Dear Clif Bar

The Edmonton Tourist:

Dear CLIF Bar, this is awesome.

Originally posted on This Running Life:

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An Open Letter to Clif Bar

Dear Clif Bar,

Recently I read that you dismissed 5 longtime athlete employees for undertaking risky behavior in their outdoor endeavors. I understand all sides here. I get it. You can’t condone climbers taking deadly risks while they can’t stop being the climbers that made them renown. This is the price of doing business.

I love your products and I dig the spirit behind your company. So I’ve been thinking about how you’ll replace those positions. You no doubt are well on your way to selecting a few more elite and high-profile athletes to fill these open slots. You are searching and asking who will be given the opportunity to hold the Clif bar banner high as they undertake awe-inspiring adventures on mountains and trails? Great question. I’d like to suggest and answer.

Try something a little different. I know you have an ambassador…

View original 252 more words

I have become that person I used to mock….Karma is real

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Welcome to Winter in Edmonton. Everything was moving along all tickety boo when suddenly there wasn’t enough snow to go around. Old Man Winter in his infinite wisdom decided to dump a couple of feet on us and then share frigid wind chills too.

Awesome.

And when I say ‘awesome’ I mean ‘$%#&*@!@$#%^*!!!”

That photo is my neighbour’s car mid way between the snow dumps. Dear Neighbour: USE YOUR GARAGE! My sled dog needs to bound across the snow because the piles come up to his shoulder. He is a big dog.

This winter I have become a wimp.

I admit it.

I am a wimp. I am the person I used to tease and mock. I DON’T WANNA RUN IN DEEP SNOW! Nor do I want to run when its -29F Windchill. Its nuts. I admit it. I am a sissy lala crybaby.

I have a problem. I am running the Donald Half marathon and I need to train. I am HATING my treadmill and do my Speed work on there. Its gross, but I do it.

My LSDs are another issue.

I just can’t face running the trails … I just can’t.

The Meadows Recreation centre just opened up down the street from me. I decided to give it w whirl. $10.50 for the drop in fee.

OUCH….did I mention I am also cheap? I like free. But given my options….$10.50 will have to do. Thankfully I wouldn’t be using the treadmill there. I have my own torture machine of evil in my office.

My first impression of the facility was WELL DONE EDMONTON! It is big, bright and well thought out. I love that there is a ‘dry’ change room (which also means no kids in there because they use the pool!) Now that I no longer teach, I like kids WAY LESS when they aren’t mine – true story.

I made my way up to the track. It was located around the perimeter of the north side of the building, it didn’t go around the hockey arena nor the swimming pool. That would have only made the facility track better. Why? Because when you train for a distance like a Half Marathon, less laps = good.

As it was, 4.25 laps = 1km or 7 laps =1 mile.

3/4s of the track had large windows that reminded me why running inside was good. The other 1/4 of the track over looked the pool. That served as a reminder that I am thankful my kids are big….as in adult sized.

The track was 3 lanes wide and had ample room on the sides for stretching, lunges, walking super slow or just resting. I laced up my Ghost 6 and attached my footpod to my shoe (Don’t tell Andie, but I left my Polar M400 at home and wore my Garmin Forerunner 15). I kept a rough estimate to how many laps I did, and it was fairly comparable with my footpod. That was good to know. GPS units don’t work so well inside a concrete fortress.

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Now that I know how terrific the facility is, I think I will get myself a monthly pass so I can go there before and/or after work during the winter to get my workouts in. Did I mention there is a library too?

Meanwhile, next Saturday I am running the Santa Shuffle 5km with some pals. It’s supposed to warm up to +1C. That is not great because the snow will be slushy. MAKE UP YOUR MIND WINTER!

At any rate, the training is happening and I am still slow and now I have no excuse.

Thanks winter…you’re a jerk even though you are pretty.

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And I’m back…

I have a band of brothers who are insisting they run with me during the Donald Half Marathon. Joke’s on them, They will be walking fairly quickly while I sprint my heart out to keep up.

In an effort not to let them down too much, I am doing speed work during the week to get faster. I’m not all that convinced it will work. This year has been such a training clusterfuck. I had surgery and injuries and set backs. All of which have been important learning lessons.

I can get the long distance in, the speed works helps somewhat so now its time to add the other piece of the puzzle.

FOOD INTAKE.

I have been pretty good thus far. I have been careful about what I eat, drink my water and keep sweets to a minimum. I have MAINTAINED….after I gained 10lbs. First I gained 10 then I held it there.

I re-installed Myfitness Pal again today and am in the middle of syncing Mapmyrun and Garmin connect with everything.

Why?

It makes me accountable. I want to lose another 50lbs this year.  (not by 2015 – I mean November 2015). I have the tools, I have the knowledge and I have the ability. I just HAVE TO RIGHT IT DOWN!

That part is the part that I am not consistent with. I started today.

I wrote everything I ate – including the Aero Bar and the Tostito Chips. I was 175 calories OVER my daily goal of 1790. That total will apparently get me to my goal of 2lbs per week for 1 month. Then I will adjust it to 1 lbs per week. It also helps me not go bonkers over Christmas. I didn’t last year and felt awesome. I will do it again this year.

It is interesting how I feel about food journaling. A year ago I would have not wrote the food in, giving myself a clean slate for tomorrow. Yet I wrote the good parts and the bad parts in. I am trying not to think about food in terms of BAD or GOOD. But rather in terms of fuel for running. I need to make sure I have the right amount of protein grams and carbs in so I will feel fab over my long runs.

On FB I have THIS as my profile pic 1375002_10152876402766337_9194937867845132687_nOn the side of the hat it says TRAINING. I have no plans to run the Calgary Half or Full next year because I am planning on really focussing my training on the Dumbo Double Dare. That means I am running ‘just 2′ half marathons. My training pal Liz laughed and said “Just two?”

Just 2. When did I become THAT girl? That girl who can now fit into a running jacket. That girl who explains fartleks to run club members, that girl who can talk about nutrition with beginner, marathoner and ultra runners. That girl who can hear about a foot issue and talk to people about solutions and shoes. That girl who understands clothing tech.

Yet I am still that girl who is scared to run with her band of brothers because she is slow.

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And because one of them looks like this:

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That is pretty much all the motivation I need.

 

Rock n Roll Vancouver: The great, the bad and the ugleeeeeey

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So I was in this little town named Vancouver over the weekend. Maybe you heard of it? Apparently they hosted some sporting event called the Winter Olympics. It was apparently quite the big deal. I flew in for a one night stay so I could run the Inaugural Vancouver Oasis Rock n Roll Half Marathon.

We (the hubs and I) left Edmonton about 6 am. We boarded the plane with several other runners planning on doing the same thing. I knew a ton of people from RunClub, my work, and just bumping into people on local run paths. I am not a morning person, so I slept the 1,5 hours to Vancouver.

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We arrived safe and sound inspire of the Pilot telling us about the massive head winds and demanding the attendants sit and buckle up. I thought about the possibility of death briefly then fell sound asleep. We gathered up our carry-on luggage and headed straight for the train into the city. 45 minutes late we were ensconced securely downtown tucked into a Starbucks eating breakfast and getting our bearings. The Hubs was TOTALLY lost. He kept want to go in the opposite direction. It was beginning to annoy me and I finally said…just follow me. I had the great fortune to be trained in navigation by my grandfather the WWII navigator. Sure he made me cry while teaching me how to do it, but I can now find my way across the world with a map and a compass. Screw you Suri! I’m solid!

We got to the Listel hotel in one piece, although I was a bit tired of saying…No, its THIS WAY…

Dumped our baggage and headed to the Expo by 9:30 AM. We could have walked but I was hearing my Coach’s voice “Save the legs!” Right, so we hopped onto transit once again and I must say, the best app in the whole wide world is Transit. It’s brilliant and works in every city.

If there is a more beautiful city in North America… please invite me and show me. For now I think it is Vancouver. The sea, the mountains and the green is SPECTACULAR! I bought some Brooks RunHappy Clothing and a sticker for my car – I am now the annoying person who brags about milage on her bumper 13.1 baby! That’s in Miles. 21.1km for you metric babies. You bet I’m bragging. Its a big deal. If you don’t think so, join me next time. 13.1 is half of nothing. It’s a fine distance on its own.

After Expo we spent time at Canada Place just taking in the view. Amazing.

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People kept wanting to take my camera so they can take my photo… I’m good thanks. I selfie and runfie because I’m cool like that.

From there we hopped the transit once again and headed for Granville Island. Home of the Market and the Grandville Island Brewery. These were the two things I wanted most on my trip…and an Umbrella, but an Umbrella isn’t a practical carry-on item for the plane, so I went without even thought the rain came down in buckets ALL DAY LONG. In Edmonton is rains like that for 10 minutes and its done. All day rain is something else and it gives me hideous hair, however, I think I still want to live coastal.

The Market was amazing, I knew to go where the crowds were so we secured bagels, yogurt and bananas for $6. It was a delicious pre-race breakfast. We took photos for Chatterbox because she is determined to live and work in the TV industry here. She enjoyed the sets she has seen on various shows and was thrilled to hear about the thriving theatre district.

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We returned to the Listel for a pre-dinner nap, then trudged out in the downpour, fight the Umbrella People for sidewalk space. Riddle me this: you have an Umbrella, yet you still need to walk under the awnings where it is dry poking people in the eye with your Umbrella. Why?

We woke up bright and early for a 8 AM race start. That meant 7 AM awake and leave by 7:30 to walk to the start at Convention centre. 24 corrals and I was in 23. #24 got to leave at 8 because they were slow. Lucky them…wish I knew about that because the Grim Sweeper was on my tail the entire time. It makes for a stressful race and fast one for me to avoid his clutches.

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I snuck into corral 17. I needed the extra time, I knew to stay to the right out of the gazelle’s way. Hubs was worried we’d get caught. Of course I am that person who thinks “What is the worst thing that can happen?” They can kick me out…big deal. I wasn’t the only one doing it either…not that it makes it right. Slow people need more time to finish. Putting us last doesn’t make sense. This race was full of people who understood runner etiquette  – I am LOOKING AT YOU DISNEY RUNNERS. When you are going to walk, put your hand up and move to the right. Don’t STOP in front of someone. This made for a smooth race. Except for the lady telling walkers they should AT LEAST TRY…WTF? Has she ever walked that far? Walking is a legitimate sport.

I ran my fastest 10k ever, when I say ran I mean walked…with running on the downhill. For the record, Vancouver is kinda hilly and not in a good way. I found my runs to be smoking fast which isn’t good when you have to monitor your heart rate. But still…. smoking fast is fun and AWESOME. When I say fast…I mean for me. I was running last January at 12:30 km/min. Sunday I was running 8:40 km/min. THAT IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE!!

By the time I made it to Stanley Park, the sun was out and the sky was blue, no rain at all! But my feet were soaked and shredded. The humidity was high and it was cold – that’s right – cold for me! I was freezing by 19km. Soaked thru with moisture not being able to dissipate because of the high humidity. The hills through Stanley Park were brutal for the end of the race, it just sapped me of all my reserves. However the view was stunning.

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When I ran across the finish line I was thinking “this is the longest 500 meters in the WORLD” The finish line was up hill, the start line was up hill…really Competitor Racing? Really? I have come to the conclusion that although I think Edmonton has some good hills for training, I am kidding myself. Clayton is right. It may be a sea level, but the hills are hills. I need better hill training for The Donald. It will only serve to make me stronger and faster.

The finish line had blankets…. YES! Because I was cold. It also had free beer, YES! because I like beer and especially after running. It didn’t have bananas, or bagels, but it did have granola cereal….Awesome? And it did have those yogurt power bars that taste like plastercine. The pretzels were good with the beer, and I was satisfied with my time. PR for me, 45 minutes faster than Calgary. How did that happen? I have no idea….I think it was due to the sea level part. I train at 2300 feet. OR it’s because I did what I could for training. I get the go ahead to actually begin running in a week. A WEEK! WOOT! Bad news though, I feel like I need to start from scratch building those running muscles. I can do it. I have a plan.

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To get me going in the motivational department (because lets face it, why train when doing next to nothing made for a great race) I am joining the Doctor Who 50 Mile Ultra. I need to record my milage for the month. The first one to reach 50 miles, wines.. I don’t expect to win, but it will keep me motivated and I get an awesome medal for it. I thought about doing the 100 miler, but that’s just silly. To far too fast. I have learned my lesson in that department.

Anyways…back to the Rock n Roll Vancouver. What did I think?

  1. Calgary had WAY MORE MUSIC on their course. Way more! That was disappointing. I had to wear my ear buds because the silence got to me after a while.
  2. The cups were too full. There was a ton of water and Gatorade but filling a cup full makes it hard to hydrate.
  3. The start line at the bottom of a hill is stupid.
  4. The finish line at the top of a hill is stupid.
  5. There was NO BAND AT THE FINISH. What??? It was a Rock and Roll event! Maybe this is always the way it is done, but Calgary did it better, and I am by no means a Calgary fan. They just put on an awesome event.
  6. The course was well marked. There wasn’t a lot of volunteers showing the way, but it didn’t matter because it was clearly marked with road closures and pylons.
  7. Not lots of cheering spectators but I am good with that. It’s normal for Canada.
  8. The course was BEAUTIFUL. Well done picking it out Race Marshall! The only ugly part was Rail Town, but the music was great thru there.
  9. The Medal was AWESOME! The Lion from the Lion’s Gate Bridge? Nice choice!
  10. Would I do it again? I don’t think so. Not because of the event itself, but there are so many other Vancouver events I want to try, like the BMO Full and Half Marathon, the SeaBreeze and maybe hop over to Vancouver Island for the Victoria Half Marathon! I would however, go do the Portland Rock and Roll or even Chicago. Vancouver is an amazing place to run!

Next race: The Santa Shuffle, 5 km twice around Hawrelak Park here in Edmonton. Last year it was -42C. Fingers crossed it will be a tad warmer this year.

Destination: Vancouver Rock n Roll Half Marathon

I leave soon for Vancouver. This will be my 5th destination Race. I am growing quite fond of them.

I need to pack and I saw the forecast, it calls for rain and lots of it. I have never run a half in the rain. A first for everything I suppose. I don’t believe it will happen…the rain, I mean. I believe in Sunshine and pleasant 12 C.

I am very excited and I am terrified.

We have established I have less than zero training logged in my shoes. I walk and my coach confirmed for me that I will be walking this 21.1km through Downtown Vancouver. (I might run a little bit, especially the downhill parts because they are fun). I am looking forward to walking at sea level and seeing what that will do for my pace. I train at 2300 feet. Sea level will be interesting.

The Grim Sweepers will be on my tail. But I will do my best to keep ahead of them.

My goal is to cross the finish line injury free so I can wear this home:

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The Blue one will be mine. Half Marathon #3 for the year. I will love walking the streets of Vancouver with the Mountains in the background and the sea in front of me. When I finish, my training for WDW will begin. The running will start…but for now my focus is Sunday.

Cheer for me.

Then there was that time I was in the Fall Classic…

A year ago today I ran in the Edmonton Fall Classic 5 miler. I had been running for only 10 months. I ran 5 minutes and walked 1 minute intervals. I finished in 1:28:08. Slow… but who cares? I was 20lbs heavier.

Today I walked the Edmonton Fall Classic 5 miler. I ran 3 times for a total of 6 minutes. I need to keep my heart rate at a certain level until I get the clearance to run again from my Doc. I Had surgery in June, did the Moose is Loose Half Marathon in July, split open incisions and went into shock. It wasn’t pretty. I was put on the injured reserve list by my Doc. No Running, no racing until the end of October. “But I have a half marathon the end of October” Well, I guess you aren’t training for it…said my Doctor.

But I walked, not hard and fast, I went out a few times to push the envelope to see how I was fairing. I felt healthier and stronger than I have in decades. But NO RUNNING.

Thursday I decided to enter the Fall Classic as a test race to see how I react under race conditions. Granted, there was only 160 racers entered. Sure it was a quiet and empty Ada Boulevard on a cool Edmonton Sunday Morning. But I wanted to know what to expect for next Sunday, The Inaugural Vancouver Rock and Roll Half Marathon. My very first RnR, so I decided to do it in Vancouver on their very first one too. Its a big deal for me and I don’t want to be swept. I walk very fast – yet I walk faster than I can run…. not really. Not any more. I have 4 hours in which to complete or they pick me up on the bus of shame.

Anyways…back to the Fall Classic.

I signed up Thursday.

I arrived early this morning because I was going to start with the 10 milers – I am slow, and I wanted breakfast with my team. I started out. In the far away distance, I could see a gal on her second lap. I had met her in Florida last year hanging out in the corrals. She is from Edmonton and she is also slow. I put her in my sights. And I walked.

I find walking harder in many ways from running. If you are consistent, there is no slow speed. When you do the run/walk method you get to slow down and rest. I hate this about walking so I would walk super fast 10:50/km then slow it down to 11:10/km. Now there are walkers in the 109 Street Club who were walking 7/km but we won’t focus on them. They can write their own blog. This fast/slow method kept me focused and I had a target in my sights. By the 5km, I passed her. I PASSED HER! I had never passed anyone before AND I left her in my dust!

That was an awesome feeling!

I knew about 155 people on the course so there was a lot of cheering and high fives. I still didn’t think I was doing very well, but my heart rate was where it should be and I was feeling surprisingly awesome (never before had I felt great in a race – until this one. I thought I felt great at Calgary – but no…I was wrong). The finish line came up fast. Last year I was tired. This year I was not. I finished today in 1:28:52. A few seconds slower than last year and I WALKED IT!

I am walking next week’s RnR. I want to run it. But 2015 will be all about running. My goal is to finish before the truck of shame. If I complete it, it will be my 3rd half marathon this year. Not too shabby for a a fat girl who was injured and couldn’t train the way she wanted too. By finishing next week, that would be a nice feather in my cap.

At any rate, it should be fun.

Happy Running!

Good News! I didn’t Die Today

It’s been a very difficult year for. I once sat in front of a gal who was gazing into my crystal ball and she told me that my life was going to be difficult for a few years to come. That was 3 years ago.

She was right.

It’s not that my life has been terrible, on the contrary. Growth and learning have happened at an exponential rate for me. All the great life lessons come to me at a price. They are never pleasant and they are never pain free. I learn best from hitting bottom than I do from skipping along smelling daisies. I am pretty sure I have reached Super Genius Level with all the life lessons of late.

My ‘not running’ lesson has been hard as well.

Since my Calgary half Marathon – my plans and goals were shelved.

Calgary was the most kick-ass awesome race experience to date.

  1. I felt strong
  2. I recovered quickly
  3. I was ready

I had set some pretty amazing goals for right after the race. I had planned on not losing my distance. I was going to maintain the ability to run16k for my longs. That to me works perfectly for half marathons – well, for me. I had the Moose is Loose lined up to walk it with my dad, then I was going to Disneyland to Run the Dumbo Double Dare (10km on Saturday and 21.1km on Sunday). The Vancouver Rock and Roll Half Marathon would be next the last weekend in October and then FULL ON TRAINING for the Donald in January. As you may recall, I achieved a DNF in WDW for a knee injury.

So where did I leave off?

Well, I had surgery after Calgary and my world fell apart. For the record, Patience is not a Virtue that I am very good at. I should have not walked the Moose with me Dad, but it was with my Dad and it was his first half and I am very happy I did it even though I experienced a major health scare. When I say major, I mean major. My Doc was not happy and wrote me a note forbidding me to run in Disneyland. So I deferred it until next year.

I watched all my pals and my daughter cross the finish line.

It sucked.

I was happy for them but I was sad for me.

Now looking at my calendar, the time table tells me that Vancouver is 6 weeks away.

I have been walking, I can do the distance, but time is a major factor. I am not elevating my heart rate lately so speed eludes me. The other side of that coin is…I am afraid I have lost my mojo.

Today was the day I would attempt to run again. I announced it at RunClub on Wednesday. In front of 60+ people who know me as the RunClub MC. IT made me accountable. So what did I do?

I went for a run today. And I didn’t die.

I brought The Captain with me. I knew that we would be stopping lots because he has to sniff everything.

I am out of Ghost6 runners. This makes it sound like a grocery list item. Well, for me it kinda is. I work in the running industry, so shoes are one of those ‘milk, bread and eggs’ items. I have a wall rack FILLED with shoes of every make and model you can think of. But Ghost 6 is my long distance shoe. My last two pairs are finished. I wore one yesterday on the floor at work, walked over 5k just doing my job, and got home to find my joints, back and shoulders were pain riddled. This is a sure fire sign that my shoes are done. I had discussed my shoe issue with Nic, my shoe whisperer. He had suggested that I give my Nike Pegasus 31 a try (I have 2 pairs) They are a neutral shoe with nice cushioning and a drop similar to the Ghost 6 that I have been using. I wear them all day for work and feel great! Odds are this was going to be a reasonable replacement and I was happy with that idea!

I began my run this morning at the top of Mill Creek Ravine. It is an old rail line that has been converted into a running path. It is paved and tree lined. When I say tree lined I mean it is bush. IMG_7680

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It feels like you are in the middle of no where. I love it. It is my favourite place in the whole world. It isn’t tainted by memories with others because I will not share it. It is my place. In fact, it is my happy place.

I just lied, I share it with my Captain, but only him.

The run started off pretty good. My legs felt good, lungs felt good, I kept my pace slow so I wouldn’t over do it. It was good….not great or fantastic, but good!

Half way I needed to stop and sit on the bench. I was getting dizzy and I blame my brain tumour. It makes me dizzy all the time, sometimes worse than others. Sitting calms things down. It was at this point The Captain decided he needed to chase rabbits into the bush. Ummm, no.

I was not going to bush-sack today. He looks at me and speaks like Chewbacca with groans and such. I looked at him and firmly said no. He actually  “harumphed” followed by a pout. He wouldn’t look at me for the next 10 minutes as punishment.

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Off we went, further into the valley.

It was at this moment I listened to my feet.

Feet: Hey Robyn, WTF is on us?

Me: Nike Pegasus 31

Feet: Where are the Ghost 6 that we love?

Me: I don’t have any left. Brooks has the Ghost 7 out now and we don’t like it remember?

Feet: Oh right, but that doesn’t explain the Pegs.

Me: True, but they felt so good on a 9 hour day, I figured they would be awesome!

Feet: well, now we know they aren’t. To prove this point, we are going to make the arches burn now. Followed by telling the knee you injured to get cranky because your arches burn and compensating for us is really going to make your knee cranky.

Me: DAMN, why can’t you two just be happy you are out running again?

Feet: Because, we want Ghost 6 strapped to us and we are not going to behave until you meet our demands.

Me: Seriously? you are holding me hostage? You are going to regret this feet.

And they did. But in turn, they made my last 3km H E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICK!

To make them suffer, I did a long a steep hill. This made knees really pissed at me. Heart and lungs were cool with it though.

Once I reached the top I paused to check out the view.

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To me there is nothing prettier than a prairie blue sky! The feet were finally relaxed about the running thing and felt happy again. Then Cap and I hit the road once more and the feet were ANGRY!

I ignored them, but ran to my store.

I entered the building, walked back to the clearance room, found the last 2 pairs of Ghost 6 size 10 Women’s and marched to the counter where I did a product check for other shoes in the province.

These were the LAST 2 SIZE 10 WOMEN’S SHOES LEFT. DAMN YOU BROOKS!!! So I bought them, and some KT Tape for my knee.

I ran just .2 shy of 7km. Not bad for my first day back. It took me a while, but that part will take practice. I have a 10km scheduled with Karen on Sunday, so I will run a couple of 4-5ks this week to keep the joints moving.

AND I will run in my new Brooks Ghost 6, training has begun for the Vancouver Rock and Roll. I have my health, the motivation and the shoes.

Bring it on.