Doubts

I have always tried to keep things pretty light and positive on this blog.  I believe very firmly that maintaining a positive perspective is one of the most important things you can do in life in general.  I also feel like I am probably one of the luckiest human beings in the world and have no right to complain about anything.  I am, however, committed to staying honest.  The reason for having a blog in the first place is to be honest about my goals, my progress, and all of the challenges that I may encounter.  So here is a very honest post about some of those challenges, as I stare spring racing season in the face, and try to decide when to bite the bullet and sign up for my first half marathon.

Spring 2015 is going to be absolutely nuts at my house.  Joe is finishing residency, which means 2 things.  1.  He is writing his royal College Exam this spring, and 2. We are moving to a new city.

Let me explain.

1.  The Royal College Exam is kind of like the Bar Exam for doctors, except it’s on steroids.  Not all doctors have to write it; it’s for specialists, but since Joe is an Emergency Medicine specialist, he needs to write it in order to be Royal College Certified.  I think this is only a thing in Canada, but it’s similar to the American Board Exam for doctors.  Except that in Joe’s program, they write the American Boards for practice every year, starting in their first year, and he has been passing every year.  The Royal College is a lot tougher than that.  People are very afraid that they might fail…  they start studying a year in advance (a year) and they are all working full time as well.  So as you can see, this thing is big, and it’s been a major player in our lives ever since this past summer, when Joe’s study schedule started.  We are now entering crunch time for Royal College, meaning that the next 3 months are all about survival for Joe, and me doing whatever I can to be supportive so that he can pass this thing, and we can all move on with our lives.

2.  Because Joe is graduating from residency, pending he pass his exams in May and June, he has accepted a position as a real, grown-up doctor in another city.  He got a few offers, and we’ve considered all the pros and cons and visited different cities and attended interviews and mulled it over, and we’ve finally settled on Toronto.  So this summer, we are moving to Toronto…  meaning that I have an exam of my own to write, in order to be licensed as a nurse in Toronto.  And jobs to apply for, and interviews to go to, and apartment hunting to do…  all while Joe crams for his exam, and we both continue to work full time, because life has a way of throwing everything at you all at once.

The good news is, when the exams are all finished, and I’ve officially left my job (a whole other post on how sad that day will be for me will, I’m sure, appear on this blog at some point), and we’ve found a place to live and we’ve moved all of our stuff…  after all of that has happened, we are taking a month long vacation to Asia, where we will finally get the Honeymoon we never had because we were too busy when we first got married.

OK, so what does all of this stuff have to do with running?  Well, I’m honestly not sure what to do this spring…  Part of me wants to just sign up for a half marathon and go for it.  Jump in with both feet.  I feel like if I don’t sign up, I’ll never get motivated to push myself, and it’ll never happen.  I know I can do it, even if my time isn’t fabulous, and it hurts a bit (or maybe a lot), this is something that I want to do.  The problem is that we’ve got so much big stuff happening in the coming months, I’m not sure I’ll be able to commit to training.

So there is another part of me that thinks I should wait it out until fall, when things have settled down a little.  Find a job, find an apartment, move, go to Asia, come back, join a running group in Toronto, and aim for a fall race.  But there’s part of me that is worried about that too…  will I be able to stay in shape while on my belated Honeymoon?  Will I have enough time to train when I get back?  Will I be too overwhelmed at my new job to stay committed to my training goals?

So this is my dilemma.  I feel different about it every day, and I’m honestly not sure what decision I’m going to end up making.  But in the name of honesty, there it is!  What I do know is that running will help get me through the chaos of the next few months.  And as crazy as this spring and summer are going to be, I am wildly excited for all of this.  🙂

Do you have any big races coming up this spring?

How did you decide to run your first marathon or half marathon?  Did you plan it all out, or just jump in with both feet?

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It’s time to write about running again

OK, let’s talk about running, baby.  Seriously, let’s address a few things that I haven’t taken the time to address on this blog lately…  You may have noticed that I haven’t said much about half marathon training recently, or done any recent workout posts.  Even if you haven’t noticed this, I definitely have.  So in the spirit of getting back on topic, as well as motivating myself to stay focused, I’m going to make much more of an effort to write about running from now on.

A few months ago when Joe and I moved back to Canada, I was smack in the middle of a half marathon training program.  It was going pretty well, and I was definitely enjoying it.  I had my routine down; work my 9-5 job, come home, have supper, hit the gym/road for some training, shower, bed, wake up and repeat…  even as I write this, that sounds incredibly monotonous, but at the time it was actually pretty fun.  I love the gym, I love to run, and I have to say, life is pretty damn good when the only thing you have to worry about is how many miles you’re supposed to run on a given day.

Moving was a huge wake-up call for me.  I was back at my old job, where we were (and still are) completely swamped, being called for overtime every single day, working days, nights and weekends, and all 12 hour shifts.  I had a suuuuper hard time keeping up with my training.  Trying to fit in time to go out with my girlfriends, then going for hungover training runs the next day…  eesh.  Working 16 hours and telling myself I’d still have the energy for an easy 3-miler afterwards…  eesh.  And with my husband working even worse hours than I was, any possible time we could have together would trump all of our other plans.  The half marathon dream was slowly dying…

Pretty much right after starting back at work, I was approached by a colleague who informed me that she and a few of our other coworkers were signing up for a 10K in October, and they wanted me to do it with them.  I hesitated…  I was planning to do a half marathon in October, but now I was having so much trouble keeping up with my training.  I thought about doing both races, and then found out they were on the same weekend…  If I held onto my goal of running a half, there was a good chance I wouldn’t be able to do it this year, with the way things were going.  But if I signed up for the 10K, it would be completely attainable, and could work as a stepping stone as I train for a future half marathon.

In the end, that’s what I did.  I’m still not sure if I should have just gone for it and run the half…  sometimes I could have pushed myself and done it.  But I decided not to kill myself in training, since I was already getting killed at work.  I ran the 10K without really even training for it.  I’ve been running 6-7 miles on my days off anyway, so this race wasn’t really about the distance.  What it did for me was keep me from falling completely off the running wagon.  I forced myself to go on hour-long jogs after work, to get off the couch and run after night shifts.  In a way, preparing for this 10K helped me adjust to my new (old?) lifestyle, and re-learn how to fit running into everything again.  Not only that, but it helped build my circle of running friends, most of whom I work with, and are also faced with the challenges of working a crazy nursing schedule.  I started jogging home from work after day shifts with one of the girls.  I started having more accountability for my training.  So even though it felt like a bit of a step backwards, adjusting my running goals this fall ended up being hugely beneficial.  Instead of going it alone at a half marathon, I got to hang out with my running buddies at a 10K (still an accomplishment, as this was my first official 10K race,) and will hopefully be doing that half marathon with them at my side later in 2015.  🙂

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There we are after our race, with me on the far right…  All 4 of these ladies are not only better runners than I am, but they’re amazing nurses as well.

That was back in October, so let’s fast forward a little bit.  After my 10K, which I ran in just under an hour, I started focusing a lot more on training.  I got serious about speed work and became much more disciplined about getting outside and logging miles.  With winter approaching, I knew I’d have to sign up for a gym in order to keep up my fitness, so I am now doing a lot of my training indoors.  I’ve signed up with a trainer, who is kicking my ass with tons of strength training.  I’m going to work with her all winter and into the spring, and then get outside and start increasing my mileage when the weather warms up a bit.

I’ve made a lot of serious decisions in the last few months about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and a lot of those decisions relate to work.  I intentionally signed up for a gym that has a location next to my house and a location next to the hospital.  Instead of working extra hours, I stop at the gym on the way home from work.  Instead of spending my post night shift days sleeping all day and then lazing around the house all evening, I schedule time with my trainer when I’m post nights to force myself out of bed and onto the treadmill.  So far, it’s working.  And so far, this has been a pretty fun winter!

Oh, and one last thing…  this year’s Christmas present from Joe: a brand new pair of bright and shiny Mizunos!!!  Feast your eyes on those babies!

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Do you have any winter training tips that help keep up your fitness during the frigid winter months??