, and she pulled back when she saw emotionally I couldn’t push harder. She tried to remind me, just ONE MONTH ago, this would be a GREAT time.

At 2:42, 3rd to last, with tears streaming down my face, I crossed the finish line.

RIVER CITY RUN 2016

Today, after almost a full 24 hours of sulking, it brings tears to my eyes. Not because I am upset with myself for the time anymore-but because I was my own enemy. My own self-though process destroyed me. The race was over in my head after it had barely just started physically.

I took my time to sulk. I am now surpassing those demons that told me I wasn’t good enough on race day. I am good enough. I am MORE than ENOUGH.

I am pulling out of the full marathon in September, not because I think I can’t do it…I know I can. I want to love running. The best part of running is the self awareness, and confidence it gives me…. I lost that somewhere in this race.

I have two more half marathons this summer, one in august and September (switched down from the full). My biggest goal being to show myself love, and the love of running again. Run for enjoyment. Run to prove to myself I am ENOUGH.

…Because I am. 🙂 On to bigger, better things. SEE YA LATER SELF DOUBT.

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Saskatchewan Marathon

Sunday was the Saskatchewan Marathon in which I was running the half marathon. Having only gotten out of a boot cast for a bad sprain two months prior, I started the day with my only goal to get close to my old PR.

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My HEART was a different story. I wanted to break 2:30 for the first time. One of my best friends was pacing the group, and I knew with her encouragement I could do it.

The first 5 km of the race was through residential area. At first I was dreading this as I find residential BORING. However the first 5 km everyone was still close together, it doubled back on itself and there were tons of people cheering. By the time we got to the river trail I thought, oh wow! Its just like starting a regular run, I just have to go a shorter distance now!

Running a 7min/km pace felt hard, but do-able. Around 12km I realized I had to use the washroom and use my inhaler, but didn’t want to stop and risk loosing my pacer. I ate two gels-pretty much forcing them down on Becky’s advice knowing I would need the energy later. By 14km, I NEEDED to stop [I was majorly regretting cutting my digestion time pre-race by half an hour]. I picked up my pace to PAST comfortably hard, hard as I could go to get to the washroom for…

SOME SPECTATOR KID TO SWIPE THE ONLY BATHROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I couldn’t wait. I knew if my pacer passed me, I would have a really hard time getting back to her.

I slowed for a mini-tantrum. HA! My eyes were watering, I had rage inside me [yes, I know, kids can’t hold their bladders…rationally, I’m not mad….irrationally in my “IM GOING TO KILL A 6 YEAR DREAM” head I was RAGING. It was all I could do not to scream at the mother as I ran by. There were literally public bathrooms 300 meters away.] Becky caught up to me and I am sure she could tell I was defeated. She pointed out the bathrooms up ahead and I went for the sprint. I knew if she got more than 30 seconds ahead of me I wouldn’t be able to catch her.

I sprinted along the course to the public bathrooms. I went faster than ever in my life, one minute.  I sprinted back out. I saw Becky in the distance. I ran as hard as I possibly could. Possibly harder than I ever had to try to get back with her and the group. I could see her in the distance for a full 2-2.5km. She was SO close, but I was burning every ounce of extra energy I had to try and catch her. TMI alert: I was running so hard, I vomited in my mouth, and swallowed again in an attempt to KEEP GOING.

I approached the south bridge which has a slow incline. She was at the end of the bridge [thanks to a bright orange tank I could find her]. I tried as hard as I have ever tried for anything. The incline started, and I just knew, I couldn’t keep this pace any longer. I would have to push myself to try my best, and PR as close to 2:30 as I could.

I slowed my pace back to my goal pace and kept going. Within another 2-3 km my pace slowed dramatically. I was 1 minute slower per KM. I downed almost an entire pack of gel dummies desperate for energy. All of that sprinting wore me out early.

I knew that if I didn’t PR at least, I would never forgive myself for giving up.
I pressed on at 90% effort. The hardest I have ever worked in a race, EVER.
In my head I kept calculating how many minutes behind I was. FINALLY I was on the final stretch. I could see the finish line.
400 meters left, I had plenty of time to PR. Becky  ran back for me. All I could say was “I tried so hard to catch you” through tears. I was so emotional I could barely breath. I had to beg her, and a few seconds later, my husband, not to talk to me so I could at least breath and finish strong. Becky took my camel back to lighten the zone and I ran the last 300 meters at a pace around 5:28 according to my watch. If you saw me dragging it in, you probably would have thought I was a robot. I wasn’t smiling. My eyes were on the prize.

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I finished in 2:34:59. 11 whole minutes off my previous personal best. Almost 5 minutes off of the dream I had been chasing for 6 years….and while I didn’t believe I could achieve until mid race, had my heart set on.

Now, I am selfishly bummed. Im trying to be so happy with my accomplishment. I PR’d by such a large amount. I ran the hardest emotional and physical race I have ever run. I all out sprinted 2.5km…..and I can’t stop thinking about 2:30.

I could have done it. I COULD HAVE DONE IT.
The fire is inside me. Now to find a race….

PS. Don’t ask me about aid stations or any of that jazz- the only ones I really remember were at 4km and 14km[with the dang kid], but I was so zoned in and focused I can’t remember. I DO know 14km only had ONE porta potty. I know they were often, I was just trying to run my hardest and zone them out. I wore a camel back with my energy and water.

A Day In The Life

Woke up today at 6am and then rested in bed for about 15 minutes before getting up for my long run, feeling relatively rested after 7.5hrs of sleep (I usually need 9). I ate a banana and about 4 or 5 baby dill pickles along with two glasses of water. Filled up my fuel belt with another two cups of water and some dates.

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Headed out for a slightly epic run with one of my besties, Grey Robin. I call it epic because I was pushed beyond what I thought was my physical limit as well as my mental limit at this point. We setting out to hit 18km, at what I thought would be my average pace of 7:45-8:25….typically long runs are mostly in the 8 minute or more mark. After 1km, GR took my garmin away from me as I was already starting to obsess over my pace. She directed me to just take it easy and go with how I felt [she should really get certified as a run coach, she really knows how to encourage and inspire]. Fabulous. We took a route on our normal trail but much further south in a part I haven’t been. It was beautiful and slightly hilly dirt trails. At 5km, I was surprised to find out I was only at 37 minutes (40 minutes is my norm. lately) and feeling great. Around where I thought was about 8 or 9km I started trying to push myself a little harder because I thought I might be slowing down, telling Becky I would like to hit 10km in less than 1:18 (norm. is 1:20 lately). She giggled a bit as I was huffing and puffing and fretting about slowing down and told me that I only had 900M to go until 10KM giving me enough time to actually WALK and still hit 1:18. I rolled past 10KM at 1:14!!!! I was actually running at a 7:05 and 7:07 pace for the 9 and 10th KM. WAHOOOOO!!! I couldn’t breath, and tears were welling in my eyes. I am so much stronger than I think I am. We continued along the dirt river-side trails for the last 8KM which were definitely tough mentally. I literally felt like crawling into the grass and going to sleep. Grey Robin pushed me and pushed me and LITERALLY…EVEN PHYSICALLY PUSHED ME and got me to the end in 2:21:53! Major Success. Even if I run 8:15 minute KM’s for the last three on race day, I will PR by about a minute. I seriously have no idea what I would do without GR’s constant support!!=) Through the run I only ate about 3 dates and 3 cups of water. 

After the run I had 25 minutes until church started so I made a mad dash for a cold shower and got ready to arrive at church about 10 minutes late, iced coffee, pickles and a banana in hand. After service the hubbie and I headed home for some relaxation and lunch. We ate leftover lo mein and watermelon. I had 3 glasses of water also.

We spent the afternoon watching episodes of The Mindy Project, which the hubbie is still catching up on while I stretched and foam rolled- seriously painful.

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Around 2:30 we settled in for an afternoon nap as we were both beat. I sleep for about an hour and a half. Woke up, hung around the house, wasted time on the internet snacking on some potato chips and finally decided upon sushi for dinner. [Oh and treated my running chafe while drinking a cherry dr. pepper]

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Now we are just spending the evening at home relaxing/watching TV and probably having an early-ish bedtime! Our simple, boring sunday in a nutshell, and I loved it!

Lo Mein [Gluten Free, Vegan]

Two weeks until the last marathon of the year. This means its time to clean up my diet, and put only good things in. This also means it is time to start introducing a few extra carbs! Here’s a way to do both, while satiating a chinese take-out craving [something that doesn’t come gluten-free in my city].

Low Mein [Gluten Free, Vegan]

All Veggie servings are approximate as  you can just use what you have/need to use up for this recipe. I just kept adding until my pan was too full! This recipe takes about 20 minutes start to finish and reheats well.

Makes 4-6 servings

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400g Rice noodles

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp canola oil

3 cups stir-fry mix (Mine had broccoli, carrots, sugar peas…all pre-chopped)

1 cup bean sprouts, chopped

1.5 cup baby bokchoy, chopped

1 can drained water chestnuts

1 can drained mini corn

2 cups broth (I used vegetable)

2 tbsp corn starch

Sauce

3 tbsp tamari + extra according to taste

1 tbsp minced ginger (I used ginger paste)

2 tbsp raw cane sugar

2 tbsp sesame oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

Heat frying pan over medium heat. Add oil and onion and cook until onions are translucent. While onions are cooking, make rice noodles. Cover noodles in a bowl with boiling water + 1 cup broth, drain once noodles are slightly firmer than al dente. Whisk sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Once onions are translucent, add stir fry mix and cover with lid. Cook until crisp but tender, aprox 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables, including water chestnuts, as well as the final cup of broth. Add sauce. Allow vegetable to soften, aprox. 2 minutes.

Drain vegetables, reserving the sauce. Add sauce back to pan along with rice noodles and corn starch which has been dissolved in a small amount of water. Allow rice noodles to finish softening. Once noodles are soft, toss in vegetable mixture. Heat until sauce has reduced slightly, aprox. 1 minute.

Once removed from heat, drizzle with sesame oil and serve. If you desire more flavour, drizzle with extra tamari.

To reheat, add a few tbsp warm water to a pan with serving, or put in microwave with a cup of water beside dish to retain moisture.

NOTE: If you would like to add some protein, chopped firm tofu, scrambled eggs, or chicken would be best added with onions at the beginning. I prefer to keep it vegan.

Week One

NOTE: I APOLOGIZE FOR THE BORING, NO PHOTO POST-MY COMPUTER WON’T LOAD MY PHOTOS FOR WHATEVER REASON!

I am officially one week into my refined carb/sugar free challenge. Overall, it has been great and I have felt great. I had one minor pitfall, but I am back on track. To make up for the pitfall-Im going to do all of June rather than only  until June 29th. I’ve been keeping notes on my phone so I could give you guys the play-by-play on how it is going. I have also been tracking what I am eating on an app on my phone just for curiosity sake to see how my macro-nutrient consumption effects how I feel.

Day One: I was travelling back home from a trip to my parent’s house for my Dad’s 50th birthday. I only ate a little water melon before leaving, so I was starving once I had driven about an hour and a half. I was suprised at how easy it was to find a salad bar in small town saskatchewan for lunch. I picked up a huge salad with chicken and eggs + strawberries + orange juice. On the next leg of my journey I picked up a sugar free coconut water at a gas station and indulged in the strawberries since I didn’t touch them before. I drank 3 bottles of water on the trip. At home I made a big salad for dinner with bacon, chicken, egg, and black soy beans (couldn’t find regular black beans at the grocery store for some reason). I topped the salad with a ‘homemade vegan ranch’….turned out more like a creamy dill sauce. A mango for dessert. I also juiced a cucumber, beet, carrot, ginger and spinach for a snack with a banana later. I felt SUPER full essentially all day. Macro Nutrients: Fats 71g, Carbs 187g, Protein 77g

Day 2: Worked a 12 hour day shift. Felt exhausted pretty much the entire day. Ate one halls candy by accident-didn’t even realize what I was doing until it was gone. Craved chips mid afternoon, craved protein like CRAZY in the evening. Once home from work, the hubbie brought me home a bison burger in a lettuce wrap with tomato, onion, dill pickle and mustard. I also realize I am WAY underhydrated- only drank 1.5L all day-chug some water with the burger and am feeling much more satisfied. Maco Nutrients: Fats 75g, Carbs 167g, Protein 100g

Day 3: Worked another 12 hour day shift. Craving protein MAJORLY all day. Ate another lettuce burger for dinner. More energy today than the last two. Macro Nutrients: Fats 73g, Carbs 163g, Protein 91g

Day 4: Yet again, 12 hour day shift. Super tired from work today. Meet husband for dinner out and completely give into temptation- ate fries and a gluten free bun burger…oh and dairy-cheese dip. I really went off the deep end. After tracking my nutrients I realize I only ate 800 calories throughout the day, no wonder I fell. Need to keep up my nutrition through the day so I go get these little binge moments. Macro Nutrients: Fats 102g, Carbs 233g, Protein 87g

Day 5: Worked a 12 hour night shift. Felt generally okay, a little bloated, perhaps from the carbs. Skin is going crazy today. Made a delicious banana chocolate icecream with frozen banana, dates, cococa powder all blended up in the blender. Good through most of the night- craved salty carbs. Ate a few bananas through the night and felt better. Macro Nutrients: Fats 30g, Carbs 206g, Protein 44g

Day 6: Came off the night shift tired (all nighter, duh.) Made a burger at home (I don’t know why all I want to eat is burgers this week!) and roasted a potato. Potato tasted WAY TOO SWEET so I only ate a few bites. When I woke up from sleeping all day all I wanted to eat was mango. Went to costco and bought two cases of different varieties. Ate 4 mangos for dinner with a TON of water, feeling very satisfied. Realizing I was eating too few carbs maybe? More carbs, less fat maybe? We’ll see how that works out. Macro Nutrients: Fats 70g, Carbs 230g, Protein 61g

Day 7: Slept a LONG TIME. (7 hours yesterday in the day + 10 hours at night) Woke up feeling VERY refreshed. I am a little dehydrated. Guzzle a litre of water and eat 3 mangos throughout the morning….On to week two.

Buh-Bye Sugar!

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Due a general interest in increasing my energy, mood and health, I have decided to challenge myself to one month free of refined sugar or carbs. If you remeber from last summer- I began seeing a naturopath. Part of my journey to health involved cutting out refined sugar and carbs (as well as about 15 allergens and caffiene) for 6 weeks….but slowly over the year all the sugar snuck it’s way back in. I have been indulging in soda WAY more than appropriate (having a soda stream dosen’t help), as well as other ‘junk’. Being summer, it’s the easiest season to eat healthy…so why not! I’ll be travelling this week, so I am planning to start my plan May 29 and go until June 19. Wish me luck!

As I learned last year around this time, success is all in the planning. I know that cravings will come and I need to be prepared for both salty and sweet snacks. I also will need to amp up protein and fat to keep me satifsfied. I will try to share my meal-planning in case any of you want to follow along!=) I work shift work, so if I can do it…all of you 9-5er’s certainly can as well!=) FYI: I usually plan leftovers for lunches, hence no lunch categorie. For the 12 hour work days- I also bring leftovers for one meal plus eggs for another and tons of fruit and veg typically.

Breakfasts:

Omelettes (2-3 eggs + salt + pepper + almond milk + spinach + onion + mushroom + pepper + tomato)

Egg Cupcakes (bake shredded yam hash + sausage + eggs in cupcake tins in oven)

Monkey Salad (cashews + coconut chips + banana)

Fruit

Coffee and Vegan Creamer (Coconut Milk + dates + vanilla)

Snacks:

Monkey Salad

Fruit

Boiled Eggs with Salt

Dill Pickles

Turkey Wraps (Turkey + avocado + spinach)

Dinners:
May 29: Travelling, 7km run- Cobb Salad (bacon, egg, rotisserie chicken, tomato, avocado, cucumber, lettuce, black beans + vegan ranch)
May 30: 12 hr Day Shift
May 31: 12 hr Day Shift

June 1: 12 hr Day Shift

June 2: 12 hr Night Shift, Yoga- Baked Salmon (lemon, salt, pepper) + Kale/Mushrooms/Onion + Yam with coconut oil

June 3: 8km Run(last 4 race pace)- Yam Hash, Eggs, Sautee Kale or Spinach

June 4: 4km Run- Salad + Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken + Guacamole

June 5: 16km Run- Creamy Spiced Cauliflower Soup

Happy Eating!

Gopher Attack Half Marathon

ImageHappy Easter! Wow! We did it. The first half marathon of the year has finally come, and passed. Grey Robin, G and I travelled to Regina on thursday afternoon to prepare for our race the next day. G and I were running the half marathon (21.1km) [G’s FIRST half marathon], and Grey Robin was running her first full marathon (42.2km). I am beyond thrilled with how G and Grey Robin did! As for myself, this was a personal WORST for time, but we were batteling 50km/hr headwinds as well as rain/freezing rain. I used muscles I didn’t even know existed getting through the wind. By about 16km I had severe shooting pains in my right knee-which was strange since I didn’t have any injury issues during training-I think it may have been due to the extra effort needed to battle the wind. I ended up finnishing in 2:58. VERY SLOW, but I am still SO proud. My goal was soley to finish, and in those conditions it was incredibly hard. I am so proud of myself mentally. I didn’t hit a wall, or ever feel like I couldn’t do it. I was optimistic through the entire race. Yay! The mental battle is always harder than the physical battle for me. I actually starting ugly crying as I crossed the finish line because I was so proud. We didn’t end up getting a group picture, but G and I snapped a selfie quickly before starting…I was so lucky to be able to run the first half with the love of my life.

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While I am sick now with a throat/chest viral thing, I am already getting excited for my next race-hopefully May? I just NEED to kick the bad time in the butt!

Note: I didnt get to see Grey Robin cross the finish line….devestating or what?! I had to go to the washroom and held it for so long and when I finally decided to go was when she came in. DARN IT!