Can’t stop, won’t stop

The title pretty much sums up the theme of the San Fran Nike Women’s (half) Marathon weekend! So, here I am a week after smashing the hills of San Fran and I am still walking – although that was questionable for 2 days! I apologize for my delayed post, but coming back and then getting caught up on work and life got the best of me and this is the first moment I’ve been able to sit down and word vomit my thoughts for you.

First of all – a huge thank you to everyone who both donated and supported what seemed to be a year of training (reality – 3 months). My final tally was $3,360 raised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada through Team in Training. To be honest out of the training and the fundraising I was more terrified for being able to fundraise enough and it has definitely been a rewarding experience. It was also amazing to see where the money raised to went first hand at the Team in Training inspiration dinner. To be with all these amazing individuals who have worked so hard and through some of incredible life obstacles was absolutely inspiring.

I would also like to give a shout out to my home-boy/man-friend Sam who was amazing the whole trip – even got up at 4:15 am and went to the finish line to watch me cross! Couldn’t have asked for anything more!

The race itself seemed like it all happened in a blink of the eye. The pain afterword did not. I think no matter how much you prepare for this race you have no idea what these hills are like! It also seemed that no matter how many times people have run it, they also forget what the hills are like. Not so great when your friend has convinced you to run the race by saying ‘the hills aren’t that bad’ finishes the race and says ‘i forgot how bad the hills are…do you want to kill me?’.

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The first two hills I was expecting, the third hill felt like everast (because, you know, I’ve obviously climbed that…not) and I actually didn’t think I’d make it. Thankfully Coach Theresa was there, spotted me and ran me up that last hill and our mantra was “red velvet cupcakes in my mouth”. Which did happen, after I shoved a burger in it.

A finish line, a Tiffany’s necklace and hip down paralysis later I was showered, had a nap and Sam had to help me put on my pants because I couldn’t move my right leg. I finished in a time of 2:05:01 which is just over 2 minutes faster from my first half marathon last year…soo I guess that means I’m signing up for another one to get it under 2 right?

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It’s funny, a month before the race all I could think about was taking a year off running a half and taking it ‘easy’ but I’ve taken a week off and just feel lost! I enjoy having something to train for – it may not be a half (but I will probably convinced) but looking forward to the next set of goals and training sessions!

Well, I guess this is it for me. Sarah took San Fran…like a boss. Now to take….Maui!?

Happy running everyone 🙂

 

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When I was dead broke, man I couldn’t picture this

To continue my theme of some of my fave rap songs, I turn to Biggie – may he rest in peace. While I may have never been dead broke (unless you count the way I self-restrict myself on my budget) I am not naturally a runner, and in a million years I could never have pictured myself getting ready to head off to San Francisco to run a Half Marathon. And while I may not be ‘pimpin Ac with minks on my back’ I do have an accountant boyfriend that handles ‘that’.

Biggie says "Girl, run that last 1.1 km you can do it"

Biggie says “Girl, run that last 1.1 km you can do it”

With only a week away until I leave I have been doing a lot of thinking, mostly on my runs, about how only 4 years ago I really started running. I basically grew up in a pool. I started Synchronized Swimming when I was 7 and started competitive Synchronized Swimming when I was 9 and basically continued with it until 2nd year University.

Why so serious? Not actually me, but I enjoy this representation of synchro...

Why so serious? Not actually me, but I enjoy this representation of synchro…

I’m a fish by nature who basically flops like a fish out of water when put on ‘dry land’ to exercise. You can ask my friends who saw my attempt to run in university – probably best describe as Pheobe in that friends episode (see gif below). Having grown up in a team sport environment I found it even more challenging to find the motivation to do a ‘non-team’ version of exercise so to be here today, about 10 years later entering into my second half is crazy awesome.

Pure class!

Click o the photo to see pure class!

I started running while I was living in Melbourne with my roommate when we started just doing 4 km runs in the mornings and then turned into ambitiously entering into our first race – a 15 km run. I was hooked after that and have been entering into at least 2 runs a year. Not many compared to others but  more than maybe most! When I moved home from Melbourne I kept running but wasn’t sure what my next move would be. I met Lara about a year after moving home when I joined up for a boot camp and coincidentally she had just moved back from Australia, lived right by me and was training for a marathon. After doing a 14 k morning run with her I thought surely I could do a half and signed up to do one in the fall. Then I got an email from my friend Nat who suggested team in training and well, here I am today.

I don’t know that I would feel comfortable calling myself ‘runner’ still, I think I still have my ‘training’ wheels on but am almost there. Perhaps next year or the next race I decide to conquer. All I know is I have gone from detesting running to more than liking it. If you can get past the first few struggle runs, find your stride and don’t put pressure on yourself to beat a certain time when you’re starting out you may learn to love it too! Even to this day if I’m not training, I’m not concerned about my pace, just happy I am out running!

Also – a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who has donated and supported me through the run. I have gone over my goal and have raised $3,300 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and could not be more grateful for the support so thank you!!

So, well, if you don’t know, now you know….runners!

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Push it, push it real good

To quote the famous artists Salt ‘n Peppa, who apparently were with Heavy D up in a Limousine, I’ve been Coolin’ by day then at night working up a sweat.  Just got in from a great evening run with my Team in Training Mentor Leanne along the Lakeshore! Toronto has really turned on it’s weather for us and it was a beautiful Indian summer night….I’m still allowed to say that right? Well, too late because I’m too lazy to delete – apologies if I’ve offended anyone.

Hells yea!

Hells yea!

So, now let’s see what shall I blow your minds with this week. Some interesting things happened this past week. The first thing was replacing my Nike GPS+ Sports Watch. As you may have read, I got moisture (shudder) in my watch and it wasn’t working properly. Thankfully I was able to just get a simple replacement (thank you Nike) but the process I had to go through was a bit peculiar. I trotted over to the Nike store and told them my dilemma, and stressed that I need it to train with. They told me to call the Nike Support centre…3 days later still couldn’t get through and they were saying there was a postal delay and it could be up to 8 weeks to get the product back à insert mild panic attack here. Being a Gen Y I naturally went to my computer thinking I could email support, I was wrong again. Now that your suspense is at an all time high, I’ll tell you – twitter saved the day.  With a simple tweet I got a response within 5 minutes…so your lesson of the day. When in doubt, set up a twitter account and harass via social media! Side note – harass is basically my name spelled backwards, think about it.

Next up on the agenda – my long run in the rain. With my team in training friends in Ottawa I had to call upon my man friend to run with me. Open the door Saturday morning – rain. There was a slight hesitation but out the door we went with hopes that the rain would end. It didn’t. But, we got 20 km in and it’s the last long run until race day! Then I was immobilized for the rest of the day, I shamelessly can’t say that I moved after I showered and put on some sweet sweat pants.

Me right after the 20 km. Please note that my shorts are pasted to my legs...

Me 20 mins after my shower and the rest of Saturday. Me 20 mins after my shower and the rest of Saturday.

Me right after the 20 km. Please note that my shorts are pasted to my legs…

So here we are on Thursday night, another week almost done and one more run to go on Saturday. This week has been one of those weeks where your mind is a day ahead of you so as of Monday I kept thinking it was the next day – the worst, right!? I’m looking forward to the team in training endurance run on Saturday and then I am off to pick apples in the orchard and hopefully sip on some made cider…like a boss.

I just thought this was funny. I heart Tina and Amy and yes we are on a first name basis.

I just thought this was funny. I heart Tina and Amy and yes we are on a first name basis.

So that’s it folks, a bit random, but hey I am strange and okay with that. I hope you enjoy the amazing weekend that is ahead of us and get out for a glorified run and of course a few delicious meals. Ah, heck go ahead and even have a beer (maybe one for me!).

Only 3 weeks to go, let’s push it, push it real good!

 

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The Salmon of Mount Royal

Hills. Hills. And more hills. That pretty much sums up my run on Saturday. I was visiting my sister and my gorgeous nephew this past week in Montreal and like a good ‘athlete’ I kept my training up. As previously discussed I had asked for a route and was given, what Ferg deemed as the ‘three tits’, a hilly route. Instead of going to where he suggested I start my sister said “oh just run up Queen Mary to Mount Royal, it’s a bit of a hill but should be fine.” Well, it was all hill. My whole run was an incline with minimal decline.

Oh just a nice steady incline...my legs loved that - not.

Oh just a nice steady incline…my legs loved that – not.

I also was a bit confused with the route as I have never run Mount Royal before and was trying to follow Ferg’s directions on my phone. The confusion was met with my lack my French knowledge – note to self what is in English on your map is not on the run. Case and point Beaver Lake, where I was set to meet my sister after run is really Lac de Castor (not the sugar).

Back to the point, it was an uphill battle (pun intended) but the one thing I noticed was that I felt like I was running the wrong way the whole time. While I was again in struggletown battling the never ending Mount all the runners seemed to running down. It really made me think that I was just a lone sockeye salmon swimming upstream! It also made me think “aww F! All these people know the right way to run and I’m working extra hard.” BUT! I finished my 12.5 km run and with a good pace which I was super impressed with. I was met by my sister and my nephew and we headed out for a delicious brunch which was great.

This Nike Salmon looks a lot better than I did!

This Nike Salmon looks a lot better than I did!

On a sad note – my Nike GPS watch seems to have a moisture problem. After running 20 km in the rain last weekend it seems to be some water in it. I called Nike and they are experiencing a backlog and can possibly take up to 8 weeks to return it so I’ve taken it upon my friend white rice to do what it does best – suck out the moisture. God, I hate that word but really there is no other word to describe moist is there!? If anyone has any other home remedies please let me know because I NEED the watch!!!

I did another leg workout yesterday – not in as much pain at the moment as last time, however I fear tomorrow morning. Got in a run this morning and have two more planned for Wednesday and Thursday morning before I tackle another 18 km on Saturday.

Truth - what gets me signed up for every race!

Truth – what gets me signed up for every race!

I also have raised over $2000 in my donations so a big thank you again to all of my supporters! I have less than $1000 to go in 3 weeks so if you haven’t yet you can donate via the link below – no amount is too little (but $25 gets you a tax receipt if you want one!)

http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=1804790

Looking forward to smashing another week of training and hope you are too! Or at least looking forward to me smashing another week about it and then writing about it (complaining about it) here!

Here’s to only one month until I leave for San Fran and to hills being friends, not foes!

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Straight off a double header

Walk into work on Monday, co-workers asked what I did this past weekend, my response “fell asleep at 8:30, like a boss.” I also slept like a baby for 12 hours. On Saturday I met up with my Team in Training buddies for our Saturday session in High Park. Bound with determination we set out to take on 20 km and own the Lakeshore. Well, it turned out the Lakeshore owned us as 8 km into the run we got caught in the rain. We completed the rain, with an additional loser lap or two. You know loser laps, when you miscalculate your distance and making sure you make the km’s. Happened to me the week before as Sam and I ran up and down our street!

Me, Coach Brock, Leanne and Nadia pre-soaking

Me, Coach Brock, Leanne and Nadia pre-soaking

With 20 km down, and only the front of me wet, we set off to Dr Generosity to shovel food into my face. While we were sitting there discussing races etc everyone but me agreed on one thing – half marathons are the best distance for a race. One of the coaches said it was because it was short enough to push yourself. WHAT. THE. F. Is this guy smoking!? That was all I could think. Here I am in struggle town (obviously population me) and they are loving it. A 10 km race to me is the best distance for a race where I know I can push myself, who knows though maybe I’ll be a convert eventually…

Oh Grumpy Cat you make everything better

Oh Grumpy Cat you make everything better

Straight from there I headed home to shower, get warm then head out to a LCBO for a tag day with Leanne. So after 20 km, I got to stand on my feet for 4.5 hours, thankfully the staff at the LCBO let us stand inside so we weren’t stuck in the rain. This is the second tag day Leanne and I have done and we’ve come to a conclusion – British people are a lot more generous with donating! At two different locations we found that they were the more consistent of the generous supporters of our run.  One of the best things about these tag days is the people watching. If you’re an avid people watcher like I am this is pure gold! You are always surprised about who donates and who doesn’t – goes to show that you really can’t judge a book by its cover now can you!

Another favourite part of our day was a man that walked past us, did a bit of a double take and said “Leukemia, I mean come on” and then donated to us. It is great to have the support of complete strangers and it’s always interesting to find out how many people are affected by Leukemia or Lymphoma, it’s nice to know in a way where /who the money is going to help.

Staying on track

Last week I had a minor set-back when on Wednesday my hip was in a lot of pain every time I walked on it. With a bit of consultation with my coach I headed right to the chiro and found out I that I have tweeked my TFL, which is in my hip. I was told it is a common injury in female runners…thanks for biting that apple eve! It didn’t stop me from the 20 km and I’ve been strengthening it with leg work outs (still screaming in pain silently when I have to sit) and I only had about half a beer on the weekend!

This week my body is confused as to why I am doing this to it. Sometimes I am confused as to why I am doing this to myself, but that instant gratification and the feeling you get after a run is something you can’t really get from sleeping in!

I am heading off to Montreal this weekend to see my wee lil nephew and will be going to tackle a Mount Royal run, which I know will burn like a mofo, but I shall take on the hills like Maria took on the hills in Sound of Music and make them alive!

Here’s to another week of training down and staying on track. Take on the challenge and get out of the house this weekend before it gets too cold to enjoy it!

Obviously none of you feel this way because you got to the bottom of my blog post. NAILED IT!

Obviously none of you feel this way because you got to the bottom of my blog post. NAILED IT!

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September – never was a cloudy day

Well, except for today, today was cloudy. But who doesn’t think of Earth, Wind and Fire as September sweeps in and cools down the hot summer nights.  September is a strange time of year, there is a sombre spirit as school re-starts and everyone has to re-adjust routines. September to me is a time to re-new and re-set – it is more serious than New Years and as such I am declaring my resolutions and the challenges I am giving myself in preparation for race day, which is only 6 weeks away! Ahh. Okay, no, I will take it all head on, like a boss.

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Challenge 1 – incorporate a leg workout

So my first challenge it to incorporate a leg work out into my training. I’ve currently been pretty lax in it, when in reality I know it would help condition and prevent injuries. But seriously, squats, who actually likes them? I am going to learn to love them hopefully. If anyone has any suggestions of good leg workouts for running and strengthening the knee area my ears (well I guess eyes) are open to your suggestions!

Challenge 2 – No alcohol

Kind of. Look, I like beer and I would love to say I for sure would be able to cut it out but sometimes you just need one. Also, lately on a Friday if I’ve had just one beer before my long runs on Saturday I feel like I have more energy. Maybe that is just mind over matter, but in my mind I’m just like “oh yeah, I’m carb loading.” So in conclusion, my ‘detox’ is going to be a 1 beer rule. That is 1 beer a week if I see fit but no more than that and no wine or liquor.I’m also hoping this ‘detox’ will help my wallet becoming fuller and my stomach become flatter.

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Challenge 3 – eating better

Which failed miserably tonight as I shoved three home-made cookies in my mouth (thanks Moreen…) I tried so hard to resist temptation, I even gave away my cookies at lunch to a co-worker but I caved tonight. Decided Sam will be going to work with the rest of them tomorrow to rid the house of them. I am pretty good with my breakfast (I just made some homemade muesli) and lunch it’s just the snacking in the afternoon so I will get better and bring healthy snacks. I have also decided that I must make 1 recipie a week from a new book I got (Food52 – check out the blog www.food52.com).

Challenge 4 – meeting my fundraising goal

I only have $1200 to go and am looking to reach the goal by October 3rd so if you haven’t already donated you can do so on my Team in Training page here:

http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=1804790

I can’t not begin to express my gratitude to all those that have already donated and for your support. The money raised is going directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada and is supporting many people and their families get through and stay positive.

So there it is, my dirty laundry aired out!

In training news, I had a great week last week and some great views and sunsets. Sam was a saint and did my 18 km run with me on Saturday, which of course was followed chocolate milk and an omelette. I was able to do the 18 km in under 2 hours and was really happy with it as I did incorporate quite a few hills.

Hills are great because the route came out for the run! You can see what I’m up against below!

In the words of Destiny’s Child, will you run my hills, will you run my San Francisco hills, if you did then maybe we could chill….

To a great running/training week ahead! Here’s to setting new challenges and smashing them!

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Food: the real reason I run

Let’s get serious for a second here, when it comes down to what really motivates me to go the distance, so to speak, is none other than what I can eat afterwards. I don’t really count food as a motivation for shorter runs – those shorter; push through the pain runs are okay because you know you’ll feel amazeaballs afterwards. Long runs, motivation = food. It’s not just the food after the run I get to consume; it is the guiltless pasta I stuff in my face the night before.

Truth.

Truth.

This past weekend I tackled 16 km, this weekend 18 km and the weekend after will be the first 20 km in my training schedule. Around Thursday I start dreading it just thinking about how long it will take me, the lack of sleep I will get on the weekend to get up and run it before the heat kicks in – because you know, summer just showed up – but then I remember, to run these runs I need fuel. Fuel = pasta dinners and deserts. Case and point, last Friday we were invited to a barbeque and what did they have, meat ravioli, burgers, sausages and smart food. Of course I loaded my plate with the ravioli and snacked on the smart food until desert – waffle cones and ice cream. I washed it all down with a delicious beer, and while my food baby grew in my stomach I was completely satisfied with knowing I was going to run 16 km. Guilt? What Guilt, I’m a runner….right?

Then comes the after run ‘re-fuel’. Whoever did the research around Chocolate Milk being good for you after I run; I could literally kiss, hug and even make a day after. I get extreme satisfaction of downing chocolate milk after my long runs. Apologies to all my lactose intolerant friends, don’t worry I’ll drink yours. The other great thing is some of my favourite foods have the protein you need for post-run recovery. It is extremely important after runs to re-fuel for recovery, as I have learned first-hand, it can take hangry to a whole new level if you don’t! It also helps with your muscle recovery and fatigue.

Speaking of fatigue, I got an email from one of my coaches this week speaking on fatigue and rest. It’s like she knew I was in struggle-town with being half-way to the race and needed a voice of reason. As hard it is, it is important to rest when your body is telling you to. Last year before my half-marathon I was pushing myself through these days and ended up injuring my knee close to my race. While I was still able to run the half, I had to be careful and take more days off training then I would have had I listened to my body. While it is hard to do this, and you feel disappointed in yourself, it is important to remember everyone goes through a few bad days. But better to rest, re-group, and get back out there better than be injured or worse, get more frustrated with your results because you didn’t rest.

Need a rest? Make like fat Amy and try out some horizontal running!

Need a rest? Make like fat Amy and try out some horizontal running!

Also – for further entertainment I found another blogger who writes about his running adventures as well. He also has the same motivation as I do for running, only he characterizes it much better via comics. Check him out at http://theoatmeal.com/

It’s hard to believe that the race is now less than 2 months away. I am looking forward to getting the first 20 km training run done, out of the way, rewarding myself obviously with food, and feel a bit more prepared for what’s ahead of me.

I am also just $1200 off from my fundraising goal which is a great feeling and a huge thanks for all those who are not only supporting me through a donation but encourage me to get out there. I have actually instilled a ‘shaming system’ with a friend to shame us into running. Sounds strange, but it works!

Well, as September draws nearer I hope everyone enjoyed their summers and like me, are hoping for an Indian summer with some warm September weekends in the future!

Here’s to food after runs! Let’s get’er done peeps!

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