Not a Runner to… wha… a Runner!

RunBabyRunExactly one year ago today I set a goal. On December 22, 2011, I told myself I would run a half-marathon. Not because I knew how far a half-marathon was… not because I knew how far 10K was… just because I knew it would be good for my mind.

On January 18, 2012 {such a procrastinator}, I ran for the first time in my life — and on January 22, 2012, I completed my first race. Woop!

Since then it’s been a wild ride. I’ve completed 15 races:

… and ran somewhere between 600-700 km. Not exactly sure as I wasn’t always neurotic with my Nike+ GPS app. ;)

DNF: Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon Seattle — injured!

Body: No major injuries, but adductor issues mid-year and my right ankle has been bothering me the last few months. Lost 1 toenail — very close to losing another.

Trained in: Vancouver, BC; Salt Spring Island, BC; Victoria, BC; Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Raced in: Vancouver, BC; Abbotsford, BC; Victoria, BC

Favourite race: Lululemon Seawheeze!

Personal Bests:

  • 1K: 4:11 {August 2012}
  • 1 mile: 7:23  {August 2012}
  • 5K: 24:51 {December 2012}
  • 8K: 43:57 {December 2012}
  • 10K: 56:53 {September 2012}
  • 15K: 1:35:10 {May 2012}
  • 23K: 2:20:17 {August 2012}

So there you have it, 11 months of running — BOOM — officially a runner! :) Running has been hands down the best thing that has happened to me this year. For the first time in my life, I feel strong. I have never ever seen strength in my body — when I check out my arms in the mirror {let’s be honest, guys aren’t the only ones who check themselves out} or to see a picture of these lean legs — I think whoa…! Remember when you were a stick thing Jillian Walker? Remember when?!

Those days are over. Strong is the new skinny.

Strength coupled with breath {and mental sanity} has been my saving grace this year. Looking forward to continuing the journey in 2013 — and celebrating my run anniversary with Monique in San Diego in January!

Thank you to Haley, Derek, Reagan, Pete, Michelle, Jen, Katie, Kate, Kittima, Clare — and the #RunCrew for the encouragement and advice this past year. Meant the world. xo

Second Race Complete!

Running sucks.

Yep, you heard correctly… it sucks.

Start Line!

Today was Harry’s Spring Run Off aka Haley and my SECOND race! Yep made it through the 5K in January and today was our first 8K. Training has been blah since I got back from Costa Rica. I’ve barely been running and yoga-ing once a week and my longest run this year was yesterday at 5.4km.

I hate excuses just as much as the average person, but the reason why I’m not sticking to schedule comes down to time. I book my nights {yep 5 nights a week} with events, coffee dates with my mentees and late nights at work. In my head, ‘after work’ is when I should run. So I run on the weekends, then have a bad exercise {or no-exercise filled} week and run again the following weekend. I was chatting with a friend last week about my lack of evening commitment to the sport and I think morning runs are going to be my new friend.

So anyways I was expecting today to be TERRIBLE. I have run just over 10 times since the start of the year, barely attend yoga and I’ve been cramping like 5 mins into every run. So last night I’m texting my friend, Harry Saini and he told me to drink truckloads of water before a run {or a race} and that could be why I’m cramping. Then I read, you’re supposed to be fully hydrated — which means you’re pee runs clear. So I drank truckloads of water… and it worked!

Today’s race was great! It was a gorgeous day in Stanley Park and a few thousand people came out to create awareness and fundraise for prostate cancer. In my opinion, I did really well until about 6.5km. At that point I was winded and felt like I was going to throw up. The blue gatorade didn’t sit well {note to self}, I super had to pee and I was just done with running.

I ended up finishing in 54:06. I was expecting a little quicker, but all good considering that’s the longest distance I have ever run in my life! The last 0.5km I just kept chanting — I’m going to puke, I’m going to puke, I’m going to puke. Except for that one point, I jumped in the air and posed for a picture. :) I crossed the line, walked past the crowds, grabbed a juice box, sat on the ground and within a few minutes I felt superb.

So why do I think running sucks?

It’s a real test on your mental sanity:

While I’m running… think about all sorts of things — everything from someone else’s running outfit to how blessed I am to live in this beautiful city to how determined I am to beat the person in front of me. Once I prance, skip, dance my way through the first few km’s, then I switch to ‘Why am I doing this again?’  I go over all the reasons why running is good for both my mind and body — then I switch to, you shouldn’t be doing anything you don’t love. Around 5km, I end up back in the mind frame of – “I CAN DO THIS.” By the time I finish any goal or race, all I want to do is lay down in silence and let my mind and body calm down. It’s very exhausting.

You learn a hell of a lot about your body:

Running has made me give so much respect to my body. It’s a machine. Ever since I had my Scoliosis surgery, I’ve always felt limited. My breathing and lungs took a huge hit and I know I need to train them back into shape. My surgeon from Calgary, Dr. Richard Hu, told me that exercise is the best medication. He always encouraged me to drag my ass to the gym or put feet to the pavement. Nowadays, I forget that I have rods in my spine, I forget that I have weight limits and sports restrictions — instead, I just move. I move until my body tells me to stop. Even with the little running that I’ve done thus far, I feel stronger, healthier and I sleep like a baby.

I am bored out of my skull:

I have yet to figure out how people find running to be so relaxing and calming… how running allows them to escape from their brain and just breathe. I think the entire time. I play song after song after song — not engaged in a single one. After 5 or 6 songs, I’m bored of music and I want more. I want to be learning, doing, eating, something. The only thing that currently helps my boredom is changing my route. {Note: If anyone has good running routes in downtown-ish Vancouver between 5-12km, let me know!}. I’ve thought about audio books, but haven’t headed down that path yet. I know that I need to get the boredom resolved as I train for the 10-20km distances.

Finish Line!

Perhaps with any hobby or activity comes positives and negatives — but I want this whole running thing to be awesome all the time! I am 100% learning a lot. Running isn’t easy — it’s challenging! 2 months ago I never would have thought I could run 8k.

I was lucky to have my running partner in crime, Haley in town for the race — we’re both headed to Seattle for the Half Marathon in June. We ran into Kittima at the start line too!

Haley and I originally started with a list of races we wanted to do to work our way up to the Half Marathon. We had 4 in mind — but in the last few weeks we’ve added an additional 3! 10km used to be frightening, but now we feel ready for it {with a few more weeks of training}. We’ve signed up for an additional in Victoria, a fun run in Seattle and a new run taking place in Vancouver in early June. The charity is Because I am a Girl, which totally hits close to my heart — must do!

 

The updated race goals:

Not terrified of the Vancouver Sun Run in a few weeks… actually rather excited. :) Congratulations to all those who ran today — whether it be at the event or feet to the pavement anywhere in this beautiful city.

Happy Sunday!

Running Forward

At the start of every year I set goals that revolve around relationships, career, health and travel. I send a copy of them to my personal board of directors — they do their best to keep me on track and hold me accountable. By far, my best year was 2010. It was an amazing year, not even in results — but in progress. I was focused, determined and had direction.

2011 was a bit of a crapshoot. Yes I ignored my mentors. Yes I quit my corporate job.  Yes I moved to Vancouver… but still, something has been missing. Life has been up and down — and for the most part I let the unknown hold me back. I spent a lot of the year incapable of making a decision. Many amazing opportunities were presented to me, but I just couldn’t make a move. 2011 was 100% my year of being stuck.

Well stuck no longer…

Major changes have happened in both career and life.  I feel blessed to be surrounded by amazing colleagues. I love that I’m continually challenged and learning every day. I live in Vancouver… one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

I feel very lucky.

I’ve been thinking about my 2012 goals for last 3 months. I’ve been excited to end this year and start fresh with a new year. For the last few weekends I’ve been wanting to write my goals, but I told myself that I have to catch up on my email before I’m allowed to. {If you’re waiting for one… only 353 left…!}

Right now my goals are in my head — and in the next week, I will put them on paper.

Yesterday I told my coworkers that one of my 2012 goals is to run a half-marathon. Then I was told disgusting stories of what runners go through. Like disgusting. Still in shock {don’t click here}. So anyways, today I googled ‘how to run a half marathon‘ and was surprised to find out that 5K and 10K runs exist. I didn’t know this! I knew they existed out in the wilderness, but not like a proper race!

So now I feel like my goal is lofty… but I’ve said it out loud so I must PUSH FORWARD.

I’ve never been a runner. Perhaps it’s because of my Scoliosis — but it’s probably because I lived in freezing cold Alberta for the last 9 years. My only complaint against running is that I get bored — and I don’t particularly like to be alone with my thoughts. Music gives me momentum, energy and last of all, life.

Since moving to Vancouver I’ve ran 4 times. Yes, that’s not very much. The difference between Calgary and Vancouver is that this city makes me aware of my health — every single freaking day. I think about how I don’t go to the gym in my building. I think about how I don’t walk 4 blocks to run on the seawall. I think about how I don’t run to work instead of walk to work. I think about the guy who lives down the hall from me who always look ass tired and he still runs. I think about how beautiful the weather has been this winter, yet I’m still not running.

Lifestyle City. Lifestyle City. LIFESTYLE CITY.

I am better at life when I write things down, check off boxes and have something to look forward to. I know that I’m not capable to hit the ground running and jump on the marathon bandwagon without training. At the same time, if training becomes a chore, I will 100% quit quit quit. So what’s going to likely work for me? Some cute running pants, a few events to look forward to and consistency.

So here’s the plan:

At the end of this, I have no expectations to be a runner. Nor do I even think I’ll make it through the half-marathon without leg cramps. My goal is to test my heart, mind, body and soul. Yep, that’s it. Maybe I’ll fail. Maybe I’ll succeed. All I know right now is that I’ve give it a damn shot.

See you on the seawall?

Jillian

PS – I’ll obviously be the one rockin’ the neon pink running pants. ;)