Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Everyday Runner Interview 1

This is the first installment in a series of interviews I hope to do with other regular, everyday people like me who are trying to find a balance between the demands of life and the desire to stay active and healthy. My first willing candidate, Stephanie (which may or may not be her real name) sat down with me (virtually via MSN) on a Wednesday night in November to discuss life, fitness, and running over a glass of Pinot Noir. Name: Stephanie Age (or not, whatever): 30 Location: Vancouver Occupation (besides running of course): Intern Architect. Running Bébé says: Complete this sentence: What I'm excited about these days is... Stephanie says: Learning a new language, taking real steps in professional know studying for my career, and getting back into shape. Running Bébé says: Is it hard to balance a busy career with staying fit? Stephanie says: Yes. Well, at least for me. I really like the job I have, but I work longer hours, so I find that at the end of the day I just want to go home and relax. But most of that difficulty in balancing career and exercise is because I'm pretty lazy. Running Bébé says: Haha. I'm sure that's not true. Running Bébé says: Well, maybe the recession has a bright side. If you're too busy at work its harder to fit in exercise right? Stephanie says: Well, I'm not necessarily lazy, but I am a home-body, so...I suppose that could be an upside of a slow-down. Running Bébé says: This is very interesting. Running Bébé says: Ok...Next one.... Running Bébé says: What I’m bummed about these days is... Stephanie says: My project at work is a little slow right now...and we're entering a I wish I could be a little bit more busy and productive work-wise. Also, I'm bummed about the depressing economic news (every day!) Running Bébé says: Word. Running Bébé says: When you're not being a home-body and work is not too crazy what do you do for fitness? Stephanie says: I was running for a while. And then there was a LONG lull. I walk a lot, and I took some sailing lessons in the summer, but really that only lasted two weekends. I also used to do Pilates once a week. Unfortunately I can't say that I have a healthy exercise regimen. Stephanie says: However, I'm happy to report that I started running again on Monday, but I don't think I can call it a regimen until I've been doing it consistently for a month. Running Bébé says: Congratulations! Running Bébé says: Smart move. Stephanie says: I bet you weren't expecting that! Running Bébé says: NO I wasn't Running Bébé says: So, would you say you do better with a more structured routine (as far as running goes)? Stephanie says: Structured how? Running Bébé says: I mean if you're following some sort of plan or have an end goal in mind like a race or being able to run a certain distance. Stephanie says: I think it helps, certainly. When I first started it helped that I had signed up for a class and I didn't want my money to go to waste. Having a goal like a race helped in that I had to complete a certain distance each week or I wouldn't be able to manage the week after. Stephanie says: because of time-constraints, it gets harder. Because I want to keep challenging myself, because the challenge motivates me to go out and complete the runs, but I'm not able to commit the time to do longer training runs for longer-distance goals. Running Bébé says: Would you say it's a bit of a balancing act - trying to challenge yourself without stressing yourself out completely? You need goals and some structure but you also want it to be fun, right? Stephanie says: Yeah, I think there's some lee-way in always pushing yourself. Like maybe I don't have to train for a half-marathon, maybe I can just focus on doing a 10K faster than last year. That means I can try to do more hill training and speed runs, which are sometimes more fun. Stephanie says: Also, maybe I can try to be more flexible about when I'm doing my runs...I tend to do them in the morning or the evening...and I've thought about maybe doing a lunchtime take advantage of the daylight and to have a break from work. Running Bébé says: That sounds very do-able. (I don't know how to spell that. Oh well.) Stephanie says: (there's a special word for that: feasible) Stephanie says: feasable? no that doesn't look right. Running Bébé says: feasible i think. Running Bébé says: If anyone out there knows how to spell feasable please email me at Running Bébé says: (sorry, I digress) Running Bébé says: It sounds like you really want to make the running work in your life. Running Bébé says: So, can you imagine yourself running in 5 years? Stephanie says: Yes. But someone pointed out to me, that it's not my lifestyle it will feel like a chore for a while. I guess, I've come to the conclusion that it's a relatively easy way to stay in shape so I should continue trying to fit it into my life. Running Bébé says: Plus some of your bestest friends run Stephanie says: So 5 years from now...I'm not sure. I think I'll go through many more periods of not running for months at a time...but hopefully over time those periods will get shorter and shorter. Stephanie says: Sort of like conquering my innate laziness. Running Bébé says: Yes, ha. You may relapse a few times... And if the relapse gets out of hand I'll help to organize an intervention. Stephanie says: Actually a friend in Shanghai has started running...and has given up beer...he wants to get rid of his gut. Running Bébé says: Wow. That's crazy talk! Running Bébé says: Hold on, hold on...Lets not get carried away here! Stephanie says: So now he only has wine and liquor. It's a calories thing. Running Bébé says: So, what are YOU prepared to give up? In the name of running and health and all that? Stephanie says: I don't know... Stephanie says: I think I'm willing to give up tv. I know that sounds odd. But I love tv, and often I don't go for a run after work because there's something starting at 8 and I want to watch it... Running Bébé says: Maybe you just need one of those tivo things Stephanie says: But I read something today that although tv may make you happy in the short term...over a long period of time it prevents from going out and doing things socially and reading and such, so that people who watch a lot of tv, in the end are not happy. Running Bébé says: I'll buy that. Stephanie says: I can always just watch shows when they come out on dvd. A tv marathon. Running Bébé says: Thanks for playing along. I just have a couple more questions. Stephanie says: sure. shoot. Running Bébé says: Not to create stress or anxiety but do you plan on entering any running events in the near future? Or distant future, as it may be? Stephanie says: Well, I went out for a run this evening, and for the second one after 3 months it felt pretty good. And so then I started to have that happy glowy 'I can conquer the world'-feeling...and I thought maybe I'd do the Santa Shuffle...and then the Sun Run in April and maybe a half-marathon in May or June...and then we'll see... Running Bébé says: Wow. Stephanie says: You know, sometimes my brain gets carried away. Running Bébé says: Did that feeling go away after you got home and showered? Stephanie says: Well, it did until now...when you brought it up again. Running Bébé says: Well, lets see, you've done what now, a couple of 5Ks and a 10K race, right? Stephanie says: yes. Running Bébé says: Think you'll ever do a marathon (other than a TV one)? Stephanie says: Yes. Because I've found that no matter who you know, at some point conversation will turn to running and marathons and the question always comes up 'Have you done a marathon?' And, I'm always surprised by how many seemingly ordinary people have done one. So it makes it seem like a very real and achievable goal. Running Bébé says: Yes. Stephanie says: Plus there's when you watch a marathon there's always those old folks running, and if they can do it, I think I'd be okay. Stephanie says: (I know, that sounds awful.) Running Bébé says: No. Everyone who's ever done a marathon has gone thru that exact thought process I think. Running Bébé says: So I think we should do this again in a month or so and see how things evolve with you. Stephanie says: or devolve? Stephanie says: ok, we won't go there. Running Bébé says: No, stay away from the dark side. Stephanie says: I'll try my best. Running Bébé says: Is there anything I didn't ask that you really wanted to talk about? Stephanie says: Hmm...I know that I had some last words or parting thoughts or something...let me think for a moment... Running Bébé says: Ok. I'll fill my wine glass... Stephanie says: I guess my last words are actually a link to a blog...not your blog (sorry). It was the first time I read a race report, and it was this weird, foreign activity to read about (since I wasn't running at the time.) But the thing about it, is that it was still really entertaining, but now I go back and read it, and it's entertaining because now I'm also a runner. Running Bébé says: Cool! Lets have it! Stephanie says: I know I sent it to you a long time ago. It was my first introduction to the concept of bleeding nipples: Running Bébé says: Ah yes, I remember. Thanks for sharing! I'll end it there. Running Bébé says: Now you are off the record. Stephanie says: Ah, well it's been a pleasure. (you can put that in if you want...)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Post-Marathon Week 3: A Peek at the Peak-to Peak

I’m still avoiding any hard running, but I’m happy to report I’ve been getting out there three times a week for my lunch-hour 3 milers.

Peak-to-Peak Gondola Car (Plan & Elevation)

On the skiing front, Ian & I have started our self-guided Pre-Ski Training Camp which is pretty hardcore. Ian’s the trainer and I do what I’m told, which is highly unusual. We’re doing agility drills and a lot of core strengthening using silly looking props like the Swiss Ball, Medicine Ball, and Rubber Band. They look like toys but are, in fact, modern-day tools of torture. My abs are finally feeling normal again after a couple of weeks of complaining from the strain. Ian assures me all of this hard work will make skiing easier AND more fun. Last weekend driving past Whistler we saw the new Peak-to-Peak Gondola running for the first time. It’s quite a sight. Little black blobs in the distance gliding perilously along a thin line stretched over an unfathomable gap. Apparently it is the first horizontal gondola in North America to link two mountain tops. Imagine standing in a little car, holding on for dear life while dangling over the abyss. Sound fun? It is now the highest and longest unsupported horizontal lift span AND the longest continuous lift system in the world. All of this engineering genius just so you and I will can ski both mountains on the same day.

Here are some facts on the P2P: Speed 7.5 meters per second. Ride Time approximately 11 min. Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain Frequency one cabin departs every 49 seconds Total Distance 4.4km/2.73miles (straight line) Length of Unsupported Span 3.024km/1.88 miles (straight line between the two towers that are furthest apart) Highest Point above the ground is 436m/1427 feet over Fitzsimmons Creek