Thursday, 28 April 2011

My First Race

I ran my first 5k race a couple of weeks after finishing my learn to run course.  It was only my third time running 5k straight through and wow that was far!

I was very nervous.  My husband wanted to come, but I wouldn't let him. He dropped me off and I met up with two women that I had completed the learn to run course with - Linda and Alison.  Alison was coming to cheer us on and Linda and I were running together.  We were meeting up with Matt who had taught the course.  He was going to run the race with us or rather run us through the race.

The Around the Bay Race has two distances the first is the 30k and the second is the 5k.  This race is huge.  Even now out of all of the races I have competed in it is second in number of participants only to Ottawa.  For a first race it was overwhelming.

Temperature wise, the day was kind of cool and threatening to rain.  All race participants meet up in Copps Coliseum before and after the race.  Everyone is scrambling to use the washrooms before and it was very crowded.  It reminded me a lot a entering a concert only I was going to work very hard, not see a fun band.  The 30k started first. Then 15 minutes later the 5k started.

We met up with Matt and he took us through a bit of a warm up.  I had never seen people warm up before a race.  It was strange to see some people running incredibly fast back and forth short distances and others were jumping super high in the air.  We just slowly jogged around the block.

We found our place at the start line.  I hadn't been crammed in so close to so many people since my days in a mosh pit and I wasn't sure I really liked it.  My heart was beating so fast I thought everyone would be able to see it through my shirt.  Then the gun went off.....

          ...... but we didn't.  Eventually we began to shuffle forward, then a slow jog and the long beep of our chips sounded as we crossed the start line.  That's when things started to speed up.  I couldn't believe how fast we were running.  We also had to weave in and around people who were walking, but for some reason started close to the front.  We kept running and turning corners and passing people.  The kilometre markers gradually went by - slowly.

Every time I wanted to slow down a bit Linda or Matt would pick up the pace.  Then it started to drizzle.  I didn't have a jacket or a hat.  I was saying two prayers to myself.  The first that I wouldn't die and the second that my mascara wouldn't run.  Thank god neither happened.  I do remember at one point looking at the boulevard and wanting to curl up and cry there, but Matt and Linda were going too fast and I didn't know where I was.

Eventually we saw Copps Coliseum again.  The finish line for both the 5k and 30k finish inside Copps.  Matt said to me "We just have to run down the side of the building and we're done"  It was the longest building in the world, but we made it.  Once we got inside I could see my time - it was under 30 minutes.  It was somewhere around 29 minutes.  I ran with everything I had toward the finish line.  But I didn't listen to Matt's advice about looking good for your picture at the end of the race.  The picture is terrible.  I tried to find it online for this post, but its gone.  I mean this when I say I know what I will look like when I breath my last breath.  The only thing uglier than my picture was the shirt.

Needless to say I was hooked at that point, my official time was 28:42 and I felt like a rock star.  I couldn't wait to sign up for my next race..

Monday, 25 April 2011

Shoes are a (Running) Girl's Best Friend

Let's talk shoes.....

... not cute or pretty shoes.....

                                                   .... but these ones.

When I first started to run the very first thing I bought even before a sports bra was a new pair of shoes.  I LOVE SHOES.  Like a lot of people, I have a tendency to measure my self by size and when it comes to something I wear, the smaller the better.  With shoes it doesn't matter if you gain or lose weight your feet usually don't change size.  I say usually because my feet grew a half size larger with each pregnancy.  I used to be a size 8 and now I'm a size 9.... and in running shoes an even harder thing to accept is I am a size 9 & 1/2.

Nonetheless if you don't wear proper shoes that fit correctly and provide good support running is going to hurt.  Even if its not your feet hurting, shoes that don't have correct support can cause knee or hip problems.  When I bought my first pair of shoes some random guy (the running expert at my local running store) watched me walk and said I pronate. Meaning I need shoes with support to correct my form.  If you  buy shoes from a running store, not a sports store, but a running store with staff trained to fit you properly you can be sure that the shoes you buy will provide you with the support you need.

I have been through 9 pairs of shoes since I started running.  I will be buying my 10th pair soon.  Although I love shoes, I would prefer to spend my money on pretty shoes rather than running shoes.  But for some reason I seem to be hard on running shoes even though I try not to wear my running shoes for anything other than running.  Most shoe companies say shoes will last for 800km, running stores say 500km but one doctor I talked to said it really depends on the individual.  I can honestly say that I do not have the mileage to justify 10 pairs of shoes in just over 2 years. 

When it comes to running shoes my feet prefer Nike's. All but one pair of shoes I own are Nike's.  I bought a pair of Mizuno's which were a size 10 and they had harder plastic piece on the soles which sounded like I was tap dancing.  The fit was fine but I wasn't really crazy about them.  I bought a pair of Nike's after those.  I'm not sure if I will stick with Nike's this time or switch to something else but I will try to buy a pretty pair.... and maybe a shirt to match.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sunday Rituals

Sundays are typically lazy days at our house.  I don't usually have a run scheduled.  The girls don't have activities and neither my husband or I work.  We sleep in a bit, savour a cup of coffee and make a big breakfast.  After a slower start to our day, there are housekeeping jobs to do like laundry and other cleaning.

Since the day is a little more laid back, I thought I'd feature a recipe I've made during the week.  I love to cook and have since I was a kid.  I follow a few food blogs and love flipping through recipe books for inspiration but I am by no means an expert food photographer.  So don't expect any fantastic pictures, just a recipe that I've found good during the week that I have made.

Aside from being Sunday, today is also Easter Sunday.  We had a big family dinner at with my parents last night and are going to another diner at my mother and father in-laws today.  Those big meals combined with chocolate pillaged from the kid's Easter baskets have led to a rather full feeling and the desire for something a little healthier.

I decided to throw together a little salad that I've adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook and serve it over lettuce.  I usually bring this salad to potlucks during the summer.  In the summer I grill the corn on the cob to give the salad a smokey taste.  Today I felt like I needed a bit of a protein boost so I added some black beans, but I usually do not include beans. I also threw some tomatoes on top of the salad for some extra colour.

Corn & Avocado Salad

1 avocado diced
2 cobs of corn cooked or 1 cup frozen corn thawed
1 cup of black beans
1/2 red onion diced
1/2 red pepper diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients in a bowl.  Let sit for 1 hour to allow flavours to develop.  Serve at room temperature.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Good Friday Fun

Today I had the biggest reminder of why I run.  Before I decided to get active again my joints were achy and I felt tired all the time.  And I could hardly keep up with my kids.  This was when they were much younger and didn't move as fast as they do now. But my girls were my original motivation to start moving again.

We are all having a quiet day and restful day at home.  The girls have been outside playing for most of the day. My youngest daughter had been asking all morning to go for a bike ride. Her bike still has training wheels and my oldest daughter's doesn't. My daughter whose bike does not have training wheels still hasn't mastered riding on her own.  What this means is either my husband or I have to go out with her - and run along.

My husband took my daughter's training wheels of about a month ago, but the weather has been pretty terrible for outside activities until today.  I said I would go out with the girls and the hubs could stay inside and work.

Now I've been riding my bike for years... decades even so I don't remember much about learning how to ride a bike.  But what I discovered is its pretty much like everything else I've had to teach my kids... easier for me to do myself than to explain to them how to do it.  Thankfully my daughter learns quickly.

After about an hour of me running next to her hunched over she figured out how to balance on her own.  Half an hour after that she was able to get the bike going on her own and pedal the length of our street.  The entire time I was running easily beside her. 

That's when it hit me - this is the whole reason why I started running.  The big races, training schedules and social events are fun and keep me motivated.  But the whole reason why I started running in the first place was because of my kids.  I wanted to be able to keep up with them. I felt so proud of my big girl as I listened to the triumph in her voice as she said "I'm doing it! I am really riding a two wheeler by myself!"  Way to go sweetie!

Happy Birthday Continued

I had originally thought I would do a little bit of shopping yesterday after my run but I ended up hanging out on the couch in my sweats and warming up.  I had to be around to pick the girls up off the bus so I didn't have too much time to go anywhere after my super long run and  I was feeling a little tired.  The plan for the evening was that just our family was going out for dinner and then come home.  Quiet night - it was Wednesday.

As we were driving to the restaurant I said to the hubs "Let's just order a pizza and stay home".  I was completely ignored.  As we were parking I saw my parents, then my mother and father in-law.  Little did I know my husband had planned a surprise party for me.  Thank god I had my kids with me.  They were so excited and I really felt like the attention was focused on them not me.

My husband and I have agreed not to throw each other surprise parties.  That's why I take the day off work, so I can choose what I want to do and he doesn't have to worry about it.  Not that I don't like getting together with people, I just hate being the centre of attention.  Despite feeling this way I do have to admit that it is really nice to have people come out to have drink and wish you a happy birthday.

When I got into the restaurant this is what I walked into

When I got inside my running friends and my family were there.  I had been with all of them the night before and no one said anything.  I was babbling on and on about this run I was doing for my birthday and none of them said anything.  It was really great to see everyone and I had a great time.  Needless to say the night was much better than staying home with a pizza.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

This was my birthday present to myself... not the garmin... the run

Ignore the time at the top... check the distance in the bottom right
I always take the day off work on my birthday.  Typically I go shopping with my sisters, but this year I decided to shake things up a bit and run a kilometre for every year of my life.  This run was not easy.  The temperature was 3 degree Celsius with a steady drizzle the entire time.  I've never ran this far on my own.  During my marathon I ran the entire time with someone else. Usually my training runs I run with at least one other person and during a race there is occasional person to chat with for a few minutes if I feel like it.  

Last year when I was training for my Ottawa half marathon I decided I wanted to run a few of my longer runs on my own to have the confidence to know I can run the distance and fight through the inner demons when they appear. It worked last year. 

This year I decided I wanted to run this absurd distance by myself because I can. Truthfully I almost didn't reach my goal.  Between 26 and 28k I pretty much wanted to curl up in the wet muddy ditch and cry, but I was in the middle of nowhere and knew the only way to get home was to keep going even if my pace was slower and slower.  I was tempted to stop at a few people's homes and even the running store and call the hubs and get him to pick me up.  My vanity interfered with those thoughts though.  After that distance I know I look fug and I knew I was in desperate need of a shower.

So thanks to my extreme stubborn nature and my concern with my appearance I persevered and completed 35k. Now could somebody please get me a Stella - it is my birthday after all.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


This is the view from my front door this afternoon half an hour before I'm supposed to run hills
What you can't hear in this picture is the sound of freezing rain.  I'm not sure how well the hill workout is going to go. But I do know that unless I start working hard in the next week, I won't have the training I need before Ottawa.

I'll just do what I can for hills tonight and use the weather conditions as a means of mental toughening.  Tomorrow I have a celebratory run planned... I really hope the weather cooperates. 

Monday, 18 April 2011


After a few years of boring my family and co-workers with my upcoming races and training schedules I felt it was time to search for a more approachable audience.  I've been reading various blogs about running, cooking and families for a few years and have my favorites.  

A thought came to me after my last race as I was recapping the event for what felt like the hundredth time in two days I thought if only I could write this down and find a way to deliver it to my adoring fans at one time rather than drone on about myself and risk forgetting details. Then it hit me.... start your own blog.... join the masses.... its what you do at every race you sign up for.

I started running in 2009 by taking a learn to run course.  I ran my first race in a time faster than I could have imagined and knew I was addicted to the adrenaline rush of racing. I continued racing  5 and 10k's and worked my way up to a half marathon in October of 2009.

In 2010 I ran Around the Bay (a 30k race) and trained my way up to a full marathon in the fall.  I've just completed my 21st race - Around the Bay again and took 27 minutes off my time from last year.  I'm slowly learning how to deal with pre-race jitters... I know 21 races... I'm a slow learner.  

I've found so much inspiration through running and met some pretty amazing people.  I've also learned that I'm stronger than I think I am, but at the same time I couldn't do any of this without the support of my family and friends.  And the most motivating cheer you can hear is "Go mommy go!"

Currently I'm training for the Ottawa full marathon on May 29th. I would love to run a marathon in every province in Canada, but destination races are calling to me as well.  I have no idea where running will take me.  The best runs and races I've had are the ones I've least expected.  Hopefully you'll join me for the ride.