251 days of training, early morning trail run

Saturday, day 252, was a training success of sorts since rest is an important element of training and I made the best of it. I enjoyed a good Spanish red, my favorite, on Friday night and spent all day Saturday hanging out with my family for a change (during racing season, this is pretty much unheard of). We walked, we read, we visited some of the nearby Christmas and pottery markets; we listened to music, and got together with friends. It was a good day of rest.

Since Saturday night was spent with friends and that involved some wine as well, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it to the trail run with friends this early morning. 7a.m. on a Sunday is early for me. But, I did. And, boy, am I glad I did. I was rewarded with a glorious early-morning view of the sunrise over the city.

Crossing the interprovincial bridge from Ontario to Quebec, I watched as the sun shone on the north side of the Ottawa River beautifully. The biggest condo on the north shore is all glass and I’ve never seen it lit up like that before so a first for me this morning. Also, seeing the sunshine like that first thing in the morning made me want to run and sing. Don’t worry, I didn’t sing.

My running buddies ahead and a glimpse of the sun, so pretty

In the park, I arrived a few minutes late, but the group was still in the parking lot. I was worried I’d have to catch up to them or worse yet, if I were really late, they’d be way too far ahead and I’d be either alone on the trail or heading right back home to run on pavement later, which I wasn’t keen on. I don’t like being alone on the trails, either, however.

The two leading ladies I meet up with tend to choose trails and distances randomly and I never know what we’re in for on a given morning. I like that element of surprise, though. Today’s run was a short loop from P7 in the park, up a hill or two, and then coming back mostly downhill. When we got to the top of the hill, with our lungs needing to adjust to the newly cold air, you could see this thin strip of sunshine rising above Ottawa. It was beautiful to be out and the view took the mind off the hurting lungs.

Looking towards Ottawa where the sun rises while we run in the cold

The thermometer read -4C, the ground was frozen and the leaves were crunchy underfoot. This, to me, was the perfect surface to run on. I always enjoy the downhills way more than the climb. What am I doing choosing to run in Norway of all places? I’d better get to work on this mental hurdle.

Then I considered that for a moment. I have always enjoyed climbing hills and mountains. Perhaps just at the slower of pace. I’ve never been a fast runner. But, climbing to see the view from the top of a hill or a mountain is the greatest joy. And what goes up… I do love the downhills!

After the run, we stopped to catch our breath and we chatted a bit touching on womens’ inability to own our own achievements. This is a topic that seems to come up often when I chat with women in the sports setting. It is as relevant to the corporate environment, but in sport and in my experience, it has popped up more frequently. We women tend to not give ourselves permission to celebrate and be proud of what we accomplish.

Instead, we question things and wonder if someone will think of us as frauds. One of my running friends suggested reading Lean In. I have read it. Have you?

Sandberg is not the only one who shed a light on this issue. Others have talked about women not taking ownership of their success and roles. The TedTalk presentation on women and power roles and doing poses in the washroom before an important business meeting or interview comes to mind as one example. I think these tactics work.

At the same time, I am often unable to own my achievements and I cannot explain why. Even now, after nine long months of hard work, whenever I talk about my Ironman race, for example, I always point out that “I’m slow”.

Why? “Own it!” they say. I don’t know. I’m not fast like those other serious-looking “iron” men so I must be faking it? Geez! It seems silly as I write it. I must work on that, I promise myself.

Tomorrow, at 250 days to the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, I’ll write about the newly released Oxygen movie. It lines up perfectly with women in sports and celebrating womens’ achievements.

My very serious-looking blog ‘editor-in-training’

Today’s run distance: 7km trail loop

Location: Gatineau Park, Quebec

Today’s pre-run fuel: Fresh chocolate and sour cherry bread from PureBread. A neighbor up the street from us owns this bakery, which is cool — support local.

Post-run fuel: Spinach and goat milk yogurt smoothie for a bit of protein. It might sound gross to some, but it was really good.

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