WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

Tag: Calgary Marathon

On Fitness


Photo by Seth McCauley

A few years ago, I stopped running with music. I know many people who cannot fathom attempting this, but I’ve come to love it. I originally stopped because N & I started training & running together more. It’s nicer to chat with him than running together in silence. (& it seems silly to run with someone if you ignore each other in favour of your iPod anyway.) Eventually, this became a habit on any run, & now running gives me a chance to think – to unplug & really listen to my body. In addition to the opportunity for self-reflection, I find myself more in tune with how my run is going, a perk I didn’t anticipate. I find I’m no longer trying to mindlessly power through my runs; I’m an active participant.


Photo by Colin Hill

I was struggling through one of my shorter training runs recently (this half marathon is gonna hurt, big time) when I started thinking about perception. I’ve spent my entire life involved in sports to some capacity. As a kid, I tried every sport available to me (ballet, gymnastics, figure skating, track, baseball, soccer…).  Competitive swimming wound up being the one that stuck.

I swam with the University of Calgary Swim Club for eight years before retiring. At my peak, I was swimming laps with some of the best athletes in the country (usually desperately trying to keep up). I’d reached a level I’d mostly thought was unattainable. & even then, I will always remember thinking, “this is hard.”


Photo by Colin Hill

I find there’s a perception that once you reach a certain level, it gets easier. Things fall into place & suddenly everything clicks. In reality, it doesn’t. You can make something a habit, like running, so that it’s easier to get out the door. & if you were to continue to train at the same level, it would take less effort to get them same result. Improvement is uncomfortable though. If you remain in that effortless zone, you’re unlikely to improve. In order to get better at something, you have to push past the arbitrary limit in your mind. It’s human nature to want to be better, faster, smarter, or stronger than we were before. Personally, I get frustrated when my progress stalls.

I notice that when someone believes that you’re fit or that you excel at something, they often attribute that skill to ease. I’ve said this countless times about my husband’s running. He’s naturally built for running & makes it look easy. Whenever I hit the pool, I get comments on the effortless look of my strokes. Great athletes make their sport look easy. That’s not to say there isn’t a level of talent involved – I’ve just found that doesn’t lessen the demands.

I discovered running from a desire to find a more versatile workout. You can run anywhere! All you need are a pair of shoes! This was hugely appealing to me after years of long hours in the pool. There was just one problem small problem: I wasn’t a terribly “good” runner. I could manage maybe ten miserable minutes at a time, & I hated every minute of it. But I’m stubborn – stubborn & determined – so I stuck with it. & eventually, I got faster. I could run for longer periods of time & I didn’t look like I was going to die the whole time. In that sense, it got “easier”. I ran 10 km. & then I ran a half marathon. I was hooked.


That took a long time though, & I still frequently have what I like to call “character building runs”. The difference now is that I have a lot more confidence in my abilities & am better at coping with the mental game.

As we head into race weekend for the Calgary Half Marathon, I’m trying to keep that mental game in check. While my training has been far from stellar, I’m a smarter, more seasoned athlete, & I’m hoping that gets me across that finish line. I’m trying to remember I’m not running to beat a time (& I’m going to do my best not to let my competitive nature get the best of me).

The conclusion I came to on that difficult run was that this struggle is normal. Even when you think you’re at the top of your game, you’re going to have bad days. The more experience you have, the less it shows, but it never really goes away.

Keep that in mind next time you think you can’t. You can. Get out there & find something you want to get better at & do it. You may not be a natural on your first attempt, but we learn by doing, & sometimes by failing. It won’t be easy, but I think someone once said, “nothing worth doing is easy”.

All that will certainly be on my mind Sunday morning.

May in Instagram

It’s already June? How did that happen? Apparently, I haven’t been very on the ball so far this month seeing as this recap is happening five days into June. Whoops! 
It feels like we got up to a lot this month. We finished out month of Paleo and no drinking (although not entirely free of grains or drinks) so we’re back to enjoying drinks from time to time and have added cheese back into our diets. We still are trying to eat primally most of the time, but we’re certainly not overly strict. Story of our lives. Enough about what I eat though. As if I don’t talk about it enough on here. On to the Instagram Recap!
Follow me on Instagram @wholansi

1. We started the month with a pizza date at Una before heading to Cirque du Soleil with my parents. Totally delicious and totally not following our supposed paleo plan. Oh well!
2. Lobsters with N’s family while his brother was in town. I’d never put one into the pot so we had to capture the moment.
3. I spent three days down at the geoConvention for work. This bird was blind in one eye, but he made for a lovely hat.
4. Treating ourselves to Peters’ milkshakes after hunting for my unjustly towed car.
5. It was N’s birthday this month and I made him this paleo smoked salmon eggs benedict (as mentioned). I’m pretty proud of it.
6. We went out to the lake for N’s birthday and even though the weather wasn’t spectacular, it’s one of my favourite places to be.
7. We had a party at our place for N’s birthday. It was a gong show.
8. Cheering at the Calgary Marathon and Half Marathon. It was a lovely day with lovely people!
9. I’ve been doing CrossFit in the park for the last few weeks. It’s been really fun and one of the coaches sometimes takes pictures. These were burpee broad jumps.

Calgary Marathon and Half Marathon

Wheelchair Marathoner coming through first thing

My alarm went off at 6 am last Sunday and one of my first thoughts was “Why am I not running this morning?”.

I’m not some crazy morning person (quite the opposite actually), but I couldn’t help wishing I was running the Calgary Half Marathon that morning. I really enjoyed running it last year and was suddenly questioning my decision to sit it out.

The lady in green had so much energy

I knew a couple people running the half and a few running the full so I decided it would be fun to go cheer them on. As a runner, I know how much it’s meant to me to see all the people cheering on the sidelines so I decided to be one of those people this year. The energy of the spectators is just awesome.

So off I went to Bridgeland for the start of the race. I knew a few people who had volunteered to marshall so I thought I’d hang out with them for a bit. I ended up hanging out until the last runners came through. It was really great! Bridgeland was one of my favourite parts of the course last year. The spectators have to get their early, but they’re some of the most energetic and motivating people of the whole race. Not to mention, it’s a trendy neighbourhood so it’s got lots of good distractions. We were about 5 km in to the race, so people are still really excited and having a good time. There were tons of smiles and lots of thanks. It was great to see.

As much as I really loved that spot for cheering, I don’t know that I’d choose it again since I didn’t manage to spot any of the friends I knew were running. Everyone is still clumped together pretty tightly so it’s hard to pick out people you know through the crowds.

After the last runners passed, I headed towards the finish to meet N and my friend’s wife. I wandered through the East Village on my way to the finish line and spotted two of my friends running the half. It was so exciting to see them and cheer them on in the last kilometres of their race, especially since I hadn’t spotted them earlier on.

The three of us found a spot near the finish where we thought we’d be visible. It’s fun to see people cross the finish line, but it gets so crowded in the Grandstand that the runners usually don’t see you. I think it’s kind of fun to choose a spot where they’ll see you and you can cheer them towards the finish line.

There were a couple Guiness World Record attempts during the race. One guy was running in full lacrosse gear. We saw him near the finish and he looked to be on the verge of collapsing. The other attempt is pictured below. Can you imagine running a marathon attached to seven other guys?

When T came by, we cheered as loud as we could and tried to snap some photos of him. Unfortunately, there were some obstacles so they’re not the best shots. Sorry, T. I tried!

It was a really long day of walking, standing, and cheering, but I’m so glad I went. Races have such a great energy. Next year is Calgary’s 50th anniversary so I will most definitely be running it. It’s funny how I always think I’m going to take a break from running and then get pulled back in to another race. I was going to take 2013 off and focus on strength training instead of running, but I’m now running the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon in September with N and a couple friends. So much for a year off. I guess I just can’t stay away.

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