Wednesday, June 23, 2010

a new toy...

...and the only time I will ever willingly purchase something in a colour described as "Seafoam":
My new friend will help me do some cross training, hopefully reduce the number of running injuries I encounter, and perhaps even turn me into one of those people who does "two sports too many" in a race.

So far, I've done a little bit of riding and I've had some fun. Especially since I've been safe on "regular pedals". Since they were sold out of all but the really expensive pedals when I bought the bike, I have some on order and will be journeying into the land of clipless pedalling sometime on the weekend or next week. I'm hoping my first experience is a bit better than my sister's but if it isn't, I hope I have an even better story to tell. It could be a little sketchy since I've never even used cages before (well, except for on a spin bike) so I've never been even close to "stuck" to my pedals.

Until then, do you have any bike tips for me? I genuinely know little to nothing about biking so even your littlest tip would be helpful? Any gear essentials?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

guest post: Suz's first marathon

I'm writing this before I read what she wrote in order to keep things interesting :)
On May 30th, my friend Suz (my long run friend who moved away and who talked me through the last 5K of the Army Run) ran her first marathon. Not only was May 30th her first marathon, but it was also her 30th birthday. I was lucky enough to be able to see her at the water station (as described in my last post) but also to meet her at about the 37K mark and to run about 5K with her. I was so happy to be able to do that with her- I've missed our runs together and to get to be a part of such a huge accomplishment was really cool for me. One of my favourite moments: she turned to me at about the 39K mark and said "you know Kristen, you're looking pretty fresh for having just run most of a marathon..." When I first joined in, she seemed to be doing well- tired, but pretty chipper. Then I watched her transition from "ok, I'm tired but I'm ok" to "I kind of hate my life right now and wish I could be anywhere but here". It was inspiring to see her dig deep and get it done.

So with that, in her words, Suz's Birth-a-thon:
Mission accomplished. On my thirtieth birthday I ran my very first marathon in 4 hours and 8 minutes. I managed a pretty good race, with a little help from my Birth-A-Thon cheering squad.They turned up fully equipped with LOTS OF PARAPHERNALIA, including my head on sticks:
Let me quickly recap the day:

1- The weather was awesome. Overcast and cool with some scattered showers.

2-My i-pod was full of motivational songs that my friends had suggested.

3-I stopped only once to pee in the port-o-potty at kilometer 26. And for those running buddies who know me well, I walked through every water station because I CANNOT drink out of a cup and run at the same time without spilling or choking on the water.

4- I only hit the wall after about 36 km, where I ripped off my fuel belt, threw it at my friend who was cheering me on at the side of the road, grabbed a full water bottle, stopped for a photo op, and then kept on going.

5- Kristen, my cavalier, to the rescue! She jumped the fence and joined me for the last 5kms – THANK GOODNESS. I didn’t feel too terrible at this point but the legs were starting to hurt. This was the pivotal point where my brain was beginning to convince itself that this was the STUPIDEST idea I could have ever thought of. And just when I needed a push, Kristen pointed to the left side of the course and there it was, a “SUCK IT UP, PRINCESS” sign planted into the median for all to see.Well, for me to see.  Priceless.

So I sucked it up, and I finished.

I also wanted to give a BIG thank you to everyone who helped support my cause.  We raised over $600.00. And, of course, a shout out to Brother Mark who ran his first half-marathon in 1 hour 51 minutes!

This was a fantastic way for me to celebrate 30 on 30.

So, do I think I may be up for the challenge of qualifying for the Boston Marathon next year? Hell yeah, bring it on!

Egads Suz! A BQ?!?! How will I ever keep up to you?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

volunteering at a water station

For the first time in 4 years, neither Jordan nor I were participating in Ottawa Race Weekend. It was kind of strange, but we found a way to make it interesting- we volunteered at a water station. Luckily for us, it was really quite easy to get involved because my office was sponsoring a water station and it was relatively close to home.

The day started early- we had to be there for 6:30. We got to work setting up cups and pouring water:

We had strict instructions as to how to set up the water. Three levels, use an "L" shape (and then fill in) when setting up cups, and the cups should be no less than 1/2 but no more than 3/4 full. We tried our best to follow the rules :) (although even 3/4 full seemed like too much water).
Since we were at the 28K mark of the marathon (and the 15K or so mark of the half), we did have to wait a bit before runners came. So, we practiced our water handing out technique: one foot on the curb, gloves on, hand flat, arm extended, calling out what is in the cup (water in this case), and of course, all volunteers MUST wear the hat.
The good thing about the waiting, was that pretty soon, the elites went by and since we were on the "wrong side" (or long side I guess) of the street, we got to watch the elite blur go by:
It was pretty cool to be that close. Also cool was to watch the transition from elite, to sub-elite, to "normal" fast people, and then the crowds. It was fun to hand the water out, fun to encourage the runners, and fun to see what the runners were doing or saying. One guy thanked every single person he ran by. It was also pretty cool to see a friend at the 28K mark of her first marathon:
All in all, it was a lot of fun. Sure we had to get up almost a early as we would have if one of us was racing, sure it was a little chilly (both Jordan and I were shivering for awhile), and sure I had a bit of stiffness despite not running (holding your arm out for that long makes it a little sore) but to still be a part of it was a great experience.

So, next time you aren't registered in a local race, look into being a water station volunteer- it is great to be on the "other side" of it all.

Monday, June 07, 2010

CBHM update

Just a really quick update- the race went really well for all of us. We raised money, we crossed the finish line, and we were mostly all smiles. Too bad about all the rain, but better rainy and cool than really hot.

My angry tendons weren't all that angry. I felt really good through almost all of the race and ended up finishing much quicker than I expected- my second fastest half on a really tough course! (I was just hoping to avoid a "personal worst")

Congrats to my sister, who went under the elusive 2 hour mark, to the two Jordans who both finished 8th in their age groups, to all the first timers, to Matt who kept up with Heather for most of the race, to the walkers who were just as wet as the runners, and to Ken who ran a half marathon on his 54th birthday! It is a course full of rolling hills- so yay for all of us!

Thank you for all of your support and good thoughts. Hopefully I'll have some pictures soon!