Monthly Archives: January 2015

Top 5 Ways to Beat Stress

Let’s face it, life can be stressful..

Never ending lists of chores and things to do can become overwhelming. The next thing you know, you’re doing one thing after another and running around from one place to the other. You don’t get to rest, eat properly or relax.

You feel constantly tired and can’t seem to get your head together to concentrate on the tasks at hand.

Additionally, you feel unproductive, as if you’re running 20 miles on the treadmill at high speed, while still remaining in the exact same spot.

This type of thinking, in turn, causes you more stress and the cycle starts all over again.

If this sounds like anything you’re experiencing or have experienced, here are 5 ways to hit the “reset” button.

1. Exercise. Move your body in a way that you enjoy. Even 30 minutes of exercise can help you refocus in order to tackle your “to-do” list.

It’s a known stress reliever and you will never regret a workout. There are many ways to be active and therefore you’re bound to find a form of exercise that you truly like.

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2. Floatation therapy. It’s an enjoyable experience where you float in a tank filled with Epsom Salt dissolved in water (at skin temperature). You will get a chance to spend time alone, in a quiet isolation tank and clear your head. You can nap, meditate and leave your stress behind. When you come out, you will feel like you are in a better position to deal with life.

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See Float House Victoria for more information if you are in Victoria. Use the code yanasave20 to save $20 off a single float session and try it.

3. Read a good book. Read something that inspires you or that entertains you. Get lost in the moment and really focus on understanding what’s on the pages. It will take your mind off your stressful situation and hopefully allow you to focus on solving the problem in front of you.

4. Massage. It feels great and you basically get to lay on the table without having to do anything for the moment that you’re there. You can chat with the person doing massage for you or you can keep quiet and clear your head. Then, when you leave the massage table, you will feel relaxed and well-rested.

5. Acupuncture. Studies have shown that acupuncture, when done properly, helps alleviate stress. I had an acupuncture treatment from my good friend Tyler Stattin of Oshio College and really enjoyed it. Prior to my treatment, I was a bit nervous but then felt great during and after it. I felt a great sense of relief and relaxation shortly thereafter, so much so that I was able to better focus on my challenging workouts. Even ran a personal best not long afterwards.

Above are just some of the ways that I’ve tried or that my clients have tried when dealing with stress.

Sometimes, we just need to do something completely different in order to help us relieve stress. You never know what will make all the difference.

We all experience stress because life tends to throw curve balls at us. However, we need to focus on taking care of ourselves so that our stress does not have negative effects on our health.

How do you deal with stress?

Race Report: Harriers Pioneer 8k Jan 11, 2015

Before the middle of December 2014, I was looking forward to the start of the 2015 race season. Unfortunately, by mid-December, things started to quickly go downhill…

What I originally thought was just a cold, turned into the flu. At the time, I had no idea that it was going to turn into over a month of coughing all night, fever, missing training and generally not feeling well.

Prior to getting sick, I was looking forward to running some major personal bests across the board and was genuinely ready to do so.

Unfortunately, that was not going to happen this time around. Two days before the race, I considered pulling out because I was both sick and untrained. Several weeks off was definitely detrimental to my conditioning.

On the morning of the race, the only reason I decided to do it was because I wanted to see some of my friends that I haven’t seen for a while and I woke up without a fever. Fever would mean no race…no exceptions.

At the start, my only goal was to finish and hopefully I won’t feel like I’m breathing through a narrow straw as the race goes on.

Seeing as I was exhausted before the race even started, I decided to take it easy. I knew that the past few weeks have been very difficult. There was nothing I wanted more than my health back.

Admittedly, I started out too fast and the race was hard from the very beginning. That was a mistake and I don’t know why I make it far too frequently, even though I know better.

At the 4k mark, I even considered dropping out because I knew that I wasn’t going to run my best time and breathing became unusually difficult (my fear of feeling like I was breathing through a straw came true).

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Above: I’m struggling to breathe but must keep on going. Photo by Joseph Camilleri

In all honestly, there has never been a race where the thought of “quitting” ever entered my mind.

I slowed down a little more and decided to keep going. After all, I was past the halfway point and I would feel very embarrassed if I quit.

Also, what example would I be setting for my clients if I quit at first sign of a challenge?

Seeing the 7km marker was definitely the highlight of the race because it meant that I was less than 4 min and 30 seconds away from finishing it.

In the end, I somehow gathered enough strength to sprint the last 100m before getting the urge to either collapse or vomit at the finish line. Luckily, neither of the aforementioned happened (or else you guys would be “enjoying” some unpleasant candid photos…lol), even though this was the closest I’ve ever got.

I finished about 37 seconds slower than last year (as I would have expected). My time was 33:40 (4:16 per km or 6:46 per mile pace).

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Above: The age group awards ceremony. I’m the one with the Muscle MLK toque. Photo by Joseph Camilleri

Miraculously, I ended up being first in my age group and 23rd woman (out of 296) across the finish line.

Harriers8K2015_2Although I really struggled during this race, I recognized that being sick means you can’t physically give it 150% and I had to accept it. I’m ok with it because there will be many more opportunities to get a personal best in the future.

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Above: Since the Harriers Pioneer 8k is also the BC Athletics 8k Championship race, I also got a 1st place ribbon in the mail for winning my age group.

Other than being sick, I loved the race, love the people who are there and plan to be back next year (hopefully with a faster time).

Finishing this race made me realize that I can keep going when the going gets tough. It’s important to finish what we start and this race was a good reflection of that.

How to Cope with a Bad Race

Imagine this…

For the past 6 months, you have been working very hard, training for your next race, which you believed will be the best race of your life.

The thought of a new, stellar personal best kept you excited and motivated. All the workouts appeared to be going well and you felt mentally and physically ready to show everyone, especially yourself, what you were made of.

You thought: “With all this great training I’ve been doing, I’m going to ace the race.”

Not only that, but you were looking forward to that race for several months. You may have sacrificed a lot of social gatherings, watching your favorite TV shows, neglected your household duties (hello…dirty laundry) and missed out on all the fun things on social media just so you could train for the race…

Unfortunately, race day comes and instead of it being that amazing experience you were fantasizing about, it ends up being a disaster.

Not only did you run slower than you thought you would, but you also felt terrible the entire time. You contemplated dropping out of the race multiple times and said to yourself: “never again.”

Upon finishing the race, you doubted yourself and your training as you wondered why your hard work did not yield you a personal best.

Experiences like the aforementioned are unpredictable and can have a negative effect on your future races.

However, there are ways to turn that experience around and cope with it without feeling discouraged.

1. Understand that bad races happen to all runners. You can’t run one PR after another each time you race. This is why PRs are worth celebrating. Also, the faster you get, the less frequent and more special PRs become.

Even Paula Radcliffe, the fastest female marathoner and current world record holder, has had her share of bad races.

Therefore, no one is immune to a less than stellar performance.

2. Learn something from that experience. Each race is an opportunity to learn more about yourself as a runner. Take the time to analyze what went wrong and what you can do to improve your performance next time.

3. Sign up for another race. So what if you didn’t get a 10k personal best in that race in May. Try again in a few months after getting some more effective training under your belt.

4. There is never any guarantee how you will feel on race day. The body goes through cycles. Notice how some days you are more tired than others?

Let’s face it, sometimes your 3 mile run feels like 30 miles, meanwhile other times your 15 mile run feels super easy.

Accept that race day is no different than any training day because your body doesn’t really know that you really, really need that 10k PR.

Sure, you can rest, recover and prepare, but some days, the top performance just isn’t there. That’s OK.

It’s days like these that will make you appreciate new personal bests when they happen.

5. List the positive takeaways from the experience. Even if the race didn’t go the way you wanted, there have to be some positive things that you got out of it.

Did you meet new friends? Did you learn anything that will make your next race better? Did you get to chat with some cool people? Chances are, something good came out of your not-so-great experience.

Lastly, a bad race is not the end of the world. Even Olympic level athletes sometimes experience it. The trick is to evaluate what went wrong and then create a plan that will help you do better next time.

Every race is an opportunity to learn. Each and every experience will help you become a more well-rounded runner, even if you’re feeling quite bummed out about a bad race.

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Trust me, no one but you is going to remember your negative experience for long. Therefore, it’s best to evaluate it, learn from it and move on.

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