Healthy Living

The Struggle in Choosing What Kind of Runner I Want To Be

I’ve reached a point in my running career where I struggle with knowing where to go. One-half of me wants to get better, run faster, tackle longer distances and chase PRs. The other part of me wants to take pleasure in the journey, to run comfortably even if it means running slowly because it feels good and I simply enjoy it.

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Last weekend I ran my slowest 10k race to date. Yes, the weather conditions were unfavourable, but I couldn’t help but to measure myself next to other runners who still finished with amazing times and near PRs. It’s hard not to feel disheartened by the fact that the male winner of the half marathon finished long before I crossed the finish line. I sometimes think that I might want to tackle a half marathon in the near future and my mind automatically fears how long it will actually take me. I admit I’ve completely fallen victim to the comparison trap and I question my desire and integrity to grow because I don’t push myself harder. Am I just giving up because it’s hard? Maybe I could be a better runner if I just did better.

Ashley recently published a post about why she’s changed her expectations for her upcoming half marathon. Instead of pushing for a PR, she plans to just enjoy the race and finish with a smile on her face. Her post reminded me of the kind of runner I want to be. I don’t want to finish a race and feel bad about my time because it’s much slower than those around me. I don’t want to dread going out for a run because I hate the feeling of a speed workout. I don’t want to question whether I’m good enough because I don’t desire to push myself to the point of discomfort. I don’t want to hate running because I don’t thrive on the challenge of pushing through the barriers. Maybe I could be a better runner if I just let go of expectations and comparisons.

I want to enjoy every single step I take on a run. I want to be able to admire my body for carrying me through every single race, across every single finish line. I want to feel strong like I did during last week’s race because my pace allowed me to run without stopping. I want to be able to take in the scenery, to smile at other’s out on the trails, to smile at myself because I’m running for the pure enjoyment of running. I don’t want to be afraid to run a half because I might be ashamed of how long it takes me to finish. I want to be proud of my running journey, because, after all, it’s MY journey.

So thank you, Ashley, for showing me what kind of runner I truly want to be right now. For reminding me that not everyone’s running story consists of PR’s and Boston qualifying and to stop getting caught up in comparing myself to my runner friends. It might take me awhile to let go of those expectations, but at least I know what fork in the road to take while I run. And who knows, maybe someday down the road I will feel the motivation to be the other kind of runner and be in a place where I can truly enjoy that journey too.

What does this mean for the Calgary Marathon 10k this weekend? It means, I’m not going to put pressure on myself to PR this race. I’m going to soak up the experience, take time to appreciate the beauty of downtown Calgary, smile at the cheer sections and the bands playing and the crowds when I make my way back to the Stampede Grounds to cross the finish line.

Community Healthy Living Reviews

Orangetheory Fitness Red Deer

Last Friday, I arranged for a mini blog squad workout with Lindsey and Laura at the newly opened Orangetheory Fitness Red Deer, before heading across the street for a cocktail. Do we know how to kick off a long weekend, or what?

Despite knowing the general format of an OTF workout, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a ‘regular’ class (currently this facility doesn’t do private classes like I experienced at my first OTF class). We arrived half an hour early to fill out our client intake and get a rundown on what our workout would look like. The cool thing about OTF is that every studio is designed and layout out exactly the same.

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IMG_5911The biggest difference right off the bat, however, was that we were outfitted with heart rate monitors worn on our forearms, rather than the chest strap style I had tried in Calgary. We were told that the give a more accurate readout, especially during rowing where the chest strap may come off your body with the forward reaching movement. I did notice that once I got nice and sweaty in the workout, my forearm band would slip down. It was definitely more comfortable then the chest strap so I must say, I preferred this style of monitor.

Our trainer, Kevin (who may have won me over with his cute accent by the end of the class), gave us a whirlwind rundown of what to expect that made my head spin before saying that we’d get the hang of it once we got going. He wasn’t wrong, we did figure it out. I do appreciate that they take the time to go over the class format and how the equipment works prior to class starting to ease the ‘newbies’ in, even if our introduction felt a bit rushed.

 

Before we knew it we were on the rowers completing a 1km row. Once upon a time when I was an avid Crossfitter, I perfected my rowing form and from my last OTF class in Calgary, felt like it came right back to me, rowing with ease throughout my workout. This time, however, Kevin kept a watchful eye on me and kept stopping me to show me what I was doing wrong. It was definitely frustrating because I felt like I was doing it right! Despite my slight annoyance, I really appreciate that OTF trainers are able to give you tips to help your form, keep you safe and improve your abilities. It’s not often that you get that kind of personalized attention in a group fitness class.

After we completed our 1km row, we headed to the weight area to complete our floor circuits. This consisted of

  • 12 overhead TRX pulls
  • 12 seated balance bicep curls
  • 12 ISO lunge with shoulder press/side
  • 20 total alternating plank rows
  • 12 supermans
  • 250 metre row
  • Repeat as many times until time was up.

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While we completed our floor series, the other half of the class was working on the treadmills. The treadmill portion consisted of intervals between base pace and push pace, with only one all out sprint at the end. I kept my pace at the very low end of the jogger level, since I was running a race the Sunday and didn’t want my legs to be totally fatigued. Regardless, the formula for these workouts leaves you dripping with sweat.

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I ended up with the perfect number of splat points in the end, which I learned represented a fat cell exploding! Boom! I had no regrets about following up this workout with a cold brew, knowing I burned almost 600 calories and would continue burning calories with the after-burn affect. It’s really quite amazing reading about the science behind these workouts.

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While some may look at the cost of these classes as being high ($28 per drop in, $360 for 20 classes, etc), I think the value justifies it indefinitely. I feel as though you’re receiving the same benefit you would from a personal training session, but in a group environment. The trainers are attentive to your needs and genuinely interested in helping you succeed in your goals. You can’t get that level of attention from other group fitness classes.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend going online to book. Your first class is free, so you’ve really got nothing to lose (save for some calories and fat cells).

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Reviews

Runner Crate

The subscription box trend is strong these days and I was excited to stumble across a box full of goodies just for runners. The thing that makes subscription boxes great is that it gives you a chance to sample new products that you might not normally try.

Runner Crate delivers a box chock full of fitness supplements, apparel, workout plans, recipes and other gear monthly. You have the option to purchase month-to-month ($35US), 3 months ($34US), 6 months ($32.33US), or 12 months ($30US). I wasn’t sure what to expect from the May box, but was pleasantly surprised with such a small box stuffed with some cool stuff!

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  • Running Dream Running Belt  – which is perfect because I lent my belt to a friend to test out and haven’t got it back yet.
  • Go Raw Pumpkin Seed Bar
  • Earnest Eats Detofixfying Hot Cereal
  • Epic Bar Chicken Sriracha – This was likely the strangest protein bar I’ve ever had. It was more like a soft jerky.
  • Wild Friends Chocolate Almond Butter – yum yum YUM!
  • Justin’s Chocolate Hazlenut Butter w/Pretzels – Liam and I have a box of these in the pantry and love them!
  • Protings Zesty Nachos
  • May the 4th light up race bling – the bling is their take on medals. There is a running challenge included with the box to complete to ‘earn’ your bling. It’s a great idea to shake up your runs if you’re feeling in running rut.

There also the chance to win the golden ticket, included in one box a month. Last month’s golden ticket recipient received a pair of running shoes!

The only downfall to Runner Crate is that it’s an American company which means dealing with our crappy exchange and a little higher shipping cost. Regardless, I’m really pleased with the items in this box and would definitely consider gifting a subscription to a friend or loved one who’s into running (and snacks!).

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Disclaimer: I was gifted the May Runner Crate but as always, all opinions are my own.