Monday, November 8, 2010

Roll with the punches

So on Thursday, I went out for a business lunch and was feeling great throughout it, but by 3.00 pm I started to feel a tickle in my throat and my muscles started to ache as if a cold was coming on. It is amazing how you can feel 100% perfect one minute and then literally within a 1/2 hour time period you feel lousy. By the day end my glands in my throat were tender and I had the chills. I took Friday off of work for I felt completely miserable but managed to make a Naturopath appointment in the afternoon. I figured if I went to the doctor they would either quickly give me an antibiotic to take or tell me to rest so my hope was for the Naturopath to give me something that would allow me to fight this thing ever so quickly. Over $75 later in supplements I was eager to start the battle beyond what I was already doing, the good thing is that I already felt a lot better than in the morning. I felt even better the next day but was still very fatigued so on Sunday morning I decided to drop down to the 10k race instead of doing the half marathon so I wouldn't make things worse.

So race day.... I went down with a fellow running friend and her daughter. My running friend was doing the half and her daughter was there to provide support which was nice. It was incredibly busy leading up to the start of the half which started at 10.00 am and as I bid all my friends a good race there was a pang of disappointment as I waited for my own race to start at 10.30 am. So I spent the next 30 minutes psyching myself up for the 10k by doing a light jog around the grounds. While I was doing this and trying to focus on the positive I felt stiff and heavy and I was dreading what might happen out there on the road. I did really enjoy though watching others do their warm-up and for the most part you can tell that these fellow runners are usually in the elite squad or part of the faster runners. Many of them were doing bum kicks, and leg swings, getting themselves warmed up and some were doing wind sprints; while 99% of the other runners were either inside or huddling together with pre-race nervousness and excitement. Even though I know doing this type of a warm-up is very effective before a race, I feel that because I am not a "fast" runner that I am not entitled to do them or would look silly doing them knowing that I won't place anywhere near these people. A mind set that I definitely need to work on.

So I forgot my Garmin at home charging which I was a little peeved about for I really wanted to capture my stats but figured in the end it was just as well that I should base my run on how I feel versus what I should or want to be doing. I heard Paula was running this race but couldn't find her in advance but managed to see her and her sister, Cara, ahead of me just after we started. I ran to catch up to them and we ran together for the first 4k which was a nice start. I purposely did not bring any water on me so at the 3k water stop I took some gatorade which I don't normally do for I find they often make it too strong but to my pleasant surprise it was nicely diluted, if only other races could follow the same formula. Up to this point my shins were back-talking to me and I felt like I was pushing things as opposed to finding a nice and steady warm-up rhythm. At the 4k mark, I started to loosen up and got ahead of Paula and Cara, and then I Paula may have given Cara her blessing to do her own race to because before you know it she was ahead of me. From the 5k mark on I was determined to catch up to her even if it was going to be a slow and steady process. At the 6k mark I stopped long enough to take a drink of Gatorade and by then my legs were all warmed up and I was feeling very good. At the 7k mark I made a concertive effort to pick my pace up slightly and did so again at the 8k and 9k mark. I still hadn't caught up to Cara yet and by the 9k mark I wasn't sure if it was even possible. In the final 200 meters I gave it everything I had but Cara remained steadfast ahead of me. Since I was not wearing a Garmin and there were no clocks on the route I had no idea of my time until my feet literally crossed the finishing mat. To my amazement and pleasant surprise the clock read 1:22:34 (the clock reflected the half start time), I would have been happy with a 55 minute finish given the circumstances.

Eventually I went to check my official time and it was 52:15 and I placed 4th in my age category. Not too shabby!!!! Of course I had to look up what it would have taken to place 3rd and I was off by just over a minute. Something to aim for next time when I am healthy. Oh, and Cara's name was just ahead of me on the results list and would you believe that after you take into account our start times she finished just under one, yes one, second ahead of me. Good on her!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Preparing for Angus Glen Half

It has been awhile since I have posted and the simple reason or excuse is time, not enough of it in the day.

Last night I went to run club to do the usual Wednesday night 10k route and my plan was to warm up for 2k or so and then run the rest at race pace, which is 5:30/k. Luckily Marlene and her hubby were out last night and that her normal running peeps were not to be found so she was stuck with me :-). I told her my plan knowing that it would be a walk in the park for her and she was more than happy to oblige in trying to keep that pace for me. So as planned, we took the first 2k easy and then picked it up to finish with a 5:39/k pace. Not bad at all but if you would have heard my breathing throughout the run, you would have thought that I either smoked a pack of cigarettes beforehand or was practicing for a night shift of phone sex with all that heavy breathing. Of course because of Marlene's amazing conditioning, she floated along breathing effortlessly like it was a walk in a park. I am determined to "catch up" to Marlene's current conditioning and last night's experience was only further motivation to get there.
In looking forward to the Angus Glen Half Marathon this Sunday, I do so with a little trepidation for I don't feel like I have put in the training, particularly speed work, to warrant a PB faster than 1:54:55 due to all the things going on in my life (i.e. Run4Rett event). I do want to give it my all but want to go in with something realistic given where I am at today.

Here are my times from the last two Angus Glen Half Marathon events:

2009 - 1:57:54
2008 - 2:03:11

My most recent Half Marathon time was back in late September at the Prince Edward County (PEC) Half Marathon of 1:58:47.

So my three time goals are as follows:

Time Goal A "Estatic" - 1:56-1:56:49
Time Goal B "Happy" - 1:57-1:57:49
Time Goal C "Content" - 1:58-1:59

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quebec City Marathon


How to intentionally run a personal marathon worst?
1. Travel with two young kids to your marathon destination race
2. Have your eldest decide that sleeping in a hotel is over-rated, especially the night before the race
3. Explore a new city on foot the day before, especially one that is extra hilly, and cover at least 20k within the day. Good thing though is hubby pushed the stroller throughout the day.
4. Decide to over-ride the common sense indicator within the brain and dismiss the fact that it was going to be a very hot and humid run the next day
5. Take a camera with you and decide to take lots of pictures along the way
6. Leave your Garmin behind so you don't know how you are doing

Some of you knew that I was training for the Quebec City marathon that was held Sunday, August 29th. Unfortunately I came down with a bad case of bronchitis 4 weeks before the big day and wasn't able to run for 2.5 weeks. Moreover, I only completed one 30k long distance before getting sick. So for the two weeks remaining, I went back and forth in my mind debating on whether I could still continue with the full or whether I should drop down to the half. In the end I obviously decided on doing the full? Why? For a couple of reasons: (1) When would I get a chance to go to Quebec City and do this again? (2) I reasoned if I take it easy and go in with no expectations that I should be able to finish although I didn’t realize there is finishing and there is finishing. So my lack of common sense prevailed despite the acknowledged training deficits and the expected heat.

The cruel twist of life was that on Saturday, the day before, it was extremely cool, to the point where we had to cover ourselves with a blanket and jackets while we watched an amazing marching parade that we were in the area for. I am sure I was not the only person on those streets that were praying to the weather gods to be wrong about the following day but nope right from the marathon start at 8.30 am it was hot and humid. In the peak of my run it was 38+ degrees with the humidity.

So it all started with me taking a taxi at 6.00 am to catch a that would take me to the town of Levis, which is across from Quebec City, to then board a bus that would take us to the starting line. On my bus ride I chatted with two guys, Tim, who was from Picton and happens to be on the PEC race committee (another race I am doing in a months time). You can tell he was an avid runner and this event would be a cakewalk for him, heat or no heat. The other guy was from California, his name was Kenneth and he was running his 28th marathon THIS YEAR. He only took up marathon running two years ago and obviously took to it like fish in water. So needless to say speaking with these two right from the onset created a little crack in my confidence level that I should be doing this but I quickly pushed such notions to the side before they cemented in my psyche and did me in even before I got to the start line.

We arrived in the middle of nowhere, or so it seemed. There was a hotel attached to a conference centre by the looks of it. At this point we had an hour to kill before the race and like most people I had to use the washrooms a couple of times. I was in disbelief that every time I had to go there were was never a line up for the women’s washrooms but there was a constant long line up for the men’s washroom. Finally building designers got something right when it came to designing women’s washrooms.

There were two waves to this event, if it was going to take you longer than 5:30 hours, they encouraged you to start at 7.30 am and anyone faster would start at 8.30 am. To get around “faster” runners from taking advantage of this earlier start time they said they would assign anyone starting in this wave a minimum of 5:30 as their final finishing time. I am told that the reason they couldn’t start everyone sooner was due to the ferry limitations.

Since I did not have any time expectations, I purposely did not wear my Garmin, for I feared that if I had it I would be constantly looking at it and judging myself as to where I was at in the race, either too fast or too slow. I wanted to take frequent breaks though and decided that I would walk at every kilometre marker for 30-60 seconds. Again I had no watch so I often went by feel. Within the first km of starting I kept hearing this thump, thump, thump and couldn’t place the sound so I looked back and much to my disbelief I saw two guys bouncing a basketball each as they ran. It was incredible to watch them and yes they planned to bounce these balls the entire race. I was able to get a photo of one of them with their bib number so I could look up their time afterwards and he finished in 4:10. Unbelievable.

Then there was another group of men who thought it was a great idea to run a marathon in lieu of throwing a stag party, or maybe this was just the prelude to the fun that was to be had afterwards. The groom to be, had some form of a wedding dress on with a veil and cans behind him and a few of his mates had special shirts with a matching tie printed on the front and printed words on the back of their shirts signifying this guy was getting married (in French). For the first few kilometres they were very boisterous and mischievous in their running and I wondered how the heck are they going to finish while burning all this extra energy but then I noticed a couple of them were sporting an iron man tattoo so I am sure this event is just child's play in comparison.

The first few kilometres of the event were relatively uneventful as we wound our way through suburban highways so to speak but eventually we came down to a road/path system that weaved alongside the St. Lawrence Seaway. The route was more or less a U shape; you started on the Levis side of the St. Lawrence river and then went West towards a bridge that you crossed to bring you to the other side as you made your way along the river again into the heart of old Quebec City. I ended up taking 170 pictures during the marathon, at least 40 of them are of kilometre markers, and I posted most of them already on Facebook. I have to say that what kept me going throughout the run was how scenic the route was and also how wonderful the volunteers were, even though for the most part I have no idea what they might have been yelling to me given that they all spoke French and my French is limited to a few words.

One interesting note was that they did not have any timing devices along the route to let you know how well (or not) you were doing despite having timing mats. I didn’t want to ask anyone around me what time it was for I feared the answer either way - that I was going too fast or too slow.

At the halfway point I felt great and thought this is going to be easier than I thought it was going to be and then within a kilometre of thinking this there was a monster hill. Like everyone else around me, I walked it. I reasoned that I have been doing well up to this point and might as well conserve my energy. I encountered a couple more hills and walked all of them, other than this section though the course was relatively flat. As I was approaching the bridge which was at the 13k marker (13 to go) the heat and fatigue hit me like a tidal wave coming out of nowhere. Up to this point we were exposed to the terrible heat but there were intermittent patches of shade that we danced through and now there was no shade to speak of and we were fully exposed. I started to really walk at this point and that is when I wondered what the heck I am doing out here. It was also the point that a few people were off to the side with medics and most people around me were also doing a considerable amount of walking. For the next few kilometres I ran, I walked, I walked and I ran. I kept thinking that my husband is going to be worried about me for I knew I was well off my original estimated time. I must admit that the final 6 kilometres were a little bit of a blur, I walked most of the last 6 kilometres, surprisingly though it hurt less to run but every time I did I became over heated, so I figured at this point my goal should just be getting to the finish line without becoming delirious and needing assistance.

Once I made it to the final kilometre I was practically in tears knowing the end was near. By then many of the spectators had dispersed and the volunteers were becoming more liberal in their allowance of pedestrians to cross the race course. With 200 meters to go I rounded a corner and finally saw the Finish Line and yet every step was a challenge but yet at least I can say I was running but it probably looked more like a shuffle to others watching. Just before crossing the finish line I stopped and took one last photo to document the 5+ hour journey, one that I hope never to repeat under such hot conditions again. It seemed like another kilometre of hobbling before I made it to the meeting stop where Mike and the girls were patiently waiting for me. I was very relieved to see them and plopped down vowing to never run a marathon anytime soon. That vow though only lasted a couple of hours as I bathed in the knowledge that I have survived and have the strength to do it again… some day but not soon though.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

This morning I was so tempted to go back to sleep when the alarm went off. I allowed for one snooze which I don't normally do when I get up this early for I find the snooze only plays with my mind more. As part of my early run routine I checked the forecast and it said that it was 16 degrees but the humidity was 94%. I didn't know what to expect this morning and when I felt goose bumps on my arms after heading outside I thought hmm, this might just be a good run after all.  The first 3k was perfect and I wish all my runs could be this temperature but then when the sun started to rise the "crispness" in the air evaporated and I started to feel more of the humidity. It was still much cooler or bearable than past weeks and overall I felt great.  I started with just over a 2.5k warmup and then decided to see what I could do this morning.

Warm-up: 2.5k +
Tempo 1k - 6:03/k - I thought I was going faster
Tempo 2k - 5:55/k - this part includes a hill
Tempo 3k - 5:37 - that is more like it
Tempo 4k - 5:34
Tempo 5k - 5:26

Overall I am quite pleased, especially since I am doing this solo and that there are quite a few ascents within this route.  I have only 5 weeks left before the Quebec City Marathon and although I did not get in the desired speed work leading up to it and the mileage I intended but given how hot and humid it has been I am very satisfied with what I have been able to do instead of taking the easy way out and dropping down to a half right from the start. Quebec City doesn't usually get heat waves like we do in this area but given that the entire world has been experiencing crazy weather patterns lately if they happen to have one during race weekend I will drop down to a half regardless of my training for I need to be smart and not ruin myself for the PEC a month later.

I should also note that I had an amazing run on Sunday as well. I ran with a friend up in Barrie who were doing 30k (Newmarket group were only doing 18k). I have never run up in Barrie before and to my surprise the entire 30k was flat. I don't think you can design a route in Newmarket for that distance. It was also very scenic and such a nice change. Of course the company made the experience too! It doesn't hurt that where they finish has a water fountain area where you can soak your legs or run through them to cool off. I think this part alone is worth the drive north, plus the fact that their running instructor provided freezies at the end. 

My overall pace on Sunday was 6:10/km.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Last night, Marlene and another running friend went out to do a 10k run. I can’t remember the last time I ran in the evening, for I have been running in the morning for the last few weeks due to the extreme hot weather we have been experiencing; which has provided for a more comfortable run. It was about 28 degrees and high thirty something with the humidity. I struggled right from the beginning which is an awful feeling and thought how the hell I am going to finish the full 10k without passing out. At the half way point we passed Marlene’s house and I asked her if I could refill my water which she was able to do but although it was a good thing to have the extra water available my stomach felt like it was going to heave and my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest.

I did try to encourage the two of them to go ahead for I knew I was keeping them back but they were faithful running friends and made sure they saw me to the finish. At the time I just wanted them to go ahead for I felt obligated to keep going but of course I appreciated it in the end.

I would have to say that this run comes out on top as the most uncomfortable run I have experienced to date. I know that my body does not react well to the heat on a good day but on the run last night every eating sin I have made this week came bubbling to the top and I vowed to get my act together once and for all. I know that even if I clean up my diet where I can successfully say I consistently eat clean I might struggle with the heat but at least I have done everything else within my control.

It took a few minutes to recover but then I was fine and it is if the torment of the past hour never even happened; which meant that vow I took on the run was dissolving into my memory banks with each minute that passed. However, I managed to restrict my post-run food intake to a very reasonable amount and passed up indulging further. Here is to the commitment of continuing this throughout the day.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Given the obnoxious humid and hot weather we were experiencing this week I had to give up my morning and evening runs (morning runs due to the kids) for I don't do well in the heat. As a result I went out for a bike ride on Wed and Thurs night. Prior to Wed, I had only biked 3x this year and before that I really haven't cycled in 5 years but before children I used to do a lot of cycling. So when I saddled up I wasn't sure whether it would still be too hot to go out and how I would enjoy the ride given my past 3 rides were pleasure rides with kids in tow; which is a totally different experience.

Well let's just say within 5 minutes of being on the road, I was in pure heaven. The feeling of going down a hill at 40-45km/hour is incredible and the immediate feeling of a breeze as you cycle along despite the incredible heat was amazing.  The other advantage of biking versus running is that you can see a much richer view of the landscape as you cover ground. It doesn't hurt when you live in a town that is on the border of the country side that has many horse farms, farm fields and quiet country roads to take you away from the bustle of your daily life. So when the opportunity came up to go last night with the hubby I was the first to get dressed.

Given that I went out the night before I didn't want to push myself and risk injury so I took the ride a little easy. So at the turn around point I told my husband to continue for a couple of kilometers so he could get some speed work in and we would eventually meet up on the return trip. Near the point where I thought we would merge together I stopped to see if I could see him coming and to take a water break. While I was waiting I decided I might as well do a few stretches and during this time, three cyclists passed and asked me if I needed any assistance.  I said I was okay but thanks and I am sure they would have each stopped to help me in any which way they could if I honestly needed the help.  I always thought runners were very friendly with each other but it was great to see that the cyclists up in this area are just as friendly with each other, it is almost like there is a cycling code of conduct. Now the big dilemma or happy challenge to solution is how do I keep my running mileage up AND incorporate 1-2 rides in a week. A big happy sigh!

Wed Cycling Mileage: approx. 20 km
Thurs Cycling Mileage: 22 km

Until my next ride....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Morning Run

Despite not having the best sleep I managed to not talk myself out of resetting the alarm when it went off at 4.45 am. I knew that it was my only shot of getting a run in today given the extreme hot weather we are experiencing. So by 5.00 am I was out the door.  Unfortunately last night my legs/ankles started to swell. I have been experiencing this off and on since having both children and it is the most uncomfortable experience for it feels like you are wearing heavy ankle weights and that your skin is too tight.  In the morning I felt like I had normal legs again but I knew I was still retaining at least 5 pounds of water and despite getting out early it was still 23 degrees, 32 with the humidex and after a slow start my legs started to feel full again. Arghhh. In the end I ran/walk 7.5k and I am proud of my accomplishment of being able to get up this early and get it done despite the challenges.  Last night and this morning though does provide another example that I need to overhaul my diet, plain and simple.

I am fascinated by the fact that when you give me a physical or even mental task I will plow through and demonstrate incredible determination and perseverance but when it comes to diet discipline I fail every single time. It is almost like the more I try the more I sabotage myself. I don't know how many times I have tried to keep a food journal and have never made it past day 1 and the countless books I have bought hoping that one would trigger a change within. Yet, I stuck to running 25k on Sunday when I could have found some very good excuses to not run or shorten my run without anyone casting a hint of judgment given the heat.  I don't get it and I don't know what it is going to take to switch that internal mechanism that will allow me to get on track and stay on track. How do other people do it?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Long weekend Recap

Where to start.... it is so hard to start the work week after having such a great long weekend. It started with packing up the family Wednesday night and heading to my parent's cottage for a mini-vacation. On Thursday, my other half was up for a 5k run so we drove to an old railway line in the area and although we only did 5k it actually was a challenging little run for the particular part of the trail we were on was made up of stones and despite it being flat terrain it required a lot more focus and pull on all your muscles. I turned over on my ankle a few times going over little rocks but thank goodness my ankles proved to be resilient. There are quite a few people from my running group that have taken quite a liking to trails and although the idea of running more scenic routes is very attractive I don't think I am a fan of all the foot obstacles and flies that buz in your ear. After getting back to the car, Mike drove back to the cottage and I ran back to add another 5k to my run for the day.

When I got back to the cottage we got ready to drive into a nearby town for the Canada Day festivities. This little town probably has no more than 200 people year-round and if you have never participated in a small-town Canada Day event then I encourage you to do so one day, especially if you are a city person for it is quite an entertaining experience. For instance, we heard there was a parade that was going to happen so we lined the main street patiently waiting for it to start and see what would it comprise of, given how small the town was. In the parade there were two fire trucks, a couple of other vehicles, a clown, a 4 person Veteran marching group, and a few kids handing out candy, Canada Day pins, and flags. Despite how small the parade actually was the main street ended up being lined with hundreds of people, I think everyone in the town came out for it and the surrounding cottage community. All in all, as to be expected but having said that it fun given the red and white spirit of everyone in attendance. We then headed back to the beach park to participate in the BBQ, be entertained by a local Karate/Tae Kwon Do group, an Indian women drum group, a heavy metal rock group (could do without), and a couple of locals trying their hand at Karaoke What a day!

On Friday, Mike and I headed to the St. Lawrence Seaway bike trail with Reilly for the day. We biked 50km total with a few breaks to refuel and ended up having lunch in Rockport, which is a very small hamlet, if that, that is known as a popular tourist destination to board one of the touring boats that take you up and down the St. Lawrence Seaway. It is actually quite a beautiful area and we wish we had brought our camera. I haven't biked this long in years and to my surprise my legs and ass held up quite well but boy did I suffer in the evening. My legs were so sore that I decided to abandon my plans to do a 25k run on Saturday and opt for a much needed day of recovery. The next day my legs actually were doing quite well considering how I was feeling the evening before but I still felt it to be a smart move to postpone my run. Instead Mike decided to go out for another 50k bike ride on his own. This time he didn't have me weighing him down and managed to do the same distance in a fraction of the time.

On Sunday I gathered up all my gear to run 25k and had Mike drive me out the distance. The running options in the area are not that great and I knew that if I was to do an out and back I wouldn't do the full distance so I figured this was the surest way to make my distance goal. I started running at 7.45 am and at first it was quite pleasant outside, warm but not unbearable. This feeling only lasted 3k as I started sucking back my water. Mike agreed to come meet me with only 8-10k to go to replenish my fluids so I thought I would be well hydrated throughout the run. At the 11k mark I had finished 2 of 3 water bottles but at this point I was extremely warm and felt that I would go through my last water bottle in the next couple of kilometres so when I passed at a rural ambulance office, I went in and asked if I could refill my water. Thank goodness it was open and they were more than agreeable to allow me to do so. Off I went thinking that I was in good shape again, since I didn't have to worry about rationing my water. I met up with Mike with only 11k to go and although I was hot and preferred not to run this distance alone I thought I could still do it. So with all bottles filled off I headed as Mike headed back to the cottage in a nice air conditioned car. Within a couple of kilometres after this little social visit, I wanted to stop for I quickly became very hot and uncomfortable and didn't know how I could muster up running the last 9k. Needless to say the last few kilometres were terrible, I was tempted at some many points to stop in at someone's house and ask them if I could use their phone to get a ride but figured no one would be in the cottage to hear the phone. I also toyed with the idea of hitch hiking but figured that wasn't a good idea either. So I continued to put one foot in front of me trying to muster up all the will I had to get through this run. In the last 5k I did a lot of frequent run/walks and felt like I was at death's door from being in the sun. At one point I saw a biker coming towards me and I was hoping that it would be Mike just checking on me but then that biker slowly morphed into a husband and wife pair and I was not to be rescued. I also prayed and willed that the next navy blue mini-van would be ours but that never happened either. I would have to say it was the loneliest and most dreadful run of mine to date and if I had to do it over I would pass. It is amazing what you think and even don't think about during these types of harrowing runs. Well the good thing is that my legs came out of that experience a shade darker; which is a small miracle in itself for it takes a lot for them to tan. Unfortunately this lovely shade darker stops at a ring around my ankles where my socks were. I guess you can't get everting right.

Onto the next journey... trying to get a couple of runs in this week in the midst of an unbearable heat wave.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thursday Workout

Last night was clinic night at the Running Room, 2nd week of this session, and we started Tempo work. Since my setback in early March I have not done any speed work so I wasn’t sure how tonight was going to go, especially since I was at a Client site all day and did 4 hours total of driving, so needless to say I was a little tired. The plan was for us to do a 2.5k warm up to the beginning of where we would start our 3k Tempo run and then do a 2.5k cool down back to the store. Some people stop to reset their watches after the 2.5k but most people just continue into the Temp without a break. I stopped a 100 meters or so before the starting point and walked to give my legs a break. I find that my shins are always a little tight when I start out on a run but when I take a short walk break and then continue everything is great. Anyways I was the only one that did this, leave it to me to rebel. As soon as I started I felt great and gained momentum quite quickly. I definitely started the 1k a little too fast but boy did it feel great.

Breakdown of the 3k Tempo Run:
1k: 5:01/km
2k: 5:15/km
3k: 5:04/km

Our instructor provided Tempo time ranges before we started based on our best times using the MacMillan calculator. So when I plug in my best ½ marathon time from this year, I get the following (when I do my best marathon time, the times are slower).

Endurance Workouts Pace/K

Recovery Jogs                   6:44 to 7:03
Long Runs                        6:07 to 6:44
Easy Runs                         6:07 to 6:26

Stamina Workouts Pace/K
Steady-State Runs             5:30 to 5:40
Tempo Runs                      5:17 to 5:30
Tempo Intervals                 5:12 to 5:23

I definitely did yesterday’s workout way too fast but I needed that ego boost given the set back I experienced in the past few months. So based on the calculator results above, my Tempo run average should be between 5:17 and 5:30. Next week I will certainly give it a try and stay within that zone and see how I feel.

Marlene I couldn’t help but think of you during this Tempo run for the last time we did these runs, my goal was always to stay on your tail. There is no hope in hell that I would be able to do this now given the incredible progress you have made but one can only hope. I hope you have a great Marathon experience tomorrow in Seattle!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Morning Runs

This morning I have set the record for the number of consecutive days and the # of times I have gotten up in the morning to do a workout EVER, which is 2!!! Yes, I know quite an amazing feat - lol. So the last two mornings I have been out the door at 5.00 am for a run. Yesterday I ran 7.5k and this morning I ran 8.15k. Usually I play a lot of mind games with myself and try to negotiate some more sleep which ends up leaving no time for any early morning workout but this week it was actually a smooth transition from the bed to my running shoes once the alarm went off.

It helps to hear the birds chirping away and knowing that the running conditions are far more favourable at this time of day then in the evening, 18 degrees versus mid twenties + humidity. Although I wore my Garmin to track the distance I tried not to look at my pace or even the elapsed time, for I really wanted to tune into my body and let it dictate the pace. In the end of both runs I went a lot slower than normal and although that does bug me a bit for I don't want to fall into a comfort zone, the runs were quite enjoyable. Part of the enjoyment stems from the fact that hardly anyone else was out at this time, besides the birds, the squirrels, and the occassional paper delivery person, and the absence of the usual hustle and bustle of a neighbourhood provides an undescribable state of being at ease within the body and the mind. After these two days there is definitely something alluring in running at this time when the rest of everyone is asleep so I am confident that a pattern has begun and I actually now look forward to my next morning run.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I did it!

After countless failed attempts of getting up early to go for a run, today I did it! I set the alarm for 5.00 am so I could get up and fit in an 8k run before 6.00 am. I started to hear the birds come alive around 4.00 am and when the alarm finally went off at 5.00 am, I snoozed it via my husband. The alarm is on his side of the bed and he unconsciously snoozed it on my behalf based on my past practice. For the next 10 minutes I dozed on and off and debated with some internal force was winning in the fight to stay in bed. It is quite amusing when I look back at how the mind has an internal struggle or battle with itself on what part is going to win out in either getting the body out of bed or staying and sleeping for another hour.

Well, I don't remember exactly what put me over the edge for getting out of bed but I did it. I was able to get everything on and ready in 5 minutes flat, including brushing the teeth and was out the door by 5.15 am. I was determined to get at least 7k in regardless so off I went. Since the birds were so alive this morning, I decided I would try listening to them this morning and in the end had a great 7.5k run. I was back just after 6 am and quickly got into my usual morning routine of getting myself and the girls ready for the day. When I got back just after 6 much to my surprise, my husband greeted me already showered and fully dressed to go to work. This would mean he got up just after me; which is not like him. I asked why he got up early and he said that he heard the garage door open (I didn't want to leave the front door open, so I put the house keys in the garage) and he thought that maybe I was closing it after it being open all night. Let's just say he has a bad habit of forgetting to close the garage door. Anyway, he felt guilty enough to arouse him from his slumbar and figured he might as well start his day early. Hopefully he is not cursing me tonight for getting him up so early. I was hoping that running in the morning would free me up tonight to take the girls to the park but now it is raining and it will be an indoors evening. Oh well, can't control everything.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mississauga Half....

In the last two months I have not been able to put in many quality runs and last Sunday's run of 23k was brutal so I had no idea what to expect yesterday. Maryanne and I decided to run together, or at least start off together, and her goal was to break 1:55. It would be a small miracle if I was able to pull this off given my previous training but figured what the heck what do I have to lose but would be secretly happy with a sub 1:57.

Maryanne and I agreed to our 4 minute running/35 second walk breaks for at least the first 2/3 of the race. So off we started.... you can tell Maryanne had some great energy yesterday for she looked like she was weaving ahead effortlessly as I turned my feet even faster to keep up and relished the knowledge that I would be getting frequent walks to slow my heartbeat that was pulsing incredibly fast. I knew that I might be starting out too fast but I thought that maybe the pull of Maryanne's running mojo might pull me along.

I really enjoyed the course, especially since the first 10k was in the shade,as I found it to be a very peaceful route scenery wise. My biggest complaint is that the race did not implement start waves. In fact both the half and the full started at the same time and there really wasn't any order to who was where in the starting corral so for the first 14k, we found ourselves constantly side stepping and weaving between people to get ahead. I know I expended a lot of unnecessary energy doing this but I know that if I didn't, I would not have finished in the time I did. It would definitely be my recommendation for the future to implement start waves like they are doing for many races now a days. I can't remember exactly when I told Maryanne to not worry about me and just do what feels best for her, it might have been at the 16k mark. I tried hard to keep up to her but it was not to be had. With 3k to go I desperately wanted to walk the rest of the way in but I told myself that even if I slow it down I need to keep running, just put one foot in front of the other and I will get there soon. I did end up walking at each marker for about 30-40 seconds and forced myself to start back up each time. At about the 19-20k mark I passed one guy who was wearing flip flops and carrying a bag around his back. When I saw this I remember saying, if he can do it in flip flops I can do this and I can't let a guy in flip flops beat me to the finish. I can honestly say that if the crowd support wasn't there in the last 500 meters I would have walked in but the energy you get from their cheers and support can't help to pull you right up to the finish. In the end I finished in 1:56:42, sub 1:57 yahoo!!!

The post-food race was excellent. You had your standard bananas and bagels but they also had an array of packaged nuts, nut bars and sugary sweet popcorn. Yumm! Maryanne and I took the next hour easy, refuelling and hydrating ourselves for it turned out to be a sunny day before we made our way to the 40/41k marker to cheer on our fellow comrades who were doing the full event, There were over a dozen of our running friends who were running the full and it was such a great experience being able to cheer them on. A couple were successful in qualifying for Boston, many boasted PB's in the end, and/or had amazing runs given the training they were able to put in up to this event. Congrats to everyone who ran, it is an accomplishment in itself regardless of final time!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Chicken Pox

I am starting to wonder how much negative karma my husband and I have built up over our past lives because it seems that we are in a payback zone these last 5 years. The latest issue is that Reilly has come down with Chicken Pox. Yes, Chicken Pox! She was vaccinated for it and I was under the belief that this meant you wouldn't get Chicken Pox but apparently that isn't the case. There have been a handful of cases within her daycare in the last two weeks and according to the Public Health policy that the daycare follows, your child can still attend the daycare as long as they don't have a fever. Given that Chicken Pox is highly contagious and can spread outside of a fever, we knew it was going to be a matter of time before the girls came down with it. As of this morning Reilly had no fever and despite having a couple of dozen spots over her body she was otherwise fine, so off she went to daycare to spread the love. I am only hoping Reilly truly does get a milder case given that she has had the vaccine, for of all people she doesn't need this additional stress on her body. And of course we had a full social calendar this coming weekend that included a BBQ on Saturday and a birthday party on Sunday that will need to be cancelled. I have no idea how this will affect our long weekend plans the following weekend. One day at a time I guess. I am really trying to keep my sense of humour and roll with this punch but I feel like throwing up my hands to say "what else" but I am afraid to for I know it can get worse. Knowing my luck, I will develop Shingles given that my immune system is already compromised (Shingles is something you can develop if you are exposed to Chicken Pox but have already had it in your childhood). I am crossing my fingers and toes that this won't happen. We do know that it is inevitable for London to get it too and I am hoping that she actually comes down with it in the next day or two so we can just get it over with. The funny thing is, ever since I have seen Reilly's spots I am constantly feeling itching all over my body. The itching is real but I know my mind is causing it to happen. Here is to an interesting weekend ahead.

On a running note, one of our group members is good friends with Predrag Mladenovic. He won the Mississauga Marathon in 2007 with a time of 2:23. Predrag came out to speak to us about his experience with the objective of providing those who were running this weekend with some additional motivation and/or inspiration. He was quite a humble man with an amazing sense of humour. Apparently in his past, his running career was mainly geared to shorter distances and if I remember correctly his fastest 10k time was 30 minutes and change. Incredible. His talk was definitely more on the entertaining side as he admitted going through a moment of panic when he was at the start line of the Mississauga marathon as he processed the fact again that he would need to run 42k and basically what did he get himself into. So it was great to hear that even someone of his calibre acknowledged that 42k is a long and challenging distance. Of course we were all interested in his training regime, his peak mileage, what he eats before and during a race, etc. but he wasn't as forthcoming with that information. I don't think it was because he didn't want to share but rather he is so in tune with his body and what it needs that he viewed all this stuff as an individual thing. One interesting thing I did note though is that he did mention that his longest run during his training cycle up to the/a marathon is only 30k. The wheels have been turning for me since this comment as to how I might integrate this piece of information within my own training, we will see.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting back on track - one step at a time

I have rewritten the first sentence of this blog entry countless times as I try to decide how to start it off. My repeated attempts to try to capture what I would like to say, further reinforces my current struggle. It all started back on March 7th, running the Chilly Half, when I developed pneumonia. Unfortunately since developing pneumonia I have experienced a significant set back in my running and pretty much have lost several months of great training. Not only has it affected my speed, endurance but I have had to drop down in two events from the full to the half which is a huge disappointment. Getting sick has also isolated me from my training group given the difference in paces and distances and I have had to do a lot of runs by myself which has been hard to do. So right now I feel like I have fallen off the running rails but I need to get back on track for many reasons, one being that it is a critical stress reliever. So the question is what am I going to do about it?

Here is my 4 week plan and goals:


  • Current week ->34k
  • May 17th - May 23rd -> 40-44k
  • May 24th - May 30th -> 44-48k
  • May 31st - June 6th -> 44-48k
  • June 7th - June 13th -> 40-44k
(1) May 16th - Mississauga Half: Goal time - 1:57
(2) May 30th - Ottawa Half: Goal time - 1:55 or better
(3) June 13th - Lake Placid Half: Goal time: 1:55

(1) By June 13th I am going to have lost 4 pounds

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekend Summary

This morning I got up at 6.00 am to join a friend, Maryanne, for a 21k run at 6.40 am. I sometimes even wonder how crazy I am to forgo an opportunity to sleep in an extra hour on the weekends.  Today though, I needed to get in my run before 9.00 am for I had signed the girls up for the mini-mile run event that was offered as part of the Run for Southlake event.  My run with Maryanne was great, we chatted the entire way which made the run very enjoable.  Despite it being 10 degrees outside, we experienced a terrible cold wind going east despite and wondered if we shouldn't have worn gloves and a touque. In the end though we felt great and I had to dash before being able to do any stretching. I know I will pay for that tomorrow.

The girls' event started at 10.00 am and it was only $5 a piece to participate. I figured it was a great opportunity to get London exposed to the fun of running and overall it is just a fun thing to do as a family. When we arrived I retrieved the girls’ bibs and proudly pinned them on Reilly and London. Reilly of course was rather disinterested in the whole affair but was glad to be out as a family and London was interested but a little intimidated by all the people so she clung to me like glue.

I have no idea how long the “mini-mile” route was for they roped off some trees in a field which had the kids starting and ending in more a less a circle.  The organizer for this event started the children off in two waves. The first wave included children 6 and over and the second wave was for 5 and under. It was relatively informal which was perfect for the young kids and it was hilarious to see some of the more keen kid’s edge themselves up to the front.

London insisted on holding my hand the entire time; however, I managed to break away a couple of times to snap a picture of her. I must say I am proud that she ran the entire way without stopping and was happy to receive her medal at the end. We turned back to find Reilly and Daddy who were bringing up the rear. Reilly’s legs were cooperating this morning so Mike walked with her the entire route and despite being the last child to cross the makeshift finish line I was ecstatic that she was able to participate. One of her daycare classmates recognized Reilly and came over to say hello which was really sweet. Especially since Reilly never provides any feedback to others in an obvious way.

We then proceeded into the arena to get our pancake breakfast which everyone enjoyed. London accompanied me on running some errands in the afternoon and she proudly sported her medal around her neck to anyone that would listen or look at her.

Yesterday we decided to load up the car with our bikes and go on our first bike trip of the year as a family. I have probably biked 3x total in the last 5 years so I was excited to get on a bike for I did quite a bit of biking before children. So off we went, London being pulled behind me and Reilly behind Mike. We decided to use two bike carriers for a couple of different reasons, one to share the load of pulling some extra weight and two, because we have found that when we put the girls together Reilly slouches considerably which is not good for her spine, as she is now showing extreme signs of scoliosis, so we need to keep her in a good posture. The Wike allows for that due to some special seating we have inserted that includes supportive bolsters.

The Caledon trails were great, the paths varied from packed dirt, to crushed but packed stones, to looser stones. The only downfall is that every time the path crossed a road, it had gates to restrict access to other vehicles but made us slow down to a walk to make sure we eased our way through. There was only one gate that warranted actually lifting the bike carriers over which was a pain in the butt (see below) for an example of the tight fit.

We packed a lunch and some snacks so we could make a day out of our little adventure. We found a perfect spot as you can see for this ended up being the only place with a picnic table, let alone a covered one.  

We were fortunate that we saw an Elementary school in the middle of nowhere which offered the kids an opportunity to stretch their legs and play around; otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to go as long. Here are some snaps from that part of the leg.

In the end we probably biked for about 22k which was an excellent start for acclimatizing my bum to my bike seat. Boy is it sore today!!!!  Since it was such a success Mike and I have decided to try to plan a biking adventure every Saturday with the girls. Next week we have decided to try Niagara Falls, pending weather.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Small miracles can happen

I have been struggling to get 4 runs in during the week due to work, the girls, and everyday stuff and yesterday I had a thought, albeit a crazy one, that maybe we could put the girls in the Wike and run to London's skating lesson. Given that the facility is only 2 miles away. Now on the surface this seems like a very reasonable idea but here is the fine print. My husband does not run, although he has expressed interest in taking it up for the sole purpose of being able to complete a sprint duathlon this year. He loves biking but there are not really any bike competitions and he realizes that if he wants to partake in some fun events he is going to have to take up running. Now you must know that Mike has been vehement in the past about not taking up running, so the mere notion of him wanting to run was exciting.

So the first part in making this idea work is convincing him that this would be an excellent way to start. We could take frequent walk breaks and break up the running in two sections with a huge rest in-between. Another factor is that since my husband does not run it only makes sense that I be the one to push the Wike, at least most of the way, to even out our running levels; however, I have never run before the Wike, let alone do it with both girls with a combined weight of about 90 pounds. So I did not know what exactly I was getting myself into. The last factor is that although it is only 2 miles to our destination, it is marked by significant up and down hills. I was determined though to give it a try and make it work. To my pleasant surprise, my husband agreed to give it a try. So off we went...

It was the longest, hardest 2 miles I have ever done. I have no idea how others run with a stroller and maybe they have a better designed stroller than we do and/or less weight to deal with. I found that going downhill was actually harder on the body than going up hill for you had to actually hold the stroller back so it wouldn't take you flying forward, needless to say my upper body got an incredible work out but my form was terrible during the process. The uphills also proved to be a challenge and I had no choice to share the burden of pushing it up the hill. Although we were only going 2 miles given the load, the newness to the whole running with the Wike experience and Mike's virgin running legs, we did a run/walk strategy and made it to the arena just in time. On the way home we decided to try a different route for the hills were just too steep to really make it enjoyable and had a much better experience on the way home. We still had to alternate pushing the stroller and took frequent walk breaks but in the end we covered over 6k total and most importantly Mike was not scared off from doing this next Monday.

So there is hope out there to all those with significant others who have declared not to join the running club. Some day it might just happen and when you least expect it. Now here is to hoping that Mike will completely catch the running bug and maybe one day we can cross a marathon finish line together but I know I am getting ahead of myself now.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Reilly!!!!

I can't believe it has been almost six weeks since my last point. There have been a few reasons for this absence but I will get into that in another post.

First and foremost I need to recognize a special little girl's birthday, Reilly Roo!!!! Today Reilly is 5 years old and what a journey the last 5 years has been. Even though we have had some considerable ups and downs it is amazing how quickly 5 years can pass. We were invited to a friends bowling birthday party for their two girls that were having a combined birthday. The two girls turned 4 and 6 and also have birthdays about 3 weeks apart. We were told in advance by other friends with special needs children that they actually have a "wood frame device" that can be used to push the ball from. It was great to be able to include Reilly, although truthfully she probably cared less.

Seeing all the other children at the birthday party I got a little ticked at how much Reilly has been robbed of and how lucky the other parents are with respect to really seeing the personality characters of each of their children. I often wonder who Reilly would have been should she have been normal. Would she still sport her beautiful smile all the time and be the centre of attention or would she be a little reserved and the one who observes others before acting. The worst is not knowing what is going on in her mind and whether we are truly meeting her needs and desires. Damn Rett Syndrome. Well Reilly Roo I love you dearly and will continue cherish your smile and the desires you do express and will do my best to make the next 5 years of your life as happy as possible for you.

On a running note, I am just getting back to running after a huge set back from a bout of pneumonia 5 weeks ago now. I did a 14k run last Sunday and today I was aiming to do 17k. Unfortunately I had to run alone today which I am not used to for long runs and started off very stiff and slow. To help with the run this morning I uploaded all new music to help distract me. I must admit at about 5-6k I wondered how the heck I was going to do 17k today and I was looking at my Garmin obsessively at my progress each kilometer. I tried to refocus and eventually at about 9k I fell into a nice groove and then at about 13k I realized that if I wanted to follow a certain path home then this route might actually bring me to about 18k. Well let's just say I estimated wrong and I ended up having to do 20.5k. However, I actually felt stronger and more confident in the last 5k then in the first 8-10k of my run and felt like I passed both a physical and psychological milestone.

As I mentioned earlier I am clawing my way back from illness and my pace has suffered terribly. Today I managed a 6:15/km average for the 20.5k run. Given the circumstances I am ecstatic with that pace.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Great Run!

So yesterday, I went to the local Running Room for a regular Wednesday run night with some of my marathon clinic memebers. There weren't many people out probably due to the much anticipated hockey game with Canada playing Russia. So 5 of us from our group headed out for a 10-11k run following our usual Wed route and everything started the same way as every other Wednesday but last night was different...
I really enjoy running and look forward to most of my runs but rarely can I say that I have had a really good run physically, where I feel light on my feet and run for miles and miles at a great pace without "feeling it". Well last night the stars and the moon were aligned and I had such a run. I know this sounds funny but it was almost like I experienced a sense of enlightenment within the body but rather it be mental it was physical.  I hope this means I have reached a new level in my running but even if this was just a temporary state of running bliss, I am grateful for it.
So my stats from last night are as follows, nothing special or different in the numbers:
Distance: 10.82 k
Time: 1:05:51
Pace: 6:05/k
Avg HR: 142 bpm
Feeling: Awesome!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hump Day

Today is pajama day at my daughter's daycare, one of my favourite days for them for it makes the morning dress time a lot easier. If only work had such an occassional dress code - lol.

I am turning 36 this summer which is a little daunting for so many different reasons. As a result I have set the goal to be in the best physical shape by my birthday and that means losing the 10 or so pounds around my waist that I have accumulated from two pregnancies and stress eating habits.  So today I got up at 5.30 am, normally I have this intention but get lured back to sleep by some good dream and listening to the ego as she rationalizes how it is better to sleep then workout. Anyways I have just completed Jillian's 30 Day Shred Video, Workout 1.  Yesterday I also started a push up challenge with myself after reading other people's blogs about doing them. I tried to do men's pushups and managed to only do 6. I took a break and was only able to do 25 modified push-ups. Oh well it is a start. With Jillian's workout you do a couple of sets of push-ups and now my arms feel a little jelly like as I type this up.

There is much to talk about but I need to get ready for the day. One thought to leave with though, is when is the last time you jumped in a puddle? Despite it snowing here, yesterday afternoon I picked the girls up from daycare and there are a few puddles from the place to the car. My youngest was determined to jump/splash in every puddle along the way. At first my reaction was don't do that but then I thought, why not.  Seeing the pure joy of her face making a mess was all worth it. Reilly looked on with a smile and almost a longing to join her, so I took her to the nearest puddle and let her step into it. It didn't make the same splash but you can tell that she was happy to participate in her own way.  So the next time you see a puddle, don't walk around it, take a big step into it and enjoy the mess it might create! It is only dirt and water but the satisfaction of doing something so carefree is worth it.


Monday, February 22, 2010

The Weekend - a distant memory already

Over the weekend I logged 15k on Saturday and 21k on Sunday. A successful running weekend! On the home front my husband and I spent some quality time with Reilly. London was at the grandparents so we took Reilly swimming on Saturday afternoon, one of her favorite activities. It was actually really nice to give her this time, for usually London, believe it or not, takes up a lot of our time and attention around the house.

Saturday night we had a few of my running friends over and although we did talk and reminisce about past runs and events my husband did not feel out of place. I am hoping over time he will wear down and join us crazies out on the road but the more I hint at this, the more he resists. It is funny that since we were all running (except for one who was on the injury list and my husband) the next morning at 8.30 am it was not a late night. I guess that is the difference when you get a group of die hard runners out on a Saturday evening, an early night and healthy eaters. I had a chocolate pecan dessert and would you believe that out of eight of us, no one dared took a piece. Now that is discipline or a reflection of how we all have changed our habits.

On Sunday we also visited with our neighbors who are in their fifties and don’t have any grandchildren yet. The husband is quite the pianist and I insisted he show off his musical talent for the girls, especially Reilly. It was amazing to see Reilly light up as soon as he started playing some show tunes. It is interesting that most girls with Rett Syndrome love music, it is almost like that part of their brain is more developed and consistently so with all girls with RS. For instance, one of my friend’s daughter who has RS, loves classical music but only classical music. Moreover, she loves it so much she has to listen to classical music, almost every minute she is awake and will indicate by getting upset when a song comes on that she doesn’t like. It is interesting to note her likes and dislikes change throughout the day, and day to day.

It was a rare occurrence for London to fall asleep early but last night she did just after 8 pm, so I had some unexpected freedom to do whatever I wanted and last night I felt like taking it easy. So I watched a Canadian movie called Saint Ralph. It was released back in 2005 but I never heard of it before. Anyway it is set in the 1950’s and it is about a fourteen year old boy whose mom is in a coma. I missed the first bit of the movie so I am not sure how she ended up in a coma but he comes up with this crazy notion that if he wins the Boston Marathon that it will be the miracle needed to pull her out of it. So the movie is about his journey of him training for the Boston Marathon and employing some interesting running strategies along the way. It has some cute moments and if I wasn’t a runner I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much as I did, especially with an ultimate goal of someday qualifying for Boston.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yahoo - Friday is here!

I am sure most people are echoing my thoughts on thank goodness it is Friday! For me it has been a fairly quick week but who doesn’t look forward to the end of the weekend? Despite not being able to run this past weekend I managed to fall back into a similar routine this week with the following runs:

Monday – 7k, nice and easy (don’t usually run on Monday’s but it was a stat holiday)
Wednesday – 11k nice and easy
Thursday – Tempo run – 4k warm-up; 3k Tempo and 3k cool down

I was in a rush to get out of the house last night for my run and left my Garmin at home, so I don’t know my average stats but extrapolating from other’s results I probably did the 3k in an average pace of around 5:00/km to 5:05/km. It is such a great feeling to be able to push myself out of my comfort zone. Although I am still amazed at how much of a role adrenalin plays on race day for what pace seems impossible to maintain during practice runs becomes doable during race day. I think the trick is not to doubt your self going into the race. Something I will have to work on.

Anyways I hope everyone has a great Friday and good weekend ahead of running!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Resetting Expectations

So my husband and I had big plans for this past weekend. We took the afternoon and made it to my parent's place at dinner time.  We had a great dinner and start to the weekend.... and then my hubby got hit hard with the stomach bug shortly afterwards.   He missed watching the opening ceremoies and was AWOL for all of Saturday and Saturday night, for he became best friends with the bathroom. No more needs to be said here.  Needless to say we had to abort our getaway to Ottawa, much to our mutal dissapointment.  On Saturday I thought I was next in line to catch this awful bug for I developed terrible chills all day, aches and pains in the muscles and bones that wouldn't go away. I resigned to the fact that this is it, for that is how it started for Mike.  I had no choice though to carry on with the day with Mike already being out but managed to get to bed early.  Much to my pleasant surprise and probably to my parents as well, I felt a lot better on Sunday. Hallelujah!

My other half was feeling a bit better by Monday and we all went out for a skate on the lake.  Here are some photos of London skating or rather getting acquainted with her new skates and the new feeling of being on ice. It was great that she wasn't intimidated at all. I think she is determined to play hockey like her dad.  She is starting to get a mean slap shot with her hockey stick in the basement.  

Since Reilly is not steady on her feet on the best of days, there is no way we would try putting her on skates. Instead she enjoyed being pampered like a snow queen in a sled. Here she is sporting my sunglasses, there was quite a reflection coming off the snow.

My parents have had this cottage for three years and each winter season has been very different then the last. This year they haven't received much snow so no real opportunities for snow shoeing but the lake has frozen so nicely that you can actually skate across it without any real issues.  I have never skated on a lake before let alone going across it and I must admit at first I was a little unsettled wondering if the ice was thick enough but after coming across some clear patches it was quite evident that it was at least 16 inches thick. Here are some cool pictures that we took, at least we think they are cool given that we are city folk and rarely do things like this.

You can tell that I am a city girl when I was fascinated by the fishing huts. Most of them had a heat source that fed to the outside and windows with curtains.  In some ways they were like little homes on the ice.   While we were out on the lake throughout the weekend and even during the night we often heard a very distinct sound coming from the lake. The best way to describe it would be that of a drum or even a car door slamming but magnified.  I am told it has something to do with the ice fracturing or freezing but it is not the sound that you would expect with ice changes.  Either way it was a little unnerving at times.

Unfortunately I did not get any runs in over the weekend as a result of Mike being under the weather and my own stomach doing summersaults. I am dissapointed about this but what can you do. I am hoping that this unintended break will allow me to come back stronger and faster than before. 


Friday, February 12, 2010

Go Canada Go!!!!

The Vancouver 2010 Olympics start today and I look forward to seeing the opening ceremonies later on.  Here is hoping that they get some cold weather out there and I would be more than happy to give them soe of ours.  I am more partial to the summer Olympics sports but it will be still exciting to watch the various events, more so since we are hosting the games.  Go Canada Go!!!

Reilly is feeling better and no one has caught the bug so it looks like we are still heading to the cottage after lunch, just need to put in a half day of work before we are off. On a running note I kicked some ass out there last night. It is amazing to see my improvement this session over the last few clinics. I probably had some mental barriers around speed work and I am definitely more conditioned and healthy this time around.  Marlene and I started together after our 3k warmup and I was determined to stay right on her the entire time, or as long as possible. I managed to do that for the first 3k of the tempo run but then she had some fire in her and took off, going well under 5:00/k pace. Impressive!  My average for the 4k tempo portion was 5:09/k. I am truly estatic and hope to keep this up for the rest of the clinic, injury free.

So I hope everyone has a great weekend, for some of us it is a long weekend for we get Monday off as a statutory Family Day holiday. 


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Parenting - Fun Stuff

On Tuesday evenings both girls have swimming. London goes with her Daddy for regular swimming lessons and I take Reilly to our local hospital that has a warm therapeutic salt water pool that is staffed with volunteers. She has been going for almost 2 years now and really enjoys it. The assigned volunteer is supposed to work through a program that the physiotherapist sets up but Reilly beats to her own drum and will have nothing of it. For instance, her volunteer is supposed to work on leg strength and has Reilly sit on a ledge and then asks her to stand up to build the quad muscles. Reilly just thinks the volunteer is hilarious and refuses to stand up. Instead she giggles and has this look like why would I want to stand when I am perfectly comfortable sitting on the ledge. Who is the smart one? I must give the volunteer credit for trying. They have even tried reverse psychology and asked Reilly to sit but Reilly always has the last laugh. She would rather just float on her back or walk around the shallow end with a huge smile on her face. These volunteers are amazing and it is also more amazing that I don't need to get in the water with her either.

So Reilly had a great swim session on Tuesday night and had a great night sleep. She went to daycare and within an hour we got a call that she has thrown up. I came home from work and let's just say yesterday was spent caring for her and doing loads of laundry from each aftermath.  Unfortunately I had to forgo my run or any alternate exercise given the circumstances. She is doing much better today as we have only had two little disasters and she seems to back to her smiley self.  So I think I have the clearance from hubby to go running (he is a super dad but when it comes to throwing up his stomach gets queasy). It is funny that both of us were feeling off yesterday dealing with it but I am pretty sure it was 100% psychological.

Anyway, here is to a good run tonight!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Reilly Roo

On my way home tonight from work I was thinking on how I can incorporate my little Reilly Roo and Rett Syndrome (RS)  into my blog. It is easy to keep it as a running blog but I do want to give Reilly and RS a voice somehow, someway.  The challenge though is that Reilly is severely disabled. For instance she can not talk, use sign language, point or even coordinate her limbs to give us a hug or kiss. As a result there are little opportunities to relay stories like I did earlier on with London's little bathroom scene with me this morning.  So sometimes I feel guilty that I don't do "enough" with Reilly or "engage" her enough but my standards of what "enough" and "engage" means are based on my definition and not necessarily hers.

Anyways I kept this dialogue up all the way home while listening to CBC in the background and then to my disblief I heard they were going to interview Ian Brown who wrote 'The Boy in the Moon', a story about his severely disabled son. It was funny how I was looking for some answers and wouldn't you know it some of them came through this interview.  I haven't believed in coincidences for awhile, so I listened....

The hardest part for me is to put into words what I took away from this interview. I can easily process it in my own mind but to manufacture the right words is another battle and I don't know if I can do it justice.  I did find a quote that speaks to one message that stood out for me.  He stated that "with Walker, you can just be there and it is true. It reminded me that the truest story is the story that is right there: the story that you honestly experience as opposed to what you think you should experience."  These words couldn't have been timed better for I need to continue to work on staying in the present moment with Reilly and enjoying things at a different level or rather from a different vantage point.  I was going to use the word simpler but that is not fair or just, for she has taught me some invaluable lessons in the last 5 years.   When I bring myself back to the present with such reminders I really embrace being present with the girls and getting pure enjoyment over the simplest things, such as guiding Reilly through some funky dance moves in the living room and seeing the brightest smile on her face. 

So Reilly you will have to be patient with me as I find your voice through my fingers as I continue this journey of learning and living (and London you are not out of my thoughts, you will play a pivotal role in this journey as well - but I would appreciate some uninterrupted sleep during the night, please).

To read more about the Boy in the Moon that has won the Charles Taylor award....

Life is Like that...

Borrowing from the Reader's Digest "Life is Like that" column, this morning I was getting ready with my soon to be three year old daughter, London, perched in her usual position on top of the toilet seat watching me get ready.  I had just come out of the shower and had a towel around me as I started to straighten my hair with the heated straightener. I don't know how many times I have done this in the past with London watching on giving me step by step instructions as if she is the mom and I am the child. It is quite funny. Today, however, she then asked if I was going to straighten and then proceeded to pat her private parts. At first I didn't get what she was saying and then the light bulb went on. I had to explain to her without laughing too much that the straightener was for the hair on one's head only. In her little mind, she was still thinking well why not?  I have no idea where she got the notion that it could be used in other areas and I could never imagine such an application but boy did she make me chuckle with the notion.  It reminded me that I should probably store my make-up in a a place she can't easily get to for I can only imagine what she might end up doing with it, if left alone.

Hope everyone has a good Monday!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Weekend

On Friday night the girls were at the in-laws so my husband and I could have a date night, we decided to go see 'When in Rome'.  It actually is a very entertaining romantic comedy that I would highly recommend if you are looking for something light and fun.  The only reason I mention it is that there were a couple of running scenes through NY's Central Park that had me longing for some warm weather and also further motivates me to run the NY marathon.  I have been a couple of times years agao but that was in my non-running days.  I did put my name in the New York marathon lottery for this November so here is hoping my name will be pulled. It would be quite an experience!

So we have been hit with a cold front, I guess we couldn't get away with unseasonably warm temperatures for the entire winter season, but I wouldn't have complained. Anyway, yesterday and today was -20 degrees Celcius (or 4 degrees F.) with the wind chill - too cold for my blood.  Despite the extreme bitter wind from the north, I went out for a 20k run both Saturday and Sunday.  On Saturday I ran with Marlene and Sunday with the Running Room group. There is no way I could stay motivated in that cold to run by myself so it was great to be able to get out with others. 

After attending a Jeff Galloway talk in Disney on his frequent walk break appraoch to running, I have embraced it and have started to use it on my LSD days.  Marlene was kind enough to humour me on Saturday so we did 4 minutes of running and then took 35 second walk breaks.  On Saturday we finished at a 6:19/k pace, not bad given the weather and trying to take it easy given that we had to be back out the next day.  I then ran with a couple of other friends on Sunday's run and did the same run/walk approach and finished 20k at a 6:13/k.  I  would have liked to get it down a few seconds but all in all a successful weekend of running. So my total mileage for the week is approx. 60km. 

This coming week it is not going to as much for my hubby and I are heading to my parent's cottage for the weekend and then he and I are going to spend the night in Ottawa, just the two of us. My parent's have created this 3 year tradition which I am looking forward to. Plus my husband is going to let me join one of the Running Room stores for a morning run on Sunday so I can get some distance in while I am away.  Now that is a great Valentine's gift that money can't buy!

Hope everyone has had a great weekend!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tempo Run


Last night was the Running Room clinic night and it was a scheduled Tempo run -3/3/3.  For the past three clinic seasons I challenged myself but within a certain comfort zone. In other words, I held back.  This clinic I vowed to myself to step it up and take it to the next level, particularly in the speed work department.  For our pace group last night, the goal was to maintain an average pace for the middle 3k of 5:30/k.  Well I have happy to report that not only did I accomplish that I ended up doing an average pace of 5:24 for not 3k but 5k total. Yahoo!  I must confess though I was hell bent on trying to keep up to Marlene, not because I think I should be at her pace, but rather she served as a motivating factor to work towards a goal. So I was on her heels for most of the route.  It definitely helps to have someone in the clinic to serve as your baseline or target. Sorry Marlene but your it but do consider it a compliment.

When I got home I did a little more stretching and the tendon on my right knee was a little tender. I knew it was because I pushed myself and of course that little comfort zone angel started to natter saying that I should take it easy so a little wave of doubt has started to creap in that I should be challenging myself. I will try to incorporate more leg strengthening exercises into my routine and maybe book a physio appt as a preventative measure. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Okay Marlene, you have inspired me to start a Running Blog to track my running adventures, mishaps, and lessons learned while throwing in a personal twist, Rett Syndrome. For those that know me, I initially laced up some running shoes to lose post-pregnancy weight and then it became a much needed way to relieve stress and then I have become a running social junky. So... going forward my objective with this blog is multi-fold… to further motivate me in achieving my running goals, create much needed awareness on Rett Syndrome, and to give and receive support from others.

With that said tomorrow tonight is Marathon Clinic night and we are to do a tempo run. One of my goals in this clinic is to push myself beyond my comfort zone, especially with speed work.