My Summer Adventure

Last week I announced over at the Edmonton Tourist that I am running the Race to Kinvara. You can read about it here.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 11.01.33 PM

It has given me the proper motivation to get my body moving more aggressively than I was before. I just haven’t felt all that keen on running even though I have the Dumbo Double Dare scheduled for September in Disneyland. I just don’t get all that exceeded about Disney Races. For someone who loves Disney and running as much as I do, you’d think it would be a match made in heaven.

Its not.

I get excited about going, I get excited about see my pals, I get excited about the expo. But the race? Meh.

I don’t run fast enough to make it fun. I think that is the large part of it. I don’t have time to stop and meet characters or goof around with pals. I need to go and I cannot slowdown or I get swept.

And I do not need a lecture on increasing my pace. I have knocked 2 minutes per kilometre off since I began running… so just keep those comments to yourself thanks. I am doing the best I can.

Races that are much more forgiving, let me enjoy them for what they are. My favourite race is the Calgary Marathon Weekend. LOVE the atmosphere, the crowd support, the entertainment on the course and you know what? The course itself is pretty. I love the Bow river, I love seeing the Rockies in the distance and I love that it is mostly flat. Not Disney flat. That is FLAT, but Calgary is Prairie/Foothills flat. The perfect flat because running downhill is awesome fun for me.

I know, I know…You can walk a disney race and still finish. Well, maybe YOU can, but not everyone can. I have had 2 sucktastic Disney experiences in a row. I am determined to make my next experience a better one. I loved my first race – the Minnie 10km.

IMG_6039

Crossing the finish line and having Rudy Novotny say hey to me was awesome. This next race has my mental game shaken. Friends have already asked if I am running with them…HELL NO. Go have fun. Enjoy your race. I have to work my ass off to finish and I’d rather do it my own way. Stay focused. Stay Happy and STAY ALONE.

We talked about this before. To me there is nothing I love more than running alone, by myself as in SOLO. It is awesome to hang out before and after with friends but during…get lost. My pal said to me the other day, you don’t know if you like running with people because you have never done it.

Not true.

I have and do run with people for Run Club. I ran today with these awesome people!

IMG_9518

It’s sometimes my job to be a pace leader for the Learn to Run Group. I like it because I set the rules and I think because I am the leader its just different. I like it better when I set the pace and then need to slow down for others. I do not like having to make people slow down for me. I just don’t. I don’t want to talk when I run. I will listen, but don’t expect an answer. A) I am deaf in my left ear and can’t hear you. B) I daydream when I run so talking makes me have to pay attention. BOOOOO that just makes running hard.

When I daydream – or get in the zone – I am aware of cars and the vibration on my wrist for intervals. Thats it. I think about  all kinds of things that I don’t want to share because its about Me sorting out MY thoughts. I love being alone with my thoughts. I don’t get to do that very often. So when I get to…wow…pure bliss.

Anyways…. Ireland.

I have felt then need to up my game because I am on a TEAM. I don’t want to let my team down. Sure it isn’t supposed to be serious. Sure its supposed to be for fun. I still feel the need to be the best I can be. That means I need to run hills, practice pacing, try out clothing and get a feel for what will work.

The best part about the Race to Kinvara is….I get to run alone without my team.

It is a relay. Everyone will be on the bus when I run. I will have been left in the dust by the other teams, so that means I will have the road to Kinvara to myself. I am pretty sure I will weep with joy. Me and my shoes running along the road alone. Honestly? Nothing sounds like a better vacation than that. Apparently I will have a Porter who will drive a scooter to keep an eye on me, hand me water when I need it and basically take care of my needs. Thats as close to being a process as I will ever be and that really appeals to me.

I will do my leg of the run and someone will feel the need to make up for my slow time. Do I care? I did a week ago. I don’t now. This is going to be MY Irish experience. How they choose to experience theirs is up to them.

I did add an element to my training that I had not done before.

I have started wearing my HRM on my training runs. I want to make sure I am running at my best. This is what I learned: I go too fast on my LSD days, but I run within my target for maximum on speed work days. So when I tell someone I am trying my best…I really am.

I have also added my footpod. It gives me my cadence (steps per minute) I am not sure what to do with that information yet. I will keep collecting it and I hope to see it increase by the end of summer.

IMG_9498

I have also started back with My Fitness Pal because I am worried I will gain back what I have lost. I am NEVER GOING DOWN THAT ROAD AGAIN! My jeans are a touch too tight…so its time to become aware again. So far? I have noticed that I was doing okay! I just indulged into many libatious moments over my vacation. But, I always said that I am not on a diet, I am changing my life, but with that, I need to live. Drinks with  friends is part of that. However, now that training has begun in earnest for my Summer Adventure, the beverages need to stop too – the occasional cool one at a BBQ will be fine because I will adjust my intake to accommodate.

So thats it in a nut shell! Aside from my awesome runner’s tan… I am just the same.

IMG_9497

The Calgary 50th Marathon or What was I thinking?

June 1st is a day that will live in infamy…at least in my mind.

I ran the Calgary half marathon and didn’t really train for it. Everything I could have done wrong I did and yet I never felt better completing a half marathon in all my life…true story.

IMG_6822

I knew after I completed the Calgary 10k last year that I was going to run the half. How could I not? It was the 50th year for the Calgary Marathon, the oldest Marathon in Canada. (not to be confused with the oldest race because I think that may be the run around the lake in Hamilton…but I could be wrong, in fact DO NOT USE THIS AS A FACT FINDING MISSION.

Calgary has a lot going for it, great speaker series, great course – it is NOT AN OUT AND BACK! Terrific crowd support and beautiful weather. I know they didn’t have anything to do with that, but they should still take credit! And ELVIS!

IMG_6807

He called me Darlin’. There was a ton of entertainment on the course. I love you for that Calgary!

I was really looking forward to the Speaker Series at Expo. I wanted to meet Bart Yasso and Dean Karnazes. I saw the both speak but waiting in lines is not my thing, so I just waited to meet Yasso. He signed my bib. I rubbed it LOTS on race day for luck and inspiration. I made the most shocking comment ever. I tell everyone who will listen that a Half Marathon isn’t ‘just a half’ it is HALF of nothing, it is far! Be proud! Yet when I sat next to Bart Yasso, the first words out of my mouth were, I’m only doing the half, I am not ready for a full yet.

IMG_6793

Being the Amazing Bart Yasso, he replied with, a Half is FAR. You are like me,I am a halfer. do not apologize for your distance, be proud.

IMG_6789 IMG_6802

You are right Mr. Yasso….I am very disappointed in myself for saying that, and worse…THINKING IT!

The next morning I walked to the Stampede Grounds and waited with the Trusty Steed, Amy, Rachel, Tiffany, Greg, Brent, Natalia, and a bazillion others that I knew in passing from Edmonton and those who were strangers but became friends that morning.

IMG_6806

(Did I mention I was in corral B? I didn’t?? CORRAL B PEOPLE! That is the closest I have ever been to the front of the line. )

We all got caught up in the hype of the morning and took off like the Kenyans we are not. Once our hearts exploded we then found our pace and ran. I knew the first 10k of the course because I ran it last year. This year the Halfers had to cross the 10k track and merge over into the other lane. That was tricky. If I was faster than I would have beat the 10ers, but that was not to be my fate. No one died or was harmed in the merging but I really had to sprint. I hate sprinting, but I can now do it. There is something you never would have heard me say a year ago.

I learned a lot about myself. I am that person who will stop and help people on the course. I am NOT that person that runs past someone and thinks “sucka…I am passing you!!!” On the contrary, I am the person who will hold your hair while you puke, give you my last GU if you look like you need it, Wait with you until the first aiders arrive because you are delirious. Conversely, Karma was just as kind to me, I had spectators jump on the course with me a run a bit, they asked my story and seemed concerned that I wasn’t doing well. I have news for you – that expression on my face is a problem I have had all my life. It is called “Bitchy Resting Face” It makes me look like I am in pain, or tired or having problems when in fact, I had the best best run of my life.

I crossed the finish line and fist pumped the air because HAHA I DID IT! I had a massage, because for $20 it is stupid NOT to get one. And I walked back to my hotel. Now, this halfer was the first time I didn’t need crutches or friend support to hold on to me. I walked home with a spring in my step and felt fab. The only thing I wish I had was flip-flops. I didn’t want to endure bag check and really, I was fine. I still have all my toenails.

IMG_6810

Me and Aimbo (can you see the size of that Full Medal?? It is a belt buckle with a bottle opener. Amy just finished the Blackfoot 100k the weekend before and paced a group to finish 2 minutes under 4 hours for this one. She is a BEAST. This summer she is running the Sinister Seven and Death Race SOLO back to back. She is my hero.)

I broke the cardinal rule in Running and wore BRAND NEW OUT OF THE BOX Shoes. That was stupid, but Brooks Ghost is MY SHOE. They felt like home putting them on and I don’t regret it. I don’t advise this of you. I walked away blister and injury free. So it worked for me.

IMG_6803

Flat Robyn and her shiny new shoes!

I ate a steak sandwich because I was thinking about a burger at the 17km mark. GU just doesn’t cut hunger. I drank a beer because it tastes the best after a half marathon and I stole cupcakes because that is how I roll.

I stayed at the Fairmont Palliser and there was a reception in the lobby. Cupcakes were everywhere. I took one on the way up to my room. Sugar was good. On the way back down for lunch, I stole another one. Hunger is a problem for me after that many miles. I can only imagine when I run a full what I will need to eat.

Will I run this course again? YES! I really want the belt buckle that is also a bottle opener. It is the size of my head. Big in the way only Calgary can do. But I won’t be running it next year, I have new races to face.

IMG_6823 IMG_6815 IMG_6820

Happy Running!

Virtual Races Rock My World

I was talking to a friend of mine and told him I had a virtual race coming up. He asked me if you just think about running it. Ummm…no.

A virtual race is an actual event you sign up for, pay money to, prove you ran it and then you get a medal! I am a self professed medal whore so I thought this was a brilliant idea.

Way back around Christmas, I was chatting with my book club gals and we were talking about me starting the C25k program – AGAIN. I had to start from scratch due to the medical issues in my life, so I decided to have it be my new year’s resolution. Learn to run 5 km.

My big goal was to run a 5km fun run in the spring then move towards a the Canadian Derby 10km in August. However, my sister decided to get married that day in August and since it was suppose to be a run with my dad, I couldn’t very well say “Sorry Dad, you can’t go to sister’s wedding because you promised ME first!” Lets be honest for a minute – Dad would pick me because I am his favorite  however, I think it is WRONG to put him into that position. So, being the awesome sister I am, I decided to let Dad go to the wedding and I will go too.

This created a problem for me. I really wanted to run a 10k and it needed to have a medal – because we have already established that I am a medal whore. The Calgary Marathon has a 10k race, with medal, on my dad’s 65th birthday! Perfect! Except that when I signed up for it I couldn’t run 3km. YIKES! I needed to step up the training.

Fast forward to May 1st, 25 days away from my first 10k race AND first running race of ANY sort, here is me thinking ‘you always do this to yourself’. I hadn’t run a 5k and was planning the 10k and up the ante to a half marathon in August. Yikes. As if THAT wasn’t bad enough, I registered for the WDW Marathon weekend in January 2014 and am in the 5k, the 10k and the half marathon. I am calling it the Unofficial Sleepy because if you add the full Marathon it is called the Dopey.

Meanwhile, May 1st and I haven’t run a 5k race. Sure I have run 5k, I have even run 10k! But not the race. My friend Teresa decided she was going to run too. She started the C25k in January too only she ran inside on a treadmill. How? I have no idea. I have HUGE respect and awe for those who can run any distance on a treadmill. Together we trained separately, her inside and me outside. Then I found THIS on facebook!

551482_650847768274414_1620874287_n

Entry $25 – benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training
Run a 5k, 10k or half-marathon between April 3-May 6th and get an awesome medal.
Description

Step 1: purchase a race entry
Step 2: log your miles by the May 6th deadline. These miles are on your own time! If you are doing a race in the time frame – those miles count too!
Step 3: Upload a pic of you after your run, a pic of your watch or app with the miles, or a post race pic to this facebook page
Step 4: Get your medal in the mail and proudly display the BLING!

So for $25 I could run on a day it wasn’t snowing, pick my distance, raise money for a great cause AND get a medal? What isn’t to love about that?
So we did it today, it was Teresa’s first official 5k and first outside run, and it was my first Official 5k Race! WOOT! I liked this concept so much I joined another virtual race.
Really, I signed up for the next one because the medal was so FREAKING COOL! Take a look and you decide:923430_2995771951360_1419414284_n
I know, right? How AMAZING is that? Different colour ribbons for each distance. I am going half marathon T.A.R.D.I.S. Blue for this virtual race because I run a 20k this summer for training, I will add 1.1km to that and I am IN! They give a race bib too. Half marathon is all about the 11th doctor and there is a freaky thing with me and the #11 so I must do that race. My kiddo is doing the 5k because she is all about Tennant and the #10th Doctor – very fitting for her. Virtual races kinda rock!
All you have to do is post proof (picture of your garmin and a sweaty photo of you) and taDaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! This too can be yours!
Join us won’t you for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Virtual Race. Or you still have time to Run Like a Girl!
At any rate, Happy Running!

Quicken the Pace Mo!

I don’t know what it is, but I am really feeling the Mo! Is it making a difference on the scale? Ummmmm no. BUT! And I say that very enthusiastically, I am feeling it in my muscles. That is a feeling that I left behind last fall when I went on my maintence hiatus. I still worked out 4 times a week, but I wasn’t pushing any limits.The point was to keep my heart healthy. Now I am back in training mode, my muscles are cranky and the brain is saying suck it up buttercup!

Another side benefit is… wait for it…SLEEP. I am tired and I sleep easily. This was a wonderful discovery last spring when I started my training for my first half marathon. It’s funny how easily you forget what you like when there is work involved to acheive it. I just spent some time re-reading my past Mo Chronicles and organizing my blog better. I did this for me because I use this as a journal to help me reflect and stay accountable to myself. I was reading the half marathon blogs and amazed myself. I realized I have com a very long way. Last spring I was stuggling with 4km – 7km distances. This spring, not only do I look at that distance as short, but I am finishing in record time for me. I look back and I can’t believe that was me. I feel so very different.

I went to the gym for the first time with friends. I had always been intimidated by my peers in the fitness department. I am reading Wired for Joy by Lauren Mellin and it disscusses the need for risks and trying new things. Here was a perfect opourtunity for me to really risk. Invite my friends to the gym. We are all on the same running team for the Calgary Marathon. Team-ness is our team name. It has a deeper personal meaning for us that makes us laugh. There are 4 gals on our team, 2 runners and 2 walkers. My MCL doesn’t not want me to run yet so I will walk again. Between you and me, I am dying to be a runner. I cannot wait for the day I am able to.

We hit the track and the 2 gals started running, I was walking. My pace was just shy of their running which THRILLED me. I finished 2 laps behind them. TWO!!! I had my pace set at 10min/km. That was super fast for me, yet I felt great. I could have gone farther, but i know it is important to stick to the training schedule. On Tempo days, I think I will be able to step it up a notch. The key is to actually DO Tempo’s and hill training this time around. Ah the things you learn through trial and error. Clearly it is important to listen to the coach. They know more than I do – clearly. my coach has 14+ half marathons under belt in the past 6 years. At the Vegas Rock and Roll, she brought in her best time. 3:10. I want 3:10.

I have figured out the nutrition, the hydration and now I am working on technique and training.

I found while circling the track at the begining, I was really tense. When I forced myself to relax, I was able to quicken my pace. I also find my hips and legs are tight. I am researching yoga for runners. I love yoga, and I think it can go a long way to helping me become much more flexible and relaxed while training distances. Ask Coach Jenny has some great information about yoga for runners. The hard part for me is to do it. I am great at going to classes to do it. In my own home? Not so much. Maybe it is atmosphere or music… I need yoga music. At any rate, I am making a serious effort to incorporate runner’s yoga into my training plan, maybe Mo will make me do it consitently!

Happy training!