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Thursday 28 April 2016

Who Do YOU run for? Make Choosing a Charity COUNT!

If you run for a charity in an upcoming race, make it meaningful. Make it Count! 
It needs to be matter to you. Focus your passion and follow your heart! 
This post is my story on my Calgary Marathon charity choice ...

We all have a friend we have known forever. That special someone who is a kindred spirit - or even maybe even  your spirit animal! If you are lucky, you have that friend who GETS you. And you, in turn, get them. And, who knows so many crazy things about you. I am damn lucky to have someone like that in my life - she and I can tell each other ANYTHING and let er rip and laugh our asses off. *insert blessed and grateful hashtags here* 
But seriously...
I have had that crazy friend in my life for 36 years. We met at music camp in 1980! YES...truestory!
Her name is Cara and she is the absolutely one of my favourite people. 
Over the years we have come and gone, drifted apart for a bit, but sort of never ever been far from one another. If that makes sense. We have gone through good and bad times...happy and sad, breakups name it. She's had babies and raised them into young men. We are loud and silly and obnoxious and hilarious together.
The past 10 years ...
This is a slice of some of our fun...I will say that some pics from the mid 90s and early 2000s might not be included. Some of those photos are...erm...blurry. Or might be lacking sobriety. Maybe. And, yes, we can even be quiet when together. Rare, but it happens! And highly unlikely captured in recent photographic evidence. 
Certainly the quiet and sedate nature of our friendship was NOT captured last month! 

So this year when I was choosing a charity to run for at this year's Calgary Marathon, I had a fleeting thought. Why not the MS Society? How on earth had I not done this before?

Why MS, you ask? There are a few reasons...

Cara has MS. She was diagnosed in 1998. So if I was gonna run for someone...why not her? She has mostly been in remission, but it is not a disease that (in my opinion) is fair or cool or is easy to explain or understand. MS Sucks!
So it was clear that it was high time I put some miles in for MS.

I have always said I love to run because I CAN. So, I dedicate my 21.1 kilometres to a very special crazy lady who gets me like no other, Who never judges and always has a quick witted response at the ready. We were mutt and jeff in 1980 and 36 years later we still are. Sort of a beautiful disaster together. Oh, and we ARE funny. We definitely think so.

I wanted to share some info about MS with you ... so I started to research.
I found CANADA has the highest incidence of Multiple Sclerosis in the WORLD! 
WHAT? Well then, another reason to run for this charity. We need to find out WHY!
So WHAT IS MS? *From MS Society of Canada
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is thought to be an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). The disease attacks myelin, the protective covering of the nerves, causing inflammation and can damage the myelin. Myelin is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibres.  If damage to myelin is slight, nerve impulses travel with minor interruptions; however, if damage is heavy and if scar tissue replaces the myelin, nerve impulses may be completely disrupted, and the nerve fibres themselves can be damaged.

Trying to understand a disease that affects the central nervous system is complicated. You read up and are still overwhelmed. It affects everyone in so many different ways. After so many years of research, we still do not have answers. And we need answers.

And THAT is just a little glipse into WHY I am running for MS CANADA and #teamCARA! 
Those miles are not just for me now...
I will be lacing up and running my 45th halfmarathon, and bringing Cara along for her first! 
I cannot WAIT to show you HOW she is coming along with me ( it is still in the mail).

If there is a cure to be found for MS, it will come from Canada. 
#endMS #teamfight

For More Info on MS visit ENDMS 

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Can't Run? Volunteer!!

I do love to run. I love the race atmosphere. But sometimes, you just cannot do#alltheraces due to not having #allthemoney. So one of the things I love to do is VOLUNTEER! 
Pom Poms & Cowbell are NECESSARY for #alltheFAB 
Volunteering means giving all the encouragement to runners!! woohoo!! We runners love and need that race day encouragement! It really can make a race.It most certainly has for me. 
I mean ... how can you not smile when you see friends at an aid station. 
Or when you run into a banana and superman on the home stretch of a long hot race? 
Wanna volunteer but not sure what to do?

1. If you are working as a course marshal, you need to have fun. GET your cheer on and do not stand there like a lump. When you see a runner cheer, clap and ENCOURAGE! You are there to give support and direction.  If you are not the sort who likes to cheer, be loud and get your cowbell on...then chose another job! You also need to give directions, so know WHERE runners are supposed to be and let them know Point, gesture, yell! Bring cowbell, signs and pompoms with you!! 
2. If you are not cowbell crazy, waterstations are also an awesome gig. You are there to hand water to a runner. Tips for success (as in having everything ready before runners descend upon you include) setting up the table, preparing and filling the water/nutrition coolers, filling hundreds of cups, organizing the stuff on the table, and setting up garbage cans. Set up those garbage cans  even a ways away from the table. If everything is set up beforehand you won't run out of water, and you can cheer too! And everyone has a job. At races with hundreds (or thousands) of runners, you need to be ready for the waves of runners. This is a fun job but one of the most important EVER! We runners need water. And, are ever grateful for it!
3. If you are more behind the scenes kind of person, Package Stuffing can be fun. Assembly lines work well in my experience to fill up the runner goodie bags. You might be behind the scenes on this, but I love the social aspect of this too. It is a smaller setting and you are not dealing with runners on course. I often do this job and then can run on race day!
4. If not package stuffing, then Package Pickup or Race Registration! You get to chat with folks, hand out bibs or race packets and, in general, have fun in a more laid back way. It is not quite as hectic as race day. If you have done this before know that at times there will be lines for the bibs. And, so folks are a little type A and get impatient with standing in lines. Smile,  thank people for coming, wish them luck on race day and everything will run a whole lot smoother.

4. If you like feeling busy and do not need to chat too much on your volunteer gig...try out Race Set Up or Tear Down. This isn't all heavy lifting, but it can be. Usually its about getting it done quickly and unloading or loading equipment. This is not usually something to do with kids. Races need help here - and you get a heck of a physical workout! Behind the scenes is very important and really is appreciated! 

5. If you want to run, you could be a PACER or Pace Bunny. This is a REALLY important job. this is not an "Oh goodie I am gonna run this race for free"....This is all about leading other runners and help them keep a certain pace. Check your ego. You are here to help runners achieve a goal time. You need to be confident about running a specific time with consistent splits. A good pacer should lead a group at least 45 minutes slower than their Personal Best and you should  practice running at that pace several times before the race.
Any Race. Any Time. Big or Small Needs Volunteers. Consider giving back a little. 
You will have SO MUCH FUN! 
It is awesome and inspiring all rolled into one! 
Volunteers are the heart of every single running event! Over 1,500 volunteers are needed for the 52th Scotiabank Calgary Marathon Race Weekend. Volunteering for the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon is a great way to give back to the community, support healthy lifestyles and active living and be part of Canada's longest running marathon. We HEART Volunteers. 

I have had heaps of fun volunteering for Calgary Marathon...there are a TON of opportunities. I run the race, but I stuff packages or help with package pickup. It is fun and a great way to meet other peeps (or see runners you know). 

Check out Calgary Marathons volunteer opportunities HERE and sign up! 
This runner thanks you!!

*As a ForeRunner I was given a race entry for 2016, however all opinions, thoughts and feelings are entirely my own.

Monday 18 April 2016

Fab HalfMary Tips

6 weeks til raceday!!! 
This year's Calgary Marathon will be my 45th half marathon! 
And, I know a few folks who are running their first. And they are freaking out 
Rightly so. A half is not easy peasy! 

I once read that 'some runners would describe a half marathon as: not really easy, but not that hard.' UMMMM  that description is so vague bull! I hate that.

Yes. I think a half is hard work. But, since I have done this distance more than a few times, I must like it! I really do. I have learned from every race - even if it wasn't my fastest, or prettiest effort.

I like the half because it is challenging. I'm not a sprinter..and feel more comfortable in a longer event. Plus, I sort of feel I get my money's worth out of a few hours out there! Running my 45th half is just a big a challenge as the first! I have doubts and worries and anxieties and niggling fears. But experience tells me that I got this.

Whatever your motivation, here are my FAB halfmary tips to help alleviate your fears and (I hope)  help you feel prepared for your first time out there.

1. Stick to the PLAN!
I have been trying to as best as I can follow a 12 week plan. At 6 weeks out, you should be halfway through that plan. If you haven't ... or life got in the way, or you missed a few runs or are starting to feel like OMG I just feel so behind...and you might be slightly freaking out. The first thing to do is BREATHE. Just relax...get the rest of those runs in. Rain or Shine. Get er Done! And make sure you have a rest day, too! I have been using a modified version of the Calgary Marathon plan found here. Setting up a realistic training plan and sticking to it will help keep you focused!  

2. Get MENTAL!
You might also have just finished a long run and think I will NEVER be able to finish a half marathon. You need to mentally prepare! Yes, this is a gruelling process. But so much of the challenge is upstairs in your noggin! Sure, soak those sore feet. Stretch those muscles. Get a massage. But  - this is important - practice positive thinking. Take can't and just outta your vocabulary. Celebrating all your accomplishments to date  (yes, getting out there to train is a victory) helps reduce negativity which is great mental training!

3. MIX it up!

Don’t get stuck in a running rut. Mix up your runs. Do not run the same route over and over on repeat. Don't run everything on the treadmill. GET OUTSIDE! Switch up the surfaces and the routes you run on. Grass or trails are great for recovery runs since the impact is less on your body, and the uneven surface helps strengthen feet and legs. I think varying where you run is also good for the mind!

4. TEST that gear!

Do you run with a water bottle or belt? Start doing it NOW if you plan to on race day. Your shoes and socks are important. So are your shorts, or tights. Your bra. EVERYTHING!!! Test drive run it NOW! You do not want to feel uncomfortable on race day. Your training runs will determine your race outfits - your shirt, shoes, socks, bra, undies...arm get the picture. Oh and BODY GLIDE. Get some now. You can thank me for that later. Yes. Chafe and blisters can happen. Make sure they do not occur by lubing up your bod! 

5.  FUEL up!
This one is sorta related to gear and training but it is sooo very important to experiment with and then know your fueling and hydration strategies prior to race day. The last thing you want is to have an upset stomach after you take off from the starting line. Know which sports drink and gels will be on
the race course Practice using those products if you don’t plan on carrying supplies with you then you can know how to help fuel better. I go with a gel or energybits every 45 mins - but you gotta try it out for yourself!

6.  BUDDY Plan!
Run with a friend - or a group. If you can make run dates do it! Unless you are a lone wolf and love running alone. If that is you...well ignore this point! HA! But training  (be it long runs or certain says when you know you need a butt kicking) with a pal helps keep you motivated and is a great social support.

7. Run for a REASON!
Ask yourself: “Why am I doing this?” Whatever your reason, Use THAT to help you focus. Running is personal. DO IT FOR YOU and no one else. Each of us have our own reasons for lacing up  -- from trying something new to dropping a few pounds (training for a half never did that for me FYI) to running in memory of a loved one, raising money for a cause or setting a personal best. The list is endless. Whatever your reason --- remind yourself of it and do NOT lose sight of what crossing that finish line means to you. THAT is some great motivation! 

aaaaand let's not forget these RACE DAY TIPS 

8. Do your BUSINESS!

Seriously. Get up EARLY on race day. Drink some water. Eat, go to the potty. Get dressed. Do this all in whatever order you like to do. THEN when you get to the race (get there early) go use the portapotties. Trust me. Go pee. Or whatever. Even if you just sit in that small enclosed space and gather your thoughts...and get zen. (Don't take too long the lineups for the loo are LONG! haha) Getting your stuff together will help keep you calm! 

9. PACE yourself !

OK. Its race day. And there is hundred of peeps all around you. The nerves start to get to you. When that gun goes off do not blow outta the gate fast like flash (unless you are at the very front and well running with the elites). You will feel like you are going slow, but you have 13 more miles to go, so don't blow your wad in the first few. Save some of the nervous energy and stay strong and steady!

10. FINISH with a smile!! 
Ummmm. There are cameras. Smile. Enjoy your moment and your most FAB accomplishment! 

Now get out there and have FUN! 
You got SIX WEEKS - make em count! 
ooooh AND one more thing....
What kind of superGEEK would I be if I forgot to mention that this years Calgary Marathon theme is all about all things SUPERhero! Bust our your alter ego, cape and special powers on May 29th. There is a superhero theme medal and PRIZES for those who dress up!
I won't tell you my outfit just yet...
but it will be SUPER in theme! 
*As a ForeRunner I was given a race entry for 2016, however all opinions, thoughts and feelings are entirely my own.

Wednesday 13 April 2016

almost Wordless Wednesday:Keep Trying!

Lately it has not been so easy to run. 
Part of it physical. Part of it mental
No, I am not injured. 
But my body hasn't responded well to working 50-60 hours a week.
Nor has it "liked" the standing for 10hrs a day. 
 I am trying move relentlessly forward. 
Slowly, I am finding my happy in shorter runs, or on the trail. 
It's getting better. And, I will get there. 

#runhappy my friends

Saturday 9 April 2016

GorpTASTIC news: #notsoplainjane

A couple weeks ago, I woke up to this announcement from Gorp Clean Energy Bars ....
I knew it was coming....but it is strange to see it out in the interwebs now! I am flattered, happy, and feeling really great to be affiliated with a company who asked me to be a part of this! They contacted me and asked if I would be a #notsoplainjane  and boy was I flattered. Check out Gorp World here! (yeh...start with my profile - HAHA)

So HOW did this all start? Lets start at the beginning....

First off...I wanna thank my sister for introducing me to Gorp! She found it in her local health food shop. It was perfect for her boys - with nothing "extra" in it! She asked I I had tried it...since you like these things for your crazy long runs. A few months later after trying a few bars, I bought a box at the Calgary Outdoor Show. YUM!! I got a mixed box.LOVED IT!!!! 

What is Gorp?
Sooooo..WHAT is in a Gorp Bar? 

I like to say a whole lotta goodness and not very much STUFF. No additives. No added sugar. But I think Gorp says it better. "Each bar contains protein for power, fiber and Omega-3 for health, and antioxidants for recovery. We only source the best ingredients for GORP bars…no junk, no fake sugars, soy, or preservatives. They’re always made in small batches by hand". Yup break em open and you can see the nuts and ingreds right there. That for me was a winner. I need real food for fuel. AND THEY TASTE GREAT.

A few boxes later  - and a few months later I lucked out and won a box of Gorp from a IG contest! I posted a post trail run pic and they sent me a great little care package. What made me love Gorp even more was the hand written note! Gotta love a small biz!! 
 So YES. I do share the GorpLOVE for sure! And, I mean it. ...

I take Gorp to work. It has been a saviour when I needed fuel!
Definitely it's in my car for on the run...

 And I do love to SHARE on the trail!
Thing is, most of my pals I have shared with are vegetarian and were suitably impressed by the awesomeness of Gorp!
These bars are kind of big - I rarely eat a whole one at a time (except that time with Crystal when we climbed Moose Mountain and ate 3 bars before descending! Man, were they a lifesaver!!) But they have a super awesome sticker on the packaging that allows you to seal em up and save for later! So no crumbs or junk in your pack.

About a week after the announcement. I actually helped out at the Gorp Booth at the Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show in Calgary! Fun Times. Chatting with folks, sampling and selling Gorp. Essentially I had a whole lotta fun sharing all the Gorpy goodness to a whole lotta folks.

It meant a very long week for me. 10 hours at one job, 40 at another. And then another 16 at the expo. And it was refreshing and fun. And, I am pooped! But kinda of feeling inspired and full of happy thoughts. So, Thank YOU Gorp for giving me a whole lot of awesome!!

Have you tried Gorp?
You can order HERE or Check for local retailers HERE
Do you have a FAV small biz you think is awesome? 
What is most important to you in nutrition or energy bars?

And lastly....Do you know someone who is totally FAB? 
Check out how Gorp got started