Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's cold out there!

"It is about proving to yourself and everyone else that you don't quit. Do you want to wonder, "could I have done more?" Take everyday for the challenge that it is and run like it's your last day. Enjoy every moment. It's not about the destination, it’s the journey." - g2g4gold

Talk about getting hit with every type of weather these last few days. When I checked the temperature this morning before my run, all I could focus on was -18 with the wind chill. The next thing I looked at was how strong the winds were, which thankfully they were not that bad today.

Getting myself mentally prepared for today's run was a challenge and one that I almost didn't win. Yesterday's run really beat me up mentally and I didn't want to experience that kind of run again today. As I sat around and sipped my green tea I started to visualize my run and how I wanted it to go. I started watching the weather channel but then quickly changed it. If I kept telling myself how cold it was then chances are I would have come up with some excuse not to run. I even would have been able to justify it to myself.....for a little bit of time anyway.

However, I know myself too well and not running when I'm supposed to really sets off a negative chain reaction that is hard to recover from. The whole day I would have regretted not running and I would have been mad at myself for not going out there. I would have felt like something was missing today and that isn't a good feeling to have.

As soon as I started running and got warmed up, I was so happy that I had talked myself into running today. As cold as it was, I actually felt much better today than I did yesterday as there wasn't much wind. One of the songs that listened to was "keep holding on" by Avril Lavigne. I'm sure I must have waked up some people as I was singing this song as loudly as I could. Then again, at 5:00 AM I'm sure most people were tucked in their warm beds. Here are some of the lyrics from this song:

You're not alone
Together we stand
I'll be by your side, you know I'll take your hand
When it gets cold
And it feels like the end
There's no place to go
You know I won't give in
No I won't give in

Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you
There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's not nice to fool with Mother I found out today

Usually when I run I think about lots of different things to keep my mind off of the fact that I'm running at 5:00 AM when most people are still sleeping. Today, however, my only thoughts were about how I was going to make it through this windy run.

I knew that this was going to be a tough run when I went to the weather network and saw that there was a flash/freeze and wind warning for my area. I psyched myself up as best I could and headed out with my headlamp. The first third of the run I was running with the wind and I knew that this was going to be a hard run when I started climbing the hill on the corner of Rossland and Westney and the wind literally pushed me upwards. It actually felt like I was running downhill as the gusts were so strong at times.

Of course I knew that my return home was going to be anything but pleasant. I was happy that I didn't take any shortcuts though. There are few hills I run downhill and I can usually pick up some nice speed but that wasn't the case today. Instead, it was very difficult to run downhill as it felt like I was actually running uphill because of the wind. It seemed like I was just walking at times but I pushed forward and took my time.

I simply did the best I could with the conditions that were thrown at me today and I think that that is something that I talk to my clients about continuously. We aren't always going to have that "perfect" day but as long as you don't quit and continue to work hard, you will achieve your goals. I know that I will be able to once again call upon this run when I need a motivational spark of my own.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Validation is nice

Yesterday I had a very fulfilling day at work. As a nutritionist, the best moment I get is when I see my clients achieving their goals. I realize that it takes plenty of hard work, and because I don't offer any "quick fixes" to their problems, sometimes the task can seem daunting. It's days like yesterday, however, which I'll remember for a long time.

One client lost 6.5 pounds since she started seeing me. For her, it wasn't about just changing her food consumption, it was introducing some healthy lifestyle changes to her busy schedule. Not only has she done an amazing job of losing weight, she has the full support of her family which will only make her job that much easier. I could really see the committment she has to reaching her goals.

For another client, it was simply getting him to realize that his late night tea biscuits were causing his blood sugar to rise too rapidly at night. When I saw him yesterday he had stopped having these and in turn he saw an improvement in his digestion, his energy levels and his sleeping. He was so thrilled with the results that he got and getting him to understand the chemistry behind the food that he was eating was something that I know will stay with him for the rest of his life. He commented on how much more thorough he is when he goes shopping now.

It's nice to see that my clients are sticking to what I have taught them despite the influx quick weight loss solutions that you see on TV or hear on the radio. There really is no substitute for hard work and a dedication to making some lifestyle changes.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A recap of my wild adventure run today

Those who know me and you know who you are, realize that I can get lost going from my house to the corner store (well maybe not that bad but you get the picture). It shouldn't surprise anyone then, that I got lost during my 20 mile run today.

Here are some "stats" to chew on:
*20 Miles
*3 hours and 15 minutes
*2400 calories
*3 Hammer Gels
*1.5 HEED electrolyte drinks
*2 bottles of water consumed (still can't believe that one)
*2 Dogs chasing me for about 1/2 Mile
*0 bathroom breaks
*47 different songs on my mp3 player
*one dozen thoughts on what I wanted to eat when I got home
*two dozen thoughts on how great my epson salt bath was going to be

I was never more happy than when I saw Westney Road as I was running along Highway 7 as I finally knew where I was and that home was nearby. I was hoping to do 34 K's today but the sidewalks were so snow covered that I cut my route a little short. My main goal was to stay on my feet for 3 + hours and combined with my 2:44 run in the trails yesterday, I'm very pleased with my efforts this weekend.

Running alone for that long really made me dig down deep to continue. I thought about many of the trail races that I've done and how there are times where I wouldn't see anyone for long stretches of time.

After a day of rest tomorrow, I'll be back at it on Tuesday.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tough "sledding" out there today

"Do not follow where the path may lead... go instead where there is no path and leave a trail"

I waited all week for today's trail run. In fact it has been two weeks since I've been able to run in my favorite trail, the Seaton trail. Many people who live in the Ajax/Pickering area don't even realize that there are such beautiful trails right in our own backyard. I confess, until I started running I didn't know they existed. Now, despite the fact that I still have a hard time navigating through there, I like to call that place "home."

My running partner and I left just shortly after 7:00 AM this morning and we wanted to do a long run today. The goal was to run the entire trail and back (approximately 24 K's). When we started out we noticed how much snow was on the trails. That meant one thing, this was not going to be an easy run. It never really is when you are trail running, especially in the Seaton trail, but the snow certainly had an impact today.

It was one of the toughest runs I've had in a long time and I'm lucky that my partner was there to motivate me as I needed it today. Every run I have in these trails, though, will only make me stronger for my race in April.

Finishing that run was mentally very tough and as I drove home all I could think about was my hot shower. It's hard to believe that come race day, I'll have to do that loop 3 times. I'm lucky I have 11 weeks left to prepare.

Tomorrow I will be running approximately 32-36 K's. I may have to do that all on my own, something that I'm not looking forward to but something that I'm prepared to do.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Life changers

We all have them. There are times when we can look back at our lives and see that proverbial "fork in the road." It's a time that defines who were are today. Usually decisions are made in a fraction of a second but the impact of that can last a lifetime.

For me, I can look back to the moment I decided to get into running. It surely has changed my life for the better. The other moment is a more recent one when I decided to try the Isagenix 9-day cleanse.Not only did I get great results but the many people I encouraged to do the cleanse also saw great results.

What started out as a cleanse has now turned into a way of life for me. I'm using more and more of the products and can't believe the difference I feel. After my run this afternoon I decided to use Isa Fruits. This product is a blend of 30 different fruits. I took just one scoop, mixed it with some water and it's amazing how refreshing it was after my run.

In addition, I decided to try their Slim Cakes, which are a meal replacement/snack cookie. I was amazed at how great it tasted. I shouldn't be surprised because their protein bars are also very good and I honestly won't buy any other brand now. Not only are they great tasting, they contain no artificial sweetners or preservatives, which is something I'm trying to get my clients away from.

For those of you who have done the cleanse and have seen great results, I encourage you to try more of their products as you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Allow yourself to "find" your passion in life

The story of how I started running is an interesting one but I won't go into all the details. All you need to know is that had I not allowed myself to be open to trying new things, such as running, I never would have discovered how passionate I am about it. I can't imagine my life without running and yet for 37.5 years of my life, it didn't even register on the radar for me.

Many clients I see at the gym workout with the held of their trainer but have a hard time working out on their own. I worry about these people because it's clear that working out at the gym is not their passion. Eventually, as I've seen far too often, they will stop coming to they gym altogether. The problem is, most of them don't look for an alternative.

There is no magic pill for getting healthy. It requires a committment to regular exercise and healthy eating. It's also about finding balance in your life. When either of these appears to be "work" then ultimately it will lead to failure. You need to embrace some form of exercise and make it a priority in your life. In addition, you can't look negatively on changing your eating habits. I'm not saying that this is going to be easy but the more you struggle and put up roadblocks to your own success, the less likely you are to succeed.

The most successful clients I have are the ones who have adopted this new healthy lifestyle and ask questions about how they can improve themselves more and more. The have removed the barriers which held them captive and are happier as a result. As they see their bodies changing, they realize that they could not have achieved their goals had they not changed their lifestyles. Each one of us has the ability to do the same thing. Maybe it's time you took down your barriers too!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I RUN therefore I AM!

"Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'" - Peter Maher

After four long agonizing days without running, I finally was able to run this morning. Although I kept myself busy with other things and rode my stationary bike for 80 minutes each day it still wasn't the same. It's amazing what a difference a run can make and how much it affects my moods and personality. With both of my boys sick this weekend I eventually caught whatever they had and that put my run today in jeoparday. In reality, though, it would have taken much more than just a cold to keep me from getting out today.

I woke up at 4:30 this morning and prepared, like I normally do, for my Tuesday run. My running partner is such an amazing runner and I wanted to make sure that I could keep up to him or at least not be that far behind. We normally go at a nice easy pace for 10 miles which can take us anywhere from 1:25 to 1:30 minutes to complete depending on the conditions. My mind struggled with the "rest vs rust" theory and I wondered if I would have the stamina this morning. Would I have to take more walk breaks than normal? You would think that after running for so long I wouldn't have these kind of thoughts but it's been a long time since I've taken 4 days off in a row so this was something new for me.

I'm happy to report that the run went amazingly well and our pace was actually quicker than it's been in a long time. It was great to be out there on the roads again and it made me appreciate being outside. I'll be able to run more this week which will include at a long trail run on Saturday morning and another long run on Sunday morning. April 19th is the Seaton race, which is 12 weeks away, and I want to be as prepared as possible for that race.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Living "within" the moment

After having an amazing weekend with my 2 boys, the inevitable happens today as they will be going to see their Mom today. Anyone who shares custody of their children with their former partner knows how hard this is not only on the children but also on the Parents. On the night before I knew they were going to leave a saddness would always come over me and I would go into a "mini-depression." Lately, though, I've realized that I was cheating myself by doing this. I was worrying about tomorrow instead of just enjoying the time with them today.

Of course I still get sad but why worry about what I know is going to happen instead of just living in the moment now? It has allowed me to focus more on the immediate things that require attention and then I'll worry about tomorrow when it comes.

I find this helpful when I talk to my clients about setting up their meal plan for them. It is easier to focus on just one meal at a time instead of worrying about possible cravings later in the day which may or may not happen. Try to focus on just one meal at a time. Make sure you take the time to enjoy just that meal. Include water with each meal and let your body have the chance to digest that meal before worrying about the next one.

It is also the case with goal planning. Although you may have a long term goal of losing 30 pound by the summer, try to focus on just losing 2 pound during the first week. Then let that positive momentum you just built, carry you through to the next week. While it's important to keep that "prize" within sights, never let it cloud your ability to see the small steps that must be taken to achieve that goal.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mind and body working in perfect harmony

I'm convinced that our biggest obstacle to achieving our goals is the person looking at you in the mirror every single day. More importantly, it's how we think about ourselves and our goals that really make the difference between succeeding and failing.

On a smaller scale, yet still very important to me, each run I have starts out pretty much the same. I have a talk with myself about what I'm going to run. I then map out a picture in my mind about what the run will look like. I never just lace up my shoes and head out the door without some sort of plan ahead of time. I can't remember ever going out for a run with the mindset of being negative or I probably never would have made it out the door.

I think I'm beginning to get better at using my mind instead of just my legs to power me through a run. I know that this is the only way I'll be able to get through my 50 Mile race in the spring. I also used to use negative "self-talk" if I was unable to do a run for a few days which is what is happening this weekend. Instead I'm accepting the fact that I can't run and have been doing some cross training to keep my legs strong for my runs this week.

I've been reading a very good book on Chi Running (thanks Jennifer) and I'm beginning to realize that I've been applying many of principles in that book to my running of late without even trying to. Trail running lends itself perfectly to this type of running as it allows me to focus more on relaxing instead of using power all the times. I've also run in some inclement weather lately and that has allowed me to just "go with the flow" and let the conditions dictate my pace etc. The same will hold true when I'm doing my trail race. There will be hills that I'll probably have to walk up instead of run up. Knowing that I'll probably be out there for a minimum of 10 hours will force me to just relax and enjoy the experience.

When I teach my learn to run clinic in March, I'll be using many of the principles of Chi Running.
For more information about Chi Running, visit this website:

Friday, January 18, 2008

The more you love something the harder it is to stay away from it

I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to running. I obviously love to run but I hate not being able to run. At the moment that a run ends, I'm already thinking about the next run and when it will be.

These, then, are the difficult times for me. Knowing that I'll be unable to run for the next three days, which will seem like an eternity, will test my patience for sure. Oh, I'll still workout on my exercise bike and maybe even lift some weights, but staying away from my passion is not something that I like to do for more than a few days.

I was actually hoping to get out today for a little run, anything, just so I could get my "fix." I know a few friends who have been injured and have had to take up to 3 years off from running. That thought scares me as I honestly don't know what I'd do if I couldn't run on a consistent basis.

This down time will force me to look into other avenues to get my exercise in and I've come to realize that I better start embracing these more. Like anything else, it's all in the mind. If I don't get motivated to do some exercise, even if it's not my preferred choice, than it becomes easier to just do nothing.

With my race 3 months away and as my mileage begins to go up and up, it will be important to stay as mentally sharp as possible. I've started to have dreams about what running for 10 hours will be like. There is an element of fear that I must overcome and much of that I won't know until race day. Having run for 6.5 hours already and knowing how difficult that was, the thought of running for an additional 3.5 hours is something that I'll have to experience only on race day. I'd like to get at least one 6.5 hour run in before the race so my body can get adapted to it. I've already decided to run a 50 K run in Niagara Falls in late February which will probably take 5 hours.

While I ride my bike tomorrow morning, I'll no doubt have thoughts about what running means to me and I'll be wishing that I could be out there pounding the pavement/trails with my friends. At least my feet will be thanking me but my mind surely won't.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I wasn't looking forward to running this afternoon as it's one of my least favorite times to run. When I don't start the day off with a run, it's as if something is missing in my life. However, running in the afternoon, is still better than not running at all so off I went around 12:30 after a quick bite of a banana and 1/2 cup of tea.

Many people at my work ask me if I'm happy doing what I'm doing. My response is always YES because I get to do something that I love to do and work with some amazing people on a regular basis. It's motivating for me to work closely with them to help them define and then reach their goals. I know, though, that my work is limited to being in an office for 1/2 hour sessions usually once or twice per week. There is so many things that I'd love to do which goes beyond just an office and so I was very excited when I was hired by someone to become their full-time nutritionist. My role will be that of a life coach and I will help her plan her meals, take her grocery shopping, create a healthy environment in her home and help her achieve her goals. In addition I will hopefully teach her how to run. I'm hoping that she gets the same enjoyment that I get from this sport that I do.

During my run today, that's all I could think about and it's probably why I had my fastest run in months.

I really feel that my strength is to help motivate and educate my clients to make healthy life choices which goes beyond just what to eat each day. I feel that this position is tailor made for me and it is something that I know I will excel at.

If you are interested in learning more about this, please contact me:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Take the load less travelled it usually pays off in the end

All day Tuesday I kept thinking about my long run on Wednesday morning. I knew that I wanted to do at least 12 Miles (20 K's) and I also knew that I had to get up extra early to get the run in.

I woke up at 4:30 and after having my usual tea and 1/2 banana I was off on the roads at about 5:20. I took with me 2 water bottles (1 filled with an electrolyte drink) and 1 sugar gel packet. My new favorite "toy" was also strapped to my head (my new headlamp) so I was ready for the long journey on my own with my mp3 player ready to provide me with the motivation that I needed.

I've mentioned this previously but I have one of the worst senses of direction than anyone I know,I even got lost during a trail race last year, which makes for some interesting stories to share with my friends. Before I left my house this morning I carefully went over my route on my computer. Most of the route was very familiar but I decided to take a slightly different route to add some extra miles to the run (thanks Ken).
Much of the run was in pitch black conditions where all I had was my headlamp leading the way. Thankfully there were only a few cars on the road but the stretch from Church/Taunton to Church/5th Concession was not something I'd recommend to new runners. Most of that area is dirt covered, and I was very fortunate not to twist my ankle in a pothole.

There were some nice winding roads and a few very challenging hills (especially from Hwy 7 to Westney Rd) but the rest of the run was relatively flat. Whenever I felt a little tired a song would come on my mp3 to pick me up. At one point I'm sure I must have woken up some people because when the song "Believe" (by Suzie Mcneil)came on I couldn't help but start singing. As I headed home, the last song I heard was "Let's see how far we've come." This pretty much summed up my 2 hour run this morning.

It's amazing that even though I've run so often, each run I have has a different story behind it. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

9.9 pounds, great work Dorothy!

Just one of many satisfied Isagenix cleanse stories I wanted to share with you. This woman has done an amazing job of staying focused on her goals. Well done

Just finished the 9-day Isagenix Cleanse and wow...I lost 9.9 pounds! Dancing as I type this (shrug...I'm talented).

My nutritionist, Greg, mentioned to me that he was doing this in December and thought I might want to try it. Showing skepticism clearly on my face, he suggested I read about it on his blog. Well, I decided to go for it but wanted to wait until the Christmas season was over. I did order the products so that they would arrive on time for my anticipated start in early January.

Greg and I continued to speak about it in general terms but my head was not really into it at that point. Yes, I was still working out religiously but the eating part was sorta on cruise control, if you will. Anyhow, I decided to start on Monday, January 7th. I did the weigh-in that morning at home and measured all of my body parts as they recommended.

Followed the "menu" as per Greg's recommendations and did not cheat (not even once). Didn't eat any of the extra options other than a hard-boiled egg on one of the work-out days with the trainer. Didn't feel hungry but had hungry thoughts...but only when my family was having something yummy for dinner on the, what I call, liquid-only days. And even though I outlawed potato chips from entering my home, somehow my teenage son managed to sneak them in AND he even waved one under my nose. But I resisted as I'm one that once the floodgates open, then all is fair game.

Now as far as the "food" goes, well, I have to be honest. I am a foodie, a food connoisseur, and/or a freak about good-tasting food. Well, I didn't expect the food to taste good and well, it met my expectations. The liquid-only cleanse stuff was awful. It tasted like iced tea and I detest iced tea and the fact that it was yellow in colour didn't help. I did find that it was best drunk VERY cold and that's probably so your throat numbs on the way down. The chocolate snacks were ok. Not great, not awful...just ok. The chocolate shakes were the same...ok...100% better if you can do them up in a blender (and I would add 6 large ice cubes AND 500ml of water). I thought that I was going to die when I got back to the liquid-only days but really, they were totally fine. Knowing that I was down so much weight made it more than liveable.

Did I feel better? I didn't feel any different. Did I feel more energetic? Nope. Did I feel cleaner? Well, I didn't feel I just don't think about things like that. The only results I was looking for were the ones on the scale. And I got those.

So would I do it again? Sure. With results like these, who wouldn't? Would I recommend it, well, of course. Wouldn't you pay a little bit of money and have nine days of non-indulgence for 9.9 pounds? I'm sure glad I did.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What does YOUR finish line look like?

"If you start to feel good during an ultra, dont' worry you will get over it." - Gene Thibeault

As my training continues, it’s beginning to get easier and easier to do my long distance runs. After conquering my 32 K hurdle on the weekend, I find myself feeling amazingly stronger than before and with more confidence in my ability to run my first 50 Miler later this year.

Confidence only comes with experience, and I’m thankful that I have remained relatively injury free during the past 2.5 years. The long slow runs are beginning to pay off as I find myself recovering quicker after each long run. It used to take me a few days to feel good again but I’ve learned to train smarter instead of harder and that has certainly helped to heal my leg muscles.

I’ve found that it is taking me almost an hour to get into a good “groove” with my running. It is at this point where I honestly don’t even feel my legs moving. It’s as if it’s just happening naturally. It’s also why I’ve come close to being hit by oncoming cars so often because I tend to fall into a “Zen-like” state of mind. There have been times where people I know have said to me, “didn’t you see me wave at you while you were running?” My response is always, “no I was too focused to see anything but the road ahead of me.”

Mental imagery is a big part of why I love to run and I envision many things during a long run. The main picture I have in my mind these days, is of me crossing the finish line after my first 50 Mile race is completed. I know that I’ll be physically and mentally exhausted and part of me is looking forward to seeing just how far I can push myself in both of these categories.

During my run today, Ken and I were talking about how he feels like running 10 Miles is so effortless now and I’m starting to get to that point myself. I used to feel that way about 10 K’s (6 Miles) but the fact that I have taken so much emphasis off of speed and focus more on distance is making a huge impact on my training.

Whatever goal you have for yourself, I hope you have a “Kodak moment” of what that goal will look like to you. Is it a particular type of clothes that you want to fit into? Perhaps it’s learning a new sport such as running or improving upon an existing sport.

I’m not a big fan of using “weight” as a goal as I’d rather people focus on improving their health and possibly re-shaping their bodies. You may find it helpful to use a particular pair of pants or a shirt that you currently can’t fit into but would like to wear again. Hang these up so you can see them on a daily basis and use them as a reminder of what you are trying to accomplish. Then envision yourself wearing these clothes and how great you will feel when you can fit into them again.

Keeping yourself focused on the prize should be something that can motivate you to stay on the road to success instead of falling into a pothole.

Monday, January 14, 2008

More Isagenix success stories

I must say that I've never been more impressed with a product than I am with Isagenix. It has affected not only my life but many people as well. I'm fortunate that my clients have put their faith in my belief about Isagenix and the positive reviews, like the one I'm about to share with you, make me realize that my decision to recommend this product was the right one.

Here is one womans' testimonial:

"After 6yrs and two healthy baby boys, the pregnancy is gone but the fat
still lingers, yet my dear husband tells me every day how much he
still loves me and how good I still look. I have to question that,
because when I look in the mirror and when I have to buy new clothes
for every Occasion, it makes me feel anything but good looking and healthy.

My beautiful daughter had gone to the gym and lost 15lb in
no time, so I decided to try it too. Then I met my nutritionist Greg
D'Cruz, and it is as if I have never met any one in my entire life. He gave me the encouragement that I needed to survive the challenge.
At the end, it was the Isagenix---"High and energetic" that does the
Trick. With Greg’s motivation, I lost 8lbs on the 9 day cleanse. If
you have a nutritionist and you cannot trust his words, dump him and
hire Greg."

Alleth Anderson

Let exercise be your cure for what ails you

"The greatest of all victories is to be victorious over yourself."
- Unknown

Something that I talk to my clients about is creating a positive "wheel" in their lives. Think of your moods in terms of spokes in a wheel. If any of these spokes isn't working, then the wheel ceases to turn correctly. I've noticed that sometimes all it takes is one bad emotion to set the negative wheels in motion. If you are feeling depressed then you are more likely not to want to exercise. If you don't exercise then chances are you will probably care less about eating healthy. You may also not get enough sleep.

At any point in the wheel, you must be able to change that spoke because it can have a dramatic effect. If you notice that you are eating more snacks late at night while watching TV, then try to go to bed earlier and make an effort to do some type of exercise the next morning. Once you begin to change even one habit, it will have a domino effect on the rest of your life.

Exercise does more than just burn calories. It can really help to change the way you feel about yourself. Combine this with a sensible eating plan and you will be well on your way to creating a positive wheel in your life.

Once you see the results from eating better and exercise, it will be difficult for you to remain in a negative funk. Setting daily and weekly goals will also go a long way to maintaining this wheel. Finally, surround yourself with people who share your same passion for getting healthy. Although finding new friends can be difficult, you'll be surprised at how many people are in the same boat as you.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Crossing that "mind" barrier can be tough

"It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not
to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is
against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit."
- George Sheehan

So, there I was, knowing that today I would have to run at least 30 K's to keep up with my training for my 50 Mile race. Unfortunately none of my friends were up to running that distance, so I had to run the first 8 K's on my own. That part was relatively easy. The hard part was running with a group of runners who were all fresh and ready to go while I had just run for the past 50 minutes. To make matters even worse, I forgot to charge my Garmin (a GPS watch which tells me how fast and how far I've run) after my train run yesterday, so the battery died just after I had finished the first part of my run.

Because I have been training in Miles instead of Kilometres, I've gotten used to not looking at my Garmin. When you run in Miles it takes forever for it to change from mile to mile. This has allowed me to focus more on running slowly, which will help me with my Ultra Marathon race in April/May.

When I arrived after my first run, there were about a dozen runners waiting to go. Because I wanted to go nice and slow, I made sure to stay well behind the rest of the pack. As we all arrived at an intersection many of the runners were able to cross the street but there were three of us who didn't. I couldn't have been happier about that as it turns out. I was able to run with two other runners who I haven't been able to run with in a long time, but who I know very well. We were able to keep a nice pace and get caught up on what's been going on in our lives.

We ended up doing about 24.5 K's which put me at 32.5 K's, which obviously I was very happy about. Part of our revised route took us into the Seaton trail which I had run on Saturday and that wouldn't have happened had we stayed with the other group of runners. Getting past 32 K's (20 Miles) is a very imporant step with regards to my training. As I continue to go further and further, I'll be able to look back on today and use it to motivate me.

I was surprised at how much I didn't miss my Garmin and also the fact that I ran with no music. Today's run was definitely one that challenged my mental toughness as I really had to call upon my inner strength towards the end of the run. There were times when I was asking myself what I was doing and that I just wanted to get home. As I write this I have a very "numb" feeling in my mind. My stomach is queezy, I'm dehydrated and very tired. I put my body and mind through some difficult situations today but the fact that I was able to finish makes it so special. I'm lucky that I have plenty of Advil at home......

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Happy Trails....

"Trail running is a microcosm of life. You appreciate the highs more when you've had some lows, and it teaches you that good things don't come without hard work." Doug McKeever

That quote pretty much sums up my feelings about trail running and it really hit home during my trail run today. After taking two days off I was pumped to go running today. I had the choice of running in either the Rouge Valley or the Seaton trail. Of the two, I prefer the Seaton trail as it seems more scenic to me. It also is one of the most technical trails I've ever run in. I would rank it 3rd in regards to the toughest places I've run so far (Haliburton and Iroquois being slightly harder).

Ken and I went out at just past 7:00 AM this morning with both of us sporting our headlamps. It was suprisingly slippery during the first part of the run and this led to a rather slow trot through the trails. My legs felt very strong after the rest and even though I was itching to go a little faster, the icy conditions didn't warrant such a move.

We made it almost to the Whites Road and then turned around and headed back. The return trip was much faster as we now had sunlight and we were able to avoid many of the icy patches. During our run back, we bumped into two other trail runners who I know very well from my OUS races.

The run today reminded me once again why I love to run in the trails and if I had my way it would be the only running I'd do. It presents so many more challenges than the roads and the scenery is simply breathtaking. If you ever get a chance to take a run or walk through any one of these trails I would highly recommend it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

When times get tough, look within yourself for inspiration

Meeting with a client this week really hit home what I've been telling my clients from day one. That is, when you first make a committment to changing your lifestyle you are met with a flurry of support. Then as you actually start to lose weight, it's amazing at the amount of compliments you get. This can really motivate you to keep going....for awhile anyway.

Eventually what happens is that your "cheerleaders" can become your harshest critics. They may not be used to seeing you look and feel so good and the fact that they may not be doing much to improve themselves probably makes them upset. The old adage of "misery loves company" surely applies in this instance.

When the cheering stops and you are left with the realization that this HAS to be a lifelong committment, it can be overwhelming and scary at the same time. It's important to realize that while you may have relied on the support from others, it was YOU who was doing all the hard work. Once you realize this, it will hopefully improve your self-confidence. When this happens you will feel better about turning down that piece of cake or candy bar that one of your colleagues has offered.

We all have goals that we want to achieve and if the people around you are not supporting you then make sure you build you own support network within yourself. We build our inner strength in various ways. Some people choose prayer, some people prefer to exercise. It really doesn't matter what you use but make sure that you repeat what is working on a regular basis.

Nobody is expected to be perfect all the time but you must be able to committ to a liefestyle that favors health over indulgence the majority of the time or you will fall short of your goals. We all have the ability and strength to make the right decisions so what's stopping you?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Character building run today

There are good runs and bad runs, fast runs and slow run and then there are runs like this morning which my friend Kelly has described as "character building runs."

The morning started as it always does before a run. I went to my computer after waking up, and as my tea was steaping, I checked the weather forecast. I noticed that it was 11 degrees with light rain. No big deal because I love the rain and 11 degress meant I could wear my shorts instead of layers of clothing. After yesterday's run, when I was overdressed, I opted for a short sleeve running shirt, shorts and my running jacket.

I left the house at just before 6 AM and met my friend at our usual running spot, I soon found out that this was not going to be an ordinary run. What I failed to take into account, when I was looking at the weather, was how strong the wind was. Wind is the one thing that makes a run very difficult and we both had our share of moments today. Add in the heavy downpour, the fact that it was still dark and you can imagine how this turned into quite the adventure. We were dodging puddles but our shoes were so soaked it really didn't matter as staying dry wasn't an option today. We had the wind at our back for the first half but that only meant that our run home was going to be headed right into the wind. As soon as we turned the corner to head back we immediately felt how strong the wind was. Both of us was in our "zone" and we both just carried on because talking to each other became an exercise in futility. Even though running is an individual event, knowing that you have someone going through the same struggles that you are can be motivating so I was very fortunate to have her with me today.

When I finally made it home I couldn't wait to check the weather network to see just how bad the wind gusts were. To my amazement, the wind gusts were up to 65 KM's/hr. No wonder there were times where we felt like we were actually running backwards.

As tough as this run was, though, I know it will only make me a stronger runner and person. As I've said, I use running as a metaphor for life and being able to overcome obstacles like today, makes anything possible.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Have you ever wanted to run?

Many of you who know me understand my passion for running. In addition, many of you have also discovered how running can change your life. When I tell people that I have only been running for a few years it amazes them. The fact is that running wasn't even on my radar screen a few years ago. One of the biggest hurdles was realizing that YES I can do this sport. It has provided me more satisfaction than anything I could have imagined. One I understood the similarities between running and my goals in life, it became such an integral part of my life that I can't and won't let go of it.

In the upcoming weeks I will be starting a Learn to Run program so if you are interested, please email me:

Once I get the details finalized I will let you know. This promises to be an amazing year and I'm hoping that my love and passion for running will rub off on many of you.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hello old friend......

After not running since last Thursday I was itching to get outside today. It's amazing how much my mood changed during this time. It's like my body went into withdrawal and I needed my running "fix." At the same time, I can see how easily it is to get out of rhythm once you miss a workout/run.

With the temperatures above the freezing mark this afternoon, I headed out in shorts. I know the warm weather isn't going to last long but it was so nice not having to wear layers of clothing for a change.

Now that my 50 Mile training is in high gear, I have to guard against overtraining so as much as I wanted to go a little longer today, I kept myself in check and stopped after 6 Miles.

The gym, as expected, is getting very busy now and I have to make sure that I'm at my best to provide whatever motivation I can to my clients. I knew that this morning was rough and now that I just finished my run I understand why. Running for me, as I already knew, is more than just a way to burn off calories. It really does something to pick up my spirits. Knowing that I wouldn't get to see my 2 boys for a few days was something I wasn't looking forward to and not running made it even worse. However, I feel much better after having gone for a run.

Whatever you do, you MUST discover what is missing in your life that will bring you the kind of positive vibes that I get from running. Some people find it by going to the gym, some people find it by going for a daily walk. Whatever it is, though, find it and hold on tightly and enjoy the ride!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Don't be afraid!

Many people are reluctant to tell those around them that they are starting “another” weight loss plan. The reason is simple. They may have done this in the past and because they weren’t able to achieve their goals, they probably felt that they didn’t have what it takes to do what they needed to do. Why face the possible embarrassment from your friends and family right? WRONG!

I was reminded, yesterday, by my client that I too have a goal that I’m training for (Sulphur Springs 50 Mile trail race). It’s something that I tell all my clients about. I do it because it keeps me in “check.” Being accountable to people other than yourself, can really motivate you to stay on track with your training and nutrition. It’s the people that don’t do this that I really feel sorry for. A big part of achieving a goal is the milestones you will pass along the way. Every day that you make the healthier food choice or exercise, should be cherished and celebrated. My calendar in the kitchen is always filled with what I ran that day and when I look at it it really is a powerful reminder at what I’ve been able to accomplish.

One of the reasons I started to keep a blog was so that I can keep a record of what I’m doing and to let those around me know as well. I love the fact that after a run I can share my feelings with family and friends. I’m flattered that so many people have found this helpful to them but my main reason for doing this was to keep myself on track.

Fear of failure is one the most crippling things that you’ll have to overcome but I refuse to let it stop me from achieving my goals. This doesn’t mean that I have achieved everything I want, but at least I’m going to stay positive throughout the process. If I had let fear control my feelings I probably wouldn’t even be running right now.

I suffered a huge setback at the Mississauga Marathon last spring. After training hard for 5 months in 2007, everything was set up for me for that race. I achieved personal best running times for all the races leading up to that one. I let everyone around me know that my goal for that race was 3:30. It was something that was attainable and anything else was simply not acceptable. Unfortunately I suffered from cramps during the race, which I had never had before, and that prevented me from my goals.

It took me months to get over that disappointment. I was upset that my body had let me down at the most important race in my life. I had so many friends there and they knew how disappointed I was. Nothing they said was going to make me feel any better but it was nice having their support nonetheless.

As I look back at that training, almost a year ago now, I can still remember how hard I worked and though it took me a long time to accept, I can relish the fact that the training itself was a huge accomplishment.

This month there will be millions of people who will make weight loss their New Years’ resolution. If you are one of them then don’t be afraid to share this goal with those around you. Cherish the small victories and don’t despair about not being “perfect” because nobody is.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

An unexpected run today

Sometimes it pays to be at the right place at the right time. When I arrived at work today I quickly found out that many of my clients had cancelled. I think people are still enjoying the holidays this week which I expected. After a few calls to re-arrange my schedule, I realized that I had a 2.5 hour window available. I obviously knew I was going to get a run in which surprised me as I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't be able to run until next Monday because I was watching my 2 boys.

Not only was I elated at the fact that I was going to run but I ran into one of my best friends at the gym and after several attempts at getting her to run with me, she finally obliged.

We had a great 10K run and it helped to have company with me. We did a variation of my typical run around my neighbourhood at a nice comfortable pace. During our run we both commented on how nice it was to be outside and even though the temperature said -14, it certainly didn't feel that way to us. With no wind today it was amazing how nice the run was.

Any excuse I can get to run I'll take it, but I know it will be next to impossible to get a run in over these next 3 days. Instead, I'll ride my stationary bike to keep my legs in shape and maybe even do a light weight training session. It's next to impossible for me to not exercise each day and running is my #1 choice, but sometimes you have make adjustments to what you like to do.

Nothing comes close to the excitement I get from running outside and even though I could possible run on the treadmill on the weekend, I'd rather not run then have to run on the treadmill so biking it is. No offence to people who love to use their treadmill, but I know that I would feel like I cheated myself if I ran inside instead of outside. I've grown so accustomed to running in all types of weather and I need the outside experience to keep me motivated. That's why it was so nice to be able to run today.

Thanks Miriam!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thank you Marcus!

When I woke up this morning, there were two things that I knew I had to do. One was to run in the afternoon (which I hate) and the second was that I had to run in the bitter cold.

I checked the temperature and soon found out that it was going to be -21 with the wind chill. As soon as I got out of the house and dropped my sons off to the babysitters, I immediately felt the cold wind. I turned to my youngest son Marcus and said that maybe Daddy should just ride the bike today instead. Without missing a beat, he turned to me and said, "Dad, don't you remember you told me that you run in any weather?" He was right, of course, and it is something that I'm very proud of. Hearing it from his lips though, made me realize that I really had no choice. I won't be able to run much this week and I knew that if I didn't run today I'd regret it until next week.

I had a very small window of opportunity to run of about 1.5 hours so when I got home from my work at 12:30 I had a quick tea and a small piece of banana and off I went. I made sure to layer appropriately and as soon as I started to run I once again felt like I had made the right decision. I cut the route a little short because of my time constraints but still was able to get in about 11 K's. The sun was so bright this afternoon that I barely noticed the cold.

What made my run fun today was seeing the looks on so many people as I ran by them. I could see how cold they were just standing around. I got a few nice smiles in return and one high five from one man. The one thought that kept running through my mind, though, was what my son had told me this morning. It's amazing where we can find inspiration from if we just open our eyes and ears.