Monday, February 28, 2011

Speed work really pays off!

WooHoo!  Today I had an amazing run! 

Today's run was a speed workout and I decided to run 800 metre intervals.  The course I chose to run had a nice decline for about 4.5 km going out, but coming back, I'd have to climb that same route and I was worried I would be too tired.  Well forget that, I had no problems with the return leg - and my time has improved so much, that I'm finally under 6:00/km as an average pace.    There were some pretty major hills on the route as well!

Speed work really pays off - and hey, I think I'll keep it up.  I sure like going fast!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

11 Years Smoke Free

Today is my 11th anniversary of being smoke free, of quitting smoking.  I had smoked for over 25 years and had tried many times, unsucessfully, to quit.  The last time, of course worked, and I did it with the support of an online yahoo group called, NoSmoke.  It was a wonderful group of people struggling with the demon 'Nic' and we all encouraged each other in our individual journies to be smoke free.  They sent me my post from my first anniversary, and I thought I would share it here.

Jenny wrote in February, 2001....
Barely four hours have past since completing my 365th day smoke free.....yup....I made it....I vividly, vividly remember the day I quit last year. I was so mournful and scared. I was worried that this quit wasn't going to be any different than the other dozen or so I had attempted over my smoking career. I was worried that the only thing I was about to be successful in was my ability to beat myself up, (yet again), over the fact that I failed this time too.

The afternoon was grey and overcast...typical February weather in Toronto....and as I worked towards completing the pack that would be my last, I tried to reach deep inside and find the place where I knew, if I really tried hard this time, I could draw on my inner strength and beat this devil once and for all. I was so scared. I warned my husband that this was not going to be pretty, and that I would probably drag him through the pits of emotional upheaval with me. "Are you sure you can handle it?" I truly warned him, maybe as a way to find an "out" of my quit. But he was prepared and was willing to take anything I would do or say, in an effort to help me quit. Who was really the brave one?

Man those early days were so hard. I can easily look back at all the different stages of my quit and remember those moments. There were moments of absolute stark raving lunacy....where I would scream my head off in anger and frustration at an unfair world that made my beloved cigarettes such a health hazard. "Why, why, why do they have to be so bad for me....?" I was despondent because "someone" took away my best friend, and now I had to face the world on my own. But fortunately this time I took on a Jekel and Hyde personna, and was able to talk myself back from the edge (so to speak) and stay on track. My husband, bless his soul, often times stood there and waited for the right moment when he could step in and hold me...(he quickly figured out to wait it out a little). He saw a part of me that I would never show anyone....and he never left my side.
But too, there are those absolutely wonderful times when I would be overwhelmed with feelings of success and achievement. Just making it through another day was the beginning, but later it was the ability to go out into the public and manage without a craving....or without whinning.....those first times I was able to say, "Wow, I never even thought about a cig," or, "Gee, that guy really stinks from smoke...I'm glad I don't smell like that anymore."

As time passed, the episodes of sadness and madness were more and more infrequent. With every aniversary, daily, weekly, monthly, my focus was more often on my success. Was I really doing this? Me? Jenny who used to hide out from the world because she was such a failure (smoker). So I took ownership of my success and used it to prove to myself that I could do this.
I started to see a new person developing right before my eyes. And as one watches a child grow and learn the multitude of lessons necessary to move into adulthood, I allowed myself the space to learn about how Jenny was going to manage, and grow into that woman she knew she could be. I put a little note in my dessing room..."Give Jenny a break, she's going through a difficult time". I gave myself the compassion I would never deny anyone else. And it worked. That dreaded stick that I always used to measure myself against was set aside. This was the new Jenny, and she was to be judged favourably.

I know, I know, alot of psycho babble. But I am so certain that it was this ability to look inside myself, to recognize the signs and symptoms of my addction in order to learn the ways to heal myself. I read anything I could on the psychological aspects of smoking and it's links to depression and self destructive behaviors. I wanted to be prepared, to know what might happen to me. This year has been a year of personal growth because of this.
Not only am I smoke free, but I've learned to understand some of the things that make me who I am. I've learned that I am a wonderfully complex, helpful, empathetic, important, successful, loving wife, mother, daughter, and friend. Smoking masked who I really was (am). Most important to I am free. I am free from the chains that cigarette smoking wrapped around my life.

This list has also been an integral part of the support system that I have used to become successful. It certainly would have been so much more difficult doing it without this place where I could come and wouldn't be judged, no matter what I did or said. This group is such a safe and accepting place. I thank you all so much for your "ears". Sometimes this list was the ONLY place I could go to and find someone who really understood what I was feeling. So many of my friends know about this group and ask about you often. Sometimes it's almost like a soap opera.....we can be dramatic, can't we.

So now the first year is behind me, and I am so thankful. It used to be that when I was contemplating a painful situation I would compare it to child birth and I would think to myself, "nothing could ever be as painful as giving birth, so (this) can't be so bad". Now, guess what I say. This quit has been analogous to the birth of a new person. As I take the steps into this next year, I will do so as I once did a long time ago. With the strong hands of my friends and family to guide me along and teach me the balance I will need in order to continue to be successful in this quit....and my new life.

Thank you all.

PS - I would like to add that next most difficult thing was my First Marathon!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I went for a 16 km run this morning and it was the! 

The weather was beautiful - I was rested - and  for once, I was not in a hurry.  When I left the house, I decided that I wanted to reconnect to why I loved running - and that meant forgetting about pace and time and all things training. 

Today as I ran, I really opened my eyes and connected to the nature around me.  I soaked up the beautiful golden morning as the sun rose, and somehow, even the air seemed cleaner and more refreshing than usual. 
I could have run forever....

I am in training for a couple of HM's next month, but for at least today, I ran for fun - and reconnected to my inner runner.

Jenny (still smiling....)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Paying it Forward

Can I boast about something... brag about an accomplishment that while is related to running, it's not about MY running...

So far, I have encouraged directly, or indirectly, 5 people to start a running/racing program!

It started with my husband and his need to reduce his blood pressure, and improve both his cholesterol levels.  He really does NOT enjoy running, but, um, I think he does not enjoy my disappointed look even more.  Not really a runner in the sense that he doesn't anticipate his next run with any measure of joy, just mumbles and grumbles and gripes that sound like... "do I have to?"  (Know where I'm going with this?)  But bless him - he does like to race!  He has already run one 5K this past year, and is now registered for the 10K at the Jerusalem Marathon/Half Marathon next month, and the 10K in Tel Aviv after than.  Way to go hubby!

My daughter in law also became interested and after many weeks of 'learning to run', is also ready to start racing.  She is also registered for the 10K in Jerusalem and today we ran our first 10K together!  It was a milestone for her as her longest distance yet - and I was so proud of her.  She is very excited about running and racing - and I'm so thrilled that I have been the one to bring this change to her life.

Next, my son.  This past week he laced up his new shoes and off he went.  Not quite all the 'Mom' advice thrown out the door, but he pretty much was able to launch right into it.  Again, registered for a 10K in April.  WooHoo!

My workmate and his wife have also taken the first steps towards a new passion (I hope), and went out for their first runs this past week. 


The Running Bubby Club - what do you think?

I'm just happy that I am able to pay this great love forward.  I hope that everyone will benefit not only from the physical benefits of running - but more important (to me), the emotional side too.  While I am a bit too late to make any great records in times or distances, I am, however, not to late to be an advocate for running and show people just how much healthier and happier their lives could be.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Motivation vs Self Discipline

Today I had a long run scheduled of 21 km.  Added to the tremendous stress at work these past few weeks, I was stressing more as I couldn't stand the thought of running long alone, again.    So I found someone to run with.

Running today with a partner opened my eyes a little about my recent lack of interest in running that I have been feeling lately.  Ariella said that she takes a year off between marathons because she "uses up all her self discipline, and needs to store it up again for the next run."  At first it sounded a bit bizarre to me.  How can one "use up" self discipline?  Isn't it an elemental part of anyone, althete or otherwise, that consistantly, and purposefully sticks to any type of program? 

So I thought about this, and I think what she really meant was motivation.  But even if she didn't mean this, it's what resonated with me.  While I am a very disciplined person, and training for a marathon pretty much on my own goes to prove this theory, what I do suffer from, from time to time, is lack of motivation. 

So I looked up the definitions for both -

Motivation can be defined as: the driving force that initiates and directs behaviour. 

Self Discipline can be defined as:  Training and control of oneself and for ones conduct, usually for personal benefit.

So for me, the key is that the motivation needs to come before the self discipline. 

In thinking about the past few weeks and how unsatisfied I have been with my runs, I see that I need to find positive motivation for running.  I think I need to refocus on what the benefits are of training and running, and see if that can be a bit more inspirational for me.  I'm a constant thinker, and I'm sure I'll work this one out.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thanks Melinda!

So proud to be a part of Melinda Hinson Neely's blog and hopefully new book Knocking Down Walls.

Enjoy the post:


Monday, February 7, 2011

Running on Empty?

For the past two weeks my running has been uninspired.  It's been difficult and shleppy.  I'm really not very motivated to run (but I do anyway), and the magical high that usually hangs around for a few days, just hasn't been happening either.

I don't know why this blah feeling has come about - maybe some type of post marathon blues?  (I could google that I guess).

I am training for two half marathons, and while the mileage isn't as high as it was for the marathon, I'm also finding that some of these runs are very tiring and draining.  AND to top it off, one of my ankles has been feeling weak lately, and I'm worried about an overuse injury....

What to do, what to do.

While the rest of the world, or at least much of it, is in rest mode from running due to blizzards or floods, the weather here has been amazing for running.  Temps are great, and even the "cold" weather is a blessing and something we'll only dream about come April.  You would think this would be an incentive to get in some good runs.... eh, no.

Today at work I had a pretty frustrating day, and seemed to have a bone to pick with quite a few people.  One of my work mates came by my office and said, "seems you need to get out and go for a run."  I told him that I had just run 13km that morning!  See - that dopey, happy feeling is not lasting.


I'm the type of person that will continue to stick with it - and so, I'll keep to my schedule in hopes that that magic will come back.

As for the weak ankle, maybe a tensor bandage and a few less kilometers until it feels better.

This weeks plan:
Saturday - 11 km - Recovery
Monday -  13 km - (5km at HM pace)
Wednesday - 16 km - Mid long run
Friday - 21 km - Long run