Monday, August 5, 2013

Fun Runs under a Toronto Sun!

A lot of things have happened in the past month or so that I haven't had time to write about...the Alberta Floods devastated, and then united my city, I went to Jamaica, Stampede 101 went off with barely a hiccup, I went to Dallas for the first time, and I've been training like crazy for the Seawheeze next weekend. But before all that, I went to visit friends in Toronto and ran not once, not twice, but three times!

I left Calgary on June 21 in the pouring rain (it turns out I left just before the flooding got crazy) and overnighted at the YYZ Sheraton Gateway so I wouldn't have to take the red eye flight on Friday morning.  I had to get up bright and early because my training schedule called for a 15K run. May I say the Sheraton is GREAT because when I checked in I asked at the front desk if there were any running paths nearby and they gave me a fancy official Sheraton map with a 3K and a 5K loop right out the front door of the hotel and around the airport!
Gah! Why won't this rotate? Anyways, is neat, no?

Easy peasy, I crank out 3 loops of the 5K without getting lost at all. Not an official race, but I did have to get that done while I was there. I got texts throughout from YYC with updates on the was crazy!  The sun in Toronto was already blisteringly hot at 7am plus the geese in Toronto are kind of jerks because when I stopped to take a picture of some cute goslings, I got chased by angry hissing parents! harumph.
Jerk geese
Sweatin' like a hog on slaughter day.

Run completed, I went back to bed for an hour, showered and took the train downtown to meet my friend at the Color Me Rad expo to pick up our bibs. Pretty exciting stuff as we picked up our shirts and awesome sunglasses and debated over buying cool Color me Rad swag like socks or 70's gym shorts. We grabbed some Red Bull samples and then headed to PF Changs for my very first visit and to carb up before our run (mint margaritas have carbs too, yes?). We then stopped in Unionville on the way home to pick up our second set of bibs, shirts and swag. This one was the Run for Women in Unionville, which we had heard was awesome and had something different than a medal at the finish had a kid race too so Kendall could run too!


We had to get up at an ungodly hour (I had about 30 texts from YYC about flood, a bunch of my friends got evacuated) and all headed out to the race. The grownup race was first, so after snarfing some free snacks, listening to some motivating speeches from Olympians, and doing our group warmup, we were off!

Bibs on, now where's the lobster??

Unionville is an awesome wee Ontario "gem of a historic village" so the start of the race was right up Main Street which felt like we were running in the 50s with its brick fire station and City Hall and gazebos, sooo cute!  After that we veered off into a gorgeous park and looped around a shaded gravel path (it was close to raining but it was still HOT out so the shade was nice). It was actually a pretty great route, I would like to run it again sometime!  After the loop, we headed back and came back up along Main Street for a great finish with cheering fans waving cowbells and holding all kinds of fun signs! Then instead of a medal, we got these awesome bracelets from Foxy , just another reason why I love women's only runs...see how cute? 

Of course I love me some medals, but it sure is nice when you get something you can actually wear (and subtly let people know how awesome you are). 

After a few glasses of water and some more snacks, we went back to do the Kids run with, kids can MOVE, she went off like a shot and I could barely keep up with her! Good thing was only one kilometer, I could NOT have kept up that pace much longer. Super fun run though, watching all the little girls tear around the course.

I am at full tilt, and the kid is just cruising!
Success and triumph for everyone called for nonstop eating and drinking for the rest of the day (I had just discovered Glazed Donut Vodka existed and it needed to be tried in all its delicious forms) after we assembled our shirts for Color Me Rad...Team Betty White needed to have a shoutout to our favorite feisty senior celebrity!


Now, originally we had picked the Woman's run as a substitute for the Color me Rad run which wasn't being held in Toronto. Imagine our excitement when they announced TWO Toronto runs were being held, and THE SAME WEEKEND I WAS GOING TO BE THERE ANYWAYS! This is a lot of running in one weekend, but the Color me Rad is pretty low pressure (no timing chip) so we figured we could walk most of this one. So, we picked up Tracy and her daughter Paisley (at another ungodly hour) and headed out to the park where music was blaring and the energy was crazy!  We were in one of the first waves but there were already color bombed folks walking around showing off their new colors. After trying some Vitamin water samples and tatting up RAD-style, we headed into the corral and with a few color bombs to herald our start, we were OFF!!!

Team Betty White is ready to be RAD!

I was so excited to get color bombed I broke into a trot...which was not mirrored by the rest of my team (Tracy may have lit a cigarette at this point). I am ashamed to say when they told me to go ahead, I broke the rule of "no soldier gets left behind" and scampered off as fast as one could when it was already high 20Cs and about a trillion percent humidity and ended up doing 4.95K on my own.   I pirouetted through every color bomb station and when I finished I ran back to the parking lot to pick up camera (to amused cries from incoming new racers than I was going the wrong way or that I had already crossed the finish line)  I got back in time to take a few pics of them coming in and even joined them for another triumphant finish!
Hey, thanks Flo-Foto for not blocking your images?

Ain't nobody more RAD than us!

I've done races at Disneyland and World, in Vegas, in the snow, and one in Vancouver that had mermaids and drag queens cheering us on, but I think Color Me Rad is one of my favorites. It was low key and relaxed and totally fun and people were really getting into it. The white outfit before and afters looked so fun, and the energy before and after the race were pretty hard to beat!  I've read that this race is super popular because it isn't elitist and it brings out the kid in everyone and that was how I felt when we were there. I felt like it brought in a lot of people who wouldn't normally enter a 5K run of any kind, and I think it will help encourage people to have fun with running...because as much as I complain about how I hate running, I really don't...there isn't much that beats the excitement of race day :)

I feel bad that I didn't get to write about this sooner, I'm sure I've forgotten some things, but there was a lot on the go in the weeks following this trip. But I got to spend time with my dear friend and her family that I just don't get to see enough of, got to try 2 new (and very different) races, make some new friends and ate and drank from sunup to sundown. All in all, a great weekend, I hope I get invited back soon!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What the....Fun Run!?

So, our Seawheeze training schedule on Wednesday alternates between sprint drills and hill drills and today was hills (which I prefer to sprints…I can probably chug slowly up a hill forever if I had to, but I can’t sprint worth a damn).

The last 2 months of hill training have been “jog up hill for 90 seconds, then jog slowly back down and run easy recovery and then repeat until 50 minutes is up”, with the easy recovery time getting shorter and shorter as the weeks went by (ie, the first week you only did the hill 3 times and then had lovely 10 minute recoveries, and the last one was run up the hill 8 times so your recoveries were only 3 minutes). You know, the gradual buildup to hills that are a staple in half marathon training.

This morning was different though.
The drill call for the same 8 hills, but instead of easy recovery jog back down and then around the block, you then SPRINTED BACK DOWN THE HILL and then repeated…so the “recovery” was actually at a high speed.
So what ended up happening was a jog up the hill and then a sprint back down gleefully waving my arms and shouting WHEEEEEEEEE with a vague feeling of terror that I would trip at such breakneck speed. Which was EXHAUSTING because we never really got a proper recovery, but was probably my favorite drill work EVER, because the running down the hill was SO fun…it was like when running down hills as a little kid was the funnest thing ever and running was for the fun of it before I grow up and it became all hard and horrible because I am out of shape and my joints are getting old. And while it was exhausting because there was no recovery time (and to tell the truth, at the end the jogs back up were slower and slower and had more walking than usual), the sprints down the hill were exhilarating and meant that instead of 50 minutes of varying levels of horrible, I got 8 minutes of pure unadulterated joy in the mix. I actually couldn’t stop the WHEEEEEEEEEEE from escaping, and I’m sure anyone driving towards me would have wondered how someone could run with such a smile on their face.

Anyway, now my legs hurt in all kinds of crazy new places and I am struggling to stay awake. So I will assume that means it was effective training and Friday's long run will be a breeze!

PS… I promised I would post about the 2 Toronto runs I did last month and I haven’t forgotten…I even have fun pictures! They will be up by this weekend!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


OK, I was out of town last week so I didn't get this live, but I can imagine the shrieking of my teammates was pretty epic???

Acceptance never felt so sweet!!!

Not sure if I can stress how exciting this is, this race is extremely popular, so popular they have to do a random draw from the 30K+ applicants they get for the 7000 or so spots available.  I have tried 4 times already, so I was starting to lose hope that I would EVER get in. And I had tried as a single and as a group, so I wasn't sure what I was doing wrong.

Anyway, we are IN and there are 5 of us on team Pardon my Fartlek (AHAHAHAA, I love run jokes) so we will have 5 lovely ladies running the hills of San Fran in October!

Bring on the Tiffany necklace, Mr Fireman!!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Week 3 is now underway, and I’m very proud to report that we are all still on track with the training program!  We have done sprints, hills, maintenance runs and everything, but the one struggle I am finding is trying to schedule my long runs. The schedule says to do them on Saturday, but I find I almost never have the time to do them Saturdays and end up switching them for Sunday instead. This makes Sunday a great day of Run. Laundry. Nap. Eat Everything. I’m still DOING them, don’t you worry, but I find that with summer around the corner my weekends are filling up and I am having to plan well ahead of time to get in the vital loooooooong runs to build up the stamina for race day.
For example, last weekend I was in Yellowknife because it was the week before the equinox.  The last 2 times I was in the Territories were in the winter and the sun came up for an hour a day and it was colder than all heck so I wanted to see what it was like at the other end of the spectrum so off we went.

For the record, it is MUCH nicer there in June than in February. And it is darn right UNSETTLING to have the sun still shining at midnight. But we drank $14 bottles of beer, ate some (unexpectedly) delicious food and I got in both the scheduled weekend runs. And I’m happy to report that while I was a poky little puppy for both the short run and the long, the scenery was great, the temperature was just about perfect, I didn’t get too many bug bites and I didn’t get lost.
See how pretty?!  The view, not the sweaty rumpled princess. FYI, 2 minutes
 after this I took a "nature break" in those trees....and got caught by a local out walking their dog.

The only downside was that I was expecting it to be easy breathing since I was 3000 feet closer to sea level than usual, but I ended up gasping along and walking more than I wanted to. Am pretty lazy when I'm by myself. Plus I was one Sweaty Betty, I didn’t realize how humid it was there! I also forgot to bring some carb chews, so I had to eat a granola bar at the halfway mark…tasty but not the best feeling to be choking down sawdust halfway through a 14K run. Will have to remember to pack some for the next few weekends when I am away.

The NWT Legislature! Sadly closed on Sundays or I could have used
 their bathrooms. I mean, taken a tour and learned about the government process.

Tomorrow is our first Official Trio Seawheeze Training Run, and it will be 50 minutes of Fartlek training. Which pretty much guarantees I will be struggling for breath for 49 minutes as I laugh childishly.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Hills are Aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiive......

...with the sound of gasping for breath....yep, today was our first hill training in the Tacklebox, and while I was dreading it for the last few days, hills this morning was actually not bad at all! I met Linz at 525 this morning and after a 5 minute warmup, we ran up the hill at 10th Street for 5 X 90 second intervals with recovery jogs between them. Sure, it sucked to be up that early, but it means we are still sticking to the program and getting it done! Plus then I spent most of the day shadow boxing Rocky-style, totally proud of how awesome I felt!

Couldn't have been a better day for feeling awesome about hills either...the random draw for the Nike Woman's Half Marathon in San Fran opened this week! I entered the draw for the fifth time in a row, fingers crossed that this time I get in! Yes, San Fran would be a scary hilly course, but this is the one where finishers get a specially designed Tiffany necklace instead of a medal. FROM A FIREMAN! If that doesn't motivate a girl to want to run up 21K of hills, I don't know what will!

Brave AND bearing gifts in blue boxes, it doesn't get much better!

 This weekend is a 13K run and some more yoga....then next week we find out if that we got into San Fran, which will certainly motivate us on the hills!