Montreal Runner Mom

Mommy. Runner. Blogger. Writer


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Race to find TIME

Okay parents, let’s be real. Many of us feel like we can’t take the time we need for ourselves because of our spouses, children, parents, home, work, business and 5 million other commitments. I have had this mentality my whole life but it became much more prominent once I became a mom.

I did try to make it all work but more often than not I failed. I would make a plan for my day or my week that included special scheduled “me time”. For me that meant, exercise, meditation, reading, writing and occasionally when the kids were babies…sometimes it even meant a nap (!) More often than not though, despite my good intentions I would cancel “me time” because I felt I had other bigger more pressing commitments to attend to. Then after I didn’t follow my own plans, I would berate myself and become more and more frustrated with the lack of TIME.

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I always blamed TIME. There was never enough time to work out for an hour, then shower AND wash my hair! That meant at least 1.5 to 2 hrs of TIME! Read for fun? Yes this used to be one of my favorite things to do when I was younger but now? There was definitely not enough time for that unless I was on vacation maybe and even then! Now I had to get the kids ready and off to school, clean the house, do the laundry, visit extended family, put in hours and hours a week on managing our family business, prepare for and teach multiple classes a week, maintain friendships, attend school plays and shows, do homework with my oldest, play with my youngest, the list goes on. Not to mention feeling guilty about not making scrapbooks and scouring Pinterest for hours designing little mementos that will document each moment of my precious little ones lives. Hmmm…and what about spending some quality time with the husband?

Then I realized this needed to stop. One of the first times that it dawned on me that my priorities needed to change was when I realized that my day was being spent dictated to me by other people. I would make a plan for my day and it would all go to waste when I would open my email. I have multiple email accounts: the main company email, my personal business email and my personal/family email. Each one would be filled with anywhere from 10-50 emails and at least 80% were marked URGENT by the sender. Everyone wanted an answer and a solution to their questions and problems. Then there were the phone calls and voicemails…..

Needless to say I never got anything done for myself and I would always cross everything that I had planned to do off my list because of other people’s priorities. Now this doesn’t mean that I condone not maintaining or following up on your responsibilities. However I have finally after much trial and error come up with methods that works for me and hopefully can help out those of you who feel like you are also struggling to manage it all.

I did a lot of research, read a lot about self-development and drew from the teachings of people like Tony Robbins, Tim Feriss and Jim Rohn. I say I drew from their teaching because the reality is that they give lots of great advice but they are not living their daily lives as a busy working mom of young kids. So I had to adapt and try out different techniques to see what worked and what didn’t.

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Here are some of the concepts that I have applied to my daily life

PERSONAL

I no longer come last. Yes I said it. I come first. That’s hard to say as a mom, I know. Reason being is that if I do not have my “me time” I am just not the best mother and wife that I can be. I must spend time outside. I must run. I must write. I must read. Notice that these are not SHOULD’S but MUST’S.

However I’ve also learned that I can’t do it all each day. So now I made a schedule and I alternate. Running & stretching one day, yoga & meditation the next. Some days I nix both and just read or write. In a perfect world I could spend the first 4 hours of my morning doing all these activities but that’s not reality. So I pick one of my MUSTS each day and do just one BUT I make sure to be deeply grateful for it.

  • Choose 5 minutes a day to turn off all distractions and be grateful
  • Find at least 30 minutes a day to do one of your MUSTS -maybe that 30 minutes is in the morning before everyone else gets up or maybe it’s late at night. Find your time, it’s there waiting for you if you look. Make YOU a priority. I guarantee no one will self-combust because of it 😉

FAMILY

I used to be distracted all the time and never really focused on being in the moment. I have learned that putting my phone on silent and focusing on finger painting with my little one, or encouraging the kids to talk about their day at the dinner table has changed everything. Sometimes putting a hold on the rushing around and letting the kids play outside just a little longer or stay up just a little later is not just okay but amazing and beautiful. Making the effort to get a babysitter and go out with my hubby or meet up with friends even when I am tired and would rather just go to sleep is so very worth it. You can change your state of mind or state of being in an instant.

  • Instead of asking myself “Do I really want to go/do etc…?” I ask myself “What if I couldn’t?” What if I was incapable of even considering these options due to sickness, old age or worse? After pondering that thought, the answer is always YES! Let’s GO!

WORK

I no longer work harder and longer but I do work smarter. I prioritize according to MY description of what is urgent not other people’s. The reality is that some issues are time sensitive but many other are not. Turns out that people can wait and will not explode if they fail to receive an answer in 2 hours or less! In fact as long as you are clear about your response time turn around, most people can wait up to 48 hours or more.

I no longer check my email first thing in the morning, late at night or constantly throughout the day. Email is a fabulous tool but it can also be a nightmare that sucks up all your time without you even realizing until it’s too late. I schedule specific times and I limit the time spent answering. If I can make a phone call instead of email, I will. It’s faster and provides a much better source for communication.

What have been some the consequences of these new additions in my life? 

  • I no longer let high maintenance people, social media and tv waste my valuable time.
  • I go to sleep earlier
  • I am actively pursuing my MUSTS each day
  • I feel calm, relaxed and more appreciative of each moment of my day
  • I have less stress and less feelings of not being “enough”
  • I have more self-confidence and happiness and enjoy sharing it with others
  • I feel like I am in a constant state or learning and growth
  • I have discovered a sense of wonder in everyday moments

My self development journey has many facets to it. Running and writing are some of the bigger ones for sure but by far the most important one is the realization was that TIME didn’t need to be found. It was always there waiting for me. I just needed to know where to look. 

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#GoRunnerGo  🙂


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My Running Favorites

Fellow runners!! It’s time to play a little game called My Running Favorites. Share what makes a great run for you!

Here are some of mine. I’ve tagged some runners below to get the game going but feel free to join in even without being tagged. Post your own version by answering these questions and adding some of your own before passing it on other fellow runners.

Have fun and keep running!

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Location: Trail, Road or Indoors?

I cannot say it enough, I LOVE to be outside. I don’t always want to start but once I’m outside EVERYTHING changes for me. I connect to the sky, the wind, the air, the people, the trees and I feel alive. Trail running is by far my ultimate favorite but it’s not always very accessible in my area. I often have to contend with suburban road running but I make it work in my favor by choosing routes that take me through city parks and green spaces. Nature is beautiful!!

Time of Day: Morning, Noon or Evening?

Timing is always my ultimate battle!! Running first thing in the morning by far makes me feel incredible and starts off the day like nothing else. However if I haven’t had enough sleep the night before it’s an epic battle to get myself outside before 9am. Being that I mostly work from home, it’s also very easy to slip into procrastination mode and delay the morning run when deadlines are looming. Problem is once the run is delayed it doesn’t often actually happen. The key is to push myself out the door no matter what. Lots of self talk and sometimes a few threats usually do it!

Weather: Sunshine, Mild or Hot?

When it’s still warm enough to run without gloves and a hat but cool enough to bring along a light pullover. That’s my perfect season, I call it “sprall” -a nice mix of spring and fall 🙂 And sunshine!! I need lots of sunshine!

Fuel: Before, After and sometimes during?

Bananas and peanut butter are my best friends on short running mornings. Longer runs call for an oatmeal and maple syrup breakfast. During a run it’s water only although I will soon need to figure out some additional fuel as my distance increases. Afterwards can depend on the day but scrambled eggs mixed with spinach, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes are a reoccurring favorite!

Accessories: Music, Watch and more?

My iPhone is my life. Plain and simple. Music, Youtube, MapMyRun. Nothing else needed. When the weather is warmer I do use a fuel belt for water and my phone but if it’s cool enough for a sweater I just throw my phone in my pocket and off I go!

Rewards: Food, Wine or ….?

Wine, more wine and a little vino too 😉 Running makes me feel better about drinking my calories!

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What makes a great run for you? Answer the above questions and add some of your own before passing it along and tagging more running friends. 

FlRunnerboy

50statecanuck

thedancingrunner

BubblesandBooyah

JenChoosesJoy

4boyslotsanoise

Earth Zen Mama

JustFeelItFitness

MyMamaJourney

Stampedwithaheart

ThatExtraInch

Thanks for playing runners! 

#GoRunnerGo  🙂


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Kids and Competitive Sports

A topic that comes up a lot in my life is kids and competition. There seems to be two camps and I see both within my job as a dance studio owner and also as a mom. There are the ultra competitive families who are in it to win at all costs and there are those who just want their kids to have fun. That second group often wants to compete as well but they want to do it for fun…sometimes I even wonder if it’s just for the prestige of saying they or their children are competitive athletes….

Competition just for fun? Sure it’s fun but I believe there has to be more to it than that.

When I started running, I knew instantly that I would race. It wasn’t even a question in my mind. The major reason I enter races is because I need to feel that I am in a constant competitive state with myself in order to improve. Every race has as a goal to beat a previous race time. Nothing else. Yes it’s fun, yes it’s exciting but there is a purpose. The purpose is become a better runner with every step I take. Running is a competition against myself but without the competitive environment of a racing, I believe it would be so much harder for me to improve.

In terms of my dance students I believe it should be the same. If you are going to be in any competitive sport, dance or otherwise, it should be because you have as a goal to achieve your absolute best. And that takes WORK. Serious hard core work. Work means sacrifice and sacrifice is not always fun. However the results are 🙂

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I once had a client who told me that when her children were young she felt that they weren’t naturally competitive enough. They didn’t seem to strive to be the best they could be in anything. Knowing the best way to lead is by example, she took matters into her own hands. She signed up for a triathlon. Just like that. A triathlon. She had been athletic in high school but now she was a regular mom with a job and 3 kids. She began the training and had her kids watch as much as possible as she ran around her neighborhood, swam laps in her pool and biked everywhere. She even found the previous year’s winner online and showed her kids the winning time to beat.The kids timed her, encouraged her and were there at the finish line cheering her on. She was so determined that she even made the podium at the race. She wanted to show her kids that as much as anything is possible, it also takes a serious amount of hard work to achieve something big.

My client told me this story backstage at a dance competition moments before her daughter was to go onstage. Her daughter was by far one of the most naturally competitive kids I have ever taught. This lovely little girl also had a brother who was a competitive hockey player and a sister who was a competitive swimmer. All three kids were academically competitive and successful as well. It was amazing to see how the experience of watching their mom train and compete in a triathlon years before had really shaped their outlook on life.

This is what it comes down to….hoping and wishing for good luck do not bring success. Incredibly hard work and pushing yourself to your limits do. Competition is a good thing for everyone because it pushes you to be the best you can be. I really believe that if children learn to be competitive in sports at an early age, they will carry that through into their adult lives and careers. However they also need to be taught that being competitive is not always going to be fun and games and actually that is the most important part of the lesson.

I found my client’s story to be incredibly inspirational. It is the reason I want my kids to see me run and be there at every finish line that I cross. I want them to know that it takes hard work but that the rewards of being competitive in sports or anything else are what give you the results and ultimately the life you want. When my children are a little older and they find something they love to do, I will wholeheartedly encourage them to pursue it competitively in order for them to learn what I believe to be are some very valuable life lessons.

What’s your take on kids and competition? 

#GoRunnerGo  🙂


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Get Into The Zone

The Zone….I feel like it’s eluded me for most of my life but now….now…I’ve finally seen it, experienced it and it feels like the fog has lifted! It’s happened enough times that I now feel confident trying to harness at will rather than stumble across it by accident. It’s a curious thing The Zone, I’ve certainly heard of it hundreds of times before but I don’t think I ever really understood it until now.

A little while ago I came to the realization that there’s a point in my run where I literally zone out of all conscious thoughts and enter essentially the Twilight Zone. It’s a bit unnerving and amazing all at the same time!

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When this happens, I no longer notice things or people around me, I tend to focus in and stare at something in particular like the road in front of me or the numbers flashing on the treadmill. It tends to come on slowly and builds quietly until I am full on in it. Then, I no longer even notice that I’m running, it becomes more like gliding or flying!  It is effortless and beautiful and it is in this space that I can feel my body growing stronger and faster.

The Zone tends to come on after a particularly difficult section of the run, usually after I get passed the voices telling me to quit. Then the most irritating thing occurs. Often, as soon I realize I’m there, I lose it and fall back into the incessant noise and conversations in my head.

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After experiencing The Zone during a run, I can see that there is a method and secret to this madness. I just need to harness it.

Similarly, I have been aiming to lengthen the focus periods that I have in other areas of my life. Whether it’s when I’m writing, learning a new skill, working on tedious administrative work or even creating routines for my dance students, I have been timing my focus periods with a stopwatch. Sounds a little crazy I know….

I defined a focus period as the amount of time I spent on the chosen activity without any interruption. Interruptions included the obvious like breaking for snacks, social media, answering the phone etc…to the obscure and much more difficult to measure, deviation in thought process on the assigned task.

When I first began timing my focus periods, I was at an embarrassing 5-10 minutes limit. No wonder it was sometimes taking me forever to complete a task from start to finish! I was constantly thinking of other things and doing other things at the same time. Slowly by slowly and literally minute by minute on the stopwatch, I have been able to extend these focus periods. The results have been amazing. I have been able to cut in half the time it takes me to do almost everything. Tasks I naturally enjoy literally take no time at all and tasks that are more tedious to me take half the time they used to and don’t seem so bad any more. Now I actually enjoy trying to complete a task and beat previous time records. This doesn’t mean I am rushing thought my work but rather I consciously block out all distractions and force my mind to only think about what I am doing. Much easier said than done for sure! Each time it require great mental effort. However I must credit yoga for being a great help in this area too. Yoga has taught me how to quiet the constant chatter in my head and really focus in on the thoughts that are central to what’s necessary.

All to say that The Zone during a run is very similar. It’s all mental. Training myself to get to The Zone and stay there longer all while knowing I’m in it, is the magical key to running further, faster and longer. Not to mention it feels amazing!!!

Even though I already ran this morning, just writing this makes me want to go out again and find The ZONE!!

How do you get to The Zone? Have any secrets to share?

#GoRunnerGo  🙂


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What I learned from a “fitness professional” this week

What did I learn this week you ask? Well, I went for a “fitness evaluation” and I was enlightened by a fabulous fitness professional who gave me awesome tips that will help me to train and prep for my first marathon!!

Ummmm…..wait, no, that’s not what happened at all.

The gym I’m at offers a free fitness evaluation for new members and when they phoned me one evening this week and asked if I’d be interested, I figured why not? It sounded interesting, the guy on the phone told me they would discuss my fitness goals with me and give me pointers on how to achieve them. Test my overall fitness level and pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses. All good things to know, especially since I have just signed up for a marathon!

Or so I thought….

After my workout I headed upstairs to my scheduled appointment. After a quick introduction and tour around the private facility, the fitness dude asked me 2 questions :

  • How old are you? 36
  • What is your fitness goal? Run a marathon at the end of September 

Then he wanted to me step on the scale….ugh. Let’s face it, NOBODY likes that! You know weighing all that muscle is just so embarrassing 😉 However, I am a fairly fit person. I teach dance, I run, I do a little yoga. I might not be Miss Universe but things are pretty good considering I’ve had 2 babies and I’m over 35!

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5km race -September 2014

So I got on the scale…after the weigh in, he breaks out some gadget that no joke looks like something I saw my ob-gyn use during the prep for my last C-section. Then he proceeds to use this contraption to pinch the *muscle* in all the best spots…triceps, stomach, thighs and back. He furiously writes down a few numbers, breaks out a calculator and starts cross checking his numbers with what seemed like possibly Lotto Quebec?!……then with a grave face he gives me the news. Apparently he had scientific proof that I am considerably over the ideal weight for a runner.

Really dude??? Damn, you’re lucky I was too tired from my run to be confrontational!

I politely ask him to explain and he proceeded to tell me that in order to run a marathon at the end of September I should be at 20% body fat and he can help me get there if I splurge for sessions with a personal trainer and nutritionist for the next 6 months. Really?!?….this was a moment when I wish I had a snarky little card to slide across his desk that said…I wasn’t born yesterday JACK!

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I didn’t have that card but I’m sure the look on my face was pretty telling because he started backtracking immediately.

All to say, I can’t imagine how an impressionable young girl with body image issues or an overweight guy with actual health problems would have felt in that situation. I was livid for the rest of the day. This was supposed to be a fitness test and this guy hadn’t no idea about my fitness level at all!! A couple of questions and pinching of body fat may give some ideas but it certainly doesn’t tell him anything about my fitness level. He never even asked me how far or how long I could currently run for. Considering my fitness goal is to run a marathon you’d think this would have been an important question!

I did put in a complaint to the gym manager and now I have to wait and see what comes of it but needless to say I was not impressed at all.

Now maybe some of what he said is true…I know that I do need to revamp my eating habits a little in order to train properly for this marathon. I’m certainly not eating like a runner yet however I do exercise 5 times per week and for the most part eat pretty healthy. However, there could have been so many ways to have a positive discussion about eating and working out in order to better reach my fitness goals without making me feel awful.

Fitness dude failed big time.

Fail1


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Back on track baby!!

winter+running

I did it!! I finally had a good training week despite the snowstorm!! This week has been my get back on track week after being sick and succumbing to nasty winter slushy weather. I got three runs in this week, each progressively getting better despite the snow!!

Tuesday 5km, Wednesday 8km, Thursday was a rest day in part due to the storm and just because I needed the rest and then today….finally got my 10km 🙂

I haven’t run 10km in a couple of weeks and boy did it feel good! This week’s snowstorm was our first really big one of the season but lots of snow also means really nice mild running conditions. As long as the streets, trails and pathways have been cleared it’s a great time for winter running. Luckily my area was well cleared and easy to navigate through, which helped to get me back on track.

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Winter running can actually be a beautiful and surreal experience. When everything is covered in snow, the world looks like a magical fantasy land. Everyday items like a lamp post or fence all of a sudden have softened and have mystical qualities. The trees heavy with snow become misshapen yet remarkable. By taking the time to really breathe in beauty of the snow while running, my mind flowed towards these words…..(apologies for mix of languages, my thought process sometimes does that!)

Magical majestic white flocons de neige

A beautiful tempête whirls dans l’air

Comme un ange that dances in the rays du soleil

We welcome l’hiver once again

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So much beauty and wonder in can be found along a good snowy running trail. I wish everyone could experience it! That is of course if you remember to slow down and look up! Sometimes that’ s hard to do, especially if it’s icy but this week was all nicely packed snow 🙂

After this fabulous week I feel much more confident about the upcoming race and I still have a good 2.5 weeks to go! Next week I will take a couple of opportunities to train on the actual course. Then I’m off to Connecticut for a week where I can boost up my speed running without any snow!! So excited for that!

The race is on the 30th, then once the New Year’s deals hit, gym membership it is. I have been grudgingly talking about joining a gym for a while now and every time I do my mood turns sour….so now I decided to look at it another way. Instead of griping about having to go to the gym, I am getting psyched to do so because once January and gym time begin, there will only be 3 short months before the snow is gone and spring is here 🙂

So bring on the gym!!!

After all…..

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Happy snowy trails to all! 🙂


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Pinterest photo prompts play…..

Practice pinned on noticeboard

Punctual practice produces perfect performance and progress

So profess your promise to possess your success!

Pride and prestige will pop up to the majority

Especially to those who make it a priority.

 

First pinpoint the perfect plank position to produce power.

This is not as easy as planting a perennial flower!

Pain will precede peace when pursuing the proper pace.

Pay attention to plantar fasciitis, pronation and of course each race!

Push through the panic to get to the praise, this is not a prank or a phase!

 

Plenty of pure provisions like peaches, potatoes, pumpkins and polenta

Unfortunately none of which come in magenta

But all these will help provide the proper physical fitness

As well as many pretty pink products for primping & prepping every picky pony tailed princess!

  

Paths may have pebbles, palm trees or ponds.

Polar peaks can mean prayers and parkas of which you may not be fond.

You may meet playful pups like a pug, a papillion or pekingese

Or perhaps a parrot, a pig or a pigeon, so pay your respects if you please!

  

There are perks like pizza, pasta and pies

And let’s not forget the premium pastries and ooh… the fries!

But no!  It’s for appearance, strength and proper placement.

That’s really why we pound the pavement!

 

Perhaps this can provide some poignant, pensive pondering during your play.

But to propose a promise of the profound production of poetry or prose is unkind at most

Chances are it will just be another post!