31 December 2010

A Running Year In Review - 2010

Had you asked me in April when I started blogging if I thought that I'd have enough to write about at year end I'm not sure that my answer would have been yes.  I probably would have told you that I ran a couple of races and that was about it.  But last night I was drafting this post and found that a lot more happened to me than I realized.
  • I completed my first half marathon, the Historic Half Marathon in Langley, BC,  on 21 February.  It was cold, but clear.  Hilly, but not too much of a challenge - if you can pre-run the route, do it! What a huge difference it makes.  I finished in  2:16:58.6.  Considering I went into it wanting to finish and hoping for a 2:30:00 I was thrilled!
  • I completed my second half marathon, the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon on 27 June.  Hip Hip Hooray I got a PR!  2:11:38.  And that was despite some dire TMI circumstances.  I probably could have broken 2:10:00, but it wasn't to be that day.  Maybe in 2011.
  • I trained for and completed my first marathon!  I finished the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon on 10 October after training for the whole summer.  Ups and downs in the training and the race, but wouldn't trade that first experience for anything.  Finish time of 5:07:18 for an automatic PR.  
  • I just started my training for my next marathon this week.  First clinic session was held last night.  I surprised myself by running just over 6km in just over 40 minutes.  It was probably a little faster than I should have run, but was a lot faster than I thought I could run.  This bodes well for my training!
  • I started blogging in April.  Has it kept me more accountable (my original reasoning)?  Probably not.  But I have gotten far more out of it than I ever expected.  I get to use my SAHM brain!  I've found so much inspiration from other bloggers and have even made a few "friends" (Colin, you can roll your eyes here) even though we've never met in person.
Overall I have had a great year running.  I have made good friends: consistent running partners (who I am so thankful for - you know who you are!); facebook friends - some I know in real life, some I've yet to meet; and some through my blog.  I've found an online community that is supportive, funny, and encouraging.  It's been a rewarding year!

Come back tomorrow to see what 2011 has in store for me!  Or at least what I think I can achieve.  Hint: my new key word is FOCUS!

29 December 2010

An International Audience

Being somewhat new to the blogging world I am excited about small things.  I know that family and friends are forced to have a look once in a while, but the fact that people even read my blog (and continue to come back) constantly surprises me.  Don't even get me started on tracking the number of followers.  I'm pathetically grateful for all 71 of you!!!

I switched over to the "new Blogger" a couple of weeks ago - I guess it's made my online life easier (?) - and found out that I can track some very basic stats.  My favourite is finding out where people who have been reading my blog live.  I know for a fact that most of my followers are from Canada and the United States so it's surprised me to see where others are coming from.  

Here's the current list:
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France 
  • Germany
  • India
  • Netherlands
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • Slovenia 
  • South Korea
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
So please, if you are so inclined, tell me where you're from!  Even better (for me) become a follower!  The more the merrier!

25 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of you an amazing Christmas!  

Jesus is the reason for the season

* It figures that Spud's favourite toy so far is one he pilfered from his dad.  My parents gave Colin a "Weazel Ball" as a gag gift (inside family joke).  Spud has claimed it as his own and named it Tex.  Did I mention that it's a toy for pets?  Find a video of it - Spud pretends that it's playing tag with him... at least it's exercise!

23 December 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. THE GOOD: ran with two friends today.  Wasn't the speediest run - covered 8.43km in roughly an hour - but had Spud in the stroller.  I got a break for a little while when Jenn offered to take over.  It was very much appreciated!

2.  THE BAD: my hip flexor still hurts.  And, really, I'm not surprised since I've done nothing to help myself.  I really need to get off my ass start stretch and strength exercises.  I need to work on my core too.  I know my posture is atrocious if I'm pushing Spud.  Good thing New Year's resolutions are coming up!

3.  THE UGLY: I have to go to work tonight.  Night crew.  10:30pm - 7am.  I work for a large sporting goods retailer as sales support.  That means I get to help with Boxing Day ad prep and set up (I get to work Boxing Day too).  

22 December 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Holiday Stress Edition

How's your run-up to the holidays going?

20 December 2010

I Am A Runner - Video

Can't for the life of me figure out how to get this to embed from Facebook... I liked the tri video, but as a marathoner I can appreciate this one more!

"How far did you run?"
"Just 15 miles today.  My long run is not until Saturday."


16 December 2010

Canyon Lights At Capilano Suspension Bridge

Last night Colin and I had the opportunity to go to the Capilano Suspension Bridge for their Christmas themed Canyon Lights.  My parents had won free passes and volunteered their babysitting services so we were able to go once Colin was off work.  It was only drizzling a little and wasn't too cold.  It was a really nice date night!  

If you've been to Vancouver you'll know that this is a big tourist attraction.  It's a wobbly bridge that is 450 feet long and 270 feet high.  Generally I'm terrified of it.  During peak hours it's not fun (for me) at all - the bridge swings back and forth; teenagers/tourists try on purpose (!) to make it move.  But when it's dark and there are very few people on it it's not too bad.  I did have to hang on to Colin's jacket though.  Once you cross the bridge there are mini suspension bridges between the trees - thankfully they don't move too much.  It was nice to play tourist in my own city for once.   


The bridge - it's covered in LED lights.

Fish pond - the lanterns changed colour.


I'd call it artistic, but really I just can't keep my camera still on a moving platform.

Nothing says "Christmas in CANADA" like dressing the Mountie bear like Santa.

Colin and I laughed ourselves stupid over this one - I refuse to make any comments, but you're welcome to.

Proof we were there.

14 December 2010

You Deal With Cold, I Deal With Rain

I am very fortunate that I do not have to deal with winter very often.  Here in Vancouver the season usually looks like this:
snow - everybody freak out that winter has arrived/city shut down!  We're kind of a pathetic mess...
rain - oh, got snow tires for nothing... 

So, while I don't have to deal with feet of snow (try a skiff) and extremely cold temperatures (maybe 0 C), I do have to deal with RAIN!  And there was plenty of it today.  I had scheduled a run with my friend Lindsay and she came over at noon.  She didn't have her little guy with her, but I had Spud so he was bundled up ready to go.  When I looked out the window it was only drizzling.  By the time we got outside to meet up it was pouring.  On went the rain cover and then we were off.  I had thought that we were maybe in a pocket of rain, but no.  It poured the whole time.  I'm not sure when Spud fell asleep, but he was out for about half the run.  At about 4km I stopped caring about the wheel spray and puddles and just let my shoes get wet.  They're now stuffed with newspaper in the hopes that they'll be dry tomorrow...  In total we ran 11.38km in 1:28.  Not fast by any means, but I was pushing 60+lbs and we walked up a decent hill close to the end.  Despite the weather it was actually a really good run.  We haven't been running together for very long so we're still in a getting-to-know-you stage and we had lots to talk about.  It was great to have the commitment as I don't really think that I'd get out the door (especially with a 3 year old) if I didn't have someone depending on me!

Soaking wet once we got home - you can kind of see the difference in colours on my jacket.
Nice hair!  You can see from my two-tone shirt that my jacket lost all of its DWR/water resistant capabilities on this run!

10 December 2010

TMB Is A Genius!

I have been trying for a while to come up with a coherent post about my fear of getting faster. It's not really that I'm scared - I'm just very reluctant to remove the "slow" and "back of the pack" labels from myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm nowhere near being considered fast. I still run a 6 minute kilometre (10ish min/mile) on my steady runs. However, I am faster than I used to be. So when I saw TMB's post today over at Racing With Babes I thought, "She totally nailed it on the head."

Here are the two quotes I identify with:

"I am starting to suspect it was because I "told" myself that that was the pace I could run." Yup. Fear of change. I've always known that Colin will run at my pace (he's obnoxiously faster). When we ran our last half marathon training he really pushed me to go faster and I must have dropped a good 30 seconds/km. But I haven't had him running with me lately so I haven't gotten that extra push.

"First, that if you want to improve, you need to be deliberate about your training. And second, if you want to improve, you need to BELIEVE that you can improve." I've totally seen how training has worked for me in the past. I have improved drastically over the last year and a half. But I struggle with the second point.

So thank you Tonia. That second part of the last point is totally going on my fridge.

And if anyone wants to send me one of these, please do:

09 December 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I have jumped on another social media bandwagon. No, not Twitter. I think I'll stay far, far away from that one...

I have to say that the power of suggestion is strong in the blogosphere. Quite a few of the blogs I read have been promoting the Endurance Athlete Project. Essentially it's Facebook for the physically fit! I'm actually kind of excited about it. I don't follow a lot of blogs on their fb profiles simply because it made my regular fb too much. However, this makes it a little easier. My only problem is that starting out I'll have to be the cyber-stalker making all the friend requests... We'll see how it goes.

2. I went for one cold, rainy run today. Nothing like being committed to a run with a running partner. We seemed to hit the worst rain of the day - total downpour and windy. My DWR jacket had nothing on the rain. I think the only part of me that was dry was my stomach - it was shielded a bit by the stroller. Of course it's beautiful sunny breaks now...

3. My hip flexor is dumb. I had severe hip flexor pain during my marathon (not that I knew what it was then, just that I couldn't lift my legs) and it's started to act up again. I don't know if it's from pushing the stroller and being out of alignment or from running faster. I haven't really upped my distance lately - the longest I've run is about 15km. All I know is that I have to start doing Colin's physio strength and stretch exercises. ERGH!!! I'm so bad with doing workouts at home... obviously I'll have to add them onto the core work I'm also supposed to be doing. Hello, New Year's resolution!

06 December 2010

Nothing To Do With Running (This Is Where I Live...)

Here are a couple of videos of Vancouver so you can see what it's like where I live. Enjoy!

The first is a time-lapse of the Winter Olympics this past February. It's not that busy here all the time!

The second is by the same people and I just think it's pretty cool. The fog was a totally random weather occurrence - at least it was beautiful from up above... We were all living in pea soup at ground level!

What does it look like where you live?

04 December 2010

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner...

Sorry for the announcement late in the day - I just got home from work and remembered that I had intended to select the winner this morning. After inputing all the entries into a spreadsheet (necessitated by the two ballots for being a follower) I punched the grand total of entries into random.org. Here's the winning number:

Congratulations to:

Please contact me at running42km.blog (at) gmail.com and I will email you the e-certificate. Thanks to all of you who entered and welcome to my new bloggy followers/friends! I'll try to get around to your blogs soon.

02 December 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I just had my first Christmas orange. By this I mean a mandarin orange. And I must specify that it was a Japanese mandarin. Stores might try to entice you to buy the Chinese mandarins - they're usually cheaper - but they just don't compare! This is a big thing in my household - once we've started getting oranges (by the boxful, of course) we know Christmas is just around the corner. Spud was excited to try it with me, but once it was in the bowl he turned up his nose, which I was fully expecting. He deigned to suck some juice out of a piece, but that was it... I love these oranges since it's a tradition that Santa leaves one in the bottom of our stockings. On Colin's request Santa leaves his to cool in the fridge.

2. I went for a run today. Not a long one, but enough to get my legs moving (9-1/2km). Felt really good since I haven't been out to run since Sunday.

3. In case you've been in a cave/haven't been reading my blog/didn't care somehow missed it - and it's all I've been talking about for a week - I giving a $35 CSN Stores gift card away and the contest is open until tomorrow night. I'll announce the winner on Saturday.

30 November 2010

Why Would Anyone NOT Want To Enter A Contest?

Because they don't know about it.

I think I may have made a fatal error. I thought that putting up a contest on Black Friday would be genius. Save money for Christmas, I thought... Buy a present for yourself, I thought. However, I seemed to have forgotten what a family oriented holiday Thanksgiving is in the US. Here's the realization I've come to:

No one was online last weekend - they all took a bloggy-sabbatical for 4 days.

This can be the only explanation for having only 3 people enter my contest. It's not like I even make you become a follower. That's just for bonus entries!

So this is me begging you to enter reminding you that I have a $35 CSN Stores gift certificate up for grabs. Contest ends Friday! Click here to get all the details!

26 November 2010

Money For Christmas Presents! *Contest*

It's Black Friday! Time to start (or finish) your Christmas shopping! To help you out I'm hosting a contest from CSN Stores! They're letting me give away a $35 gift certificate redeemable at ANY of their sites.* Whether you're looking for coffee tables or something to put on them they have what you're looking for. They even guarantee delivery to the US by Christmas Eve for any item that's marked with a snowflake!

To enter:

Mandatory: Browse around CSN, then come back and tell me what you'd buy - it can be a Christmas present to yourself or, if you're feeling generous, for someone else. (+1)


Be or become a follower of my blog and comment to let me know. (+2)

Leave me a comment telling me that you've linked this giveaway to your blog. (+1)

Contest will end Friday 3 December at 11:59pm PST. Entries will be put into a spreadsheet and the winner will be chosen by random.org. I will announce the winner's name on Saturday 4 December.

*Shipping costs are NOT included.

25 November 2010

Happy Snowy (non) Thanksgiving

As you know, we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada on the second Monday in October so we've long since had our turkey dinners and days off. However, because most of my bloggy friends are American, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are all enjoying time with your friends and family!

Here's what I was up to today...

In running news, I got to run with friends last night and, thankfully, it was not snowing at that point. It was just really cold. I actually wore the tights that I bought as a Christmas present... my mum said I could if it meant that I wasn't going to die of exposure! I'm supposed to run again tomorrow night, but all the snow is supposed to turn to rain by tomorrow. If the sidewalks are going to be a slushy, nasty mess we've already decided to call it off.

Please stop by again tomorrow - I'll have a Black Friday giveaway!

23 November 2010

Where'd This Come From?

Okay, I know a lot of you have to run in weather far worse than we're experiencing right now, but what the heck? Out here we are used to RAIN! We don't do cold. The whole city has a conniption when it snows more than 1cm. I know I should just bundle up, but when the wind-chill is -17C and there are gusts of 40km/hr I just can't get myself out the door. Never mind that I also have to bundle up a 3 year old... We've been staying in this week. On the plus side, I'm going out for a run with a friend tomorrow night and there's a small hope that we might get a white Christmas this year!

19 November 2010

The Good News And The Bad News

Might as well get the bad news out of the way first. There will be no awesome Sugoi giveaway. I just couldn't find anything that was a) inexpensive enough and b) properly sized. I could have gotten some accessories, like arm warmers or socks, but the size selection was poor by the time I arrived. Given that the majority of my readership is female I figured unisex size L or bigger was a bad bet.

Two pieces of good news:

1. I now have properly fitted running tights. Granted, I can't wear them until after Christmas (hooray for money from my in-laws), but that's okay. Here's what I picked up at the sale:

$25: SubZero Tight - these should be super-warm and have a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish. These are going to be my go-to winter tight.

$25: MidZero Tight - Thermal, but doesn't have DWR. Should be good for spring.

$15: Piston R+R Knee High - Compression! Mine have a fluorescent green toe stripe. They're about 1/2 a shoe size too big according to the chart (Large, when I really need a Medium). The ones I snagged from Colin that are the same size fit pretty well, but had been stretched out before I stole them. Fingers crossed that these work for me so I can run in them.

It totally pays to rifle through bins. I found the socks in with other loose pairs and when I asked the guy if there were more he was really surprised that I'd found a pair. I guess he thought they'd sold out. The SubZeros were found on the second trip to the tights and the MidZeros were scored in the change room when a woman with whom I had been in line said they didn't fit her. Overall I saved myself just over $150 off of list price. So awesome!

2. I do have a contest coming up next week! Not Sugoi, but equally as good. Let's just say that one of you will be getting some help buying your Christmas presents...

15 November 2010

Christmas Card Exchange

Let's face it, I am not imaginative or organized enough to have thought of this! I barely get my cards sent out before the New Year... Luckily (pun intended), Zaneta over at Runner's Luck is taking the time to put it all together. You can read all the details and sign up here.

10 November 2010

I ♥ Where I Live

Yes, I did post this to make all you non-locals jealous! If I come across anything good (re: cheap) there may be a giveaway in the future. I'll be sure to tell you all about it next week!

09 November 2010

Twofer Tuesday

Not only did I get in a relatively long run today (15.7km/9.75mi), but I also met up with another mum who might turn into a consistent running partner! YAY!

To be honest, I wouldn't have gone out and run that far on my own. However, I had to run to our meeting place (2.5km) so it just turned out that way... I think that it'll be nice to have someone who I can run with at least once a week. Yes, I am probably counting my chickens before they're hatched, but I have a good feeling about it.

08 November 2010

This Made My Day...

I might not be the fastest runner out there, but at least I beat Jared from Subway (and a few other celebrities)!

Congrats to everyone who ran the NYC marathon! Another to add to my bucket list (when I start writing it).

07 November 2010

This Is Going To Be Fun!

So I didn't have the money to register for the "First Half" Half Marathon and now it's sold out - in only a couple of days. That's fine and dandy because I knew that I was going to miss it. It's, obviously, the first half marathon of the season locally and it was cancelled last year due to the Olympics. It was destined to be popular as people missed it!

My solution to not running in it is to volunteer. I only signed up tonight to be contacted and it's not until 13 February 2011 so I don't know yet what I'll get to do. But I'm really excited! I've never volunteered at a race. However, I know how much I appreciate the volunteers at all of the events I've run in! So many races just wouldn't get put on if people didn't want to help out.

Here's my question to you: Have you volunteered for a race before? How was it?

I figure that volunteering will be just as rewarding as racing. Besides, I have so many friends running in the race it'll be nice to cheer them on at the same time!

04 November 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I'm sick. Yaaay! Spud has had a cold for the last almost 2 weeks and yesterday I started with the sneezes and drippy nose. Hopefully I won't get the puking and coughing...

2. I have a run planned with a friend tomorrow afternoon. Spud is starting a gym class and it's not parent participation! He loves the teacher - so much so that the rec centre is referred to as "Miss Leslie's" - and I don't think that there will be an emotional breakdown as I leave... (knock on wood). It will be nice to get out for almost an hour and the rain is supposed to clear up late morning.

3. I have to clean my kitchen. Not exciting, but that was the best thing I could come up with. How sad is that?

02 November 2010

Hello, My Name Is Alanna and I Have PMD

That would be Post Marathon Depression. This post-race period has got me down. I ran my marathon on 10 October. Since then it's been a downhill slide. Honestly. I've had one week since then that I'm remotely okay with, meaning I ran 3 times. Now I know that you can get post-race blues, but I had no idea that it'd be this bad.

There are a few contributing factors:

* No immediate goal. I am planning on signing up for the next marathon clinic however it doesn't start until 30 December. So I'm in maintenance until then. If I had lots of money I'd sign up for the half marathon clinic that started last week (and overlaps for about 6 weeks) just so I would have something to be committed to.

* I have been "in training" for the last year and a half. I started running in May 2009 with a learn-to-run clinic, moved on to the 10km in September, the half marathon that October and ran my first half in February 2010. Then I trained for my second half myself - which sucked (the training, not the race - that was a PR) as I obviously need the structure of an in-store program - and started working toward the full in June. I really don't think that it's running overload or burnout - I don't run nearly enough for it to be burnout. Apparently I just don't know what to do with myself now that there's no accountability.

* I have to take Spud with me. It's not a selfish thing - I don't mind that he's with me (and talks non-stop for the run until he falls asleep). It's that I mind having to push him. That stroller is heavy. With Spud in it it's over 60lbs. And I don't live in a flat neighbourhood. So, yes, it's complaining a little - I know lots of you run with doubles! - I'm just not used to it and it bugs me because it makes me even slower than I already am. I get good workouts, but I don't necessarily feel good about them (make sense?). Even if Colin comes with us I still have to push since it starts to aggravate his knee/IT band if he does.

* It's dark out now in the evenings (and darker earlier once daylight savings ends on Sunday). This means that I can't go out by myself at all. Both Colin and I aren't comfortable with me going out by myself in the mornings - and, let's face it, I love my sleep more than most - and the same goes for nighttime. We live in a suburban area, but there's enough crime around that it's really not safe. It's pretty much a "better safe than sorry" attitude.

So that's what's wrong with my running life right now. I'm really not sure how to remedy it. I'll go out for runs regardless, but there's a part of me that thinks "what's the point?" if I'm not really getting anything out of it. It's more than the slight funk I thought I was in. I can't give up on it. I won't give up on it. If I want to do well at all in May then I need to up my game, so to speak. I can't really cruise through training like I did this summer. I need to take it more seriously.

Any advice to help me get out of my head?

01 November 2010

I See Lots Of Runs In My Future

Yeah, my 3 year old certainly doesn't need to eat all of this candy. Neither do I, but I'll eat my fair share (no use saying I won't...). Guess who's going to go for many runs soon to work it off?

29 October 2010

This Is Me

I stole this picture from Heather at Run Faster, Mommy! I'm pretty sure that when I have some extra money laying around I'll get it made into a t-shirt. My family and friends love me, but this is usually how our conversations go!

28 October 2010

How Far Will I Have To Drive?

It's only playing for 1 day in the States (1 January 2011). If any one is in Washington and lives north of Seattle - the closer to the border the better - please request that they bring it to your city! I want to come! This relay is definitely going on my "someday when I don't have kids at home" list!

Hood To Coast Movie Trailer from HoodToCoastMovie on Vimeo.

Three Things Thursday

#1. I have run 3 times this week! Yay me! It doesn't sound like a big deal, but two of these runs have been just me and Spud. This is the first time (ever) that I've gone out with him in the stroller and not had Colin with us. I kind of thought that it would be really hard to push the stroller just by myself, but it's not that bad. Colin can't do it anymore anyways since it hurts his knee so I might as well get used to doing it!

#2. I went for an 11km run yesterday. I asked Spud if he was okay to not go out on a run. And in his honest 3 year old way he said, "No." So out we went. I'm glad that we did - it was sunny (today is not) and he had a bit of a nap.

#3. The downside to #2 is that when we got home from our run Spud was really tired and complaining of a headache. He also said that he wasn't hungry/full even though he'd barely eaten. I kind of shrugged it off (stupid!) and paid for it later. I thought maybe he just needed to sleep a little longer, but he was actually sick. He got sick all over our couch/floor/Colin right before we were supposed to sit down for dinner. So dinner got pushed back (chicken was still on turned off barbecue - worst dinner ever 1/2 hour later) while we cleaned up. We had to rinse our cushions in the tub so I had to bathe Spud in the kitchen sink. It made for a very interesting evening and a long night (he wanted to sleep on the couch at 1am - fine, whatever's easiest - and eat at 2am). There will be no run today!

26 October 2010


A. Sometimes the whole concept of social media kind of freaks me out. I commented on a question Nathan Hydration posted on facebook today (since I already won a handheld I doubt that I'll win a belt, but I digress). All well and good except that out of about a dozen comments I saw that two were by other runner bloggers. And they were under their real names so what I recognized was their pictures/first names. It makes the world seem like a very small place.*

B. You know you're a runner when:
  • Joining Marathon Maniacs seems like a good idea.
  • You think that running 2 marathons in 2 days seems like an okay way to get the membership. Not the easiest, but maybe feasible?
  • You'd be willing to run 2 in 2 days if you had the money.
  • You are trying to figure out how to get said money...
  • You ask if anyone wants to fund your quest (hehe) - any one crazy enough for 1 May in Vancouver and 2 May in Eugene? The first run would be a PR, but the second almost a certain PW! That's a long drive...
I'm not that serious about the above list (unless someone really does want to pay!)... it'll go on my bucket list. I'll just aim for a new PR.

* It's definitely one of the reasons all my privacy settings are up to date!

25 October 2010

So I Went For A Run...

Thanks to Andrew's very blunt "get off your butt" comment on my earlier post Spud and I went out for a run this afternoon. It was great! Now, obviously, it's in the eye of the beholder. I'm pretty sure all the people in their cars and under their umbrellas were looking at us like we were crazy. There was probably some pity thrown my way as well. That's because it was raining (alternating between downpour and drizzle) and windy. At some points it looked like the stroller was trying to take off.

Things I learned (or remembered) on this run:
  • Running in the rain is fine. It's not my favourite, but I trained for my first half marathon at this time last year and it wasn't a problem.
  • Running during the day is so nice. I don't have to have lights and reflectors. I can run by myself. I'm 95% sure that drivers see me when I'm crossing the street - though there were a few that looked surprised that I was in the crosswalk.
  • Spud likes the stroller. He did his warm-up stretches and run before we left the house.
  • Spud likes the rain! As in there was no way the rain cover was going on. We have a water resistant blanket that he'll deign to put on, but that was it. For the first while he didn't even want to have the pull down cover over his head. He's 3 so I pick my battles. If I get to run he can get soaked if he wants to...
  • Stroller time = nap time! Yay! I think he only slept for about 20 minutes, but since he was up at 6am that's fine with me.
  • One 37lb 3 year old + one 25lb BOB Revolution stroller = 62lbs to push up hills. I felt quite justified in walking up the second half of the hill to the overpass. And then I got a bit of a break so we could watch the trains in the yard underneath.

Rockin' the drowned rat look!

Totals for the run: 6.25km in 44:52. Not a record by any means, but I definitely had a better run than expected. Now I just have to do this 3 more times this week!

Winning Stuff Makes Up For A Running Slump, Right?

So this last week has been a good week for me in the world of blog contests! As posted last Tuesday I won a Road ID certificate. I promptly "spent" it on new wristbands for me and Colin as well as a pair of reflective laces for each of us.

When I posted about that win Zaneta commented to let me know that I had won her contest. Here's what I'm going to be getting in the mail soon! I'm very excited! I have never tried the Tri-berry GU and the chocolate ones look like they'll be fantastic. I actually already have a water bottle like this one, but it's over a year old and is due for replacement. Besides, the blue is far prettier than my black one!

Today's good news was that I checked back on a Facebook contest that I entered and found out that I had won that too! I get a Nathan Hydration Quickdraw Plus water bottle. At 22 oz. it's bigger than the one above (10 oz.). It should be perfect for my runs that are about 10km long. Another reason I like it is that it should fit in the cup holder on Spud's stroller. Right now we just chuck a Nalgene underneath, but it's really inconvenient to stop and take a drink. I've seen lots of other bloggers with this bottle and they all seem to love it so I'm pretty happy. I chose the green because I figured Colin might want to use it too (the teal was getting a little girly).

I'm really hoping that all this new gear is going to get me off my butt and out the door! Since the marathon I've run a whopping two times. Yup, that's twice in two weeks. Bah! I don't know if it's because I don't have the accountability of a clinic right now or if I'm burned out or what. Probably a little bit of both as well as the typical crappy Vancouver rain has shown up again for fall so my motivation is pretty low. I have a lofty goal list of working my way up to 4 days/week and 2-3 days of core work/week before the end of December. So far it's looking like that might start in November instead. Thankfully I have a couple of awesome running friends from my marathon clinic that are interested in fairly regular runs so that should help me out some. We're going for our first run tomorrow night and it'll be nice to have to honour that commitment.

22 October 2010

Race Recap - Running Diva Mom's 10/10/10 10K Virtual Race

Running Diva Mom put out a challenge to do a virtual 10K run on 10 October. Now, as you know, I was running my marathon that day. So I said that I would do four 10km runs. Here are the results from my Polar HRM:

10km #1 - 1:01:55

10km #2 - 1:03:54 (20km - 2:05:49)

10km #3 - 1:12:58 (30km - 3:18:47)

10km #4 - 1:23:55 (40km - 4:42:42)

My first 10km was my best! Keep in mind that I wasn't actually going out to do a 10km race... I guess what this challenge shows me is that I have to work really hard next marathon to achieve negative splits! I really need to do a 10km race so that I know how fast I can actually go!

19 October 2010

I Won!

Turns out someone in Neil's first round of winners from the 10-10 Virtual Race didn't claim their prize so I got chosen the second time around. Hm, I'll take it!

So what did I win? A $21.50 e-giftcard to Road ID!

If you don't know about them they are awesome! They make up a little plaque that goes on a wrist/ankle band or shoe tag that has your information on it so that you don't have to take all of your ID cards with you on a run. I purchased an Ankle ID for Colin for Father's Day and, because it made sense to do it all at once, got one for myself too. Turns out, though, that when we run longer distances we both get calf cramps from the pressure of the strap on our Achilles. So I'm super excited to be able to get wrist straps for the both of us - and definitely the Firefly laces for me!

Oh, and since I didn't do an official 10-10 Virtual Race report (I was kinda focused on my marathon race report) here it is: Between 13 September and 10 October I ran 162.88km or 100.59 miles! Just made it into the 100 mile club!

15 October 2010

Race Report: GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon - 10 October 2010

Before you read my report do you: have a drink? have a snack? need to go to the bathroom?

Make sure you're prepared before you settle in to read a really long race report! It's my first marathon; what do you expect?

Our race preparations began on Saturday 9 October early in the morning. My parents were coming to stay with Spudsy at our house. Since we needed to be at the ferry terminal no later than 8:30am for our 9am sailing - always reserve your trip! Being stuck in the line on a holiday weekend is no fun - they were coming over at about 7am. That meant we had to be up by 6am to eat, finish packing the car, and get Spudsy up to say goodbye. Thankfully our departure didn't mean too many tears, but that could have been because we left
presents for him to open each day we were gone. Once we were on the road it was a quick 45 minute drive to Tsawwassen to catch the boat.

Ferry Terminal - we're on our way!

It's amazing how busy travel is on a long weekend. The line up at Starbucks in the terminal was at least 20 people long. Of course we waited, but we were only getting coffee and tea so the wait was okay. I saw a friend from elementary school while in line and had a bit of a chat and then in was time to board. Being that it was (Canadian) Thanksgiving there were too many people with too little seats. We ended up spending 80% of our trip in the car reading those free tourist magazines as we really weren't willing to sit as singles and it was too cold and windy to be on deck.

View from the parking deck - the trip goes through the Gulf Islands

After about an hour and a half we made it to Vancouver Island and drove the 40 minutes into Victoria. We headed straight to the convention centre to pick up our bibs/race packages and shirts. Honestly, it was nothing to write home about like most of the expos here. You guys in the States really know how to put on a fair (hello, Rock 'N' Roll). However, we got the best New Balance race shirts (see picture near the end)! I don't think I'll ever run in mine since it's so nice. We didn't try them on before the race since we figured it would be some sort of bad luck...

The rest of our Saturday was fairly normal. Colin's got extended family in Victoria so we visited with his grandmas and then headed to his aunt and uncle's place where we were staying. We just hung out in the evening and had a great spaghetti/garlic bread/salad dinner (with home-made lemon meringue pie!). Colin watched a movie while I watched the Canucks home opener (NHL hockey) and then we started to get our stuff ready for Sunday.

Race day outfit

Colin's race stuff

My race stuff

Our shoes!

Now, if you go back up and look at my race day outfit you will see how close to perfect the bib is pinned on. That took me half an hour and most of my sanity. I really hadn't worried about the marathon all week (by way of ignoring it) and for some reason that bib was my trigger. I just could not get that stupid thing straight! And it killed me. I totally had a mental breakdown and lost it at Colin.

Our conversation went something like this:
Me: "I can't get my bib straight."
Colin: "Well, try again."
Colin: (frustrated) "What am I supposed to do about it?!?"
Me: "Nothing! I don't know! I haven't worried about this f-ing race this whole d**m week and I think that I'm f-ing entitled to FREAK OUT ABOUT IT NOW!!!"

It really wasn't funny when it happened, but, man, is it hysterical now!

We went to bed at 11:30pm since we're so smart. It's not that we were too excited to sleep, but rather too lazy to crawl in to bed any earlier.

Race Day!!!

Race day dawned dark and early. Thankfully it was only because we had to get up to have breakfast, get dressed and drive to find parking. As marathoners we got to start at 9am - a luxury - the early marathoners started at 6:30am and the half marathoners at 7:30am. Once we got out the door we stopped to get change for parking, but ended up finding a free street parking spot. We only drove into downtown once and then turned around to go back to the open space we'd seen. It was a good thing that we didn't show up any later as they were starting to blockade the route for the half. After we parked we decided that we'd jog down to the start line to get warmed up (even though it was an hour and a half until start time). Nothing like an almost 2km run before a 42.2km race! It was chilly, but we had on our old toss-away jackets so it wasn't too bad. We had to wait to cross over to the parliament buildings where we were meeting friends since the half had started and there were 6800ish runners in the way.

We killed a little time stretching and chatting with friends and then moved over to the start area. There weren't corrals, just signs with 15 minute increments, so Colin and I hugged, said good luck and then went to our respective times (4 hours and 4:15). I chatted with a couple of other runners - both of whom seemed more nervous than me even though they'd run marathons in the past. Before I knew it they were singing the national anthem, counting down the time and starting the race. I tossed my jacket (which I was only holding onto for sentimental reasons since the zipper was broken) and plodded along with the rest of the runners. Coming out of the first turn it kind of hit me that I was running in my first marathon!

There were lots of people cheering out along the start of the race since we doubled back around the parliament buildings. It was nice that there were so many even if there wasn't anyone specifically looking for me. I ran through my first planned 10 + 1 since we weren't really going all that fast. Once we came off of the main street we hit a long, slow uphill. It wasn't that bad, but it was definitely noticeable. I have to say that the group of people from lululemon cheering made it a lot easier! They were loud and very enthusiastic. Near the top of the hill I saw maybe one of the best spectators - he was handing out kleenex! For a rainy, windy morning it was genius!

At this point I was around the 3km mark. I started taking my 10 + 1s just to make sure that I was on plan. Pacing was going well, if a little fast, but I was feeling fine. It was downhill and there was a water stop up ahead (I had my pack though so didn't need to rely on them). Somewhere around here I was running along the centre line trying to keep to the outside in case I was going to stop and walk - a little unnerving since traffic was still oncoming - and I saw a guy on a bike go by. Turned out it was Darren, my half marathon clinic instructor, who was over to cheer on the half runners. I yelled at him and waved and then continued running. It was totally random, but nice to see someone I knew since all the other marathoners from our clinic were well ahead of me.

The next part of the race went through Beacon Hill Park. It's a lovely area, but also hilly. Usually when we're in town we only go to the petting zoo so it was nice to see the rest of it. This is when I first saw the Elite runners. They were on their way out as I was entering (about 3km ahead of me) and it was nice to be able to clap for them. I can't believe the pace they keep up! I obviously run marathons while they race them!

We exited the park and headed out onto Dallas Road. At this point there were quite a few half marathoners on their way back. I've got to say that some of them looked miserable! I think that they would have been the 2-1/2+ hour finishers and they'd been out in the rain and wind for a while already. I'm pretty sure that I was wearing the same expressions on my face when I came back that way too (and I had sun by then). The road is right on the water so it was all headwind for them. This was the only time that I had the wind to my back. I was feeling good as I hit the 10km mark at 1:03:17. Since I haven't actually raced a 10km in 10 years so I think it was pretty decent. I had my only wildlife sighting just after 10km. There was a river otter that popped out of someone's driveway and ran across the road. I'm not sure who was more confused to see whom!

At about 11-1/2km the race route turned into residential Oak Bay. This is to avoid a really steep hill, but having done the area around the hill I think that I'd almost prefer straight up! I previously called this area residential hilly hell and I'm not kidding. They aren't huge hills by any means, but they are long and slow and gradual and they just totally take a toll on your legs. Nothing too much to note about this area - it was residential. However, the people who lived there were awesome. So many people were out on their yards cheering. It was nice that most of that part of the city really got into it even though the race turned their traffic into a gong show. There was one house that was supporting the Harriers Run Club runners. They had the usual water, etc., but also were offering beer! Not sure how many non-club members took them up on that offer... The only other exciting (and depressing) thing that happened in this part of the race was that the Elites came by again. I was at about 16km and the leader came running the other way with the pace vehicle. The clock on top said 1:43:00. Pretty good for me at 16km, but he was at the 31km mark! Holy fast!!!

After leaving the "fun" of the neighbourhoods we came back down to the water. There was a nice stretch through the Royal Victoria Golf Club's course. It was really pretty, but it was also probably the steepest hill. I ran up most of it, but wasn't prepared for the extra little bump at the top! I didn't feel too badly about walking that little bit as I had to take a gel anyways. We made our way along Beach Avenue, past the Oak Bay Marina with it's killer whale sign (used to be Sea World). I saw a guy with an early marathon bib walking on his way back - he was military and wearing his boots, fatigues and full pack. That's guts and determination! There was another group of people cheering around here - they all had Halloween costumes on and they guy carrying his daughter on his shoulders was running after the Elites and telling them to go faster! It was hilarious! We went up another hill to the halfway mark. My split was 2:15:20 - not an unofficial PR - but, as with the 10km split, pretty happy with it. It seemed like I was on track to do my marathon in about 4-1/2 hours.

I saw Colin just after we hit halfway. He was running with a friend and almost didn't see me. I was waving frantically and had to yell, "hey, hey, nice of you to say hi!" to get his attention. He was about 4km ahead of me which I expected since he was hoping to go sub-4 hours.

The route had a turn-around between kilometres 23 and 24. It was a little odd since they ran us up a residential side street for about 1/2km and then turned us around. It kind of turned too so you couldn't quite tell when you got to go back. I made sure to have a pit stop here just in case. I looked at the girl behind me in line and she looked like hell. When I asked if she was okay she said she just needed to throw up so I let her go ahead of me. I wasn't so bad off that I couldn't wait the extra couple of minutes.

Once out of the turn-around it was time to go back the way I came. This is where my race fell apart. My mind was willing, but my body was weak. It's not that I hadn't run that far before. I was only at 24km and my longest long run was 34km. I wanted to run. But it hurt. I'm no physician so I don't know what was actually hurt, just where it hurt. It was the upper middle of my quad, like if you drew a straight line up from the middle of my kneecap, sort of where the thigh and pelvis meet. I'd run for a couple of minutes and then walk for a few. I knew I was going fairly slow (for this race - it was a ridiculously fast field) when I ran past the runner with the police escort and he was only a few kilometres behind me. He also had to be over 80 years old, but he had a Marathon Maniacs shirt which I thought was awesome. I started walking the uphills going back into the golf course. I always felt so bad for the spectators because you could tell that they wanted to cheer, but didn't really know what to say. Thankfully no one ever told me just to start running again - there were a lot of "good job"s and "you can do it"s.

Prior to the turnaround the sun decided to come out for the day. It was so nice. Unfortunately it also played havoc with me. I had on shorts, but also a long-sleeved shirt. I got hot. Not ridiculously overheated, but enough that my stomach wanted to revolt. I spent much of the last 10km trying to decide where in people's yards I could discretely throw up if I had to (and I really wanted to!). Residential Victoria doesn't have a lot of street sewer grates. At least it helped pass the time. Once my legs and stomach started giving me hell I was in survival mode. I knew I would finish the race, but I had given up on any kind time goal a long time past.

When I got back to Dallas Road I was on the home stretch. There were only a couple of challenging hills left and I tried my hardest to run up them just so they wouldn't defeat me. The bonus to being slower was that there were no crowds around to run in. I have quite a few nice pictures because I wasn't running in a group. The last 10km was hard. Not just for the regular reasons, but because I had a headwind for 9 of them. It felt like running in soup. It was a little demoralizing when some of the water stations were closed (again, I wasn't using them, but still).

When I got to about the 40km mark I got to have a good laugh. For those of you who don't know Victoria it's full of retirees and seniors. I was running along (if you could call it that at that point) and all of a sudden I heard music. I figured it was a band or something. However, when I looked up it was a whole bunch of seniors from the care home. They were out in 50s costumes (think poodle skirts) and were dancing up a storm on the sidewalk and road. I had been so focused on finishing for the last 5km that it was nice to have something to smile about!

I was ecstatic when I saw the marker for 41km. It meant that I was almost done! Unfortunately it also meant that there was one more hill and it had a turn in it. Whoever designed this course was pretty mean! I was walking up the second half of the hill as my knee had started to hurt around 41km when I heard a guy ask if I was okay. I looked over and it was a paramedic on a bike. I told him that it was just my knee. He asked if I'd had trouble before, but I told him that my only problem was that I'd been running for 5 hours. He laughed and we chatted a bit about first marathons. Now, that would have been fine, but his 3 buddies that had been taking a break decided to join him. So with about 600 metres to go I had 4 (!) paramedics riding with me. Colin's sure that they were taking bets as to when I'd drop. It's nice to know they were there making sure everyone was okay, but I'm pretty sure I looked like a total charity case! After a bit they went on ahead and I knew I was close. A woman cheering at about 400 metres left told me to take my sunglasses off so my pictures would look good - and she was right!

As I rounded the last corner I could see the top of the finish line arch. I knew I was so close and there was no way that I was walking through the finish! I didn't speed up or anything (like that was possible), but just kept going straight down the road. I couldn't believe how many people were still at the finish line. It was so nice to come into the finish chute and not have it be totally abandoned which had been my fear. I asked a girl who was walking if she wanted to run in with me. She looked at me like I was insane and that it took all of her energy to say no. I felt kind of bad, but left her to finish my race.

I crossed the line of my first marathon with 5:09:05 on the clock (5:07:18 chip time). It was amazing! I had my hands up and then totally clapped for myself. After that long on the road I had no idea I could smile so much. I'm pretty sure I heard people laughing (nicely) as I crossed - I don't think they were seeing many happy runners at that point. It didn't matter that any time expectations I had (which I'd been told again and again not to make) weren't fulfilled. I got my medal and totally earned it! Once I was on my way through to the food - because that's what's important - I heard someone calling and saying, "I can't walk that fast!". I turned around and it was Colin. He'd been waiting near the guy with blankets for almost an hour so he wouldn't miss me. He finished his first marathon in 4:13:38 (4:12:13 chip time). I'm so proud of him!!!

We grabbed some food and drink for me: 1/2 cup of Gatorade, 1/2 banana (of which I only had 2 bites), and yogurt. It's amazing how not hungry I was after running for that far and that long. We sat on the curb in the sun to warm up and tell our marathon stories to each other. It was amazing. We did the same activity, but had such different experiences. Once we were done we decided to hobble back to the car. What seemed like a manageable couple of kilometres in the morning was so long. It was uphill and the only reason I didn't feel pathetic was because I was wrapped in my plastic blanket and people understood. The best part of the walk back was that we each got a free calf massage at Lush. They were promoting some sort of massage bar with beans in it, but since the woman getting up said it was well worth it we took the time. It was great. I'm not usually one for massages - this one was painful at times - but I figured that if I'd run that far I could at least try to do something to help. It sure beat an ice bath!

Colin at the car.

Me at the car.

We went home to get showered, changed and relaxed and then went out to dinner. We had certificates (yay, free dinner) to The Keg Steakhouse. We'd planned to have a later dinner, but it was a holiday Sunday and, not only were the stores closed early, it was freezing so we showed up and had our meal at a normal time. My excuse for the huge plate of food was that I just ran a marathon and needed to have lots of protein!

Sirloin Oscar: mmm, steak with seafood on top!

Colin's dinner: who doesn't love half a plate of beef?

I kid you not, the waitress asked what place we finished!
I had to explain that everyone got a medal...

Here are a few closing touristy shots of Victoria:

Horse-drawn carriage rides

The Empress Hotel: hoity-toity fanciest hotel in the city.

Parliament Buildings (Victoria is the provincial capital)

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