Saturday, May 30, 2009

good luck!

Just a quick post to say good luck to two of my favourite peeps.
Heather is running her super sprint triathlon tomorrow. H-mo, channel your inner Chrissie Wellington, and use your tough feet to get you through. And if you have trouble on the bike, just remember that you still have to run. Oh wait...ummm, I know you will do great and look just like this (couldn't find a good swim pic)
And Kirsten is doing her redemption half marathon. Run strong Kirsten! You can do it. Just pretend you are these lovely ladies (no Radcliffe style pit stops on the side of the road though):
I hope both of you have great days. Sleep well tonight and have fun tomorrow. I look forward to hearing all about your races.

(up next, adventures in Greek yogurt)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

race weekend afterthoughts

A few afterthoughts about the weekend and then it will be back to business as usual:

-The 10K world record I mentioned last week did not get broken. Merga missed it by 24 or so seconds. A different world record DID get broken: the single-leg amputee record. I had no idea there would be an attempt (and apparently neither did he until a few weeks ago). Well done Mr. Ball! Two world records in two months? Wow!

-One of the participants in the marathon ran his 138th sub 3 hour marathon. Both Liz and I just kind of looked at each other and wondered if we had heard the announcer correctly.

-The top Canadian finisher was Reid Coolsaet who ran 2:17:10 in his marathon debut. I read a CBC story that called him "comfortable" at the end. He certainly looked it- he was pumping up the crowd and grinning from ear to ear. (check his blog out for his race report. someone should have warned him that somehow you ALWAYS end up running into the wind along the canal...i don't know how it works, but it does)

-Around the 5 and a half hour mark, a lady came running by absolutely sobbing. It was a very good example of the physical AND mental toll that running a marathon takes. I kind of wanted to give her a hug.

-Jordan was 105th overall (that's in the top 3%) and 13th in his age group. I think that's pretty wicked.

-I enjoyed this one much more than my last race- definitely a success!

-Watching kids cheer for their parents is adorable.

-Watching parents cheer for their kids is also pretty cool.

And just for you Heather- I caught someone wearing our favourite shirt:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

a weekend at the races


I think we can call our weekend at the races a success. There were 4 PRs set, one entry into the Boston Marathon earned, and no trips to see the medics.

The first race was my "back from stress fracture" 10K. For those of you who missed it, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my fibula back in November. I had to take some time off running and then slooowwwwly build back up starting at about 5K a week (which is usually the shortest I run...so trying to divide that into three days a week was interesting). It was at 6:30 on Saturday evening so it was a bit of an odd time. As you can see by the picture, apparently I was not impressed. What you may also notice in that picture is the pasty whiteness of my arms...showing that I have not had much opportunity to run in the heat and the sun this spring due to some pretty cold weather. This came into play a little bit in my race (and in most people's race this weekend I think).

Regardless, I was pretty ready to go when I crammed myself into the "yellow" corral. My plan was to get as close to the front as I could because I knew that my "if I have a great day" pace group was right at the end of the corral in front of me (the orange corral). Unfortunately, squeezing 8,345 people into the start is tricky and doesn't leave much room, so I wasn't able to get up quite as close as I had hoped. But, I was there to run my own race anyway.

When the gun went off, it took a few minutes to cross the line, but then I was off. And off I was- I had to weave through too many people (including a walker...i was not impressed) just to try to get some room and get into a groove. I missed the 1K marker, but had a good idea of where it was by the garmin beeps around me. At the two K mark I checked my watch, looked at my pace and thought "well, if I'm already going this pace, I may as well try my best to keep it up just to see what happens". And for the most part I did- until we hit the sun. Oh the sun is my nemesis. As hard as I tried to keep my legs moving at the same turnover as they were in the shade, they just didn't want to do it. My face was salty, my legs didn't want to move...but I used Jordan's advice and just kept repeating "embrace the pain". Sure I slowed down, but I didn't completely break down.

We didn't head back into the shade until about the 8.5K mark and at that point I looked at my watch and knew I needed to just put my head down and give-er. I embraced the pain, sped up, and passed as many people as I could all the way to the finish.

Finish time: 53:43. My last kilometer was almost as fast as my first- and I think that might be one of the highlights of my race. When I checked my watch at 2K, my watch said 10:05 and I covered my last kilometer in 5:07. So I'm definitely happy with that. Now I just need to work on that dark place in the middle when my legs don't want to move...

Once I crossed the line, my butt cramped and I got a little woozy. So I decided to sit down on the curb near the first aid people (just in case) to stretch my butt out and just to catch my breath. I think next time I'll move a little farther from the first aid folks because I sat down and just barely missed sitting right into a pile of someone's puke. Yuck.

Then it was back home for some food and to get prepped for Sunday's festivities: the marathon and half marathon. Apparently our neighbours did not get the memo that we would all be going to bed early because they were up partying (both inside and out) until about 2am...but I think we managed to sleep enough. Meh, what can you do?

The marathon started at 7 so we were up and out the door pretty early. I was in full "crew" mode so I didn't pack light and tried to think of everything we could possibly need for the day. I think I managed to think of most things...

There was some warming up, some pictures (sign provided by the Lobbsters- thanks guys!), and me being pretty impressed at how close to the line Jordan got to be.

They were off at 7, but I wasn't all by myself for too long. Liz joined me not long after 7 and we watched the Kids marathon (cute), headed to the 23K mark to watch the elites and Jordan go by, then found a place in the stands to wait for the big finishes.

The elite finish was pretty cool. We were getting updates from the announcer, so we got to hear the play by play as David Cheruioyot came from third to first between the 35 and 42K points. It was pretty amazing to see how quickly he flew after running 42 kilometers.

About 52 minutes later, Jordan came flying by (not quite as quick of a clip as the elites, but still pretty quickly in my mind) and although I was too nervous and distracted to get a picture, I did yell as loudly as I could. I knew he was really close to his goal and was hoping that he could get to the line before that clock changed too much.

Final result: 3:04:46. He qualified for Boston, beat his "B"A goal of 3:05, but didn't quite get the sub-3hr "longshot" goal. And most importantly, he did....NOT do the 50 push ups. He did however, claim that he could have done them, but didn't feel like he could do them right there on the cement. (So Keith, do with that what you wish :) He figures that without the sun and the wind (the wind picked up at some points and was really quite strong), he would have been pretty darn close to that sub-3. Regardless- a great time and a great run that deserved a rest:
Then it was off to do some more cheering. We headed back to the finish line to cheer in his parents, who walked the half in 3:34! This is especially impressive due to how much the crappy Calgary spring weather impeded their training. Hooray!

So the sun was hot, the wind was strong, but so were everyone's legs and lungs. We all had kilometers of "why am I doing this?" but most of that went away once we crossed the finish line.

With that, I declare Ottawa race weekend a resounding success! (and i don't feel like doing too much editing to this post, so i apologize for the length and randomness)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

if you have any extra energy


If you've got good running thoughts, send them this way. I'm hoping to run hard tonight and I know Jordan's going hard tomorrow...so send your glycogen to him and your extra oxygen to me :) It should be fun, but I know there will be a few kilometres where at least one of us thinks "really, I wanted to do this?"

But it is fun and hopefully the weather stays good and all of our body parts remain healthy.

And if he is able to get those 50 push ups in at the end of the marathon, I'll try my best to get either photographic or video proof of it. (and for anyone out there who still wants to donate, here's the link again)

Plus, send your good walking vibes to Jordan's parents, as they'll be out on the half-marathon course walking up a storm tomorrow morning!

Here's another pic just to remind us all that even when people run a quick time, they can get pretty disappointed too (plus I talked about her epic pout after Boston, and clearly I have a little bit of a girl crush on her):

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

attack of the killer ion

There are a few buses around Ottawa that drive around with the following message printed on them: Sodium kills 30 Canadians every day! (and then it directs you to the Sodium 101 website to 'get the facts')

I have to say- I don't believe them for a second. While I do know that taking pure sodium and putting it into water creates quite a reaction (skip to about the 39 second mark), I'm really not so sure that there are 30 lab accidents involving sodium a day. If that was the case, I'm pretty sure we'd be hearing about it. Sorry "sodium 101.ca", I don't buy your propaganda.

Sodium doesn't kill people, hypertension kills people. (and I suppose to go even further, it isn't the hypertension that kills people but rather the nasty side effects of the hypertension)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

running with record breakers

Next weekend is race weekend here in Ottawa and therefore will be a busy weekend in our household. Jordan's parents are coming in to walk the half-marathon, Jordan is running the marathon*, and I'll be running my "back from stress fracture 10K."

Also running that 10K will be the winner of the 2008 2009 Boston Marathon- Deriba Merga. Race weekend organizers are offering $100,000 to whoever can break the 10K world record of 27:01 for men (which was set this March by Micah Kogo) and 30:21 for women (which was set in 2003 by Paula Radcliffe). They're also doing the race "battle of the sexes" style where the elite women get a 4 minute head start and the first person to cross the finish line gets an additional $5,000. Additionally, there's $2,000 to anyone who breaks the course record. So if you break the world record, the course record and you finish first, that's $107,000 in your pocket (oh the things I'll do with that money when I win ;-)

That's a decent amount of money on the line, so the race is attracting the big names such as Merga, Julius Kiptoo (last year's winner), and Hillary Kimaiyo (who has run 10K in 26:01 but it doesn't count as the record due to the course being mostly downhill). There are some pretty fast elite women showing up as well, including Canadian Tara Quinn-Smith who I'm pretty sure I saw at the expo in Toronto last year and she made me feel ginormous, but I'm not sure they expect the women's record to be broken.

The course is a loop, so I'm hoping that I'll be at a point in the race that I can look across the canal at about the 3 or 4 K mark and see them flying by on the other side. And as I'm somewhere between 5 and 6K, I will try NOT to think about the fact that the race has just been won. Regardless, it will be kind of cool to be running a race in which the world record might be broken.

*There's still time to contribute to his fundraising efforts and to throw down a goal based challenge

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the numbers

So Sunday was collection day and was pretty darn annoying. Although I already knew that I tend to pee frequently, it became even more obvious when peeing was an ordeal. If I needed to pee, it had to start with a trip to the fridge. Ugh. Here are the numbers:

Time I got up in the morning to start the test: 6:30am
Kilometres run: 16
Ounces of fluid consumed on that run: 24
Ounces of fluid consumed after the run: about 32
Number of trips to the bathroom: I honestly don't know. There's no way I could count.
Number of times I thought twice before taking a sip of whatever drink I had: Also countless (as in, every single time I went to take a sip of water I thought "hmm, do I really want this? it means more peeing")
Number of times Jordan was grossed out by the pee in the fridge: At least 5
Number of times I had to get up in the middle of the night to pee: 1 (THANK GOODNESS- it was bad enough just the one time)
Top-most marking on the jug: 3.5L (i'm guessing it held close to 4L though)
And last but not least- Amount in the jug at the end of the 24 hours: just shy of 3.5L

Yup, that's right, practically to the top, and apparently above average. To throw in a dooce-ism: I might just be the valedictorian of peeing.

Oh and any idea how awkward it is to take a crowded bus while carrying a jug of refrigerated urine? Yeah, I kinda wanted to tell the person next to me just to see what her reaction would be.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

adventures in medical testing

So a couple of months ago, after getting my bone density checked and finding out that it is a little low, I was referred to an endocrinologist just so that we could make sure that there isn't any sort of strange thing going on that might be causing lowered bone density other than the fact that I'm female, white, and small. I met with the endocrinologist yesterday and really liked her. Once she found out where I worked and what I did, she spoke to me in terms that she knew I understood (that perhaps people that don't work in the medical research field may not) and I really appreciated that.

For the most part, chances are I may not have had enough of a calcium base due to my dislike of milk for a long time plus the fact that I have the being white, small and a woman strikes against me. But, just in case it is something else, she ordered a few tests.

Step one was to get 6 or 7 vials of blood taken at the hospital lab without causing some sort of incident. Last time I had blood taken, it was at the lab near where I work, it was the day before the buses went on strike so it was REALLY busy, there was only one lab technician because the other had called in sick, and I was fasting for the test. All of those factors lead to an unpleasant experience which had me saying "um, are you almost done, because I kind of feel like I'm going to pass out" and a lady yelling "ARE YOU GOING TO THROW UP? TELL US IF YOU ARE GOING TO THROW UP" across the lab for everyone to hear. I managed a weak "I don't feel like I'm going to throw up, just like I'm going to pass out...seriously, are you almost done cause things are starting to go black". Luckily I managed to stay with it and once she got me some water, a cold pack for my neck, and once I ate my granola bar, I was well enough to do the walk of shame through the busy waiting room knowing that I had added a good 10 minutes to their waiting time.

So, I was a little nervous about this one, especially considering that I've had a pretty bad cold this week so I haven't been feeling the greatest. But the lab tech was really nice and just talked to me the whole time (we even talked a little about the swine flu) and I finished up without a care in the world. That is, until she gave me the materials for my next test: a 24 hour urine collection. That's right, I have to collect all of my pee for 24 hours. And if I miss a "deposit", I'll have to start all over again. Here is what they've given me to do it:
Yup, I have to pee in a plastic bowl, then pour it into a giant jug (that holds about 4 litres of fluid). So I have to do it some day where I'm guaranteed not to pee anywhere other than home...and I have to remember to collect it. As someone who is really quite hydrated on most days, that's a lot of times to remember. I'm not really looking forward to it, but I suppose it will at least be a little funny.

The kicker? I have to keep the bottle in the fridge. Ew. (the enclosed instructions suggest that you keep the jug in a plastic bag for sanitary reasons. i plan to put an apple juice label on it and just leave it right in the front)
I suppose it could be worse though...it could be a 24 hour stool collection.