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The Runs

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Dropped Calls

Lately I’ve felt super overwhelmed with life to the point where I’m not really plugging into any one thing. I’ve got a zillion wires going in every direction and they are short, frayed, and exposed. Everything is going quite well, actually. I mean, shit always goes down because it’s a fucking gong show on a good day but right now there are way more good things going on than bad and that’s just something to smack an ass for.

But.

Whenever I do too much all at once, it always ends poorly because I can only keep my shit together for so long before it all blows up.

Which reminds me of the day we had a staff meeting at the Running Room and this guy Ryan and I were sitting side by side on a wooden bench, listening to our boss give a talk. But, my stomach was off. Way off. Although closely related, hunger rumbles happen up high whereas impending diarrhea occurs in the much lower region of the intestine and in this case, the poo pipe. The rumbles were so violent that they caused the wooden bench we were sitting on to actually vibrate. Like, actually.

Aghast, Ryan finally turned to me and said, “For goodness’ sake Suzy, take your phone out of your back pocket!

A bit awkward, because my phone was in the back room while I held in my diarrhea during the meeting at the front of the store.

Nevertheless, I pretended to get up from the bench to walk to the back to put my phone away, and then made an urgent stop at the bathroom on my way back, like whoa. I was sweating. That was close.

It’s right there below the surface, but we can get up and make the call if we want to. Because really, some shit just has to go.

Are you doing too much? Do you like it? Are you addicted to chaos? Or does it freak you out?

Do you ever have those noises that come from down there that aren’t actually external farts that hit the outside air?

Do you want to take me off your bookmarks now?

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Tempo + Core = Sub-3

I think I figured out my problem. Okay, so Hansons Marathon Method is 18 weeks long and the one time I did it I didn’t start until week 11 where I handled the interval stuff just fine but I super struggled with the tempo runs at goal race pace, and that is my weak spot right there. I can feel it.

I want to do BMO Vancouver in May so I have some time to work up to those longer tempo runs at race pace so I thought what I would start doing soon is set my treadmill to race pace (6:51 min/miles) and hang onto that pace for as long as I can, and then add a mile each week. I know I can do 3 miles at that pace. That’s a given. I mean, I essentially did 10 miles at that pace 2 weeks ago at the marathon, but races are different animals. The treadmill itself is a beast; I can hit faster paces outside in my sleep than I can awake on that thing.

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Like a good little fitness blogger, I’ve also started doing my core work again. I used to be able to do 200 sit-ups and now I do 100. I used to do 50 push-ups and now I do 25. And I do 30 bridges and 30 modified bridge thingie wingies. It’s leaving a bit of a mark, as I winced when I had to lift my arm up to reach the soap in the shower this morning.

I can still feel pain in my lower back from those couple of back injuries I had in December and again in June. I really need to take care of my core, like, yesterday. So, that’s what I’m off to do right now! Hopefully I can get on the treadmill tomorrow for that 3 mile tempo run.

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What do you think? Should I set the speed on my treadmill a little faster than goal race pace just for some wiggle room?

 

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Only I Am Getting Older

My eldest son turns 16 tomorrow (or today, on whichever day you’re reading this). This is a picture of Jake and my mom from yesterday:

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When I was pregnant with Jake (at 21 years of age) I made sure to read every single baby book I could get my hands on to make up for the lack of babies I had ever actually held and cared for. I was super scared of not being able to take care of the very thing that I loved the most, and the solution to that problem is not found in a book.

It’s found in the art of letting go. Letting go of fear, letting go of rules, of lists, of ideals, of worrying about what others think, of worrying about what if. It’s meeting Jake on the edge. It’s standing with him in the rain while we wait for the storm to pass. It’s picking him up when his eyes are red from crying, red from smoking, red from exhaustion. But mostly, it’s not grabbing him by the back of the shirt when he turns to leave too soon.

He’s a trail blazer (quite literally… *sigh*), a revolutionary. When he was little I felt strongly that he would grow up to be a preacher, and while I doubt it will be in the traditional sense, I don’t doubt that he will be good at it.

I didn’t buy him a card, I sang him one. I re-wrote the lyrics to Closer by The Chainsmokers. Ha!

Who in your own life is a revolutionary? Who kinda blows ideals and fears out of the box? Or are you that person?

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Week in Review

Okay, so this time I’m going to really try to follow the rules. We are supposed to make a list of accomplishments, things we did during the week. I think up to this point all I pretty much did was post random photos of stuff I want to buy and to let the world know that I had diarrhea.

So linking up with Meghan from Clean Eats Fast Feets, here is this week’s Week In Review! On Monday, we had a picnic. I wrote about it here.

On Tuesday, I cleaned the house like crazy and then packed up some sandwiches and snacks and we took the kids out on the boat.

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We got the boat at the end of the season so it kinda sucks that we haven’t been out on it that much, but it gives us time to stock up on toys for next year (I’m dying to break my leg wakeboard!).

Then on Wednesday I ran a tonne of errands and by the end of the day I just felt like such a swamp donkey. I had white hairs poking up around my hairline and the ends of my hair looked and felt like straw. I got Andrew to chop about four inches off the back. It feels much better. Here’s the before:

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And here’s the during:

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I haven’t taken an after pic yet. The whole shebang cost me about $9 for cut and colour! I’m only emotionally high-maintenance.

I can’t remember exactly what I did on Thursday but I know I posted this photo on Instagram so I must have done some writing at some point! I have to fit it into my life somehow!

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And of course, while the kids were at school, Callum and I played at the park, where he swung on the big boy swings for the first time ever!

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And spent some good quality time relaxing at home…

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I met Freddy’s new girlfriend Christina and then Freddy asked me on Friday if he could go to her house after school. This was how our conversation went:

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I wish I could show you the conversation I had with Jake on Instagram. OMG. I can’t. I want to so bad, but no. He’s turning 16 next week. Teenagers will kill me. I keep putting my fingers to my neck to check my pulse. I’m barely hanging on.

I put my own parents through hell when I was a teenager and they’re still kickin’ strong. Here’s a super cute pic of my daddio in his Vancouver Grizzlies jersey. I love his grin.

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The weekend was filled with schlepping kids around to dance class and soccer games, and then I met up with Lora for a long run on Sunday (she’s training for a race and needed to do her 20 miler). It was a busy and fun weekend!

Do you guys ever remember any of your really important big city teams playing the Vancouver Grizzlies when we had an NBA team?

We sucked so bad but they were such fun games to go to.

How often do you cut/colour your hair? How much does it cost?

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Mileage Monday

After the Seattle Marathon, I took the next day off completely and then logged 53 miles in the week after right before wrecking my back in Mexico. So, I’m taking two things from this:

  1. I didn’t work my body as hard at Skagit as I did in Seattle. I was way too sore to move after that race.
  2. I need to be careful because I do NOT want to hurt my back again like I did in Mexico. I can legit still feel the achy remains each time I stand up from the couch or the car or a new sex position.

Monday– Just 5 really slow treadmill miles to shake out the stiffies <— Gretch likes that term.

Tuesday– 6 treadmill miles, without first getting hopped up on ibuprofen.

Wednesday– 9 miles in the early morning. This run felt so great that when Lora asked me to help her run her long run this weekend (20 miles) I said yes.

Thursday– Another early 9 miles. It’s such a struggle getting out the door so early because not only am I getting up to get out the door, I’m also spotting a couple of kids’ breakfasts and lunches for the day. Thank goodness for coffee.

Friday– Just a slow and steady 6 miles on the treadmill while Callum napped.

Saturday– It was pouring out, and not the boozey-type, the weathery-type. The rain was bouncing off the running stroller. I wore shorts that rode up my ass and a lightweight jacket that clung to me. It sucked. I managed 5 miles so that when Lora and I do 20 tomorrow I will have 60 for the week.

Sunday– Lora and I planned to run together after Andrew’s open house but it was a bit harder for me to get out the door so I told Lora to start running and I’d meet up with her. She did 20 and I did 17 miles at a 7:57 min/mile pace. Not too shabby for a week after the marathon!

57 miles for the week!

What’s your weather like right now?

Can you please lecture me on the importance of starting up core work again?

Where are you right now while you read this post?

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Go Find Her

I remember growing up, my mom had a second cousin who was also a really close friend and the two women shared heartbreak and recovery in a way that bridged the gap between the every day and the holy shit. My mom had an alcoholic husband and my aunt had lost a baby. Each of them wished for the other person’s issue because the weight of their own was too much to bear.

This isn’t a situation where the grass is greener on the other side; there’s nothing anyone can really say that would give any sort of silver lining. It’s pure, raw, messy, fuck you but I need you because nobody else knows my grief the way you do.

We don’t need sympathy. Sympathy says, “I feel bad for you.” We need empathy. Empathy says, “I feel bad with you.” Empathy tacks a solid twenty years onto the ends of our lives. It makes minivans seem cool and transforms drive-through coffee into a little bit of heaven. Empathy reaches out to tuck tear-stained hair behind our ear. It gives us a knowing look and a swat on the ass. It’s pure, raw and messy. Empathy says fuck you but I need you because nobody else knows my grief the way you do.

If you don’t know one, find one in the dark, messy corners. Take your hair down and your long black coat off and go find her.

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Arms Up

Moody people are not automatically bipolar, but bipolar people are moody, because bipolar people are people and people are moody.

Many people toss the term “bipolar” around like a swinging hatchet. Comparing moodiness to bipolar disorder is like calling a flame a fire.

I, Suzy, am moody AF. I’ve also got acne (on my face and my bum, like wtevenf), social anxiety, a bit of OCD (I’m still in denial—be gentle), an aversion to pink and ex wives. But my moods swing from I love you to I hate you to hold me to stay away from me within a matter of minutes. Seconds. I’ve seen enough doctors and therapists to know I’m not bipolar; much to my ex husband’s family’s shock and dismay, I’ve merely been diagnosed with “asshole.”

Andrew? Textbook bipolar disorder. His psychiatrist encouraged me to keep a journal so that we could close in on intimate self-awareness which can only help and empower people in our position. Here is summary of the cycle. But first, know these two things:

  1. This is an example of a cycle where Andrew takes medication that keeps the extremes to a minimum; both his mania and depression are no longer life-threatening.
  2. I ask that you read this with a soft and caring heart with respect to the vulnerability and strength it takes to put this out there.

We’ll start from neutral. Neutral looks calm and peaceful. Happy, soft around the edges. Andrew’s mouth will curl up on one side when he smiles. Gentle touches, thoughtful consideration. Safe. This is when I rest and conserve energy.

Then he will get a bit more hyper, a bit more busy. His eyes sparkle, his laugh is more often and a bit louder. More phone calls, more texts. More food. More money (making and spending). He is still happy, and in fact he’s feeling really fucking good about life in this phase. He gets spiritual, sexual. He pulls it out and does the helicopter in the pantry. He’s fun to be around, although I know from experience that the safe part is retreating back a bit. This is when I throw my arms in the air and join in the fun, because a) I love him and b) Why not?! He’s doing the helicopter in the pantry!!! Woohooo!!!

Big ideas. The sparkle in his eyes turn a bit frantic, searching. Louder, faster, he can’t keep up with his ideas. Lots of money (making, and the same amount of spending as the previous phase). He talks about traveling (in the past and what he wants to do in the future). I listen. I listen a lot in this phase. I brace myself.

Agitated as fuck. He hears my ring hit the table. When the kids leave a light on, he boils on the inside. He bites back cutting remarks. I self-regulate and hold onto the words of his psychiatrist when he says, “Suzy, this has nothing to do with you.” I recoil, cocoon, protect.

He doesn’t bite back cutting remarks. I reaffirm my healthy boundaries, take the necessary actions to protect me and our kids spirits, and I hold strong.

Remorse. Dark. Depression. I don’t hear from him. He shuts down, takes off, struggles alone. I take this time to recover, nourish, regulate.

Comes home. I’m here.

Starts over. He helps me.

Flame, fire. Us.

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The Spunky and the Funky

Here are all of my strengths for Skagit Flats 2016:

My cardio was rock star status. My resting heart rate right before the Seattle Marathon in June was around 48-54 beats per minute whereas my resting heart rate right before Skagit this year was 38-42 beats per minute. I wonder if it’s because I was training too hard for Seattle that my body never fully recovered before the race.

My mental game was on point. For some reason, I handled the mileage a lot better this time than in any other marathon. I broke it down into sections: The first section was from the start to the halfway point (where we pivot around a cone in the middle of the road to come back) and then the second (mental) section was from the halfway mark to the 16 mile mark where I saw Andrew and Callum. Once I chugged some cold Gatorade and saw my boys, I felt re-charged. I then turned off my iPod and forced myself to run without music until mile 20. Hitting mile 20 was a sweet reward; I was able to dial it up with both music and energy (I heard the third place woman’s mother tell her to stay on my heels). Miles 20-26 were divided up into 3 miles each, but honestly, they didn’t drag along like they always have before. It’s like a couple of my favourite songs would play and then all of a sudden I’d be leaving behind another mile.

I had fresh legs. Last year before Skagit Flats 2015 I had hit 100 miles during peak week and then (half-ass) tapered. I peaked at 90 miles during peak week before Seattle in June. This time, I kept my mileage mostly around 60 miles per week. I just felt a lot spunkier out there on Sunday.

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Here are all of my struggles for Skagit Flats 2016:

I pooped out. I couldn’t hold onto sub-7 minute miles for longer than 10 miles. Granted, I only lasted 11 miles in Seattle, although that course was much hillier. Hanson’s Marathon Method has peak training week hitting marathon race pace for 10 miles before the taper begins, so you’d THINK that if I could hit those paces for 10 miles on Sunday that in 3 weeks I’d be able to hold it for 26.2. No. Not gonna happen.

My muscles were under-trained. While I could probably run 50 miles straight at a 9 min/mile pace, hitting sub-7 min mile paces require a lot more muscle strength, muscle strength that I just didn’t have on Sunday. At mile 8 I felt my left quad start to go, so I compensated with my right side which I felt in both my right hamstring and my right foot (cramps). Doing strength and speed work would remedy this, I’m sure.

I’m not a gifted runner. I shouldn’t say I’m not gifted. Running is a gift and I’ve got some sort of natural athletic ability for sure, which I’m so thankful for. But a natural runner? I’m just not. A 3:06 or 3:09 or whatever it is marathon does not come easy for me; I’ve worked at marathoning now for twenty straight years (taking baby breaks) and you’d think by now with all the mileage I’ve done that I’d be eating with silver spoons, spilling caviar on my gold-lined Canadian Olympic tracksuit.

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Do you know where the word “spunk” comes from?

It means sperm.

Do you divide long runs/races up into mental sections to help it not feel so overwhelming? Which sections?

 

 

 

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Hairy Bums and Hot Sausage

I’m a bit late on this post, I’m sorry! I had yet another marathon post ready to put up last night but it just didn’t feel right. Too much running talk, not enough balance.

I started blogging because I love writing, but as I’m going back into my archives to look for material for my book, I can’t help loving the bloggy posts with photos about regular boring old life. It’s so cool to be able to have these memories documented! So along those lines, here’s what our day looked like on Monday.

Every other Monday we typically spend together just the three of us: Andrew, Callum and I. In the morning, we did some prep for our picnic: we got groceries, I boiled eggs and Andrew barbecued 3 different kids of sausage (Italian mild for Callum, Italian hot for moi, and chorizo for Andrew).  Callum pushed back his nap time with some photography practice:

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Then during Callum’s nap, I went for a slow 5 mile run on the treadmill just to shake out the legs a bit. I signed up for 3 months free Apple Music and so while I was listening to the top charts radio, this song came on:

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With these lyrics:

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Frigging SICK. Like, I’m all about raunchy music, for sure. And as teenagers we listened to explicit stuff all the time. But this? Was like… a little… much. And every single kid with an iAnything is listening to this stuff. I AM SO UPSET. I feel like technology is god right now. I swear that if I grew up in this day and age, I’d be in jail or dead before twenty.

That aside, we packed up our picnic and some lawn chairs and when Callum woke up, we headed down to the river.

I took one photo and then Callum stole my phone for the rest:

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This one is my favourite by far. It’s of Andrew’s crossed leg, but at first glance at my phone I assumed Andrew had stuck my phone down his pants.

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Ha ha! So great. Once the sun ducked behind the mountains, we headed to a playground so that Callum could really run around and get some energy out.

We’ve been having incredible weather lately, and we were able to get out onto the boat yesterday. I’ll post about that next week though. After this morning’s run, I ate this wrap for breakfast (I am on a veggie kick lately!):

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I’m on my second cup of coffee and have a ZILLION things to do today. Gotta go! XO

Do you know anyone with a hairy bum?

If you had to pick one sausage, which one would it be? Italian mild, Italian hot, or chorizo?

Have you heard of that song before?

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Skagit Flats Recap

I woke up at 4:30am to Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” and immediately chugged a giant glass of water before staggering downstairs to make coffee. Coffee with cream, two mini chocolate bars and a bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar is all it took for Poo #1. I drank a big glass of Nuun and had Poo #2. Then I had a shower, got dressed, and woke Andrew up to get ready to go. We scooped up Callum and put him into the warm running van and started driving toward the border at around 6am.

Thankfully Callum stayed asleep until the stupid ass border guy with a big loud booming voice woke him up when he asked us questions about where we were going. He’s all, “You’re going to leave your kid with his dad while you run? Do you trust him for that long?” The border is not the place to be argumentative, but oh the things I wanted to say to that man. Parents can have penises too, dumbass. I know a few mothers that shouldn’t be left alone with their kids.

Callum fell back asleep and we drove to the package pickup without a hitch. I grabbed my stuff (the weirdest race swag EVERRRR) and then we stopped at Starbucks for Poo #3.

We found a parking spot at the start line, got in line for a port-a-potty and squeaked out a pee just in the nick of time to hear the national anthem. But then? I forgot that my gels were still in the van! So I ran back to the van to grab them while I heard the announcer count down to the start, “10-9-8…” I grabbed my gels. “7-6-5…” I slammed the van door shut and started running to the start line. “4-3-2…” I jumped over the ropes and got in line just in time to…drop my gels on the ground while I fumbled around with my headphones and Garmin “1…GO!” And off I went with no gels. ARGHHH.

I was in second place until mile 9 where I decided to surge past the first place woman and earn myself a cyclist escort. Then at about mile 12, some young little blonde thing absolutely fucking BLEW BY ME like Usain Bolt in a kindergarten PE class. At the turn-around point, she smiled and waved at me, gave me the thumbs up and shouted a cheery, “Way to go! Looking goooood!” while I was choking back the burbling puke, dragging my stiff and decrepit legs behind me in a sorry effort to stay in the game.

By about mile 6 I knew I was out for a sub-3. By about mile 14 I knew I was out for a PR. But as far as I knew at that point, I was still in second place with the first woman so far ahead of me that I’d never catch up.

At mile 14 I stopped my music but kept my headphones in and promised myself that I could listen to music again when I hit mile 20. Just before that point, I heard the third place woman’s mother tell her (which helped me figure out that she was literally RIGHT behind me), “Stay on her heels. Don’t let her out of your sight and let her pull you to the finish, and kick it at the end.” It’s all I needed to hear to leave her in the dust.

With each curve in the road, the woman in third place became less of a threat as I put more and more distance between us. I loved that we both fed each other energy during the race, pushing each other to work hard and dig deep.

I finished strong and smiling in 3:09:15 and I’m really happy with how it went.

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I loved seeing Andrew and Callum out there and I couldn’t have done it without Andrew’s help. It’s not easy waking up at 5am to look after a toddler out on a race course for that long.

I was rewarded with another bobble head and a $75 gift certificate to the local running store down there!

Have any of you been late for a race start? Or drop gels on the course?

Do you perform better when there’s competition or does the pressure get to you?

 

 

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