Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Already got the wheezing part...

Check out our Progress! We've registered for the Lululemon Seawheeze, a half marathon in Vancouver that's only 95 days away. It does sound like fun and the route looks like it will be gorgeous. And while it's not an exclusively woman's race, I'm guessing it will be slightly geared towards the ladies, which is the kind of race I prefer….even the most unathletic of boys will probably pass me forever at some point. Plus the swag includes shorty shorts instead of a shirt! We registered too late to get the shorts ahead of time, but I understand they look like this:

Pretty sure I have undies with more coverage.

Yeah, short and white pretty much guarantees I will never wear these out of my house, but I have to admit they are totally cute and I would wear them if I had 32 inch hips. Pajama bottoms if I can even squeeze into the biggest size, I guess?

For the Stampede Half in a couple of weeks, I’m pretty sure our only goal is to finish the race upright (and then eat as many pancakes as possible), but I decided my goal for this race is to try to be 2:20 or under. I think because it won’t have quite as many photo ops as a Disney run and the race is in a sea level city, that this goal is tough, but possible.

Of course, this means I'm not only have to get my butt training, but I'll have to knock about 30 seconds off my typical per km pace in a half marathon. This doesn’t seem like much until you realize just how fast you have to go without breaks…and the breaks you do get have to be SHORT. Sounds like I'm really going to have to bump up the hill training and speedwork! We have had a couple of shriekworthy training runs where I think this pace could be possible…in fact, we did one 7K last week where if we could have maintained that pace, we would have come in UNDER 2 HOURS for a half…yes, it’s unlikely we could have maintained that speed for any longer than we did, but it gave us a good idea of what our pace should be like to set a new PR. I can already feel my legs getting sore....

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Running, not w-Riting

OK, OK, while I might not actually be WRITING much about running, I actually AM running. Yes, it has been a while. I went to Vegas in May, where I not only dragged myself out of bed to run, I did it three times. Each run was slower than the day before as the week of gluttony caught up to me. Also, even though I headed out by 8am, it was already over 30C. I took a water bottle even though they were short runs because I was afraid of death by dehydration or of looking like this:

The hours of tanning might contribute too...

And, because I’m me, the first day my run was to Sonic to pick up breakfast sandwiches and French Toast Sticks. I laughed to myself all the way back as I chugged down the sidewalk clutching my greasy brown bag of fast food…I might like to run, but I like to eat more.

Breakfast of Champions...sometimes I AM the best roommate ever!

When I got back from Vegas, we registered for the Stampede Half Marathon which is the first Sunday of Stampede. Because this race is at 7am on a Sunday, this means I will have to be smart on Saturday and drink lots of water and go to bed early instead of partying it up down at the grounds, but hey, maybe I AM growing up a little. Then again, since I’m trying to figure out how to wear a cowboy hat while I run 21K and am far more excited for the post race pancakes than the race itself, maybe not.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mother Nature takes a Midol

That's right, it's been a while. I fell again and this time it was worse....I fell forward and bashed up both knees and rewhacked my elbow, which put me out of commission for a while. I did try to get a few runs in, but even walking hurt quite a lot for a few weeks so I took it pretty easy----still active every day, but no running. But I'm back in action and back to running, which is certainly getting easier as the weather improves and the days continue to get longer. Now it's fully daylight at 6am which makes early morning training that much easier to plan.

That is, until Saturday rolled around. My alarm goes off at 8am and I hop out of bed for a run before a busy day. I take a peek out the window to THIS:

Yeah, it's May.

Seriously? It looked like December out there. Although I had full intentions of going for a run, I do NOT want to go out in 4 inches of slush accumulating on the roads or the sleet that would soak me within minutes. It may not have been cold, but it was certainly miserable. So, I did the only sensible thing to do during a snowstorm and went back to bed for 2 more hours. Really, I had no choice.

Of course, Princess Chris and I had a 10k run scheduled for Sunday, but I didn't feel too good about it yesterday. Now, I do live in Calgary, so my fears were unfounded. By Saturday night the snow had stopped and melted and our run was still on. Sunday dawned clear, crisp and about a million times greener than it had been a few days earlier.

Ahhhh, that's more like it.

We met at the Weaselhead as scheduled and not only did our 10k, but we overshot a bit for 10.5k. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and the weather was that perfect running temperature of 4C with just a hint of breeze to keep you cool without being chilly. And we weren't alone, the path was packed with smiling runners just happy to be out on a gorgeous day! With today's 10k, we're slowly building up our long runs and getting back into half marathon form. Heck, we might even register for a race soon!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

War wounds

It's been over a year since I first started -and promptly fell in love- with winter running. It feels amazing to bundle up and face the elements, and not turning into a sweaty mess feels pretty great. And you can't beat a sunny day with crisp white snow, frosty trees and that noisy kind of quiet you get from muffled snow running. I can't believe how many gorgeous winter days I wasted inside on a treadmill thinking my lungs would freeze or I would slip on the ice.

So after all this time in the great outdoors and the unpredictable Calgary weather, it was bound to happen. On Saturday, a few days after an April snowstorm, I went out for a quick morning 5k in the ravine behind my house. I had breakfast plans and had overslept a bit, so my timeline was pretty tight. As I approached the switchback path down to the ravine I recalled how slick it had been the week before in the spring thaw, so I slowed right down as I came to the halfway point on the path. I had moved off the snow covered path to what I thought was bare road...


Before I realized what had happened, I was sitting flat on my ass, too stunned to move or even comprehend what had happened. Did I just...FALL??? A shriek of pain and rage was heard over my iPod as pain set in. Now, I had fallen right down, no twisting or sliding, but rather one second I was upright, the next picking dirt out of my palms. I sat there for at least a minute, still shocked that I was sitting instead of jogging up the ravine admiring the trees before I dared move. I was so afraid of finding out I'd twisted or banged an ankle or knee and that it would be a long walk home followed by rest...

Fortunately, the only thing I'd hurt was my hands and elbows as I crashed down. Well, guess I smacked my rump pretty hard too, but there's certainly enough padding to protect me there. My palms certainly stung, but the cool air helped, and there didn't seem to be anything too permanent and nothing to stop me from running. I carefully picked my way down the hill and very cautiously finished the run. Took a few minutes longer than usual, but no more mishaps and I got the sympathy I was hoping for when I got home and showed off my puffy hands and slowly brushing elbows. I self treated with ice and a few beers and I should be as good as new in no time!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Luck O'the Irish

We might have dropped the ball in 2012 as far as distance running, but St Patrick's Day 10K marked our first race of the year! It seemed like the perfect race for us  since it encouraged costumes, was sponsored by Steamwhistle beer, (the race included a random draw to win your weight in beer) as well as post race goodies by Cobbs Bakery. Basically, all the fun stuff that has nothing to do with the actual run itself.

Side note: I'd like to say I bulked up to increase the number of beers I could win, but to be honest, I just like pizza. At least I know how to motivate myself to run?

Anyways, St Pat's dawned sunny, clear, no rain/flurries like the forecast had called for and about 2C. I've discovered recently that 2C is probably my perfect running temperature; a bit chilly at the starting line, then nice and cool all the way through the run. We donned our green argyle socks, St Patrick's Day shirts, green boas, green wigs and shamrock headgear and we were ready to go!  Too bad neither of us had run more than 5K in the past 2 months...nonetheless, we were here to have fun and hoping only to finish in under 70 minutes.

The race started right on time without much fanfare---I guess this is why this race was a quarter of the price of a  Disney races.  To be honest, I was a smidge letdown at the starting line, I like me some pre-race fireworks, music and characters! Anyway, we thought we looked awesome and the crowds of people at the starting line let us know they agreed.

It felt like the the first and second kilometers flew by and my confidence grew. Training, schmaining, a 10K is easy I thought to myself as we easily kept pace. Plus I was all excited to see Daryl Janz at the Steamwhistle truck shouting numbers as people ran by (I never figured out what they were for, come to think of it?) In fact, the first 5K felt pretty awesome, the kind of run that makes me LOVE running. I started having fantasies of breaking an hour. By 6K, as the runners starting spacing out more, I was faltering a bit. I'm pretty sure they were spacing the markers further and further apart and I was getting a bit tired as we chugged past 7K. Somewhere around this point I started hating the wig as it filled with sweat and the boa as it kept flapping in my mouth or slithering off my shoulders. I think around 8K I started whimpering involuntarily and Christi was forced to dust off her Disneyland 2011 Mile 12 Peptalk (patent pending), bless her heart!! I cursed myself for double knotting my shoelaces so the stupid things couldn't come undone and earn me a quick "break".

We turned the last corner at about 9.5K and there it was...the finish line. Right in front of us. Like, just down the street. I knew we only had maybe 3 more minutes of running, but I was dying---I felt like my quads had been beaten with a cane and I SWEAR the finish line was actually getting further away instead of closer.Once we got close enough to see the timer and realized we had a darn good chance of breaking 1:04, I was able to finish in what felt like a pretty strong finish.

I didn't realize we got medals, so that was pretty exciting to see what was quite a nice 25th anniversary metal shamrock.  Post race, we were treated to Irish stew, CHOCOLATE CHIP MINT SCONES and Lucky  Charms, which I may have never tried before because I'm pretty sure I'd remember such tasty little sugar nuggets!! We didn't win our weight in beer, but the post-run awards and prizes were really fun. And those scones were too delicious to stick to just one.

Clearly this is the first half as I'm still smiling.

What next? Guess I'd better take this lesson to heart and start running more than 5K stints. And we're planning to register for a few runs this week to get us motivated and our training on track!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Winter Cross training, eh?

Last week after a huge dump of snow, we decided to go snowshoeing for my friend's birthday. As we go closer and closer to Saturday, those darn Chinooks came in and gobbled up our snow. Fearful of having to mudshoe, we waited until the last minute to rent and then headed way out of town to Kananaskis. After nearly an hour of driving on dry pavement past brown grass towards what looked like snowless mountains, we finally saw the white stuff...

We did a 4.5K loop of Hogwarts in the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and it was glorious! The sun was shining, it was warm enough to skip jackets and there was about 4 feet of snow to tromp around in.

I'm not kidding about the 4 feet of snow

So far so good...most of us go the shoes on...

Climbing this hill = exhausting

Jumping in showshoes is way harder than in regular shoes
Total success! We stayed on the correct path (a first), met a lot of fun snowshoers and dogs, got in a great workout, and ate a LOT of Butterfinger easter eggs. I didn't realize how much work it was until we were done and I realized how sore I already took a couple of days to recover, but I can't wait to go again sometime!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Everybody! Socks! Socks! Socks-socks-socks!

So Palm Springs was a complete success!  It was gorgeous and sunny and I managed to get up at 730 on a Sunday to run 5K in the desert before the thermometer hit a billion. It sure was a refreshing change to run beside cactusaii and sand without a coat on, even if my persistent cough slowed us up a little.  Our post-run Jack in the Box breakfast sandwiches never tasted so good!

We also went to the outlet mall and Target, where I got all sorts of deals (on non-running shoes) and a pack of sports socks that have turned out to be totally awesome...padded in the right places, absorbent, and with those little thingies on them that keep them from slipping down into your shoe while ensuring you don't get a funny ankle tan if you run in them all summer. Plus I got a range of colors in the pack---OK, black, white and grey are colors, it just means I don't have to throw white socks in with dark loads all the time...

Came home to back-to-back dumps of snow, so we were forced onto the treadmill a few times. This means we did some speedwork AND hillwork in an effort to not die of boredom. Hey, look at us, we sound like we're training for something!

Friday, March 2, 2012

In like a lion...

We're at the end of the first week and still totally keen!  We ran three times this week-once on the treadmill and twice the morning, in the dark, in the snow, by the airport...with a few walking breaks.  But we did it! Winter here in YYC has been unseasonably warm, but both runs this week were in -10C through icy shoulders of the service road or the unplowed running path of the NE. Chilly, but it sure felt nice to be back out there...
Yeah, but I'm still blowing him off this weekend...

Still, I'm heading to Palm Springs for the weekend to catch some REAL sun and enjoy the 25C they're forcasting for the weekend. I'm bringing my running stuff, so I'm going to get in at least one run somewhere warm, sunny and at sea level, which should certainly help with my training! Plus since I'll be near a Target AND an outlet mall, I'd say the chances of buying some snappy new running gear are pretty good...

Can't wait to see you Mr Sun!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

According to a study conducted by Harvard in the late  70's, new graduates who wrote down their goals and plans to accomplish them were something like a bazillion times richer and more successful than those who did not. I'm starting to think that this is true. If I write something down I am WAY more likely to stick to it than just saying or thinking it. So here goes my LEAP!!

In 2012, I am going to run FOUR Half Marathons. We've been searching for suitable options and here are a few of the really fun looking ones...

-Calgary or Edmonton Half Marathon (TBD)
-Kelowna Half Marathon (TBD)
-Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon
-Lululemon's SeaWheeze
-Nike Women's Half Marathon (TBD)
-Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

We're trying to space them out every couple of months which should hopefully keep us in shape and motivated all year long. We're also trying to find a balance between "fun" and "affordable"...I recently figured out I spent over $500 on race fees last year, to say nothing of the trips I took to get there! But I just can't say no to those awesome Disney races!

Any suggestions?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Even though it's nearly March, this is like a New Year's Resolutions list of sorts.

1. Start blogging about running again (check!)
2. Pick a few runs to do this year to keep us motivated (check!)
3. Start running.....*crickets, crickets*

Yes, it's been months since any updates, and the truth is, there hasn't really been any. Pretty much a full stop on running, and I for one have filled that void with pizza. Needless to say, taking up running again won't be easy....but I'm happy to report Princess Chris and I went for our first run together this year yesterday at the Reservoir in spite of -5C, snow and howling winds. While it might not have been the most pleasant run ever, it sure felt good to be back on track and getting some running goals together for the year. Yes, it was a very difficult 5K as we gasped along the icy trail, but we DID IT. And we have concrete plans to run twice so far this week. And compared to so far this year, that's a pretty good start.