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When life calls for offline presence

Being one of those people for whom online and offline presence are indissolubly merged into one, the thought that offline life has a higher value or is more “real” does not really resound with me.

To me online presence is another way of presence, just as real as physical presence. It provides me with a means to communicate, to document, to relax. To virtually spend time together with my parents and sisters who live thousands of kilometers away. To follow the lives of aunts and cousins. To be in touch with old school friends. To learn, to share, to discover. I remember how life was before the internet, and it was a poorer existence.

Nevertheless, there are times where life calls for more offline and less online presence.

The past 3 weeks have been like that. My very dear friend and my children’s grandma passed away. Thankfully all her family had the opportunity to see her and say goodbye, and this is a great comfort. But the grief of having lost a loved one hits sometimes. That realization that we will not see each other soon is painful. At the same time I feel so grateful that she was a part of our lives, and have countless fond memories of our many years of friendship to remember.

The passing of Hanne coincided with my starting in a new position at work. I might have underestimated how demanding it is to start a new job even in the same organization. My brain is filled up with new information and there are no established processes or routines for me yet – it’s all new. So coming home in the evening I can barely do anything else than sit and stare after a long day at work.

Finally, the knee injury has meant that I have not been running for weeks. I had all sorts of good intentions to do some other type of exercise but I did not pull through. It seems that running is about the only thing I am really willing to do. For now, I just feel (and look) heavy.

As a consequence, my energy levels have been very low lately. I have had difficulties sleeping at night. No appetite for blogging, just trying to prioritize the necessary and put everything else on stand by.

Regarding my knee, I hoped that resting for 3 weeks would help. I went out for a very short test run of 2 kms yesterday. I must still be careful and pay attention to my knee, the way my feet land on the ground, my breathing…but I was pleased that it worked out ok.

Hopefully by being careful and starting from scratch I will get my running back on track.

After all, spring is here, and this is the perfect time for running!

Have a wonderful week and a good run

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Glorious desserts

Don’t you agree that half of the pleasure of eating a great dessert is its presentation?

The dessert itself need not be over complicated before it is a feast for the eyes and the senses.

Whether it is a light fruit sorbet with liquorice powder, a delicious pannacotta with nuts or a merengue cloud covered with whipped cream and topped with berries, or just a latte and a biscuit, it’s all about taking the time to look, smell, taste and enjoy every bite.

Have a nice run and a nice day!

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The longest distance

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Last Sunday’s run was special, beyond the fact that it was the first time that I ran 12 kms. I ran with someone and for someone else.

My life partner accompanied me. He has now officially become my coach and agreed to run with me once a week, and bicycle beside me on the longer runs. His presence is a huge support on longer distances. So it’s goodbye to being a lone runner (at least twice a week).

I dedicated my running effort to one of my loved ones, and that was the reason that I managed to pull through and did not stop at km 9. I know my running will unfortunately not cure her, but somehow it helps me to process the sorrow, impotence and loss that I feel. I have decided to engage myself in public runs that have a charitable purpose or raise money for cancer research. If I’m going to run, it might as well be useful to someone else.

I have never run with music and I try to practice “mindful running”. I focus on my breathing and how my body reacts. Sometimes it feels like giving birth. When the physical effort requires so much focus and endurance that you are immersed in a bubble.

I had a sense of achievement and progress after the 12 kms. I even started believing that the HM on April 27th was doable. But the bad news is that I have not been able to run for a week and I think I have injured my right knee.

This is quite a set back, so I am redefining my most inmediate goals and I am cautious about pushing myself. I think I have to take one week at a time.

As long as I cannot run, I plan to do some cross training and yoga. I will need to be disciplined about it, as it’s not part of my routine right now and can easily be neglected in the course of a hectic week. I have to make it a priority, as I would with running. I hope that will help me keep a bit of endurance for when I am able to run again.

Oh, and maybe I should also work on these excercises

Painful knees? Check out these excercises

Do you run for a good cause? Have you had knee injuries? How did they affect your training plans and what did you do to recover?

Running and the end of zapping

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I have been taking everyday pictures of my running activity and healthy endeavors, wanting to share them with you. I am fortunate enough to live close to the city but still have beautiful natural surroundings and even wildlife in my garden every now and then. Some days ago we had Mr. Fox on a visit. Unfortunately I have been a bit short of time (and inspiration) to write lately.

After a disappointing couple of months running wise, I am back on the saddle, trying not to lose my training focus and keeping up with your stories. I find there are so many positive messages in the posts I follow, they make me in a good mood, thank you for sharing.

You know, I have noticed that I am better at making conscious choices and prioritizing my spare time than I was before I started running. This is true regardless of the quality of my training.

“Killing time” in front of the TV does not really happen to me anymore. I am not even watching the news. I choose Netflix and read online news. I do not stay up late, as I want my body to rest and be ready to run. I drink more water. I am generally more relaxed and focused.

So this is still a happy story for me, even though there are 3 areas that I want to deal with where I can see important room for improvement:

1. Learning about running techniques and trying to avoid injuries
2. My eating habits and resulting weight
3. Seeking training support (coaching)

More to come on these three subjects on upcoming posts.

Have a great run!

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Time for Plan B

Since I am several weeks behind training schedule for my first “trial” half-marathon in April, some evaluation and adjustments are in order.

Let’s see…10 kms has been my longest running distance to date. With 8 weeks left to the race, I am a bit concerned that I don’t have enough time to build up, and might end up with an injury.

Cold weather conditions and the darkness have affected my training discipline quite drastically in January and February. On the plus side, the days are getting longer, warmer, and spring is fast approaching now!

I have found it difficult to run alone, especially when I have not felt top motivated. I have also struggled a bit with a painful right knee, so I am trying to be careful.

Finally, I have not been consistent about hydration and diet, and this has clearly had a negative impact on my ability to run longer distances.

Question is: am I still up for this half-marathon or should I call it off and take the next in line?

After some consideration, I have decided to train as if I were to run in April anyway, and make a decision 2 weeks before the race.

If my body is ready by then, I figure that it will do me good to try the distance and learn something useful for the Broløbet half-marathon in September.

I have talked to some experienced runners who have reassured me and offered advice on how to adapt the training program. With their comments in mind, I have made a new running schedule. I am also reaching out for support in order to stick to it.

My primary goal now is to build on distance without getting injuries, slowly but surely. And whether I become ready for April 27th or not remains to be seen.

What about you? Have you ever had to reconsider your training and participation to a race? Have you ever backed out of a race?

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Relative improvements count too

Did I meet my training goals this week? No. Am I happy? Definitely yes!

I have made a relative improvement compared to last week, going from training once a total distance of 3 kms, to running 3 times this week, 5-4-2 kms.

My 2 km run today was extremely short, embarrassingly so. I basically had to run back home after one kilometer because I could not feel my fingers!

It’s minus 4 degrees Celsius and I was not equipped for the icy wind and freezing cold. I had my winter tights on, my hat, my long-sleeved termo t-shirt, but my H&M running gloves are clearly not designed for these temperatures and after a short while I had to head back home.

Instead of feeling disappointed about today’s failed running attempt, I decided to look for an alternative that would make me feel good. That ruled out taking “the last resort” (45 minutes on the crosstrainer), so I did some yoga instead. I highly recommend this yoga app with 20, 40 or 60 minutes sessions. It’s so convenient to just press play and practise yoga anywhere and anytime. And I like the relaxing sound of waves in the background.

Have a great week and happy running everyone!

How do you outsmart your comfort-seeking self?

Help! I am in training trouble! I managed to build up a running rythm during the Christmas break and was pretty certain that my 5-8-10 kms a week plan during january would be somewhat manageable – but this last week I have hit an all time catastrophic low, with one single wimpy jog of 3 kms in 7 days!

The thing that makes me despair, is that I do not have a single good excuse for it – no injuries, and certainly no exhaustion! I did go on a business trip last week, but I knew the hotel had a gym and I deliberately chose not to bring my training gear with me. I am no good at confined spaces, artificial lightning and training equipment, that combination does nothing for me.

Then there was the day where I felt a bit off and I thought it was best to postpone my running. And it just went downhill from there, really. I gave myself all sorts of explanations as to why it could not be done right now, and why it would be more convenient and fit better into my plans if I did it tomorrow.

On Saturday morning I put on my running clothes, went out of the door, and half a minute later had returned home. It was very windy and freezing cold and I got completely disheartened even before I began. The weather has been very discouraging for the past three days, and with my present state of mind it actually doesn’t take more for me to give up.We have a crosstrainer at home which I look upon as the last resort. It’s dull and joyless. Yep, you guessed right. On Saturday I ended up on the crosstrainer, bored out of my mind.

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I need a strategy in order to outsmart my comfort-seeking self, and I know the only thing that will get me back on track is to plan for the trainings and execute them, to get out of the door and do it without allowing myself the time to think about it. These past months have taught me that running is its own reward, and that it pays off to make the effort, and yet staying indoors can still be most tempting sometimes.

So my plan for the coming week is as follows: I will run whatever the weather  3 days next week, I have already decided which days and at what time. I will have everything ready the night before so I can put my clothes on as soon as I jump out of bed in the morning. I will try to remember this musical theme if I feel weak, as I think it just might do the trick!

Chariots of fire

Chariots of fire

I am pretty sure that I can improve my time with these weather conditions, because they are so unpleasant that you just want to get done with the running as soon as possible!

We will see how things progress this week. I have entered a local running group that gathers sometimes to run together. Everyone is welcome to join in through their Facebook group and participate in the trainings. So far I haven’t joined because it did not suit my schedule and because they run on average 5’45”/km and I am not sure I can keep up with that pace. But running with others might prove effective in order to commit to the training.

What strategies do you have to outsmart comfort-seeking behaviour and help you stick to your training plans?

Rocking the sedentary job mode

People that work sitting down on their butt for 8+ hours a day might relate to this. My back aches pretty badly sometimes. I have found a very skilled chiropractor that helped me when it got critical. And I think running/physical activity has helped too. Some of us have workplaces including a gym, some of us don’t. In any case, taking the opportunity to be physically active (even if only for a few minutes at a time) during office hours is generally accepted as a good and healthy practice that enhances our productivity. I had a colleague that used to encourage me to take the 6 floors staircase up from the canteen to my office after each lunch. But if he wasn’t around, I automatically took the elevator option. This might be obvious to everyone else, but I had not really understood how valuable those stairs could be, and did what was in my power to avoid them. I have promised myself to create the habit of automatically taking the stairs after lunch. Later I want to take the stairs in the morning and when I finish work as well. I will carry the essential toiletteries in a little bag, so I don’t have to worry or feel self-conscious about being sweaty among my colleagues. After all, this is an easy way to be physically active everyday and vary my training. So I would like to commit to not taking the lazy way, at least not each time!

What about you? Do you exercise, walk up the stairs or do something else to be active at work?

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