It’s all fine and dandy until Mother Nature gets mad

 

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Remember how I was going to run 6k yesterday? Well, I didn’t.

I ran 4.5k instead.

After a week of lazy movement behaviour and eating junk, my legs were filled with concrete and burning acid. Well…it felt that way. I stretched everything out after a .5k warm up then I was good to go. I was feeling great! I was faster, I felt strong, I was maintaining my race pace.

The sun set at 9:00pm so I put on my new handy-dandy headlamp so I could see through the creek. Good thing too because suddenly the skies got REALLY BLACK and not from lack of sunshine either. Here is the thing about Alberta storms. The come in and out in a split second. Often without warning. Storm clouds rolled in and I was pelted with hail the size of a dime. For the record – OUCH! I had nowhere to seek shelter. I was running along the trails by my house which is a powerline zone. So Running under those suckers made me feel super safe. (Insert Sarcastic tone here) The lightning started, huge forks lit up the sky. Then a transformer was hit and turned the sky green. When that happened, the sizzle of the extra current traveled down the lines to where I was standing in the open. I was still a quite a good distance from home, so I called my Trusty Steed.

I asked him to rescue me and meet me at the north end of the creek. He agreed and I ran towards the creek to our meeting point. By this time I was soaked through to the bone. Dri fit is only good to a certain point and last night was not it.

I normally am not scared off by rain. The rain wasn’t the problem – the hail hurt and running on the prairies in Lightning is just not smart. So where does that leave me?

Well? I think I will do another 3-4k today. Just light, not at race pace because tomorrow a 10k is on tap at race pace. I have some weird aches and pains that I think yoga will assist me with and running them out should help. I am starting to get the pre-race jitters. BUT I am not scared like I was for Calgary.

That is a good sign.

I have run a half marathon already this month. That does WONDERS for my confidence. I am ready, even if I have to walk it I know I’ve got this.

Looking forward to it because it brings me that much closer to my marathon goal. Goal setting rocks my world. Just WAIT until you hear my plans for 2014 and beyond!

Happy Running!

Where is WHAT? @Edm_Marathon #EDMarathon

Last night a couple of my girlfriends and I participated in the Edmonton Marathon’s scavenger hunt. I am not really sure why they had one, but it was fun!

The last time I did a scavenger hunt was back in the 80’s and I was stuck with two team members who weren’t very clever and never believed me when I figured out the clues. Consequently, we lost. I had also participated in a couple that were meant for preschoolers and those were DEAD EASY – and so they should be. Last night’s hunt was easy AND fun, but I suspect it was fun because of the company. Doing it without a team would not be as fun.

It started at the Running Room on 109th Street and the clues led us all over the University of Alberta to places I knew about but had a hard time finding. Lost being the operative word. My team of three each knew lots of the clues and so it was a true joint effort. When looking for a Red Door, one said while jumping with glee, “I KNOW I KNOW WHERE THAT IS!” So off we waddled!

We found ourselves hanging upside down from monkey bars, slipping down slides, standing in a teepee and looking for lions. We harassed strangers drinking chai and hot guys in flip-flops. We jumped on busses that were idling and ran across the quad in search of the engineering wall covered in math equations. Part of the rules was tweeting all the pics we found to @Edm_Marathon and using the #EDMarthon so you can go look up the fun there.

We ended up at Hudson’s on Campus and ate the buffet of bar food (best food group EVER),drank water and beer with the rest of the participants. The prizes were outstanding. My friend won a running jacket that didn’t fit her – so she graciously gave it to me and I bought her drink. My other pal won running pants. The crazy thing about this was it was all free. Free entry, free food, free free free – except the drink.

It was decided then and there that this would be an annual event. Free=Good and Good=Fun therefore, why would we not repeat this every year?

Thanks Edmonton Marathon, it was great! Looking forward to Marathon Weekend and running the half – I can’t WAIT!

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I am my mom’s worst nightmare

When I was 9, my family (with Granny included) traveled all over Europe for the summer. I had no idea how amazing it was until I was older and learned history. It wasn’t all fun and games though.

There was that time when we were vacationing on the Italian Riviera (sounds WAY more glamorous than it was) 7 of us in a caravan, sleeping on the side of the road (often) rarely getting proper showers. We looked and smelled like Hobos.

My aunt (5 years older than me) and I were the prudes of the bunch. Europe is very free and easy with their bodies. At the caravan park we stayed in, there were actual showers! We noticed everyone walking down NAKED – shocking for us Canucks who aren’t even naked when we are born. We all have toques.

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This was my first gander at a fellow without clothes – other than my baby brother who didn’t count. My Aunt and I were gaping out the window when suddenly THERE GOES GRANNY in her bra and undies!. GRANDMA!!! She was totally overdressed  – BUT STILL!

When I think back to that day, My granny was just 3 years older than I am now. I blame her for the shenanigans that happened at the park today.

I checked the weather before I left and decided on a long sleeve Tee. That was my first mistake. I am a 45 and 11/12’s (August 16th people! Mark your calendars!) PRE-menopausal woman. I get hot just thinking about socks. By the time I got to the park, and ran 3km I figured I needed to lighten the layers or go home. After the drama of my day yesterday – going home wasn’t an option. So what did I do?

I whipped my shirt off. My mom would be SO PROUD – HA! My dad will go ballistic when he finds out. I am half the size – almost half – of what I use to be. I am still a big girl, but I feel confident enough in my own skin to run in the sports bra – I just never thought about doing it before.

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TAAAAAAAAADAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! HI MOM!!!

Obviously my belly never sees the light of day, but after running in just my skivvies, I will DEFINITELY be doing this again! It was so freeing to be in a SINGLE layer! I know you fellows don’t understand, but ladies…. IT WAS AWESOME! The wind was cooling and the sun was warm. The sweat running down my back didn’t bother me because it evaporated right away. It was like that time when I swam out of my bathing suit bottoms because I lost so much weight. Although that was way more embarrassing…

You are correctly assuming that my girls are not those of a runner’s. I have been cursed blessed with fancy girly parts. I am curvy. There are way less curvy girls running around in their sports bras – but I don’t care. I was on the trails, in the parks and not downtown – a bit different still…Since when do I care what people think? Hmmm it’s been a few years anyways. I got some looks, a couple of winks and smiles from the male runners out there. Let me tell you, it has BEEN AWHILE since a fellow checked me out. Yay me! I am now going to search out coloured fashionable sports harnesses for the girls. I am doing this again and often.

I now have my fear of Florida figured out. Off comes the shirt if I am too hot. Which I will be because it was only 17C today (thats 62F for my American friends) Obviously I will be too hot running in Florida for the WDW Marathon Weekend in January. I am a Canadian girl who thinks 4C is perfect running weather. That was the temperature in Calgary for the 10k I was in. It was awesome.

I came home still under dressed by my son’s standards and he did the “MY EYES! I CAN NEVER UNSEE THAT!” routine. So I looked up whether or not my attire was suitable for running.

According to Runners World the verdict is a resounding YES!

YAY!

OH…and to all you skinny gals who hate looking at me when I run – bite me. But be careful – I bite back.

Do it already!!

But I don’t waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant tooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

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My head and legs are fighting with me today. I have been feeling the “I want to quit” Blues.

There is some mental thing that is keeping me from being excited about running the Edmonton Half Marathon. Perhaps it is the distance.

My head is like, “Dude, do you remember how far that is?”

Feet: “Oh BOY do I remember! I can still feel the pain of the stress fracture. Dude THAT SUCKED”

Ego: “Do you think that Pace Bunny will keep us company again? Because being last with her sucked DONKEY BALLS!”

Brain: ” I really wish you legs would run faster…say 9:30km/min? That way we could finish without her yapping to us.”

Ego: “OMG PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE finish faster!!!”

Legs: “What difference does it make? We get our moneys worth for the entry fee if we are slow. The medal is the same as the Kenyans who cross first AND it is less crowded!”

Feet: “Legs, being faster means we get to stop sooner.”

Brain: “I just hate the long runs, those are boring and you guys have nothing nice to say – EVER!”

Ego: “Let’s just go and get it over with. One day it will feel fabulous to run because we will be all thin and fit, then this drudgery will be worth it.

Brain: “Agreed”

Feet: “I hate you all but fine,I will join you… like I have a choice.”

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And there you have it, my daily struggle to get me out of the house and onto a running path with the gang. The Gazelle is joining me so perhaps Ego will force Legs to move faster…doubt it.

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See you after 8km.

Fierce Friday: Dopey Spotlight with Jillian Markin

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Every Friday this summer, I will be focusing on Fierce. It has become my new favourite word. The dictionary describes it as:

fierce

/fi(ə)rs/

Adjective
  1. Having or displaying an intense or ferocious aggressiveness.
  2. (of a feeling, emotion, or action) Showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity.

I love the second definition. It suits me and all the women I admire. I don’t mean to single out men. This is terrible on my part, but society has conditioned me to expect men to be fierce. All the male athletic friends/bloggers/runners in my life fit the definition of FIERCE. They are capable of pushing themselves to limits beyond what regular people think they can or might be able to do.

It is FIERCE women who stand out for me.

I am on a running team where there are lots of runners of all levels of experience. There are runners who have only ever raced a 5k yet have the desire to do more. I admire that. But that doesn’t make you fierce.

Fierce is about getting the job done and not crying about it. Lets clarify that. Crying is fine. When I tore my MCL, you bet I cried – I actually screamed and howled and woke up all of Germany. One might think I was being mutilated Technically I was. But FIERCE is powering through hard stuff. Leaning on your own mental strength to pull through. Fierce is knowing when to asked for advice or help and knowing when you need to suck it up and do it yourself. Not everyone knows the difference.

Having someone hold your hand is one thing, but they can’t carry you across the finish line. Only you can do that. FIERCE athletes understand that.

One team mate of mine from the WDW Radio Running Team is FIERCE – actually there are a couple of Fierce gals on that team who are my heroes. But today’s Fierce Spotlight is on Jillian Markin. (You can read her running adventures blog here.)

As with everyone’s story, I am always interested to know how or why they got started. My curiosity with Jillian was no exception. So I asked her

ME: What inspired you to start running? 

JM: I was never really a runner before.   I was active, but never to the point of more than a mile or two on the treadmill at the gym.  When I moved to New York City several years ago, I started to notice right away how everyone is so intensely active.  Everywhere you look there is someone running, coming from yoga, going to the gym, bike riding, etc.  I found myself wanting to be like the people around me.  I happened to be on vacation in Disney during one of their races.  I saw all of the amazingly active people surrounding me there too.  They were flaunting their metals so proudly, I wanted that.  I took that feeling back to NYC with me, and registered for my first half marathon.  I had 3.5 months to get my act together and figure out what I needed to do to complete it.

ME: Aside from the physical aspect, how has it changed you?

JM:  I have found myself able to be more encouraging of others.  I know how much it meant to me to have someone to go to with questions or concerns I may have had, as well as how much it meant to know someone was there rooting for me no matter how fast I ran or when I finished the race.  The sense of community within my running team has brought me to new levels of desire to run more.

ME: Tell me about your involvement with your running team – WDW Radio and any other.

JM: I joined on to the WDW Radio Running Team back in 2010 for my first race.  I did my requirements of the initial fundraising and then that was it, or so I thought.  When I first joined in, I don’t think I realized how great it was to be a part of something so meaningful.  Each race after that first one, I found myself wanting to do more for the cause.  I met more and more team members, that each shared their stories on why they are doing what they do, which made me love the team that much more!  Each person has their own reason for committing themselves to the Dream Team Project.   These team members have become some of my closest friends, even though we are all over the world!  We work together to encourage each other & raise money for these deserving kids & their families to let them forget about being sick for a little while and to experience a little MAGIC!!

ME: Inspire others to join your team and convince me through your experience that it is a great idea. 

JM: I’ve only been involved with this one team, so I can’t say from experience how other teams are, but I do know that the WDW Radio Running Team- has welcomed me in like a family member.  From pre-race meet ups, to constant communication through social media, these people are in it together!  And for someone who was not a part of a running community in the past, I have the team now to help me where I need it most! 

ME: Tell me about the last major race you ran and the distance. What about your race career, what does it look like?

JM: My largest race to date was the Goofy Challenge in Walt Disney World- January 2013.  The half marathon, I paced myself back a bit to last for the full marathon the following day.  I had not done a full marathon before, and (shame on me) did not train properly for it either.  I finished the half in 2:57:11 and the full in 7:06:33.  Let’s just say I wasn’t in proper form afterwards.  Prior to doing the Goofy Challenge, my races consisted of Disney’s Princess Half Marathon in February 2010 & 2011, Disney’s Tower of Terror 10 miler in September 2012, Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon in November 2012, and the Seaside School Half Marathon in March 2013.

ME: What was your main athletic event/favorite before becoming marathoner/half marathoner?

JM: Before running, I only really took classes at the gym.  Pilates and yoga were a part of my normal routine, as well as being a dancer growing up.  During my training for my races I needed to find a form of cross training and I happened to come across Aerial Yoga, which led me to find classes me flying on the aerial silks.  I never knew I had the ability to hang from fabric like the girls in the circus!  It is such a unique and thorough style workout that helps you find your inner circus artist at heart!  I did this as my cross training with running, and it helped to stretch my body in ways I couldn’t alone with just yoga.

ME:  Toughest obstacle to overcome with training was?

JM:  I’m still trying to overcome a sense of routine and that “waking up early” thing is really difficult to accomplish as well!  As much as I try, I need to find the desire to get out of bed before sunrise (instead of snuggling in bed with my sweet puppy), regularly, to get into the early am running routine.  I understand that living in the land of year-round humidity it is what must be done to not go into heat exhaustion.  However, finding a routine once again is on the horizon, and hopefully it’s not as hard as it’s been in the past.

ME: How much is mental toughness a factor in your success?

JM:  Honestly, I just get out there and run.  I don’t really think about what’s going on, I tend to listen to my body while I’m out there. I believe that knowing yourself and your limits is the most important aspect of putting mileage in.

ME: Is there a secret or ritual you use for mental strength?

JM: I thrive on a sense community.  I believe I’m my best when there are others there to cheer on, and to have them to do the same for.

ME: Give me a rundown of your last race, if you would like to elaborate now that you have put some distance behind you that would be great

JM: My most recent race was the Seaside School Half Marathon in March of 2013.  I was asked to do this race with a lifelong friend, who was not a runner, was a new mom, and did not train very much for this race.  Using my past race experience, I became her running “coach” – encouraging her along her path to and during the race (pretending I knew what I was talking about, I did- I just didn’t practice it myself).  Prior to this race, I failed to do the training necessary for a half marathon, neither did she.  Being a new mom, she found it very difficult to find the time.  I had no excuse.  This was in the time after my Goofy Challenge, and I had just begun doing Cross-Fit as a part of my new fitness plan.  Having Cross-Fit in the plan helped my body get familiar with the strength needed for one of these races once again.  In the weeks before the race, I spoke to my friend about what she needed to do to prepare, and convinced her that even with a lack of training- we were going to finish this race together!!

Race morning was one of the coldest I had ever experienced, a frigid 20 degrees F!  

(* Authors note – I love 20F or -6C it is the perfect running conditions for me!!)Coming from South Florida, this was foreign.  We arrived to the starting line together, all bundled up, and prepared ourselves for the day.  We started the race with a nice easy pace and continued to make it through almost the entirety of the race at a steady 11/12 minute pace.  I continued to ask how she was feeling, she told me she was doing GREAT!  OK~ Let’s do this then!  We did everything as I mentally prepared myself it would be, where the water breaks were, when to run, when to walk, and towards the end- where to set goals.  I told her that we had to break it down into smaller races- 5k, then another 5k, wow-we’re almost halfway done, let’s run/walk here, now run to that sign, run to that street corner, see that tree up there- get to there, see all those people up there- THAT’S THE FINISH!!  Surprising myself, as well as her, we finished the half marathon in 2:53, and both felt great afterwards!

After my Goofy Challenge, I had a very difficult time walking for the week following the race (to the point where I got told that I’m nuts for wanting to do that to my body).  It was also a very hot and humid race!  It took a lot out of me.  This half marathon brought out a side in me that I never knew was there.  I was encouraging & there for someone else other than me!  I suddenly realized that I needed to not only listen to myself, but to listen to my running partner as well….and I LOVED it!  I actually really enjoyed running in the cold weather as well!  If I had a choice, I would have it that temperature for all of my distance races, but NO, I’m not MOVING!

ME: What do you wish you had done differently?

JM: This goes for all of my races—–TRAIN PROPERLY!!

ME:   New fitness goals? Any races coming up?

JM: I am actively training for Disney’s Dopey Challenge- January 2014- with hopes of the Disneyland Dumbo Double Dare 2014- completing the Coast to Coast Challenge.  Yes, I’m actually training for this one.  My goal is to get my marathon finish from 7 hours to 5 hours.  Yes, it’s ambitious, but I feel like with the proper training schedule (that my running coach is giving me in addition to my Cross-Fit) I will be at the pace I should’ve been at with all of my other races.  I’m also scheduled to do Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon in November 2013, and planning to complete the Space Coast Full Marathon in December 2013- in preparation of the Dopey Challenge.

(* Author’s Note: The Dopey Challenge is 4 days of consecutive racing. Day 1, 5km Day 2, 10km Day 3, 21.1km Day 4, 42.2 km all this equals a brutal training schedule and mental strength to endure the highs and lows of training, not to mention the pain and exhaustion of racing.)

My training schedule currently consists of 4 days a week of short runs, interval training, and longer runs on weekends, in addition to Cross-Fit 3-4 days a week.

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This is why I think Jillian is fierce. She gets it done to achieve the goal she has envisioned. I am proud to call her a teammate and am excited to watch her receive her Dopey Medal after she completes her 4 day challenge.

 

Please consider donating on our behalf, Robyn Engel Couture or Jillian Markin here DONATEYou enter any amount from $1 – infinity and beyond

I thank you, my team thanks you and some little kid who’s wish came true thanks you.

For more information about the Dream Team Project, please visit here.

 

 

 

Changing the Weak Mind into a Strong Mind to reach the Finish line

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A friend of mine who is training for the Edmonton Half Marathon texted me that he had completed 18km the other day. That is WAY ahead of schedule. The rest of us were at the 10km mark. I suggested to him he should train for the full marathon  because his distances were right on target for marathon training. This was his reply:

I don’t think I can be in marathon shape in 8 weeks. It feels crazy.

Oh really? This was my response”

If you don’t think it- then you can’t.

If you think you can, then you will

I believe in the power of the mind. But let’s clarify that. I am not naive enough to think I can do anything without putting in the work. Muscles and the rest of my body rely on me to train, that way they know what to do when the mind takes me into the land of daydreams while I run. You see, running long distance can get BORING. Shocking right? Any time you are out there over 2 hours, you literally run out of stuff to think about. So I daydream. I am an awesome daydreamer. I could medal in all daydreaming events. This is a benefit of being an introvert.

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Let’s clarify the definition of Introvert: Contrary to what most people think, an introvert is not simply a person who is shy. In fact, being shy has little to do with being an introvert! Shyness has an element of apprehension, nervousness and anxiety, and while an introvert may also be shy, introversion itself is not shyness. Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.

I am an Introvert and it’s awesome. It is hard to find time to be alone with my thoughts because the people in my life are talkers. I like taking trips by myself, I like going to movies by myself, and shopping by myself – it’s all good! Give me an empty room and I have reached nirvana! So running solo for 2-3 hours is an exquisite time for me. Alone, peaceful and silent – except for the waving hello to fellow runners, I don’t talk but I will wave and smile…sometimes I don’t smile because it feels like work. Such is the life of an introvert.

I often hear my peers worrying about being able to do the distance. They worry about not making it, or having to quit. I just don’t understand it. Why wouldn’t you be able to finish? Injury could be a factor. But mentally strong people push through it to finish. Not because it hurts less or they are stubborn, but because you have told your body with strength and conviction that you are finishing. You muscles carry you through to the end and the mind masks the pain. It is an amazing thing. That is how I got through my first half marathon with a stress fracture. My mind was masking all the issues from the PACE BUNNY WHO WOULDN’T SHUT UP to the pain I was feeling until I crossed the finish line. That was when all hell broke loose. I then began to feel the pain and my body wouldn’t let me walk on the foot anymore. It was crazy. The power of the mind is truly incredible.

Belief is only a part of the mental toughness training. Running in weather is important. Rain, snow, heat are all factors that play with the brain.

I am wanting to learn about developing mental toughness. I want to be able to push through pain and exhaustion to finish my goals. I can do this. In an effort to learn more, I am beginning a series about women athletes who work through obstacles and overcome them to achieve their goals. I’ve started the interview process with some amazing women and will begin this weekly summer series The first week of July.

If you are interested in being interviewed or can recommend an amazing female athlete in your life, please drop me a line! I’d love to learn more about you or them or both!

edmtourist@gmail.com

or message me on facebook at The Edmonton Tourist

or on twitter @EdmontonTourist

Meanwhile, stay strong and just do it.

Happy Running!

Fangirl Running

Fort Edmonton Bridge

I have come to the conclusion that I am a faster runner when I don’t stop.

No brainer right?

Well, a fact is a fact. Today was such a beautiful day, I went out and ran the River Valley Loop over by Fort Edmonton Park. It was humid but the sun was out and after yesterdays funnel clouds, hail and thunderstorms, I will take this kind of day! I chose this route because there are hills incorporated into the 5k, I need to keep on running them so one day hills will feel easy (FYI, it hasn’t happened yet). Hills don’t help the speed either. I am still that fatgirl who gives her all as she trudges up those hills.

Today was special though. This fatgirl became the fangirl. I was headed towards the river when what do my wondering eyes should see but Kelly Buchberger!

Insert fangirl squeal here -> fangirl_squeal_by_goddessofdarkness777-d32n5ja

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I am a big time hockey fan. It also shouldn’t surprise anyone that I can spot a hockey player at 100 paces. It also shouldn’t surprise anyone that I know every bit of stupid Oiler trivia from 1980-1994 (I defected in 1994 and became a NY Ranger Fan, now I split my allegiance. I could give you a lengthy explanation but the bottom line is Messier, MacTavish, Lowe and Kurri defected). At that time, Kelly Buchberger became the Oiler’s Captain. He was never a superstar, but her worked hard. He was the guy in the corners, in front of the net, beating the crap out of the opposing team and losing. He is now the Edmonton Oiler’s Assistant coach. The last time I saw Bucky out in public was Family Day weekend about 10 years ago in Banff. He was with the family and was pleading with his eyes for me not to approach him because his wife would kill him. The dude needed family time, not fan time. So I respected that.

Karma rewarded me today.

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He ran up a hill with me and encouraged me to keep moving.

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

He bid me farewell and I followed him (because I was going the same way) and ran off into the distance. Sigh……

Bucky has great physique for a 46 year old. Often athletes retire and stop working out. Hello Dave Hunter! The dude ran like a gazelle leaping over things, yet it looked like he wasn’t putting any effort into it.

Obviously I thought about him the rest of my run. Who wouldn’t? I did stop to take picture because it was a newish route for me. Now that I know he runs there, I may go more frequently in hopes he brings his little head coach friend Dallas Eakins, the new coach looks like David Tennant, the 10th Doctor. That would be ANOTHER huge fan girl moment. 100412ahl

Meanwhile, I need to get faster so I can catch them.

 

Hills are stupid but I am glad they were invented

This time next week I will be finished the 10k in Calgary. My Dad and I joke around about who is going to trip who, and who will sprint to the finish and elbow the other person into the boards for the finish.

Obviously it is going to be me. I will take no prisoners, just leave a bloody mess in my wake.

I will elbow my dad into the boards and sprint pass him so he has to buy breakfast.

We all know nothing ever goes as planned. The likelihood of me beating the crap out of my dad for the win is slim to none. However, a girl has to have dreams…

Today was my last long run before Calgary. I am officially on a taper. It’s not much of a taper seeing I am running 10k again next week, but I have a weekly total of 16k to get through this week instead of last weeks 23k before the weekend.

My run today through Millcreek ravine was fabulous. I had a decent pace for my LSD, kept it slow ran straight through to Connor’s Hill. This hill is becoming a thorn in my side. I am DETERMINED to run up the whole thing by the Edmonton Half Marathon if it KILLS me! Two weeks in a row, the halfway point does me in. I end up walking the rest. This is my new challenge. I WILL RUN UP THAT HILL BY MY BIRTHDAY or DIE TRYING.

Since I began hill training, the rolling coaster hills that use to scare me, now are barely noticed. It’s those steep mountain esc trails that really annoy me and have me sucking wind as if I am not very capable. Of course, that just isn’t true. When I first began running hills, I just couldn’t do it. I would plan my route to avoid hills. Now I plan my route for distance and scenery. Hills are apart of that. photo (21)

Dudley B. Menzies Bridge (LRT and pedestrian b...

Dudley B. Menzies Bridge (LRT and pedestrian bridge) over North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9k into my run today found me on the LRT Bridge Dudley B. Menzies crossing south towards the U of A over the North Saskatchewan River. This was the first time I felt scared. I was heading towards some dark forest and unknown trails. I stopped to ask some cyclers the best route to 109th Street. With all the detours and changes to the river loop, people were a little confused. I had a pretty good idea which way I should go, but it appeared to be straight up. I thanked the couple before I continued on my way and told them if they see me on the news because I was dead, my name was Robyn. Being able to identify my last known whereabouts seemed important at the time.

It was dark because the tree canopy had fully leafed out. It was  empty and lonely on that trail because no one uses it for good reason.

The reason no one uses that trail is because it goes STRAIGHT UP! The last time I climbed something that steep, I was mountain climbing in Jasper and had expected the steepness because I was ON A MOUNTAIN, not the prairies. JEEEZE!  The good news? My ass is going to look AWESOME by summer! The bad news? My pace dropped to 16min/km. Near the end I needed to stop and suck some wind into my lungs, finished off my water and took a deep breath while I mentally prepared for the stairs. I told myself at the top of these stairs I was home free. I would be 2 FLAT blocks from my finish line and car.

HA!

At the top of the stairs was another FREAKING HILL! OH COME ON! I was out of water and was fantasizing about eggs. I know, weird food cravings at 9.7 km.  But I wanted protein and lots of it at that point. My thighs were very disappointed in my choice of route and my calves were just plain ol’ angry.

As I reached my destination, I realized I had mentally conquered the most difficult ending to any trail I have ever taken. This will carry me far next week.

In Calgary should I come across some difficult parts of the route, I just need to think back to my past two weeks of training. Last week I ran 13km. This week I climbed hills from hell. Next week should be easy in comparison.

I am ready.

Roll on Calgary, I can’t wait!

 

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!

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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!

Motivational Monday: The First Woman Marathoner

b32fae27b92f579431222ab722144c0bToday is Boston Marathon Day. I will not qualify for quite some time. Perhaps years, but I will keep trying. Why is Boston so important? Lots of reasons but the big one is Katherine Switzer, the first female in 1967 to officially run for the Golden Unicorn. 

I was born that year.

For me it is unfathomable that a woman would not be allowed to run. In those days  the conventional wisdom of the time was that running more than a mile and a half was potentially deadly to women. Ha!

The first unofficial female runner to race in Boston was the year before in 1966 was Bobbi Gibb. She ran it in nursing shoes because they were sturdy. So lets be clear, Bobbi Gibb ran 26.2 miles in nursing shoes because they were STURDY. There just wasn’t running shoes made that would fit womens feet.

Today I am running in the river valley because I can.

I wear women’s adidas glide 4.

I wear coolfit pants from Nike Women.

I wear Sweatyband hair bands for women.

I run because the only man who might dare tell me I can’t won’t and he is my Doctor.

Men have told me I won’t make it.

Men have told me it will be too hard.

Those men can suck it.

I run to honor the tenacity of the women who forced the hand of men to let run in races.

I run to honor the support of every woman I ever encountered.

Here is to the women’s Boston winner today and all the women runners there today 46 years later after the first woman was allowed to officially enter.

Congratulations, you all are my inspirations.