Two and a half weeks into full on marathon training, one question keeps popping up: am I doing it right? Honestly, I have no idea. I knew nothing about marathon running or training until about three weeks ago.
Luckily, the age of the internets makes things easy and cheap to learn about. A few articles read, the marathon plan is in place.
While my knowledge is still limited, one thing’s for sure – I’m inspired to give it my best shot.
You’ve probably gone through something similar, where, although you may second guess yourself at times, something just feels right. This is sort of what is going on with operation marathon.
What follows is essentially a brain dump of self-reflection regarding my marathon training.
Since starting to meditate, my mindset is shifting quite a bit. I’m starting to enjoy things for what they are.
Let me explain. Previously I would dread running – I saw it as monotonous and boring. Meditating allowed me to shift perspective and truly enjoy and savour the moments I get to run.
The ability to run outside is a privilege; being healthy enough to pound the pavement regularly is something which I am fortunate for, and now now I enjoy every moment of it.
Speaking of enjoying things, talking about this far-fetched endeavour is a good conversation starter. To say I’ve received some interesting reactions from people would be an understatement.
From armchair commentary, repetitive advice, to forewarnings and wisdom, I welcome all the advice with open arms.
The supporters remind me how lucky I am to be in a position to try this, and the naysayers inspire me shatter their perceptions.
One trend which keeps coming up concerns how much ‘harder’ a marathon is than a half marathon: “just worry about finishing,” they say. People keep telling me that I’ll hit a wall at some point on race day. This seems arbitrary to me.
Personally, when I have my mind set on something, I won’t stop until it’s done. This is one case where having an addictive personality is a gift and a curse.
The thought of committing to completing something, whatever it is, and not following through is ludicrous to me.
In the case of this marathon, not finishing simply won’t happen. My ‘will’ (not sure what else to call it) is too strong.
If you’re not moving forward, then what are you doing?
This is something I continually ask myself. Whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually, I like to think that I’m continually moving forward – working towards something and creating progress. This is part of the reason I decided to run a marathon.
I’m confident you might get similar feelings – you know, that awkward itch where you know you’re ‘spinning your wheels’ on something, but you’re not sure how to change it.
You may not even know what that ‘thing’ is (I sure as hell don’t). It’s fine if you can’t pinpoint the specifics, try changing small things one at a time and see if the feeling goes away. Focus on things you can control.
I like to feel as though my days aren’t wasted. This may sound a tad corny, but at the end of each day I love the feeling of accomplishment and continuous improvement, no matter what I’m doing.
Part of continuous improvement for me is finding new challenges. These things keep me guessing.
Maybe you decide to seek out a creative solution to a problem at work, or commit to that new fad diet to shed a few lbs before beach season. The specifics don’t matter. What does matter is your decision to commit to the challenge.
The constant here is that you’re pushing yourself. Don’t ever settle for mediocrity because you deserve much more.
The day I’m not challenged at work is the day I quit. The day I’m not challenged physically is when I know I need to switch things up.
Upon returning, we mapped out a training plan, and did a test run (about 25 km or 15.5miles). Both feeling like greek gods, we immediately registered for the BMO Vancouver Marathon.
I’m not sure if we were both hyped up on some post run endorphin-fuelled runners high, but we’re now committed. The one catch – race day is May 5, giving us 42ish days to train.
I plan on sharing more about the training game plan, updates on our progress, and random thoughts through the next 40 days leading into the marathon, so definitely check back for that.
My mission on the train from Vancouver to Portland, LA, then onto Austin for SXSW just about took everything out of me.
In hindsight, spending five days on a train leading into five days of madness in one of the craziest cities may have been a tad ambitious.
I won’t bore you with the minutia of my trip because I already wrote about it on the HootSuite Blog.
Instead, I’ll share some musings from one of the best trips of my life thus far.
*Side Note* If you haven’t already read about my trip, I encourage you to take a peek, there are some cool stories about burrito ladies, travel bloggers, and train conductors. The preview can be found here, followed by part 1 and part 2.
No one cares about your typical work endeavour, goal, or event unless is has some oomph to it. Had my trip been your typical walk in the park, no one would care either.
Subtleties like the words you use to describe your project – how you pitch and brand it can inject some much needed zest and get you noticed.
You’ll notice that I used word like adventure, journey, and ‘epic quest’ to brand my trip. These are easy wins in making your project seem cool and unconventional.
I managed to get decent organic pickup on the articles because my trip was interesting and because it pushed me personally.
What I’m here to tell you is this. Instead of worrying about the small things, step outside your comfort zone of the screen. Do something interesting with your life, then share it.
People who’ve built meaningful platforms online, and the large followings that go with it, all do interesting things.
What they don’t do is spend all day on Twitter. Twitter is endless, it’s not like your inbox where you can (potentially) get it to zero.
The trip made me realize what I want. What is important. Doing trips like these and sharing the stories with you makes me happy.
With that, my plan is to do more of just that; doing interesting things and writing about them. Wow…what a breakthrough!
Take home for you: find out what makes you happy. If this is interesting to you, chances are it is interesting to others. Find these people and share it with them.
Are you curious how the 5Run faired running a 5k… 18 times? Peruse the video to find out.
It’s been a long week… feels like I’ve been hit by a truck. Through the last seven days, along with my team and fellow Bagel Chasers, I’ve managed to run 90 km. This of course is in addition to working 50-55 hours this week.
Aside from causing me to reassess my life, (who spends this much time running?) this week really opened my eyes to the vibrant running community in Vancouver.
Small, passionate communities are all over the place, you just need to find them. Case in point is all the awesome people I met this past week. Everyone has a unique story from different backgrounds, but we all came together for a great cause.
Maybe, i’ve finally found the running enthusiasts.
I also figured out that (wait for it…) running in groups is WAY better than solo missions.
Learn about 5Run’s first charity event: the Bagel Chase, and a spontaneous 5Run thank you moment on the best five run of 2013.
The ocean in false creek is like glass, no wind, no rain – i’m running with Gerard. We waste little time firing up our respective running apps and get going.
Wednesday morning was your atypical five run. I kept thinking how perfect the weather was for running, and clearly others felt the same way. Barely 2 km’s in, we hit 8 high fives.
Then, something interesting happened.
We came across a pretty brunette girl running. In typical fashion, we fell into five formation and extended our hands. Something particularly awesome happened next.
While she enthusiastically high fived us, she said something i’ll never forget.
Shocked, we responded with your typical ‘woohoos’ and continued on. We sort of laughed it off… “hey that chick thanked us!” We finished our run, the best morning five run of the year so far, we hit 27 high fives.
Something about the encounter stayed with me. It wasn’t until later on that I figured out what the hell happened.
More on that later.
Talking to people about the reality of spreading the 5Run movement to the masses gets me thinking. I reflect on whether it’s realistic to expect others to eventually share the same passion for change, and helping people as i do.
Some of you I talk to are reluctant to high five if you’re running alone (completely fine, by the way). I think you may be better suited to spread the love whilst running in a group. It is all about comfort, do what feels right.
Originally, I adopted the ‘lone wolf’ mentality with 5Run. I envisioned high fiving strangers as way to bring fun to running, and add social element to the monotonous pavement grind.
Interacting with your fellow runners by helping, encouraging, and even pushing one another to be a better version of yourself was the goal. It still is, and progress is my guide.
I tend to experiment liberally with just about everything I do, high fives are no exception. I’m constantly thinking, tweaking elements of the whole high five experience – this is probably due to competitive / perfectionist disposition.
Since i’m getting requests on the specifics of high fiving other runners, i’ll attempt to map it out for y’all – this is your kind to high five strangers.
Think of the it this way: You have about 15 meters or or 3-4 seconds of real-estate with which to work. There’s a laundry list of things which need to align to pull off a successful running high five.
This is a continually evolving process as i’ve experimented with different approaches and techniques. Some work, some not so much… and some were outright embarrassing.
Lucky for you, i’ve done the heavy lifting, and will outline the art of the running high five.
Here’s how you can high five a stranger without embarrassing yourself:
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Through the fall, i’ve high-fived my fellow running strangers all over Vancouver from Kits, DTES, to UBC, and the Sea Wall. I’ll run a couple times per week before work as well as one caffeine-fuelled long hangover cure of run a on the weekend.
My motive with #5Run is simple: bring joy to fellow runners and see if i can bring about mood changes. I wrote last year about bringing fun to running, but there’s something more important here.
If i can positively shift someone’s outlook on the day, i’ll take it. Unfortunately, this proves a bit of a challenge as Vancouver runners are a difficult bunch.
Runners represent a screenshot of Vancouver’s culture. There’s patches of awesomeness dispersed throughout the holier than thou choch-fest which plagues our city.
People visit or move to Vancouver and completely struggle to infiltrate social circles. I personally didn’t realize our cliquey international rep until a couple years ago. Now it’s clear, the inherent guarded social circles are glaringly obvious.
This extends to runners.
It’s embarrassing how guarded some Vancouver Runners are. Smiling at someone might garner a reaction that I visually violated them.
I’m determined more than ever to change status-quo for Vancouver runners – let’s call it a shakedown of sorts. I high-fived 29 keen eyed Sea Wall Runners on New Years Eve, and the reactions were mixed.
Great response to 5Run this weekend. Despite my nightly activities, I managed to hammer out three amazing 5Runs: around UBC, the west end / sea wall and along the beach from tower to Kits and Granville Island. I only managed to get caught in one hail storm in the process.
My legs are absolutely killing me after going three days in a row; small price to pay for happiness. Each high-five gives me energy to keep running, even if my calves feel like they’re going to fall off.
A few failed fives to report. Not going to lie, they are discouraging, not to mention embarrassing if lots of people are watching (saw a couple of people point and giggle at me at kits beach on Sunday). Their loss.
Conversion rate on fives has got to be about 90% thus far. Who would have thought? The people who leave me hanging are usually staring straight at the ground the whole time. It is a shame because these are the ones who need it most!
The laughs, the smiles, the eye contact, the subtle acknowledgment of similarity make it the best feeling in the world. I can’t describe the feeling, you simply have to experience it. Go for a run, jog or walk, and high five one person. If you’re nervous, think from their perspective. How awesome would it be to have a random person smile and ask for a high-five while you are struggling? It is empowering. They will love it.
Nerves always creep in as I approach runners. I am an introvert at heart, I have silence that voice in my head all the time.
I came across a blog post yesterday that injected some serious happiness into my day. It literally gave me shivers as I read it. Check it out, a fellow runner (lets call her Jane) wrote about some random dude she high-fived on Kits beach. Wonder who it was? Awesome.
Sunday I woke up extremely hung-over. I have a strange relationship with such a state: I always feel that I need to have a productive day following a pizza infused late night endeavor. Sunday, I decided to get going with a long run.
Jogging at one pace has to be up there with the most boring things I’ve ever done. Does anyone actually enjoy it if it’s not sunny and no music? I would love to know what is going through the minds of marathon runners…. Are they having fun running?
It didn’t take long for boredom to set in Sunday as I made my way to the beach. I noticed everyone I ran by was frowning or looked angry. I couldn’t figure it out. It was gorgeous out and they were running along Spanish banks.
What’s the deal? I made it my mission to turn a few frowns into smiles; maybe inflict a little joy into the Sunday run. I started to smile at every jogger I ran past…
A few smiled back, some avoided eye contact, most looked at be dumbfounded with that sympathy gaze as though they were humoring someone’s awkward joke.
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