Wednesday, November 29, 2006

That glue stench is killing me!

Contact cement really stinks, and it is worsening my headache!

No time to do all the things I had to do today, including swim and run. Well, that's what one gets when one is in the middle of renovations ... ugh ... how many more days until my friend and I are finished?


Monday, November 27, 2006


I went to the pool last night. I felt like a rock. It's been three months since I did IMC and I have lost so much fitness. I guess that happens when I only run, bike and swim infrequently. Only swam for about 40 minutes, laps and drills, but I felt like I had to work harder. My arms aren't nearly as strong as before and I have to concentrate harder on technique though I was told that I still swim smoothly. That's probably because I'm swimming so slowly.

So tonight, I figure I'd go to the pool again, the start of getting my swimming up to par. I go to the pool in my friend's neighbourhood but there's no one at the counter. I figure I'd see someone by the pool and then pay on the way out. I change and take a quick shower and head to the poolside. There isn't any "pool person", just swim coaches, because it's the Masters group, Blue Machine, and it is not a public swim period like I thought it was. So no swimming for me tonight.

I had also planned to do some important errands tonight after swimming, which I couldn't do because of Murphy's Law. I had left my purse at a friend's house.

And of course running was not a second option since I'd forgotten my run bag at home and it was way too far to travel from my friend's house. Price to pay for helping to renovate a friend's house ... not having my stuff at hand when I find a free moment to train.

Dang ... guess the stars and planets just don't want to line up for me tonight with the training ... But my friend's new office is looking spiffy what with all the work that's been put into it in the last week!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I'm sitting here with a full belly still wearing my pyjamas. I would wear pyjamas all day if I could.

I have another doozy of a headache - it's Day #3 and it doesn't want to go away. I have reached my tolerance level for pain, which is quite significant. Though I have a low threshold for pain, I have a high tolerance for it too, which means that I'm in tune with my body but can endure a lot. This is what helps me get through marathons and what helped me get through the Ironman.

Meds haven't made my headache go away and neither has sleep ... sigh ...

Wanted to swim last night but sometimes the kids aren't too cooperative to get out the door ... so lo and behold, the swim period was already over.

I'm eating too well these days and my Buddha Belly has made a full comeback. Too bad I'm not a lousy cook. Though I'm not eating Ironman portions, this sedentary lifestyle isn't helping ...

Just have to get rid of the headache first ... oooooh!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Help me decide


1) have nothing to do
2) own a sharp knife
3) have a large lime
4) own a patient cat
5) drink too much tequila

Alright, now on a more serious note ... I sometimes wonder how I'm ever able to run marathons ... or how I was ever able to do the Ironman. Last night I went for a half hour swim with KillerChops (teaching him to swim, ya know!) and though my breathing and technique came automatically, within minutes my residually sprained ankle and little-used arms were feeling it. Swam a whole bunch of lengths, but never more than 100m at a time. What a long half hour.

Trying to decide whether to run or swim right now ... It was easier when I was in tri training - do both! And it's easy enough when I'm in "marathon training" - run! But now that I'm back to sloth mode ... Which one would be better for me or give me the greatest pleasure - OOOOH, that's a toughy now ... Knee hurts but running gives me a more intense workout. My physiotherapist told me to swim swim swim because I have a muscle imbalance created by my back injury ... but then would I have enough time?

Decisions, decisions ... good thing I'm not allowed to kickbox yet or I would have way too many sporty choices ... boy do I miss punching and kicking! GRRRR!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Shout out to my good friend David Fein!

I'm almost always afraid now of when the phone rings long distance (double not single ring) ... Recently, I have been bombarded by nasty telemarketers, the majority of them being hang-ups on me before a human being's voice ever makes it past the automated dial-up system. For example, tonight I got one of those wonderful calls from a newspaper looking for a new subscriptor. No thank you. When do I have time to read the paper?

Later tonight though, the phone rang double again ... but this time it was my good friend David Fein from New York City. He had read my blog about the race and was pretty impressed with Marcus' and my mad dash around Manhattan.

Let me tell you, I am the one who is impressed. David Fein is one of those truly amazing fellas that one doesn't meet everyday and I am extremely fortunate to have gotten the chance to become friends with him. Funny how we actually met ... in a pool at a West Coast Swing dance convention in the States.

I was floundering badly in the water and he came over to help me out and give me tips. I credit him in fact to helping me to believe that I could one day learn to swim, that becoming a triathlete was possible. At that time, I hadn't given that much thought to Ironman, but of course, it was great to talk to David about the sport of triathlon ... That conversation and his encouragement opened my eyes to the possibilities.

We plan to do a triathlon together next spring ... Yay! I've run and swam with David, and of course danced (he is a wicked good dancer), and soon, I will get to cycle and race with him. Will have to get back down to NYC for the grand tour too and what better guide to show me around than my super fun friend, David ... I am sooo looking forward to it! Thanks David just for being you ... xoxo

Oh yeah, um, sorry David, I didn't end up swimming tonight as planned ... My friend Killerchops was knackered having only caught a few hours of shut-eye last night and changed his mind. We decided to watch Shakes the Clown instead. I'll swim tomorrow morning.

Anyway, I've been feeling really tired recently and I can't seem to get enough rest. Call it severe sleep deprivation or just general exhaustion, but as my doctor told me, one or two nights of good sleep aren't enough to fix it. I'll need months of good solid sleeping.

In the past five and a half years, I've participated in 11 marathons, 7 half marathons, a sprint, half Ironman and full Ironman triathlon, raised over $30,000 for charity, worked contractually during the days , and also had a career as an actress. Am I starting to feel tired?


So I'd better get some good rest before I start my next big projects ... pssst, they're still secrets for me to know and you to find out :-)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Is it the weekend already?

Can't believe this week has flown by ...

No training on Wed. or today, but a short jaunt around the neighbourhood yesterday. Just 25 min. but enough to make my restless legs feel better. Anyway, it was all the time I had in the busy day.

Today, I figured that the ballroom dancing tonight would be enough "cross-training" and though it didn't elevate my heartrate tremendously, it still made me sweat a bit ... and besides, it was a lot of FUN! Hey, ballroom dancing will be the next craze and I am quite looking forward to it.

Yesterday, I had an echocardiogram done, just something routine to check out if my premature beats were anything serious. It was strange to sit in the waiting room at the hospital. I almost felt like it was inappropriate that I looked so healthy and was so much younger than the others. Makes me wonder why people let themselves go like that ... For sure certain things are hereditary, but there is so much one can do to stave off aging and bad health just with a bit of exercise.

Well, fortunately, it turns out that everything checks out A-OK with my heart and in fact, the doctor told me that I have a heart like someone in their 20's. Cool, maybe when I'll be 50, it'll look the same. Heartrate while I was laying there ... 50 bpm. Not bad, but I've had it lower at home when I felt more relaxed instead of stressed out getting tested at the hospital. The doctor told me that premature beats happen often enough with people who have low heartrates as the heart has time to pick up signals generated from other regions of the heart.

Whew! Always good to find out that I'm healthy and that I don't have anything to worry about ...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Hurley's Burger

Yup, I wolfed one down tonight when I went to meet some Coolrunning Montreal friends. Good burger, good Irish pub. I was going to refrain from alcohol tonight but I gave in ... Hey, what's a pub without a drink? So I got me a little cider to wash down that delicious cheeseburger with fried onions. Yum, yum.

When the food arrived, I whipped out my camera ... oh no! Batteries were dead! Drat, there goes my idea of blogging food and crazy runners with marathon medals.

Best question of the evening: "If you were to wear a costume to run a marathon, what would it be?"

Best answer of the evening: "The Planter's Peanut"

I told RunningGag he HAD to sign up for the NYC marathon lottery and I'd help him make the costume should he get in. Other people brought up Gumby and Pokey. I don't have a clue what I'd choose next. Mercury talked about his running colleague who ran the NYC marathon dressed as a rhinoceros. I remember passing him and thinking, geez, he's run 22 km faster than I already!

Great evening and for some reason, lots of tech talk about running and races ... "I like the racing, not the training" ... ha ha ha! GB sat quiet for a good chunk of the evening wondering if we were all lunatics. I told everyone of my next big charity endeavour which would incorporate GB and I doing Ironman in 2008 and the Cancer Society.

GB and I ran 6k around my neighbourhood tonight before supper - we're almost trained for that Ironman!

Spoke to KillerChops afterwards with whom I swam on Sunday. He told me he was sore from swimming. We had spent 45 leisurely minutes in the pool doing laps and drills with some talk rests. (I was happy that I haven't forgotten how to swim!)

I told him he wasn't obligated to do Ironman 2008 with us since he only just started running and swimming ... He told me jokingly that I didn't know him and I laughed and said "It's not that I don't think you'd be able to do it, I don't think you'd have the time to train!"

Dum, dum, dum ... Hmmm .... What does the future hold?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

NYC Marathon, Part III: Post-Race Fun

Sunday, November 5

The trucks that held our personal effects bags could not have been parked farther away. Mine was Truck #40 in a long line of trucks. Ugh. There was no denying now that I had just run a marathon. Long way to walk when one is SORE and TIRED.

It was great to see Marcus waiting for me at the "Family Reunion" area when I finally made my way back out of the park. Why did everything have to be so far away?!

We ended up taking the subway back as cabs were impossible to flag down at that hour, and just as I sat down, my cell phone rang. It was Dragonfly calling, checking up on me. Barely had time to exchange a few words before the subway tunnel cut off our connection. But how nice to hear from a familiar voice!
(Full story: Seems that the Coolrunning Montreal gang were worried about me. A certain Grommit chap started a nasty rumour about me, "this is a bummer/source for concern, looks like miss sally dnf'd in the last 2kms" ... Grrr ... I have never DNFed ... He later apologized, "she would crawl on her hands & knees through miles of broken glass & $hit rather than DNF"...... i'm sorry for not doubting the www rather than doubt the irongoddess....." HA HA! Thanks for the chuckle!)

Relaxed and ate a bit back at the hotel but no time for a nap! Had tickets to the theatre. Spamalot is a MUST SEE.

Then supper at Carmine's, a friendly Italian eatery reknown for it's gigantic family portions. We couldn't get through even half of what we ordered, even with my being in deficit from the race. I figured I must have burnt off at least 3000 calories. I had eaten four and a half gels during the race, which is about 500 calories. I'm surprised I wasn't able to eat more. We certainly had enough food, which could have fed a family of four with two adolescents. Yum, yum.

Afterwards, we went for a little stroll in Times Square ...

What a fabulous day! New York is an amazing city and I couldn't believe I had just run my 11th marathon. Double whammy of a bonus! I still remember years back when a colleague of mine found out I was training for my 3rd marathon, he said to me, "Bonnie, I thought you were only supposed to do one!"

Monday, November 6

Woke up sore but that was too be expected. I knew I would be hurting as I started feeling a little rough in Carmine's last night climbing up and down the stairs to the bathroom. Going down stairs backwards has gotten to be par for the course when it comes to marathon-running.

How does one get rid of lactic acid build-up in the quads? Walk it off!

First stop: Central Park

Sure looked different without thousands of people milling about in it. Sure is a beautiful park. I would have loved to have run on some of the smaller trails instead of the main road during the race, but I guess logistics would have never allowed it. We saw many runners and cyclists and lots of people wearing medals. I had thought about wearing mine, as per post-marathon fashion, but Marcus said, "Naah." That is always a conundrum ... some people know what the medal is for, others wonder, "Why is this strange person wearing a medal around his neck?"

It was obvious that some of the people I saw running in the park had participated in the marathon the day before and all I kept thinking was, "Why are they running!?" I personally need time off after a marathon to recuperate. Or maybe I just like being lazy.

We checked out the Finish Area that was being disassembled. I borrowed another runner's medal for the great photo op with Marcus by the Finish Line. Then we checked out the statue of Fred Lebow, the founder of the NYC marathon. Strolled over to the lake, took some more pics and shared running and Ironman stories with a nice German man presently living in San Diego who had also run the marathon.

I think Marcus has been bitten by the marathon bug.

Second stop: Grand Central Station

Got a quick tour of Grand Central Station by my dance friend DF who kindly met up with us during his lunch break. He revealed some way-cool interesting secrets about the station to us including ... wait, if I told you, it wouldn't be a secret!

Our Mexican lunch was fun and tasty. It's always nice to catch up with a friend even if it's just for a way-too short measly hour. Hug, hug ... Hope to see you again soon DF!!

Third stop: Quick tour of Greenwich Village, Soho, Chinatown, and Little Italy

We took the subway - this is Christopher Station.

A little lost after exiting, a kind elderly gentleman pointed us in the right direction to some interesting things on Bleeker St. We took a break and checked out Café Angelique. Ahh, I got to sit down again. A friendly young waitress with pretty blue eyes served us some amazing coffee. We relaxed and soaked in the "happening atmosphere".

Then a quick detour through a little park before heading off to explore Soho, which was not what I expected. Lots of cool stores to shop in if one has the time and $$, which I have neither, but interesting nonetheless. Though I prefer the quaintness of Greenwich Village, we did get to meander through a super interesting Chinese articles store in which I would have loved to have had time to Christmas shop.

It's fascinating how quickly the face and soul of New York changes within a couple of blocks. We hit Canal Street and Chinatown. The hustle and bustle of NYC got even more hustle and bustle with all the open-air stores. It felt right out of a movie!

Little Italy whizzed by. No time to stop anywhere, just a quick look-around. No sign of a cab. We ended up back in Greenwich Village and jumped in the subway again. We had a flight to catch ... back to Montreal, back to reality! Thanks Marcus for your much appreciated race support and also for sharing this wonderful weekend with me!

Friday, November 10, 2006

NYC Marathon, Part II: The Race Report

Sunday, November 4
42.2 km / 26.2 miles

5:00 a.m. wake-up call. Ugh. I got three hours sleep. I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep and actually almost did, but I didn't want to post "Um, I overslept and missed the marathon."

Funny thing how relaxed I felt going into this marathon since for the first time, I was doing it strictly to have fun. Didn't even wear a watch.

Cool morning, perhaps only about 7 or 8C but I dressed in layers and even wore my down jacket that I planned to give in at the baggage check. Some people foolishly wore only shorts and a sweatshirt. BRRRR. I boarded the bus with thousands of other runners around 6:45 a.m. after queuing up for 45 min. I wondered who'd want to board at 4:30 a.m. when the bus service started ...

The ride from mid-Manhattan took about 45 min. or so. I'm not sure as I fell asleep soon after chatting with the chap from England sitting beside me. I remember waking briefly and going into some tunnel then ... zzzz.

When I awoke next, it was our stop, Staten Island, the marathon start. Great, I had just enough time to go to the port-o-let, get undressed and check in my bag. I passed one of those runners dressed only in shorts and a sweatshirt and thought, "Baby, you're not doing too well if you're already shivering like that ... We still have more than an hour before start time."

I waited in line for the port-o-let and then waited some more. Then I waited in line again. The wait seemed to be getting longer. Cause of the extended wait? A jammed door that no one could open, except desperate woman runner me. I obstinately unjammed the door and figured, "Hey, I've earned the right to bud in line!"

Time to strip off the down jacket and put on my cape, a 5' x 3' Canadian flag. I figured it would go well with the deep red lipstick. Then off to check in my bag "way over back there". I slipped on my sweatshirt from the 80's to keep warm. Tears for Fears, Sowing the Seeds of Love.

I was impressed by how well organized the race was with its colour-coded start areas. We get into our corrals to march over to The Bridge together. Then we did the infamous "strip". What's great is that New York City picks up all the tossed clothing to give away afterwards. I saw many generous people wearing brand new items that they wanted someone else to enjoy after the race.

The bridge's official name is the Verazano-Narrows Bridge and it is 2 miles long. There are two levels and I was happy to find myself on the top level as I have heard many stories of people on the bottom level being whizzed on from above.

We all waited patiently for the start of this magnificent marathon that would take us through five boroughs, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan, and over five bridges. And unbeknownst to me and probably many others, this course is NOT FLAT and has many false flats and long ascents, the most difficult at the end starting at Mile 22.

Click here for course map. Click here for elevation chart.

BANG! went the gun and off we went excitedly, a slow-moving block party. The song "New York, New York" blared loudly out of the loudspeakers and the crowd went wild, singing out loud, swaying in unison to the rhythm, and some even doing the Rockettes kick. Yup, we were a lot of people on this bridge. Almost 37,000 in fact.

True to my usual marathon ritual, 2 km called for a "break" except that, still being on the bridge with nary a port-o-let in sight, the only privacy I could find was behind a parked city services truck. I arrived to find a line of runners, about seven or so very happy and relieved people. It's so much easier for men. I hid behind my flag which turned out to be very practical marathon fashion!

New York's finest took care of us all along the course.

Brooklyn. When the sun came out, the temperature rose quickly, perhaps reaching a high of 12 or 13C or so. I removed my long-sleeved shirt. I don't have a clue how some runners ran wearing only shorts and a tank top. My cape kept my shoulders warm over my t-shirt. I felt like Michael Jackson with my gloves still on.

Nine timing mats were placed to track the runners every 5 km as well as at the halfway point. This is great for friends to track us online if we're fast, but not so great if we're crawling like snails and our friends expect more and are wondering what the heck is wrong with us ... Hey, you know who you are :-)

Friendly firemen also lined the course to protect the runners and represent NYC. The fella on the left gave me a kiss on my cheek upon my parting ... how sweet!

Lots and lots of music to be had, bands, deejays, and great songs blasting out from huge speakers. Funny, I found there to be much more music on this course than at San Diego's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, which is supposed to be reknown for its bands. The music sure helped to pep me up though as my longest run since Ironman Canada late August was only 11 km. Talk about being undertrained. It's all mind over matter ... dismal agony vs. amused denial.

I was just one little head and body in a mega-crowd of runners being watched by over 2 million enthusiatic spectators. Everyone *loved* my cape ... GO CANADA! I didn't have to try to be noticed. The race photographers couldn't miss me and neither could the journalist from the small Ontario newspaper who stopped me to take photos and ask a few questions. Dang if I can't remember the name of that newspaper ... Psst, anyone reading this that might be able to help?

The aid stations got messier and messier as the course progressed ... and definitely not as tidy as this shot below when orange peels were involved. I hate the stickiness of my shoes after running through Gatorade. The aid station volunteers were very cheerful and absolutely fantastic. I made a point of thanking each one that passed me a cup.

The spectators were phenomonal and many people held special signs or even had their own little aid stations with water, candies, orange slices, and bananas, which I definitely took advantage of. I even saw one lady with a full shopping cart happily passing out whole bananas. That's the spirit. NYC rocks!

I had to snap these pics of the balloons as well as one of my favourite stations which announced itself a block ahead ... the High-5 Station. Woohoo!

My absolute favourite moment of the race came while I was running down a beautiful tree-lined street through Queen's. "YMCA" blared loudly through the speakers. Then suddenly as the chorus came on, the entire block of runners as well as all the spectators that lined the streets and stairwells, including the native Indian with full feather head-dress, moved their arms and formed *Y*M*C*A ... I cannot thoroughly describe the hilarity of this moving block party dancing to this song while running. One of those "you had to be there" moments and priceless.

Mascots, costumes, and patriotic paraphernalia were everywhere so I did not feel out of place, though I didn't see any other Canadian flags :-)

I saw a man stretching and we looked at each other as I passed. He was wearing a sweatband with the M-dot Ironman logo on it. I was wearing my M-dot Ironman cap. We understood each other instantly and exchanged a few words in passing. "What, you did Ironman Canada too? Cool!"

COURAGE. This gentleman and many other amputees finished before I did.

How about a kiss?

Almost at the half point ... getting harder to jump up onto the medians ... OOF!

Leaving the Queensboro Bridge into the Bronx.

Leaving the Bronx into Manhattan. Like the view?

I have no clue what really happened after I hit 20 miles, the start of the "real marathon". But even before that, I remember crowds, many rows deep, cheering enthusiastically. I heard many Go Canada's and acknowledged every one of them with a shout and either threw my arms up in the air in victory or gave a thumbs-up.

The whole experience became surreal and I continued to have FUN, giving high-5's to as many people as possible, especially the children. I could feel the effect of four potty stops and countless photo breaks on my running rhythm or rather lack thereof. I started feeling the fatigue of a long run and my feet and legs were killing me. I had to concentrate hard to keep myself moving forward as my recently sloth-like body was no longer accustomed to this kind of distance.

Manhattan was a blur ... long wide streets, tall tall buildings, huge crowd of spectators. Very loud cheering. Incredible. And then I saw SpongeBobSquarePants and I felt better.

What a *long* trek to Central Park. Yes, I hated that nasty seemingly never-ending ascent that started at 22 miles. I thought that the course would take us into the park and keep us there, but no, we just got taunted by running through a bit of it, then had to leave it to go the long way around to then finish in it. (Did you get that?) But hey, I was in Central Park and I was close to the finish!

Nothing more frustrating than reading "25 Miles" followed soon afterwards by "One mile left", then "1/2 mile left" then "400 yards left" then ... I think I blanked out at that point. It was like Chinese water torture.

Oh my gosh ... there's the Finish Line!

Finish time: 5:28:05
Half marathon time: 2:46:16
Pace: 12:31/mile

Definitely not my fastest marathon and only a few minutes faster than my Ironman marathon leg, but I achieved what I set out to do and shot a whole roll of film to boot. Best of all, I had a TOTAL BLAST!!

Thank you to all my friends, especially Killerchops, who supported me, even though you all thought I was crazy to run this race without training. A special thank you to Marcus for accompanying me to NYC and showing me a fantastic city. I will be back! Thank you to the kind volunteers and enthusiastic residents of NYC - you made this experience truly memorable.

And lastly, thank you to Ussoccer for planting these silly marathon pranks into my head ... Would I run NYC again? Oh definitely yes, but I'd have to top this one ... hehehe ...