Kick it, all the way to the finish!

Me and Tania Jones at the finish line at the Ottawa Race Weekend

I’ve been putting off writing this blog post because it’s likely my last one as an iRun Runner Makeover participant.

The program is drawing to an end and with the release of the July issue of the magazine, I will be set back out into the wild, on my own, like the proverbial displaced prairie runner that I am.

Maybe if I waited another 6 months to write this post I would maintain my access to coach Tania Jones, nutritionist Lauren Jawno, receive more Adidas gear and live off the encouragement of the iRun Magazine team… but I don’t think that is how it works. So, here I go.

We Makeover-ees were asked a few questions that the editors thought you blog reading folks would like answered:

What have you given up in order to get your runs in?

Like anyone with a hobby, a life and a day job, I mostly gave up sleep. In the dead of the Edmonton winter I was getting up at 5:15am to be at the Kinsmen Sport Centre and on the track by 6:00am. I often did my resistance training at lunch or in the evening at home so I didn’t have to sacrifice any fun “real life” activities… though I often was in bed (or asleep on the couch) by 10pm.

What was the payoff?

Well, obviously – the free stuff! Not to be crass, but who doesn’t love free stuff? And Adidas was very generous with their shoes, socks, shirts, shorts, pants, jackets and electronics.

The speed! When we started this process I remember saying to Tania “my comfy speed is around 5:30/km”. Yesterday, during my Long Slow Distance run, I had trouble keeping myself slower than 5:00/km. That’s 30 seconds per km faster at a comfortable rate of exertion – WHAT!?!

The food! I have always considered myself to be a healthy-ish eater (even when not following my own best advice) but I now feel like I have enough knowledge to maintain and sustain my own sustenance as my training increases towards my personal autumn marathon BQ goal.

What things made it easier?

Knowing that Tania and Lucy were scrutinizing my workouts gave me that extra kick-in-the-butt that everyone needs on a minus 30 degree morning at 5:15am (Adidas miCoach reports are displayed online for coaches to peruse). Also knowing that Goalspeed, Lauren, Adidas and iRun were devoting time, energy and gear toward making me a better runner added some internal pressure that made it easier for me to roll out of bed and hit the track with tutto gusto.

Oddly enough, this blog kept me going too. The idea that anyone might be following it (hi mom) made me want to kick some serious butt. The last thing I wanted was for some reader to think “Who is this joker? I deserve a makeover more than him.” And maybe you do… but I still gave it 110% every day!

What were the challenges?

I think my biggest challenge (and by no means do I think I am alone in this one) was/is faith in myself. Whether it is fear of injuring myself (or “busting a gut”) or just plain disbelief in my own speediness, I don’t know. Probably both. What I do know is that it is certainly the biggest hurdle that I have yet to clear.

Has your view of running changed from this point forward?

When I was looking for some advice before a race in April, I wrote to Tania and explained my usual approach to racing:

“Go out easy, take it easy, maybe slow down a bit, take a gel, pick it up a little… nope, take it easy, 20km to go?! What = Take it easier… walk… cry… drink beer.”

She responded by giving me her approach:

“Go out strong, pick it up, drive hard, refocus in the middle, gut out some strong kms, take gel, only 5 km to = giv’r, kick it all the way to the finish!”

I am much more on her side now. Need I say more?

In closing

Well, I guess that is that. It’s been amazing, everybody. Thank you, thank you, thank you – to one and all.

If you enjoyed following my journey, keep in touch. I’m on Facebook and Twitter and I have a website of my own – come by and visit. We’ll go for a run… or a snack.

Oh yeah! I am planning to run the Disney World “Goofy” in January with Team in Training. Drop me a note if you are Goofy too and I will hook you up!

I’ll leave you with a line from one of my favourite Kris Demeanor songs that seems apropos:

“Yes, I’m happy. Yes, I’ve changed. Yes, I’m happily changed. It’s all eggs in the bank or a basket, some of them broken, others rearranged.”

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