The Return of the Mack…er…Bexx

lacing up I picture my return to running like the first part of the Chris Morrison video in Return of the Mack when he’s walking down a hallway all blinged out, cool and suave, and the lights are shining down and he looks so confident, calm and collected like he belongs.  There’s a ‘no big deal’ attitude about the way he walks down that hall (click here if you care to watch and see what I’m talking about.)  When I lace up for the first time back, I’ll probably just have a ponytail, and won’t be wearing as much bling, but I think I could totally find a tunnel around here somewhere to start and look/feel like I’m in the video.  I have no idea what this has to do with anything, but I promise I have somewhat of a point to make 😀 (I’ll also never be quite sure why I have so many obscure pop culture references from the 90s in my head….I ought to get checked out ;))

Having only been out of commission once with a pulled hammy, I never really understood how people felt when they were injured and couldn’t do anything.

I healed the hammy in two weeks, and had welcomed the break from my crazy fitness routine at the time.  Now having suffered from this pain in the back of my ankle/heel, for about 6-8 weeks, I have not only exhausted all of the people who I can complain to, but I have also learned to appreciate how crappy an injury can be.  I mean don’t get me wrong, there are worse things in the world than a small injury like mine, but when the doctor told me today that I could run again, I wanted to jump up and give him a bear hug.  I don’t think that’s really welcomed or legal… so I held back.. but the point is, when you receive good news like that, it’s good to have brought a buddy that you can hug when there is good news.  I’m sure I had another point, but I’ll go with that one.

I am going to get myself some new running shoes, lace up and hit the road.  Not right this minute (because I’m busy typing away to you guys) but sometime soon! This rest has given me a new perspective, and I need to figure out what routine will work best for me.  I can’t just add everything back into my workout schedule, but I’m overall just happy that I can run.  Obviously I will have to take it easy and do lots of wonderful stretches, but I’m so thankful to be back.

A duck out of water is like a runner without a shoe?  I’m sure you get what I’m trying to say.  Either way, I believe John Malkovich puts it best in Burn After Reading when he says: “You  f*ckers, I’m back!” (I would have probably used the word b*tches instead and said “I’m back b*tches, I’m back… but I wasn’t in charge.  Sad really. )

xox

-Bexx

Winter Running: Training with Vanilla Ice

runwinter

I have been running in the winter for a while now and my mom used to yell at me back in the day, saying that I was a little crazy for running in -30 degree celsius weather, and that I was going to slip and fall and break my neck.  So far so good, I have not! wooo hooo *fist pumping action*

I know that winter running is a bit more dangerous than summer running, but to be honest I’m just as big of a klutz during all seasons, so the possibility and probability of me falling in any season is probably just as high as if I were to be running non-stop for 5k on a sheet of ice.  I’m the type of person who has tripped over my own pant leg on numerous occasions (one time my big toe got stuck in the rolled up part of my lulus causing me to trip and fall while simultaneously also losing my pants.)  Despite this being quite entertaining for the casual observer, I think I give people quite a fright when I say that I am going running in the winter 😉

I am excited and proud to say that I have no accidents to report.  The occasional ankle tweak sometimes happens due to my weak ankles from so many sprains in soccer over the years.  I’ve never broken a bone in my life (touch wood) and I am pretty proud of myself.

The key for me is to take it slow when winter running.  I’m have hit black ice before.  I think if you treat your body kind of like a car in bad weather you’ll be fine.  Make sure that your shoes do not have ice on the bottom of them right from the get-go (one time this happened to my ski boots – going in and out of the chalet the snow froze into a giant ball on the bottom of my boots and I sure did fall over.)  I’m not sure if shoes do this, but I figured it might be an okay tip just in case hah

SLOW DOWN –  you are not trying to break a world record, nor are you Super Mario trying to defeat Ice World.  You calm down.  (I’m mostly telling this to myself, because I’ve been known to think hey…. there aren’t that many people out here, I should try to speed this up and get home – almost ending in disaster.  Slow and steady wins the winter training ‘race.’  I believe Vanilla Ice put it best when he said [watch out for the] ice, ice, baby.  (Or at least if he ever wants to be quoted as saying anything profound, I added that little part in the beginning for him. You’re welcome.)

yetibexx
Yeti-Bexx

Layering is key.  I have this awesome Under Armor shirt that is sweat wicking, and helps heat you up during your run.  It’s one of my favourites and it also helps because then you don’t have to wear 10 shirts and a jacket.  Although the idea of me running down the road at high speeds toward you like an abominably dressed snow wo-man does make me giggle.Run with a buddy too, that always helps keep me motivated and if you do fall, then there is someone to carry you home! Think about it! 😉

I’m no expert, so take my advice for what is it, general tips on how I’ve stayed safe so far.  I’m not saying you’re not going to slip and fall.  I sure did do that the other morning in my mom’s driveway while just walking to the car.  Of course the neighbours were watching, and so while I was down there on the ground, I did not fail to take this opportunity to strike a pose like a model laying on a beach.

Probably not the most flattering picture of me in life, but winter running at it's finest ;)
Probably not the most flattering picture of me in life, but winter running at it’s finest 😉

Be safe this winter season! (and if you don’t have winter where you are… then I should probably come and visit – I envy you sometimes ;))

Happy training!-Bexx

Training Week 3: Running like a Crazy Duck

Sizing up the competition! hah
Sizing up the competition! hah

It’s week three, at least I think it is week three (oh how the time passes) of training.  I’m easing in, and feeling like my old self again. (I, of course, use the term ‘old’ lightly haha)

When I first started running a few of my friends used to tease me.  I’m competitive.  I always want to win at everything and I was in a learn to run running clinic, but I still wanted to be the best.  When there was an opportunity to “pass” another runner on the narrow sidewalk in absence of a garbage can blocking my path, I went for it.  I would dodge and dart, which apparently mimics the actions of a ‘crazy duck.’  I’m fine with it.  There are a lot of fine ducks in history and stuff 😉

Tonight I was near the middle (read: back, but I don’t want to talk about it.. haha) of the pack and my running buddy Rae (who is way faster than yours truly) picked up speed in the last kilometer of the run.

I do not know where it came from, but I turned into the crazy duck runner again.  I was determined to catch up to Rae and pass some of the faster people in my running group.  I wove between garbage cans, and dodged tree branches like a maniac.  I have no idea where this drive comes from sometimes, and I sure as heck wish that I could find this inspiration more often.  It’s unfortunately one of those things that comes and goes.  I don’t want to say that it’s like some sorta divine inspiration because to me that sounds a bit hokey and the reality of the situation is that I doubt there was very little divinity involved.

I think the crazy duck run comes from wanting to win, wanting to be better and wanting to prove to myself (and everyone else who is clearing driving by to gain access to the Rebecca Running Show, free of charge) that I CAN be better.  I want to be great at things.  I want to see that time at the end of the half marathon be WAY less than my last.

I’m okay with being compared to a crazy duck.  There are worse things to be compared to in the world! 😉

Challenge yourself.  Be the crazy duck in your running group.  I triple dog dare you!

runningduck

Happy Training,

Bexx-

*Magical Movie Moments*

Tonight at the end of our run, I felt like I was experiencing what I like to refer to as a “magical movie moment.”

A magical movie moment to me is when you experience an isolated pristine moment in your life that you feel should be present in a movie.  To help you relate to my nuttiness, I shall compare it to the floating bag moment in American Beauty, or to a scene in a girlie movie where you see the three friends walking through the parting crowd to a certain song, signifying that something awesome is about to go down.

Tonight was the night I was not quitting (as I am sure you remember from yesterday.)  I’m proud to report (as I feel as though I am your local fitness Dougie Howserish reporter/blogger) that I made it through this evening, and ended it with a smile on my face.  Now, I know what you’re thinking – how the heck does that translate or transcend into this ‘magical movie moment’ she yammered on about in the beginning of this post?

We had about 1km of our run left and it started to snow.  We were just doing a short tempo run of 4km, and my legs were still stiff from yesterday’s spin class.  I was trying to tell my new running friend about some races that I had done, in between trying to maintain my breath.  We reached the Running Room store as the snow really started to fall and I felt like this moment in time should have been recorded.  I’m sure I looked lovely (read: red-faced, sweaty, gasping for breath) enough to be in a movie… hahah.   I just wish that I could have frozen that moment in time.  It was a moment of happiness that I feel as though the audience of a movie would love to see, and could really relate to.

I got this same feeling when I used to do night running at home a couple of years ago.  I’m from a small town in Northern Ontario and I used to go running around 8pm every night in the winter (much to my mother’s dismay) and sometimes it would start to lightly snow.  There were no cars on the road,  only white noise – just me, my trusty sneakers and the snow.  It looked like diamonds falling from the sky – a magical moment that I wish that I could have shared.

Tonight was a great moment.  I didn’t give up;  I met a new running friend; I set some new goals for myself, and I experienced a magical movie moment.  I’d say today was quite a success, and I can’t stop smiling 😀

To many more “Magical Movie Moments,”

-Bexx

Training: The Good, The Bad and The I Want to Give ups….

Training has started again for my next half marathon.  Some days I grumble as I put my shoes on and I don’t want to go, but I know that once I am done I will feel so much better and energized.  Sometimes mid-run I want to quit, I get a pain in my side, or I develop this fictitious knee pain that convinces my already wavering self to throw in the towel and go home.  I don’t want to be like this.  I have trained for years and I would like to tell you that this feeling goes away after years of running, training and doing many different types of workouts, but sometimes it creeps up on you, no matter how many motivational quotes you post for yourself on your Facebook page.

I’ve tried a lot of things – boot camps, boxing classes, pilates, Bikram yoga and I always come back to running.  No matter how long I’ve been away, I always get the urge to return.   Long distance running in an amazing thing to me.  There isn’t just one ‘type’ of person that can do it.  In high school I was told that I couldn’t be a sprinter because I didn’t have the right body type.  Now in hindsight I might not have been the next Donovan Bailey (mostly because I’m also not a dude…) but it would have been nice to not have been given such self-esteem squashing advice.

Thin, not so thin, tall, short, old, young –  you can run.  You might not make it to the Olympics, but you can run and you can set goals for yourself.  In races people who are twice your size will barrel past you and kick your butt, much to your novice surprise.  You will also school some athletic looking people who you thought you never could beat.  I am rather competitive sometimes (read: all the time) and I always like to pick someone who I’d like to try to beat at the starting line of a race.  I don’t think I’ve ever really beaten them, but it’s a fun game I like to play with myself to ease my nerves before a race.  I always get that feeling. like when you’re a kid and you’re playing your first softball game and you think to yourself “is this a bad time to say that I have to pee?!” just as you take the out field for the first person to go up to bat,  before a race.  This is something that will never change over the years no matter how many times I race, and to be honest I’m glad it doesn’t.  It brings that nervous surge of adrenaline through my body and reminds me why I’m there in the first place.

It’s not like I’m racing to win (perhaps some day I will be 90 and enter a race in a small town and win my age category by default, but until then I don’t see myself taking a gold anytime soon haha)  I’m racing for myself.

I am going to admit that right now I’d like to quit training for this half marathon.  Training after you haven’t been running for about a month or two is really hard.  You want your body to do what it did two months ago.  You want to throw on your runners and feel that ease of the soles on the pavement, like you’ve been doing this all your life.

Last Thursday, I stopped at one point during my run and said to my running partner Rae that I didn’t want to do it anymore.  I didn’t quit, but I wanted to.  My attitude for the rest of the run was less than pleasant to say the least.  Post-run we had a chat, and we have decided that a) I am hard on myself and b) I need to keep at it if I am ever going to improve or get back to where I want to be.

My point is, I’m having a hard time finding the motivation that I always pride myself in having.  I’m the person who gets up at 5:30 am to take a bus downtown to take a workout class.  I’m the person who does a class in the morning and a boxing class at night.  My friends call me crazy at times and they never want to believe that even I want to give up sometimes.  What I’m doing this time around during training isn’t just physical, I’m also trying to give myself a training in motivating myself past those points of wanting to give up, and really pushing myself to do better.  I am not a quitter.

I’m going to do better.
I’m not going to quit.
I’m going to kick some butt (sometimes my own hah)
I’m going to try to not get frustrated with myself
I’m going to believe in myself
I’m going to accept the bad days and embrace them as much as the good days.
I’m going to try harder.

Train on!

-Bexx

Sunday, fun day…. run day?!?

So I may have committed to running another half marathon.  This may have been something that I said I would never do again, but alas here goes nothing; Round 2- Bexx vs the Chilly Half in Burlington in March.  (And, boy will March be chilly…. I’m not a weather woman, or anything, but March is typically colder, than say….. August when I ran my last half.)

Imma do it!

I hope that I win this round, or at least hit my goal of doing a half under 2:15.  As I mentioned before I didn’t train as much as I should have, if not at all for my first half, which could have impacted my lovely time of 2:47.  Holy heck.  I tried to will my little legs to go faster, but alas they would not.  They kept saying things like “Hey, remember when you skipped that 17k long run? Yeah, we would have went faster if you did that a few times… or one time…” haha

Anywho, I’m doing it again.  Liz and Ashley will be running it as well (my Sea Wheeze running buds), and so will my work running partner Rae.

Rae and I decided to go on Wednesday and test out a Running Room downtown (as I told you in one of my previous posts.)  We want to make sure that we’re joining the right one for us.  When we started running it was pouring rain.  One girl commented on our way outside about Rae and I:  “Wow, those two are super happy…”  I’m not sure what that meant….Were we supposed to be grumpy because we were going for a run?  I dunno *shrug*.

So this Sunday we went out again, this time to a midtown Running Room and we were immediately welcomed.  I felt a lot better at this one and the people seemed really nice.  They were loud (like me) and rather excited to run.  The people who run there have been running with the group for a long time, or so it seemed, because they all yelled for each other when they came in the door or greeted each other with salutations of “Oh hey Stan, where’s Marvin today?”  Okay, those names may be fictitious, but wouldn’t it be cool if there were running buddies named Stan and Marv?  I think so. Regardless, they were awesome.

We set out up Yonge Street, and right away there was a huge hill.  I Donovan Bailey’d (what I envision as sprinting, but is really a slow Bexx run/saunter up a hill) my way up the hill too fast, because shortly there after I felt like I needed to stop. My running was admittedly less than stellar and Rae was okay with me cutting the run a bit short in favour of warming up for a bit, and getting some breakfast.

I was disappointed in my performance for my first run back, but it helped me realize and know that I have a lot of great work ahead of  me – one neon shoe’d foot after the next.

-Bexx

SeaWheeze: My First Half Marathon

Lululemon Half Marathon!
This was on the goal list – Complete a half marathon.

Running the Seawall in Vancouver was one of the best experiences of my life.Where to begin?  We flew to Vancouver with a goal in mind.

Had I trained enough? No not really.  This has always been a problem of mine.  I get excited about something and then I have trouble with the follow through.  My mother had my painting supplies at home (back in the great white north) and commented a few summers ago “Remember when you decided to take up painting?  I still have your stuff downstairs.”  I moved the painting stuff into my room at home.  This summer I brought it back with me to Toronto, and so it sits in my room, paints and two blank canvases.

lululemon did a wonderful job organizing their first half marathon.  Everyone was cheerful, helpful and nothing less than I had expected.  From the minute that we went to pick-up our race kits, to the moment the fun! concert was over, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.  (We even went tandem biking, but that is a whole other story in itself.)

 

Ashley was running the race with Lizzie and I.  She’s faster than us so her corral was a bit ahead of ours.  We knew we’d see her at the finish line and wished her good luck!  Her husband Michael was going to be waiting for us at the finish line with Leanne.

I have this thing, where I don’t like to know where I’m running.  When the route is a mystery, I feel better about it.  I think for me, I wanted Vancouver to be the challenge that I didn’t really know about.  I mean how big could this hill really be? I remember thinking that at one point.  Now, had I known how big the hill was, I probably would have psyched myself out about it and not made it up like I did.  I’m finding more and more often that I limit myself because I talk myself out of things.  I’m still struggling with it, but I’m learning as we all do, that the first step is knowing that there is a problem hahah

I forgot my iPod at the hotel.  I don’t know if this was one of those subconscious moments you see shown on tv where the main actress forgets something, knows it, but then realizes it was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to her.

I always run with music.  I work with music playing to drown out the noises around me.  For once in my life I was happy to not have any noise, other than that of my own thoughts.

Pre-race- Challenge accepted! (Ashley, moi, Lizzie)

The first 10k was okay.  Lizzie’s knee was acting up a few kilometers into the run, so she told me to go ahead.  I didn’t want to, because we had said that we were going to stick together no matter what, but she insisted.

I remember getting to the top of the hill of one of the most challenging parts of the race and there was a huge group of little girls dressed in purple cheering us on singing along to Katy Perry’s Firework, and I thought to myself that if my life were a movie, this sure as heck would have been one of those moments when I had a voice-over talking about how I had just wanted to give up, but now I can’t because there are like 100 pretty little cheerleaders singing me up the hill.

When I got to the Seawall, this is when things really changed.   I still had quite a bit of distance to go in the race.  I paused to take a picture at kilometer sixteen when I wanted to quit (but didn’t) so that I could remember the feel that I had at that moment in time, and how I pushed through it.  I thought that any coach that I’d ever had over the years would have been pretty impressed with Rebecca “I can’t”, because I didn’t think I could, and I did.  I believe this is where I gave myself an imaginary, but well deserved pat on the back 😉

Surely we’ve all had those moments when you really REALLY feel alive.  I mean we’re always alive, but those moments when you feel like everything you see is sharper and the colours are brighter than usual.  That’s how I felt when I rounded the first corner of the sea-wall.  I saw all of the runners ahead of me, spots of colour dotting the Seawall’ed coastline.  It was surreal.  I was one of those little dots.  I wish I had a picture of that moment.

This moment gave me back my love for running.  It gave me back the spirit I had been missing on all those practice runs.

Post-race with Lizzie and Ashley (Yes, the sun does shine out of my head hah)

The race happened in August.  I haven’t written about it until now.  I had another one of those moments like the one I had during the half marathon when I was running the other night with my friend Rae.  It was raining and we were those crazy people who you see when you look our your window when it’s pouring and wonder what exactly would possess someone to do something so ridiculous.  I could feel the rain squishing in between my toes.  I really felt like that was the place I needed to be and nothing else mattered.

I’ve wanted to write this post so many times, but I also wanted to make sure it was right…..-Bexx