Friday, November 18, 2016

Live in the Now

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans....

My dad had a heart attack on Monday.  A big one.  If he wasn't in fairly good shape, it more than likely would have been fatal.  It happened when he was playing tennis, which is his favourite thing to do.   Thankfully my Mom got him to the hospital and they quickly realized what was happening and shipped him off to the cardiac unit at St. Mary's in Kitchener.

He is doing better but he's not 100% out of the woods just yet.   To say that this was a shock would be an understatement.

When something like this happens, it gives you pause.  It's sad that it takes a traumatic event to make people stop and take stock of their lives.  We've become so "busy" that we go through our lives in a blur not really stopping to appreciate who and what we have.  I have been 100% guilty of this.

A few weeks ago my friend Sarah published this blog post that summed up a lot of what I had been feeling over the last year.   I feel like I've been going a mile a minute.  This year has flown by without me really noticing the passage of time.  All of a sudden Christmas is just over a month away and I'm left wondering where the time went.

All of this reinforces the decision I made at the beginning of October.  It's time for me to slow things down and live more deliberately.   I need to live life at my pace and find work that is fulfilling and in alignment with what matters to me.   No more racing from deadline to deadline.  Our time here isn't infinite, so lets make the best of it.

I'm making a conscious decision to live in the now in my day to day life outside of my physical activities.  When I'm running or cycling or swimming, I am able to just "be".  I am able to focus on the here and now.  Moving my body helps to ground my brain.  It quiets the noise.  The "chatter of planning" that takes place in my brain when I'm not moving.   That chatter makes it very hard to appreciate what is going on in that very moment in my life.  It's time to dull the noise and to make sure I take the time to really appreciate the people and the things that make up my life.   It's easy for us to unintentionally take people for granted, like our parents or our spouses.  My dad was always invincible in my eyes.  I could never imagine him NOT being there.   But life is life and death is part of life.  It's not something we like to think of or face so we brush it aside until it brushes back.

I don't want to miss out on the value of the moments that life gives me because I'll probably never get a second chance at any of them.

Live intentionally, friends.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

D is For




The events of the last few months have created so much doubt surrounding my racing.  I have fallen so far from where I was this time last year.   Injury will do that to you.  As will stress.   My life has been anything but normal since the summer.   Selling a house, buying a house, living out of a suitcase, renovating a house and trying to balance a busy job with that will take a toll.  Training has fallen by the wayside.   Meal prep has gone out the window.  And I feel it mentally and physically.  My pants are begging me to get back on track.   Coming back from Florida gave me a very rude awakening.  A lot of my jeans don't really fit that well anymore.  I haven't stepped on a scale in months because quite frankly I don't want to know.  I don't need to see a number to reinforce how gross I'm feeling.   My clothes are telling me that enough is enough.  I'm trying not to beat myself up too badly about how I feel because I know I have the power and determination to change things.  That change is starting this week.

The dust has finally settled in the new Kennedy Compound so I should be able to get back to a normal healthy eating routine.  I have a fully functioning kitchen so Sunday meal prep will start this weekend.   It's time to get my body back into the shape that I am comfortable in.  I refuse to accept that where I am now is my new normal.   It's simply a result of life happening at a much faster pace than usual, which in my case, makes me become lazy.   When you try to fit it all in, something has to give and for me it's usually cooking.

The all new kitchen in the all new Kennedy Compound

Despite not feeling like myself, I can't complain about life in general.  I'm starting to get excited about running again.  Most of my pain is gone and I'm slowly making progress.  I'm so focused on fixing the little things.  I'm back in the gym twice a week and the home gym has been set up in new Pain Cave so I have zero excuses to do my physio homework.  I really feel like things are starting to make a difference.  I am looking forward to 2017.  I don't think I'm going to have the same ambitious goals as last year but a girl can dream.  I know I'm going to have to be very cautious with introducing speed into my running.  I think it's going to have to wait for a while.  I'd like to work on building up my distance again so that is my focus for the next couple of months.  We'll see how that goes before I start chasing any crazy dreams for 2017.

Pain Cave Version 2.0

I admit, I lost my mojo for a while.  I was cranky and feeling pretty bummed.   The Universe stepped in and kept me distracted with work, moving, house hunting & job quitting.   I firmly believe that was all I could handle at that point in time.  Now that order has somewhat been restored and things have calmed down, my determination is coming back.  This year has been a struggle in pretty much every aspect of my life.   That being said, I am determined to make the best of the rest of this year.   and I know that whatever 2017 brings will be much better than 2016.  Because I am determined to make it so.

Thanks to Deb for today's Wednesday Word (Determination)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Starting Over: My Relationship with Running

Oh hey, it's slacker blogger Coach PK coming at ya.  I'm epically failing at this regular blogging thing these days.

First off, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for all your support, comments & notes in regards to last weeks post.  I am very excited for the changes ahead.   I'm not going to lie, I'm scared as well.  I am a creature of habit that is used to routine so this will be a big adjustment for me.  I'm going to have to create a new routine to make sure I don't end up sitting on the couch surfing the internet all day (which is entirely possible, ha ha)  I am much more productive when I have a timeline / deadline, which is surely a by product of my career as a producer.  The best part is I can determine how busy I want to be vs. now where I don't have a choice.  That is one of the many things I'm looking forward to.

Anyway.  I have a confession to make.

This summer, I fell out of love with running.

There.  I said it.

I have been struggling with this for a while.  Ever since just after my injury actually (surprise surprise!).  I think I messed myself up so much that I've got a lot to undo.  I also think I have become fairly de-conditioned.  Cardio wise I'm good but muscularly, my body just doesn't know what to do with itself when I run.  I feel like a baby deer that isn't quite sure of what to do with it's limbs.   Over the last few visits to the Urban Athlete, Laura has video taped me running and she's pinpointed where she thinks all my issues have stemmed from.  My hips are actually pretty good - there doesn't seem to be much hip drop any more, which is great, however, my upper body rotates like crazy.  Most people swing their arms when they run but I seem to swing my arms and torso so I'm actually twisting when I run.  So I have been sent to the gym to work on strengthening my back and lats as well to learn how NOT to move my upper body too much when my legs move.  I can walk and swing my arms no problem but the minute things speed up (i.e my leg turnover increases) I start to twist.  My body has somehow learned this bad habit.   I think it's from sitting all day.  Much like my gluts, I think my back muscles don't work as efficiently as they should.

Running through Waterfront Park in Clermont
Unlearning this behaviour means that I am spending a lot of time with pulleys and bands in front of mirrors moving my arms and legs back and forth while focussing on keeping my torso fairly still.  HO-LY EFF it's HARD.

I've been doing this regularly for a few weeks now and I have noticed a slight difference.   For a while, pretty much every run I did, no matter how short, felt awful.  Everything hurt or ached or just didn't feel good.  I completely understand why new runners don't always stick with running because if you're not used to doing it on a regular basis, it does hurt.  As with anything, consistency is key.  We are creatures of habit and our bodies are always learning and adapting.   The more you do something, the sooner your body will learn that movement pattern.  That's the magic of muscle memory.

Despite my solid aerobic base, my muscles had forgotten what it was like to run.  Which is probably a good thing because I had built up a lot of bad habits that I have been working on un-doing.  I think I've gotten most of them out of my system, except for my torso twist, which I think will be the most difficult to undo.

A few weeks ago I was feeling really discouraged about everything but I've started to see some progress in the last week.  I've had two good almost pain free runs in the span of a week and my cadence is slowly getting back up to where it was pre-injury.  Post injury I couldn't get my legs to turn over at more than 173 steps per minute.  Last night's run was an average of 177 steps per minute which is pretty much where I was at pre-injury.  WAHOOO.

While I'm not at square one in terms of my running, I am starting over in a certain sense.  I'm paying more attention to what my body is doing when it's moving vs. my heart rate or pace or any of that and that is my focus with each run.   My plan is to get out and run at least 3-5x a week in the coming weeks.   Nothing more than 5-6km at the most for the first couple of weeks.  My goal by the end of November is to be able to run 10km.  Sounds so crazy coming from someone that just spent two weeks in Florida riding her bike almost every day.   But like I said earlier, my muscles had forgotten what it was like to run.   I'm sure my engine could get through the 10km but I don't know that the chassis could handle it just yet.  So 5km will be my max for now.  Distance doesn't matter to me, as long as I can run.   This last week has definitely put a smile back on my face......

Last night's run got a thumbs up.  It would have been two but I had to hold my phone to take the picture, ha.

Here's hoping that things are trending in the right direction because this old broad is starting to get the itch to race again.