Mind Over Matter Will Make You Invincible
This week marked my last long run in the 30+km distance and a tough interval workout. This was my 7th run in the 30-36km range since February, all of them in frigid temperatures. To top it off, Monday’s group workout was 16X400M! I have never in my life done 16 repeats of anything.
Whether it’s getting out the door at 4am to do a 2.5+ hour run in a polar vortex, or psyching yourself up to make your legs go fast 16 consecutive times after work – it’s as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one.
I often think running in general is more of a mental challenge than a physical one. I understand why people might be hesitant to start because of how daunting any distance seems.
I like numbers. I studied Economics in university and currently work for the Ministry of Finance. When I have a long run or an ungodly amount of intervals to do, I like to break it down in my head to make it more manageable. Since I often run really early in the morning, I have a 16km “loop” around Toronto that sticks to main lit streets (safety first). This week’s long run was 32km – perfect – only TWO loops! 32km is tough, but two loops – no problem. Sometimes I break it down by “tv shows” (thank you Netflix). If I’m running easy, I’ll run a 5km in the length of an episode of Friends. When I’m at 27km of my long run, I just think to myself, “you can definitely run for one more episode!”. Those commercial-less sitcoms seem so short!
16 X 400M repeats. That was a little harder to digest. A handful of girls on my team are running Around the Bay 30km this weekend (GOOD LUCK). Those who were racing had 8X400m repeats (to save the legs for today’s race), others had 10 repeats and those training for Boston (Britt and I) – had a whopping 16 to do. As I spent the morning wondering how I was going to manage this, Paulina on my team emailed me and offered to pace the remaining repeats with me after she was done her 10 – that’s six more than she was supposed to do! Talk about teamwork. I’ve said it before, but I am truly grateful to run with such amazing women.
So four repeats down, 25% done. Feeling good. Another four down, half of the girls were finished and we were half way done. Ten done and it was just Britt, Paulina and myself to do the remaining six. Then my mantra kicked in, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Finally I told myself that the last three were victory laps.
I felt invincible after we finished that 16th interval . I have never pushed myself to do 16 repeats of anything – and just like that – the workout was done. ONE STEP CLOSER TO BOSTON.
I ran home frozen in the dark and ate everything in sight before passing out at 930pm.
If you think running is daunting, start with “one loop”. Work your way up. You’ll be at 100 loops and three times as many episodes of Friends before you know it.
You’re probably wondering what I devoured after those repeats. This week I had mini salmon cakes with salsa. My little sister (physically and I am one minute older), bought me the Runner’s World Cookbook for Christmas a couple years ago. Well I love it. It categorizes the recipes by “fast, pre-run, recovery”, etc. I spend a lot of time on Sunday evenings preparing food for the week so I don’t end up eating a jar of peanut butter while I’m cooking dinner.
This recipe is super easy. It makes 12 salmon cakes and stores up to a week in the fridge.
2 cans (6 ounces each) wild salmon, drained and flaked
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 red bell pepper, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh salsa
Mix everything (except for the salsa) together until well combined. Divide mixture among 12 greased muffin cups. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Let salmon cakes cool before removing from the cups. Serve topped with salsa!