3 Spring Must-Haves!

It’s that time of year again, the geese are confused and back early here up in Canada, the trees are budding and the snow is pretty much gone in most areas!

I’m not going to miss the cold that much, but as we ease into this lovely new Equinox, I want to tell you about 3 Spring Must-Haves that should be in your outdoor running toolkit!

Nike Running Club:  Ask your friends to add you, stay accountable to yourself, get reminders sent directly to your phone! This app keeps me in check.  I love sneaking a peek at the weekly leader board to see where I am ranking against my friends – a little good healthy competition never hurts your motivation to lace on up, and head on out for one of those 5 am 5Ks I’ve been telling you about! 😉  

Deep Blue Rub: I recently discovered this product and I’ve switched from Deep Relief/A535 as this dōTERRA cream/rub is infused with the Deep Blue Soothing Blend of  CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils and gives you a cooling and warmth sensation that helps problem areas!  Getting back into outdoor running can be a challenge, but Deep Blue is your buddy that helps those achy muscles you feel when you’re getting old ;))  

10% Happier by Dan Harris: I picked this book up as a reco from my buddy Doug Foley over at The Happiness of Pursuit.  Dan Harris in this well-written book, makes fun of himself in ways that I connected with, pointed out similarities that I never thought him and I would have, and makes you realize that meditation, self-awareness and reflection are easily able to help us become that much happier (at least 10% ;)).  His journey through to meditation and self-realization are inspiring and attainable!

The running app keeps me accountable, the Deep Blue keeps my tired muscles happy and on point, and 10% Happier keeps me in-check to mentally re-set when I need it, and power through those tough moments when you’d rather turn around and go home to sleep in your gym clothes!  *Maybe that’s only me? 😉

Happy Training, lovely people!
-Bexx

Grandma Mary & The First Annual Run for the Love of Pete 5k

runfortheloveofpete
A lot happened this weekend, and as much as I don’t want it to take away from the race as a whole, I must explain so that you truly understand the impact that this had on me this weekend.

My grandmother passed away on Saturday at the age of 95.  She lived quite the life, and she was always funny and entertaining to me.  She laughed at all my jokes, put up with my crazy antics, swore I hadn’t changed at all since birth (I assume I was always this entertaining haha) and even posed for photos with me while I ‘forced her’ (read: encouraged her to do so, because “At 90+ you can do or say what you want, Grandma..”) to the give the finger.

For as long as I can remember growing up, when she was calling for you in the yard, she’d go through every grandchild’s name before getting to yours (including the boy names) every single time.  When I was getting in trouble this was awesome because it would sound like something along the lines of “Oh… Samantha, Mark, Trevor, Melissa, Matthew, er…Chad.. OHHHHHH REBECCA! WHATEVER your name is, get in the HOUSE!” and by then I would be half way across the yard in the opposite direction. She played cards, darts and bowled. She patiently sat with us all and tried to teach us how to play euchre.  (I never caught on).

She taught me what I remember to be one of the first jokes (play on words) I understood, and I like to think I’m mistakespretty funny – so I owe this all to Grandma and her coffee cup.  It read: I never make mistakes.  I thought I did once, but I was mistaken.  Now, I’m not sure if you get how hard it would be to explain that play on words to a 7 or 8 year old, and I figure Grandma had her work cut out for her – at the time mini Rebecca had felt it was all too obvious that you had in fact made a mistake if you had been mistaken.  It was clearly written on the cup. 😉

The reason I bring this all up isn’t because I want everyone to be sad or feel bad.  I just want you to know that this weekend had many highs and lows, but ultimately will always be one to go down in the books.

Run for the Love of Pete was something I told my grandma about recently, and she kept telling me how proud she was of me. I wasn’t sure how much she understood, because our conversations were all at yelling level, as her hearing had been going a bit, but I’m glad she got a chance to hear about it.

My dad wasn’t a perfect man.  He made mistakes, he did the best he could, but ultimately was one of my favourite people that I have ever met.  He was often the class clown when he went to mining conventions, always volunteered in the community where we lived, and defended me by yelling at all the neighbourhood kids when we got carried away chucking ice  balls at each other.  He was a gem.14289884_10101232710651650_2855432295706238207_o

I’ve been really lucky to be graced with such gems in my life, and organizing the Run for the Love of Pete was something that I have been saying I’m going to do for a long time.  I announced the run, started a new job, and was going to cancel the event because I didn’t feel like I had dedicated enough time to it (or the marketing of it).  However, when you announce that you’re going to do something, like my dad always told me, you must follow through or else people won’t believe you if you say you’re going to do it next time. And so I did.

Running is rather polarizing – some people love it, and some people really hate it.  There are in between people who sometimes run, and sometimes don’t run.  Most of my friends are the ‘don’t really want to run’ type people, but that didn’t stop them from running on Sunday, or volunteering to help organize and ‘run’ this race. (Pun always intended).

That being said I want to thank each and every one of you who ran, volunteered, encouraged me at any point before, during or after the race, gave me pats on the back when I selfishly needed them and made donations to the Heart and Stoke Foundation, or cooked brunch for ravenous runners (which is like risking your life via sticking your head in the mouth of a lion – don’t get between people who have run a 5K and a pile of pancakes is all I’m saying ;))
Organizing something that you hope will be a giant race one day, really makes you thankful for all the people that are in your life. I really lucked out in the friendship lottery of life.  Surrounding yourself with great people reminds you why you strive to be better each and every day just like them. So thank you, thank you, thank you. You all mean the world to me!

image1So, the first Run for the Love of Pete is dedicated to my Grandmother, Mary Coe. She could rock that white hair like no other.  Although her name isn’t in the title of the race, and she probably never ran in her life (except perhaps running after me or any of her other awesome grandchildren in the yard..which might count..) she was a woman who will not be forgotten.

She always reminded me to be better & to not take my gift of making people laugh for granted, and my dad always told me to do the things that scare me the most.

This Sunday amidst the laughs and jokes while running the Run for the Love of Pete 5k  (and coming in last so that no one else did) I thought about how Grandma and Dad were probably looking down at me from somewhere shaking their heads, and making some joke about how I actually managed to pull this all off among all the other crazy things I always have going on like I do, and it made me smile. ❤

Do those things that scare you the most, they are guaranteed to be some of the best things that you ever do.

With love,

Bexx

 

Run for the Love of Pete 5K : The Why

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.24.43 AMAt first, I wanted to do something in the memory of my father, Pete. I wanted to raise money and awareness for heart health so that people around me got to live longer and learn about the things that they needed to do to accomplish this. I love running, so why not pair the two?

Over the course of wanting to launch this run (I’ve been thinking about this for about a year and a half), I had anxiety about hitting send on a mass email, hitting create on an FB post and talking to people about it in general. I’d hold back. I realized that all I needed to do was take the first step.

In all my research around running races, and organizing them, I scoured the pages of Runners World Magazine and any online resource that I could. If I was having this much trouble taking the first step to creating a race to ‘change lives’ then how many other people were having the same struggle? I mean this from all standpoints in life. Were others struggling to run? Were others so afraid of what other people thought so much that they were just sitting and waiting for that perfect moment to do what they really want to do?  Were other people so paralyzed with fear and self-doubt that they just sat on really great ideas for a really long time instead of just getting out there and doing them?

I was (and still am a little spooked) about taking the first step. What if one person comes to the race? What if no one shows up? What if it’s raining? What if people look at September 11th as a negative date? What if I don’t raise awareness or money and fall flat on my face? There will always be ‘what ifs’.

I took the first step yesterday.

I almost puked in the car.

Some people will understand, some people won’t. Some people will laugh at your goals and mine, others will suScreen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.16.28 AMpport them with banners (think signs made out of glitter and uncooked macaroni, that’s what I see ;)), and do whatever they can to help.

I set-up the Facebook invite, and to some that will seem rather trivial (or an archaic way of doing things hah), but it has taken me months to hit that ‘create’ button. My buddy Doug took me for a ride in the car. He made me listen to a podcast that really changed the way I look at this hurdle. I have to spend more time looking at why I want to do this, not at how or what. The rest I can figure out along the way. (Check out this TED Talk with Simon Sinek if you want to learn more about the ‘why’).

All I have to remember in every step of this process, no matter how good or bad this goes, I took the first step – the first step of many to come.

I will learn a lot throughout this whole thing, things won’t be perfect and I will refine and change things as I go. I hope that you join me, as we take many first steps together, never forgetting the why along the way!

-Bexx

Running is my therapy

I’m angry at the snow preventing me from running my best pace outside on the non-icy sidewalks.

I’m angry at my legs for being too short to fit the regular lengthed lulu winter running pants.

I’m angry because I just stubbed my toe while trying to find my running shoes.

I’m angry because I missed my running group tonight because I had to stay late at work.

photo: http://www.popsugar.com
photo: http://www.popsugar.com

Today is one of those days that you just want to crawl into a ball and hide from the world.  I want to eat a giant chocolate cake, topped with whipped cream, and then finish off a bag of jalapeno cheddar Doritos for my dessert.  There are no rules when you’re angry, apparently – dessert can be chips, and dinner can be cake.

Regardless, today I am a little ball of anger, and that’s not usually the case.  If I ever drank coffee and experienced that caffeine high people claim to need to get their day going, I’d probably bounce off the walls and have no friends left because the pain-in-the-butt sunny disposition that I already possess, would result in people wanting to punch me out.  However, today I’m just angry.

I don’t usually talk about negative things, but I think it’s important to acknowledge when you’ve just had a terrible day, and it’s okay to feel sorry for yourself for a little bit – provided of course that you’re not using your anger to punch someone out etc. Anger is healthy.  My life is not perfect.  It is okay to be angry at so many different reasons that it don’t make sense.

Today is that day.

No one did anything particularly mean or bad to me today.  I just have an issue with letting two hundred things go, without getting angry about them at the time, or speaking up about my feelings. Where a normal person would say something while these two hundred things were happening at the very time they were happening, I just let things go, and process internally.  It’s something I’ve been working on for a while and every now and again, I still have an angry day. I’m having less of them and I’m getting better at telling people how I really feel about things that happen to me, but I’m not perfect by any means.

Life-is-ten-percent-Holtz

“You cannot change the things that happens to you, but you can change how you react to them.”  I read that quote somewhere once, and I try to remember it when something bad does happen, or when someone is a big enough jerk to me that they warrant a flying drop-kick.  (Note: I don’t want you to try to picture me doing one of these, because it will take away from the non-hilarity of this blog post ;))

That being said, I’m not going to eat the cake or Doritos (Sorry, guyssssss!)  I’m going to lace up my shoes and run a long run solo, on the wintery streets of Toronto, in my too long for me winter lulu pants, with my tunes cranked up, and a slight grin on my face, because the anger will dissipate as I run my very first steps out the door.  Running is my therapy.  Anger get out of here 😉

149 Days until I face my own truth

149 days.  149 days to get my butt in gear; to lace up my sneakers in rain, snow, sleet or sunshine.  149 days to train.  149 days to break the barriers of my own mind.

I have agreed and signed up to do another half marathon.  I know that my pals from the SeaWheeze sure can tell you that I said I’d never do one again strongerafter I hobbled all over the streets of Vancouver after race day and the day after.  Despite this, I’ve signed up for the Mississauga half in May.

I tell everyone that one of my favourite moments in my running ‘career’ was running the seawall in Vancouver – it was a ‘sea’ (pardon the pun) of neon lululemon clad runners, all doing their best to hustle and finish those last few kms.  Some had trained, some had not (ahem: me….) and some were just doing the best that they could to accomplish whichever goals they had set out to conquer that day. It was a moment I wish I could have frozen in time.  Majestic.

I wanted to finish a half marathon.  At first I had set huge goals, and thought – sure I can totally break 2:15.  I was wrong.  I was also lazy.  I didn’t want to put in the time it took for me to get a time like that.  I gave up on some of my summer runs when I shouldn’t have.  I cut training runs short.  I dropped out of the Running Room course, which I had originally joined for support.  I blamed my body.  I blamed the weather. I blamed my non-existent dog named Henry.

The point is, I used everything within reach, as an excuse to not get what I wanted.  I was afraid.  I was afraid of not hitting my goal if I did train. What if I spent a really long time training and still didn’t hit the time I wanted? The problem with that thinking is that there is the opposite side of the coin to that argument;  what if I did train and beat my time – what if I even blew my own expectations out of the water?  What if my mind, was getting in my very own way?

rainI ready so many of David Willey’s “From the Editor” posts in Runner’s World and he’s always talking about how races can go a lot of different ways.  You can try to beat your PBs – sometimes you do,  and sometimes you don’t. Ultimately running is one of those sports that I find so interesting because the training and hard work that you put into it, can push you across the finish line at a time that you could have never even imagined.  The tough part is that you have to put in the work.

I have to accept the fact that I didn’t try as hard as I should have last time.  I made excuses and I have a great opportunity that lies ahead of me.  I can do what I did last time, OR I can put the time and energy into getting where I want to go.

So this time, I’m yelling “Back of negative thoughts, the ‘I can’t’ and the ‘I won’t evers’.”  I’m going to do this.  I am destined for great things.  The first step is accepting that I will get there if I try.
-Bexx

<—– I want to say this to myself some day ❤dontgive up

Running in the Rain: 2 Tips for Running in the Rain!

Rain There is something really refreshing about running in the rain, yet I shy away from actually doing it often, because I’m afraid of getting soaked.  I’m made of sugar you know.. so I will obviously melt 😉 iphonerain

I was running the other day, and I saw the gray cloud looming over my head, and internally I scoffed at Mother Nature’s cloud and was thinking that I’d for sure beat the rain.  I was sure that I could out run the cloud, but in hindsight was very wrong.

I was stuck under a little wooden bridge, mostly stuck there on the premise that I did not in fact have shelter for my iPhone and didn’t want in fact want to risk its functionality on account of a ‘little’ rain.  I watched the rain drops hit the little stream that goes under the bridge and was surveying my options.  It slowed down for a little awhile and as I was about to make my getaway, the sky opened and dropped some buckets onto to Cobalt as I stood there.  I could have phoned a friend I suppose…. like on that show Who Wants to be a Millionaire or Cash Cab, but no one would have felt sorry for me at all… haha

As the rain let up a second time, off I went, hesitantly risking my own melting and demise (Fact: This is not true at all.  I will never melt in rain, unless it’s acid hydrochloric rain?!)  It was a calm rain for a little bit, but then reverted back to torrential.  I put my iPhone inside my two shirts and under my sports bra in hopes of shielding it from the rain and continued on my run.

Tips for running in the rain:

1) Embrace it; laugh about it; dance in puddles – bring out the inner child in yourself that hasn’t done anything super fun in a long time.  You’ll be happy that you did!

2) Try and have a dry place to store your electronics.  Sometimes I even run with a little baggie in my sports capris pocket for occasions like a random rain storm.  As fun as dancing in the rain is, you don’t have to have to shell out hundreds of dollars for a new iPhone 😉 rainsummer

I hadn’t felt that refreshed in a really long time.  I also must have looked a little bit crazy laughing in the rain.  It was just what I needed.

Happy Training,

-Bexx

Running like a NorON

runningleaves
Source: http://www.runningwithcake.com

Whenever I have the chance to come home in the Fall, I try to take it.  There is just something about the Fall that really makes me smile.  I love the temperature, crunch and smell of the leaves under my feet while breathing in the cool air.

I haven’t been running as much as I’d like due to this pesky Achilles, but being away from my normal gym routine, and gym buddy, with limited gym access here up in Northern Ontario, I decided to hit the pavement and do one of my favourite runs.  It’s actually one of my favourite runs to do in the winter, so I figured that Fall would also do 😉

I always get nervous being in a small town running because people slow down to see if they know who you are, and I always feel like I should run faster, to make sure that they know that I am in fact an athlete. (I don’t know why?! Maybe because I’m slightly cray ahah)

NorON
Source: my camera

I did in fact run faster than my regular speed and I felt the fresh Fall air rushing through my lungs, and I could hear my footsteps echoing through the street.  (I was also a little out of breath, and could also hear that echoing through the streets too, but let’s downplay that part for the sake of the story haha)

I got to the centre of my little town of Cobalt (“if you don’t live there it’s your fault…” There is a song about the town that has that line in it in case you were wondering) and decided to run the stairs that are there.  I tried to take two at a time, and figured Rocky would have been proud. (Not so proud that I wasn’t wearing a hoodie… fail on my part.  Maybe next time.) When I got to the top, I must admit I was a little winded, but continued on my merry little way.

When I got to my street I ran by the houses and up the little incline toward home, and ended my run in front of my driveway, like I have done for more than 15 years now.  It always makes me smile, no matter how hard the run was/is.  It’s that familiar feeling, where times fades away and you are taken back to the very first time when you felt that feeling and sense of accomplishment.  This feeling never changes, no matter how many times you come running in.

I’m proud of being from Northern Ontario, and I miss it quite a bit.  In University I met a guy named Matty D (you may know him) from Canada Sudbury.  When he found out where I was from he said “Oh, wow a fellow NorON.”  I thought he called me a moron to be honest and was kind of taken aback.  So, as I do ever so politely, I responded with “Like, WHAT?!?” He said “NorON you know.. like a Northern Ontarionian without it being weird.” (He may not have said it exactly like that, but again for the sake of the story, work with me here.)  The term stuck with me, and for some reason still makes me smile.

I enjoyed my run tonight.  Every single moment about it.  And so I will continue this week to go on my runs here in Cobalt – running in a way that only a NorON would know…

-Bexx