Tag Archives: nutrition

Confidence. Belief. Self Efficacy.

You can’t control the uncontrollable, so don’t waste tears trying.

That was probably the most valuable piece of information I walked away with following the running symposium I attended this weekend at Burnaby’s Fortius Sport and Health Centre.

Sports psychologist David Cox (who works with the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Canadian Olympic snowboarding team) had just 20 minutes to share his expertise in getting the mind ready for race day. He didn’t waste any time. Talking a mile a minute and frantically chicken scratching notes on the whiteboard he spewed out key words: Confidence. Belief. Self Efficacy. He threw his hands up at negative pressure, he slapped outcome goals in the face, he weighed the cancer of extrinsic values to the reward of intrinsic.


As runners, we are so hung up on times, on the “brutal” win-or-lose mentality. But why not invest more on our performance goals, those things that are under our control – the technical, tactical preparations, he said. We can’t control the weather. We can’t control illness. We can’t control the preparation of the other runners around us. But we can control our preparation, our health, our rest.

At the end of the day, Cox said, the question to ask is not how did you do, but what did you learn?

Oh man, how much did I need to hear that? There’s been countless times where I’ve berated myself mid race when I fall short of a pace, or when I see a personal best slipping out of my grasp, or when I see a runner I perceive should be slower than me leave me in his or her dust. There’s also been times where I’ve neglected a strength training session because I’m too tired, or only half-assed a speed interval session because it’s too hard, or even forgone a run because there’s snow on the ground or some other silly excuse. But what determines your level of performance?


If you want to improve, you have to push out of your comfort zone, you have to challenge yourself, you have to make it an attitude. I control that!

Interesting to note: “Elite” comes from the Latin word elire, meaning to choose. Elite athletes CHOOSE to be great.

I choose to be great. I choose to work hard. I choose to believe.



  • 2:30 p.m. BG before: 5.6
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent, 1 hour
  • Carbs: 2 gummies, no bolus
  • Time: 20 minutes, 5 minutes warmup, 15 minutes tempo at 5:00 min/km pace
  • Distance: 3.88 km
  • Average pace: 5:15 min/km
  • 3:30 p.m. BG after: 6.3
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent, 1 hour

The running symposium had several other speakers, including Dr. Jack Taunton, chief medical officer for the Vancouver Olympics; Lynn Kanuka, former Olympic running medalist; dietitian Ashley Charlebois; and more.

For a first time event it was pretty good, but I think they overbooked speakers for the way it was set up. Initially they had registrants select two speakers for the morning and two for the afternoon plus the keynote speaker, which meant you wouldn’t be able to see all the speakers listed, but that you’d maybe get more time with speakers you were actually interested in listening to. I liked that model.

However, at the last minute, they changed it and made it so everyone would have an opportunity to hear from every speaker. I was NOT keen on that model. It meant, I had just 20 minutes with the sports psychologist and the same with the dietitian – the two speakers I was really interested in hearing from. It also meant that some of the speakers, who I’m guessing had designed their presentations based on more time, had to seriously crunch it down to a Cole’s Notes version.

In closing:



Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! I am so excited!!! Ohmygawd so excited!!! Want to know why? Because it’s birthday ice cream cake month!!! June is hands down my most favourite month of the year, a month I prepare for for 11 straight months. With myself and two siblings sharing this birthday month, as well as my grandma and neice, and all but one of us loving Dairy Queen ice cream cake, you’ve kind got to train for it – that’s a lot of ice cream cake eating! What? Did you really think I ran those two marathons for my health? or because I actually love running for nearly 5 hours straight? Hell no! It’s all for the ice cream cake my friends! Happy almost birthday to me!!!

FYI: This is NOT the optimal size!

After writing my last post, I was reminded at just how amazing my blogging community is here. Every one of your comments touched me to the core of my heart, and I sincerely thank you. Although I found it interesting that about 95 per cent of you don’t seem to believe I’m done with marathons … maybe you’re right. I should know by now never to say never especially after shouting out “never again” with less than a kilometre to go in my last marathon and then just two days later planning how I could do better. And while I’m most definitely not at that stage, my initial stance on doing another marathon has somewhat softened – not because I enjoy running them, but because, as many of you noted, I really would like to kick its ass.

Don’t take this the wrong way, because I was honestly happy that I was able to shave 00:10:17 off my first marathon time, that’s huge, I know that. But what I wasn’t happy with is that I felt like I gave up, like I let Marathon get the better of me, let him beat me, and that pisses me off. Like even in the last 700 metres, when I knew I’d only be needing to run a few minutes tops, I couldn’t find the gumption within me, not even a crumb of it, to keep going, I was still taking walk breaks. It wasn’t until I saw that finish line that I found another level to push. It was like a carbon copy ending to my first marathon, except this time I wasn’t physically falling apart. Not exactly the way a competitive princess such as myself wanted to end things.

So, that all being said I have a couple things to figure out before I can even think about attempting another marathon:

  1. I need to figure out my race-day (and long run) stomach issues, whether it’s the gels, which I didn’t have any of on Sunday, if it’s food in general, or if it’s my nervous belly spiraling me into tumult. And if it is my nervous belly, I need to figure out how to get rid of those damn nerves.
  2. I also need to figure out how to push through the exhaustion, how to dig deeper, how to fight through the physical and mental pain when all I want to do is stop.

If I can solve those two puzzles, then maybe I’ll contemplate another.

It’s not enough to just finish with a smile.

In the meantime, I plan to take my marathon aggression out on the halfs.
New goal: A sub 2:00:00 baby!!!

The final count down

Let the count down begin! In T – 12 hours my feet will be racing across that start line and will keep going for another four plus hours. Am I nervous? Nah. Excited? A little. Turns out my endless poking and prodding, urging and reminding (and maybe a little of the threatening to bring out the voodoo dolls) actually worked. I’m pretty sure, by the phone conversations, email back and forth and Facebook messages I’ve had in the last two days, a large contingent of my immediate family will be cheering me on at the Finish LIne. And that alone, along with Mario and Lappiere cheering me on at different locales, will keep me going, and will surely, even if it kills me, have me finishing with a smile. I LOVE MY FAMILY!!!

Today has been all about the preparations, clothing preparations, mental preparations (getting your hair done fits in that category right?) and food preparations.

Bringing back the racecakes

Gimme some figgy … newton???

I’ve never run on fig newtons before, but I’ve heard lots of good things about them from other runners, and because I’m pretty darn desperate for fuel options in light of my recent issues with the GU Dry Heaves, and because I’m pretty picky in what I feel comfortable eating while running (nothing gewy or sticky that might get stuck in my teeth and nothing sharp that might get caught in my throat – how unfortunate would that be?) I figured I’d give the newtons a go. They have more sugar than the GU, but less carbs. And keep in mind the serving size is for two cookies, which I know I will not be consuming all at once.

GU: Calories: 100. Carbs: 25g. Sugars: 5g.
Figs: (for 2): Calories: 90. Carbs: 21g. Sugars: 12g.

I have no idea how the fig newtons will affect my blood sugars, or how they’ll affect my belly, or if they’ll give me the fuel boost I’ll so desperately need. But, I’ve been testing them for two days now (with insulin) and I sure do like the taste 😀

And the final food prep of the day, my traditional pre-race/pre-Sunday run dinner (red wine not shown):

Tomorrow’s motto: Run like a kid. Finish with a smile.

The Sami Salo of runners

Update on this week’s training: I haven’t done anything, nada, nothing, nil, zilch. In my defense, yesterday was technically a rest day, although I usually go to pilates, but because of Victoria Day, the pilates studio was closed, and today when I got to work, my first day back after two-weeks of holidays, I discovered I had a school board meeting tonight (which by the way I was so NOT happy about given that there was a Canucks playoff game on … this is the THIRD time the district has scheduled a meeting on significant playoff/olympic game nights! Forget that the meetings were scheduled a year in advance, they should have known, or at the very least, they should have rescheduled … so really, it’s not my fault if my stories end up with more Canuck’s highlights than school business; yes, I had my laptop with me … for note taking, really ;)).

I could have gone for a light run beforehand, and in the past I’ve had no qualms about going to these meetings all sweaty, but again the game started at 6, I needed to eat dinner beforehand, there was no time for a run. I could potentially go for a run tomorrow, and I’m still somewhat undecided on that one, if I do go, it will be super light, like five or six kilometres tops. And pilates on Thursday, I’m leaning more on the side of not going than going. Yes there are elements of stretching in pilates, but it’s more a weight-pulling, ab-crunching, physical workout. And knowing my history of coming down with injury like seconds before a race (re: falling down the stairs two weeks prior to marathon no. 1) I’d probably wind up pulling my groin or something.  I’m seriously like the Sami Salo of runners!

Click pic for larger image. (SOURCE)

So last week I received a question from long-time reader Joe following my half-marathon recap asking me what I plan to do nutrition wise for the marathon given that my body is majorly rebelling against all things gel-related. And honestly, I don’t have a clue. For my last marathon, I started out on gels and had silver-dollar-sized pancakes for backup later on in the race, which I had incorporated into my training for that marathon. But for this marathon’s training, I pretty much solely relied on the gels … to be honest, I was too lazy to make the pancakes. So I don’t know if my sensitive belly will be all that welcoming to pancakes on race day, but given my issues with gels, I really don’t have much to lose do I? So yeah, I’ll probably pack a couple of the pancakes, I’ll definitely be packing a slice of white bread for “just in case” the pukey belly rears its ugly head, and yes, I will be taking my chances with the gels, because really I don’t know what else I can do. I definitely won’t be taking GU as that’s the one that really gets my stomach going, so I’ve just got to decide between the eLoad and Hammer which is the lesser evil.

What “fuels” crazy or not have you used – other than gels – for races?