Welcoming Distractions: Give Yourself a Break

During training season, each morning, I wake up to an email with details of my daily workout(s). I plan my day mentally. Then, before getting out of bed, I take my resting heart rate and jot down how many hours of sleep I got. After I get up, I also regularly weight myself and take my blood pressure. Then, I prepare a healthy breakfast that will help me tackle the day ahead, get dressed and out the door I go!

Today, I forgot it all.

I’m still technically in my off season break until Wednesday, so the schedule has been different with no training, but I’ve still been diligent about entering my data daily. This morning though, a little furry face greeted me with her purrs when I woke up and nothing else really mattered in that moment.

Being an animal lover, I’ve been a pet mom most of my adult life. But eventually, like with every other area of my life, training took priority and I’ve now found myself without a furry friend for the past 2 years.

That is, until two days ago, when I fell in love with this beauty.

Meet Sheena

While I love training, racing and competing, it can also be, at times, difficult, stressful and lonely. As a very competitive (and very committed!) athlete, I sometimes forget to give myself a break, even during off season. Sheena reminds me that it’s ok to not do everything perfectly all the time. It’s ok to take a mental break for the rigours of training once in a while. It’s ok to just enjoy the moment and breathe.

I’d wanted to avoid any distractions from training, but today I realized something very important. Forgetting to take my stats once in a while won’t make any difference with my training. It won’t make me less dedicated or mean I’m not as motivated. But it might just make me a more relaxed and happier person, and therefore an even better athlete in the end.

Let’s all remember to pause and give ourselves a well deserved break once in a while!

Celebrate Yourself

It’s easy to get caught up in the whirl of life. Always on the go, with that next thing we need to cross off our list on the mind. Some days are more successful and others feel overwhelming, trying to figure out just how we’re possibly going to get through them. We compare with others, convinced that everyone else is doing better. We focus on the negative and wonder why we keep falling short of our goals.

That’s when we need to pause, breathe and take some time to look more realistically at what we have actually achieved. It’s important to take that step back and celebrate our successes.

As a competitive athlete, my mind is always focused on the next thing I can do to improve my performance. How can gain that edge that will bring me to the next level? What can I work on? Because of that mindset, sometimes, I forgot to celebrate my achievements. As I reach goals that I had set for myself, suddenly a bigger goal takes its place and the previous goals simply become stepping stones towards reaching the new one. While it’s good to stay motivated and strive for the best version of us that we can be, it can also be self-defeating to always be looking ahead and how far we still have to go to reach that “ultimate” goal that may never come.

While enjoying my end of season break this week, I’ve had time to reflect on this past running season. I took the time to write down a list of this year’s accomplishment. Funny enough, the result surprised me. The season may have started with a frustrating IT band injury, and was scaled back in terms of training due to my move to Vancouver in July, but I still ended up with a great year. I got new personal bests at every distance I raced (5k, 8k, 10k and half marathon) and placed well, even in more competitive races. I was so focused on my last two races in which I was hoping to reach a new personal best and didn’t, that I failed to see the overall picture. Because I’ve now chosen to celebrate these successes before moving on to the next ones, I share the list with you.

– 1st female, Vancouver Historic 5k, 2017
– 1st in age group, Vancouver Fall Classic 5k, 2017
– 4th in age group, Victoria Half Marathon, 2017 (PB: 1:29:58)
– 1st in age group, Vancouver Eastside 10k, 2017 (PB: 41:48)
– 1st female, Vancouver Pride Run 5k, 2017 (PB: 19:58)
– 2nd female, Perth Kilt Run 8k, 2017 (PB)
– 7th in age group, Ottawa Half Marathon, 2017 (PB)

We are often told to be modest and not “show off” what we do right. So we minimize what we do, but in doing so, we do ourselves (and others) a disservice. So I invite you to do the same, not just with running, you can also list everything you are doing right in any area of your life. Then celebrate those successes whatever they may be, share them with others, reach out and give yourself that pat on the back because you deserve it!! The more we allow ourselves to celebrate our successes, the more it’ll inspire and allow others to do the same.

Hello and welcome to my blog!

Who am I? I’m Melanie Clement. I started running in January 2012 in order to join a team of coworkers for an upcoming Spartan Sprint race. At that time, I was inactive. I started training with a walk run program to build me up to an hour run before the event that took place in June. While I did not enjoy the mud race, I discovered that I had a passion for running. From that passion, a desire to compete and see how far I could go was born.

I’ve since competed both on trails and roads at different distances, including ultra-marathons. My strength lies in road running. My proudest achievement was to be selected to compete at the World 100k Championships in Spain in November 2016. I have since dropped down in distance to work on my speed. I also moved to Vancouver last July in order to train where the best in our country train. In 2018, I plan on competing road races, as well as masters track and cross country races at the regional, provincial, national and international levels.

I strongly believe that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and your dreams and I am here to prove it.

Why the RunMelanieRun name?

In 2013, I joined a team of 23 runners to complete a 100k road run (we each ran the full distance as solo runners!) to raise money to fight kids’ cancer. The run was part of the Sears Great Canadian Run. We ran from Ottawa, Ontario to Montebello, Quebec. Having been a runner for less than 2 years at the time, and having been inactive before that, training for the 100k event was not without its challenges. To encourage me to keep going, a friend started using the hashtag #runmelanierun in his comments on my Facebook posts. Other friends soon joined in and it stuck. The run was a success as our team raised more than $100,000 for the cause. I look forward to sharing this story and more of the incredible moments running has allowed me to experience with you. Please keep visiting my website for regular updates.