Positive Thinking aka What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

After a good couple of years of mediocrity and probably being a sports psychologist’s dream I think that this might actually be a good running year for me.  The very abbreviated back story (that will probably never be expanded on) is that I had a failed experiment with heart rate training that knocked me so hard on my butt that it’s taken me a really long time to mentally come back from.  When your head’s not in it everything else is on the back burner.  Suffice it to say that I did not love my runners for a while, but I think I’m back!*

I think my turning point was being included in a UBC NIKE study on running.  They gave me a 13 week prescribed running program to follow during a time of year when I would much rather sit on my couch.  Dark, rainy, winter-y Vancouver is not my favourite place to run.  However, a treadmill and a decent amount of accountability kept me running on average 3 times a week.  So what if my runs were predominantly inside?  I’ve actually come to love my treadmill (hopefully the downstairs neighbours do too!).  We had a slightly illegal 10km race at the end and I came away with a respectable 1:05 finish time.  Considering I ran once outside in 13 weeks I’m pretty happy with that!

Another key to me being more optimistic is that around Christmas I got my hands on a downloadable goal tracker from Believe I Am.  I’m not usually one for journals – although I’m keen to get one of theirs when they’re back in stock – as I start and never finish.  But this one made me sit down and think about what I want from running this year.  I want to get faster and I want to finish my 50km race in August.  Voilà!  I suddenly found myself with goals that are attainable.  The other helpful part of the tracker was an outlook calendar.  I don’t usually race a lot, but I wanted to this year.  I’m not wealthy by any means so it’s usually a stretch to get too many races in.  But I found some affordable ones (and ways to get in free, too) and I have about one a month.  This will give me more race and trail experience, which I very obviously need in tackling an ultramarathon.

RaceSchedule copy

I haven’t paid for all of these yet, but they aren’t really negotiable anymore.    

I have goals, people, and I will darn well reach them!!

What’s on the agenda for you this year?  And will I be seeing you anywhere along the way?


*Notice that I’ve removed the subtitle “Slowly Reconciling With Running” from by blog (and on Twitter, too).  No self-defeating thoughts, please.


Getting Out The Door

This is the first time I’m “recovering” from a slump.

I hate it.

I am not fast.  I have never been fast nor have I really pretended that I am.  Sure, there have been some seemingly speedy times on my HRM, but they generally correspond with going downhill.  The only time I ever felt fast was last spring when I convinced my friend to run all out at the end of a tempo run to concentrate on something other than some personal stuff.  But that was more because I was being a good friend than it being anything I could sustain in the long run.

Dropping down from being a slow runner to an even slower runner is hard.  Not so much physically.  It’s actually kind of nice to just plod along.  But, mentally, it’s the pits.  As much as I thought I’d accepted the slow runner in me I haven’t completely.  She’s still there and I really want her to go away.  That’s going to take some work.  And it’s work that I’m not willing to do right now.  

My goals are small.  Run for an hour.  Run 4 days a week.  For now I’m just working on getting out the door.  

Resolutions, Smesolutions… I Have GOALS!


I will not call these resolutions.  Resolutions tend to be less than permanent.  It’s easy to give them up.  It’s almost as if they are there to be broken.  

Goals, on the other hand, are something to strive toward.  If I have goals they are always there.  I might meet them this year – that’s the hope, after all – but if I don’t it’s not the end of the world.  I won’t feel too let down (I hope!).  Since I met the “Run a marathon when I’m 30” goal in 2010 I’ve had to come up with a few good ones for this year.    

My Goals for 2011, in no particular order:

  • PR in the marathon!  If I work as hard as I think I will it shouldn’t be too hard.  I will be happy with one second faster than last time, but the most important thing to me is that my finish time reads 4:xx:xx.  Not sure what the “x”s stand for yet – I’ll have a more concrete time goal in mind once training’s in full swing.
  • Run another half marathon.  I’d love to run the Historic Half again in February, but money would have to come through for that to happen.  If I don’t do that one it’ll most likely be after the full.
  • Volunteer at races.  I’m already signed up to help out at the First Half Half Marathon in February.  Ideally I’d like to help out at a couple more during the year.  I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the volunteers in the races I’ve run and would love to make someone else’s race great too!
  • Maybe run a fall marathon.  I have mixed feelings about training through the summer – how many times was it too hot to run?  Definitely a decision to be made in a few months.
  • Eat better.  Self explanatory.  Work harder at planning meals and having healthy choices (for all of us) in the house on a consistent basis.
  • Drink water.  Not my first choice of beverage, but it really needs to be.  This should be the easiest goal to achieve… hopefully.  I need to stop having “alternatives” (cough*pop*cough) in the house.  
  • Work on Core/Strength/Stretch 2-3x/week.  My hip flexors will love me, I’ll be stronger, I’ll look better (goodbye muffin-top), I’ll feel better about myself, etc.  Again, shouldn’t be hard to do – I’ll just need to get my act together and keep it up.
And here is the biggest goal of the year:
  • Run 1250 miles.  Now that might seem like a kind of random number.  However, I’m Canadian and I run in kilometres (see blog name).  So 1250 miles x 1.609344 = 2011.68km. Given that the year is 2011 I think that it’s a pretty darn good goal.  It also means that I’ll have to run 38.some-odd kilometres/24 miles per week.  Obviously some will be shorter and some will be longer, but I really do think that it will be attainable.  Especially if I keep going back to that big, bold word at the top of this post… FOCUS!

Winning Stuff Makes Up For A Running Slump, Right?

So this last week has been a good week for me in the world of blog contests! As posted last Tuesday I won a Road ID certificate. I promptly “spent” it on new wristbands for me and Colin as well as a pair of reflective laces for each of us.

When I posted about that win Zaneta commented to let me know that I had won her contest. Here’s what I’m going to be getting in the mail soon! I’m very excited! I have never tried the Tri-berry GU and the chocolate ones look like they’ll be fantastic. I actually already have a water bottle like this one, but it’s over a year old and is due for replacement. Besides, the blue is far prettier than my black one!

Today’s good news was that I checked back on a Facebook contest that I entered and found out that I had won that too! I get a Nathan Hydration Quickdraw Plus water bottle. At 22 oz. it’s bigger than the one above (10 oz.). It should be perfect for my runs that are about 10km long. Another reason I like it is that it should fit in the cup holder on Spud’s stroller. Right now we just chuck a Nalgene underneath, but it’s really inconvenient to stop and take a drink. I’ve seen lots of other bloggers with this bottle and they all seem to love it so I’m pretty happy. I chose the green because I figured Colin might want to use it too (the teal was getting a little girly).

I’m really hoping that all this new gear is going to get me off my butt and out the door! Since the marathon I’ve run a whopping two times. Yup, that’s twice in two weeks. Bah! I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have the accountability of a clinic right now or if I’m burned out or what. Probably a little bit of both as well as the typical crappy Vancouver rain has shown up again for fall so my motivation is pretty low. I have a lofty goal list of working my way up to 4 days/week and 2-3 days of core work/week before the end of December. So far it’s looking like that might start in November instead. Thankfully I have a couple of awesome running friends from my marathon clinic that are interested in fairly regular runs so that should help me out some. We’re going for our first run tomorrow night and it’ll be nice to have to honour that commitment.


Let me introduce myself to those of you who aren’t family and friends that have been badgered into reading this. I’m Alanna. I’m a married mum of one living in the lovely suburbs of Vancouver, B.C. and I have crazily set myself the goal of running a marathon.

There, I said it. I am planning on running a whopping 42km in October, although “running” might be stretching the truth. A good time would be nice, but isn’t necessary. I think I’ll just be happy with crossing the finish line of my own accord.

This blog/journal/online accounting of my journey to The Marathon (capitalized to give it the respect it deserves) is going to be my way of holding myself accountable. Please, please sign up or bookmark this site to follow my journey. You don’t have to check in often (unless you are really that interested in my progress), but I figure that the more people out there who will ask me how my training is going the better.

There won’t be much activity on here for a while as my marathon clinic doesn’t begin until 10 June 2010. I’ll post infrequently about my half marathon training (which my husband C is doing with me) and my foray into bootcamp (which he is not and makes fun of me for). I’ll write more about why I thought running The Marathon would be a good goal to have – something about turning 30… I’m sure that there will be ramblings about things that seem to have very little to do about running as well as my love-hate relationship with the sport.

So, for now, this is me.

In about 6 months, I’ll be a marathoner.