Monthly Archives: February 2011

Taper week re-cap

Tapering…my new BFF.  Not only did I get to avoid running for an entire week, but tapering also freed up a few days to do fan-freakin-tabulous stuff too!

My last run was a 16km on the Friday of the long weekend.  It went really well and I kicked off the weekend feeling ready to relaaaaax.  Enter: winter camping!  We rented a yurt and spent the next 3 days crammed into a canvas “freezer”, equipped with a wood stove as decor only.  Thank mercy Dudes remembered that we are all class and packed the boxed wine.  Little did we know that in the meantime, family and friends were convinced we were going to perish in a wind storm that knocked out power and trees?  Huh.  Again, thank you boxed wine for giving us the gift of oblivion.  So we lived see another day of excessive eating, drinking and playing frisbee.  Excellent start to taper week.

The adventure begins!

Staying warm-ish (Muffin, not a happy camper)

Yurt experts

A few days later, I was sent into the wilderboonies of Algonquin Park to join our research crew on the black bear project.  Have I mentioned that I have a severe love-hate with bears?  I would suspect that most people are indifferent…but I have a definite relationship with this species.  As a runner who has “run into” bears (ok just one once, but it clearly scarred me) I spend all of my summer (and late spring/early fall) runs thinking about if there is a bear behind me, in front of me, waiting on my doorstep, etc.  That said, I also can’t camp, walk the dog, get groceries or mow the lawn for fear of being mauled.

Let's get her when she takes the recycling out tomorrow morning!

BUT come February and the chance to crawl into hibernating bears’ dens rolls around, I volunteer EVERY TIME.  What am I?  Some kind of masochist?!

So just what the crap are we up to?  Well, the crews head out to different dens and (after much drugging…the bears and me) the real risk-takers (aka biologists) remove the bear to change the radio collar and measure it as part of their research.  I take photos.  And keep the cubs warm.  Seriously.

Lots of love before the fear sets in.

Scary schmary...although the claws are still lethal.

So after a few days of b’ar tracking and snowshoeing, I was back in the safety comfort of the big city. Taper week tapered off with me watching the weather network for about 14 consecutive hours on Friday night, still trying to decide whether or not I could stomach “a chance of flurries”.  In the end, I woke up on Saturday ready to run!…ish.  So I headed in to the YMCA to register and $60 smackers later, it was on.

That night I celebrated my pre-race meal with the gals (vetoing Indian food…um, hello vindaloo-poo?  Thanks, but I have to run 21 km tomorrow and would rather not crap my pants) and hit the hay dreaming of chafing and finish line chocolate milk.

It’s taper time!

As a lazy runner, I must say that one of the best parts about racing is the taper.  

I’ve overheard all those hard-core/dedicated/super-annoying runners be like “Ohmigawd, I HATE not being able to run for, like, 2 days, let alone a week!  I NEED to get out there and pound some pavement!”

I, on the other hand, am loving the excuse to sleep in, lie around on the couch, not pick up after myself, have Muffin feed me grapes…all in the name of “Cheese and crackers! You expect me to SHOWER this week!  Don’t you know that I’m tapering!!!”

Tapering...part of being a tip-top athlete.

I read somewhere (or not, I could have made it up and convinced myself it’s true) that you can’t under-train in the last weeks, but you can certainly over-train.  That’s been my mantra…true or not true, it’s working for me.

So this week, no major running updates because the one day I had free to do a short run, I slept and lounged.  Excellent.  My legs will be so refreshed and ready to go Sunday…unless they forget how to actually move. 

Oh, and I haven’t actually registered for the race yet.  So all my hard work “tapering”, might just be me sitting on my junk, being lazy.  Whatev.  I’m loving it.

Stay tuned to see what I did on my non-training days…it involves bears, snow and conquering fears!

Boston….my Everest.

Did you know that one delightful morning, many moons ago, I almost qualified for Boston?  Yep.  3:51 in London…11 minutes off.  And the worst part, we weren’t really trying.  Sure we wanted to have a good race and come in at decent time, but Boston didn’t even cross our minds.

Quick and clueless

Clueless of the bitterness about to ensue

Fast forward about 4 years…add one crappier IT band and 15 pounds.  Hi again!  

And now the Boston dictators organizers are really sticking it to me.  Yep, they’ve changed the qualifying times and the fastest peeps get in first.  Effffffff.

...unless you are Valerie Bertinelli.

Boston, I’ll see you a) when I’m in the 80+ category and have a thousand years to complete the race (unless they keep CHANGINGTHEFREAKINTIMES! and I still can’t qualify) or b) from couch while watching Cheers.

PS – despite being slow and pudgy and unworthy of racing eliteness, I had a great 50k week last week.  Now it’s time to start winding down into taper mode.  Fist pump!  I polished off just under 14k this morning, and have 16km planned for tomorrow…and that’s mostly it, babies.  After that, it’s race time.  Then nacho time.  Balance people.

Jamaican me work my ass off

I am going to Jamaica.  Hooray!  Let me tell you why…

[Scene 1 – At the Maxi Pad (a sweet apartment in the Pdot ghetto) circa 2001]

me: Sooo, that’s the apartment if you are interested.

random girl: Um, yeah sure, I guess. I start school in, like, 12 hours so this’ll do.  You don’t look like you’re going to shank me in my slee- 

me: PERFECT!  I knew we were going to be BFF’s!  I can’t wait for you to move in!  We can stay up all night and talk, comb each other’s hair, oh and major tradesies for accessories!!! (squeals)  This is going to be SOSOSOFREAKINAWESOME!!

random girl: Um, ok. So I’ll just email you about mov-

me (happy clapping and bunny hopping): OMG! We can watch Paradise Hotel and plan parties and make lists…and holy crap…hello crockpot Tuesdays?!?

random girl (nervously looking around apartment): So it’s just the two of us then, huh? No one el-

me (rifling through kitchen cupboards): I swear I had a fondue pot in here somewhere…

random girl (backing towards the front door): well, maybe I’ll just call you later this week. Or not…I’ll let you know…

me (yelling down the hallway): so I’m thinking the first night we can make prank phone calls, then build a gingerbread house, then have a kitchen dance party, and then…

 

Who's crazy?

Hey you, stranger. Come live with me.

 

[Scene 2 – Months later in the Max Pad; random girl now affectionately known as “Dudes”; has realized that we’re the same amount of crazy and it’s not just me]

 

Heeyyy…you are my kind of crazy.

 

 

shakin' it

Equals

 

Dudes: I’m bored.  Do you have a boyfriend with a hot younger brother that I can make fall in love with me?

me: I do!

[Scene 3 – Somewhere else, years later]

me: Dudes!  Section 12.6.4 of our masterplan has finally come to fruition!  Muffin and I are getting hitched!

Dudes (satisfied smirk and evil finger roll): Excellent.

[Scene 4 – a few years later]

Dudes: The final step in our masterplan to become sisters is complete!  T-Money and I are getting hitched!

me (brilliantly evil squinty eyes): Excellent.

So that brings us to now and why I’m going to Jamaica…to celebrate this crazy couple’s upcoming nuptials, of course!

Lovebirds

And with that comes the burden of having to wear a bathing suit in public…gaaah.  Those innocent, happy-go-lucky islanders will never know what hit them.

Me + bikini + rum + reggae + my uninhibited, overwhelming, drunk, sense of joy for my long time coming second sister/BFF =  ‘make your eyes bleed’ sort of disaster.

So I’m doing what I can.  Enter Bootcamp.  And Dudes, FYI…I blame you.   Instead of being able to just carry on as a plump, couch slummin’, Cheeto eatin’, sweatpants sportin’, ALREADYGOTMARRIEDANDAMALLOWEDTOBEDOUGHYNOW!, trophy wife – I now have to force my junk out the door twice a week to do burpees.  BURPEES, people!  All so that my own ass doesn’t eat my bathing suit bottom during a wedding ceremony.

Shake….shake…shaaaaake? Whatever.

So, I didn’t write this story, but I could have.  Obviously not even remotely as funny or artistically, but this is my life.  Hyperbole and a half, you get me.  And my retarded dog.

So happy, so simple.

A story about Piper, but not really.

I relate to this woman because…

a) our dog did not tackle the stairs for quite awhile, and still won’t tackle the basement stairs or stairs in other people’s homes.  She stands at the top/bottom, with her ears all Eeyore-like, wishing she had the physical capacity to join us at the other end (ps – she does).

b) she licks everything, all the time.  Not like, “Yay, you’re home!” or “This piece of jerky between the fridge and counter is delicious” licks…just random blankets, pants, walls, sidewalks, etc.  Just tastin’ the world.  Drives Muffin to drink.  I think it’s cute…and a smidging retardo, which makes me drink.  Why not?

c) when she is not licking something, she is staring at something.  With her nose about an inch away…for embarrassing amounts of time.  Again, a dog staring at food or a squirrel or pooh seems normal to me.  A shadow, piece of paper, reflection of light on the wall with a room full of people trying to “call her” away from it…not normal. 

So she’ll never win a Nobel prize or warn anyone that I’ve fallen into a well, but she’s very pretty.  Anyhoo, I highly recommend that you check out the laugh-til-milk-spews-from-your-nose story from Hyperbole and half.

PS – Because this is FunnerRunner and I am still running, some quick recaps…pulled off 17k this weekend in downright balmy weather. Loves it.  And another 15k this morning in stupid, not surprising now, -25C temps.  I’m thinking of changing the name of this blog to “Bitter-patter, let’s get at ‘er“.  Emphasis on “bitter”.  Super sweet tunes for these runs…ABC (Jackson 5) and If you want blood (AC/DC).  Excellent (secret) guilty pleasure songs.

FunnerRunner’s guide to not having to amputate extremities

Instead of just whining about the snow and ice and slush and permafrost and crapola conditions every single day, I thought I might as well shed a little light on the other ways I deal with my hatred for this season.

Enter the “FunnerRunner’s guide to not having to amputate extremities”!!  (Could also be referred to as “What I wear to make winter running tolerable”)

Sadly, I’ve been doing this for a few years now.  I suppose my pea brain forgets how horrid winter running is each year and each year I find myself out there wondering why I do this to myself.  But the good side is that I now have a stellar winter gear wardrobe!

It’s not easy being cheesy.

Here are a few of my fave “snowmaggedon” staples…

  • MEC thermal winter running tights – I have two pairs of these and they feel like butter.  And they keep the wind out like The Bachelor girls keep out self-esteem.  (PS – only abut $45…for THERMAL!  Nike is for suckers)
  • My all-time fave Nike thermal jacket (me = sucker).  I can wear this baby in -30C weather and still be toasty.  It’s thin, waffley and wicking.  The kicker is that I’ve had it so long, you’ll have to do your own shopping to find something similar.  Just so you know, I’m not actually providing helpful information, just rubbing in how awesome mine is.

Not just a shirt, THE shirt.

  • MEC thermal long sleeve – By far, the greatest layer I’ve ever owned.  Thermal and ultra-warm and wicks away to keep you dry. Ahhmazing!  If you are a runner, snowshoer, skiier, person who unrationally sweats in cold weather – buy this shirt.  Like, today.
  • Lululemon brisk run toque – because you need something pretty.  It’s winter, but you are still in public.

Just robbing myself of dignity...and the odd B&E.

  • Facegear – I have two faves in this department – both from MEC.  Shocking, I know.  My balaclava (above) is perfect for windy days – thin, lotsa coverage.  Super gangsta looking too.  The second is even more hard core – for both the Crips street cred’ and unpleasant weather.  It even has special nose holes for breathing – imperative for such a wheezer like me.

Luke, I am your father.

 

Mittens – When I first started running (and was even more of a whiner) my hands were the first things to go all crybaby out there.  So much so, that my very supportive parents bought me a Costco box of hand warmers.  COSTCO!  Of course, there were about 1000 warmers in it.  Big hearts, my folks.  Anyhoo, I did use them all of the time (without making a dent) until I got these bad boys from a generous member at the gym as a Christmas gift.  Sorry Eduardo & Mimded, the Costco box has been demoted to the basement.

Fits like a glove...and a mitten!

  • And lastly, kicks.  The ‘cats are changing my world.

Hopefully this will help you gear up for your next outdoor athletic pursuit.  But truthfully, I just want companies to give me free stuff.  I’m currently looking for sponsorship, MEC.  Or Lulu…?  Anyone?

My secret trifecta of success

This past weekend, I headed out on my own for a leisurely 20km and you know what…I felt ok!  (That is, I was fairly confident that my lungs were not going to explode and my hip flexors weren’t actually made of concrete.)  I’ve had time to reflect on why this unlikely stroke of endurance was bestowed on me and a few things come to mind. 

1) The sun.  Seriously.  I was bundled up, a la Nanook, and just that bit of sunshine on my face was enough to fool my little brain, and legs, into thinking that -18C was far, far away. 

2) New tunes.  I cued up the old-school hip hop playlist that Muffin had mixed and lost myself in the nostalgia of high school dances, road trips, illegal substance abuse and dry humping.  Kidding, kidding.  Just the dances and road trips…and maybe some hijacked Baby Duck.  I digress…the point is “Check yo’self” is a sweet running tune. 

3) No fear.  I did not budge off the shoulder of the road for anyone.  And lemme tell ya, people are an angry bunch.  They DO NOT want “FreakincrazygetofftheG.D.roadyoustupidarse!!” runners on their turf.  But lemme also tell you this…man, it was nice to run on dry pavement.  And people can’t tell if you are waving or flipping them off when you are wearing mittens.

So yep, 20km down and it felt great, well, manageable.  And all thanks to my new found super-awesome trifecta to super-awesome running power.  Maybe this race at the end of the month is an option afterall.  Oh and by the way, recovery was slightly better this week…

All the way with whey!

A French Vanilla Whey Sensation smoothie was a deeelish treat to recoup some tired muscles.  Normally, I’m not a huge protein shake, bar, etc. gal and that’s mostly because I’m an “eater”.  I like to get a lot of bang for my caloric buck and usually I find products like that a bit dense.  Why eat a measly bar when I can eat ENTIRE cans of tuna??  (Besides the mercury poisoning and questionable amounts of sodium…)

Stay tuned for the “FunnerRunner’s guide to not having to amputate extremities”.  Oh the anticipation…