Thursday, May 31, 2012

three things thursday - the i'm tired edition

Seriously. I can't remember the last time I was this tired. It must be the combination of all of the busy things I have going on that are taking their toll on me. I just want to sleep. Do you think anyone would notice if I slept for an entire week? Anyway - on with the show!

Thing One: I ended up running the race in my fancy red shoes. They did not bring me a fancy PR (which I figured wouldn't happen anyway) - but that's not the shoe's fault. The shoes were great!
team awesome the 10K crew
I also wore the shortest pair of shorts that I own. Why? Well, why not. I figured they'd make me want to run faster so that I could put longer shorts on.

Thing Two: We had a crazy rain storm on Tuesday evening. Just as I was planning on heading out to the grocery store, the storm came through and just started dumping a crazy amount of rain. I even took a video of the rain coming off the roof to send to Jordan since he was on the train coming home. Then I went to the front of the apartment to check out the street. What I saw was the top picture and was immediately glad I was home to rescue my car (which was a little behind the red one).
top: tuesday evening. bottom: wednesday morning
Luckily the water drained fairly quickly once the rain stopped but there was a decent amount of damage in the city.

Thing Three: I'm going to be at a conference for the next few days which means I not only have to be presentable, but I have to commute. I guess I sort of got used to that in Toronto, but seriously - this working from home thing really messes with you. I get all disgruntled when I have to wear business attire. I used to actually enjoy it. I will be a part of one of the oral presentations at the conference on Saturday. Hopefully it goes well!

Since I haven't done this in awhile - tell me a thing! What is going on with you on this fine Thursday?


Monday, May 28, 2012

ottawa success

I just got back from Ottawa and I'm exhausted - but thought I'd post a couple of pictures of a successful Team Awesome. We came, we ran, we conquered.
my sage advice to Liz - she did not fall down
It was a fun and exhausting weekend. Lots of laughs, lots of friends, and even more sweat. And I'm fairly sure we'll all be back for more next year.
jazz hands
I heard of good races from the Calgary runners as well - so that is great. Hope you all had as fun of a weekend as we did!

Friday, May 25, 2012

friday links

Again - good luck to all those racing this weekend! I hope the weather is cool, the rain stays away, and that you feel great out there.

Just for fun today - a few links that have made me laugh this week:

- 35 Animals That Desperately Need Your Help. Oh I could look at those and laugh all day.

- Baby Sloths. Especially the one getting a bath.

- Secret Kitten. You never know where they are hiding.

Yeah - I'm on a bit of an animal kick I guess.

And as a bonus - a picture I took in Toronto that made me wonder what else a bike would be on...

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

a chance to win shoes

Not from me - sorry! But Canadian Running Magazine is giving away a few pairs New Balance 890s - Canadian Edition- starting on Friday (tomorrow). Go to their site for details and if you're in Canada and get lucky, you could be wearing a pair of fancy red shoes too!
perhaps my weekend race shoes*
I have no idea what the trivia question will be on Friday, but I've watched the video and something that stood out to me is that Reid Coolsaet's 10 km PR is 28:08. Not sure if that information will be valuable or not, but just in case you don't get the chance to watch the video, you never know - maybe I'm trivia psychic.

Even though I never seem to win these things, I do love to enter so I thought you might like to enter too! What about you - have you ever won something as "big" as free shoes? Maybe something even bigger?

*in the interest of transparency, because i appreciate it, i got the red shoes for free but wasn't asked to post about them in return. i'm just posting this one 'cause i thought you might like to be shoe twins with me. as i said before, i'll review the shoes once i've run more in them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

another year, another ottawa race weekend

Well, it is the last week of May which around our house means Ottawa Race Weekend. My first race ever was the Ottawa 10 km and that's what I'll be running again this year. It is a really well executed and really well organized weekend of racing. Plus, the fan support in Ottawa is really outstanding. I'm not sure I'm in "race" shape when it comes to a 10 km...but I'll be running as fast as I can come Saturday.

More importantly though, I'll be in full cheer mode! So many people I "know" and I know are running this weekend. It is Rebecca's first 10 km ever (she's running in Ottawa) and as long as the weather cooperates, I know she'll have a great time! Still in Ottawa, but racing on Sunday, the always enthusiastic Suz is running the half and will be trying to beat her brother to the finish line. Best of luck to you too Mark, I hope you have a great run - but sorry, I'll be hoping your sister edges you out.
I'm on team Suz
Also doing the Ottawa half (and running their FIRST half marathons...YAAAAAY) are two of my favourite Island gals, Janelle and Peggy (sorry about the terrible picture ladies - but at least I look weird too). Good luck ladies! I can't wait to cheer you on. Remember to have fun and if all else fails, don't think - just run!
good luck!
Still in Ottawa but running the marathon, we have the even MORE enthusiastic and fellow food lover Liz ready to rock her very first marathon. She's had some great runs (probably the ones where she got to stare at my butt for the majority of the time) and she's had some setbacks, but most importantly, she'll be starting the race  ready to have the experience of a lifetime. Good luck Lizo!
green juice will give you wings
Both Jordan and his dad will be running the marathon as well. I think Randy is shooting for a more enjoyable marathon than last year (he had some bad foot pain at this time last year) and I know his training is on track - so hopefully he'll have a great race. That way he can come visit us and feel even better about attacking another plate of poutine.
poutine with 3 meats...a little scary
Jordan is, of course, hoping for better weather than Boston. He's now been training for 5 months (with a really supported long run on Patriot's day) with the hopes of breaking that marathon PR he set last year in Ottawa. Maybe this will be third time lucky? Hopefully the weather cooperates and he'll get it done!
probably best to beat them both
And two time zones away - Leigh will be lining up to run an awesome Calgary half-marathon. Believe in yourself Leigh - you can definitely put down a great time on Sunday. 

My sister will also be running in Calgary - her first half since Zoey added so much extra joy (and poop) to her life. She's been working hard to get back into running shape and has been leading a training group as well. Good luck Heather! Zoey will be waiting for you at the finish line ready to give you proud snuggles! I wish I could come cheer you on. Next year we need to find something to run together :)
easier to run without the stroller!
Phew - did I miss anybody? Yes! Sean! Good luck to you on Saturday Sean Huge. Make it huuuge and enjoy your first Ottawa Race Weekend! Maybe you'll leave knowing why we always insist on having Ottawa on our race calendars every year.

If I didn't mention you and I know you're racing - I'm very sorry! I think you can maybe understand how hard it is to keep track of people this weekend. I hope everyone has a great race - I can't wait to cheer you on both virtually and right next to you as well.

Edit: I knew I'd forget someone. For some reason I thought my sister in law was siting this one out. But NO! She'll be running the Calgary half as well. Good luck Kirsten! I'm so sorry I forgot you. Enjoy the new route and have a lot of fun!
everything tastes better when you double fist your drinks

Monday, May 21, 2012

happy to be home

Two weeks in May changes this city. When I left for Toronto, the trees were budding, the grass was green but not really growing, and the tulips were out. The rain was still cold and people were just starting to come out from winter hibernation. Now, it feels like summer. The leaves are all out, green has taken over the city, and everyone smiling.
perfectly blue sky
As you may have guessed by my lack of posting, last week was exhausting. Doing a entire semester of a course in one week is interesting - and doing that two weeks in a row is extra-interesting. But we all made it through and managed to have plenty of laughs along the way.

Now I'm just happy to be home. It has been a pretty perfect long weekend full of sunshine, friends, my favourite Montreal coffee, and a trip to the market to hit up my favourite food stall (which appeared while I was away). I'm very glad I'm ending two tiring weeks with a long weekend.

Updates other than "I'm tired and happy to be home?" Well, I don't have a tonne. I've run twice in my fancy new "not yet available in stores" shoes.
oh Canada
Since I'm not sure that 2 times is enough to tell you what I think of them, I'll wait for a few more runs. I have a 10 km race this weekend (yeah...not sure how that will go) and I'm trying to decide whether I should wear them for that. I guess we'll see!

Happy long weekend and happy May! I'm glad to be back.

Monday, May 14, 2012

scenes from running in toronto

It is always nice to run in another city. While the potential for getting lost is higher and you have to work a little harder to figure out where to run, the scenery is brand new and you never know what you'll end up running into. Here are a few of my favourites from the week.
Runners in the Toronto Marathon
bixi is taking over Toronto as well
do it
This week will hopefully be a little less stressful than last week - though I'm not sure I'm convinced it will be. Regardless, I just need to take it one day at a time.

Happy Monday! Any favourite scenes from last week?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

do you have five dollars? (starring my nephew)

Something a little different for a Sunday. My 4 year old nephew got a drum set for Christmas. Somehow - even on Christmas morning, he already had rhythm and style. I have a feeling he'll be one of those kids who constantly drums on everything. So with that intro - I present "do you have five dollars?" an original piece by the little cutie in the video.

Friday, May 11, 2012

lots of work, some time for play

Life in Toronto has been busy. Most of my time has been spent thinking and living my school work. It is intense and a lot of work - good thing it will be worth it in the end. But lest you think I've only had my nose to the grindstone, I've had a little time for other things.

When life is busy, speed work is your friend! The other day I had time for a quick run, so I made the most of it and got in a HARD workout. I saw some numbers that I rarely see on the Garmin as I did some 800 meter repeats. It was a short one - but man it was hard. And since I was running on a dirt track around a soccer field full of children, I had some fun dodging kids and soccer balls along the way.

Last night had me rubbing elbows with future Olympians. Definitely not a bad way to spend an evening after a a very busy week.
Eric Gillis squared?
And since I'm lucky enough to get a sneak peak at the limited Canadian edition New Balance 890s, I'm even more excited about my next run.
NB 890s - the Canadian Edition
I doubt they'll help me keep up with the Canadian speedsters I met this evening, but regardless of speed, my feet will look great. Once I get some running in, I'll let you know what I think of them.

Week one almost done, one week to go. Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

tiny crossword

I don't do the crossword every day, but I do enjoy a good crossword puzzle. This one, however, might just be a little too small:
tiny crossword
Happy Tuesday!

Friday, May 04, 2012

back to ontario

I'm off to Toronto for two weeks for school. I've got school stuff, running gear, school clothes, "play" clothes, and all the bits and bobs that I'll need for living for 2 weeks. Oh, and the weather is in transition - so far it looks like it should be fairly consistent, but in reality, it could be 5 degrees for a few days and then be closer to 35 on other days. And I guess I should pack an umbrella too.

So - can I fit my entire wardrobe and most of my life into one suitcase? (my packing list is 2 pages long) I guess we'll see.

And yes, I used the term "bits and bobs" in this post. Between that and my love of exclaiming "holy dinah," I've just revealed my secret identity. I'm actually a 75 year old who trolls the internet for pictures of other people and I make up stories to tell you all. Hope that doesn't scare you off...

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

montreal half marathon: yay for unexpected PRs

As I said last week - I registered for this race as motivation to keep me running through the winter. Both Suz and I had no idea what to expect so we went into this really unsure but excited to run on a nice Sunday morning.

The pre-race stuff was fairly uneventful - though the port-o-potties were magically camouflaged (who makes GREY ones? seriously?!) so we had to wait in line for the bathroom, but other than that and my inability to make a decision on what layers I needed to wear, things went smoothly. We easily got to our corral and just before the start looked at each other and gave the best pep talk around: Step 1 - start running...there is no step 2.

The first part felt fairly easy and seemed to go by quickly. Suz and I ended up chatting for parts of it and just kind of running. It was a beautiful morning for a run, and we were just enjoying it. I remember looking at my watch at 5 miles and thinking that it had gone by quickly. Having looked at the map, I knew that the next third of the race would be the most challenging mentally.

oh - hi Suz peeking over my shoulder
That second third was a series of weird loops (starting on the Indy Car race track - kind of cool) where we could see a LOT of the course and a lot of the runners. I'd look over to my left and think "oh, not too much longer and I'll be right there." But then I'd pass a kilometre marker and realize that they were a full km ahead. It was a little odd actually. This is also when I made the mistake of trying to lock the bezel on my Garmin before taking my top layer off. I ended up accidentally stoping the timer for what I figured was 10 seconds but that ended up being more like 20 or so.

That section also involved a full loop of the Olympic rowing basin. It was the windiest and most boring section of the course. Just as I felt my myself lagging mentally though, there was the gel station, complete with giant speakers and loud music. Both Suz and I commented to each other that it felt like exactly what we needed at exactly the right time. Just a little mental boost to get our minds thinking differently.

It was near the end of that second third that I started thinking about time. I've known that a 1:55 half marathon is an 8:46 per mile pace for a year now. It was my goal pace for Ottawa last year and my goal pace for the half in the fall. For the first 2 thirds of the race, I knew our pace was hovering around 8:46. I wasn't paying a lot of attention, but every time I looked at my watch, it was close to that "magic" number. And I was feeling pretty good.

hey look - no heel strike!
I went into the last 5 kms with a really unfamiliar feeling - the feeling that I was reining myself in and holding myself back from getting too excited and running too fast instead of struggling to keep myself motivated to continue in the pain zone. We saw our race crew twice (three times if you count the finish - but I didn't actually see them because I was so focused on the finish line) in that section and it felt awesome to be able to smile at them and even joke a little.

Yes, my legs were a little sore. My IT band was getting cranky and my butt and hips were feeling the race, but I didn't have that dead leg feeling that I often get near the end of a half (I credit my nutrition strategy and the temperature for that). I kept looking at my Garmin, seeing the speed, thinking "whoa there...let's not get too crazy here," and slowing down a bit

The last water station was at 1 km to go and I said to Suz "ok, if I stop here, I'm not sure I'll get up to speed again" she said she would for sure not get going and just reassured me that no, I didn't need water. I think I squeezed the last bit of Nuun out of my bottle at that point and knew that there was just a little bit of race left.

hey grey shirt - you just got chicked...
From then on, I just sped up. I stopped reining things in and just let my legs run. I could feel myself pulling away from Suz and just kept looking back and yelling at her to come with me. As the course narrowed and I could finally see the finish line (it was around a bit of a corner - so tough to spot) I heard her yell at me to go hard. I kicked as hard as I could, almost took a guy out (and actually turned my head back and apologized because I felt bad about it), and passed as many people as I could on the way to the line. My legs had a tonne of kick left in them and it felt awesome to finish with gusto.  I turned around to see Suz right behind me. She found her kick and surprised herself with the snap left in her legs and almost caught me at the line.
done!
I looked at my watch and saw 1:54:48. I knew it was wrong but didn't know by how much. Turns out it was wrong by 16 seconds and I crossed the line at 1:55:04. Am I a little disappointed about that 5 seconds that would have brought me under 1:55? Yeah, a little. But at the same time, not really. That arbitrary 5 seconds (which would make no difference if it was 1:55:20 vs 1:55:25) doesn't matter. I had a really great run and a great experience. Instead of feeling like death and trying to convince myself not to give up at the end, I found myself holding things back and trying not to get too excited at the end. Definitely a win.

Random things about this race: there were a LOT more men than women who ran this one, I found it really well organized, I found the loops of the course oddly nice because near the end I knew what to expect, and I managed to drink a cup of water while running. I would definitely run this race again.
hooray!
In summary: great weather for running, I used my gels wisely, I ran faster than I thought I would, it felt easier than I thought it would, and I had fun! Oh - and Suz is a rock star for running with a weird ear thing that has been causing the occasional vertigo-like symptoms. All of that, of course, deserves a high five:
I think I'm saying high five