It’s gonna be may

May. A new month. A new chance to get things right.

I spent most of April stressed, sad and tired, but had no real reason to pinpoint why – unless you consider that it was probably my body saying “fuck, March was hard.” Which, let’s face it, is probably true. I’m just in denial about the damn thing.

I need to be kinder to myself. And also not give up so easily on myself.

I had a good month. Work was all right. I ran an 8k (a hilly AF 41:20) and a 5k (23:44 where I positive split HARD) and realized my fitness wasn’t where I wanted it to be. Then I ran A LOT in the two weeks after these races in an effort to correct this.

The Mississauga half-marathon is this weekend. It will be a good test of my fitness. I want to run sub 1:50, but I don’t think that’s achievable. I just don’t think I’ve been running enough kms and doing enough speedwork to be there at the moment.

What I should do is just go for it. Run like hell, see how the race goes and accept whatever time is on the clock. I haven’t crossed a finish line totally elated with my effort and performance in a really long time – because I’m too hard on myself. (I don’t count Disney, because, well, when you run in a fairy costume, you’re going to have a good time.) Don’t hold back, but don’t beat myself up when the result isn’t what I want.

That’s the real goal. 1:50 is just a number.


Maybe we should just go home

March is my most bananas month at work. Lots of work on the weekend, overtime, and general busy-ness. I love it, but it means work/life balance is thrown out the window.

I used to beat myself up over this. For missing workouts because I had to stay late or came home totally spent. For eating crappy food instead of making a salad because it was easy and I needed to find comfort in something simple and straightforward. For taking the extra 30 minutes to sleep in instead of running or going to a class.

I’ve started to give myself a pass on all this. We only have a set amount of time and energy. And when my workload is normal, the pie is better evenly divided. But when work gets bonkers, I can’t expect the pie to get bigger. I just need to accept that work is going to take a way bigger slice of pie than normal and cut myself some slack elsewhere.

Now it’s the beginning of April and I’m a little heavier and a little less fit than I was at the beginning of March. I’m disappointed and frustrated with this setback, sure, but I’m working on accepting it. My balance in work/life/fitness is returning and, with that, time and energy for workouts, prepping healthy food and getting up early will return – as long as I prioritize it accordingly. I’ll get my body back, my fitness back, my life back. I just ned to decide what I want my life to look like now, understand how much of the pie each aspect of my life requires and make it so.

We all have stuff we value. And we all have responsibilities. It’s about making the balance work for you to get through whatever moment you are in, it’s not about living an Instagram-worthy life.

I say this to myself and I still don’t believe it, but I’m getting there.

What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger

Fitness is a constant battle of self-doubt and self-defeat.

I can’t do this.

I don’t want to do this.

This is too hard.

What’s the point?

I have at least one of these thoughts – usually most of them – every single day. Before a workout. During a workout. After a workout. I’ve skipped workouts because of these thoughts. I’ve given up during workouts because of these thoughts. I’ve let fitness goals slip away because of these thoughts.


Enough of that. I need to replace this negative self-talk (which can spiral out of control really quickly) with positive self-talk.

I can do this.

I want to do this.

I am crushing it.

I am strong.

I will achieve.

This is worth it.

I am worth it.

This battle is actually harder than the working out, the running and the waking up early. The getting in my own head enough to believe that running long and hard is a valuable, worthy thing I can do – and can do well.

I’m working on it. But damn, that voice inside my head can get so loud.

I want it all, or nothing at all

I am a very all or nothing person.

Sometimes, this is a good thing. When I care about something, I go all in. I am a passionate perfectionist. Shit gets done.

But when I don’t care – or care only a little bit – it’s in peril. It won’t happen.

If I am doing a fitness challenge, you don’t have to worry. Until I miss a day. Then I am a failure and there’s no point in completing the challenge. No point in anything.

If I am restricting my diet, I follow the rules, make the meals. No problem. Until someone brings cookies to work. Then I’ll eat one and my diet is over. I failed. I might as well eat 10. And eat a cookie again tomorrow.

This is a cycle I am trying to break. One cookie doesn’t ruin a well-intentioned meal plan. Missing one workout doesn’t mean my entire training plan is ruined. A health life is about sustainability and balance – at what level can you be your best self without compromising other things you care about, and can maintain for a very long time?

I’ve been an active person since I was a child and this is still a struggle. It’ll be a struggle for the rest of my life.

I think I’m getting there. I need to constantly remind myself it’s a journey. I can take a step back for a minute or a day and it doesn’t mean I need to get off the train. Every day, I need to ask myself “What is the best way to take care of me today?” Every day, the answer is different.

That doesn’t make me a failure. It makes me human.

I’m gonna put my body first

It’s been a week since I got back from Disney. Almost two since I ran Dopey. And since then I have gone to yoga. Once.

Normally, this would make me feel guilty, anxious, ashamed. That I am setting my level of fitness back. That I am being lazy. That I am not working hard enough towards my marathon PR or losing weight or being stronger and faster.

This time, though, I am tying really, really, really hard to give myself a break. I ran two marathons in two months. I got sick in December and again in January. (Probably a sign I am pushing myself too hard.) Work is ramping up. So I’m trying to focus on being generous and gentle with myself. Let my body heal and get some rest. Enjoy sleeping in a bit later because I’m not heading to the gym or a fitness class before work. Enjoy spending a few hours reading on my couch when I get home. (I am childless, so I have the luxury of time when it isn’t consumed by fitness.)

This is difficult for me. But I’m trying. And I know it will be better for me in the long run. It goes back to working on my word of the year, after all.

My plan is to ease back into a routine the last week of January. Get rolling in February. Then on Feb 28, kick off a really, really hard half-marathon training plan.

Being still isn’t easy. In my body or my mind. But I need to keep trying.

My 2017 word of the year

I’ve been thinking a lot about my word of the year. 2016’s word was purpose. I wanted everything I did, every decision I made to have a reason behind it.

2017 was going to be about focus. Or work. Or confidence.

But here’s the thing. I am good at working hard. At focusing. At setting goals and going after them.

Do you know what I am bad at?

Being positive.

Being present.

Not complaining.

Not worrying.

Hoping for the best.

Finding joy.

And so, I decided, it makes more sense for my word of the year to be about working on something I am bad at, instead of reinforcing something I am good at.

My word for 2017 is LOVE.

I feel this word embodies everything I need to strive for in my day to day. I’ll complain less if I am filled with love. I’ll be more present if i am filled with love. I’ll be more forgiving if I am filled with love. I’ll find more joy if I am filled with love.

This is going to be so fucking hard. I am pessimistic, plan for the worst, terrified of the future kind of person. And with the world the way it is these days… well, let’s just say that’s not helping.

So, 2017. Let me love you.

And the world.

And myself.

Advent challenge failure

I set a goal of running every day during the holiday season. An advent running challenge, if you will.

I failed by day 6.

I am disappointed in myself. But you learn more in failure than in success.

I learned that my body still isn’t recovered from my last marathon.

I learned that you can’t prioritize your social life, your fitness and your job at the same time.

I learned that forcing fitness into an already busy, stressful season turns exercising into a stress-inducing chore – when it should be the opposite.

I am learning to be less hard on myself.

I am learning to forgive myself.

And I am learning to just embrace the holidays, the food, the events, the togetherness. The cold. The snow. The holidays are not the time to sacrifice family and friends and relationships for an arbitrary fitness goal.

This is what I am telling myself.

I hope by the time the holidays are over, I’ll believe it.

2016 going on 2017

In 2016, I got a lost faster. I set a 3-minute PR in the 10k, a 6-minute PR in the half-marathon and a 24-minute PR in the full marathon.

In 2017, I want to get even faster.

In 2016, I discovered the joy in social running. How it holds you accountable and pushes you to be faster and stronger.

In 2017, I want to connect even further with the Toronto running community and use it to become an even better runner.

In 2016, I developed a regular strength training routine. I went to bootcamps and yoga regularly.

In 2017, I want to add a weights class to my routine and step up yoga.

I’m proud of 2016 and happy with how far I’ve come, but my PRs in the half and the full marathons were annoying – both were shades above the time goals I set for myself. I crossed those finished lines annoyed and a smidge disappointed.

In 2017, I want to cross a finish line exhausted and elated – having crushed a goal completely, no asterisk, and knowing I left it all out there.

This year was about reconnecting with hard work.

Next year is about embracing it.

Recovery is the worst

It’s been two weeks since I ran NYC.

I’ve worked out once.

It sucks.

I know it’s important to heal. Give your body a break. Re-focus on things you ignored while you were training. Get more sleep.

But I feel restless, purposeless, anxious.

I always need a goal. I always need to be working towards something. And while recovery is indeed that – working towards healing my body so I can tackle another training cycle with injury- and burn-out- free – it’s less tangible than training. There are no runs you need to do. No strength classes to take. No obsessing over splits and average paces and perceived effort.

There’s just rest.

This is an important lesson for me. That being still is as valuable as being on the move. That doing nothing is as valuable as doing everything. That just because you can’t quantify it or put it on a calendar doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. This is more about me than my marathon recovery.

I hate it. But I am trying to learn from it and trying to grow because of it.

It’s so hard.

But so necessary.