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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday countdown

Was gone to Vancouver for work all week, and while very eye-opening and enlightening, I was pushed very far outside my comfort zone.  Needless to say, still processing and am very happy to be back with my spreadsheets and desk tomorrow!  Details to follow, although the mantra was "what happens on the road..."

I don't feel good today though...not sure what it is, but hoping it's just tiredness catching up with me.  I was careful (read: obsessive) about taking Emergen-C every day...between Vancouver weather (wet), germ-tubes (aka planes), wonky schedules, no boot camp or running and less than stellar eating habits, it's lucky I managed to survive at all!  Maybe it's "Chinook Head" - what I refer to as the weirdness one can experience when a particular warm spell hits Calgary.  After all, yesterday's LSD was -6C and 97% humidity, while right now (at 8:48pm) it's still +7C and 45% humidity.  That's quite a change and sometimes the body just doesn't like it.

Speaking of training, I did manage to make it out for the planned 38km training run.  Last one at this distance before Frozen Ass, in exactly 22 sleeps!  And in exactly 23 sleeps, I will be 49!  Granted, it'll be the day after the ultra, so I'll most likely feel 149!  hehehe...  As mentioned above, it was a bit cooler than I expected, so I may not have been properly dressed for a 5 hour jaunt, with only 1 layer on the legs and two up top (shirt and jacket).  Granted, I did warm up (I always do) and my legs weren't as stiff as last weekend (when they were, for all intents and purposes, frozen solid) but I could have done with one more thin layer to ward off the chill.  We ran east for a bit, to add the mileage, and then pointed west, heading back out to Stoney Trail (the 30km run that turned out to be 33+).  Trouble is this time the river has made it impassible on both sides at 10th Street, so we crossed to the north side earlier (easier to cross with the lights, rather than jay-run), which is slightly shorter than the south side route.  After making it through the unplowed areas, made better by the recently packed snow (not so icey this time), we had doubled back through Bowness Park, and thought we'd all try J's trick of fueling up with a coffee and a muffin.  I tried what can only be described at the oldest, driest, most boring oatmeal raisin cookie, ever, and managed to choke down half of it.  I did add milk to my coffee and chug it all back, as well as topping up my water.  As we made our way back, D & J were way ahead, with MM and myself bringing up the rear (only 4 of us today).  Both MM and I decided early on that if we weren't done 38 at Eau Claire we were happy with that.  And so we finished at Eau Claire at 36.55km, or (gasp) 1.45km short.  S'all right.  I knew I was going out with my 5k peepers today, and would do that distance and more.  I could live with myself.

After refueling (usual...chocolate milk, fruit salad, egg wrap, coffee), I took off for another nail appointment (I just can't have nice things...broke off 3, right to the quick, within HOURS of each other...they are all now SHORT!), and then home to the couch.

Today was a 26 minute run with the peepers, and then running around with Mom.  Home for dinner of gnocchi, tomato sauce and cheese, and then laying on the couch.

Back to the normal grind tomorrow, but really looking forward to boot camp.  Oh boy...I get to set the alarm for 5am!!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Wet Coast

A quick pop-in to say hello and yes, I am still alive.  I arrived in Funcouver on Monday, for work, and have spent the last two days knocking on doors, talking and listening to customers and doing my best to stay dry and warm.  That was close to impossible today as the rain came down in sheets.  I don't like rain.  Period.

I've spent the last few hours catching up on blogs, after spending last night getting to know some of my colleagues here.  Man, you ignore the scroll for a couple of days and BAM, you all have a lot to say!  I haven't been running here (hotel is right on a highway) but I will make the effort to go to the hotel's "fitness" centre in the morning (dreadmill, universal gym and elliptical) and get my sweat on.  The good part of door knocking is the fact that we don't start until 11am...the bad news is it's winter in Vancouver. That means rain.  I'd rather have snow!

I am missing my routines, and my furbaby.  Mostly my furbaby.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

I see you

This is why I run outdoors.
Sadly, taken with my Crackberry, and while the battery was dying, so I couldn't get a closer shot.  But, running along the river, in -16C (ish...didn't know the exact temp) on a Saturday morning in Calgary.  These two were just hanging, watching us foolish runners rush on past.

Today was a fall-back day in training, so we "only" ran 28km.  I was oh, so hopeful when the weather man said the temps would be -6C when we got up, and then up to 0 (32F) by noon.  It didn't happen.  I think it was around -16C but with the humidity (still at 85% now), it felt a lot colder.  Dressing for how I run (Drippy McSweaterson), I had one layer on the legs, a second skin top under a wind-proof top, under my jacket, gloves and a head band.  From the waist up, I was okay, although the gloves and headband stayed on the whole run.  My legs were solid blocks of ice from the get-go.  They just never warmed up.  I should have had a second layer, but lesson learned.  I did, however, put my orthotics in my shoes and had a much better run today for it.

We went east again, this time sticking to that direction, rather than breaking south towards the reservoir.  The river had fog rising from the open patches of water, and it was snowing when we first headed out.  The trees all had Hoar frost on them, and it was quite pretty.  Cold, but pretty.  We continue east past the bird sanctuary and Pierce Estates, to Ogden Road.  There, we cross the river and continue east through Beaver Damn Flats (where we came across the eagles), up to the ridge on Lynnridge (only "warm" part of the run), back down to the river past Glenmore Trail, before turning around at km 14 (14.25, to be exact).  Then we head for home.  Quite a few of us started (a dozen or so) but most were happy with 18-20km and turned around early.  Five of us continued on, although the joke was J. was actually getting in 32 or so, as he'd run ahead, turn around and run back to us, then pace ahead, repeat as necessary.  Kind of like the dog from Bugs Bunny, only not quite as hyper!


Just call me Spike!

After pushing on through the cold, we finished 28km in 3 hours and 41 minutes.  Since this could be the weather in February, it was a good idea to run today, rather than wait for a warmer one, or train inside.  Races do not normally take place indoors, unless it's in a pool!

After warming up, coaxing the slush that was our fluids out of our water bottles, changing into dry gear (thank goodness for underground parking!) and having lunch (usual: non-fat latte, egg wrap and fruit salad), I did some quick running around (drugstore and vet) before heading for home.  One load of laundry later, and an un-inspiring dinner of leftover vegetable lasagna (from my freezer) and salad, I have been pretty much prone on the couch since.  Too tired to nap, but I may just obey that 10pm rule from Thursday night easily enough!

Tomorrow morning I will take my 5k peepers out for their Sunday run, then another stop for Mom, before heading down to her place.  I will then leave James for my mechanic to work on next week (tune-up, nothing serious) and take the train home, as I won't need James next week.  I'm being sent out of town for FIRST.TIME.EVER! 

Not that I've worked for a lot of companies in my life (I tend to work someplace for many, many, many years, rather than at many, many, many companies), but I have never had to travel for work.  Oh, there was Montreal for Epicure, but that wasn't really for work.  That was for me.  But Monday morning I am off for Vancouver, to spend the week talking to customers about my company and what we can do for them.  Remember, I am in finance and not sales!  But this blitz is very different in the fact that all kinds of employees are heading out, from marketing, engineering, IT, sales, human resources, etc.  It'll be a real eye-opening experience for me, and a first (hey, fits right into 2012 - year of firsts) as I hope to make some sales through out the week.  From what I've heard, everyone out there is having a blast, and it's being really well received.  I did find where the nearest Running Room is, but I think I'll be working (shifts are usually noon to 8 - SA-WEET!!!!) through Wednesday's group run.  I have also found the nearest Weight Watchers and confirmed meeting times and distance from hotel.  I'll either find a trail from the hotel, or use the exercise facilities (dreaded dreadmill) but I will run/sweat every day.  After all, this trip also means no Trainer Josh for a week.  Sad face...  I'll be back Friday evening, just in time for Saturday's 38km!  Oh boy!!!

With that, I bid adieu for the night...and blatantly steal this from Monica at Run, Eat, Repeat.

Old Nike ad:
“You pretended the snooze button didn’t exist. You dragged your butt out of bed while others slept. While others ate their pancakes you had a feast of protein, glucose and electrolytes. You double-knotted. You left the porch light on and locked the door behind you.

You ran 5Ks, 10Ks, 26.2 miles. Some days more, some days less. You rewarded a long run with a short run. And a short run with a long run. Rain tried to slow you. Sun tried to microwave you. Snow made you feel like a warrior.

You cramped. You bonked. You paid no mind to comfort. On weekends. On holidays. You made excuses to keep going. Questioned yourself. Played mind games. Put your heart before your knees. Listened to your breathing. Sweat sunscreen into your eyes. Worked on your farmer’s tan. You hit the wall. You went through it.

You decided to be man about it. You decided to be woman about it. Finished what you started. Proved what you were made of. Just kept putting mile after mile on your interval odometer.

For 25 years, you ran. And we ran with you. How much farther will we go? As far as you will.”


Thursday, January 19, 2012

About time

Had a nice loss at weigh-in today, which just means all the hard work I've been doing is finally clicking.  Amazing really...follow the program, sweat more, eat less and voila...weight loss!  Down 2.4, which is the motivation I need to continue onward.

No run or boot camp tonight, as I went to a talk given by a fellow runner/tri person I know, who has a company called Choose Energy.  She's a bundle of energy without stimulants, so I was curious to hear her nutrition talk on "Weight less for Life".  She didn't focus so much on losing weight but more so on balancing everything, and while most of it I've heard in one way or another, I did focus in on one thing.  I need more sleep.  She says we should all be in bed, asleep at 10pm.  Period.  I'm already 35 minutes past.   We talked exercise (this woman is a machine - I've seen her in action), nutrition, breathing, emotions, etc.  Quite interesting, and she packed a lot into the 90 minutes.  Of course, made some great sales for Community Foods as most of us rushed from our seats to the the nutrition aisle and walked away with our new goodies (she also whipped up a smoothie for us to sample).  For me, Amazing Grass wheat grass and Hemp protein powder.  We did get samples of the berry, original and chocolate Amazing Grass, so I am anxious to try those.  Going to aim for a smoothie every other day, say after boot camp.  It'll be a great way to get protein back into me quickly, after our intense workout.

Speaking of, I'm now 43 minutes past my bedtime, and boot camp is still at 6am.  Currently -23C out there, so it's practically balmy...depending on how it feels when I first head out in the morning, I may run around the block.  Or stick to laps of the hall.  Saturday's 28km is going to be nice though, as the forecast is for above zero.  However will I dress?!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Deep freeze

I think I haven't blogged because my fingers are frozen.  Solid.  Since Sunday, the temperatures in Calgary have hovered around the -30C mark...that's -22F.  WITHOUT the wind.  And Calgary is never without wind!  Then we get wind chills in the -36C to -40C.  Suffice to say, it's stupid cold.

Does that mean we all stop living here in Cowtown?  Nope...nary a "cold weather advisory" or whatever it was the city of Toronto called when their temps plummeted to -16C a few weeks back.  We run (run club went on as normal Sunday and tonight), we drive to our appointments (James has handled the cold very well, given he lived his first few years inside a garage...parked outside in the cold is foreign to him) and we (some of us) walk to work.  It's all about the layering.

For running:
Tight running pants, that wick moisture.  2nd pair of looser pants over top.  Not quite wind-breakers, but slightly thicker, still wicking, and a little warmer.  Socks can be double layer, and definitely up over the ankle.  You don't want exposed skin down there!  Runners, if the paths are clear, or trail runners if you have snow to contend with.  Ice is ice...doesn't matter the footwear, it's still slippery.  Take it easy.

Tight wicking top.  I call it my second skin layer.  Over that, a slightly looser and heavier layer.  Over that goes an even thicker layer, usually a running jacket of some type.  Then top it off with a wind breaking top coat.  I prefer gloves, as my hands usually stay warm.  But in these extreme temps, I've been wearing a cheap pair of .99 gloves bought at the grocery store underneath the running (aka wicking) gloves.  Toque, again that wicks, but comes down nicely over the ears.  I've even been known to wear a headband over the hat. 

Face:  this is where it gets tricky for me.  I do not like things covering my mouth.  I don't wear scarves properly and I don't like balaclavas.  So what I do is wear something around my neck that comes up to my chin.  When I'm cold, I can dip my head down, but the mouth is clear for breathing.  Some people like to smear Body Glide or Vaseline on their face, but my eyes water so bad that the sheet of ice formed tends to protect my cheeks from harm.  Knock on wood.

For work, I follow the same layering principle.  Leggings under pants, two tops under my down coat.  And it helps that after 6 blocks from home I can access the +15 system in downtown and make it almost the whole way to work inside.  Still pretty frosty.

Didn't help when I had to go to the chiro on Tuesday though...that was a chilly walk along the river into Kensington.  The river, which has now "eaten" the pathway on both sides, was just slushy on Sunday.  By Tuesday, it looked like this.  And so cool, as you crossed over it, you could hear it groaning and cracking and popping...Mama Nature may be a be-otch at times, but she's also a cool old broad!

Frustrating part is the City had JUST opened this underpass, after a year of construction.  Crap. 

I confessed my sins to Therapist Dave, who "punished" me for such foolishness (I ran 36k without my orthotics...a severe lapse of judgement) by doing his best to make me cry.  Came very close a few times!  Amazing that a man can actually jam his thumb right to the bone, in between the muscles and tendons on one's leg.  But I'm moving better, and the leg is not so achy at night.  That's when it was really bothering me...not while running or at boot camp, but while sitting still.  Weird.

Speaking of boot camp, yes, everyone was there this week, despite the cold.  Granted we are inside, but you still have to convince your vehicle to start to get there by 6am.  And it is sooooooo hard to leave a warm bed at 5am, knowing it's minus stupid cold outside.  Many, many, many push-ups, squats and likes later, I have survived to Wednesday.

Okay...I need to finish up my tea, and head for bed.  Only two more days of the bitter cold, just in time for our 28km training run on Saturday, although it could start cool...that means carrying layers home, unfortunately.  Two more days...I can take it.  I am Canadian!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Seemed like a good idea

36km LSD for Frozen A** by carollw45 at Garmin Connect - Details

Only 37 more sleeps till the Frozen A$$ 50 Ultra, so our long slow distances have been growing. December 31st had us run 24 km. January 7th saw that jump by more than 29%, as we increased to 31 km. Actually, it would have been almost a 40% jump, had MS and I not stopped at 31 and walk in the last two k. This week, that number jumped another 16% to 36. So much for no more than 10% at a time, huh? Add to this my testing of the theory regarding my orthotics, current leg pain and whether the use of my birks and minimalists have actually retrained my feet. Or, as I now like to call it "what the eff was I thinking?!" I (and my ART therapist) thought I should try running without them for a few weeks, to test them out. I don't think either one of us was thinking about the impact of a 4+ hour run, however.

Got up nice and early and had breakfast of a nut square (like a rice krispie square with rice cereal, nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter, sesame seeds and honey) and Greek yogurt. Made up my OJ & water mix, and packed some Honey Stinger chews and gels. The temps were looking good, which was awesome, as winter is returning big time to Calgary overnight tonight - highs during the week next week will hover around 0F. Or colder!

met up with the gang at Eau Claire, and after getting everyone/everything organized, we were off. We headed east to Fort Calgary, along the Bow river. Nice day, little wind, sun shining and temps around -4C. Not as cold or humid as last week. After passing Fort Calgary, we turned south, sticking along the Elbow river now, and going around behind Stampede Park, until we were heading west. Sticking along the river, we ran towards Talisman Centre, where those who needed it could use the facilities. Some of us (MM and I are the camels of the group) circled around that, while we waited for the others (hence the circle on the map), before continuing on southwest past Mission and Roxboro, heading towards Stanley Park. This is where we lost three of our runners, as they turned back at the 8km mark. Passing Stanley Park, we continued west, through the park and the neighbourhood on the other side, until we hit Riverfront Park, at the base of North Glenmore Athletic park. Up Sandy, Beach hill, for another pit stop at the top (dog park...with human facilities too). Aiming south again, we rounded towards Glenmore Dam and crossed over, and over Glenmore Trail towards the Rockyview Hospital. Pass the hospital, and up and into Eagle Ridge. Out again, this time passing Heritage Park and reaching the eastwardly end of Glenmore Reservoir. We decided earlier on to continue past the usual turnaround point of Glenmore Landing (a Running Room, McDonalds, Starbucks and other shops) for another 2km, in order to reach 36km. This lead us past Bayview, and had us turning around at the South Calgary Sailing Club. Oh boy..."only" 18km to go now.

My feet were not pleased. That made my shins unhappy. My knees, not wanting to be left out, also started to ache. That made the hips jealous, so they yanked on the IT and hamstrings for a while. And the butt...oh, the butt. It was going to be a long run home. But I am nothing if not tenacious. Some may wish to change that to stubborn...stupid...crazy...crazy some more...there are many options!

After another pit stop at McDonalds (I went into the Running Room, got some water and then stretched outside), we were off. J & D took off ahead, as she once again fueled up on coffee and a muffin. I did not get that same energy from my honey gels...I may need to check into her plan next time! Anyway, that left MS, MM and myself, but I was most definitely slowing down. I watched as MS and MM moved further and further ahead of me, but then I would round a corner and there they were, waiting for me. This is how we returned...slow but sure. There are many "bailout" points along this route, and it's not too bad, as the hills are more rolling, but some of the pathways are slanting, as are some of the roadways, and I will truthfully admit running so far without my orthotics was most likely the dumbest thing I have done in a while. I am honestly surprised I can stand upright at this point!!

Took me four hours and fifty minutes to finish, but finish I did. I had about a half km to walk in this week, and after a quick lunch of egg wrap, fruit salad, chocolate milk (best thing EVER) and a coffee, I took off for my manicure scheduled at 3:30. I have very pretty girl nails again (went French this time), and since I immediately changed into my birks the second I got home, my feet/ankles/shins/knees/hips/butt aren't doing too bad. Oh, they're all still really angry at me, but nothing a little more vitamin 'I' won't cure. Dinner was a bit of lasagna - oddly enough, not really hungry - and some salad, and I have been fighting sleep ever since. Good thing there was a Bourne movie on to keep me awake. Mmmmm...such sweet dreams I will have now.

I do have my 5k peepers to take out tomorrow, and this could be a cold one. I am thrilled we're only out for 25 minutes total.

Okay...I'm standing up now (maybe) and heading for bed. Hope everyone else's Saturday was just as awesome as mine.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


That was the magic number at boot camp this am.  Just because one of us decided to have a birthday this week.  And did we get to eat cake?!  Nope...

We did, however, get to do FIFTY squats.

Then we moved on to 5-0 push-ups.

Trucking along, we crossed the gym multiple times, as we counted down 10+10+10+10+10 lunge walks, ensuring each side was even.

Grabbing our weights, we did FIVE-ZERO dead lifts with upright row.

That was so much fun that, in multiples of one 50 times over, we did squat press with a curl.

We did get to lay down at one point, but that was to crank out a few...okay fifty, Supermans.

Flopping onto our backs, we finally rounded out the morning's festivities with, guess how many and the first 49 answers don't count, drop-leg flies.

I feel like I'm three hundred and fifty...just sayin.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Twofer Tuesday

1. So stiff after yesterday's return to boot camp!  Every time I sat and then tried to stand back up again I cursed Trainer Josh's name and the countless squats we did.  So happy to be back at it.  Of course, the stiffness didn't help when I went to the chiro's at lunch to have my quirky leg checked out - I'm on the offensive, not giving my leg the time nor opportunity to sideline my races coming up, as the leg doesn't hurt when I run, but I can't seem to sit or stand and have it be comfortable - but Dave still managed to find that one gap between hip bone and tendon and ram his thumb into it!  It's a good pain, right?!  After Dave did his ART best, Dr. Jay came in and did an adjustment on both hips and it feels better already, which is the point.

2. Today's stiffness didn't stop me from meeting up with the gang and tackling Calgary's outdoor "stairmaster", the Crescent Height's staircase.  After a nice 3km warm-up run (I arrived a few minutes late, and the others had left, so I ran on my own) I got to the stairs and started up.  Ended up doing a total of 8 laps, mixing it up with straight runs/walks, arms above the head, double steps, side steps, backwards step-up squats, double up squats and then finished up with some dips off the bench, push-ups and a 1 minute plank.  Take that, stiff butt!

Time for bed - 5 am alarms come way too early!!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Presses, squats and burpees, oh my!

It's been a loooonnnnngggg two weeks, but this morning finally saw the return to boot camp!  Just in time...I was enjoying my lie-ins a little too much during the week, and I definitely noticed a direct line between endorphin levels earned exercising and excess snacking/sugar cravings.  As I type this, I have not craved anything tonight, and I just realized that.

I arrived first at that carefully, my friends.  I arrived first!  Soon, I. (who hasn't been to boot camp in FOREVER) and his delightful puppy Joey arrived, followed by other boot camp regulars.  We decided to warm up outside (+8C this morning!), running around the block.  Keep in mind this specific block is about 2km long.  Got inside just after 6, and then we really got to work.  We warmed up further with lunges, broad jumps, high knees and butt kicks, before settling down to "get tough".  Oh my...this is going to hurt. 

Our first circuit involved 4 burpees (seriously?!), 6 squats or jump squats, 8 push-ups, 16 squat swings and 32 full sit-ups (not crunches).  Repeat...FIVE TIMES!!!  I'm pretty proud that I made it past the third round before Trainer Josh called time, but I think I actually sweat cookies and the likes through my pores.  Then it was on to lunges, squat presses and drop leg flies...over and over and over again.  After a blessed stop for water, we moved on to the next circuit of 10 sumo deadlift rows followed by 10 shoulder presses.   Ow.

Some toe touches, banana, scissors and plank, followed by cross-legged sit-ups and negatives and the hour literally flew by!  I've never been happier to be back at it.  Granted, body parts are seizing as I type.

Home, clean up, change and walk to work, work hard all morning, another walk at lunch (the wind was getting downright nasty: 60-80km gusts again today), home, change (again...) and back to Eau Claire for my clinic.  Had 8 show up tonight, and after a great clothing talk, we went out for tonight's 25 minute jaunt, but we did increase to 7:1's.  Everyone is doing so well, although I am stretching myself a little thin trying to keep an eye on the speedsters in the front and the back of the packers.  I still have to work on my pacing situation. 

Home (phew...this time for good), where I ate leftovers of lentil rice pilaf, the diced up lamb and some chopped roasted red peppers, before having a treat of Liberte Coconut crack yogurt.  So darn good!

Off to the chiropractor tomorrow as I'm having an issue with my left leg, but nothing I can really say "this is wrong".  I just know it doesn't feel right (doesn't hurt while running, and I'm not limping, but it hurts while I'm sitting still or standing...don't like it...not one little bit!) and I want it fixed.  Besides it's a new calendar year and that means $500 to spend.  Yippee!

It is well past my bedtime, but since I don't have to be up at 5am, I'll set the alarm for 6.  Yes, I am that much of a rebel!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

30k and return to normal

In order to keep up my training for all things Ultra (and trail races, and marathons) I have moved the normal Sunday LSD's to Saturday, so that I may take out my 5k peepers. 

Yesterday's long run had us meeting at Eau Claire at 8:30, and after a bit of discussion, heading west.  The thought was to turn around at Stoney Trail, but I thought we had run this route with Blood and Guts and that it came out at 29.  So Stoney Trail sounded a little further than what we had planned.  But go with the flow, right?  It was a sunny day, with temps hovering around the 0C mark.  However, the humidity (which we don't get here in Calgary, and which I don't like!) was high, so it felt more like -5C.  I stuck with my long pants, long tee and Resolution 2010 jacket.  A headband kept the ears warm, while the gloves lasted about 2km before being ditched borrowed by J.  Warm hands, cold heart...wait...that doesn't seem right, somehow!  But I have very warm hands, so didn't need the gloves, ever.  It hasn't snowed for so long, and it's been so warm, that the pathways were clear (occasional ice patch) all the way to Home Road, or about the first 9-10km.  Then we dealt with a little packed stuff on the road by Shouldice, and clear again until we hit the pathway at the end of Bowmont Cres (??).  Here, it was quickly evident that this pathway not only didn't get much sun, it has never seen a shovel or tractor!  It was like this for about a km or so, a little on the treacherous side, but slow and steady wins the race.  After getting through that, we rediscovered clear pathway all the way to Stoney Trail, crossing back over the river to Bowness Park.  Again with the packed snow, making us all look like drunken sailors running along, as we weaved from one side of the road to the other, trying to find that one patch of asphalt to stick to.  After a potty break for the some of the group (I am a camel...) and J. filling her water bottles with coffee to stay warm (I am also a furnace).  I did stick to the back of the pack, running with either MS, MM or Ja, while J. and D. easily took the lead.  I think the caffeine J. consumed helped!

At one of the last pit stops, we realized that this 30km run was going to be a tad longer than expected.  After all, we were at Angel's, which is 7km from Eau Claire, and already well over 26km into the run.  Uh-oh.  We (MS and I) decided that we would run to 30, stick to the south side (slightly shorter pathway system) and walk cool-down the balance in.  We ended up running to 14th St, and ended at 31, but still had over 2km to walk back.  Took just over 4 hours (running...I tried to remember to shut off Mr. Garmin at the pit stops), with a pace of 8:01/km.  Good run, and a great day.  Lunch was our usual Sunday fare of non-fat latte, egg wrap and fruit salad.  Nom, nom, nom.

After the run, I went down to Mom's to haul some trash up to the bins and take her for some groceries.  Still seems odd to refer milk, whipping cream, mini-wheats, jelly beans and cookies as "groceries".  After that we stopped at Humpty's for dinner.  Mom gets tired of the Meals on Wheels, and I thought Humpty's would be a nice change.  Mom, as usual, ordered a hamburger because "she never gets those"...ah, memory loss is a wonderful thing, and as usual, ate half of it before declaring defeat.  I settled on a half order of a pan scrambler...not like I how I remembered them.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing!  Dropped Mom off at home, got her settled in, before heading for my couch.  It turned into a long day after all.

This morning's run was a nice 25 minute jaunt, finishing just over 3km.  I was debating heading back out for a steady, but then reminded myself I had run over 30km yesterday.  I did not need to train push it more today.  Although I had no idea what to do with myself, coming in just past 9am, while everyone else I know was still out running!  I settled for a coffee and a gab with some other runners I don't know as well, and then heading down to the Fitness Expo being held in town this weekend.

Not very exciting...needs a few more booths and a bit more variety, but I went to support J., who was there promoting the L'Arche run in March (convinced another friend to sign up for it!).  I did purchase some really good, all natural granola that is wicked high in protein (21gms for a quarter cup) and, are you ready?  Powdered Peanut Butter!!  Ingredient list: peanuts, sugar, salt.  Fat: 1.5gm!!!  That means 1 point for 2 tbsp, rather than 3 pts for 1 tbsp of traditional.  Yes please!

Just add water...looks like peanut butter, smells like peanut butter, tastes like peanut butter!  WINNER!!

Home, where I've puttered, and then dinner of roasted lamb chops, rice and lentil pilaf and artichoke hearts.  Sounds fancy, no??  Hearts out of a jar (non-oil variety), pilaf out of a box and chops already seasoned.  They were good though, although I may have over-cooked them a mite.  I think medium rare would have been better, while these were medium.  Or well...don't know.  Still very tender and quite tasty.

Boot camp resumes at 6am, so my goal is to be in bed, lights out by 10:30.  The alarm at 5 is going to be RUDE but necessary!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Teacher, teacher

Those who can't do, teach.  Or so the saying goes.  I do hope that is false, as I have decided to take on the responsibility of shaping the minds, hearts, legs and souls of a hardy group of runners.  Okay, nothing quite that dramatic, but I am teaching the 5km clinic at my local Running Room.

So far I have 8 people signed up, but we'll see what this week (January Joiners, after all) brings.  I think it's going to be helpful that it's currently +8C at 10:42pm in January in Calgary!!  Hope that means some more will sign up before our winter actually wallops us good.

Monday was the first night, but since it was still a holiday, only 3 showed up.  We introduced ourselves, and discussed running etiquette, safety and the like before heading out for a 25 minute run.  This is where I'm going to have trouble...5:1's x 4, plus 1 minute cool down for 25 minutes.  No steady runs.  I will be wondering what to do with myself when we're done for the day and everyone else I know is out running still!  But it's not about me, and after tonight's run club (same 25 minutes) I solved my own dilemma...I simply said good run and good night to everyone, and then ran back outside and did the same loop, at a tempo pace.  First run had us complete 2.97km in 25 minutes (8:26 pace) while the 2nd run had me complete 3.01km in 19 minutes (6:33 pace).  Justified the Guinness!!! 

This will be a year of firsts for me. 
 - First time teaching...anything.
 - First Ultra
 - First Trail race
 - depending on the changes announced next week for Calgary, it may also be my first time running two marathons in one month
 - and, last (so far), first time in a helicopter.

I may have forgotten to mention that I won a little prize on New Year's Eve, at the annual Resolution Run.  It is for a ride-along with Calgary's Finest in HAWCS.  For an idea of what I might be in store for, watch the following Rick Mercer report. 
I promise to not steal the uniform afterwards!

I still have to set a day, and pass a criminal background check, but I am really looking forward to this.  Should be outstanding!

Home after the usual Wednesday night beer and salmon (back at our normal haunt, now that the Christmas season rush is over), and really should be thinking about bed.  I need to be much better about my sleep habits, as in getting to bed at a decent hour so that I get more than 6 hours in a night.  To help with this, I did order the Fitbit which shows how efficient I am when sleeping...surprising how many times I wake up during the night. 

Okay...shutting down for real this time!


Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 - Year of the Race

Hello everyone!  Hope everyone had a really good Christmas and New Year's.  Can't believe it's already 2012.  Wow!

Last year, I went (friends will question this) a little race-crazy, running an average of two races a month.  Considering race season in Canada is a tad short, it was quite an accomplishment.  I don't think I'm going to repeat this year, but I'd like to run at least one race, preferably a Half or larger, a month.

Of course, this means I now have to break down and look back at 2011:

# of races registered for: 24
# of races run: 22 (one was post-poned by the organizers and I forgot to pick up the race package for #2...d-oh)

# 5k's: 2
# 8k's: 1
# 10k's: 7
# Halfs: 9
# Marathons: 3
# PB's: 5!
$'s spent on race fees: $1,272 - with taxes and handling fees, closer to $1,400
$'s spent on travel costs (airfare, hotels) - $1,785 - oh, heck.  Add food and entertainment, and we're up over $2,000 easy.
$'s spent on running gear: at the very least $1,000, between shoes, pants,tops, nutrition and gear.  I am addicted to snazzy running tops.
Overall feeling about $'s spent?  Priceless.  And WORTH.EVERY.PENNY.

The year started in February, as there are zero races in Calgary and area in January.  Dang.

Hypothermic Half - 2:48:34.  Aptly named, this race takes place the 2nd weekend in February and can be a chilly one.  I think this year was seasonable, but I've run it in -20C before.

Diakonos St Patrick's Day 10K - 1:12:59
Game of Life 10K - 1:20:30 - not sure what was going on here, but it could have been cold.
L'Arche Roger's Half - 2:42:31 - mere seconds off my personal best to date.  Cold day, but excellent run.  Chocolate milk at the finish line ROCKED!

Policeman's Half - 3:13:24 - worst conditions for a run EVER.  Snowed heavily the night before, and it was cold.  We were told pathways would be cleaned, but they were not.  Race should have been called.  Ask all the people with broken limbs and concussions how they felt about this one race.  I walked over half of it, because of the treacherous conditions.  Not signing up this year.
Big Run Half - 2:50:49 - run through Calgary's infamous "Blood & Guts" area.  There were a few hills...okay, lots and lots and lots of hills!

Rocky Mountain Soap Co Half - 2:15:15 - beautiful run in Canmore, AB, and starts with an awesome 3km run downhill...BUT that meant a 3km run UPHILL to finish.  Crap.  Great swag bag though.
Calgary Marathon - 5:52:53 - hills...crap.  And despite lower temps (+14C), no clouds meant sunstroke for me.  Double crap.

Footstock Half - 2:52:43 - Wet.  It poured buckets the entire race.  I think it took 2 weeks for my runners to finally dry out.  Did I mention it was wet?!  But pretty course, and I may run it again this year.

No race...I am a dolt.!!

Energizer Night Run - 1:10:03 - very close to a PB for me, and such a fun race.  Didn't like the double loop, but good crowd and loads of friends running.  Will do it again this year.
Edmonton Marathon - 6:27:25 - WORST MARATHON EVER.  Granted, Vancouver (my first) was one minute slower, but this whole race sucked.  It was +35C, no shade, road running the whole way.  Had to pass the finish line with 14km to go.  Sucked, sucked, sucked.  Will not run it again.

Run for Water 10k - 1:12:12 - first time in Calgary, and a really well put together race.  With bling! 
Canmore CAUSE Half - 2:45:52 - starts and finishes in town, so no run uphill this time around.  Nice day, good race, no bling, no shirt.  WTF?!  I only run races for the bling!
Melissa's 22k - 2:35:58 - my most favourite run of all time.  Love the weekend, love the course, love the atmosphere, love the mountains.  Construction shortened it to just under 21k this year, but it would have been a PB had the course remained the same.

Alzheimer's 10k - 1:03:44 - PERSONAL BEST!  KILLED this 10k...conditions could not have been better.
Toronto Marathon - 5:21:53 - this is their official time, but Mr. Garmin had me at 5:20 and change, so it is my PB for marathons.  Great course, and the spectators totally made the race.  I have never experienced that before.
Rogue's Run 10k - 1:13:01 - harder to run in full pirate outfit.  Such a fun run.

Winterstart 5 Miler (8k) - 54:38 - PB for this race.  Such Melissa's, it's in Banff in the mountains, but it's at night, and ends with a beer party in the parkade of the host hotel.  Fun, fun, fun.  Okay, so there's a mile run uphill, but then you get to turn around and run down!  Did I mention it was at night?!
Last Chance Half - 2:24:47 - PERSONAL BEST - I wanted a sub-2:30 for a half, and I totally smoked that goal!  Felt great, running with my peeps pacing me.  Just have to convince them all to sign up for Vancouver!

Santa Shuffle 5k - 31:37 - another personal best.  This wasn't an officially timed event though, but I'll still take it.
Run Santa Run 10k - 1:06:30 - another untimed race, and I did run it in full Santa outfit (you get that instead of a t-shirt!) so am pleased with the fast time.
Resolution Run 5k - 37:39 - last race of the year, and this year was difficult because EVERYONE showed up to run it!  Usually the temperature plummets to the -30C's, and the river freezes up and over the pathways, causing last minute chaos and changes.  This year it was -5C, and the pathway was packed.  My first lesson tonight at the clinic will be pathway etiquette.  OMG.

So far I am "only" registered for 5 races in 2012, although this may be the year of firsts.  Such as my first Ultra in February (52km!!  Gulp!) and my first trail race (Sinister 7 in July).  We'll see what the rest of the year brings.  Also entered the New York marathon lottery this morning...that would be a very cool race to run.