Sheryl Jesin


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Half-Marathon Training – Weeks 7, 8, 9, 10

Half-marathon training has been progressing nicely, even though I haven’t been very good at blogging about it!

I’ve switched from running 4 days a week to running either 3 or 4 days a week, depending on how I’m feeling.   I find that my legs really need that extra day off running to rest and recover.   In lieu of the 4th run, I’ve been cross-training with either Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred DVD, or a workout from my Nike Training Club App.

Here’s what I’ve done the last 4 weeks:

Week 7 – 2 miles, 9 miles, 4 miles

Week 8 – 3 miles, 4 miles, 4 miles, 2 miles

Week 9 – 2 miles, 10 miles, 4 miles

Week 10 – 3 miles, 11 miles, 2 miles (planned), 6 miles (planned – Yonge St. 10k)

As you can see, my long run has progressed to 11 miles.  I ran the 11 miles today.  I don’t want to say it was easy, because it wasn’t, but it was definitely manageable.  I find the long runs to be empowering, and they give me a sense of accomplishment.   When I’m feeling stressed during my daily activities (kids won’t go to bed, kitchen is a disaster after dinner) I often think back to my run and think that if I can run 9, or 10, or 11 miles then I can certainly get the kids to bed or clean up the kitchen!!

The long runs are also draining.  I find I am energized and have a runner’s high after a 3 or 4 mile run, but after 11 miles, I’m tired.  And it doesn’t really matter that I’m tired.  It’s not like I can put my legs up for the rest of the day or have a nap – I still have my kids to chase after, groceries to buy and dinner to make.  Oh and I’m not complaining.  I chose to run the half-marathon and I’m still glad that I’m training for it and doing it.   I’m just saying it’s draining.   Because it is!  I have new found respect for every athlete that is also a mom.

While the long runs are tiring, I’m grateful that I can do them.  I often run through a beautiful cemetery near our house.  Here’s one of the stunning views I experience on my runs:

There is something very humbling about being able to run through a cemetery.  I’ve witnessed a truck digging a grave a few times, and I’ve also run by a few funerals.   There’s nothing like being reminded of death to make you think about life, and what you want to make of it!  As Steve Jobs so eloquently said in his 2005 Standford commencement address, “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent.”

So I will end with that deep thought.  Goodnight!


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Another race

So I decided to register for another race.  In two weeks I will be running my first 10k along with my brother-in-law, my running partner in crime.  We signed up for the Yonge St. 10k.   It promises to be a big, fun, downhill race down Yonge St.  My first race, the Yorkville 5k Run, had about 500 runners, and this one has 15,000….quite a difference…I’m excited and a bit scared too!

We figured this would be a nice way to ease into our half-marathon on May 6th.   Plus the starting line is just a few blocks from my house.   How could I resist?

I don’t plan on “racing” the 10k, as I don’t want to get injured close to the half-marathon.  I plan on taking it slow and easy, with the goal of having fun and just finishing.

Readers, any of you out there planning on running the Yonge St. 1ok?


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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!


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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??


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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?


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Half Marathon Training – Week 1

Week one of half marathon training is complete!  It felt great getting back into a training program.  I’ve kept up my running since my 5k back in September, but having a race to train for gives me a motivational boost on lazy days to actually get out there and run.

I honestly never thought I’d like running in the winter.  I started running in July and just assumed that becoming a sweaty mess with a beet red face was just part of being a runner.   In the summer I’d always run as soon as I woke up to avoid the hot temperatures and the blazing sun.

As the temperatures got cooler over the fall, I bought some warmer running clothing and embraced the lower temperatures.  I realized that in the cold weather it is easier to go faster and if I get hot I can just take off a layer or unzip a zipper.  I can run at any time of the day and not worry about the sun or overheating.

We’ve had a pretty mild winter here in Toronto, so that probably is part of the reason why I love winter running so much.  Most days there is barely any snow on the ground so the roads have been clear.   On the occassional times when there has been some snow, I just slow down.  My goal on snowy days is to just get out there and not worry at all about my pace.  The most important thing is to not fall and get injured!

I ran 4 times this week – twice pushing Ben in the stroller and twice by myself.  I did three shorter runs this week (2 miles, 3 miles and 3 miles) and one long run today of 4 miles.  My weekend long runs will be slowly increasing.  When I woke up this morning, I saw a lovely layer of snow on the ground.  I was actually really excited to run in it.  I checked the weather forecast and saw that the temperatures would be rising above freezing and I wanted to get out there before everything turned into a slushy mess.   Here was my view during my run today:

The trees were so pretty!  I loved hearing the crunch of the snow under my feet.  I’m usually cold right when I go out the door and for the first km or so, but then I warm up and it feels really good to be outside in the fresh air.

Something interesting I’ve noticed about running – runners are friendly!  When I’m running in the cemetery or trail near our house,  9 times out of 10 other runners say hi or good morning when we pass by each other.  9 times out of 10 walkers do NOT say hi.  Why is that?


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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!