Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011...

Me & Thing 1 (pls ignore laundry)
Despite having to work Christmas day, we had a really nice Christmas. In fact, as many of my friends & family lamented this unfortunate occurrence, let's be honest. I knew what I was getting into when I chose this career & really, at least I'm not one of the folks in the hospital beds! Now THAT'S a sucky Christmas so your Nurse shouldn't be grumpy about making hard lemonade out of lemons, we partly resurrected my partial French-Canadian roots & broke out the Tourtiere, Nanaimo bars & other snacky delights & let everyone open 1 present Christmas Eve.....yup, a Kinect for the Xbox ought to keep those boys busy until I get off work at 3:30pm Christmas day!  Can I just say that I have stacked up HBBC points this week by bustin' a move in Just Dance 3 ;-D (and it's a good thing that it is in the basement where no one can see that spectacle from any windows....clearly you do not have to be a 'good' dancer to win this thing...LOL!)

Christmas eve eve
My Christmas came early when my bestest, oldest friend from High School found herself at the last minute within a couple hours of our house visiting her husbands family.  We had them over & it was so, so, so much fun reconnecting with an evening of good conversation, wine & laughter!

Santa did not forget we are a family of runner's & some great running gear was found under the tree along with these AWESOME socks SD gave me.  Took them for an inaugural run yesterday & I have to say that these are going to be my go-to race socks for 2012!!!!

A quick roundup of 2011 by the numbers:
Most embarrassing one's SD could find!
Races run: 6
2 10k's
1 5 k
1 marathon
1 half marathon
1 sprint Tri

Miles run: 1218.3 ... More than double last years mileage
Average pace: 11:07.....23 seconds faster than 2010
Fastest race pace:
short race 8:37(pie & glove 5k)
long race: 9:34 (Red Baron half marathon)
Age group places: 1 (2nd in the Addison racefest one was more surprised than me!)

This sweet shirt has a zipper pocket in the side lining! LOVE!
Happy New Year from the unexpected runner family who is ringing out the year with some awesome hockey: USA v. Canada world junior hockey.....guess who's winning ;-)
Final 2011 run

In addition to running, 12 points for bootie shaking, golf playing, ski racing & general uncoordinated joyful xbox kinect fun!

Stay tuned for 2012 news......

Happy New Year! Canada wins!

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011: Year in Review

Best Race Experience? Crossing the finish line of my first ever MARATHON! It was cold.  It was wet. I was SO SO happy!

Wineglass Marathon 4:53:23

Best Run? A tie between the Red Baron Half Marathon where I went sub-10 the whole way & the Pie & Glove 5K because I ran sub-9's which I have NEVER done. Plus I got to run with my family. It was the first time I'd been able to sustain those kind of paces over those distances.
Pie & Glove 5K: Our 1st full family run!

Best Piece of New Gear? Big G: During the summer I joined the Garmin generation & began obsessively tracking the stats from each run!
Big G capturing my 1st 20 miler!

Best piece of running advice you have received? One of you told me when I was freaking out right before the marathon to not worry about the time.  You only get to run your first marathon once, so just go out there & enjoy every moment.  Best. Advice. Ever. 
My kids call this my lunatic is poring, I am soaked, I still have 17 more miles to go ....I am HAPPY!

Most inspirational Runner? My neighbour Sheila who is an awesome runner & always so encouraging.
She was at the finish line & cheering for me!

If you could sum up your year in a couple words what would they be? Unbelievable joy :)

Thank you ALL for your wonderful support this year! You have lifted me up when I needed it!

Have a very Merry Christmas & a safe & Happy New Year!

Happy Running!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Jingle Bell Hell 2011

Last month, when I didn't really have anything going on I signed up for XLMIC's Jingle Bell Hell. It seemed like a good idea at the time. A good excuse to do that hill workout I have spent, well, my whole running career avoiding! It seemed like a good idea until I realized I had run up all those hills I am very careful about planning to go down only. Really. ALL THE TIME. I don't believe I have ever done hills on purpose. Ha! Well, I want to keep loving the run, don't I??????

Yesterday was a write off. By the time we got home from Thing 1's meet in Ithaca yesterday, I was stuffed full of yummy Thai food & I barely had time to slog through 6 miles feeling slightly nauseous the whole time. So this morning was my time. Got up, looked outside....great, sparkly frost everywhere....23F....super great...Thing1 up early (WTH????) as I'm lacing up my shoes says "You're going to be home in time to drive me to Friend P's house, right?"  Oh, of course...wouldn't forget that.  Ok, a deadline.  Super great.  Me: Hey Thing 1, you do hill workouts, where to you guys run? Thing 1: Well, we run up West Hill Road. Me: Oh, yeah, (mentally picturing the road), how long it that? Thing 1: Well, I think it's about 11 miles. But it's only 5 1/2 to the top. Me: 11 miles?!?!? Of hills?!?!?  I think I have my own route planned.  And out I go.

It was hard.  Seriously.  Hills are the devils work.  I'm pretty sure, right away as I head to the bottom of my subdivision that no good can come from this.  But ok, here we go....all the way to the top of the main road, & back down.  Then back up the other side, where the hill I have trouble walking up lives. Half mile up, half mile down...repeat.

Then it's out of the neighbourhood & up to the plant where SD works.  1 mile up, 1 mile down.  There's 2 entrances.  I did the 'easy' one once & the hard one twice.  I almost coughed up a lung.  I should interject here that I brought Chomps with me.  Had them lying around & grabbed them when I realized in my haste to get out the door, all I'd had was a cup of coffee.  Let me tell you, I might as well have brought jolly ranchers, they were so frozen when I got one out.  It gets better, as I'm trying not to choke on a big chomp as I plod down the a hill trying to re-oxygenate my body, my brain starts wandering in the direction of 'buccal absorption' & how I'm going to be ok, because sucking on it will allow rapid absorption & effect....and THAT is when I realize I laughed out loud at myself because I'm basically adapting hospice drug administration protocol to the energy needs of my run! I've officially gone around the bend!

Home just in the nick of time to drive Thing 1 & get Thing2 to the pool to practise. Swim season starts in January & our pool only allows kids on fridays & sundays, so it was in the water for me too! A JBH bonus ;-s......1000 yards! 

Happy Running!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Carleton Raven OWIAA Champs 1990 (that's me front row left)
I was tagged a while ago by Jose@And so it burns to pass on 7 random things about me.  I'm game, so here it goes:

  1. In university, back in the day, I tried out for the waterpolo team on a dare by my best friend's (insert nasty word here) boyfriend who thought he'd make the team & I wouldn't.  He got cut & I played varsity waterpolo & won the provincial title 3/4 years.  After graduation, I didn't get in the pool again for years!
  2. I met my husband because of this rash decision, because one of my best waterpolo buddies introduced me to him when he was home from school one time.
  3. I like everything from Black Sabbath to Katie Perry, but 80's music is my favourite. Really, how could you not like George Michael????? ;-D
  4. I used to HATE running. Like really, really hate it. 
  5. Being a mother is the hardest job I've ever had.  
  6. I could spend all day in the cheese section of Wegman's....I love that place....seriously.
  7. I would much rather spend my free time running or with my family, so I am drowning in paper clutter in my house.
So here are my tags:
Coy @ First in Philly
Nelly on the Run
Abbi @ Higher Miles
Bobbi @ Zero to 26.2
Nikki @ Slow is the new fast
Christina @ Just running
Penny @ Pink Hat Runner

In other news, Thing 1 WON his 2 mile race at the Ithaca Invite today!!!!! He has never won a race, & was only seeded 7th going into it, but he won & did it in spectacular fashion! I am SO SO proud of him!!!!!!
So happy to have his crazy mother hugging him & taking pictures!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

An alternate universe?????

If life were perfect & I had a NORMAL job (who wants that!?!?!? ;)) what I did today wouldn't be so unusual. Grab your seats folks...I ran BEFORE work. Yup, that's right folks....5K before work. I even saw the moon! I have proof! Lol! I know so very many of you slog yourselves out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, but I do not. Not ever. You see, I have to be in report at 7am & I live almost an hour away. When you work 12 hour shifts, that is pretty much your whole day. You are a better person than I if you can fit in a run too. But today I taught ATCN (a trauma course) & didn't have to be in til 9. I tell ya, I was sorely tempted to stay in bed, but the lure of even a short run was too much. Even at -9C I was grinning like a fool in the dawn light. I don't think I'll be making a habit of it, but I took true joy in being able to say yes when one of my students asked me if I had run before work today. Ya. Sure did. That's right, I rock ;-D

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Bootie Busting Weekend...

I logged some good miles this weekend. Nothing exciting or crazy but some solid, just-out-to-enjoy-it miles that fit in with my weekend plans. (I love that logyourrun has a 'just for fun' option to classify your run!) Saturday I got in 10k in between doing some household chores that we'd been putting off for a while. My husband is awesome in many ways but being Mr. Handyman is not one of them. We've had a loose bannister for a while now but resolved to finally do something about it before one of our parents breaks a hip trying to use it. The trouble was that we really had very little clue about how to tackle this chore. Photos taken on iPhone & off to Home Depot where the lumber guy gave us very explicit instructions on what to do. It took a while & we ran into a few problems, but you should see that is SOLID! SD said he's not doing that again. If it breaks, we may have to move! LOL!

Had to drop Thing 1 off at school to catch the bus for the first indoor track meet of the year. The meet didn't START until 6pm & it was 2 hours away at a track with no good viewing. We learned our lesson last year after driving all that way and not being able to see our kid. We stayed home & took Thing 2 bowling instead. I was sorry I didn't see Thing 1 run though...he ran a 5:20 in the mile & 64 seconds in his leg of the 4x400 relay!!!!!!! Another Dad record beaten!!!! Picked Thing 1 up at 1am and he had hockey practice at 11am...ugg, tired Mum. I got in a nice 8 mile mostly trail run while he was there. There is something about trail running that makes me a better runner. I think it's because I'm more aware of my footing and I am forced to pick up my feet more.

Plus I have big news! I have been asked to join a Ragnar Relay team in the spring! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do it except it's the weekend after I run the Toronto Marathon and I'm not sure if I should committ to it. Also i would have to find someone willing to work for me, but I might be able to swing that. Any thoughts? Anyone out there whose run Ragnar on the heels of a marathon?

Oh, and it was cookie baking day. Thing 1 made these in the continuing saga of the IB personal project:

Sat: 6.2mile run + 2 hours bowling + 1 hour bulb planting (yes I know I'm late doing this).
Sun: 8 mile run
Mon: 6.25 mile run

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Walking On Sunshine Half Marathon

Ok, I totally made that up. But I DID run 13.1 miles today....just for fun. Really. When I posted my run on my Facebook page, a friend commented that I was INSANE. Well maybe, but not because I actually enjoy running long. I kissed SD goodbye as he was headed to the airport and left for my run. I had 8 planned, but it was so so so nice today (64F/17C) that it just felt freeing and peaceful after 4 long & busy days at work that I just kept going. The air was warm and I know there won't be many more days like this before old man winter rears his frozen head and I have to put my skirts away for good :(. I can't lie and say it was super easy, but that's ok. I kind of like it when I have to push through those last couple miles. Makes the finish that much sweeter! I really like this distance. Just long enough to be challenging but not enough to kill you ;)

And I got in my 7 veggies for HBBC after discovering this awesome new vehicle for veggies at Wegmans. I could spend all day in the cheese section...yeah I know that's sad!!!!!

So since my computer is in the shop, here is a pic of my garmin while it patiently hoards stats until I can upload again...I hope it has a ton of memory!

HBBC: 13.1 run + .5 walk/run home + 7 veggies = 14.6 points for me today....yeah, I busted some bootie!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day Showdown!!!

Mandatory pre-race family photo ;)
It is Thanksgiving here & I am often asked if we celebrate American Thanksgiving. My response is ALWAYS "heck, yeah"! The opportunity to celebrate twice = more delicious turkey & pie for me! Of course I'm all over that! Today was different for me though... I actually didn't work! Normally if it's my holiday off I will work for a co-worker anyway as I've already had my true thanksgiving & it makes no difference to me if we chow down a day late or at an odd time of day. But no one asked me so here I am at home lazing away :)

Thing 1, the Victor! Dad is sad.
Thing 1: 1, SD: 5
I can be lazy because I participated in my 1st Pie & Glove 5k this morning & completely exceeded my expectations! 5k is NOT my distance... Too speedy for me....BUT, I got to run with the whole family today so I was IN! We woke up to sunshine & frost covered ground. It was cold, but fine once we all got ourselves bundled up.  In fact, if we hadn't had to wait around so long once we got to the start, I could have easily ditched the jacket.  1500 people came out to run today....double the number of runners from last year! Wow! Today was a big day in our house....the Turkey Day 5K Showdown between SD & Thing 1! Thing 1 lost the 13.1 to SD by 48 seconds....there was much trash talk this week about who was going to come out victorious. In the end, Thing 1 ran a PR & finished in 19:08, 39/1500 runners beating SD by 54 seconds. SD ran 20:02 and came 4th in his age category...Darn, missed out on a pie by 1 place!  There was much discussion after the race however, and by SD's calculation, he is still the winner because he still holds the 8k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2 & Tri categories.  Here he is counting it out:

I think my socks may have given me
 the winning edge ;D
As for the showdown between Thing 2 & I.....well, I was flying....average pace 8:37!!!!!! For a time of 26:16....a PR by over 2 minutes for me!  Thing 2 stuck with me for the first 2 miles then dropped off, for a finishing time of 28:40....which is still pretty good in my books!  What a great way to start a day of Thankfullness!

Today I am Thankful for:
1: My Family, who supports me, laughs at my socks but still has a sense of humour enough to come out in public and run with me! Plus they tolerate my constant taking of photos & don't mind when they randomly appear on my blog :)
2: My husband, who still makes my heart flutter when I see him. (Sorry boys, if I made you wretch a little bit reading this ;))
3:  My boys, whom I am so proud are both turning into fine young men!
4: My job, that I love, even when it makes me scream...& my awesome co-workers who always make me laugh when I need it the most.
5: All of you in the blogosphere who give me support, encouragement & virtual high-fives! I can't thank you enough.

And finally, on this Thanksgiving day, I am VERY thankful for a son who chose to learn how to cook for his International Bacclaureate Personal Project, because he came home from the race and made these:

Pumpkin Pie
Tarte de Sucre
(Sugar Pie)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Go ahead, let me have it.....

I know this will not be a popular thing to say, but I can't help it. It's my blog & I'll be pissy if I want to. So today I'm reading all this news/posts about the 2 guys who died during the Philadelphia marathon on the weekend. It is a tragedy, absolutely! My heart & prayers go out to their families. What gets me on my high horse are the people who say "see, running will kill you" , or "running a marathon is dangerous & there should be more REGULATING of it". But no one (except one magazine article I read) makes mention of how many lives that running saves! Thousands of people each year die from sitting on their couches forking back crappy food. Thousands more die or are dismembered by diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is almost entirely preventable by exercise and diet! How many people ran Phili? Around 26,000? Thats alot of people who made a CHOICE to live healthier and embrace excercise! How awesome is that???? Freaky things happen all over. We can't always control it? But what if you considered that maybe those 2 guys bought themselves a couple extra years through a healthy running lifestyle? So yeah, occasionally someone dies running.....I kinda hope I go that least I'm doing something that brings me joy.

That's me on my soapbox. Peace out my friends.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Drinking the Kool-Aid...

Saucony Kinvara 2
Saucony Shadow Genesis
I've been really wanting to try some neighbour swears by them. I've watched youtube videos and read blogs about them.  HOWEVER, here's the kicker, I live in the middle of nowhere and there isn't a running store that carries them within a 150 miles of here.  In fact, there isn't even a REAL running store. I have a Dick's Sporting Goods & that's all folks :-P. They are too much $$$ to mess with ordering online to just try them on for feel & size.  So, since this is not in the cards right now & I currently have over 400 miles on my Asics Cumulus'....I really needed to just PICK SOMETHING, or stick with the same old thing.  After trying on almost everything they had, I narrowed it down to these 2: The Saucony Kinvara 2 or the Saucony Shadow Genesis.  They both felt pretty good on & I was definately partial to the sweet orange colour of the Shadow Genesis.  It was kind of a tossup.  It came down to two things: First, I looked at the treads.....which looked like it was going to slip less as the conditions deteriorate into winter & what kind of mileage are they going to tolerate.  I went with the Kinvara's because, whether it turns out to be true or not, the tread looked a bit more 'rugged' & then went with an unconventional test opinion.  Thing 2 has run in Kinvara's since August.  A full muddy, rugged, XC season plus training.  At his level (Grade 8) they are not allowed to wear spikes.  I figured if he could run muddy, hilly trails in them and post some great times, then they ought to be able to handle what I dish out to them!

I took them out for 10K today.  All the reading I've done said you should only run a mile or so and ease into more minimal shoes, but being the crazy runner that I am, I figured that I've already been working on my midfoot strike for months now so I wanted to give them a real run.  I went slow and easy, but the verdict is "AWESOME"! I feel good.  No calf pain.  They are so light I hardly feel like I'm wearing anything at all.  I'm very happy with these shoes so far.  Plus, I can buy 2 pairs for the price of one pair of Newtons! I still would like to try the Newton distance shoe, but will wait until I find myself in a big city with a real running store.

They match my socks!
I want to find some 'winter shoes' too, but that is a whole different shopping day! What do you wear in the snow?????? The same shoes, or something more rugged and trail worthy?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Red Baron Half Marathon Race Report

It was AWESOME!  I rocked it! SuperDad & Thing 1 rocked it! Man, what a day!
Mandatory Pre-Race that kid is getting tall!
Check out that dude stretching on the starting line. Really?
The day started out early, but with the time change and the extra hour of sleep I got, having to work 7-11am before heading to the race didn't seem too bad at all.  In fact, it was a good, smoothe morning on the trauma floor & I finished on time, did a quick change & headed out to meet SD & Thing 1 at the race.  They got there ahead of me & got our race numbers/tshirts so I didn't even have to stand in line.  Good deal! The weather was beautiful! It was a perfect fall day, 50 degrees, sunny & I was about to run a half marathon with my family.  When I got there I was a little disappointed to find that Thing 2 had decided to stay at home, but I understood. He had a BIG english project to finish up.  Race photographer Mum volunteered to send frequent updates to Thing 2 so he didn't feel too left out.  Race photo Mum is awesome! As we stood at the start, SD turned to me and asked: Did you ever think we'd be running a race like this together??? Nope. Never in my wildest dreams.  I never thought I'd be a runner & SD thought his days of running long distances were over. In fact, his last half was this very race in 2002! Never underestimate the power of a teenage challenge.  When I said I'd be running this race (for the shirt;)) Thing 1 said he'd like to do it too. Then he says to SD.....I think I can beat you now.  Well, the gauntlet was dropped & SD picked it up & with a 4 week training plan, set out to keep his speediest runner of the house title.....Thing 1 actually trained....they were ON!

We are off! The beautiful CCC campus :)

Mile 3
Believe it or not, I'm walking on air....;)
The Red Baron starts on the campus of Corning Community College, a place near & dear to my heart as this is where I went to nursing school.  We started in the shadow of the nursing & science buildings & I reflected how far I'd come in the past few years.  I was happy. I was going to run with my family...even though it was the loosest sense of the term since I didn't see those speed demons after the gun went off...but it was enough to know they were there joining me in this challenge.  We wound through the campus & into the adjacent neighbourhood & immediately began tackling the rolling, relentless hills that encompass the first 5 miles, culminating in the local version of Heartbreak Hill. I started off well, though I thought I was probably pushing the pace a bit when I saw my first mile under 10 minutes.  I was feeling ok & thought that if I could get a couple minutes in the bank I wouldn't be too behind when I hit the BIG ONE.  Running photo mum was waiting at mile 3 taking photos.  Thanks! I was pretty pumped to realize that I ran through 4 miles in around 38 minutes.  I was doing WELL! At mile 4 I put my head down for the mile slog to the top.  I didn't look up. I didn't want to know how much I still had to endure.  When Big G beeped 5 miles, I grabbed my Gu & took it before I hit the next water station. There wouldn't be another until mile 9.  This is a low key local race. Water was at 3,5,9 & 12 only. That's it. If you wanted more or other fuel, you had to carry it.  I didn't mind.  After all, I only paid $20 to run & it was for a good cause.

The last mentionable hill comes just before the 10K mark. I hit 10K in 59:45! The first time I've done it in under an hour in a longer distance! Yay for me! Miles 6-9 are downhill.  I think I might  have uttered Weeeeeeeeee!!!! at one point ;-D  I was a bit concerned when I felt a sharp pain on the inside of my right knee....didn't impeed my running, but was a bit annoying.  Any idea what that is?  (Probably my crappy form...which I have had an epiphany about. I will address it in an upcoming post)  By the time I got to mile 9, I realized that because I was STILL hitting sub 10 miles, my goal of a 2:10 was not only attainable but beatable.  I was pumped.  The last area is flat, which was a relief.  I gave this race everything I had.  I held nothing back.  During the last mile I reeled in 7 annoying people that passed me during the downhill.  Gotta say I loved that. 
1:36:02 a 39 minute PR!
1:35:14 a 2 minute PR!
I finished strong. 2:05:34 & I was done!  Saw SD & Thing 1 and asked how their race turned out.  It was a close call.  SD caught Thing 1 around mile 12 and beat him by 48 seconds! Wow!
SD 1:35:14 11 minute PR!
Thing 1 1:36:02

The best part of this race was that although I had a secret in-the-back-of-my-mind goal of 2:10, I really was out there to enjoy the race & spend time doing something I love with my family.  I finally realize that I ran well. Not just well 'for me', but well for any regular runner! 9:34 pace is nothing to belittle myself is a GOOD pace & I'm proud of myself for having fun, giving it my all & being able to acknowledge the change in me over the past year.  I am no longer just a beginner....I am a runner!

Post race photo by Thing 2: OMG! They are making me take another family photo!
Plus....I got my shirt! My Club 'O Crazy now has an official membership shirt:
Official member of the Wine Baron Club ;-D

Friday, November 4, 2011

Photo Friday

Hubs took the day off...we had a sloth-like morning...yup, that clock says 9:48 & we are still sitting in bed with our coffee!

& playing scrabble...

This is Mr Bigglesworth...he is NOT supposed to be sleeping here. He doesn't care that I saw him.

Thing 2's latest watercolour

Yes, I finally did get out of bed & go for a run...didn't even have to wear pants!

Thing 2 wishes he had pants. It's not a STAC Championship if the weather doesn't suck!

Thing 1 says the weather was 'fine'....he never gets cold.  I have to yell at him to make him wear pants in the winter.