Fight the smart fight

Ever hear the saying - not the hill to die on? Well that's me. I wasn't about to go run hills with my personal best clinic tonight while trying to fend off a cold just over two weeks until Vegas. Are eight hill repeats going to make me minutes faster, not likely. My throat was sore Tuesday night, then again Wednesday morning, but I was hoping the Cold FX along with the casual run with Laurie Wednesday morning would kick me into healthy. Not to be. I managed to get to the pool with Mallory this morning, then went on a bit of a cleaning/tidying spree this evening and now, I'm wiped.

Not working out when you're sick is hard. Not getting in those last few strength and stamina building runs before a big race is defeating. But as I've been saying, I feel ready. And maybe my body is saying, uh, excuse me, you've been doing a lot, slow down now please. So I'm trying to fight the smart fight. Eat my fruits and veggies, get some extra rest (hard when you have good TV saved to watch), and scale back the intensity. I'm hoping I can put in a run and a bike this weekend, and maybe some time with the TRX. Although, I'm thinking this cold of mine is just a nice way of keeping me indoors while the first round of frigid winter weather hits us. By Monday it'll be 15-20 degrees (centigrade) warmer than it will be tomorrow. I think that is much more conducive to running 23km don't you? Besides, isn't the real goal of Vegas to have time away with the hubby?

Speaking of smart fighting and goals I had an experience on the weekend. My mom asked me to pace her for her half-marathon as she was gunning for a sub 2 hour. Not wanting to feel jumpy at the start line and take her out too fast I caught up with her just under 1.5km in. She was running with her office mate Kelly and I met two totally different people. Kelly was chipper, happy, and just glad to be out. My mom was scowling. Uh oh I thought. Kelly had previously  told me her goals were a) to keep up with us b) run around 2:10 or c) just finish whenever, however. My mom's lone goal, finish sub 2. Trotting off at the prescribed pace I quickly saw my mom was not in any shape - mentally - to do a sub two. I suggested we switch to running 5 minutes and walking 30 seconds hoping she could push the pace. At kilometer five my mom had shut down. Kelly went on ahead and had a great race and finished in 2:06!

I tried all the positive stuff I had, tried talking about controversial topics to get her fired up, tried pushing the pace hoping she'd find a new rhythm. It was exhausting. We were running slower than she runs during training and she was huffing and puffing like nobody's business. Then, just before we hit the turn around she saw a good friend, having a decent run, and my mom dropped the F bomb. I just about lost it on her and turned around myself, but I was so afraid she'd walk off the course I stuck with her. I practically screamed at her - since when is Sylvie's race about you? What does it matter if she's having a good day and you're not? You had a shitty week (loss of a dear family member, bad test results, dog has more potential cancerous lumps). Get over it, it's not about her, I yelled. I think she picked it up for about a kilometer but we both knew she was done. I tried refocusing and just making the day about us running together and how cool that was. I tried talking about people who inspired us, who we thought the other person expired. But no matter what, she just could give up the fight and settle in to just running and not racing.

Avg Pace

I was aching, physically because we were running so slow and taking tons of walk breaks, and mentally because it was hard to see my mom in such a bad place and because I felt like a failure - not keeping up my end of the bargain and pulling her through to a sub 2. So after the race I came home and did some calculating for my mom (and me) because I really want her to be happy and succeed. I do want her to re-evaluate her goals though and know that, um, she's aging. She ran her PB half four years ago at a 2:01. Age graded she should expect to be around 2:07. So why not shoot for sub 2:05? That's realistic. Thankfully, mom and I are going to have a do-over. Not a race, just a run. When we can forget our watches at home and just get caught up talking about all the things we never seems to have enough time for.

From the book: Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball

Running with my mom was a great reminder that we each need to focus on our own goals and set realistic ones too. I know I shout out to Another Mother Runner all the time but they have become my online support community. They put out a great podcast  (#5) about goal setting and I highly recommend everyone listen to it - mother or not. (Nearly) every moment of running should be enjoyable, including races, but you have to set yourself up for it.


  1. Hope you get better quick! Go find some Oil of Oregano and take a drop a day. That stuff is MAGIC!

  2. Good article Kourtney - you are a good daughter. Love you both <3

  3. With every run you learn something - the good the bad and the ugly. This run was the ugly!!
    Kourtney is right - my 'negative' mind won that day. And the worse I ran, the worse I felt - like I was letting Kourtney down because this was not the 'fun' day I had hoped it would be. I found a quote that sums it up:
    "In running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions." Glenn Cunningham, American runner in the 1930's
    I know this to be true because my brain and heart have carried me to the end of some very difficult runs when they were in the right place. On that day they were not and their power to defeat one is quite amazing. But the upside is to take that power and use it in the positive!. What did I learn from this day? Listen to my own advice(some of it's quite good!) a) reframe your goals when the training has not been optimal, physically or mentally; b)SMILE when you run - it gets the 'Happy Brain Chemicals' (serotonin and dopamine)going so that you feel better; c) remember to use your 'tricks' - your mantra, your energy color, that magic string attached to the runner ahead of you, etc and d) be kind to yourself if it's just not your day and just enjoy being out.
    Thanks Kourtney - you are a wonderful daughter and looking forward to that 'do over' when we just go out for that run and talk. I've got a whole list of things I'd planned to talk to you about on that run!!!
    Love you