Win or Lose We Can Achieve Success

Last night my daughter’s ringette team played one of their best games of the season. As a a parent and coach, it was a pleasure to watch because they worked as a team. As a coach we often say you win or lose as a team, but sometimes it is hard for the players to visualize what that means. The players feel the emotions of the loss or the win, but what about being able to explain what that feels like or how either outcome came to be. Sure it’s easy to say we won because we scored more than the other team, but is that really what happened. We may ask “what can we do differently so we win?”, but players (and coaches) can not always articulate what that looks like for them.

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Team stands together

Our season is into the second half, and after a strong first half we have struggled for the last few games. At the last practice the coaches broke some things down to absolute basics — skating form, passing and stabbing the ring, and shooting form — and put plays aside. The thinking was that our girls needed to remember what their play needed to feel like, and that they have these skills as individuals and teammates. They payoff was evident before we hit the ice. The girls had a different attitude prior to the game; rather than being focused on the previous losses and letting our opponent’s recent success against us get into our heads, the girls were acting like a group of friends who were all having fun during warm-up. When they hit the ice, their positioning and game sense was more focused than it had been in a while.

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Lonely End of the Rink

My daughter is the goalie. Prior to games we often talk about bringing her A game. About being big in the net and tracking the ring. Last night we talked about what the other players need to to do to be successful. How they had to be in position and make smart shots. The conversation was about team responsibility. Not the responsibility of any one player. My daughter has been a goalie long enough to know what she needs to do and how to do it; she certainly didn’t need me to tell her again. Just because the goalie is refereed to as the loneliest player on the ice, doesn’t really mean she is alone. In a game there are five players in front of her. The all have positions and responsibilities during a game. When asked what went right or wrong, we hope they can tell us what that looks like in how they play as individuals or as a team. Not just ideas, but examples of what they do. Not picking on each other, but supporting each other.

Rather than be intimidated by a team that seems to have had their number most of the season, our girls attacked the ring, held their positions, and fought all game.  The outcome: 7-2 victory, and lots of smiles. They could all tell us about things that went really well in the game and things they need to work on. Teamwork vs individual play made the difference. Last night (and probably today) they knew what playing as a team FEELS like, and their muscle memory will be better for it.

Video from a practice earlier in the year. Girls have to work together, win or lose.

Winter Running

This year I’ve decided to keep running as much as possible. Unlike other years when I stop running in the fall and then start again in the spring, having enjoyed a lovely winter rest, this year I’m running in the winter. Okay, so I wasn’t great at running in the late fall and early winter, but I did get out a few times. I even ran indoors a few times. What amazed me was that I still had some decent speed in my legs and lungs. That said, preparing to brave the cold of an Ottawa winter was a whole other issue.

In December I took part in Jayme Rae’s plank challenge. Since this worked out so well, I thought I might try to take on Run Ottawa’s running streak challenge #RORunStreak on Twitter and Instagram. At first I wasn’t sure I would be able to even do this since I don’t like to run in the cold, but then I got to thinking that I have to go out to walk the dog anyway so why not run; we could both use the exercise. Two things I had to consider:

  1. Kip is a spaz and has typically tripped me when we have tried to run before. Did I really want to risk a wipe out?
  2. I DO NOT LIKE RUNNING IN THE COLD.

The more I exercise, the more I learn that running is like trying to get little kids to eat something. On average it takes 11 attempts at a food before a child will realize it’s okay and they like it. Running is the same; you can’t just give up. If you want to succeed, then you must try more than once. This was going to be my one more time moment.

If you’ve followed me on Twitter or Instagram then you know I have in fact been running almost every day this month. Some days it’s just 1.5 km in the morning and again at night, some days it’s a bit longer. I was lucky that the first few days of January were relatively mild here so getting out was easier than I thought. By the end of the first week, though, the temperature dropped to a brisk -16C (felt like -20C). Since the dog still had to go, we ran around the block. Guess what? We both survived. In fact within a few days Kip and I seemed to have figured how to run together. After 17 days, there have only been 3 days when I wasn’t able to run, but I did walk those days.

My mother, a long time runner, told me that running in winter is simply a matter of dressing right and being careful. I have to admit she is right. I still have trouble figuring out how many layers to wear, but it’s a lesson I’m happy to keep learning. I’m not a hardcore winter runner, but I’m getting the hang of it. It doesn’t scare me like it used to, and I know I will appreciate the effort come spring. Maybe one of the nicest things to come from my efforts was a colleague telling me I have inspired her to run with her dog this winter.

Thanks to @RunOttawa and all the #RORunStreak participants for your continued encouragement and support!

Thinking Out Loud Thursday #6

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Another Thinking Out Loud Thursday – linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons.

#1 — Effort v1

Each Thursday I read Rebecca’s TOLT posts and I think. “How does she find time to do that EVERY week?” Of course, like exercise, it just has to happen. So today I took a few minutes for myself and wrote this and one other blog post. I really must try to do this more often because (1) I enjoy the writing process and (2) it is good for me to exercise my brain in a different way.

#2 — Effort v2

Much of this year has been whipping by, and November was no exception. With the days getting shorter and colder, I did not get out to run at all even though I said I would.  On the weekend, however, my brother-in-law and exercise mentor reminded my that this is our off-season. Not sit on your butt and do nothing season, but off-season when we do other things for exercise. Sure I am not running outside, but I do skate 2 or 3 times a week as a ringette and hockey coach. I walk the dog daily. I walk all over my school daily. But still I need to do more.  So not that December is upon us, I am heading back to the workout spoace in my basement and revving up the SWORKIT app for some stretching and HIIT workouts. at the very least I will be more relaxed and will have a fighting chance at staving off the holiday eating.  Also, today I started Jayme Rae‘s #24DAYSOFPLANKMAS challenge.

 

I managed 50 seconds of plant work today to get things started. Yay me!

#3 — Family

Recent events have reminded me yet again the importance of family. Lots of hugs for my wife and kids these days.

My WordPress.com Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 6 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.
Amazingly I have been using WordPress.com for 6 years! I’m not really sure where the time has gone, but suddenly I’m here. I know when I started using the platform in my classroom I had great plans to communicate with my students — which I did sort of. Then I created a variety of other sites for other purposes, which were also used sort of. Finally I created this site. While I am not a power user like many other blogger, I still find time to post things about my journey towards a healthier me, as well as some photos and book reviews. Here’s hoping I can log a few more kilometers running and biking and crank out a few more post in the coming year.
Thanks for playing along!

Thinking Out Loud Thursday #5

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This post is yet another link up with Amanda at RunningWithSpoons.

  • “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” So wrote Charles Dickens at the start of A Tale of Two Cities, a book I used to teach, and lines that so clearly summed up today. What had already promised to be a very long day of work began with me being rear ended when I was a bout 5 minutes from work. My van now has a hole the size of my phone in its bumper. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but the other driver and I are both inconvenienced by the accident and the resulting repairs. Of course I still had to make it through the day, but it was, to quote a friend, a peppy day and my Admin partners and I seemed to be putting out fires. All. Day. Long. On the plus side though we had a good turn out for our Parent-Teacher Interview night, and I won the 50-50 fundraising draw for our #TeamCostaRica school trip.
  • I recently applied to be part of the Team Awesome for #runottawa2017. This is an initiative by the organizers of the Ottawa Race Weekend to harness the enthusiasm social media savvy runners to post updates about their training plans, struggles, goals, and race weekend activities. As this is the Canada’s 150th birthday year, I thought it would be great to be part of this opportunity to connect with other runners to celebrate a sport I enjoy and the city I love to run in. I discovered Team Awesome last year when fellow teacher and runner Rebecca Wemyss wrote about it on Twitter. Here’s hoping I’m selected, but I know there will be lots of other worthy applicants.
  • Jon Snow may not know anything, but I know winter is coming to Ottawa. I have not been shy about being a fair weather runner, and I’m worried that as the temperatures dip and the precipitation turns white I will not get out for runs. In fact today is the first snowfall in Ottawa with a predicated 5-10 cm expected. Thanks Rebecca for this great photo of her last out door track session.

    Lol

    A photo posted by rebeccaruns (@rebeccaruns) on Oct 27, 2016 at 3:39pm PDT

    Typically the first snowfall doesn’t stick, but at the end of the day there was noticeable accumulation. Last weekend I tried to toughen myself up a bit by running in the rain. Surprise surprise I didn’t melt so I’m sure I can run in snow, but I know I have to build some resilience (and wear proper clothes). This morning as I was walking my dog, my neighbour was heading our for her run. Oh how I envy her confidence running in the cold!

  • On the weekend I managed to do something I wasn’t 100% sure I could actually do. My long run on Sunday was 21.5km, and I managed to run it in 2:09:49. Not only did I run a half marathon, I crushed my previous time by 40 minutes. Of course this was the distance I had been training for most of the year, but my time is still 10 minutes faster than  thought it would be. The accomplishment itself warrants its own post, which is coming soon.

    Distance demon demolished #longrun #runchat #runningdad #Ottawa

    A photo posted by Chris Hale (@seehalerun) on Oct 23, 2016 at 1:14pm PDT

     

Thinking Out Loud Thursday #4

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This is another link up with Amanda at Running With Spoons.

  • I blinked and September was over; now we’re at the first long weekend of the school year, Canadian Thanksgiving. Looking forward to lots of family time and way too much good food. YUM!
  • One of my goals has been to stay active as we move into fall and winter. This week I actually managed to exercise every day. Sunday I had a hard skate with my daughter’s ringette team. We even got on the ice early so there was more than an hour on the ice. Monday the team had dry-land training where the girls did body wieght and cardio exercises followed by a rousing game of handball. Of course the coaches lead the activity — good modelling and team building — so that was hour 2 for the week. It turns out that skating and exercises use similar but different muscles. Tuesday I hit the trails for a run while the team had power-skating. Although I planned for 30 minutes, I was done 5 km in 26 minutes so I kept going, but then I was in the middle of the forest after 6 km and I had to keep running to the end of the trail. As I ran out of the trail and into the parking lot, Strava let me know I had gone 7 km in 39 minutes. The first 5 km were harder than they needed to be, and I sure felt it the next day when all of my leg muscles seemed to be sore. Wednesday was a day for walking, including a nice 3 km walk after dinner. I’m still a bit sore today, but I’ve been walking a lot and stretching too so things are getting better. I may even get in a short run.
  • My average run length these days seems to be about 7 km in about 40 minutes, averaging 5:35-ish / km. A little over a year ago, my average run was 5 km, and I was running about 2 mins/km slower. I am still amazed that I can run as far and as fast as I do. I am a runner.
  • Wednesday October 5 was World CP Day. If you are interested in learning about this day, and about CP, please check out the website https://worldcpday.org/.

Thursdays are For Thinking Out Loud #3

Hey, it’s Thursday and I’m remembering to put a few thoughts out there.

  •  It’s pretty hard to believe that September is over already. It seems like the month just started, but with the return to work and the rinks it really should come as a surprise to me that the month is already over. 
  • My free time this week has been consumed with coaching my daughter’s ringette team, getting my boys to their ice sports — hockey and wheelchair curling — and maybe just a little running. So far this week I managed 12km; I went out planning or 10km but then I was 11 and a bit so I figured why not just do an extra lap around the park to round out the last km 12.1 km at 5:42/km). 
  • Like many Canadians, I’ve been glued to the World Cup of Hockey. Tonight I’m listening to game 2 of the finals while I watch my son play his last sort out game. Here’s hoping Canada finishes things off tonight. Go Canada, go!

Thinking Out Loud Thursday #2

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After a late start to my first Thinking Out Loud Thursday, and a missed Thursday last week, I’m back with my second Thinking Out Loud Thursday. This links up with Amanda at Running With Spoons.

  • My wife and I recently celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary. We are both amazed that the time has flown by so quickly as it seems like just yesterday that we newlyweds. Of course having three kids aged 19 to 13 should have been a clue that we’ve been together for a while, but it just doesn’t seem like 22 years.
  • Last week was supposed to be race week for me. However I decided early in the week that I would not be running the Army Run Half Marathon. It was the right decision, but it left me feeling a little out of sorts all week. I only ran once, and some of my food choices were questionable, especially on the weekend. I’ve started looking for another fall race that fits my family schedule so that I can possibly get a Half PB. Interestingly, my bib for the Army Run was 4905 — I’m 49 and my last/only half was 5 years ago when I ran the  Army Run in a less than stunning 2:49. After a couple of years of relatively consistent running and learning, I had hoped to PB somewhere below 2:30, but it just wasn’t in the stars. Thankfully Ottawa is a great running city and there are other opportunities.
  • Ringette season is upon us so I am back on the ice as a coach. After a summer of running, my legs feel great and skating is pretty easy, except for some different leg muscles I’m now using.
  • This week I ran with my school’s Cross Country Team.  Last year I had promised to get out with them, but I never made it. It was great to be out with the students and coaches for an easy 5k in the neighborhood. It was especially nice for coaches McColeman and Collins to keep the pace manageable for me and the newest team members (5.2k @ 6:33/km).
  • On the last day of summer, I hit the trail and the road for a stress relieving run. While I was hoping to hit 10k, I wasn’t sure given the limited running I’ve done recently. There was no need to worry however, as I ran a 10K PB in 55:31. My splits were very consistent in the first 5k, but slipped a bit in the second 5. That was fine with me though as it was great to be running. No watch, no stopping, just my phone chirping my split times as I zipped along.

https://www.strava.com/activities/720450656/embed/0245a7a27d341fdb2e013f95f9f00f552420458f

Back to work food temptations!

As often happens when schools come back after the summer break there are treats for staff and students. My school is no different. We provided coffee and muffins for the staff, and our grade 9 students and student leaders were given cheese pizza for lunch.

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Muffins for staff

Even though I have been super careful this summer about what and how much I eat, and I told myself I would resist, the temptation was too great. I had two muffins this morning and a slice of pizza at lunch. And I still had the lunch I brought from home.

A small pile of the Pizza for students

Sure I had breakfast at 6:00 am, so I was hungry by mid morning and I don’t get to have lunch until 12:45, but I brought a healthy lunch with veggies and fruit that could be eaten in one sitting or grazed upon throughout the day. Sure I knew better, and I’ve lost weight through my better eating and exercising. But I AM WEAK! All I can do is remind myself that while a couple of treats is the start of a slippery slope, it is not a food mountain-slide. I just have to be mindful of what I eat, and stay away from temptation.

So with only 77 days to go to Christmas break, every day will be an interesting challenge to keep away from free food and empty calories.

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Truth!

Thinking Out Loud Thursday #1

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This is my first Thinking Out Loud Thursday – a hopefully regular post inspired by fellow parent, educator, blogger and runner Rebecca at Running.Food.Baby who links up with Amanda at Running with Spoons. Of course starting this on a Thursday but not finding the time until Saturday to finish it isn’t a great start, but I’ve got to try. 

#1 Summer is over!

That’s right, it’s September 1 (now 3rd) and summer is over because I am back at work. After a fantastic summer off we’re back at it. As a 5 school family, we love our time together in the summer but I think we’re all ready to head back to school. Okay, maybe only my daughter is really ready to be back, but the rest of us have had to accept reality.

Bag packed more than a week early

Partial family selfie in BC

 

#2 Running and Races 

The weather in Ottawa wasn’t exactly conducive to building a solid running routine given that the average temperature seemed to be a hot and humid 40C all summer long, but I did manage to get out somewhat regularly. Of course a nagging ankle pain (Achilles tendinitis?) and then a blister slowed me down in July, but I got back to it more running in August. I finished July with my second Sprint Tri when my times in all elements improved over my first Sprint Tri in May. 


 I also knocked a couple of fun 5k runs this summer. The first was a fundraiser for my daughter’s field hockey club; the run was all trails. I was on pace for under 26 minutes but my Achilles was bothering me so I was over 27 minutes. And that’s how I learned the value of stretching EVERY DAY! The second was the Ottawa Craft Beer Run just last week. Finished with 26:03 time so obese pretty happy. 

I even managed to complete my first virtual 10k race to support Challenged Athelete initiative. 

#3 Trail vs Road

Most of my running this year has been on various trails around my house or behind the sports field where my daughter plays field hockey. I’ve really enjoyed this as it’s usually cooler (a plus given how hot this summer has been), and defined easier to run on. I also got to run on the Pacific Spirit Regional Park in Vancouver, something I didn’t think I should do last time we were there because I didn’t think of my self as a real runner. In the two years since we were last out west, I’ve come to realize I am in fact a real runner and I can run just about anywhere. 


Of course I realized during the summer that I need to spend a kfew title more time running on roads for my legs to remember and adjust to the pounding being on pavements causes my body. My races this week have all included time off the  trails and on the road. Gotta do what ya gotta do. 

This island has way too many hills!


#4 Watch Troubles

I’ve been a Timex wearer for years but this summer two sport watch fails have me reconsidering the brand. I had two (operative word HAD) at the beginning of summer. Both watches had lost the strap band. I’ve been using zip ties to keep the straps down. Then both watches suffered broken bands. Finally one the watches no longer displays all the screen info correctly. Actually that problem was what prompted my to but the second watch a few years ago. I even replaced the battery thinking that was to problem. It wasn’t. So as summer has come to an end, I’ve lost the better of the two watches (I think my nephew hid it during our vacation), and I’m left with a failing sport watch. As the only way to repair the watch is to send it to the approved Timex repair shop in the U.S., I may finally have come to a time when I buy a Garmin or Polar sport watch. 

zip ties and tape are what keep this Timex ticking


#5 Summer Winning

I’ve usually had some luck winning things online, having won a netbook, books, and flowers in the past. It’s been a pretty good summer for me. I’ve scored tickets to see the Chick Corea Trio and Jim Bryson at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival. 


 

I also won a prize pack from Canadian Tire for supporting Canada’s Olympians — a t-shirt and flag.


There were also the Body Glide and t-shirt from Velofix. I’ve enter a few more contest so you never know what else I might come away with. 

So thero goes my first Thinking Out Loud Thursday. Hopefully the next one can actually be published on Thursday.