Sunday, March 12, 2017

Your First Time

You always remember your first time

Some of us thought about our first time for years- planning and thinking about how “it “would feel. For some of us, it just happened quickly without a lot of thought or prep.

You probably discussed it at great lengths with your friends- especially the ones that had already done it. Everyone had advice to give – all the different ways to do it- I had no idea? When the day came, you were excited and probably a bit nervous not truly knowing what to expect.

For some it was so quick, you barely stopped to breathe …but for some, you took your time and went slow- savouring every minute. Some of you bragged after it was all over and some of us just kept it to ourselves, quietly basking in the afterglow.

MY first time was special. I remember the music pumping around me and I could barely hear my partner next to me.  They looked at me and smiled and our hearts raced with excitement. THIS WAS IT! WE were really going to do IT! We had been talking about it and planning it for a few months and that moment was finally here. We had taken all the precautions to be safe.  They had more experience and had done it before, but for me- it was all new. I knew in my heart it was MY time.

We started off slow and my pulse began to quicken and my breathing became heavy.  I felt my body resist at first as I tried to keep up.  It wasn’t long before I was hot and sweaty and wanted to peel off the clothes already sticking to my body. We took our time and enjoyed the moment- we had to pace ourselves but there was no going back once we started.

When it was all over, we were so happy and that experience bonded us! I knew we would do it again someday and I couldn’t wait!


That was how I felt when I ran my first Tele10 race last year!! J

I remember standing behind the starting line in a sea of 4000 + people. The opening riff to Guns’& Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” was booming through the loud speakers and you could feel the excitement in the crowd. Everyone was ready to go. An air gun sounded and we were off!!  The large crowd all moving together, some running fast out of the gate and some swiftly walking behind the runners.

I ran it with my LTR buddy (she had walked it the year before) and we had trained for a few months with the LTR. I really didn’t know what to expect – the weather was sunny, then flash rain and then sunny again but that didn’t matter to us.
 Along the route we spoke to many people. There was an older lady whose family was pushing her in a wheelchair. There was a firefighter running with an oxygen tank on his back. There was a newly married couple running their first race together. EVERYONE had a story and I was blessed to hear some of them. On the sides of the road there was tremendous support- strangers cheering us all on! Signs of positive encouragement everywhere! The sense of community was overwhelming! Topsail road,the road that I drove down every single day to get to work was transformed - everything had a different perspective and I felt that tele10 wonder. PRC had a table set up along the route like a VIP lounge and someone passed me a small baggy of candy. I can tell you that nothing ever tasted as sweet as those few gummy bears and I greedily gobbled them in seconds!!


We did walk / run intervals and it took us over 2 hours. Not record breaking times but definitely proud to finish it! Crossing the finish line, we held hands and jumped like 2 fools! We had both worked so very hard, to lose almost 300 lbs between us-and learn to run… this was our victory lap!!

So as you start to think about goals for 2017, think about training and signing up for the 90th anniversary race of the Tele10  (July 23, 2017) If it will be your first time, I promise it will be special!  For most of you that have run it multiple times over the years, you are rock stars and are really “GOOD AT IT “by now so smile to yourself as you look back and remember your “first time.”

I will be “doing it “again this year J

-Robyn


***Now if you thought I was talking about something else in the beginning, go back and read it againJ

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Power of "I CAN"

       
I wasn’t always a runner- in fact I am fairly new to running. When someone asked me last year what my “pace” was, I learned that “slow” was not the appropriate answer :)

We all run for different reasons. Some people run to lose weight- I actually started running because I lost weight and I felt I had something to prove to myself.

Someone told me a long time ago that I couldn’t run. I was told I was too big and my legs were too short (and my big boobs didn’t help either) I took those words to heart and didn't run!

Weighing in at +300 lbs, I decided that I needed to make a change. In Feb 2013, I signed up for weight watchers and headed to a water fitness class that same night and my journey to a healthier life began. I learned how to eat healthy and exercised 3x per week.  I lost 65 lbs in 10 months and then had weight loss surgery in Dec 2013. Over the next year, I lost another 100 lbs and continued to stay active.  With my new body and my increased fitness level, I saw my confidence increase so I tried many activities and then I thought – what about running?? What have I got to lose?

I remember the first time I ran- I was literally walking down my street and I thought,” I am just going to run for as long as I can and time myself “-so I started my timer and set off like a flash down the street! I pushed myself until my legs were burning and my lungs were going to burst! When I stopped and looked at my timer, it said 30 SECONDS!  Seriously!?! I realized 2 things that day.  #1- I totally sucked at running and #2 – it was OK that I sucked at running because I could actually RUN! There was no reason why I couldn’t try to learn to run!  I would finally prove that girl wrong from years ago!

I downloaded the C25K running app and did that for a while but felt if I needed more accountability, so when a good friend and PRC member posted last Spring that the LTR program was starting up, I signed up right away and have been running ever since! I am still not at a “let’s do an easy 15K ” kind of a runner  but I am a runner all the same and have come a long way from my sprint down my street! I have hit quite a few PB’s (personal bests- NOT pee breaks as I mistakenly once thought) and am still learning the ropes but slow and steady wins the race!!

So for the record- the girl that said I couldn’t run years ago…that was ME and I proved myself wrong! Never tell yourself that you cannot do something!  Today, I have multiple 5K’s under my belt plus my first Tele10 last year with my best LTR buddy. Our proudest moments aren't always the medals we achieve - sometimes our proudest moments are when no one is looking. 
 I plan do many more including a half marathon someday because I tell myself now that I CAN!

Much thanks for reading my story 
- Robyn Schwerdtfeger 

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”-Zig Zagler


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Chase the Race

There are so many different takes on racing in the club. Some love it, some hate. A lot of my friends do it for “the bling”. I personally love racing. There’s no better felling to me than crossing the finish line.

Sue always said “Andrew, you are so competitive, that’s why you like racing so much”. And at first I would deny deny deny. I thought I am not competitive. I don’t care if someone beats me, I am one of the slowest males in the races most times, if I was competitive I wouldn’t race because there’s no way I can compete with most males, especially in my age category.  But one day I realized, I am competitive, but not with anyone else, but with myself. I want to be the best me I can be so I compete with myself to get there. If that means I throw in some friendly competition with Brenda, Derek, or Erin, so be it. If they beat me, they beat me, but at least it pushes both parties to reach their full potential.

To me races are a measurement for improvement. People can tell you, you’ve gotten faster or stronger, but you don’t know for sure until you race and find out for sure. 
I love everything about the race process: going to get my bib, putting the bib on my shirt 5000 times until it’s centred and straight(ish), putting my clothes out the night before, making the strategy, the dive to the race, the prerace atmosphere, and then of course the race.


When that gun goes off I turn into a different person. People are now targets (ok ok maybe I’m more competitive than I thought) and the only things that matter are me and that watch. When the race starts I hit paces that I can never hit during a regular run, maybe it’s the atmosphere, maybe it’s the competitor in me, or maybe it’s the face it’s being recorded. I have no idea.  I do know that it feels awesome to go out there and run like I can’t normally run.  When I cross that finish line, I feel such a great sense of accomplishment, whether I hit my goal or not, knowing that I did my best and I gave it my all.  Race season will begin in just over a month, and I’m super excited to get back at it! See you all at the start line!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Watching the watch.

There are many different views on the running watch. Some people wear them just to record their training, some to find out how far they are going/have gone, some people use it to track their pace and others don’t wear one at all and just trust their body.  Each of these and more are totally excellent reasons why to or not to wear a running watch.

For the first year I ran with the club, I didn’t have a watch at all. I did have an ipod nano on a watch strap that I would use from time to time, but because it didn’t have a gps, the pace was never right and the distances were always a little off. I mainly used it for time during big races with km markers, but didn’t rely on it a whole lot. I mostly relied on my body but without know how was I have gone or how far I had left, it didn’t always work in my favour.

So after a year plus in the club, I decided that it was likely I was going to keep up with my running, and bought a running watch. One of the main purposes of buying it was to try to help my break 30 on my 5k. However it took a lot of training and learning how to use the watch before I could make this happen.

I did the first 5k of the year. The Holyrood Chilly Dash. I mainly used it to see what pace I was going. I was on track for my 5k goal and then the last km and a half I died, and ended up with 30 and change. BP 5k I did the same thing but died in the 3 km. Mundy Pond I followed my watch and died in the 4th k and picked up for the last one for a time of 30:08. The closest I have gotten thus far. By the time we got to the Provincial 5k in August, I figured out how to use my watch to strategize, I also learnt that the reason why I couldn’t break 30 on a 5k was because I went too fast at the start and would die in the middle. So with this strategy in mind and a little help from sugar’s magic headbands, I went to the Provincial 5k, with the goal to break 30 finally. 

The Plan was to do the first two kms at a 6:05 pace, the next two at 5:55. That would put me at net zero for 30:00 and I could use my famous sprint at the end to break my 30. I did the first km at 6:06 and then went to 5:54, 5:50, 5:56 for the next 3, so a little better than planned. I was watching my watch the whole time to make sure I did not cross the 6:00 mark on my pace. When I did, I would dig deep and cross back over to the 5’s. I then went all out for the last km and finished it in 5:21. For a time for 29:22. See how fast I was running at the beginning and then making myself hold back, made all the difference.

I now do this for all races, I strategize my time and the pace I need to do for it. I then break it up so that my first km is the slower and my last is the fastest. For the most part this has worked out. Of course depending on the route, I will change it up a bit. I also look back at my paces for that race from the previous year to help me figure out my plan. Now that I have a plan, the watch does what I need it to do.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Running with the Gazelles



I’m sure most of us have been in this situation. Going to a group run, knowing that most of your running buddies cannot make it, but you think, “well I’ll go anyways, I’m sure there will be someone there who is around my pace.” When you get there, all that have shown up are gazelles.

Dammit

Now for this purpose about, a gazelle is someone who is significantly after than you. I may be a gazelle to someone, and there are many people who I call gazelles. Hallet likes to call them jackrabbits, but I like to give them a term that make them sound more majestic.

 Now running with a gazelle is not always a bad thing, but there are two factors that must be considered first.

11.       You must be willing to run with them
22.      They must be willing to run with you.

For the majority of the time, I find that gazelles usually welcome your company and do not want you to be alone. They’ll usually run at your pace but at the very least, they’ll wait for you a certain points to make sure you are ok and don’t get lost. 

A lot of people are afraid to run with gazelles because they are worried about slowing them down, or they’ll get lost or they just find them intimating. But gazelles are very friendly creatures that want you to do well with running as much as you do. Sometimes the gazelles will decide that they want to run with you regardless of you having pace buddies, but you should still welcome the gazelle into the herd.

I have ran with the gazelles several times and it has always been a great experience. I always leave the run learning something new. Some have helped me with my breathing, some with my posture and technique. Others have just simply pushed me to my limits, which made me realize how much I could actually do.

So I ask of you, if you are planning to skip a group run just because your friends cannot make it, please go anyways.  It could result into two things. Either you run with a gazelle and become a better runner from it, or you become somebody else’s gazelle and you make someone a better runner. Either way you look at it is a win.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My Biggest fan



I know this wasn’t in my list of things I wanted to talk about, but I decided I wanted to give a little tribute to my mother.  Unfortunately my mother lost her battle to cancer on January 30th, 2017.  I don’t want to get into anything about her illness or the journey, because this is not the time or the place, but I did want to share a little bit about her.

I remember mom telling me a story once, I had a concert in kindergarten, and she did anything and everything to get time off work for it. But alas she could not. At the end of the concert they asked the families to come up on stage and dance with their children. As Dad was away, I ended up dancing with another family. Well mom was livid (her word) when she found out and gave it to her boss. She then vowed she would make every event her sons had.

And she did.

Mom was there for bowling tournaments, end of the year soccer games, every regatta in St. John’s, Portugal Cove and Harbour Grace. She was at my first Tely and only never made it to the others because she couldn’t get the bus down to the finish line.  And when I would check my phone after every road was, there was always a message from my mother asking me how my race was.  Even when she found out she had cancer, she waited to tell me until after the Cape to Cabot because she wanted to make sure I did my best and wasn’t distracted by the news. She was truly my biggest fan and I will miss her dearly.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Frosty 5K

Today was the Frosty Festival 5K. I decided to register for it for the same reason as last year, to kick myself a kick in the butt to get back at running regularly.

Once registration was sold out, I took at look at who was registered. Last year I won a medal in my age group so I had to see if there was a chance this year of course. I look at the list and the first name on the list: Marc Alivio.

Damn

Well there goes one medal in my age group. As I go through more of the list I see 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in my  age group. None of them are me. Ok no medal, no big deal. Now with that out of the way it was time to decide on a goal.

Based on the fact that I haven't ran much lately, my pace from Thursday, and knowing the course, I knew that breaking 30 minutes wasn't in the cards for this race. Last year I ran it in 33:54 so I wanted to beat that.

Got to the start line and boom we're off. Tanya was flying and I decided to go her. I felt like we were going too fast but I knew the course and after the first two kilometers, it's all with ill, sup ho I decided I should get fast ks in while I could, it's the only way I was going to beat last years time, and no matter how much energy I saved, I don't think Commonwealth would be any easier. So I said screw it.

1st K: 5:39
2nd K: 5:28

The biggest pain of this run was that the people with the mile markers weren't even close. So I wasn't sure what was going on. I couldn't remember the actual distance from the year before, so I wasn't sure if the race was 5 or 5ish or not even close. The first k mark was at .8, 2nd at 1.75, 3rd at 2.75 and then the 4th km wasn't even at 3.5.

Anyways went up Commonwealth and it was brutal. Tanya pulled ahead for a while and I caught up for a bit.  I think she let me catch her, but that's ok. She then told me to make sure I was taking deep breaths. I guess she could hear me struggling going up the hill. Like any smart man, I did what I was told and it certainly helped me, Tanya pulled away again, she was always in sight but I just didn't have it in me today to catch her. The rest of the race went like this.

3rd k: 6:30
4th k: 7:15
5th k: 6:52

Usually I turn it on at the end of a race but with all the hills, I couldn't get any momentum. I finished 31:43. A much faster time than two years ago. Given that the conditions were poor last year I feel like I'm at least close to the same place as I was last year, maybe a little faster.  And for those who were wondering, I didn't see Brenda or Derek the entire race, they both smoked me. But that's ok I'll get them soon.