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Friday 29 November 2013

Busting the Winter Funk!

It's that time of year.
Winter. sigh.
Snow is falling, temperatures are frosty...and one's mojo takes a holiday. How rude.

But I have been determined to stay focused and set and attain goals.  So first things first!


Why is this such a big deal? I dunno maybe because it will take 5-6 months of TRAINING? Maybe because I already know how bloody hard it is to DO?

For a few months I have known I was signing up. Then I would say...well maybe I will ONLY do the HALF! ha. Then I would flop some more. And truthfully filling out the form and pressing send was HARD. I was a BIG DEAL.

OMG! I have to go on the wagon. Wine and long runs do not mix. HA!!!

Best of all it was free since I won entry at one of Calgary Marathons special launch events!! Thank YOU Calgary Marathon!

eep. OK. so I am in  ... now what??
(This is not my first marathon, yet I am terrified, excited!)
Holy emotional moment pressing the 'submit' button.
Keep training! Focus. AND get some little tiny goals going to make it manageable!

Go for runs with friends! HAVE FUN! Do #runch!

 Also here's a good tip. Chase your fast friends up a hill. 
Do you see Michelle WAAY up there?
That was 6 hills, bitches! Get er done!
Run some stairs. Or well. Walk them if it is slippery!

And fingers crossed that the RIGHT job comes along so that I can plan a few races to fit into the TRAINING plan!

And  to make sure I don't slack off before SERIOUS training starts in January, I registered for a RUN STREAK with Strides Running! (look on thier site and you will even see my bio since I work there part time!) I have done this the past three years and man it is hard, yet it is one of the best says to beat the winter blahs! Here's my streak update for 2011 and for 2012


Are you doing a streak? 
Did you freak out (a little) when signing up for a marathon? 
Do all your friends think you are batshitcrazy (Or is that just me?)
Do all your friends (who don't run) roll their eyes when you start talking about THE MARATHON?

Tuesday 26 November 2013

I AM Campaign

I saw few of these posters popping up on FaceBook and decided I had to have one! 
I kinda thought they were so cool, inspiring, 
and a good reminder to myself of what I have done, 
so I decided to share on my blog!


What is I AM?
I AM is a campaign that celebrates life journeys. Whether you're a Hero, Mom, Dad, Army, USA, Hope, 1K, 5K, 10K, 13.1, 26.2, 50K, 70.3, 140.6, or any other, each person has a unique story to tell (inspirational or would bring a smile to others).

Wanna know how to get one? 
If you want to be a part of the I AM community. Go visit (and LIKE) the Tran Creative Facebook page.
-- Message them your complete Headline (3-5 sentences)
-- Message them your high quality Photo (vertical)
-- Indicate your City/State or Country (if outside of US)

Then the Tran Creative peeps will create a personalized poster for you to share with family & friends, or use as your profile pix. They TAG you when it's ready in about 5 weeks. (They did mine in LESS than one week!!)

Wanna know more? Check out the I AM video!

Have you done an I AM poster? I think they are super inspiring...

Share Your Story! 

Wednesday 13 November 2013

(almost) Wordless Wednesday: Winter Run

Living in Australia for a few years ruined me as a Canadian.
Even if I have been home now for 11 years!
Regardless, I must say it is damn hard to get out and go for a winter run...

But then you have a day where there is no wind. And it is just gorgeous outside. 

And you fall in love with Winter Runs all over again.

Do runners have the shortest memories EVER or what??

Monday 11 November 2013

Last Chance Half Mara Recap

Today's halfmarathon was brought to you by bitchy mother nature. But really...sign up for Last Chance Half Marathon and you take your chances. November weather in Alberta (Calgary in particular) means maybe snow, maybe not. Maybe Deepfreeze. Whatever she dishes out is what you get.

So today's weather?

Snowfall overnight. Not a lot a few centimetres.

But still...cold. -11C (12F...and with wind felt more like 7F). BRRR.

I got up nice an early actually, to eat properly, ensure I hydrated in an optimal way. The beauty of a winter run means it starts LATER in order to allow the temps to warm up. So a 10 am start is kind of a bonus.

Got to the race a bit early to go to the bathroom (twice) before the race. And test the layering. yes cold, but no wind (so far so good).

Then ran into MichelleSusan, Leana...and there were a few others I didn't see until on the pathways...Saskia, Leigh! Bunch of hardcore Calgary tweeters and bloggers getting out there!!

I started the race with a goal. But it was a tad lofty since I am still suffering some fatigue and other effects from having shingles a few weeks ago. But I have been feeling more energetic and strong, so wanted to try to get in a "good" run. First few K definitely on target.
Michelle snapped this awesome pic as we were nearing the Peace Bridge!
Michelle was ready and willing to pace. But really, with the snow and the slicker nature of the pathways meant pace sometimes was slowing own then speeding up.
Kevin snapped a pic of us gals 'givin er' in the lovely snow!
A lot of the race was spent running alongside Michelle, Susan and Kevin (Sue's Fabulous Hubby who laughs at our silliness). At one point (prob the highlight of the race) was when Susan and I has passed a bit of time by having a #curseoff. Funnily enough Kevin and Michelle were chatting behind us, so they missed this infamous exchange. Seriously this should have been filmed. We would be YouTube sensations by now had it been captured. Never fear...plans are in the works to recreate this fabulousness in February at the next planned halfmarathon! 

We kept trudging through. 10k still felt pretty good. The paths got snowier (the second half of the race were on some lesser used paths. Honestly I think I slowed down as the race went on. Kilometre 11, 12, 12 got kind of nasty. Ice hiding under snow. UGH! So pace slowed again. I tried my level best to push when I could. AT one point I was grumbling (whining) about my pace and being too slow. Michelle kindly pointed out to me to just enjoy the run. She's right. Sometime Fatty Voice pipes up in my head...So I laughed and told Michelle to yell at FV ...shut uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup fatty voice! It helped :-) (Thank you for kicking my ass!!!)

And then a familiar voice started yelling and cheering. It was the race director of the famed Loop Around the Lake (remember that horrible halfmara that wasn't?). Thing is he recognised me. WTH? I chuckled and pushed on to the turnaround. And on my way back I passed him. He is jumping up and down and is being a rather awesome cheerleader, high-5ing and saying less than 5km left! Well thank Christ, to be honest. Legs were burning, damn snow! ha!!! But hearing that number is slightly invigorating. 

I notice Michelle picking up the pace and do my best to chase her. I do not chase her that well! But I get some good pacing back on track. For most of the way I can see Susan and Kevin, then a few twists and turns and I have no one in front of me or behind. Yet I know there are still people behind me.  I lose a little pacing and then have a bit more water. And get back into plan of "let's get this puppy done". I knew I was off pace...but at this point it is more about staying strong. The extra snow means more work and slower pace. Accept, and press on. 

I'd had a fun exchange with a work colleague at the last water station, spirits buoyed. And was feeling better about my pace and finishing strongly. And then I wiped out. I don't even know what the hell happened. I just STOPPED moving, and was unable to get footing. As I took a header, my hip and shoulder rammed into the ground. I think I pushed up with my hands to keep my face from hitting. (Are you kidding me, I just had $2,000 of dental work done - new crown). There might have been a meltdown if I has lost teeth. I had trouble breathing, felt all freaked out and disoriented. I think I lied there for a minute. The people in front of me were a bit too far to call out to. No one was close behind, an as I was getting up a runner (but not a racer) came running toward me. I slipped an fell again, then she helped me up. GAH!!!! 2 km left. I was so pissed. I tried running, but had issues getting my pace. I finally got back my groove, and turned the corner and started the last climb up to the Eau Claire bridge.

And wouldn't you now it?  Someone yelling and cheering me on...saying push push you can do it!!! Oh the infamous race director. Man! He moved from one spot to another. He's good at that. Just like Chestermere. HA! Honestly having him at the bridge entrance meant I had less than a kilometre to go. Cori is gonna laugh when I say I was pretty happy to see him!! I pushed pretty hard to get to the finish. I saw the clock (2:45) and crossed and, if I am being honest, was not at all happy. Immediately I see Susan and Kevin. She is cheering me on and gives me a hug. I tear up. She says you can't be unhappy!! No! You rock you just finished this bastard. I swear, she might swear as much as me!!! HA! (Note: afterwards on Instagram she christened the race Winter Bollocks TRUE!)

So we walked into the pub that was serving us lunch to see if we could find Leana and Michelle. Ra into Sakia who then handed me a Calgary Marathon training toque! YAY! (see...runner brain, be mad at run one second and the next talking the next race....sheeesh) It appeared no food was left, so Michelle and Leana were leaving. I wanted to snoop an see if I could grab a pancake or 4. So Tara and I went in to eat a bit. Thank go they brought out exptra pancakes! We sat an bitched about the weather (a very Canadian past time!) an laughed about certain areas of the pathways of destruction. 

It was a tough race all around. Not my day it seems. It takes a bit to get over shingles, energy and stamina levels still not right back where they should be. But I got it done. And, am pretty am grateful I didn't sprain of break anything. I am also grateful for The High-5s and cheers along the route (from volunteers, fellow runners - AWESOME!). Especially to Michelle and Susan for their laughs and company (and ass kicking) before during and after the race. Love it when your friends are right about just enjoying the run!!! Sage advice. 

And also a congrats to my pal Tara who walked this half marathon! She started 30 minutes earlier than the race so didn't see her til afterwards. 

This frozen cap was the reason I couldn't drink out of
my water bottle for most of the race! to think about next year...I need to bust this slump. 
I think I really have to work hard and focus on training harder and smarter!

ps- Does anyone south of the border wish to adopt me? Warm Climates preferred!! 

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Last Chance Halfmara 2013 is loomin'

On Sunday I am running halfmarathon #21!! I am all signed up an ready to go for The Last Chance Half Marathon here in Calgary.
Last Year's Shirt and Bling! 

I am really hoping to improve upon last year's time of 2:38:08. It is totally doable.


I have been recovering from a bout of do not have the optimal amount of energy. I also cut back some mileage. To conserve energy. That said, I am in better condition than last year. I've also been trying to eat a cleanly as possible and have been taking extra vitamins.

So here goes nothing. Just. Relax. Breathe. Run. One step in front of the other! Perhaps I am too concerned about TIME. And that that time is some sort of indicator on my value as a person. Or that it demonstrates the kind of runner I am.

So maybe I need to dig a little deeper and stop giving a shit. And just run. Today's easy run felt good the whole way. Sure it was short, but it reminded me that feeling good is really why I run. I need to remember that.

Also. I really hope it will be a LOT warmer than last year!  
2012's temp....BRRRRRR! 
 It was rather frigid, but still a great time! Of course not so sure what to wear...will have a few layers out just in case, but really until we see WHAT the temperature gauge is actually sitting at on race day, I cannot decide for sure!

I am also excited to see way more peeps (that i actually KNOW!) running this year! MichelleLeanaSakia and my pal Tara are partaking. And if we all send good weather vibes I am certain mother nature will cooperate, nest pas?

Sunday 3 November 2013

Banff Winterstart 8 Miler Recap: Snow, Bears, Beer...Oh My!!

Saturday night was the Banff Winterstart 8 miler. And this year mother nature decided to START winter!

Last year the weather was great for this race...with only a little snow starting to fall only after we started. This year...Well, we went to bed on Friday with the threat of a heavy snowfall warning!
And woke up to this:
Still. We wanted to forge on....a little snow isn't going to stop us Canadians en route to a little nice race! Snow, schmoe. So Michelle comes and picks me up. I had been texting Leana to see what it was like in Banff and she confirmed it was coming down big time. So to be safe, we change plans. We take Michelle's car since she has NEW winter tires. Safety First. So off we trecked for the 128km drive. It was a bit of a slow trek, since the roads were a little slick. But we got there. Met up my pal Tara (and changed in her hotel) then all got ready to brave the blowing snow to head to the race!

Of course this year, Mother Nature roared. But so did a GRIZZLY. A nice friendly (ummm) bear decided to hang out in the race area, so last minute reroutes were done to ensure safety of runners and the bear. YES! REALLY! A grizzly bear. Twitter was alight. And, the re-routing made the race a LOT more hilly. HA! Snow and Hills...good times my friends, good times! (FYI: this is not my first race in Banff that's been rerouted for bears.)

Since it is a night run, and everyone is given glowsticks for the race, it is a fun, glowy, lit-up affair. Yet very few wear head lamps!! We were all standing around taking silly photos and waiting for the race to start.
So that means PICTURE-TIME!!!!! 

There are some with a few lights, or glowsticks...and then are are those who are lit up like a tree. 

And finally we got to the start! It was a slick start. 2000 of us trudging through the snow was creating some serious ass slush and slick. And before we knew it the climb up tunnel mountain started.  I was thinking that it was a pretty good climb, so just tried to think about my breathing and push on forward. Be strong, no walking push up the hill! I ran parts of this route in both Melissa's and Banff Ekiden press on!! However this route was narrower than I recall the original route being. Just a bit before I got to the turnaround point a couple people wiped out in front of me.
The view coming downhill! 
A little slippy slidey and I got around the mayhem. Once I got to the turnaround I thought it seemed short. It was too dark, and I couldn't see my watch. So I kept moving! It was hard to let go and run downhill with the slick road conditions. These back roads has a lot more snow. But I felt great coming down. And then I barely missed a couple more runners who took a tumble in the awesome conditions....yikes. Slow own a little. Shorten the stride....but keep moving. 

It wasn't very long before I could hear cheering and yelling and I was amazed I was already rounding the corner to the last of the downhill and then round another corner to the last bit before the finish. I thought I hadn't been out long enough. Then again, I was relieved, since this was a bit of an SOB race. And I ran like hell for the finish line. It was quite awesome since so many people were out! As I crossed the finish I looked at the watch. 4.17 miles. So it WAS short. Finished in 51:22. Not bad. I was a little disappointed in my pace, but the race is VERY crowded, roads were not cleared, and it was very slick. Couldn't rip down the hills like I can. My goal was to beat last year's  race time of 53:56. Not faster, no. But still the conditions were totally different. Not at all comparable. I made with without wiping out or hurting myself, I felt pretty good.  I also have to say the volunteers for this race are AWESOME!! Cowbells, and signs and awesome cheerleading the whole way. I love me some cheering. It makes a race better every time!

I had thought I saw Leana as I was coming down, but I couldn't see her at the finish. It was so crowded. I came across the finish about a minute or so after Tara, so she and her boyfriend, Trevor, were right near me as I finished. We tried to find Michelle, who I knew would have be a LOT faster than me...but in the crowd couldn't really locater her. So we decided to take a few MORE pics (I know you are SURPRIZED!!) while in the food (aka Beer) line! 

 And then after a lotta texts and crowd surfing 
(more of the elbows up and shoving kind of searching) we found Michelle!! 

It really is a fun race. Totally overcrowded in the reception area...but I would do it again. I think I would take my chances with the weather too. But I think next time, I would prefer to stay out there to make more of a weekend of it. And avoid the snowy driving. 

Wanna read more about Banff Winterstart?  Check out Michelle's and Leana's recaps!