Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So long 2008!

Time to reflect on 2008. What a year it was! From a running perspective I experienced ultimate highs and lows, and I feel like I really grew as a runner throughout 2008. Grab a cup of java, and reminisce with me, if you please!

I ran:
-3 half marathons
-a 30K race
-7 full marathons
-completed first 50K ultra
-ran 1875.9Km or 1172.4 miles
In addition to all of the crazy running I:
-started a blog (and met all of you terrific people)
-became a marathon maniac, then achieved silver maniac status

I have a hard time putting into words all of what I have accomplished in 2008, so I created this slideshow to summarize my year.(Sorry about the cheesy music, there weren't a ton of good options and my ipod is broken right now.)

Thanks so much for reading my blog and welcoming me into your world in 2008. The blogging community is such a warm welcoming community, and I love sharing all of your experiences and sharing success's and disappointments daily with all of you. You all motivate and inspire me, so thanks for that. I look forward to sharing more memories and experiences with you in 2009.

Cheers to 2009... (raise your virtual or not so virtual glasses) May you all have a year full of health, happiness, personal records, laughter, pain, sweat, tears, running highs and lows, but most of all wonderful unique experiences. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Week One - Check!

Today I completed my 13 mile run to finish my 1st week of official training. For those of you who were wondering, I am following a Pete Pfitzinger training plan with some modifications to prepare for the Little Rock Marathon on March 15th. Week one called for 35 miles, and I completed it, and I feel quite good about week 1.

Even though I ended up not running the 10 mile boxing day race, I finally feel somewhat like I am getting back into the groove and that I can run now without coughing up a lung or feeling really tired. My pace is slowly returning, and my legs have that sore yet soothing beat up feeling after the first week. This training program is already kicking my butt and I love it!!

A few points about week 1:
- I decided that in order for my recovery runs to be truly recovery-driven, I am running them without a watch, that way I won't obsess about pace. I did this this week and really enjoyed my 5 mile recovery run.
- I drank 2L of water each day. Yup. No lie.
-I need to charge my Garmin (duh). I didn't discover that my Garmin was KAPUT until I was about to head out the door today for my 13 mile run that my watch was dead. I couldn't procrastinate any more, so I went without a watch, and ran for a little over 2 hours 10 minutes, just to be sure that I covered the distance. Hopefully I ran extra!
-I gained 35 HBB challenge points. My total is now 91. Wow marathon training kicks in nicely to the cause, because before I was sucking in a big way.
-the weeks ahead in the training program both scare and excite me. The idea of running 12 and 11 mile runs mid week is going to eat some major time, so I am thankful I am adjusting for the first two weeks while on holidays. We'll see if I am as chipper in a few weeks...
- Eating has gone well. I am eating leftovers from Christmas dinner, but its all 100% homemade. I love my bread maker, I made the most amazing molasses whole wheat bread. Pair it with turkey breast and you have the yummiest healthiest sandwich.

That's it for now. Hope you all have a Happy New Year! I plan on posting a reflection of 2008 in a few days. Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day

I hope everyone had a great Christmas yesterday. I hope to get around to all of your blogs today and play catch up.
Today I was supposed to run a 10 mile boxing day race, but I gave my bib away to my brother in law. I was so tired today from cooking the turkey and enjoying time with my nephews and nieces (5 of them, 3 under the age of 2), I just wasn't up to race mode today. My brother in law and Hubs will have fun running, and my sister will kick my butt later today on a 9 mile steady state run.

Catch up with you all soon. Enjoy your holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Marathon Training: Week One

So I've officially decided that my next marathon will be the Little Rock Arkansas Marathon. Thanks for all of your advice, most of you seemed to think Little Rock would be a good choice. Hilly or not, it looks like a great event and I'll just have to train harder and on some hilly terrain.

Yesterday marked day one of the new marathon training schedule. It was a rest or cross training day. This is my kind of training program! In all reality though, the new training program is really challenging, which I'm both excited and nervous about. Thanks Aron for giving me advice and getting me started on the program.

It's a 12 week program, which I like, since I can't wait the traditional 18-24 weeks between marathons, being a maniac and all. Today is my first run, and I'm a little nervous since I know it will be tough due to punishing conditions. The temperature outside is -8C or 17.6F. Like extreme heat, extreme cold slows you down (not to mention ice-covered roads). Oh well, it will just make me stronger. I have to tweak the plan a bit for the 10 miler race I have this week, it will replace the 9 miler I have planned for Thursday.

I also changed my Garmin from kilometers to miles since the training program is in miles, and the pace is in miles, I just want to keep it simple. I've spent the morning crunching numbers and figuring out my pace in miles/minute compared to kilometers/minute.

Along with my new training plan is a brand new eating "plan". I have decided to cut out as much processed/preservative-free food as possible, so I am good to try the eat clean diet. It's not really a diet, but rather a commitment, to eating whole foods that don't come out a can or a box.

To get things started I went out a bought a bread maker which I am super-excited about. I'll bake my first loaf tonight and report how it goes. I like the thought of fresh bread on hand (although I'll have to watch the quantity of course), and I'll know exactly what I'm eating. I'll try to post my weekly dishes up here so that I comitt to actually doing this.

As for the cold (I've been told its called the 100 day cough! WTF!!??) I still have the dry cough bouts, but I am moving forward. I refuse to let a pesky cough stand in my way. Little Rock, here I come!!

Have a great day and may you get your last minute shopping/cooking/baking/running done! Thanks for reading.

P.S -If anyone knows how to put a countdown ticker on their blog, would you mind letting me know? I tried to add one yesterday but failed miserably.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Catching Up

So I've been MIA the last few days. I have been reading all of your blogs, but I am definitely behind in commenting, so I hope to catch up with you all soon. Part of the reason for my absence is that this silly cold is still hanging on. I was better for awhile but it seems to have resurgences still. Its not as bad as before, but it definitely affects my running.

I am signed up for a 10 miler race next Friday on boxing day and to be 100% honest, I'm not looking forward to it. My original race goal was to try to run the race as though I was running a sub 1:50 half, about 1:24 or 1:25. I don't think this is realistic right now, unfortunately, for a few reasons. My fitness is not there because of my cold. My attempt at tempo run yesterday sent me into a coughing fit. The course has a few major hills, and I never did the hill training I planned to do. It is supposed to be above freezing (although raining) that day. I am thinking about skipping it or perhaps just running a steady pace race. I guess since I've never run a 10 miler, it will be a PR either way. We'll see how it feels closer to race day. Maybe I should just relax and run it for fun. If only I was capable... LOL.

In more positive news, I have narrowed my next marathon down to two choices. Originally I had talked about a family day race, but I want a 12 week training schedule, which starts next week. So I am ready to announce my next marathon plan! Here are the events I am eyeing up (drumroll please...)

1) Little Rock Marathon, Little Rock, Arkansas (March 15th)
-great history
-honking huge medal
-lots of crowd support
-great rating at marathon guide
-have the entire week to relax at my sisters after

-can't really think of much else

2) Shamrock Marathon, Virginia Beach, Virginia (March 22nd)
-flat course
-looks like fun -many leprechauns on the course
-ocean course
-I would have to leave right after to work the next day

The marathon has to be during my March break (March 13th-22nd) and be drivable from my sisters in Nashville. I really want to run both, and I just may. I also looked at the Washington, DC marathon, but I want to run a marathon that counts for 50 states and DC doesn't. Anyway, I welcome your thoughts/opinions on which of these two races to run.

Anyway I hope you are all having a great weekend. I'm off for the next two weeks (woo hoo!)
I also have to tally my BBC points, so look for that in my next post!
Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 15, 2008


When delivering the 50/50 book to the mail for Sonia, a black Chevy Impala was parked eerily off to the side, and proceeded to roll down the window to take my picture as I jogged by.

I thought I should be a good sport and give a little wave...

And again, this weekend when Christy and I were out for a 30K long run. That same black Impala parked off in the distance poised to take our picture as well jogged by.

Can't I even enjoy a run in peace? Geez....

Description of photographer: Brown hair, medium build, does great Mr. Bean impersonations. Goes by the name of Hubs.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weekend Reading

The two running books I ordered arrived in the mail yesterday just in time to do some weekend reading.

This means training plans and marathon plans are coming soon, I just need to put it all together. I started with the Advanced marathoning book last night and I can't put it down. Its packed full of great information.

On the workout front, haven't run much this past week. Still have the tailend of the cold I caught a few weeks back. But I am going to run today, and have a 30K planned for Sunday morning with Christy. Should be fun!

I haven't totalled my HBB challenge points, but I have a feeling its not great but this week will be better, I hope. Oh and have I mentioned I have bought 0 Christmas gifts? I am not worried though, I have a list and as long as I have a few hours sometime in the next week, it will all come together.

Good luck to Laura and D10 tomorrow!

Hope you all have a great weekend! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Running in a Winter WonderLand

Yesterday morning I woke up to discover that we had a fairly major snowfall, everything was covered in a thick white blanket, and huge crystal-like sparkling snowflakes were coming down as I drove into work.

As the day went on, the temperature rose, and the snow turned to rain, making it really slushy and wet out. I came home and by the time I was ready to run, it was dark, but the rain had stopped and it was a mild outside. I decided to venture outside for my first outdoor run since I caught that darn cold.

It was absolutely beautiful out. The moonlight was shining on the snow, and reflecting back to create a warm inviting glow. Running along, I was enjoying the beautiful Christmas lights and the light mist in the air was fresh and wonderful.

Very fairytale like. Much like this picture. Ahhh I thought to myself, I can run forever, maybe instead of 7K I'll go for 12K. Maybe I'll pick up my pace.
My thoughts turned to those smug people (you know you you are) who live in those "warm" climates and how they are just missing out. Silly, silly people, I mused, as I ran downhill, they think we Canadians are crazy for living in such conditions when THEY are the one who are missing out!
I was at a blazing speed by the base of the hill and I as I crossed onto the brigde at the bottom I lost my footing and fell flat on my a$$ (only after flying a few feet in the air first).

The bridge was a freaking ice rink.


So maybe there are benefits to a warm climate.....

Nothing hurt but my pride, I took a shortcut home and opted for a measly 5K. Tonight I opted for an ice-free indoor swim. Gotta love that winter running. Maybe I need to screw my running shoes like Marcy. Anyway, hope you are all having a great week, thanks for reading!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Inspired for a Monday

All of this reading about sucessful marathons has me fired up to start training for my next marathon. Congratulations to Julianne and Aron for amazing PR's and for Dando for running his first marathon. Great job everyone and very inspiring for us all!

I have been researching marathons like mad and I want to train hard for my next one, hopefully in about twelve weeks. I have a bit of a confession. I have never really followed a true plan. Sure I have done 50 mile weeks, done speed work, hills, etc, but I have never really put it all together. This time I plan to follow a plan to a "T" and see how that goes.

I also want to watch my diet. Being 10lbs lighter would definately help me run faster, so I am hereby comitting to watching my diet. I am also participating in the Bootie Buster Challenge. I am curious how it will go if I put it all together!

I feel much better and my voice is returning to normal. I went for a run 10K run yesterday at our indoor track. I had a decent run, although I have lost some of the speed I had before I was sick, but I'm sure it will come back. The almost two weeks I took off was good for me mentally, but I'm ready to go... I really missed running, which is good, I guess.

As for what marathon, I am not telling yet (LOL), but I really want to run them all!! (I have issues, I know). I am eyeing up one in February and two in March.

Today I have not have a workout yet, but I plan to go for a swim in a little while. Hope you all had a great Monday, and thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Weekend Update

Well, I'm still sick, but I'm slowly getting better, so Hubs and I went to the gym today to have a little workout, and it felt so good to get moving again.

30 minutes on the recumbnant bike
2.1 miles on the treadmill
40 lunges
40 situps
20 bicep curls
20 shoulder presses
20 triceps curls

long hot tub, shower and sauna

Mexican food

And I'm done like dinner.

My voice is still gone, I hope its back by Monday or I'll won't be able to teach again. Anyone know any remedies. Well that about it for me, hope you are all having a great weekend. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

TIART: My Running Dreams

First off, sorry about my post yesterday, I was just a little bit stir crazy, but I'm better today. Taking the day off to rest my voice certainly has helped, although I still sound like a toad.

So anyway, being at home with little running to speak of, the topic for this weeks Take it and Run Thursday at Runner's Lounge is "Make a wish... Share a Dream". Perfect!

I wish to be able to run as long as I live. Running is so much more than exercise to me, it clears my mind and nourishes my soul. Sorry if this sounds cheesy, but its true. Everything is so much clearer and less stressful after a run. I am just at peace and I can fit into my jeans.

I dream to be able to be able to explore the world by running marathons all over the world. I love going to new cities and running the marathon there. I feel like the runners hold the key to the city as we run down major streets and by monumental and historic sites. There is no better way to tour a city than running a marathon. Of course a dream like this requires lots of moolah, but its free to dream. I inspire to make my dreams a reality.

Lots of races this weekend, so good luck to the following bloggers (please let me know if I missed you!)

Kiawah Island Marathon - Kim (this race looks awesome, please share pics!)
CIM - Aron, Julianne
Vegas - Ali, Vegas Runner, Stacey

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I am slowly going crazy 1-2-3-4-5-6 switch!

First off, before I dive in self-absorbed pity party, congratulations to Sonia, she is next in line for the 50/50 book! Sonia, e-mail me soon so I can get the book in the mail to you. Its a great read!

In other non-news, I am still sick. I have a dry cough that has rendered me speechless. Yep, I have no voice right now. As a teacher, I'm pretty much toast around the kidlets. So tomorrow will be a sick day. I am really going stir crazy because I haven't run since the Philadelphia Marathon a week and a half ago! Now I know a break is good, but I didn't want this long of a break! I did go for a swim last night (1.8km), and felt better after, but still spent the night awake coughing. I am so tempted to go for a run now, I can't stand sitting and doing nothing! Arrrgghhh!!! Once again Arrrggghhh!!

Sorry about that, I just needed to get it off my chest! I do have plenty of nonrunning real world junk to catch up on, so I guess nows the time! Anyway, I hope you are all having a better week. Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 1, 2008

50/50 Draw!!

Well its time for me to pass on the 50/50 book to let it travel some more miles. This awesome idea was piloted by Ted, and has a few simple rules:

1. Respond to my post in order to be the next in line to read the book.

2. I will mail the book to you.
3. Read the book.
4. After reading the book, create a post in your blog and find out who wants to be next in line to read the book.
5. Ship the book to the next blogger.
6. You must take a picture of yourself with the book.
7. Write a small comment of what you think of the book in it.
8. Ship the book to the next blogger.
9. Lastly, you must use any form of human power (i.e, walk, run, skateboarding, bike) in order to take the book to the post office. Exception: If you live very far to the Post Office, use car.

I will promise the book will be jogged by yours truly to the my local post office. I must also add that this book is a MUST READ motivator. Here is my picture of the book (taken at the Philadelphia airport after the marathon)

So go on, respond to this post FIRST, and I'll be in touch to mail you the book. Thanks to Ted for this great opportunity!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Philly Photos and Update

My lack of blogging the last few days pretty much matches my lack of inspiration to do much of anything. Right now I have an intense sore throat and I have taken Cepacol, NeoCitran, Aspirin and Cough syrup. Don't worry, it wasn't all at once, but if this post seem loopy (well more loopy than normal) bear with me.

Our group having a pre-race celebration dinner.


Liberty Bell

Touring Philadelphia -beautiful architecture!

City of Brotherly Love.. Hubs and I are thinking of making X-mas cards out of this picture. We also have a mushier version with us kissing, but I spared you the gushy gushy!


On the course. I looked like a bumblebee!

Hubs doing a Rocky pose on the Rocky Step (Museum of Art)

Hubs running up the steps after the marathon.

Hubs and I on the Rocky steps (post marathon) with Philadelphia cityscape in the background. I was shivering cold!

Today I was supposed to run 30K with Christy, but since I was so sick, Hubs ran with her instead. They totally kicked butt and ran 35K!! Way to go Christy, Disney is yours now!

So I have spent the past week looking at what marathon is next. I almost signed up for Vegas and even e-mailed the CIM race director to gain entry to that full marathon. Even though he offered me two spots, I have decided to wait until February (most likely) to run another marathon. I think the week I took off was needed since I never get sick, my body just needed to rest and repair.

I do have one last race planned for 2008. The Hamilton Harrier Boxing Day 10 mile run. Any bloggers interested in joining? I have never ran a 10 mile race before, so it should be fun. I signed up for this race at the Niagara Expo for only $25, so I couldn't resist!

Anyway, I plan on getting to bed early, but I hope all my American blogger friends had a restful Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with family and friends. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Race Report: Philadelphia Marathon

Well if I were to grade myself based on criteria I set before the race, I guess I would give myself a C-. In retrospect though, I think I may have given the race a B+ effort. Read on and I will explain.

This was my second time running the Philadelphia Marathon. Last year I found it to be a lot of fun because its a great course with varied terrain and scenery, great crowd support and a fun destination. These reasons and others drew me back for round two, and once again, Philly didn't disappoint. Its a kick ass-phalt event!

The weather forecast was ominous for Philly Marathon. The night before I went to bed I checked on final time and it was supposed to be -4C at the start, and a high of 4C at the finish. I decided begrudgingly that it was not skirt weather and settled for compression tights, and three layers on top. I was glad I did, it was cold!

Hubs and I had travelled down to Philly with a group of running friend and we had a really nice pasta dinner at a place called Maggiano's. Travelling with running friends makes the race all that more enjoyable, IMO. We had an early dinner and had finished eating by 5:30 and went back to the hotel to rest up until the morning. I slept O.K. tossing throughout the night, probably banked about 4-5 hours.

Race morning came and we walked to the Museum of Art. It was extremely crowded, so I stood in line at the porta potties while Hubs took our bags to the bag drop. One neat thing was that Bart Yasso from Runner's World was one of the race announcers. Lots of inspirational advice and encouragement was provided, and of course, fellow runner's camaraderie.

We stood in line in our start corral listening to the Rocky theme music which got us all pumped up. It was nice and warm being huddled with all of the other runners. I lined up between the 4:00 and the 4:15 pace bunny, because I didn't want to go out too fast.

Famous last words. Hubs and I took off and we immediately began running about a 3:50 marathon pace. I kept trying to slow us down, but we would relax, and I would look down and sure enough, our pace had crept back up.

The first half of the course went smooth. My legs felt fantastic, and I glided along. There was a large uphill around 10 miles, but I seemed to handle it OK. There was also a small cobblestone section which was scary to run over, but just past that was the best cheering section ever. Hundreds of people lined up with cow bells, music and whistles. I felt empowered and inspired, Philadelphians rock! I started to wonder, maybe today was the day to go under 4 hours? I crossed the halfway point at 2 hours, 1 minute. I was thankful when the half marathoners peeled off to the finish line, it meant more road space!

Past the halfway point, I started to have doubts about sub 4 hours. My legs were fine, but I just kind of felt exhausted. Tired. Pooped. Nada. Zilch. At the 14K point there was a huge hill that I made the mistake of stuffing a GU in my mouth before I crept up. I was halfway up the hill with the GU in my mouth still beginning to choke (running uphill and eating not a good combo) so I walked and finished the GU off. A little defeated that I had to walk, I told myself, so what, you walked, now run girl, RUN! So run I did, down a nice long downhill and settled back into a 5:41 min/km pace.

The next few miles went OK. We were running along the river towards the warehouse district called Manayunk. This section is often where runner's wall can occur. It an out and back loop. But the out is a long gradual uphill. This section is fun to run though, and there is beer at mile 17/21 and brownies and great crowd support. I didn't have either, my stomach just didn't feel like it.

By the 20 mile turnaround, I was tired. I knew I was off pace, but also knew depending on how much I could hold on for those last 6 miles, would depend on whether or not I would get a PR. I kept running interspersed with short walk breaks.

I struggled and pushed, but a PR just wasn't in the cards for me. I crossed the finish line at 4:15:38 (official time). Certainly a respectable time, but I was disappointed. How was it possible that I ran Hamilton faster (4:09:20) in a back to back marathon, and then after three weeks rest, I couldn't do the same. The body is a mystery sometimes. I think I was just overall tired. This was my seventh marathon this year, and my third best time, and a PR for this course, so I'll take it.

Afterwards Hubs and I got our picture taken, had hot broth and a pretzel (awesome post race treat), and ran up the Rocky steps and took a few silly pictures.

Final Race Stats:
Clock Time 04:22:56
Chip Time 04:15:38
Overall Place 4121/7231
Gender Place 1337/2986
Division Place 239/504
Age Grade 53.7%
Pace 9:45.1

Congratulations to all finishers, and I look forward to reading all of the reports. Thanks for reading!

** I didn't bring my camera USB cable to upload pictures so I will edit this post on Tuesday to include pictures**

Saturday, November 22, 2008


In case you are interested in stalking me (I think you can for Philly), my bib number is 4459. I also wanted to share a video Xenia (in case you haven't seen it) posted on her blog that I can't stop watching because its so motivational. I think Tiger in particular will enjoy this. (No plans for IronMan in the near future for me though).

Good luck everyone, and I can't wait to KICK ASHPHALT! (Philly marathon motto). Enjoy your weekend everyone and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gearing Up

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes guys. I had a nice day, complete with a nice dinner and wine :). Its going to a busy week leading up to Philly, so this will likely be my last post before I go. Looking forward to a pretzel and a good time, and hopefully a PR. Going for sub 4:09:20!

Good luck to JoyRun, Denise, Ted, who are also running Philly, and to anyone else I may have missed!

And for a funny spoof of the Rocky movie, I found this on You Tube.

Thanks for reading !

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Age Group

Happy new age group to me today!! I should be happy, but I hear the women's 35-39 age group is a tough bunch. On the upside, now I only have to shave off 25 minutes to get to Boston. (LOL)

I am actually half asleep right now (while not running a marathon like Laura), I should be more productive, but since I am lacking good blogging material lately I thought I would share my birthday wish that I presented to my loving husband when he requested a birthday list (*cough trained husband *cough).

1. Advanced marathon Training Book by Pete Pfitzinger

2. Nike + Sport Band

3. Running skirt in Cheetah pink (how fun is that?!). If this doesn't stir your inner tiger, what will?!!

4. Other non-running stuff that I won't post about. Wink wink.. LOL Just kidding. Truefully all I care is that we go out for dinner and a glass of wine is placed before me.
Time to go back to the grind. Have a great Monday and thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Staying Motivated

Not really much new to write about. I've had a hard time coming up with bloggable material lately, even with a race one week today. I didn't want to write another "rah rah Philly post" (save that for a later date LOL)

Lily just wrote a great post about this. It has been kinda tough to get out there lately with the shorter daylight, rainy weather, and cooler temperatures. Once you do get out there though its so worth it. And it really does help break those winter blahs. So post Philly marathon I think I will try the following strategies to break up the blahs (not all at once, just in bits and pieces to keep it interesting):

1) Change my running route. Time to explore some new trails or routes.
2) Turn on the music. I don't usually use music, but I think I will switch to using music as we head into winter. I don't want to rely on music for motivation to run though since many races ban ipods.
3) We have an indoor track where I live, so I plan on running there once a week for speed work to beat an inclement weather.
4) Meet up with some running friends to run. Hubs and I often run together just for sheer convenience, so I may start heading out with a group of friends once a week to keep myself motivated.
5) This one is tougher. I am going to to try to do my weekday runs in the morning. Aron has been posting about her morning runs and I am starting to buy in to this a little. Not a morning person, but I can try! Yes I can!
6)Cross train. I love to swim, go to yoga, gym, boot camp, but when it gets to race season, I usually stop the cross training. Now is the time to bring it back.

I found this quote on inspirational quote that speaks of training in the off season:

A man should have any number of little aims about which he should be conscious and for which he should have names, but he should have neither name for, nor consciousness concerning, the main aim of his life.
Samuel Butler

Today I am running up to the Conservation area. The shine is shining after a few days of rain.

What could be better?

Enjoy your Sunday and Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


A math nerd joke. I don't remember where I saw this picture, so if it was your blog speak up so I can give you credit! Hope this gears all of my American blogger friends up for Thanksgiving in a few weeks (its the fourth Thursday for America, right?). Anyway, have a great weekend! (This post is part of Nike Mom's photo Friday - but a day early since I know tomorrow will be busy!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Random Blabbings

I was tagged by Kim, so I am supposed to write about 6 things I value. I am instead just going to blab on about a few random things

1. First off, I want to clarify about my book I am writing. Its a "Learn at Home" instructional book for my local school board for students that need to learn by correspondence. So as much as I would like to write a book about my lasse fair lifestyle, I am writing a book instructing students through mole calculations. Yes I am the Stephen King of the chemists. LOL.

2. My sister hates when I brag about her, but I can't help it. My sister went down to the States on a track scholarship, and eventually shifted to triathlons which she excelled at and became a professional triathlete (she had several sponsors). She is a gifted athlete, and although she is not competing now, she qualified for Iron Man Kona (and finished in just over 10 hours -which she thought was horrible?!), and has a personal best of a 1:18 half and runs a 16 minute 5K. Of course this begs the question, what the heck happened with my genes?!! LOL Seriously though as kids when we would get up to swim in the early morning she was always dragging me out of bed (I am the older of the two). Not a morning person even then! Long and short my baby sis is my inspiration for running.

3. I have an unhealthy obsession with my bathroom scale. Denise just wrote a post about this and I can totally relate. What's funny about my scale is that it is circa 1940's from a old high school science lab. It was going to be thrown out, but I saved it. Think analog avocado green- real sexy. It weighs me a bit heavier, but I like that, because when I am out visiting, I may just use your bathroom scale and get a pleasant surprise.

4. Despite my obsession with the scale, I also have a compulsive snacking habit. I love guacamole and tortilla chips. Yummy.

5. Hubs and I are constantly asked when we are going to have a family. I want to have a family, but its also hard to imagine fitting everything in. I love how we can pick up and go, and that I can enter races or go places on a whim. I guess in short I'm a little selfish about my time. I really admire all of you moms and dads that manage to juggle young kids and still find time for yourself and your health. As an interesting side note, my chiropractor told me one of his patients qualified for Boston WHILE she was 5 months pregnant. Is that crazy or what?!? I know more and more running while pregnant is safe, but this seems extreme.

On the running front, my 14K for Monday ended up being 10. I dropped my Garmin and it popped off of my band. Thankfully Hubs fixed it, but we had to shorten the run. I ran 6K yesterday, and I will run again tomorrow, likely 12-14K. Focusing on less distance with a steady pace to keep the fitness level up for the race.

Thats about it for now, if you would like to be tagged, consider yourself tagged.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Race Goals and Other Misc Stuff

Not much new here. I still haven't run since my last post. I had a busy weekend. I felt under the weather on Friday, and then Hubs and I went up to visit his family in Parry Sound. I spent most of the weekend in the library and Starbucks working on a chemistry book I am writing. Thank goodness for Pumpkin Spice Lattes. They made the 14 hours I spent writing this weekend bearable. I had intended on running, but the combo of feeling sick and cold, wet weather, and the need to meet a deadline, halted any running. I think the rest may be good though, my legs feel ready to go today.

Fast forward to Monday. Loving sweet Hubs made a huge pot of vegetarian chilli that I had a generous serving of, washed it down with a coffee, and I will head out for a 14K jaunt as soon as I am done writing this post.

I went on the Philly site today and I saw the 12 days remaining on the clock, and I can't wait. I have been ponderering over possible goals for Philly, and although I haven't decided, here is a tenative plan.

A goal - sub 4:00 hours. I must admit I am hestitant to go for it, simply because I don't want to go out too fast and blow the race all together

B goal - sub 4:09:20. I would be very happy with this. I think I can meet this goal since I ran Hamilton in 4:09 after running Niagara the previous week.

C goal - sub 4:15. I would be dissapointed with this number, but its only a number, and still respectable, and I know I will still have a blast at the marathon.

D goal - finish

I will catch up will all of your blogs soon! (I know I am a little behind!) Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Family Day Race

Not much to report right now. I am now tapering for the upcoming Philadelphia marathon on November 23rd. In fact, I feel a little under the weather today and I've been kinda of stir crazy all week. Poor Hubs!

Last year, the Ontario Premier announced a new statutory Ontario holiday, Family Day, which is the third Monday in February. Read: Day off with pay and no obligations!

Sooooo this presents a perfect opportunity to sneak into the land of my American blogger friends and do what else: Run a Marathon.

Last year Hubs and I ran the Last Chance for Boston Marathon in Columbus Ohio. Basically its 26 mile laps around a business park in the outskirts of Columbus. Not exactly exciting, but its a driveable distance, well run, and flat as a pancake. Other advantages were a water station every mile, so no need to carry water or food, and pacing is easy. Here is a picture of Hubs and I at that race last year. (BTW-lots of non-hopeful Boston people run this as well - I didn't expect to qualify and ran a decent 4:26, not bad for the training I did)

Now as good as a winter warm up marathon this is, I would like to try some thing different. Right now I really have my sights set on this race. I think it would be fun, and if anyone has run it, or know someone who has, feedback is welcome! Drawbacks is that its about 16 hours so I would probably fly, and Hubs hates flying. In fact he's upset as it is that we are flying to Philadelphia this year.

Other Options

Austin Marathon. I've read that its a hilly course, while I don't mind hills, I am still trying to bring my marathon time under 4 hours, so why work from a disadvantage? Sounds like a good event though.

Lost Dutchman Marathon. This course looks STUNNING. I really like the idea of travelling to Arizona, I've never been there before, but again the course looks challenging, but what an experience! Here is one past racer's recount from marathon guide, that sends chills through my body when I read it:

This was so much fun. The expo was small but complete. The shirt was cotton but it has one of the nicest designs, front and back. On race morning, when the shuttle bus dropped us off at the start area, it was clear and chilly and there were about 70 little campfires burning... with carpet pads next to them to stretch out on. The start is right at the base of the Superstition Mountains and it is amazing to see the sun rise and light up the mountains. The race started on time, the aid stations were well stocked, the volunteers were just super and the finisher's medal is as neat as the Rock 'n Roll medals... maybe better. If you ever need a break from winter, come to Arizona in February and run the Lost Dutchman.

This is how I fill my spare time, dreaming about the next marathon. Obsession, no!! Passion? Absolutely!
Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Find Your Flow

I went to get a post race massage tonight, and had a great conversation with my massage therapist about the mental side of running. I told her about how I got emotional during my marathon this past Sunday, and how everything seems clearer to me during those very emotional moments of a race.

Caroline, my massage therapist, is a former triathlete, social worker- turned massage therapist and is just a great person to talk to. She immediately understood what I was trying to describe, and simply said, you experienced "flow". She described the mental psychology of reaching a euphoria and just a deeper understanding of yourself as an athlete, and your purpose on this planet.

I drove home thinking about this, and decided to find out more. In fact, its kinda of been nagging me since Sunday. I feel a little unsettled and I'm not sure why.

What is flow? I hate to source Wikipedia (but its so darn convenient), but here is what I found out:

Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.

Runner's flow, I guess in short may conjure up a number of images, but I guess it means being "in the zone" or "runner's high". I find it hard to describe it other than that it was an incredibly beautiful and full filling experience not only as an athlete, but as a human being.

So as a runner, have you experienced flow? If so, what was it like for you? I am positive we call all find some inspiration in sharing our experiences!

In the meantime, thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Race Report: Hamilton Road to Hope Marathon

I signed up for the Hamilton Road to Hope Marathon very last minute, in a quest to become a marathon maniac by running two marathons on consecutive weekends. It turned out to be a good thing for me since Hamilton is now my new favourite marathon (more on that later).

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is a large urban city, probably best known as a steel manufacturing mecca that has since past its prime.

Although Hamilton has a bad rap for being a not-so-pretty city, it actually has many beautiful spots for running, and being set in the Niagara Escarpment, it has some beautiful running trails and views.

Hubs and I picked up our race kits just in time - 3pm on Saturday afternoon. The race kit was non-existent. It was simply a chip, bib and a rather ugly ill fitting T-shirt. RD if you read this - please something other than a shirt!! Please! Anyway, that said, the volunteers were super, and it looked like everything was organized, set, and ready to go.

After kit pick-up, Hubs and I checked into our hotel room at the Sheraton (which I stole on Hotwire for $66). Its only about an hour and twenty minute drive for us, but I was going to my friend birthday dinner downtown Toronto, so this allowed us time to attend her birthday dinner and still get a decent night sleep.

Speaking of dinner, I basically did everything you are not supposed to do. Since I decided this wasn't an "A" race, I had a large beer (I have never liked beer, but lately I have craved beer - in fact I'm sipping one as I write this race report), salmon, and creamy risotto. I did drinks lots of water, and had a good nights sleep (loved the clocks going back!).

Race morning Hubs and I awoke and considered skipping the race. Had I not laid down $170 dollars ($85 each), and proclaimed my intentions on this blog, there would be no race report. We drove to finish line of the race (Confederation Park), arrived just in time, and then we were bussed to the start line.

It was chilly this morning. About 2C(36F). I layered another long sleeve shirt on, wore gloves, and shorts. I shivered as I waited in line at the porta-potty. All of this made me grumpy and made me question why the heck I do this to myself.

Before the race started I ran into Marlene, which was nice. I expressed my doubts to her, and wished her well. We also ran into a few running friends from our local Running Room.

Before we knew it, we had to head to the start, which was annoyingly about 1km from the school. In fact as we approached the start, the gun went off, and we had to scramble to get going. We were amongst the last to cross the line, and were even behind the police sweeper truck! LOL.

I struggled right off the bat. I hadn't yet got my mind around the marathon. I think I was cold to start and my muscles tightened right up. We ran past a few runners that we knew that had run the Niagara Half Marathon last week, so I felt at least I wasn't the only crazy one out there!

The first half of the race was on quiet rolling country hills, which was nice and tranquil. The sun was out, and I started to feel warm. My pace was around 5:47-5:50 kM/min, slower than last week, but I just went with what felt comfortable. I had no intentions of going for a PR. Around 7kM, Hubs and I ran into a few runners we knew, and relaxed and chatted. Before I knew it, we hit 10K (58 min).

Hubs had pulled ahead past 10K, and I decided that I was going to keep him in my sights, if I could. In fact I followed him past the half way. I crossed the half-way point at about 2:02. I felt O.K, but I really wasn't pushing, and felt that a PR was unlikely. I just wanted a decent race with no major crashes.

Past the half-way we ran on a free way that the RD had shut down for the race. The scenery was stunning, and it was a HUGE net downhill, about 5kM worth! I glided down the hill and caught up to Hubs around 25K. Hubs was impressed and commented that he thought I would get a PR. I wasn't so sure. I didn't know how my body would react to those later kilometers. Hubs and I ran together until 30K. He had to go to the porta potty but told me to go for it. We reached 30K at 2:52. Only a minute off of Niagara.

It was at this point that I knew that a PR was possible. I had tanked the last 10K of Niagara last week, but this week I was blister free. I would say that I felt slightly more tired than in Niagara but my legs were fine - no stiffness whatsoever. I reached 32K at 3:03 - the same time as Niagara. It was on, I officially was gunning for a PR!

I ran steadily with a few small walk breaks to 34K. I felt pretty good, and wondered, how long can I do this for? I decided to try and run as much as possible, with short walk breaks at the kilometer markers. This seemed to worked. My watch went dead shortly after 34K, and I thought, I have to dig deep, I have to listen to my body and do my very best.

Past 36K, we turned and ran along a lake shore path that would take us to the finish. It was stunningly beautiful, and pancake flat. The wind, however, was wild!! I felt chills to my bones and for whatever reason - I began to cry. Crying and running marathons seemed to go hand in hand for me. Today my tears were a result of reflecting on my life thus far, the people in it, and how happy I am to be running. For whatever strange reason, pain makes me grateful because I know, I am alive, AND I'm living a less than ordinary existence.

Spectators, however, took my crying as a bad sign and one nice gentleman on a bike pedalled beside me and we chatted for a few minutes, and he told me some jokes to make me laugh. Past 38K, I asked a fellow runner what her gun time was and she told me 3:42. Now math and the marathon are never a good mix, but I guessed that if I could run the next 4.2 at about 6kM/min, it would take me 24 more minutes, and I would finish in about 4:06-4:07.

By this time though, I had to walk frequently. I was tired, I tried to keep the walk breaks brief, but those last few kilometers seemed to take FOREVER! I had no idea of my time, until I rounded the bend to the finish line at saw 4:09-- on the clock! I darted towards the finish line at finished in 4:10:17. My chip time results are 4:09:20. I still can't believe that I shaved 6 minutes off of my time from seven days ago!! Other celebratory facts are that this was my 10th marathon, and I am now officially a Marathon Maniac.

So I am very happy that I got up this morning! It was tough, but really not bad until the very end. I am less sore than Niagara and no blisters! Although this event has a few bugs to work out, I would recommend because of the variety of scenery and the time of year it takes place.

Thanks for reading!

I'm a Marathon Maniac

And I got a PR! I don't have my official time, but the gun time was 4:10 and change when I crossed the line. I think my chip time is a minute or two less than that (my watch when dead at 34K so I had no idea how much of a PR I had until the very end!). I am still in disbelief! I'm working on a full race report, but in the meantime, thanks for reading! W0oooooooo Hoooooooo!

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's official

I've lost my mind! I am running another marathon this weekend, the Hamilton Road to Hope Marathon, in a quest to become a Marathon Maniac.

Hmmm.... Road to Hope Marathon. What do I hope happens in this marathon?
I hope to finish! Seriously. I will totally go with feel and try not push myself. Its going to be tough, and I promise if I feel any injury or that I'm hurting myself, I'll take it easy. Its kinda of liberating to enter a race without a huge push or goal. Hubs and I might run together.
Good luck to Marlene this weekend as she kills the half marathon.

Happy Halloween and Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Marathon Maniac?!?

Well my quads are still feeling slightly sore from Niagara, but here I am plotting my next adventure. I have already signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon on November23rd, and I can't wait to run it.

Having four weeks between now and then, it would be ideal to have another long run this weekend and then the usual three week taper. Hubs is running the Hamilton Marathon this weekend, and it is his third in a row. He belongs to the same Marathon Maniac club that Laura does.

Sooooo... since I would likely be running a 30+K (20 mile) run this weekend anyway, maybe I could run Hamilton as well and qualify for the Maniac club. Of course this idea does have the following

1) I don't want to burn out for Philly. It is my main goal race for the fall running season, so I want to still be fresh and hungry for the race!
2) I don't want to get injured
3) My friends B-day is this weekend which could mean a late night Saturday.

1) I would have a long training run and complete my 10th marathon. I think it would be great prep for Philly.
2) I am curious to see how my body reacts to back to back marathons
3) I would become a Maniac!

So I need your help. What should I do? I am going to run tomorrow night to test the "post race" waters. If I do run Hamilton, I will likely aim for a slower race (4:30 ish), but then again you never know, so I should be prepared to stay out as long as needed. The body is capable of great things sometimes.

In the meantime, I have been making sure that I fully nourish my body with what it needs after a marathon for a proper recovery.
(And I don't really like beer either!)

Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Race Report: Niagara Falls International Marathon

I was attracted to the Niagara Falls International Marathon for a few reasons. 1) Its the only marathon that begins in one country and finishes in another. 2) It is a fabulously flat course (real PR material), and 3) It ends at the base of the Bridal Veil Falls. This race was really terrific for these highlights and others as I'll describe in this race report. Put it on your list people, its a good marathon to run.

When Hubs a I arrived in Niagara Falls Saturday afternoon, we went straight to the expo. The expo was small, but very well run. Before you could pick up your race kit you had to clear customs, and were told to bring your passport on the bus ride to the start line. We were a little disappointed that the pasta dinner was sold out, but I figured I could meet Laura in the morning since there was about an hour wait after we were bussed to Buffalo. The race kit was good and included a complimentary wine sampling coupons for a Niagara-on-the-Lake winery, a huge bag of pasta, and a complimentary art book from the museum that would host us before the race started. The shirt was one of the nicer shirts I have gotten. Hubs and I snapped a few pictures by the Falls, had a quiet dinner and were laying low by 9:00. I actually slept pretty well before the race.

The days leading up to the Niagara Falls Marathon had me worried about the weather. During the week before, it snowed, and they were calling for rain and huge wind gusts. It was also cold and wet when we arrived. When Sunday morning came, the weather gods blessed us with a nice sunny day with a high of about 12oC. The wind would be a tailwind and at our backs for most of the race (or so we were told!). In our race kits we were given a rain coat which I wore for warmth over my race clothes, and wrapped around my waist just in case it did rain at some point during the race. A very thoughtful detail.

When I boarded the bus to the start line Sunday morning, I got to meet Laura, and we hit it off right away, chatting the whole way to the start line. We had a few tense moments at the boarder when some of the clueless runners forgot their identification and the bus driver informed us we may be turned back (thankfully we weren't). Hubs snapped a photo of Laura and I on the bus.

When we arrived at the Museum (a beautiful white building with fabulous art -Picasso, Monet, etc), we were greeted by jazz music, and flushing toilets!! (Yippee, runners have such class, LOL!) We could only eat in some rooms, so Laura, Hubs and I went to the eating room and relaxed for a little while waiting for the race to begin. I was impressed on how many people approached Laura with her Maniacs singlet, there are alot of Maniacs out there! LOL! I am tempted to become one (I save the details for another post).

Outside of the Museum

Waiting inside the Museum

When the race started, I promised myself that I wouldn't go out to fast, so when the race started, I tried to stay calm when so many people shot forward. In fact we had a short out and back loop before the race headed to the boarder, and I noticed I was definitely towards the back of the pack. I kept telling myself "run your own race".

I loved how I could settle into my pace so quickly. The air was crisp and clear, and it was sunny and bright. I found myself letting out a happy sigh. I was relieved that we were finally off and that the weather was co-operating. I thought about how I love running, that this is what its all about, and this is the reward.

We toured through some beautiful old homes in Buffalo for the first few miles, before we headed towards the border. Hubs brought his camera, and documented most of the route.

Notice the "Canada, No exit" sign. Thats right all you Americans, once you enter, there's no escaping! The border crossing was awesome, and it was so much fun to run across the border, even though it was so windy on the bridge!

Here is a picture Hubs snapped, he was still on the bridge and I was off the bridge heading to Fort Erie. He yelled out so I looked up.

It was windy heading over to Fort Erie were we had a small loop before we headed due North towards the Falls. This section was windy, and a small group of runners and myself took turns drafting each other from the wind. I felt relaxed and kept wanting to pick it up but stayed calm

I passed 10K (6 miles) at 56:00 minutes, and felt relaxed and strong. I could see the 4:00 pace group ahead, but had no plans to pass them. I told myself that would happen if I felt strong after the first half of the race.

We ran through a few ghost towns, and along some large beautiful homes along the Niagara River. The first half flew by. Around the 11 mile mark I passed Laura, and we gave each other some support, and then the 4:00 group (only briefly since they were run-walking and I was steady running). I felt terrific. I reached the halfway point at 2:00:30, and I was inspired by the fact that I still felt so strong. My pace was a steady 5:40km/min the whole first half.

Kilometers 22-30 went well, I had parts where I struggled, but nothing that made me want to stop or slow down. I told myself I could take a walk after 32K if I wanted. There were very few spectators along the course, but the aid stations volunteers were terrific! They wore costumes and cheered so loudly that you could hear them from half a kilometer away!! WOW! I reached 30K at 2 hours, 51 minutes. I started to think just maybe I could hold on for four hours. I still felt relatively strong, and my pace had slowed only slightly 5:41 km/min. I did start to notice a some pain from emerging blisters but nothing to make me want to stop.

I kept going on, and reached 32K at 3:03. I felt emotion grip me, I knew it was possible to maybe make 4:00 hours. I remember *Aron's* sign. 10miles in your head, 10 miles with your legs, and 6 miles (10K) with your heart. Did I have the heart?!! 57minutes for 10K should be a piece of cake, but after 32K, was it possible?

I felt myself thrust my hips forward. I still felt strong cardiovascular wise, but my blisters were starting to hurt and my hips were tightening. As I ran by an aid station I asked them in desperation, did they have Advil?!? No they didn't! Unfortunately I forgot mine (now I know Lily you wouldn't approve, but I would only have taken one). I was a little mad at myself for forgetting to put it in my skirt pocket. I told myself I was tough, and didn't need it.

I took my first walk break (rather suddenly) at 32.5Km. It was then that I realized how stiff and sore I was. In retrospect, I wish I had never walked. I think it made it worse. Next time no promised walk breaks until I am finished! I began run/walking, not wanting to let my chance of a PR slip away.

Laura gave me the boost I needed when she ran by me at 36.5K. She told me I was going to kill my PR! I wanted so desperately to pick it up and run with her, but it did help me get going and I pushed as much as I could to to get to the finish line. She looked strong and effortless in her race!

It was weird to be not tired, my feet felt raw with each step, and my hips were so tight. The wind was out in full force, but I was determined to keep going. I was going to win the mental game today.

Eventually the gentle flowing river turned into angry rapids and then the mist of the Falls emerged. I was so thankful to see that mist!! The last few kilometers were downhill, and I pushed hard to get in under 4:16, and I did it. I felt so proud that I pushed through, and had such a strong race. It turns out those last 10K(6 miles) took me 1 hour, 12 minutes. I need to work on those last miles, but it gives me hope that I can improve in Philly.

Stats for my 9th marathon:
Time: 4:15:20
Gender Place: 121/307
Age Place: 20/38

I love running marathons! Between Laura and Hubs I am inspired to become a Marathon Maniac. More details on that to follow. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Marathon of Firsts

The Niagara Falls Marathon presented a number of firsts for me including:

1) First time crossing an International Border by Foot - That was awesome!!
2) First time meeting Laura, who by the way is just as awesome in person as she is on her blog.
3) First time running a 2:51 30K and 3:03 32K. My marathon PB for 30K was 2:53 and change. My only offical 30K race was Around the Bay and was 2:55 and change.
4) The first time I have run (without walking) 32K. My first walk break was around 32K after which they were plentiful!
5) My first time finishing before the 4:00 hour pace bunny......


OK, now I am playing with you, but being honest at the same time. The 4:00 pace bunny finished around 4:2-, he tanked during the race.

I did get my PB (barely). My official time is four hours, fifteen minutes and twenty seconds. And I am pleased. I had some really bad blisters and quad pain that really slowed my last 10K. I am a little dissapointed that the last 10K took my 1 hour, 12 minutes, but overall very pleased that I still held on for a PB. This marathon was a great course, and the weather was great! Best of all, I know I can improve on this time in Philly in a few weeks.

Overall, I feel extremely grateful. I have a lot of support. My husband (love ya), family, running friends, and ofcourse my running blogger friends. I was truly touched by the support you offered for this and other races (that didn't go as planned). I carried thoughts about each and every one of you to the finish line, and it really helped me get through. Thanks for that!

I will post a detailed race report later, but for now, thanks again, and thanks for reading. I hope everyone else's races went well today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Slow (to start) and Steady (to finish) Wins the Race

Well maybe not win, but maybe have at PR!!

This post is for Nike Mom's Photo Friday (just a few hours early).
With the wind at my back. I will be strong, upright, and smiling as I run towards this wonder of the world!

Thanks for all of your well wishes in the previous post. Also good luck to anyone who is racing this weekend, especially Mel who is finally able to participate in a race after a long injury, and M.J.C who is running her first marathon!
I am hoping to meet up with Laura, she is running Niagara as well.
OK I have to edit (for the 10th time to add in Vava! His first 10K race!! in Niagara -good luck, and *aron* with her half)

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wonky Weather and Race Goals

This is going to be a short post because its been a long day and I'm exhausted.

Checking the forecast for this weekend (Niagara Marathon) is a little unnerving. One day its sunny, the next its raining. Currently they are calling for a high of 13, with part cloud/Sun/light rain. Perfect! Only one scary tidbit, 45km/hr wind, let's hope its at my back.

Today we have rain/snow sleet in Whitby! Yuck! Regardless of the weather, I am going to try my best. I have trained for this, I can do it. At least its not going to be warm and humid!

In terms of goals, I have just one: get a PR. I know I can, I just have to go out slow. I want to enjoy the race and the scenery, I have never crossed a border by foot before.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Race Report: Toronto Marathon (Spectator Perspective)

Today I was a spectator for the Toronto Marathon, and it was fun, although I wish I could have been out there today. It was a gorgeous day for a race, with a high of only 13oC(55F), sunny and no real wind. Hubs was running the full marathon.

The Toronto Marathon is always 3 weeks after the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon (Scotia), and although it has been around longer, it is the smaller of the two. There are few reasons (some fact, some speculation on my part) for this:

1) Scotia is a flatter course, Toronto has only huge hill called "Hog's Hollow"

2) Scotia has more entertainment. There wasn't even music at the start/finish lines at Toronto. Definately something the organizers need to improve for next time.

3) There is a not huge money pot for the winners- hence few elites (read: few blazing Kenyans).

I usually run the half in Toronto and Hubs runs the full, but this year, having Niagara next weekend, I decided not to run the half (which killed me - Toronto is one of my favourite half courses). I have always thought that Scotia is the better of the two for a full marathon, but after today, I think next year I will run Toronto as my full and Scotia will be a half. Here are some reasons why:

1) The temperature is always cooler for Toronto. This year Scotia was 23C (73F)and humid, Toronto was 13C (55F)and perfect.

2) The course is more scenic. Running down Young street is exciting with Toronto cityscape in the background. There is a waterfront portion that is much nicer than than running under the Gardiner (a raised highway for American readers) or the Leslie Spit.

3) There is no stampede of half marathoners at the beginning. They start an hour earlier, so you can find your pace right away without weaving. Toronto also starts North of downtown so your Garmin can actually get a satellite signal right away and hence, keep your pace in check.

I planned on cheering Hubs on at three points during the race (8K, 19K and 34K). I didn't make the 8K point quick enough as the traffic from road closures was crazy. I should have taken the subway. I got to the 19K point when the 3:00 marathoners were running by and found a point where there were no spectators and started clapping, and shouting cliches madly. "2K to halfway, Looking strong bib #---, 19K straight ahead, Awesome Pace" Hubs was planning for around a 4:30ish marathon, so I knew I would be a while, but it was fun. Cheering is work though, and my hands are sore (LOL). Make sure you thank those spectators, even if you can only muster a nod. It was interesting studying people's gaits as they ran by. For some, it seemed like a physical impossibility that they were last fast for seemingly strange gaits, but it was obviously working for them.

Anyway when Hubs ran by I almost missed him. I would be a terrible race photographer, fumbling and getting all excited instead of taking the picture. I managed to snap his picture at 34K. He was looking strong for late in the race.

Hubs finished his 19th marathon in 4:26-- . Not a PR, but he is not looking to kill any of them. He is planning on running Niagara next weekend and Hamilton marathon the following. Crazy Maniac, like someone else I know. He is looking at requesting his Marathon Maniac bib. He is well qualified, running 5 marathons in 5 weeks in the spring, and 3 marathons in 3 weeks in the fall (actually 5 but not 5 in a row).

I found the marathon to be inspirational for next week. One important reoccurring lesson for me: don't go out too fast!! Repeat, don't go out too fast!!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Story of Bill and the Shoe Tree

Sorry I have been MIA this week. It was a busy week, with parent-teacher interviews at work, and a number of other outside of work commitments which has rendered me three days without a run, and a little anxious about it. I am tapering now, but that doesn't mean not running at all. Oh well, I plan on running today and tomorrow.

Last night I went to Casino Rama with a good friend of mine to see Bill Cosby, which has left my sides a little sore from yesterday. The man still is hilarious at seventy one years of age! And yes he did the dentist routine.

While we were driving up to the show, my friend mentioned the shoe tree that she passes every time she goes up to the casino.

I had never heard or seen the shoe tree before and asked if we could stop and take a picture. It is on a relatively quiet highway in the middle of nowhere, so I wasn't expecting much, but I was surprised when we can across it.

I tried to research how the shoe tree came to be, but found nothing, so if anyone knows the history of the shoe tree, or about any other shoe tree, I'd be interested to know more about it. It was an impressive site.

As far as the casino, it was my second time ever in a casino. I put five dollars in a quater slot machine, and won $10, and cashed out right away. LOL. Hey, it buys me lunch!

Wishing everyone well at their races this weekend (Marlene, Nitmos, Roadbunner, Julianne, Christy, Tiger and anyone else I missed!)

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On The Taper

Tonight I went out for a 6K recovery run, and began to have a little bit of tapering anxiousness. Reading all of these race reports makes me want to just get out there and race! It didn't help that it was a nice cool evening, and I just felt like taking off. I have a 10K tempo on tap tomorrow though, so I held off.
Training Plan
Tues- 6K recovery
Wednesday -10K tempo
Thursday - rest
Friday - rest
Saturday- 12K race pace
Sunday - 6K recovery

Also, I would like to introduce Christy from Run Like a Girl. Christy is training for her first full marathon (Disney 2008), and I also know her in real life from Bootcamp class and she is a super person and runner! Drop by her site and wish her a warm welcome!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another Great Fall Run

This weekend, Hubs and I ventured up to Northern Ontario to visit his family. We went out yesterday for a 21K(13 mile) run, and I brought the camera along to take some pictures of the beautiful fall scenery. It was very warm this weeken, around 24oC (~75F), an absolutely perfect day for a leisurely taper run!

These deer are wild but come to this property because the owner leaves them apples.

It was a really hilly route with a net elevation gain of 400 ft, but well worth the effort. This lake marked a turn around point. Hubs and I stopped for a gel and took some pictures. The pictures really don't do it justice.

Gliding downhill at this point, the skyline was aglow with fiery reds, oranges and yellows.

When we returned from the run, we had a turkey dinner, complete with red wine, of course! LOL. It was so good! Why can't every weekend be a long weekend?

Well we are home now, and as I reminisced about my fabulous weekend, we had a glorious sunset behind our house. I took this picture from the deck off off our kitchen.

Congratulations to everyone who ran this weekend. I hope to catch up on everyone's blogs soon. Thanks for reading and have a great week!