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Thursday 31 May 2012

The BIG race

The one. the Marathon. It's here.

I wake up at 430 am. WITHOUT my alarm ringing. THAT is a first. And hello. There is NO birds. I am up before the birds. egads.

Good thing I set out everything the night before. Seriously who gets UP at this hour?? I summble thru a bowl of fibre1 cereal, banana. and some water. Then start to get dressed. Put on the CEP Compression Sox first. Wow. I am wake now. That is a LOTTA work.

IPod. Check. Yurbuds. Check. Sugoi Shorts. Check. SparkleSkirt. Check. Lulu Sunblocker (after checking weather). Check. One More Mile shirt. Check. SpiBelt. Check. Fill Fuel Belt with LAST nuun tab. Check. Double check bib on SPIBelt. Check a  roonie. And lastly lace up the trainers. Go Brooks Glycerine 9's!

So finally get to the start of the race. And we wait. Don't you think I look fresh as a daisy. Yeh...its 645 am. I am ready to get this party started. "May the Course be with You",  indeed!

And then we start. To be truthful the first 21 rock. I am good.

I am actully running at a PB time. And then 26 or 27 hits. And it sucks. Then again so does 30. But then I kinda liked 31-34. And 35 was hard. It was all up and down hill. Not literally. But a serious mindgame. 

I don't know if I recall some of the route. Except the one major part - I think at about 27km, where i gave a car that tried to overtake me when it should have yielded) the finger. Actually a double barrelled finger. So much so the cop at the intersection laughed. 

I ran. Oh and for the first time in as long as i remember I didn't have a dialogue about oh no you can't. No fatty voice appeared. Instead, it was all go girl. you can, you will. Just do it. One more mile. 10 more minutes. 

And so it went. 

My split time was 2:28. I added 12 more mins to the second half.

And the last 3 or 4 k. Holy mother of god that was HARSH.

But by god when i finished, I was chuffed. I have never ever cried like that at a finish. I was relieved. I was so GD proud. I was so happy and exhausted. And well, so unsure what to do and where to go. 

So you see that grey haired guy at the finish with me? He's 64 years old. And it was his frigging 82nd marathon. Only his 12th of the year (and here i thought 5 half maras was kinda good.....)
He cheered me on the last 5 km. Full on. He was a hoot. His English sucked, but he made damn sure that I could understand "You aren't going to let an old an beat your are ya??" And yes. I am not sure I did let him beat me. Thank you. Thank You Seng Mon Chin for bringing me home! This Sunday he is running the San Diego RnR Mara. That'd be his 83rd mara. Holy shit. Seriously. 

 But honestly, I was thrilled. And ecstatic. 
I have come so so SO far. 40 pounds. miles and miles. 
I am transformed. 
And the next day never so bloody sore in my life. But today, 3 days later, not a stitch of pain. So now I have 12 weeks til my next marathon. In Edmonton. Yikes. Let the training begin. 

Dear God. Please don't let the weather be over 30 degrees Celcius. Pleaaaaase. 

Sunday 27 May 2012

the DAY before!

so.... I've been nose breathing, and visualizing. And i am dead nervous.

But i wake up early Saturday morning. The day before the BIG race. And I am off to shake it off with a short run with the Running Room. And who is leading the run? Frank Shorter. An Olympic GOLD medallist from the 1972 games. And a Silver Medallist from the 1976 Games. A man who's victory is credited with igniting a running craze in the America. So yeh. He is kinda a big deal.

Anyhoo. This morning is part of of a relaxation thingy for me. I go to run to chill out and get ready for the big day tomoz.

Let's be honest. I was initially going out cause John Stanton was gonna be three. He is the OWNER of the Running Room. But he is not here. He's in Ottawa at their marathon. But Frank is here. Shall i divulge to you, dear reader, that I do not know him. But hey, if he is a pal of John's.....

So i get up and go (even though this will mean for certain I will be over an hour late for work in the morning).

And the first person (well dog) I see is Harvey the Hound. The Calgary Flames (NHL) Mascot.

Let's be honest. He's a bit of a leg humper. But he gets us all in the spirit of the fun of the run. And all the kiddies there are THRILLED to see him. 

As we settle in to wait for some words from this Olympian. I see him enter the store. I am in awe of him. I stare at his thin, magnificent muscular legs. My god he is small. He has a presence. 

I stare at him. I stare at my feet. I stare at him.

And then I stare at my legs. and i pray...please get me thru 42.2 tomorrow. You know you can do it. 
And then I settle down. and listen to him talk. He talks about racing, running, about his first time in Calgary. And for the first time in a week, I forget i have a marathon to run. 

I think about him, his achievements and really how amazing he is. And what a great speaker. 

And then i have a couple minutes vofroe the i ask him for a photo. He is, of course, graccious. ANd then he gives me some last minute marathon advice. BREATHE. ENJOY. Just RUN. 

And so we run. 3 km. in about 15-17 minutes. I don't usually run that fast, actually. It feels great. I race get dressed for work and then make a hasty exit. 

But not before I am quickly introduced to a young Calgarian named Bernard Onsare. He's tiny. Unassuming. Oh. And he just won 2nd place in the Vancouver marathon last weekend. oooooooooooooo. well he has this brilliant smile on his face, and is kind and tells me how pleased he is to meet one of the Running Room Instructors. Then he finds out its my first marathon. And he proceeds to spend a few more minutes telling me to relish the race. To enjoy it. To love it. To just run. There will never be another first marathon he says. Only this one. The next one worry about time. This one, is just about doing. Jsut finish. The next one, you will know what you need to do...

I am pretty impressed with this young man. And totally flattered that he says he will look for me at the race. PULEEEEEEEESE. This dude is an ELITE. He is at the front of the pack. Um....I am at the the 5 hour mark, people. But still. Flattery will get you EVERYWHERE. 

(jsut a fyi...
i'm kinda sad i never took a pic, esp when that young man laid down
a 2:22 to rip the course a new record the following morning!!) 

Still what a START to my day. It sticks with me all day, till i get home and start laying out my gear.

OK. Gotta gather my race shiz.....its ready. So Am I. BRING IT! 
I got my yurbuds, my SparkleSkirt, my One More Mile Shirt, my SpiBelt, my CEP sox, my FuelBelt, and a lulu sunblocker top too! ANd of course my Brooks Glycerin 9's.

The marathon awaits. 

Oh gawd. 430 am. that is SO EARLY~!~

Monday 21 May 2012

Less than a Week ... the Marathon looms

Yesterday i received a note in my inbox from Calgary Marathon. Reminding me (as IF i need a reminder) that the Countdown is on.

One week until the 48th annual Scotiabank Calgary Marathon
In one week from now, you will be basking in the glow of your accomplishment on Sunday, May 27.  The organizing team hopes that you are resting up and getting prepared both mentally and physically for race day. We look forward to seeing you at the Health and Wellness Expo and Race Package Pickup on May 24 – 26th and at the start line on Sunday, May 27.
Basking in the Glow. This is a GOOD visual. I need that visual. I am worried I will be more like panting and in desperate need of a beer, and no one i know will be there waiting for me. HAHA.  And that someone will be holding THIS sign...
This past week I have really taken it easy. Translation. I have hardly run. My Sacroiliac pains me. I need to rest to make it through this BIG epic run. And I have been nervous. 

OMG! A Marathon? What was I thinking??? Is everyone nervous? I am excited, nervous, not sure what to think. But I have to know and believe that the last several months have got me to where I am today (anyone wanna cue Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" at this point??)

So to combat the nervousness, and to remind of me of last weeks EPIC (and FABULOUS) run, I took some time to look up motivation. To read. To see photos. To remind me of what I am doing. Where I have come from. 

And I saw THIS:
And I hope it makes all of you (my scant few readers) nod and smile. My heart whispered: "Believe in yourself". Funny how a silly image speaks volumes.

And then I saw this. I laughed out loud.
Then This. 
Maybe Calgary Marathon is right. There may be some basking in the glow. And sweating. And (dear god, lease let there be a beer waiting). After all, its just a run. A LONG one. So chill the #$%@#$% out, Tina.
SO all jokes aside, I have set aside a few minutes a few times this past week, to Visualize, Do Affirmations and Block the Negative

I picture myself as the runner I wish to be. I remind myself of how last week's run went. Or how it felt when I did my big training runs of 26, 30, 32 and 38 kms. Then I have tried to picture myself running the actual race. Visualizing ME at certain mile markers. (Is it odd that even I have visualized myself looking nice for the cameras out there...i wanna SPARKLE!!!) Oh i HAVE got a couple outfits all ready planned. But I wont lay them out till Saturday night. 

Even though I am not really an affirmation person, I have reminded myself I AM a runner. A marathon runner, I've even put an affirmation and some inspiring quotes somewhere you will see it every day like on your desk or bathroom mirror.

I love that my yurbuds came with a couple motivational cards. I have even work my awesome INSPIRE yurbuds shirt around the house. INSPIRE is the message. "Don't wait for inspiration to come find you. Become it."

I know that sometimes I let the negative creep in. I have been trying to stop "fatty voice" cold in her tracks. Everytime i hear the negative, I tell myself the opposite. So I took the last week off to recoup. I have BEEN TRAINING WITH EARNEST FOR THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS! If I am tired during a run, I tell myself "good job" or "stay strong"!  By telling yourself the opposite, I'm hoping to divert my focus from the negative to the positive. A few weeks ago I yelled "shut up" to the fatty voice while out on the trails. The guy running by me at the time must have thought me a nutter!

One thing I found in my week of surfing motivation and inspirational images, I read several times that it's common to lack motivation. 
Its hard not to be discouraged when you to miss a run, a few runs, or even a week or more of runs.  Sometimes life events divert the focus from training. Just pick up. dust off and get back on with it. I found several places on the net that reminded me of a few things to do to not let stop you from achieving your goal! The pointers I liked best were: 
  • Think of supporters cheering you on as you run with ease through the marathon
  • Think about how amazing crossing the finish line feels (or will feel)
  • Think about how awesome it will be AFTER you cross the line an can reflect (beer in hand) on what you have just accomplished.
  •  Surround yourself with positive, motivating things.
  •  Think of all the things (every small run, every long run, every conversation with a friend) that has got you to the place you are right now. Remember that.
  • Think about why you set this monster goal for yourself. Visualize yourself enjoying all the benefits you expect to have once you accomplish your goal.  
And here is Running movies!  Run Fatboy Run is a favourite of mine. Which ones do you like? Chariots of Fire puts me to sleep, but also Prefontain, Saint Ralph, and Running Brave are good ones.

And the last of my motivational Dr Seuss to come up with brilliance that I am going to use to start the day every day this week:

Ah! 5 more sleeps. Now to harness the butterflies!

Saturday 12 May 2012

Something about Mountain Air

This morning I got up before 6 am in order to get ready to tackle the day. Which included an hours drive out West to the town of Canmore to hit up the trails for the Rocky Mountain Soap Company Women's Run.

Last year I did this run, I was excited and nervous. It was the first time I was ever going to run further than 10km (I had signed up for the 12km race!) It was ambitious. It was doable, but I had butterflies. I finished in a respectable 1 hour 31 minutes.

This year was going to be different. I weigh almost 40 pounds less than I did a year ago. In that year I have ran 7 half marathons, and am two weeks out of doing my first marathon. I am in WAY better shape. I am much more of a runner than I was.

So yeh, I was getting somewhat cocky knowing I would CRUSH my time. And show myself how MUCH better I was. And then last week happened. A week of terrible GI Tract upsets, terrible runs and self doubting/loathing. My hip hurt. Turns out my Sacroiliac is the issue. Its pained me to run for over a week. I had awful dreadful runs while running. oh Joy.

So by Thursday I was panicked. Could I do this? Or would my hip/glutes give way? Would this just show me that training for a Marathon WAS too ambitious?

After stopping in at a FAVE running store - Strides - to pick up a Bday pressie (a Moving Comfort dress they special ordered for me), I spoke with Allen, who is la runner guru. He gave me somewhat of a peptalk, and I left feeling better. Then Calli called. Who promptly kicked my ass via a long distance call. Feeling Pepped, I went off to volunteer at the RMS bib pick up. Where I gave out  few hundred bibs to a few hundred very excited women. And I left with a new perspective. Just run it. Soak in the scenery. Let it be just another training run. So, a few nose breathes and one nagging doubtful moment that I let creep in, I thought...dammit, I CAN!

So Back to Saturday. And Canmore.

It's a gorgeous day. I am so ready. I feel good. Damn I feel great. Even stretching my SI Joint wasn't aching or twinging. Hmmm.
Jenn and I wearing sparkle
to celebrate the run! 

Gun goes and I am off with a few hundred women. Bit of a gong show to start, but I dodge and weave my way to the front third of the pack (um holy shit...I am usually in the last quarter). I feel great. And then I see that the trails, which are compromised of paved and unpaved tracks of the Canmore Nordic Centre, are rather hilly. Well, there genius, you ARE in the mountains....

Anyhoo. I say to myself, just giver. I don't stop a faster than usual pace until after 3km where i grab some water. Throughout the whole first little bit my iPod keeps stopping and starting. P me O! So i yank it out, and restart it only with tunes. Sod it. This is gonna be a fun run, I just want some tunes to go with the amazing scenery. And off I go back down the trail. Then it 6km for a loop back up to that first water station. And i keep thinking to myself, I am not very tired. Or winded. Odd cause the elevation is even higher than what I am used to. Then I hit the 3rd and final water station. And realize I have 3 more Ks to go. And I am kicking ass and taking names.

During the last few kilometres I realize something. THIS is THE RACE. The ONE. The one where it's easy. It feels amazing. There has not been one moment where I wanted to stop or slow down or walk. I am running relatively fast for me. I feel free. I feel fabulous. THIS is what running is SUPPOSED to BE!!! Holy Shit. I have arrived. Wait. How did I get here. At this point i tell myself to shut the hell up and ENJOY the ride. I mean this is something. I feel amazing. Smart, Fabulous. Ah hell. I even feel graceful.

The.  Best.  Run. of. the. Year.

Honestly, I am not sure I have ever felt this good running. EVER.

And then i realize I have run the last incline and I have less than 500m to go. I let er rip and finish. I am not sure of my time, but I know it is way better than last years. And then I almost start to cry. Not for any other reason but because for the first time in a year since I have lost all this stupid weight, I am actually swelling with pride. And I have done something awesome. And I let out a whoop. Hell yeh. I have arrived. And not cause i crushed my time by more than 15 minutes. But because of how I ran, and how I felt while running the entire course.

Oh, and by the way, I didn't have one twinge or pinch or pain the entire race. Maybe endorphins, maybe my mind is starting to do what I want it to do and not be distracted. But now more than 12 hours after finishing, I still feel great and don't really feel any discomfort. I am looking forward to relaxing and enjoying my first marathon. Taking in the grandeur of the city sights and revelling where I have come from. And THAT is what my Marathon should be about.
I haven't had a smile like this in a LONG time...this was a hellova race!
No wonder running is addictive.

Monday 7 May 2012

And just when you think its all fab...

The day after my Spr-inter time run, I get up to do my last big run of the month before the Marathon.

My legs and hip ache. I know something is u. I am certain i cannot do the 23 km run. Worried. Stewing.

I start and I know i am not there. Whinge. Pout. Pain. Brain flooding with, "A marathon? A bit of a lofty idea. Told you you were too ambitious". AAACK.

And I hit 5k (less than 500 metres from a bathroom) and off to the bushes i go. AGAIN??? I just did this yesterday. Dammit. Only it's way worse than Saturday's run. Ah...chinese at my sisters for my birthday dinner. I KNOW better.

Anyway I get done that debaucle, and get to the bathroom and go AGAIN. And start crying. Alone in the stall. This sucks.

I come out wash my face. And try to continue. I start to walk back home. Then decide to stop being an ass and get back out there. And I am SO sorry to my running partner for being a soggy mess.

Finally at 6k mark it feels good. And i go great guns the rest of the way  before packing in at about 14km. Sad, disappointed and certain this means I will shit the bed in the Marathon.

I get back to the Running Room Store and burst into tears where my instructor says. Good. It's better to have a shit run now than in 3 weeks. Go home. And get back here for training Tuesday. It will be better. And go get some work done on your hips and glutes this week.

And so I arrive home. Snotty Nose Wiped. Nose Blown. Eyes Dried. Nose Breathe. Bath Drawn.

Ah....and so i wake up today. Active Release Therapy this morning. Lunch with a wonderful friend. And a coffee. Now just about to jet off to teach a learn to run 5k class.

So now I may not finish in my initial projected time, but I AM going to enjoy the run. 10 and 1s.

Snotty Nose Wiped. Nose Blown. Eyes Dried. Nose Breathe. Bath Drawn.

This is a test of endurance. I have done this test in plenty of training runs. I will show up and do it. And look fabulous. And try my best to remember to smile when I see a camera posted every few kilometres. In the meantime, I have 3 weeks to chill the #@#% out.

Sp-rinter Running

Sprinter? Spring+Winter

Ah Springtime in Alberta. Sometimes this means unreal summery temps and sometimes it means a outright blizzard.

Saturday was a blizzard. UGH! Waking up at 6 am for The Big Run... just a nice easy 10km. But in a Spring Blizzard? Oh heavy, heavy wet snow. Naaaaaaaasty.  

But it's gonna be  great run. A good training run. Holy Sh*t its cold.

Good thing I paid for this race, otherwise the covers would have been coming back over my head. But no. I bounce outta bed, get the run gear on. Do all the obligatory pre-race activities.

And get to the race site. Where i get out of the car and promptly think, "What the HELL? It's a tad chilly out here!"
Approaching the finish

Oh wait. I am building character, right?  (Did I say how bloody cold it was out there?). We are all huddled in a very large tent as the half marathoners leave. And they decide due to the inclement weather that 5Km and 10km runners will go together. So 15 minutes we wait. All refusing to face the elements till the last moment.

And out we go. Overall I felt great. But then halfway through I think...hmmm where is a bathroom. Of course I know there isnt one, as I run this pathway regularly. DAMMIT. But the finish is 4km away. Yessssss...i am soaked. My glasses are frosty and fogged. And I am dripping wet. But a good pace. I figure no one is gonna do a slow time, we have to run back to the BIG tent. brrrrrrrr.

And we are done! 
ANd then with less than 2 km to go i HAVE to duck into a bush to GO. Seriously. What is it about this week and not being able to run 10kkm without having to go to the biffie in a serious way.

I am gonna chalk it up to Birthday Week. I ate richer food, drank wine, and ran a tad less this week. In order to yuck it up. Ah...with a Marathon less than 4 weeks away no more wine. But it WAS my birthday. And i didn't really overindulge, so it not that bad. But gawd. I hate it when i have to have a pitstop that close to the finish. grrrrr. Good thing there were lots of leaves around, cause the tissues i always keep in my pocket were SOAKED due to the nasty snow. HA! Oh man.

And with that little stop, i feel lighter and sprint the last kilometre to the finish passing the two runners who were ahead of me. HA! take that you dumb bowels.

I couldn't believe with the crap weather and the bush stop, I completed the 10km in an hour and 5 minutes. Not bad, a bit off my 1:03 PB, but i felt great! Had a great glow on too - behind the sleet accumulated on my face.
Feelin' Fresh! And soaked.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

May First. The First of May. May Day

Oh yes. May First. 
The First of May. 
May Day

Put your hands together and thank my mother (and my grandmother, too) for teaching me the following little ditty:

"Hooray hooray, the first of May.
Outdoor screwing begins today!"

Every year, for as long as I can remember, she would bop around the house, or call me, or leave a message on my answering machine.  Without fail. Then she would have to call me back the very next day to wish me a Happy Birthday. Too funny!

Note: For those of you who have never met my mum, she is a 65-year old version of her lovely daughter. Or am I a 43-year old version of her? Whatever.  She is a veritable combo of Martha Stewart, Ruby Wax, Eddie Izzard and Jennifer Saunders (the comedic foible of the wonderful Dawn French). Yes. I am not lying. Not a bit. OK maybe its a stretch to say she's like Izzard.

I certainly know that my readership (all 5 of you!) is largely composed of persons with refined sensibilities. I hope none of me beloved readers are in any way offended. Oh puleese. What am I saying? You will all laugh! There is no shame in delighting in such a ditty. And, if by chance, you are offended or need to repent…there is confession.  

Get out the flowers. Skip. Dance around the May Pole. Yeeh, there is a May Pole. (no smart ass comments from the Peanut Gallery.) Yeeh, there is a May Pole. I am NOT being dirty. It's a real festival OKAY?

Being a Canadian, I totally understand why the beginning of spring is such a big deal. Winter tends to send people a bit mad. 
Of course the ENGLISH came up with this holiday...and they know a thing or two about being mad.

That's rather chilly to being pursuing such outdoor endeavours. We still have snow on the ground, and Mother Nature insists on sending more snow our way.

What are you STILL doing inside??
Enjoy the outdoors!