Monthly Archives: November 2011

Bittersweet in Hamilton: Part two

(Just in case you missed it, Part one.  It’s like the Twilight saga  – you’ll be totally lost if you don’t follow from the very beginning.  Totally lost. You won’t even know if you should be on Team Edward or Team Jacob!?)

I woke up super early on Sunday morning – partly excited, partly hyperventilating about a stressful daylight savings situation.  I just don’t trust time.  Or understand it.  Forward, backward, gain an hour, lose an hour, yada-yada…just tell me if it’s the middle of the night or if I slept through the last 3 days, thankyouverymuch.

So after checking my phone, alarm clock, computer and my all-time favourite channel, the weather network, I was convinced that I was not an hour late and was a-ok for time. So the usual pre-race stuff ensued…breakfast of champions, precise race bib pinning, double knotting of shoelaces… very important stuff here people.  It’s a mental game really.

Dear peanut butter, marry me?

It was the perfect temperature for sporting my new short sleeve shirt with matching arm warmers.  Because that’s what matters – how I look.  I knew it would be chilly to start and the arm warmers would be ideal when I needed something to strangle myself with half-way.  Win!

The race began at a high school which was easy to find and had plenty of room to hang out in before the start.  Cousin K, Muffin and I had passed the time by making of fun of weirdos.  C’mon…even if you are a runner, you know that half of the people look ridiculous or are doing ridiculous looking things.  Between the bum kicks, garbage bags, copious amounts of spandex, band-aidy nipples, shaved legs…they’re just asking for it.

So after plenty o’ judging and smirking (and subtle finger pointing), a banana to top off my morning toast and pb, and a last minute trip through the port-a-potty village – we set off to see the marathoners start.

Cousin K, the newest (and cutest!) cheerleader

It was a bit of a late start, so there was some confusion (oh, just me?) when we halfers started to corral ourselves up.  Having opened my big fat mouth I was on the look out for the 1:50 pace bunny.  I elbowed and kicked my way through a few people and tried to get an “edge of the pack” spot to start (because it’s easier to pass the 18 abreast pack runners and any walkers who don’t know how to line up).  Still trying to maximize the length of my entire 5’2 body to spot a pace bunny…any pace bunny…I finally asked the tall dude beside me if he knew where we were.  And he pointed to just up ahead of me, the 2:00 bunny.  Shoot.  At least I knew where I was though.  Oh wait, and just behind me was the 1:50 bunny.  Amazeballs.  Off to a wonderfully confusing start.

Actual sign from the start...very motivating.

As you know, I’m not great at recalling details of actual races…the Big Guy has blessed me the with ability to repress all race memories and push any run-inspired suicidal thoughts way, way down.  Racing is a lot like drinking tequila…it’s horrible and you swear you’ll never do it again…then lo and behold, the next thing you know you’re in Mexico peeing your pants (again).

So, some highlights…

The first few km’s were uneventful, although I couldn’t help but notice the wild range of wardrobe choices.  Some (crazy) people went for shorts /tank tops, and others, sported full-on parka and snowpants(ish).  Thank mercy, I was perfectly dressed – a model runner, if you will.  So basically the first 5k were spent dodging flinging gloves and sweaty garbage bags.

Three wonderful things happened around 5-6km.  1) We were greeted with a lovely view..

  • Hello lover.

    The infamous decline was starting! 2) the weather started to warm up so much that I slipped into something more comfortable by losing the arm warmers – excellent planning on my part, and 3) “Pumped up kicks” came on and I started to pump it up.

For the next few km’s, I felt hella good.  A fantastic playlist, sunny day, good course…I was like Forrest Gump out there.  Breaking free and just ruun-n-ning!  Between the royal waving, obnoxious air drumming and spirited high-fiving, volunteers were practically yelling for my autograph.  I was like a local celebrity.  The Katie Holmes of the Hamilton half-marathon.  Yes, just like that…just. like. Katie.

Just like Katie...minus one entourage, plus one bra.

I trekked on through the next 10k or so feeling moderate to good…trying to take it all in.  I followed a cute girl forever who seemed to be magically running on her tippy toes the whole time (great calves), I fell in love with Brett Dennen, crazy cowbell lady had fab boots on and I told her so, our 13k marker also marked 31k for the marathoners and I was giddy-happy not to be running a full marathon, and I sucked down a gel between 15-16k.

The last few km of the route were along a gorgeous, waterfront path…maybe I was just starting to feel the burn of the race, but it seemed awfully windy to me.  Wtf, mother nature?!  Call me a baby, but in my whiny little mind, that wind ix-nayed any of the positive effects of the early 5km decline.

Yes! That windy.

At just past the 17km marker, I was talking to myself – obviously – just like all runners do.  You see, I’m not the smartest person runner.  Smart runners use their Garmin to pace themselves, determine if they have some time “banked” or if they need to speed up to make their goal time…all that “smart” stuff.  Me?  I blast my legs during a Black Keys song, talk to myself through not quitting, NEVER look at Garmin (bad luck) and then hope to hell that I can wobble over the finish line, clueless as to what time it is.  Very professional.

So, back to my self talk.  “You’ve 4k to go…keep this pace for the next few and then put some pepper on it from 19k on…remember, WHAT WOULD KATIE DO?!”  I figured that the crowds and cheering (and basically my pride) would fuel me through the last couple of km’s.  Just then, I felt a shoulder brush mine as a little posse passed by me.  WTF…1:50 pace bunny and his entourage!  Hooray…wait, he’s passing me. Crap, crap, crappity-crap.  A gust of wind and his stupid little ears blew off  right at my head.  Literally rubbing it in my face!  True story! Nervey little punk.  I managed to wheeze trot along with them until about 18k, then watched as his smug cardboard ears disappeared into the sea of people ahead of me.

I’d like to blame that bunny for something – anything really – just because that’s what I do…point fingers and shirk responsibility.  But seeing him was actually an excellent motivator.  Now I had some clue as to where I was…despite not having looked at my evil Garmin or seen a pacer at any point in the race.

At less than 1/2 km to the end, I saw a SHARP turn, which then led straight to the finish line!  Huzzah! I poured it on (in my head at least…I wasn’t necessarily going any faster but cheese n’crackers, I felt like a Kenyan), puked in my mouth a bit, ignored my angry, angry quads and not-so gracefully hit the mats.  Just like always.

Like (frumpy) lightning!

End result?  1:50:09.

Super sporty in a space blanket

For a few hours I let that “09” bug me…brooding over how I could have shaved off those few seconds.

  • I shouldn’t have been dicking around with the volume on my iPod so much!
  • Why did I cross the road to high-five those kids? KIDS!?
  • I can’t believe that chick stopped DEAD in front of me for her 1 minute walk break.  I should have pulled her hair.
  • Gah!  Wasted SO MUCH TIME hitting that volunteer in the head with my water cup!

But in the end, it doesn’t matter.  It was a great race, I worked hard and felt good.  Now if there had only been chocolate milk at the finish…

Chocolate milk, chocolate milk, chocolate milk...

Thank you Hamilton…see you next year!  And thank you to my wonderful, handsome, patient Muffin.  Can’t do it without you!

Best. Husband. Ever.


Bittersweet in Hamilton: Part one

November 6th was a good day.

Not “Dear diary, today is the best day of my life” good, but certainly not “Running sucks, I’m useless, get the hella out of my way before I start drop kicking throats” either.

Sage advice.

Let’s back up about to about week or so pre-race.

Me (happily wandering around local running store, stocking up on Vanilla Gu gels): Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Zip-A-Dee-A, My oh my, what a wonderf…

Handsome store owner: Hey there gorgeous*, stocking up I see. Race coming up?

*Not verbatim

Me (slightly off guard, but still managing to be cool): Gah, um, yeah, I, er, like, run.  Me, burp, Hammer, go. Yep, you pretty. Pfffft.

Handsome store owner (slightly taken aback, yet remaining charmingly composed): Good for you!  There’s a bunch of us locals going too. What’s your goal?

Me: Break 1:50.

Me (internal dialogue): What the eff was that?  Since when?  SINCE WHEN?! 1:50. You’re an idiot.  Abort before you say anything else retarded, ABORT!

Me: Yeah, no biggie. I’m super fast and pretty awesome.

Me (internal dialogue): Holy hell, get out now.

You see, I broke 1:50 once…in 2006. (Toronto Marathon, 1:49:03).  When I was 1000 lbs lighter and fueled by the intensity of Hooles.  And ever since then, I’ve hovered around 1:50 (1:53 TO Marathon 2010; 1:52 Peterborough 2011…and a few other slower, crappier ones) but haven’t really tried to train differently or harder to change that time.  And I certainly hadn’t done anything differently for this upcoming race. In fact I was working off a mighty THREE long(ish) runs, so not exactly record breaking strategies going on there.

I left the store with a handful of gels, an unreasonable goal and a pit in my stomach. (And one less person who will ever make eye contact with me again)

Fast forward to race weekend.

Muffin and I made our way to ‘The Hammer’ on Saturday, which was a nice change from leaving at the crack of dawn for race kit pick up on race day.  (Reason number 396 of why Muffin is a champion husband)  We were lucky enough to be staying with family, so no hotel bagels and over priced parking for us!  Uncle J, whose house we were crashing at, is nothing short of inspiring.  Although he was off running some little two-bit marathon in NYC that weekend, his awesomeness still managed to motivate me.

Just a selection of his race bling...

And a little more...

And a little more.

Um, yeah.  The man can run.  And has…all over the world.

After an afternoon nap, a little Swiss Chalet, some race prepping, and a lot of eye candy by way of Bradley Cooper a la The Hangover, it was an early night to bed.  PLUS an extra hour of sleep, which was actually stressing me out to no end.  Do clocks change automatically these days? Will my blackberry go off early? I’m not at my own house! PANIC! OhmigawdOhmigawd. *Valium, crunch, snort, crunch*

Anal retentive for one, please.

Good night and good morning to come…stay tuned!


This Exercise Diaries thing is really testing my coolness factor.  Scoot on over to see how I did in Zumba this week.

Spoiler alert…

In the meantime…

Um, so about that race

You’d think this being a running blog and all, I would mention it at some point.  Welp, I did actually train a bit for it (sorry no details for you!) and yep, I actually ran it…last weekend.  And of course, I made kick arse playlist for it too.  So in an effort to avoid producing full sentences after a long, tiring week…ta-da!…my race playlist!  AKA – my stall tactic!  Feel free to praise, judge, pilfer and/or rock out.

I like to move it, move it.

A shout out to Shannaners for some happy-go-lucky, “this is so much fun it doesn’t even feel like running!!” music and kudos to Stalkie for the funktified beats to make me feel extra bad ass.  And of course, I had to include my classic cycling /Body Combat standby jams to help bring it on home with some mustard. (…and I just couldn’t race without my classic guilty pleasure, “If you want blood”.  It just feels like home.)

So a pinky swear that a riveting* race recap is coming your way pronto-ish! (*subjective)

...eventually. That totally counts.

A very special day!

Guess which lovely little stinker is 3 years old today?!

Happy birthday Piperoni!

It seems like just yesterday that you were curled up in a little ball, pleading for attention with your eyes.  Oh wait, that was yesterday.  And every other day before that.

Happy birthday to the very most smiley, lickey, starey, STARVEDFORAFFECTION dog that I have ever known.  And that’s why we love you best.  Through inability to master stairs, your first bath, stealing bocce balls (and subsequent ejection from the game), chewing on every stick within a 3km range, camping and canoeing adventures, skunk spraying, and never-ending spooning…it just gets better and better.

Like sands through the hourglass...

More Piper! And even more Piper!  (And one more, just in case)

The {pause} to an era

The end of October came and went and I haven’t even had a chance to update you all with my news! Blogger-blasphemy!   But things have been busy around here…

Very busy and important

With only two months to wrap up this running challenge and a mere 500-ish kilometers still to go, some changes HAD to be made.

In keeping with my new “If you’ve got time to sweat, you’ve got time to run” mantra, I took a look at what had to go so that I could make a little more time for pounding the pavement.   At least temporarily.

**Clark Griswold drum roll**

I’m taking a break from teaching cycling.

This might not be earth shattering news to some of you, but it’s a big deal for me.  It’s the end pause to an era.

I don’t talk about my cycling class too much here on FR and it’s not because I don’t lova- love it…it’s just that it’s a part of me.  I don’t really think of it as blog material (clearly I have a very strict screening policy in that department) but only because it seems like forever that I’ve been getting up a few days a week for my lovely 6am ladies.  I’ve been teaching spin at the same club for almost seven years.  SEVEN years.  That’s longer than any other job I’ve had and it’s my second longest relationship. (Hi Muffin!  Don’t worry I won’t quit you…I need someone to whine about running to) And yes, there has been some love-hate…mostly on pitch black, freakin’ freezing, “STUPIDSTUPIDIHATESTUPIDSPIN” mornings when I’m trying to drive through an iced up windshield -but for the most part, cycling is a part of me.

Halloween spin sweaty heap...yes, those are ghost shorts.

Let’s be serious.  I have THE best gals in my class.  I’m not even going to sugar coat that one. Hands down the hardest working, most committed, clearly crazy women that drag their schweet gams every week at 6am to hear me wheeze my way through another 75 minute class.  And their not even being paid to be there!  Coming at 6am!…their own free will!…despite the option of sleeping in!  Just to keep me company.  Saints, I tell ya.  Between holidays, birthdays, deaths, babies, weddings – the “regulars” and I have been through it all together.   So when I said that after this two-month hiatus I’ll be back (in a less Terminator tone though), I meant it.

Goodbye...for now.

So pavement…it’s just you and me.  Goodbye October, hello Mo’RUNber!