Let’s Hear Your Story!

In social media I frequently come across posts celebrating the achievements of those who have lost a lot of weight since taking up running. Race and running brand ambassadors are often chosen for these inspiring stories and drastic before and afters. It’s amazing to see how far they have come. Their strength and dedication has paid off!

However, I want to dig deeper!

I feel that there are more stories about runners that need recognition as well. I’d like to hear more about what people have gained from running. The intangible benefits that cannot be seen or measured.

What I’ve found truly humbling is hearing stories of how running as helped someone shape who they are, shaped their lives, helped them overcome inner obstacles and become mentally stronger.

I am by no means an amazing runner. I do not have an impressive list of PBs under my belt or age category achievements. In groups people usually have to slow down so that I can keep up.

However, running was key to me finally discovering, in my thirties, who I truly am inside; realizing that I am capable of amazing things. Running gave me the strength to face a lifetime of internal struggles and gave me the confidence to push towards a happier, healthy life that I never imagined possible.

These sorts of achievements cannot be measured, but rather felt. These are the stories I would love to hear more of. But it will involve a certain degree of openness, shining the light on mental health.

From this I was inspired with the idea of starting a blog where we could share our own personal stories of the emotional and psychological benefits we’ve experienced thanks to running.

I have such a passion for creating more awareness and understanding surrounding mental health issues and how they impact our lives. And I love how running can be instrumental in changing lives.

So, if you would like to volunteer your story (and later on down the road provide updates too!) feel free to send me a message.

Here are some questions which you could either answer point by point or, alternatively, use as a base to help frame your own write up as another option too:

  1. What was your life life before you took up running? What were your struggles?
  2. What motivated you to start running? How did it go?
  3. What impact did running have on your life?
  4. What have you learned about yourself?
  5. What lessons have you taken away from running that you wish to impart upon others?

Responses can be sent to me by email [click here].

Unleash your creativity with your submissions too! You are welcome to include photos – perhaps it’s possible to see the inner glow running has given you. Plus, everyone has their own unique way of telling their story best suited to them – perhaps an audio file or video post would be easier for some than writing it all out.

I’m excited to see what we can come up with!

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Modified Run Streak

I’m excited to have finished my first month of daily workouts!

Each January Run Ottawa launches their running streak challenge, to help keep us motivated through those long winter days. Last year I’d just gotten a new treadmill and was excited to see how many days I could keep up. Unfortunately, I did hit a bad spot in my depression which caused me to stop running altogether before it ended. (I made it to day 18, missed two days, got four more consecutive days in, then I was DONE.)

This January I decided to attempt my own modified version of the challenge – where each day I would choose from either running, biking, or skating (which a Twitter friend amusingly referred to as the “Canadian Triathlon”, haha!). I allowed myself a minimum of 2k for running, 5k for biking, and 5k for skating. It was the perfect solution for someone like me as I was able to choose my activity depending on how my day unfolded, allowing me a bit more flexibility.

This is the first time I have exercised on a daily basis and completed an actual month-long streak, so I couldn’t be more pleased with myself!

I’m definitely liking being able to add cross-training to my training schedule! As I found out in my figure skating lessons – where you have to be able to perform the same moves on both your left and right sides – my left side is weaker/lazier, and so I will need to work on fixing this imbalance. This should hopefully help make me stronger as a runner as well as prevent injuries.

I have also learned the benefit of rest days. My speedwork training has actually worsened with each passing week, which I attribute to not getting a day off. I came in after long runs and lifting weights and my legs would have absolutely nothing left in them. No power whatsoever.

As I move forward, I will still have long run Sunday’s at Run Club and Speedwork Monday’s at the dome, but I’m hoping my legs will manage to (a) adjust, and (b) benefit from rest days earlier in the week. One can only hope!

Running Threshold VO2 Max Test Results

My original post where I describe the testing process is located here:
https://pumpthosecrazylegs.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/refining-my-training-as-a-runner/

The results are now in, and I’ve had a chance to sit and look through the paperwork to try and make sense of it all. Not too surprisingly, my lactate values indicate that I still have work to do on building up my aerobic base. While I’m amazed by how fast I have become capable of running, I do feel it when I am out there on my longer runs. Anything over 10km and you will see a steady decrease in speed as I struggle to keep going with the same intensity. Clearly I have to focus on longer runs and building up my endurance to be out there longer, so that I can achieve my goal of running marathons!

The next set of results show my “pace zones” as following:

Zone 1 (race pace for events lasting 3+ hours):
10min/km – 7:30min/km

Zone 2 (events lasting from 40mins – 3 hours):
7:30min/km – 5:52min/km

Zone 3 (events lasting from 20-40mins):
5:52min/km – 5:33min/km

Zone 4 (between anaerobic/lactate threshold & VO2 Max):
5:33min/km – 5:00min/km

Zone 5 (VO2 Max pace for events lasting 2-6mins):
5:00min/km +

For Sunday long runs we are supposed to be in our Zone 1 in order to build up our aerobic base/endurance. I had been running a little on the fast side, so it looks like I can bring down the pace even more to reap the benefits of my distance training. For my long runs I think I should be out there for a good 4 hours at least to get my legs used to working for that long.

So now I’m wondering how long it will take me to build up a good base from this point on, and whether I should delay my next marathon race from October until perhaps April/May of next year, when I’ll probably be a bit stronger and notice more of a difference.

The test results also showed that I am an efficient runner, which probably explains how I managed to get so fast despite my fitness level, lol!! My VO2 Max came out at 38.8ml/kg/min.

The last little bit was information on nutrition, and proper fueling during training. That is, how many grams of carbohydrates and even proteins I should be consuming during a run to help maintain and even enhance my performance. Because I have a pretty strong stomach, I’m actually thinking of bringing a little protein bar with me for my long runs now, to incorporate along with my gels and electrolyte drink! I’m definitely curious to see how that goes.