MARTRAIN DAY 8: it’s -21 and we’re running, that counts for something, right?

The greatest pleasure in life, is doing the things people say we cannot do.

kristi and kat running in the coldI’m no dummy. I know that training is the hardest part of anything you do, whether it’s a marathon or school. Preparing to do something the right way is never a shortcut. I know I won’t be breaking any running records, nor do I give a shit. I’ve probably said it a million times before, I’m not built to be a runner. But I just love it. And you know what pushes me even harder? That look people give you when you tell them what you’re planning to do.  They think they’re being discreet when they innocently size you up & down, like “dafuq you are…” But that’s just the ammo I need to keep digging in.

The truth is, I’m really lucky to have a good support system around me. The people who are the complete opposite; they know me and love me. They know what I’m capable of and remind me of that when I start to doubt myself. People who not only encourage me with their words, but some who show up in -21 to run with me and to help keep me on track. Like Kristi, my running partner today. Our hair was literally frozen. We were both wearing double pants, double jackets, face/neck gear – and we still managed to laugh and carry on throughout the run. It was fabulous. She probably doesn’t even realize how much help and support she’s giving me, but she sets everything up ahead of time so that the distance and pace are locked in. It is marvellous & I’m grateful to have her support.

I also have to give props to my husband too. If you don’t live in Alberta, you may not understand the impact of what’s happening in oil and gas on families out here. Many are feeling the emotional and financial toll the downturn is having. And if your business depends on the health of the oil and gas industry (like my husbands) it’s a challenging & tense place to live right now.

Yet, when I told him that I really wanted to do a marathon and asked if he thought I’d be able to. Without hesitation he said, “Yes. You are stubborn and we’ll figure it out.” And even though he has a million things to worry about: his company, his family, keeping the lights on, a busy house and business, he still encourages me to go ahead (knowing that this means he’ll be on dad-duty multiple times per week on top of everything else.) When he could just as easily tell me that we’ve got to focus on other things right now. And when I said, “You know, there are going to be days where I’ll have to be out of the house like 4-6 hours, then what?” And he said, “We will figure it out then.”

I love that.

There’s a lot to be said for the people who can cheer others on and lift them up, even when it’s not the easiest thing to do.

So that’s it. Two weeks of training down and many more to go. But thank you to everyone for the support so far. It is greatly appreciated.

MarTrain Day 7: some days are harder than others

Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won and all the fears you have overcome.

mom and son running in calgaryToday Felix and I hit the road to do another day of marathon training, even though it has been snowing here since the early morning and the sidewalks are very icy and snow covered. I figured that after one lap he would be ready to throw in the towel, even though he had such a terrific run the other evening, the conditions were much different today. I am ashamed to say that I underestimated him (I really should have known better.) Instead, we finished lap one and I gave him the option of going home or trying out a new route. He chose the latter.

We continued on with our run, slipping around and braving the cool wind. When I could tell he was starting to doubt his choice to take a different path, I turned the tables and started in with the pep-talking he’s famous for. I told him that if I held his hand I could transfer some of my strength to him so that he could continue running. This helped. To help him dig deep, we picked landmarks to run to. Once we arrived, we got to take a walk break. We held hands for quite some time.  And again, when I could tell that his confidence was fading, that he was getting more tired, more sore and really wanted to quit, that’s when we started talking about all the things he had accomplished so far and how strong he was to be out in these conditions.

Then the coolest thing happened: he let go of my hand and ran on his own. As his mother, it humbled me & made me so incredibly proud to watch him dig deep and keep going, even when it wasn’t ‘fun’ anymore.

Aside from the entertainment that is Felix just being Felix, I love the conversations we have while running – they are about as random as they come. One minute we’re talking about bees hibernating and the next he’s telling me about how his lego men (which he smuggled into his vest pockets) give him good luck and strength while he’s out running.  I am so proud of this kid & I am so grateful that I get to spend this time with him.

Next run is a 3.5 mile one. Starting to get longer. Hopefully I’ll get faster. Until then…

 

 

MarTrain Day 6: running with the middle child

Dogs have a way of finding people who need them and filling an emptiness we didn’t even know we had.

Calgary Marathon TrainingOh. My. Goodness.

It is frigging treacherous out there tonight! I did not realize just how poorly lit the sidewalks were in our ‘hood until I took life into my own hands and tried running on the melted snow/black ice.

Did I mention I had our middle child running with me? Did I mention our middle child is a very energetic fur baby? Yep. We’ve got a middle child & his name is Sir Bentley Noodle. Poor Bentley has had it rough the last few weeks since Tessa came home (he’s been a little bit left out.) Bentley has been my running partner pretty much since we got him in May of 2014. To backtrack a bit, this is how the adoption went for those of you just tuning in:

Sir Bentley NoodleIn the past few years I would make mention of getting a dog to my husband, like: “we should really get a dog,” and “you know what, it would be great to have a family dog,” or “wouldn’t it be nice to rescue a dog?” He didn’t make any moves, so one day I visited the ARF website to check things out and there was Bentley (we added the ‘Sir’ and ‘Noodle’ on our own.) Without a moments hesitation I picked up the phone & set up a ‘meeting.’ And I basically went through the adoption process right then and there over the phone. After that was done I called my husband to give him the news. At first he was kind of annoyed with me (I have this annoying habit of just doing things without him), but then when he saw Bentley online & read his profile, he had the same feeling I did. When we met Bentley, we knew he would be part of our family. Our son was still kind of little and said he wanted to name the dog Noodle. And after a member of the family said he looked stoic, we decided to add the ‘Sir’ to the beginning and he became Sir Bentley Noodle and a member of the O’Mac Clan. He’s truly an amazing dog. He’s gentle but protective; curious & loyal. He’s been a fabulous addition to our family and I love having his company.

Family Pic With BentleySo tonight I thought it would be a swell idea to take him out. To be honest, the sidewalk was not big enough for the two of us and it was terrifying. Do you know how difficult it is to navigate a pitch black sidewalk, essentially covered in a layer of black ice with a dash of snow whilst trying to control a dog built like a brick shit house? It was anything but graceful.

So needless to say, the run this evening was a bit of a slow one but it was enjoyable for the most part. Sir Bentley is actually better at running than he is at walking. I decided to do intervals of 4 minutes steady and 1 minute of walking. We repeated this for just under 45 minutes. It was a nice length of time to get out, enjoy the weather and clear my head. The temperature was perfect, just above zero which is a far cry from the temperatures on the weekend (however, it looks like we’ll be dipping back down again! to -20!)  And as I write this, Bentley is sleeping in the doorway of my office, very content with his effort and our run this evening.

Tomorrow is another easy run and Felix plans to join me again. Stay tuned for our update 😉

MarTrain Day 5: running with Felix

“Come on mom, we can do it!”

“Let’s win this as a team!”

“Don’t give up, we’re going to cross the line together!”

“Go, mom! Cross that line!”

calgary marathon training My son is almost five. Since he was just a baby, he has been running with me. Tonight, we ran a 2.46 km run together. Not me pushing him in a stroller. We ran side-by-side. I could not be more proud of this kid. I have never had to nag him to get out and run, he has always wanted to come with me; begging when he sees me lacing up my sneakers.

I’m not sure that tonights run would really qualify as a training run, as it was a gentle/slow one for me. But since his legs are about half the size of mine, he had to really push himself hard to keep up. He treated it as a race. We did close to three laps around our neighbourhood and he pushed himself, pretending that we were in a race (the prize was gum!) Literally, I am sitting here bursting with pride for him. We’ve been home for 15 minutes and he told me he had to stretch things out, get his water to “recharge” and that his legs were feeling pretty good for our next run.

Tonight while we were running, Felix was like a little coach. The entire time we were out there, he talked. Not only talked, he pep-talked. He was so positive and just wanted to make sure that I was having as good a time as he was. It was awesome. Did I mention he has asthma? Yes. He has asthma. And while I know that running alone is a challenge, he was also running in cool Alberta weather and was still upbeat. Loving life out on the open road. This kid is something else! Even now, he keeps walking into my office to check and see how I’m doing and if I am ready to run again. I love his energy. I love how motivated he is. And I love that he loves the same sport I do. I know it won’t be long and he will be whizzing by me and leaving me in his dust, but for now I’m going to enjoy these runs we have together – they’re good for the heart & soul.

Martrain Day 4: frozen hair, I don’t care!

Blisters heal, muscles recover, sweat washes away but sole sisters last a lifetime.

why do i live somewhere that hurts my faceToday was Day 4 of marathon training and boy, it was a cold one! I was very grateful to have my running pal, Kristi come out with me. During the winter months, it can be more challenging to get motivated and get out for a run. Lucky for me, I have a few really supportive running friends who are willing to brace the elements. Aside from the great conversation, it’s always nice to have someone there who can push you when you need to be pushed, but also pull back when you need to catch your breath.

Today we completed a 3 mile run at the Glenmore Reservoir. We started out pretty quick, or at leamarathon training in calgary st quick for me at around 6 min/km but at the halfway mark we slowed it down as it had become harder to breathe (literally, my nose was frozen!) It was also a little slippery underfoot but we managed not to have any falls. The wind of the reservoir was chilly and it was nice to get back to a warm car.

Tomorrow is a cross training day and I’m looking forward to it!

MarTrain Day 3: snow, ice & dogs.

If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.

marathon training in calgary Tonight marked the third day for marathon training. I completed 1.5 miles on some not-so-stellar sidewalks. It has legit been snowing all day in Calgary (still is) and there’s a few cm of fresh snow on top of ice, so it’s a bit dicey. But despite the conditions, the run was great. I really enjoyed it and typically I hate short runs. However, as you know, getting into a new running routine is exhausting so I am OK with the shorter distances right now.

Whilst out running, there were many people out shovelling. One gal was out with her little white dog. I was familiar with this dog. It barks. A lot. And it has a wee bit of an attitude. So when the owner wasn’t pulling it in on its leash, I came to a bit of a halt. Sorry. Little dogs scare me more than big dogs; I find them unpredictable and considering how much that little thing was yapping, I didn’t want to take a chance with my ankles. The owner legit had to bend down and hold the dog in place so he wouldn’t move, I thought it was funny. Napoleon syndrome.

 

Tonight the temperature is supposed to dip down to -20 and tomorrow is supposed to be really chilly so I’m glad it is a REST DAY. I finally found my gator today after months of it on the missing list. If I could find my winter running tights, I’d be a happy camper too… though they likely don’t fit me now anyway!

Are you training for a race? Let me know what you’re doing to get ready for it! Leave your tips and updates in the comments below 🙂

 

MarTrain Day 2: that’s going to hurt tomorrow

“If we push on, we begin to feel a vague, tingling sense of who, or what, we really are. It’s a powerful feeling, strong enough to have us coming back for more, again and again.”

Calgary Mommy Runner Training for MarathonTonight was Day 2 of Marathon Training. It was a humbling 3 mile run. The sidewalks were a little greasy, but the temperature was perfect so there’s really no reason for my slow time other than I have a lot of work to do to get back to a strong pace!

But to be honest, I’m not that worried about my speed anymore. Maybe if I were 5-10 years younger I would care more, but I’m just not concerned about being fast. The goal right here: finish. And I want to enjoy it (or as much of it as I can!) I know that I’m really lucky to be able to get out and run. Yep. I know some of you are out there rolling your eyes, but when I was told I couldn’t run anymore this summer, it was an awful feeling. It’s hard to explain, but when you’re used to having something in your life (like running) and then all of a sudden it’s gone, it’s a major loss and it made me feel sad & homesick, if that makes sense?

You see, I’ve been running steadily for a while now. It’s the one thing I do to clear my head. I depend on it. So when days are tough, I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to get out there and pound pavement. And with that said, there will be plenty more days of pounding pavement to get ready for this marathon.

Do you have any training tips? Please share in the comments below!