Sheryl Jesin

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Today’s long run

I woke up this morning feeling a bit blah. My stomach was feeling off and I couldn’t tell if I was getting a cold or not. I contemplated postponing my planned 9 mile long run as my half marathon training schedule allows for some flexibility. A step-back week is coming up next week and I thought about swapping it with this week’s schedule, so that I would only have to run 4 miles today.

I hemmed and hawed and then I decided to bring along fluids and food so that I could complete my 9 miles. I also gave myself an “out” – if I felt horrible at 4 miles I would stop.

I ran two miles on a trail near our house, and then headed back. After those 4 miles I had some water mixed with Vega Sport’s Electrolyte Hydrator and a date. I was feeling strong and decided to go for it and finish my 9 miles.

The last 3 miles were not easy, and the last mile was HARD. I probably looked at my iPhone about 10 times during that final mile to see if I was done yet! My legs felt heavy and achy and slow, but I completed those 9 miles!

I now know that if I wait until the perfect day, I will never run! There is always an excuse why I shouldn’t run – my stomach hurts, I’m tired, Benjamin seems cranky, the laundry needs folding, I don’t have enough time before I have to pick up Dylan from school, I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, it’s too cold out, it’s raining, it’s too hot out. I can go on and on….

So instead of waiting for a perfect day for my long run, I took today’s imperfect conditions and did my best with how I was feeling! I finished my 9 miles tired and achy, but also feeling strong and confident! (I should add that my stomach was fine during the run and the cold has not yet shown up!) There is no guarantee that on race day I will be feeling amazing, and now I know I can run 9 miles with a weird stomach and an itchy throat. The 13.1 miles that I will be running in my half marathon seems a lot more approachable after today’s run.


Half Marathon Training Weeks 5 and 6

Week 6 of my half marathon training is now over…meaning that I am half way there with just a short 6 weeks to go until the big day.

My runs for weeks 5 and 6 were as follows:

Week 5 – 3 miles, 7 miles, 2 miles and 3 miles

Week 6 – 2 miles, 8 miles, 2 miles and 3.5 miles (one of those 2s was supposed to be a 3 but somehow I got confused…oh well!)

I’m not going to lie – the long runs felt LONG.  7 miles was hard, and 8 was even harder.  Before I go on a long run, I am always excited about the challenge, but it can also seem really daunting.   More than a few times during the long runs the negative talk in my head was a bit out of control.  It went something like this:  Why did I think I could run a half marathon?  This was a terrible idea.  Anything more than 10k is just stupid.  My legs are tired.  I’m hot.  I’m thirsty.  I can’t do this.  Why did I think that I could do this with two little kids at home?  I am the world’s slowest runner.  I’m not a real runner.

However, as the miles passed, I tried to silence the negative talk.   I also tried to break  the run down into manageable chunks.  I just concentrated on completing one mile at a time, because I know I can run one mile easily!   After mile 7 of my 8 miler I was very hot and very tired (summer arrived very early this week in Toronto), but I know I only had 1 mile left and 1 mile is easy peasy!  I pushed through that last mile and was thrilled and very proud of myself when I was done.

Signs of spring, as seen on my run

Life’s daily tasks, just like running, can seem very overwhelming with so many things to do!  Sometimes just getting myself and the kids up and ready in the morning so we can take Dylan to school seems nearly impossible!  There are so many little things to do – make the beds, throw in a load of laundry, get Benjamin dressed, make breakfast, clean up, get the kids in the car etc.  Each task on itself isn’t that hard, but all of them together can seem like too much.  So I try to conquer each distinct task at a time, and that helps me get through the morning rush.   So, lessons learned running also apply to my life – just like I tackle long runs one mile at a time, I know I also have to complete things at home one task at time, and eventually everything will get done!


Half-Marathon Training – Week 4

Can’t believe I am four weeks into my training already.  8 weeks left to go!

This was a step-back week, so my long run was only 4 miles.  In addition to the long run, I ran 2 miles, 3 miles and 3 miles.

I’ve decided to pick up the speed a bit too.  I’ve been running slowly because that’s what I’m used to, and I keep thinking I am a slow runner.   This week I’ve realized that I am actually quite capable of running faster, so I will continue to push myself!  I snuck in a run this Wednesday because Benjamin was with my mom at a playgroup.  I dropped him off at 9:45, was home and in my running gear by 10, ran a fast 5k (fast for me) in 30 mins, showered in 2 mins, mixed up a quick Vega protein shake, and was out the door again to pick him up for 11!  Phew!  Just made it in the nick of time – it’s amazing how having a limited amount of time to run really motivated me to go fast!

The weather has been warming up and one of my 3 milers was done on a warm and sunny day, in 10 degree Celsius weather.  Believe it or not, I actually felt too hot!  I was wearing running tights and a thin long sleeve pullover but I think I could have worn shorts and been ok.  I will be prepared for the next nice day!

My long solo run yesterday almost didn’t happen as Dylan has been sick all weekend with a fever.  But my lovely husband watched the kids and I snuck out for a run just before dinner.   I usually like to run in the morning, but with kids you take these opportunities as they come, even if it means half of my run was done in the dark!!

I really want to get a real double jogging stroller so I can run with both kids…I can’t decide which one to buy though!  I’ve been thinking of buying a Chariot that can also be a bike trailer.  Something like this:

Any suggestions readers??


Half-Marathon Training – Weeks 2 and 3

So I’m already 3 weeks into my half marathon training…just 9 weeks left until the big day!  It is hard to believe that in just over 2 months I will be running the longest distance I have ever run  – 13.1 miles.  Up until now, the longest I’ve gone is 10k or about 6 miles, so I will be doubling that distance plus a bit.  Yikes!!

I managed to get in all of my planned runs in weeks 2 and 3.

Week 2 had me running 2 miles, 3 miles, 3 miles and 5 miles.

Week 3 had me running 2 miles, 3 miles, 3 miles and 6 miles.

I did the 6 miler today.   It was a fairly mild but windy day in Toronto today, and somehow I had the bright idea of running the 6 miles on my parents’ treadmill.   This turned out to be a very bad idea.  2 miles in I was bored out of my mind and also too hot!  I’ve really gotten used to the cold running temps and running in room temperature with no breeze did not feel nice at all.

So after 2 miles I bundled up and headed outside to finish up the final 4 miles.  Much much much better!  Part of the reason I love running so much is that it gives me a chance to get outside in the winter, when I normally would be inside.

Week 4 will be a step back week where my long run is only 4 miles.   This will give my body a chance to rest up a bit before the next week, where I will be attempting 7 miles – my longest distance to date.  I really enjoy the challenge of the long runs.  I know that I need to work on my speed because I am SO SLOW (12 minute miles??!!) but for now I don’t want to get injured, so slow it is!

Related to injuries, I’m never quite sure when my running shoes are worn out.  I find they tend to last me around 4-6 months and towards the last few weeks of their life, I start to get weird aches and pains.  For the last 2 weeks I’ve been feeling a twinge of a pain in my left ankle after a run and I wasn’t sure if it was because I have been running a lot, or because my shoes are worn out.

I’ve been wearing my current pair since September, so I decided to treat myself to some new shoes this week.  I stopped by my local Running Room  and purchased a pair of Mizuno Wave Elixir 7s.   Tried them out today on my 6 mile run and they were amazing!!!

They are really light weight but still provide support for over pronators, such as myself.  It also doesn’t hurt that they are purple with a fun tiger print pattern that is a bit 80s but kinda cool!   My ankle is feeling good, so it appears that my new shoes were actually a need, rather than just a want.

Have you purchased any fun new running gear lately?


Registration is Complete

Everyone is an athlete.  The only difference is some of us are in training, and some are not.  ~ Dr. George Sheehan

It’s official.  Tonight I registered for the GoodLife Toronto Half-Marathon on May 6, 2012.  It is 12 weeks away and training starts tomorrow.  So, according to the quote above, does that mean I am an athlete??

I’ve never ever thought of myself as an athlete.  I was certainly not an athlete in high school.  I was on the volleyball team for a year, but I’m pretty sure they let anyone who tried out join the team.  In university I went to the gym here and there.   I’ve dabbled in yoga and pilates and have always tried to go for walks whenever I have a chance.

I started running in July 2011 and ran my first race, a 5k in September.  I still didn’t feel like a real runner, even after completing that race.  A 5k didn’t feel like a big deal – my husband Jake didn’t even train for the race and still beat me.

However, this half-marathon feels like a BIG DEAL.  It requires real training and I dare to say, actual athletic ability?  A real RUNNER runs a half marathon…an ATHLETE can run 13.1 miles or 21 km.

I feel a bit nervous…will I have time to train properly?  What if I get sick, or my kids get sick, and I miss some runs?  What if it is cold, and icy and I don’t feel like running?  (Still haven’t purchased a treadmill yet, so for now all my runs will be outside!)

I’m trying to think positive instead of worrying about all the what-ifs.   I’ve been trying to think positively in all aspects of my life, not just with respect to running.  I’ve realized that I tend to have a negative soundtrack playing in my mind, and I want that to stop!  It’s not doing me any good!

So here’s to the power of positive thinking over the next 12 weeks!  I can do it!


2012 Goals – Running a half marathon

I started running in July 2011 and I’ve been having a lot of fun.   I trained all summer and ran my first race – the Yorkville Run 5k – in September.   It was such an exhilarating  experience – normally running is a solitary experience for me (other than sometimes pushing Ben in the stroller) and it was so great to get out there and run with hundreds of other people around downtown Toronto.   I felt so proud running across the finish line knowing that I had set a goal for myself and reached it.

After that race I knew I wanted to run another one.  I originally thought I’d try a 10k in the spring, but I now want to try something more challenging.   I’ve already run the 10k distance a number of times on my normal weekly runs.  I thought about training to improve my time but for some reason the long distance of a half marathon is calling out to me.

So I’m going to run the Goodlife Toronto Half Marathon on May 6, 2012.  That means I will be running 21km, or 13.1 miles with 7,000 other people!

Running a half marathon definitely requires real prepration.   I’m going to be following a training plan set out in the No Meat Athlete Half Marathon Roadmap.    It is a 12 week training plan for vegetarian athletes (such as myself!).

I plan on running 4 times a week – with 3 short runs during the week and 1 long run each weekend.   I will likely be doing the short runs pushing Ben in the stroller and hopefully doing the long runs on my own.  We are going to be getting a treadmill so I can get runs in even if the weather is not co-operating.   My first choice is always to run outside but sometimes that can’t happen if it’s super cold or icy and slippery.

My goal with this half marathon is just to finish it.  I don’t have a specific time goal in mind.  I want to remain injury free while training and I want to have fun with this!

My half marathon is 14 wks away so my training officially begins in 2 wks.   I can’t wait!

I will be posting my training progress here over the next few months.   I hope you will enjoy reading about it!

Do you have any exercise related goals for 2012?  Are any of you training for spring races?