So, I am currently completely nerding out over Greatist’s new redesign (!!!!) and was reading today’s new articles, checking out the discussion boards, making my new profile, checking off my interest tags, when WHAM.
I hesitated over the “Running” interest.
I thought about running right now (though I don’t even have shoes here). I thought about potentially getting some sprinting in on a treadmill. My brain shot that one down and took me right back to the community track in the middle of the summer, the day we did 300m sprint intervals and I started my first lap at the back of the girls’ group and finished somewhere in the middle of the guys’ group.
Somewhere during that time, I found my running mojo again and man, that felt SO good. Just for a minute, I would have given anything to be back there, sweating like a madman while I passed all the people who, in the weeks before that, had been close to lapping me.
Most of my time spent in Toronto was actually NOT a good experience. I don’t miss being lonely. I don’t miss being on that fruitless, neverending job search. I don’t miss being injured and unable to lift. But I really, really miss going to Run Club and seeing the other runners who were all so awesome, seeing new parts of city, and improving what little I could every week.
Racing did not go so awesome today, no PR’s were set, I fell and got disqualified for it, and learned that my stride
sucks needs a lot of work. I’m tired and so so so full of crappy food (by crappy I mean whole grain crackers with hummus and some rice chips. What the fuuhh) that it hurts. Maybe it was the gluten. Shh, you.
And I may have neglected to mention that I have had an ear infection since Wednesday and Tylenol stopped working on it just before my last race of the day. So that’s fun too.
Oh yes, and I have a project critique tomorrow morning, and a quiz that I’m not studying for. And I’m still in Toronto. Eff. Whatever.
Moral of the story: we all have bad days. Today was crappy enough for me to question why I’m continuing skating. And I spent a lot of time wishing I had never quit way back when. But that’s already happened and there’s nothing I can do about it now. But bad days don’t mean you suck. Bad days don’t mean you’re not good enough or that you’ve failed. Bad days can turn into better days, and better days can turn into great days, it just depends what you make of it.
Instead of getting angry at myself, I can learn from the things I did wrong today and fix them tomorrow.
Anyways, here are the race stats:
0:01:00 || 500 m (+88 pts)
0:00:59 || 500 m (+90 pts)
0:00:39 || 333 m (+56 pts)
0:00:50 || 333 m (+40 pts)
0:01:38 || 777 m (+140 pts)
Speed skating | heat 1: 1:00.6 | final 1: 59.15 | heat 2: ~50 (fell and DQ) | final 2: 39.38 | superfinal: 1:38.93 | No PR’s, kinds crappy day. Lots to work on.
It was a little while ago, and I didn’t want to comment on it while everyone was still all hyper about it, but i still feel the need to put in my two cents.
None of these are THE ABSOLUTE BEST. I’ve tried different ways of eating. I tried ‘clean eating’, ate vegetarian for over a year, almost went completely vegan, tried eating paleo/keto, and ended up throwing some IIFYM and IF into the mix, too. And you know what? I found value in all of them. There are parts I enjoy about all of these lifestyles, and parts I don’t.
At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you. I wholeheartedly agree with eating natural, ‘clean’ foods, and love finding healthier alternatives to junk food that make you feel good, as opposed to making you feel like you want to puke. I don’t like eating many grain products, so I find grain-alternatives. I use agave nectar over processed sugar and other syrups simply because i like the taste better. And a small confession: I don’t LOVE most meat. I eat it mostly because I need to fill protein requirements.
I liked clean eating, but didn’t like the food guilt. I liked vegetarian/vegan, but I couldn’t get enough protein without heavy supplementation. I liked Paleo, but I couldn’t eat enough calories.
What all the other lifestyles also lacked for me was the amount of wiggle room I had for the unhealthy food I actually love. Every little cupcake I would eat sent me into a guilt spiral, and took the enjoyment out of eating it. This is where IIFYM comes into play. I do find counting calories can be stressful, which is the downfall of this lifestyle, but I’ve worked around it. I have macro goals that I work up to, instead of a calorie cap that I have to stay under.
But the real beauty is using IIFYM in conjunction with ideas from all these other ways of eating. That I don’t have to stress over things like having a bowl of ice cream. It allows me to go out and occasionally have some junk food and eat with my friends without going into anxiety about having cheated from my diet.
And finally, I incorporated some IF mostly because eating in the morning makes me want to puke, and it helps me stop mindless snacking at night.
So I took the things I liked from ALL of these, and that is how I live. It’s not how you have to do it, and I don’t care if you think it’s right or wrong.
Actually, I don’t give a shit what you do, as long as you do it with conviction. You eat Paleo and love every second of it?! Hardcore vegan?! Cleanest eater in the world?! Awesome. You get points for trying, and for being passionate about something in my books. Do what makes YOU happy, not what everyone else tells you to do.
This was my third week back at school (um, holy shit the semesters 1/4 of the way finished now?!) and it still baffles me. ‘It’ being the stark difference between the people I encounter at the gym and in my classes.
Aside from the two other guys who take art and actually work out. But really, everyone at the gym is generally in good shape. They take care of their bodies, and they work really hard at it. I see a lot of the regulars in there every single day, getting shit done.
And then I go to class, where I hear people talking about their daily lives, eating what they normally eat, and answering complicated questions from the prof. What I want to know is when did it become okay to partake in hugely unhealthy behaviours all the time (not just every so often), completely avoid exercising, and shovel your face full of crap, in favour of intelligence??
I am not the smartest one here, or the most critical thinker, or the one who can come up with interesting questions and answer everyone else’s questions, I’ll be the first to admit it. Art classes intimidate me, because most of the people are such brilliant thinkers. But I can’t help but pity (I don’t think that’s the right word for it..) them when I observe them.
What happened to ‘sound body, sound mind’? AND why is it EXPECTED in university that we all just generally become unhealthy? In school, you hear about ‘the Freshman 15’ and late night pizza runs, and overdoing it on the beer. Why are we expected, in an institution of higher learning, to go out and make terrible common sense decisions??
I felt like I was overdoing it in first year: I lost three pounds (all of it muscle), I had late night pizza twice, and I had my first and only experience drinking multiple beers. By January I started really watching what I was eating, trying to make healthier decisions (not the best ones, but still trying); I joined the gym and started doing bike intervals, some longer distance running, and core work (again, not the best method, but TRYING). Point is, I never really COMPLETELY fell off the wagon, and I still felt like shit.
After all of that, what I just really want to know is why don’t people take care of themselves? How can a person be so so literate in one topic, yet so completely ignorant about another? And why is the topic that absolutely directly affects YOU and your health taking the backseat to other studies?!
The trip this weekend was pretty sweet, and now I’m feeling quite jealous of all you who attend American universities. I visited RPI and U Mass this weekend to see some hockey games, and wound up with a huge case of gym/arena envy. SERIOUSLY?! Ok my gym is nice too. But the rinks. Holy frig, man.
Anyways, I haven’t been doing much sports photography as of late and i guess kind of forgot how much I love doing it. It’s such a challenge, for one; trying to get in the right spot so you can get that perfect shot; it’s trying to predict the unpredictable. All at once, you’re looking for faces, emotions, actions, reactions, patterns, the break in those patterns, while trying to focus, zoom, keep your composition in check, and manage to click the shutter at the perfect moment. It truly is capturing the moment, and I love that it captures people pushing their bodies and minds to their limits. Every feeling and sense is heightened in competition, and it brings out the best and worst in us.
I shot over 300 photos this weekend, and was so excited to come out with that ONE shot of the day:
Crazy things happen, I tell you!
Some of the other notable photos from the weekend:
They should hire me for promo photos ;) ha
This kid is always intense
As is the goalie
Truth be told, I don’t exactly love the act of running.
It hurts, a lot. My knees, my hips, my shins, my feet, my lungs. At some point, something always hurts. I get disgustingly sweaty. It takes a long time to run any far distance, and sometimes that stresses me out when I don’t have much time to spare.
But I really really love the sense of accomplishment running gives me.
Last weekend at my half-marathon was one of the best experiences of my life so far, right up there with falling in love, traveling Europe, mountain biking down Whistler mountain, and winning the sectional championships and athlete of the year (in one season) for figure skating.
It wasn’t because I loved running while sick, and with sore limbs. It’s because I love competing. I love pushing myself. I didn’t know it, but I love the mental game that is running, above all else.
Often when I’m running by myself, I think about walking the last bit of my route. By then I’m sweaty, tired, probably about to puke if I’ve really worked hard, and quite frankly just want to go home and watch a movie. It’s a huge battle just to finish a run, let alone run it faster than before. I always think it’s ok to walk if I can see where I’ll be finishing. And walking isn’t quitting. But if I’ve only got a couple hundred metres left in a run, I tell myself it’s like racing a 100 metre dash. Sure, you can see the finish, but deciding to walk that hundred metres is fucking stupid when it’s all you’ve got. I usually end up sprinting the final hundred metres.
This is the beauty of running. It pushes you past your limits almost every time, and you can see the amazing things your body can do. You might not be happy with the way your body looks (I know I’m not there yet), but it makes you feel a hell of a lot better about it when you run that sub-8 minute mile, or that sub-3 hour marathon and exceed even your highest expectations.
This is why I run.
I’ve still got roughly two weeks before I get back into the swing of things at school, but I’ve been thinking about how far I’ve come since I first started running.
All last semester, I worked out at my school’s gym lifting weights, working on the machines, doing some yoga and stretching and not a lot of cardio. Near the end of the semester, my friend suggested we run a 5k race together. I said “sure!” not even thinking about the fact that I couldn’t remember the last time I actually ran for anything longer than a 2 minute warm up. 5k? How the fuck am I gonna do that?
Short answer: I didn’t.
Within two weeks it was April 11th, the last day of Figure Drawing, and I ended up spending it in a hospital because I got a freakin’ sewing needle stuck in my heel. I couldn’t walk on it for a couple weeks, and therefore, no running. My first run after I could kind of walk lasted 2 km before I had to stop from the pain in my foot, and the lack of air in my lungs. I felt like shit, that was like down the road and around the corner! I had to walk all the way home that night, and passed two people I knew while I was walking. They both asked why I was just walking and it was pretty embarrassing to explain what I had been doing. At the beginning of May (Or June?) I began a 5k training program, starting with 3 minute intervals of running. My first run, I made it past 4k but it still took an immense amount of energy for me. I made it through the month of training, and by the end could run a decent 5k. Next up, half marathon training (which I’m technically still in the process of.. but kind of not following the schedule). I added the Angry Birds workout from Nerd Fitness to my regimen as well, because it was time I got some decent muscle on me.
So, beginning of the summer: I could barely run 2k. I had a needle in my foot. I could do 100 body weight squats, less than 40 pushups on my knees, less than 30 one arm rows, and 2 minutes of planks.
As of this week, I have been able to run 23k at a time. Twice. I no longer have a needle in my foot, and the wound is healing nicely. I can do over 100 overhead squats, jump squats, and can do 70 bulgarian split squats within 2 sets, I can do 50 real pushups within three sets, I can do 9 assisted pull ups in one set, and I can hold a plank for 6 minutes in three sets. Did I mention I ran 23k twice this summer?!
I’d say that’s good progress.
Today was… very long, tiring, and boring.
I had to be at work for 8, so got up at 6. Fell back asleep until 6:48, and got ready.
Today was a yoga day anyways, so after work I just stretched and yoga’d, lalala. Fell asleep until about 5 minutes ago.
Protein shake for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch, and spicy shrimp n stuff for dinner. And not gonna lie, I ate all the peanut brittle my coworker brought me back from California, as my “cheat” meal, cause I needed to get it out of my house, and didn’t feel like I should throw it away. Especially since I saw her for the last time at work this afternoon; I’m going on vacation next week, and her last day at our company is next Friday. :(
I’m gonna miss her; she sat in the cubicle next to me when we got moved to the end of our tox testing lab, and quickly made the best of it with me. We called it Cafe Siberia (since we got moved out into the booonies of the office) and spoke with Russian accents all day. I found a kids’ fishing rod behind my desk and we passed random shit over the cubicle wall between us using it. She brought in homemade cookies for lunch time, we discovered our own private back porch thing to eat lunch outside on, contemplated buying a bistro chair set for it, and flew kites in the parking lot instead of eating lunch anyways.
She’s the one who runs marathons and competes in Ironmans (I honestly don’t know how many she’s done by now, but its A LOT) and is actually competing in like, 15 weeks for her next one. She turned me on to running long-distance, told me to run my first half-marathon (which I might do with her), and motivated me to really give speed skating a go again (because apparently my dad’s been telling her about how good I was). She’s probably just as obsessed with lululemon as I am, and we’ve spent way too much time perusing their websites and talking about how amazing the fabric is and how we’ll never go back to our other clothes! Haha. And did I mention she’s 55? Yup. How badass is that.
I can only hope that when I’m her age, I’m that cool, too.
Remember when I said I would run a marathon by Summer 2012?
I’m thinking not such a feasible idea. And the reason for that is lack of funding.
Because I’m leaving my job. It’s a nice cushy desk job that pays quite well, but it is almost completely unrelated to what I want to actually DO with my life, which is sports photography.
I have a possible job lined up for the school newspaper taking all of the sports photos, but if that doesn’t pan out, I don’t think I can come back to this one. Lately I’ve been feeling extremely unmotivated, and just overall disappointed with the amount of time I spend working versus the amount of time I spend doing things I actually enjoy. It’s draining, and most nights all I do is workout and then laze around in my room. I want to do lots more exciting things and I think a disposable income is what I’m going to have to give up.
Yes it’s nice being able to buy whatever I want, whenever I want and not have to worry about it, but it’s not necessary (ok except clothes from lululemon, because I live in those) for my happiness, nor the goals I want to achieve.
I’ve felt really sort of aimless since I started university, when basically everything I had enjoyed in my life was suddenly no longer a part of my life. I tried to muster up some sort of passion for something with really not much luck. I thought I loved fashion design and clothing construction, but I can’t stand all of the work it takes to craft a beautiful garment (although I have such an appreciation for complex and functional design). I thought I loved art, but I would rather go out with my friends than take in an art show. I would say sports photography is what really did it. I’ve had success with some rather important art and photo contests for the past three years, and it never ceases to amaze me the emotional quality, and amazing abilities of the human body in a great shot.
And from sports photography, I realized that actual sports is what I missed. I fell out of love with figure skating, and never fully explored speed skating, so this seems like the logical step to take. I’m starting speed skating in the fall, with or without a job. I’m going to run a half marathon for something to do before then. I’m going to run a full marathon after my studies abroad, to cut down on the cost from the extra set of flights, which will happen in 2013. I’m scheduled to graduate in 2014, and now I’m rethinking all of that.
The person whom I’ve recently been referring to lately (here, here, here, here, here, here, here) is from Spain, and moved to Canada just to play at a higher level of hockey. When he was telling me about it, I couldn’t get over why he would leave such a beautiful place for Canada; I asked him and over and over he just said he wanted to play hockey. I didn’t really remember it until after this weekend, just the amount of passion you can have for something. And I’m hoping I can have the same passion for speed skating as he does for hockey. Which brings me to another possible goal/life direction: moving to Calgary for speedskating.
When I was transferring universities after first year, my dad suggested I go to Calgary and speed skate. Because of emotional attachments (yeah ok, an ex boyfriend) and the fact that its fucking FREEZING there, I just didn’t apply and came home to study. Of course now I’m wishing I had just gone for it. So what can I do, do I transfer schools again and move out next year? Do I stay here and do my studies abroad next year and then move? Or do I put my degree on hold and pursue skating full-time? Because moving to Calgary is definitely on my list of dreams I would love to see actually happen in my life. I figure, if he can leave the beaches for blizzards, I can leave the blizzards for… worse blizzards.
As per my recent reading endeavors (nerdfitness.com and marksdailyapple.com), I’ve been thinking about how my health has changed in the past few years.
I used to think that my weight kind of took a dive-bomb because I wasn’t happy, which made me somehow eat a lot more (although, the amount of food I normally ate never really changed). I went through a devastating breakup right before my first year university, and have kind of blamed my eating issues on being unhappy. You know, I thought I was filling the void with food. Which makes sense, because I’m happy enough right now, but still not a hundred percent. But after reading about the low-carb lifestyle and the effects that excess amount of carbs have on your body, something else occurred to me.
Maybe it’s not because I was emotionally eating; because when I was 10lbs lighter and losing weight fast, I still ate copious amounts of pizza, jelly beans and pull-n-peels. Maybe it was what I was eating. Because the same year I was so unhappy was the first year I was vegetarian. The first year I cut out all meat from my diet, and supplemented it with grains. And my weight has been creeping up steadily ever since. Yes, I wasn’t exercising as much as I used to, and I definitely partook in cheesecake or ice cream more than necessary while I was on a meal plan, but that stopped last summer for the most part, and this year I ate pretty well, or so I thought.
So maybe what’s been missing is my protein, and what I need to miss is my grains.
If you’ve been paying attention, I’ve been posting a quote from the lululemon manifesto every day or so. Today is the last day, and it took me a while to really believe in this quote (aka, up until yesterday). I’ve heard it so many times and never really understood it or took it to heart.
I’ve learned a few things in the past few days, and this is one of them. I started this blog wanting to lose weight and hoping it would be a viable outlet for this, I’m continuing it wanting to lead a healthy and active lifestyle and do what I can to get into the best shape I can. Because pursuing this weight loss in order to make myself happier and more comfortable in my skin made me so paranoid, a little depressed, and quite often very frustrated.
Whether I was 130 or 120 lbs, I was not getting happier, which is where this quote rings true. You can’t set out to do something to MAKE yourself happier, you need to find something you are crazy and passionate about and happiness will come. If it doesn’t bring you joy, you will not be happy no matter what.
For me, I love making food and sweet things, I love a good challenge, I love skating, and I love taking photos of other athletes and their struggles and triumphs. I don’t love counting calories or stepping on the scale every morning hoping at .4 of a pound is gone. And so I’m not gonna do that. Yes, one of my goals is to lose weight, because I do have extra fat I would like to get rid of, but I’m not going to be a slave to the scale or fad diets.
I’m going to stop trying so hard to make myself happy, when the things that make me happy are right in front of me.
Let’s just start off with I ran 9.4 k yesterday morning and it was AWESOME. Of course, now it’s more than a day later and I’m remembering the fact that I ran longer than my training goal and not the fact that I wanted to puke and/or faint and/or die for like the last half of it. But that’s besides the point.
I had lofty goals as I was drifting off to sleep last night about doing a “fun run” on the same course this morning, aka not doing it in a set amount of time. I woke up at 6:38am, saw that it was pouring rain, and went back to sleep until 8. I woke up again at 8 thinking ‘holy crap if it’s still raining tonight, there’s no way in hell I’m going for that run.’ Because the only thing I hate more than being cold is being cold and wet, and I wasn’t going to make myself freeze and get soaked while wanting to puke/faint/die. However, I was thinking on the way to work this morning, how bad will it really be to run in the rain? Actually it could be pretty fun. And I always get super sweaty and hot anyways, it’ll keep me a reasonable temperature, and so I decided that whether it was rain or shine, I was going to go for a run right after work. Because I’m not going to be that half-assed athlete who works out only when they feel like it or when conditions are perfect.
That person isn’t going to be the one winning the race at the end of the day; that person isn’t going to be the one seeing and feeling better results; that person isn’t going to be as physically or mentally tough as the person who ran through shitty weather, through wanting to give up, through almost puking, and through whatever life throws at her.
I went to my brother’s grad this past Friday. He goes to a sports academy, and every year the entire school gets together to present the grads and all academic awards and it’s a big dinner/dance thing. They also have a motivational speaker, and this year it was Olympic gold-medalist Heather Moyse.
For those who don’t pay scrupulous attention to the Olympics, she won the gold medal for Canada in the women’s bobsleigh event at the past Vancouver 2010 games! She has a whole bunch of other amazing accomplishments between bosbleighing (is that a word?) and playing rugby. And what is the most awesome part about it is she has done it all, plus gotten undergrad and master’s degrees, as well as worked abroad doing things she loves!
The thing that resonated the most with me from that evening was that it’s never too late to start doing something you love, and to live without regrets. She started bobsleigh when she was 27 years old and still made it to multiple Olympic Games! Coming from a figure skating background, I’ve been used to the whole mentality that you get to compete seriously in your sport until you graduate high school. Then you decide whether you pursue skating full time (if you’re any good), or you go to university and maybe skate on the varsity team (if they have one), take up coaching part-time (if you love kids), or move on with your life (if none of those are an option). If you couldn’t tell by my lack of figure skating posts, I picked the last option. Moving on.
It wasn’t really by choice; I had a terrible beginning to my university career: being dumped the week before I moved in to residence and then finding out I had mono by the end of my frosh week, during which I did no frosh events or made any new friends. I was all set to skate for the university’s varsity team, having already practiced with them in the spring, and the coach was excited to have me on as a high-level skater. I went to one practice before tryouts, lasted almost an hour, then ran into the washroom and threw up. That was the end of my skating career.
After being advised to do no more strenuous physical activity than walking for three months, I waited out the semester to try and get back into it. Over Christmas break I went to a few practices and a seminar and skated fantastic, better than the end of the summer. Second semester came and there was no point in my skating for the team for one last competition, so I joined the skating club to get on the ice for a hour a couple times a week. By the end of the semester I was worse than the summer before, and really frustrated that my body just couldn’t do it. I haven’t really skated since.
I’ve tried everything from pole dancing to ball hockey since then to spark the same passion I had for skating, as a way for me to stay healthy and happy. I’ve hummed and hawed about one sport in particular that I haven’t touched since grade 9, and after hearing Heather’s speech, I’ve decided that it’s really the direction I want to go in. It’s that one thing I’ve always regretted just a little bit since I quit, and I’m going to see how far it takes me if I work hard enough.
Heather talked about not relying on excuses a lot; on using your resources and finding your own opportunities to accomplish your dreams. I realised then that I’ve been making excuses for why I’m not back in the arena, racing for PBs and working to get better. I’ve been using the excuse that my parents “made me quit” for too long. They told me I missed too much speed skating for figure skating. I later told myself that I can’t do it because of my hip injury. Then my ankle injury. Now my foot injury. Last year I couldn’t do it because I missed the sign up date. This year is different though; I’m not missing the sign up date and I don’t care about my foot. That can heal or be operated on. I’m going to skate this fall even if I can barely keep up with my classes and training. I don’t care if I go out every weekend like other university students. I don’t care if I can’t hang out with my school friends because I need to go train, I did it all through high school and I can do it again. (Plus, my classes are 5 hours long, how much more do I need to see these people?)
I’m going to train through the summer and be ready to kick ass by October. I’m not going to sign up for just a yoga class once a week, I’m going to the gym every morning and doing my weights and endurance training just like I’ve done for the past two years. I’m going to be able to run a half-marathon by the end of the summer, and a full marathon by next summer. I’m going to be awesome at long-distance racing and look into moving to Calgary if I get as far as becoming a long-track skater.
I miss the spandex skinsuits and my awesome capped gloves, my sweet purple skates and clap blades that help you go fast. I miss tearing up because of the wind in my face and the burn in my legs when I beat my personal best. Again.
Thanks to Heather, I know that there isn’t an expiry date on when you can start doing something, or pick up something again, and that there is room for everything you want to do with your life.