Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Me and my Coolrunning gang!

Met up with my running group at one of our favourite haunts, Hurley's!

I ate a wickedly good hamburger steak with fried onions in a peppery sauce, mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables. Absolutely scrumptious! Dragonrouges arrived after I did and ordered the same thing 'cause it was pretty evident how much I enjoyed it. Sorry folks, no pic of it as I was too busy wolfing it down to think about my camera.

Let me introduce everyone ...

Here's Turtleboy. Don't let the name fool you. He's anything but slow and is set on one thing and one thing only ... to get to the Boston Marathon.

Grommit. He's the craziest of us all ... Can be super fast on asphalt when he wants to be but he prefers using his unique "girly" duck-feet stride to romp around trails in the woods and forests, and on mountain slopes. He recently completed the newly sensational and incredibly difficult 54-mile "climb-six-mountains" challenge called Pittsfield Peaks.

Roly. He's Grommit's innocent running partner and together, they are lovingly referred to as "The Grolies". A brand spanking new ultrarunner, he competed as well in Pittsfield Peaks, his first ultra, and made it through a maddening distance of 42 miles. Wicked! Yes, Roly, I know you can now beat my marathon time ... but you just wait until I decide to pick up ultras!

Lifeany dreams of one day running a marathon. You go for it girl! She'd never thought she'd ever even run 5k and now she already has two races under her belt, and more to come! Don't listen to TB, go do that 10k this fall ... you'll be ready! Listen to your heart! You only live once, so never regret.

Here's the handsome Truxx with the beautiful Kneejerk. Truxx has the same training philosophy as I do "Why train, let's just race!" except he's got the speed. Kneejerk moved away from my neighbourhood and I "curse her" for living so far away now ... boo hoo ... I miss those 6:50 am wake-up calls to go run around the park.

Oh, and here I am ... Silly Sally! I showed Grommit my 5k *bling* and he laughed at me heartily as he pulled out his *tool*.

And here we are, the Montreal Coolrunners. I love you all! You're all so special (and so crazy!) Missing in action from the photo are the photo-shy Dragonsrouges and the already parted Mercury and friend.

Aren't we a happy bunch?

Going to Toronto tomorrow, folks, to take care of my mother - she will be starting chemo again. Please say a little prayer for her ...

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

My first real 5k race!

Shortly after the Ottawa marathon, TB asked me if I'd be interested in running a 5k race with him north of Montreal in Laval.

I've got wheels. He doesn't. He's got fast legs. I don't.

Obvious answer: "I'll go out and support you but I won't run it."

Wrong answer: "I'll go out and support you but I won't run it."

TB signed me up online right there and then and told me that I'd be running it with him and chuckled heartedly ... sigh. What had he gotten me into?!?

I've never run a race shorter than a half marathon (well, a 5k once with my kids, but that was to pace them) and to tell you the truth, fast races give me the heebie-jeebies! I can handle the long periods of pain a body experiences from the wear-and-tear of endurance races but there is something about knowing I am supposed to run as fast as I can that puts too much pressure on me. Besides, I hate feeling all huffy-puffy like I want to pass out or puke or both.

So race day came. I had been dreading this and felt nervous.

I had been psyching myself up for this for a while, not through training 'cause you and I know I ain't any good in that department but at least I was mentally prepared to hurt. The mental part of racing is my forté. I ain't got any real running talent. I fake it all the time and today, I knew I wouldn't be able to fake it anymore. The moment of truth had arrived.

We arrived at at the address on the race info pages TB had printed out from the internet at 9:00 am with enough time to spare. WHAT?!?!

Our hearts and stomachs dropped. Where were the other cars? The runners, race tent, timing mats, and all that other great race excitement stuff? The race was scheduled to start at 9:30 am!! Something was very very wrong and we didn't know what to do.

After a good 10 minutes of disbelief and disheartenment, we drove off to check out the 10k start, perhaps we would find everyone there. No one, nada. We went back to the 5k start. Yup, right address. Yup, right start time. No one except us.

Could it have been the wrong date on the internet pages? No ... there would be other runners in the same position as us, driving around aimlessly, hoping to find a race. Accepting our disappointment, we called it a day and headed back home. Several kilometres west, we had seen people setting up pylons and on our way back, we decided to stop and ask one of the volunteers for which event that was ... It was OUR RACE! We quickly drove further west in search for our precious 5k start line and after a few minutes, saw a bunch of souls in running gear huddled by a house, but there were no other signs of a race.

"Excuse me, is this the 5k start?"

Luckily, the race was starting late. Parking, parking, we had to find parking.

I quickly put on my running shoes and TB and I both made potty stops in the nearby field as there were no port-o-lets at this tiny race! Then we started jogging to the start line over a 100 m away. But the little pack of people weren't getting any closer - the race had already started! There had been no gun or audible start signal. We ran quicker and arrived at the start line. I was already out of breath, which was not a good sign. TB looked at me and said, "This will be our race time," then started the chronometer on his watch and we were off!

Not the ideal conditions to start a race ... a semi-sprint to the start line with no warm up nor stretching nor time to mentally prepare for a strong start. TB quickly caught up to the rest of the runners. I tried to pace myself but the tail end of the runners being so far away was daunting. I knew I was running too fast and wouldn't be able to keep that pace for the entire race, but I needed to feel a part of the race, and call it ego, but I especially needed to pass the children and the runners with strollers.

I tried to concentrate on keeping even breathing, but it already hurt and I could feel my asthma wanting to kick in. I also tried to keep a quicker turn-over than what I'm used to when I run long distance, but I knew that with the bad start and no warm-up, I wouldn't be able to open up my stride and find something comfortable. I felt tight and heavy and slow and forced my pace but I succeeded in passing some more runners.

Where were the mile markers? I needed to figure out my pacing to try to salvage the race but hadn't a clue where I was ... The last 2km dragged out and I could feel my legs getting even heavier. My turn-over got slower and I started feeling tingly in my arms and shoulder and a little dizzy. I could feel my blood pressure dropping and this was not a good sign. I am not used to exerting myself like this and had to slow down just a tad to avoid passing out.

TB, having finished the race, ran back and joined me for the last 500 m or so ... He bounding with energy and I felt so slow and weak. He called out words of encouragement ... "We're coming up the the final stretch ... blah, blah, blah ..." and I put up my hand to stop him from speaking. I didn't have enough energy to do anything but focus on pushing forward and breathing and keep from passing out and TB's well-intentioned call-outs were distracting me from the task I had at hand.

FINISHED!!! Finally!

A volunteer handed me my finisher's medal and another one removed my timing chip. I leaned over a barrier and the blood rushed back to my head as I caught my breath. This is why I don't like fast races.

It was only then did I notice that hey, here was where all the "race excitement" was ... look at that tent and the tables and banners and the all those colourful plates full of fruit waiting to be gobbled down.

We ran into one of TB's race buddies, Christine, who recognized me from having read my blog (COOL!). What a lovely person ... we shared race stories and jokes as we awaited the awards ceremony and prize draws. Nope, we didn't win the airplane tickets. Shucks.

Would I do this race again? You bet your bottom dollar. Would I be able to get used to the kind of torture a fast race elicits on my body? No, but the post-race excitement and socializing was so much fun! And the best part was I wasn't hurting or completely spent, like I am after a marathon, meaning I could still go out and have a full day.

TB and I walked the several kilometres back to my car while our shoulders fried in the sun. We stumbled upon the 5 k start line on the bicycle path ... yup, folks, that is gaffer tape.

Then we headed back to Montreal and celebrated our race with some DQ (Dairy Queen).

Policemen in police vehicles stop for doughnuts. Policemen on horses stop for ice cream.

Chip time: 28:41 (we started 1:10 behind everyone)

TB's watch time: 27:31 (about an 8:50/mile pace)

Admittedly not as fast as I would have liked. I would have run much faster if I could have paced myself properly and had had a proper warm-up and start. I think training for this race would have helped me get a better time ... but hey, I did good for a girl who's got no speed and has only run all of 18 or 19 k in the last three weeks :-)

I came in 21st out of 42 runners, meaning I passed 21 people. TB came in 8th. We both would have moved up in ranking by 2 spots had we started with everyone else ... but we didn't. The race was what it was and it was worth it!

What an incredible day! Thanks TB!!

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Who has time to train?

Met up with Turtleboy for a race strategy discussion over Chinese food.

On the menu was:

- salt & pepper shrimps (one of my favourites)
- beef and peppers ho fun in black bean sauce
- snow pea leaf with garlic
- fried ice cream

Afterwards, we head out to meet JC at a loft party hosted by those cool folks from Flickr. Fantastically extravagant shin-dig ... great food, open bar, DJ, dancing ... and a cool little photo book to take home!

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Thursday, June 21, 2007


I'm racing this weekend and I haven't been training at all. UGH!

I can't seem to knock this fatigue and my blue couch beckoned me after having eaten ribs and grilled vegetables for supper. I knew I should have run before supper but I was sooo hungry when I got back home!

Am I wide awake now that I've had a long nap? Nope. I'm ready to snooze again ...

Night night ...

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What is right with the world?

I saw a really cool film with Dewitt Jones, a National Geographic photographer, entitled "What is right with the world?" What a totally inspirational film! It struck many chords inside me ...

"Perception controls our reality and if we
don't believe it, we won't see it."

"By celebrating what's right, we can fix what's

"Change is possibility and the times of most
change hold the most possibility."

"When we believe it, we'll see

"We have to be willing to trust it, go out on the

"Your life? ... Success vs. Significance ... Are
you the best in the world or the best FOR the world?

"You just have to do it and

Now go out there, and LIVE!! And don't be afraid ...


Friday, June 15, 2007

If you want something done, give it to a busy person

My day ...

- woke up at 6:30 am to work on job contract #1 at home
- went to job contract #2 from 9 am - 6 pm
- ate a snack and changed clothes at home then out to job contract #1 at 7:15 (office) to drop off what I worked on in the morning
- on the mountain before 8 pm for a medium-paced 8k (picked up the last 2k considerably!)
- quick supper
- talked to a few friends (while multi-tasking)
- baked banana and chocolate chip cake

- did dishes, put out garbage
- cleaned the bathroom
- manicure, pedicure, (while watching a half hour of CSI) ... then a bath!
- made lunch for work
- did some accounting
- blog and other internet things I like to do
Not much training in there ... yes, I know ... been thinking that I might not get around to doing a tri this summer unless I get my butt into a higher gear and actually put in a lot more training, especially on my bike! Thinking of climbing the mountain on my bike right now frightens me ...
One of my more prevalent thoughts these days is "How the heck did I ever do Ironman?" I can't even seem to fit in 1/10th of what I did for training last year ... mind you, I'm also working like a dog these days.
I'm looking forward to relaxing, playing with the kids, catching a film, cycling & picnic, and doing the BBQ thing this weekend ... ENJOY YOURSELVES, FOLKS!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Why am I still up?

I spoke with my mother this evening. She received news of her biopsy and told me she was thinking about things.

Tonight I thought about things too.

I will surely need the strength I culled from running the Ottawa Marathon to get through the next little while ...

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

How the HECK do they do it?

I'm presently working a new contract right now that's quite a ways from my house. Rush hour and feeling like I'm parked on the highway does not agree with me. I'd love to cycle to work but ...

1) Obviously, not wanting to use my road bike to get there would mean tuning up my mountain bike and putting slicks on her since she's only equipped with a serious set of knobbies right now

2) I'd have to find a way to get through the tangled mess of highways, overpasses, and underpasses to make sure I'd be able to get there in one piece

3) Tuning up a bike and going to get a new set of tires as well as subsequently taking a test run out to work on the mountain bike takes time ... and that ain't something I seem to have much of these days.

Time is a precious commodity.

Trained very little this week, two short runs, one at a pace enough to leave me huffing and puffing throughout the entire run, something that I hate to feel. I'm trying to work on quicker turnover and lifting the knees higher. Let's just say it was faster than I'd do a tempo run and I suffered. I also got in a short swim, 2 x 200 m front crawl and 4 x 200 m drills ... a total of 1200 m.


Last week was spent recuperating from the marathon, starting a new work contract and adjusting to a different schedule, and having fun with friends and also the kiddies. This week, where did the time go? Admittedly, I had a lot on my plate, as the person training me at work was unfortunately ill all week so that meant that I was now replacing two people ... alright, throw me into the fire and broil me ... Oooh, I like it HOT! :-) Weekend was full of other work and dance community obligations and ahem ... two brunches with cool friends.

How the HECK do they do it?

How do all those other recreational athletes fit it all in - work, family, and friends? I admit I do have more activities than most and perhaps a too active social life ... But hey, I was a good girl this week and went to bed early most nights though I confess, not intentionally a few times ... y-a-w-n!

I'm thinking ... alright ... if I'm going to decide to do Ironman next year, I'm going to have to learn to get up and train at 5 am like all the other triathletes and also cut out all social dance and fun activities with friends ...

Is this do-able or even feasible?

Eenie-meanie-minie-mo ... which spinning plate will I have to drop?

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Bread machines deserve more respect!

We were given a "slightly used" bread machine years back from some good friends of mine. They had only made a couple of loaves with it but found the few minutes to measure out the ingredients too time-consuming ... So someone's junk very happily became our treasure and helped to create this fantastic Sunday brunch!

The menu:
- eggs
- pork sausages
- broiled tomatoes (with salt, pepper, garlic powder, olive oil, and parmesan)
- cheese: havarti, old cheddar, and Jarlsberg
- fruit: pineapple, Royal Gala apples, oranges, and bananas
- homemade milk bread, absolutely delicious and still warm!

I don't understand why more people don't have bread machines ... was it all just a fad?

No training today, too busy with the kiddies and then with piles of yard work that I've been putting off for a month and I can't do it "later" ... We're expecting rain all week! Argh!


Friday, June 01, 2007

Post-race mayhem and exhaustion ... but oh the food!

Sunday evening with PB

The delectable celebratory menu:
- Warm goat cheese croutons on green salad
- Curry ratatouille
- Cashew and vegetable rice
- Heavenly Hash ice cream

- PB and I stayed up way too late talking and philosophying ... ugh ... so much for getting a good night's sleep.

- had to get up and get to work by 7:30, a new contract at a new company ...
- legs felt pretty wrecked in the morning. I walked very slowly all day. The woman training me at work likes to take the stairs. I had to confess to her that I had just run a marathon. I spun around and went down backwards ... she laughed.
- getting out of the chair after sitting for a while was a little difficult, but not as difficult as going to the ladies' room. OOF!
- stayed up late and wrote my race report, so STILL didn't get enough sleep

- legs felt better, still sore, but I was able to go down stairs frontways
- after work and before supper I had an awards ceremony to go to ... I was sooo proud!

- post-race Chinese food celebration with my Coolrunning Montreal gang. We all ate like pigs ... (clockwise, starting at 2:00) ... tofu stuffed with crab and shrimp, salt and pepper pork chops, sesame beef, General Tao's chicken, white rice, and snow pea leaf with garlic. YUM YUM!!Another chicken dish loaded up with all sorts of vegetables arrived a few minutes later, but we couldn't wait ... we were too hungry and had to dig in and eat!

- (left to right) Don, GB (who ran the half), TB, me, Mercury (who ran the half), LifeAny, and Runningag (who ran the full)

- RG walked painfully down the stairs out of the restaurant. I ran down them past him like a mischievious urchin. TB was jealous of my "hardy constitution and incredible ablility to recuperate". Another late night ... OOF!!

- Headache
- Legs feel even better and I can walk at fast speeds, even want to run ... so I did so, down the stairs at work

- I cancelled supper with a friend and ate a sandwich. I had not even taken off my make-up nor brushed my teeth when I fall asleep at 8pm. I was exhausted, what with not having had enough sleep and starting a new job (the stress of a sharp learning curve and new environment!)

- Got up without the alarm this morning. If I had set it, I would have had the time to go run. Instead, I slept in and got 11 hours sleep. Let's say, I felt super-energetic having now gotten enough sleep. I'm going to have to find a way to expend some of this energy this weekend ... I feel fully recuperated! The real test will be running again ...

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