Monday, April 29, 2013

the most interesting race...in the world (my 2013 Scotia Bank Montreal Half Marathon)

Maybe that title is misleading. The course isn't actually all that interesting, but this is probably the most eventful race I've ever had. If things are going to go wonky, they may as well go completely wonky right?

So I ran a half marathon yesterday. I ran the same one last year and had a great race - it was cool out, I was running with Suz, and I ended up with an unexpected PR. Much as I did last year, I signed up for this race as a bit of a carrot to help me keep running through the winter. I love running, but when it is cold, snowy, and icy, sometimes I need a little extra kick to get out the door and having a race to prepare for really helps. This year didn't go as well as last year. Instead of a regular race report, I'll just recount the calamity of errors that was this race.

Thing 1: 
My garmin broke somewhere between my house and the race. It was fine when I left the house, but by the time I went to put it on, it wouldn't change from the "what time is it" screen, was stuck at 8:52 am (which it wasn't), and was pretty much useless. I asked my friends if anyone had a spare digital watch, but since no one did (and why would they?) I accepted that I'd be running "blind." (and I knew that unless they'd changed something, the only course clock would be at the 10 km mark)

As I'm writing this, it's still stuck on the same screen at the same time. I tried plugging it in to see if it helped and nothing happened. I guess I'll let it run out of battery and hope it will somehow work after that.
stuck

Thing 2: 
My main concern about running blind was that I'd start out too fast. I'm a terrible pacer and have a tendency to start too fast even when I'm trying to pay attention to my pace. So I knew there was  a significant possibility that I'd start too fast. What I didn't think would happen was that I'd start ridiculously fast. For the first 5 km, I was in front of the 1:50 pacer - which put me more than 20 seconds per mile faster than what I figured I would do. Oops. (and yes, I paid for it later)

Thing 3:
I had to pee for the first 5 km of the race. I really should have taken another trip to the port-o-potty and I'm not sure why I didn't. Maybe I was thrown off by the Garmin business? So, I rectified my very poor first 5 km pacing by taking a break in the port-o-potty to pee. Definitely the first time that's happened. And it was a ridiculous mistake to make. ALWAYS pee one more time.

Thing 4:
Even though the first half of the race didn't go how I thought I would, I was feeling pretty good at 10 km, and though I went through a slight "what am I doing, why am I here" feeling between 10 and 12, by 12 km I had snapped out of it and felt ok again. Then, when going through a water station, I had my first-ever on-course collision. I don't know what happened or how it happened, but all of a sudden, as I reached for a cup, someone behind me stepped on the back of my leg (not even my foot...my leg). I managed to stay upright, but the guy who ran into me did not. I felt bad about that, but he got up fairly quickly so I kept going when I heard him say he was ok. I saw him later and he was scraped up but still seemed ok.

It definitely jarred me, hurt a bit, and threw me, but I think the adrenaline kicked in a bit and that helped. It is definitely sore now, as is my knee, and I'm wondering if I'll have a foot-shaped bruise on the back of my leg.
pardon the weird look on my face
Thing 5:
As if 4 things weren't enough, with about 20-25 minutes to go, I started to feel really sick. I'm not good with any sort of heat (running in arm-warmer temperature is my ideal) and it has ben fairly cool up until this weekend, so I think the "heat" was starting to get to me and I'm fairly sure I was paying for my quick start. Whatever it was, my stomach was not happy at all. I'd run, feel like barfing, take a few steps of a walk break to let things settle, and then start running again and the cycle would start again. It wasn't too fun. But I really didn't want to just walk it in. I just told myself that I had to keep moving, not matter how slowly I felt I was running.

At the 20 km mark, I really didn't want to take any walk breaks because it was so close to the end. So I decided to keep running no matter how terrible I felt because there wasn't that far to go...which I thought would work. But then with 500 meters to go, I realized that I had to either stop so that I could puke on the grass or keep running and puke on myself. I chose the grass. Special thanks to the many people who yelled "don't stop now, you're almost there" as they ran by... (my friend Liz did run by and tell me I could do it...that was actually appreciated) When the puking was over, I jogged it in. I managed not to puke again at the finish line and also managed to finish in 1:59 (with a pretty huge positive split), which I'll take considering the calamity of errors. I guess that ends my 7 year no puking streak.
Not only did this sign of Suz's get the most laughs, it was very fitting...
TL;DR - My garmin broke, I started too fast, had to pee, had a guy step on my leg, and barfed. Should have waited in line at the bathroom with Liz and run with her as she had a great 10 min PR! Yay Liz.

Jordan finished in 1:21. He's good at running.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

tetris is the best medicine

Apparently, playing Tetris might help correct lazy eyes. I can just imagine some kid coming back from the doctor and telling his or her parents that the videogame is "medicine." How many parens would believe it? I don't have a lazy eye, but I now really want to play Tetris.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

three things thursday - the happiness file edition

When I lived in Ottawa, the local CTV news station had a "happiness file" every evening on the news. It was super cheesy and had local things like "Doris McCarthy is turning 92 today. Happy Birthday Doris!" It felt kind of ridiculous because Ottawa isn't a town but rather a city and it felt really "small town." But sometimes I miss it - because it was simple, celebrated joy, and it was called the happiness file... So because of that - three happy things on the happiness file edition of three things thursday.

1- This Happy Dance. Mesmerizing and happy.
(i can't remember where I fond it - otherwise I'd source it!)
2 - Dogs and kids are adorable together. This list of 27 dogs that will do anything for kids is pretty great. I think you have to hate both dogs and kids not to smile when you look through the list.

3- There is something on Reddit called "Random acts of Pizza." People send pizza to random people who are in need, down, need a smile, just like pizza...anyone can send pizza to anyone. I love it!

So there you go - a happiness file! Now...tear yourself away from the Happy Dance gif and go spread some happiness.

Have you been on the receiving end of any kindness lately?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

love actually is all around

Bad things happen in the world...every day. But just like Hugh Grant's character in Love Actually, whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at airports.

I'd embed the clip, but most of the youtube versions of it have embedding disabled, so here's the link: Arrivals Level at Heathrow Airport.

People are generally good. And there is a lot of beauty and happiness in the world -whether you're in Boston, Iraq, or Montreal.

Monday, April 15, 2013

boston on my mind

I could tell you about my much better long run this weekend...but I'm thinking about Boston.
I could tell you about my weekend...but I'm thinking about Boston.
I could tell you about all sorts of things...but I'm thinking about Boston.

I don't normally "tragedy blog." I feel like there's nothing I can say that can make anything better, but I could definitely say something to make people angry or feel like I'm being insensitive, so I usually keep the words off the blog. But today felt a little different. People called me, emailed me, tweeted me, texted me, and Facebook messaged me to make sure that we weren't there. Just a couple of hours earlier, I watched the winners cross the finish line on the live internet feed and thought "and now it is amazing to see how long it takes for the really fast 'normal' runners to start trickling through." Because I've been there...and Jordan and I could easily have been there again this year. I'm glad everyone I know is safe, but I know that so many others were not as lucky.
 It is sad, scary, and it makes no sense. And I feel like that finish line will never look the same again.

in case of monday, watch this gif

I could seriously watch this all day.
(source)
Hope this brings a smile to your day. Happy Monday!

Friday, April 12, 2013

the calm before the storm

I took this yesterday after my tempo (oh tempo runs...I love you and hate you) run.

looks like spring
There was no snow on the ground, it was a little chilly, but not bad. It felt like the calm before the storm. There's a winter storm warning in effect right now. Snow, ice pellets, up to 20 cm. This winter, it seems, it never ending.

Hopefully it will fall and melt immediately - or a the very least, only stick around for a day. I'm just repeating "it's always darkest before the dawn" over and over to help me feel better about the storm. Maybe it is the last blast of bad weather before the sun stays for good. Hope the weekend is looking nicer where you are! 

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

what i learned on this weekend's long run

Since long runs are more than just teaching your body to run farther, even when it is unpleasant, I'm always glad when things go wrong during a long run rather than a race (because even if you aren't trying to PR at a race, it is nice to have a fun experience). This weekend's long run was definitely one where I had a rough go and was glad it wasn't race day. Here are a few things I learned.

1 - Larabars are NOT good running snacks for me. I've been eating granola bars on my long runs for the last few weeks and they've worked out pretty well so I thought I'd try a Larabar. This was a terrible idea. I almost immediately got a cramp and felt sick for pretty much the rest of the run. They will now only be making the cut as a post-run snack. (I'm shuddering just thinking about how terrible I felt)

2 - The "my legs hate me" feeling really can last an entire long run.

3 - Even when I feel like garbage, I can maintain an ok pace.

4 - Having someone to share your misery is very helpful.

I have no pictures to really illustrate my misery during that run, so instead I'll post a much happier picture of my favourite statues in Boston - taken last year. It's almost Marathon Monday after all.


Any lessons learned this weekend?

Friday, April 05, 2013

three things friday - the links edition

I'm struggling a bit with feeling that I have anything of interest to say. I'm running, I'm working, I joined a gym the other month and I'm really enjoying it, and I'm doing school work. But there are people all over the internet saying funny and interesting things. So today's three things thursday Friday- links to thinks that have made me laugh or smile.

Thing 1 - Bacon condoms exist. I like bacon...but I don't think these would be my thing. Though I suppose it could eventually trigger some interesting responses every time you smelled bacon...

Thing 2 - 17 short videos. I don't know why the penguin cracked my up so much but it really did.

Thing 3 - A parody of Taylor Swift's 22 music video. And I'm not sure why - but a few of the comments on the video made me giggle. Especially "never sing again."

Yeah - I know it is Friday and not Thursday, but why not? I hope you have a great weekend. What made you laugh thanks to the internets this week?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

eating paper? that makes me sad

With phrases like "Paris Skinny," the statements that some models are on IV drips before shoots, and that by the end of some lengthy photo shoots, some models can't keep their eyes open, this article makes me sad: the vogue factor.

Even if only half of it is true, even the fact that someone is suggesting that models eat tissues in order to feel full so that they can stay skinny makes me sad and angry that people make money off the images that "encourage" the behaviour. Some of us are smaller, and some of us are bigger, but healthy people don't eat paper to stay skinny. The thing is - I have no idea what we can do to make it better. And that makes me sad too.
sad cat is also sad

Monday, April 01, 2013

this space intentionally left blank

In French, April Fools Day is called "Poisson d'avril" which literally translates to "April's Fish." Anyway - no April Fools jokes here. I like the occasional office prank, but that's as much pranking as I can do/get behind.