Marathon Training – Ottawa: Week 5

So back before Christmas I was having a hard time feeling motivated. I was in the gym and working out but everything was so lackluster. I had my eye on a marathon for 2018 and had originally planned for only an 18-week training schedule, but the last time I felt truly great about my entire workout routine was when I was marathon training. So I booted up my Nike Run Club app, put in the marathon date, and wouldn’t you know? I was 23 weeks out – the same number of weeks my training plan for my first marathon was. So I jumped in head first.

The first three weeks went really well, and then last week I was hit with the flu. I still managed to hit the workouts on my training plan, but the rest of my gym plans were put on the back-burner.

Nevertheless, I am officially in week five of training for the Ottawa Tamarack Marathon on May 27th. I chose Ottawa because I love the city. Ever since I went to school at Carleton University I have had such a soft spot for that city and I never get to go back as often as I would like. Literally, the last time I was there I was running a half marathon at the Army Run. Go figure.

So, anyways, here’s what week five is looking like (full disclosure: we’re going on vacation the first week of February so I’m ramping up my workouts for the next three weeks because I am vain):

MONDAY: Arms + Core (AM) & 6x200m (PM)
TUESDAY: Legs + Spin (AM) & Flow Yoga (PM)
WEDNESDAY – MY BIRTHDAY: Favourite strength movements + 3.5K Recovery Run
THURSDAY: 9K Long Run (AM) & Flow Yoga (PM)
FRIDAY: Legs (AM) + 3.5K Tempo Run
SATURDAY: Nike Training Club workout + Flow Yoga
SUNDAY: Arms + Core

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Finding Motivation in Vanity

Since marathon training ended back in October I’ve been finding it hard to be motivated at the gym. To be fair, it’s not just that I no longer need to be stronger and lighter on my feet for 42.2 kilometers. In those six weeks we’ve lost a lot of daylight in Toronto. And by a lot, I mean the sun rises less than 10 minutes before I leave for work in the morning and I watch the sun set from my desk at work. It makes it hard to get up at 4:30AM from my warm bed to get into my cold car and go to the gym. Once this week I tried to go in the evening but it was the biggest mistake of my life – my new gym is super packed after work.

So, I’m constantly looking for my motivation. I feel like I’m being anti-feminist or conforming to societal norms saying this, but my motivation is becoming vanity based. My boyfriend and I are looking to go on a trip somewhere warm in early 2018 and (I can’t help it!) I want to look super hot in a bikini. I know no one on the beach is going to care what I look like, and my boyfriend isn’t going to care what I look like, but guys, the thoughts are there.

Here’s the thing I think it important to state: I’m not reckless in my quest for a hot body. I know that I won’t be losing 20 pounds in 2 months (even 10 pounds is pushing it). In fact, I’m going to focus more on my body fat percentage instead of my body weight. I’m not depriving myself during the holiday season (I have a craft beer advent calendar that I’m HAPPILY drinking through each night) or only eating 1,200 calories (my TDEE gives me a nice 1,800-2000). It’s just helping me make better choices. Instead of a third cookie I’ll switch to a piece of fruit. I’ll say no to that bagel my  boss is offering me when I already ate a really good breakfast or packed a great lunch. And at 4:30 in the morning I am going to wake up for that alarm and go to the gym. Because here’s the thing, although my motivation is to look great, these things are going to make me feel better.

I have a goal, I have a plan, and I’m being realistic and safe. So what’s wrong with wanting to look a certain way?

What’s your current fitness/health motivation?

Hello, December – Ramblings & Goals

Wow, I can barely believe we’ve already reached the last month of 2017. I’ve been in full Holiday Mode since mid-November, but I feel like the rest of the world is finally catching up with me. I’ve finished my shopping, am starting my Christmas baking tonight, and running the Santa Shuffle tomorrow morning. I won’t call you a Grinch, but I see so much love and joy this time of year that I find it so hard to hate the holiday season.

Because the month of December is always so busy I’m not making any big goals. In fact, I’m going to carry on with two things I’ve been really working on lately: hydration and daily steps. Most days I’ve been drinking a gallon of water and getting in at least 10,000 steps, and I find this has had a huge impact on my fitness level. The last three days I’ve been struggling with weird muscle pains in my neck, shoulders, and chest on my left side, so I’ve skipped the gym while focusing on those two things, and instead of feeling guilty like I usually would have, I feel pretty great.

A third goal? I’d like to eat like a normal person. This time of year creates the perfect environment for weight gain, especially for me because I feel like I have a hard time saying “no.” I definitely won’t deprive myself because for me that leads to a binge, but I need to use moderation. I know, people are sick of that word and it has taken on the same sort of buzz that “detox” and “clean” have, but I’m serious. A couple of treats here and there, but I need to eat the meals I prep for myself every Sunday night.

Off topic, but does anyone still buy themselves advent calendars? I have two polar opposites: for the third or fourth year in a row I bought myself a David’s Tea calendar, but I also splurged and ordered Craft Beer advent calendars for myself and my boyfriend. I’m excited to dig into both this month!

Catching up

I feel like it’s been a hot minute since I last blogged. Lately I’ve been suffering with anxiety and I find when my mental health takes a hit, the blogging and journaling take a backseat. It probably shouldn’t be that way, because writing is creative and therapeutic, but it’s the easiest thing to let go of to give me room to breathe.

I’ve been working on small goals to keep my fitness levels up. The biggest two I’m working on daily are to hit 10,000 steps and to drink one gallon of water. I would say I’m usually 6/7 for the steps and 5/7 for the water (Saturday and Sundays are somehow more difficult. Maybe I have low standards but I’m pretty proud of myself.

For a while I was steadily hitting the gym but I fell out of my routine for a couple of weeks and it was so hard to get back into it. Thankfully, I think I’ve found my groove again and I’m feeling pretty good. I still need to really put in effort to get my nutrition where I want it to be, but if I’ve learned anything about myself during my fitness journey in 2017, it’s that baby steps and small goals work best for me. The big picture is distracting.

So, what does my fitness routine look like right now? Currently, I try to workout six days a week and I’m happy with five. Strength training is my main focus, but this week (for the first time since my marathon) I ran – twice! I also took a spin class last week for the first time in four years, and I’m looking forward to another class tomorrow. Ideally, I’d like to fit spin in twice a week. I’m also still looking to lose weight (although I’m actually trying to focus on body fat percentage for numbers) and according to my TDEE I’m eating around 1,800 calories per day.

What’s not working? Sleep and recovery. I wish I wasn’t aware and could claim ignorance, but these two things are so easy to fix and I’m just not doing them. First, my alarm goes off at 4:30AM and I don’t want to change this, so the simplest solution is to go to bed early. My problem is I’m keeping myself awake, watching Instagram stories while lying in bed. And for recovery? My foam roller is out in plain sight and I completely ignore it. I could be rolling and stretching while watching Netflix but instead I’m being lazy. Being aware of your own bullshit is embarrassing.

Otherwise, I can’t believe December is almost here. I’m thinking about my next goals but I want to be very careful. As I mentioned before, small goals are my forte and with December being a crazy month for most people (me, definitely) trying to do too much will backfire.

Does anyone have any tips for making strong, attainable goals?

A New Training Plan + Motivate Me Monday

This week I’m linking up with Janice from Salads 4 Lunch and Lucie from Run Mommy Run for their #MotivateMe Monday.

Last week was difficult. I really underestimated how long it would take me to bounce back post-marathon. My legs felt alright, but I was struggling with constant fatigue and after making it back in the gym Thursday and Friday, I spent the weekend fighting off what felt like a chest cold. I napped, ate a hold bulb of garlic, drank orange juice with ginger, and focused on resting.

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This week I’m looking to push a little harder. I’m doing the Santa Shuffle on December 2nd and even though it’s a non-timed event, I’d like to hit a PR for my 5K. I really like the Nike Run Club app so I’ll be using that again to guide myself. Here’s what the plan is this week:

Monday: 4.5K Kick Off Run
Tuesday: Arms, Core + 15 minute Benchmark Run
Wednesday: Legs + Cycle
Thursday: Arms, Core
Friday: Legs + 4.5K Recovery Run
Saturday: 11.5K Long Run
Sunday: REST

Post Marathon – Final Thoughts

  1. I did it. Holy shit. I ran 42.2 km and I didn’t die.
  2. I can’t lie – I am disappointed with my time. Based on my training I should have come in at least half an hour earlier. But it’s been a learning experience and if I decide to do it again I will kill it.
  3. I was hoping that running an October marathon meant it would be colder than it was. The heat really messed with my body, and I couldn’t even take in my carbs on the course because I felt so nauseated.
  4. I have done a lot of laundry over the past six months. Running and working out five to six days each week means I had a lot of sweaty clothes to wash.
  5. The worst part of a long run is getting undressed. Seriously. There is nothing more disgusting that literally peeling your drenched clothing off of your sweaty body to get into the shower.
  6. Also, after 20+ kilometers trying to get out of a sports bra is like a marathon in itself.
  7. I’ve never had “nice” looking feet, but blisters and callouses have definitely not helped.
  8. But, thankfully, I didn’t lose any toenails! Honestly, this was my biggest fear.
  9. Switching to morning workouts gave me so much more free time. I wish I had started them before I was seven weeks out.
  10. Taper Madness is real and it’s scary.
  11. I couldn’t have done this without my mom. She helped kick my butt at the end of at least three long-runs and was my cheerleader the entire 23 weeks.
  12. She once brought me band-aids mid-run because of the fore-mentioned blisters.
  13. Also, she met me at the last 500m and it took everything in me to not cry. I felt like I was having an asthma attack because I was so tired and trying not to sob. Her support was incredible.
  14. And to: my sister, Kyla, boyfriend, Michael, best friend, Brittany, and social media soulmate, Lauren… your well wishes meant more to me than you will ever know. When I wanted to give up I hung onto your words and they kept my legs moving.
  15. I’m going to have so much free time now that I’m not running for 2-4 hours and following  up with an hour-long nap.
  16. I’m going to miss when my FitBit tells me after I log my long run that I have 3000+ calories to eat.
  17. I’m jumping into a “quick” six-week training plan for a faster 5K. I’m doing the Santa Shuffle on December 2nd and I think it’ll be a nice way to come out of training.
  18. Otherwise, I’m not sure what my next “big” goal will be. So far I’ve thought about: another marathon while setting a time-goal, Around the Bay 2018, a Spartan Race, a triathlon, or dropping back to the half-marathon and getting an official PR. I guess time will tell.

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#MeToo

Each time I see this hashtag my heart races. I make sure to “like” every post I see because, although it’s still not enough, I can’t find the words to accurately describe how much love and pain I feel for these women.

I don’t know their stories, just my own. But despite all of these women fighting to take their power back, why am I so scared to let them know, #MeToo?

#MeToo.

Sexual assault and harassment has happened so often over the years that it’s a blur. From being cat-called while wearing khakis and an orange construction shirt, to having random fingers inserted into my skirt while at a club, to being grabbed and manhandled on the school playground, I can’t keep track of how many times I’ve dealt with this over the years.

But one memory always sticks out. I remember being four years old the first time I was assaulted by a neighbour that was only two years older than me at the time. I remember I was wearing a red, one-piece bathing suit after playing in my kiddie-pool all afternoon. Somehow he had led me to the shed in my backyard, closed the door, and put his six-year-old fingers into my suit and into my vagina. He told me this is what mommies and daddies do. This went on for four years. By the time we were “caught” I had been groomed. It was normal, until I explained what had happened to my parents and then I realized it was not. It wasn’t OK that he had told me over the years that he would hurt me if I told my parents, or that I knew if he was in my backyard what was about to happen.

Just last week I was looking over old photos with a friend in her basement and we came across one with him in it. She said his name, and although I don’t think about those four years often anymore, I felt myself stiffen. As I write this, my heart races and I feel sick to my stomach. But I don’t blame him.

At six-years-old I can only imagine what abuse he had to endure to decide that he had to also inflict it on me. I 100% believe he was a victim, too. And part of me is thankful that I’m the one he chose – what if he had chosen my younger sister, instead? That thought hurts me more than the abuse I took.

So, finally, I’ll admit – #MeToo. Reliving this moment is exhausting, and it hurts, but #MeToo,