Category Archives: Muffin love
Happy Valentine’s Day, lovahs.
Here’s hoping that you get something better than clearance Shopper’s Drug Mart candy.
(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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
End result? 1:50:09.
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…
Thank you Hamilton…see you next year! And thank you to my wonderful, handsome, patient Muffin. Can’t do it without you!
Time is marching on and so am I. Let me tell ya though, it was touch and go there for awhile. I truly thought that even getting to 50% was a pipe dream. Having said that, it feels like things have turned a corner and I’ve rejuvenated a passion…well, vague interest…well, not a total hatred and bitterness for running. So what’s getting me through these days? Here’s my list of [insert Oprah voice here] “FUNNERRUNNER’S FAAAAAVOURITE THIIIIIINGS!!”
Yes, I justify spending moula on haspansive Lululemon because it’s pretty and I work out a bit. But also very justifiable because, not only does it make your bum look the best it ever will, it’s stellar quality. So magical bum enhancing power and non-stinking-chafing-pilling fabric (and did I mention the bum thing?) = worth every penny in my book. I have running capri’s that I have owned for years and they still show zero evidence of wear and tear. But my current love affair is with my new (on sale!) Run: Speed Shorts. If you like running around all ‘neked’ or at least assume that you’d like to run with the same reckless abandon of a toddler, get yourself a pair of these super shorts. They are light and airy – even when drenched in 35°C sweat. Running is much more pleasant when you aren’t drowning in swassy shorts. Ditto for the socks. The lovely McKivies spoiled me with TWO pairs of these ultra-thin, silky socks (not really silk though, that would be weird. Pimp, but weird) for my birthday. Somehow I manage to wear these socks for every workout! I’ll save you the math on that one…yes, I’m wearing dirty socks repeatedly throughout the week. Worth it. But just don’t stand next to me in BodyPump class.
2) Audiobooks on my iPod…or more specifically, The Help.
Boy howdy, butter my butt and call me a biscuit! I have no idea what that really means, but what I mean is that since downloading this audiobook last week, I crave running. Kind of. I’m only allowed to listen to ‘my stories’ while running, so I need to get out and pound the pavement to get my fix. Tricky huh? And yes, the story is great and the narration is entertaining, but what I really think that I am in lova-love with is the welcome distraction. A 90 minute run is over before I know it, and that dear friends, is a beautiful thing. As I not-so subtly alluded to in a previous post, running is getting a bit monotonous. Same routes, same songs, same unpredictable geese…kilometre after kilometre. But the drawbacks of audiobooks are that I’m probably not getting any faster or smarter out there. But I’m not training for a race or Nobel Prize, so no harm no foul right? All that matters is that I’m actually looking forward to runs again…even if I’m narrowly escaping getting hit by cars as a trot around happily distracted.
3) Man v Food
This has nothing to do with running, but I’m loving this show. But has anyone checked his cholesterol lately?
4) The Smoyce’s
Also nothing to do with running. But after *ahem* a couple of years, these crazy kids are finally getting hitched! Long live LOVE!
5) 1005.5km baby!
Half way Poptarts!! Nothing feels as good as half way does…except all the way. That what she said. (C’mon…you would have said it too…)
6) These two cracker jacks. Because I’m usually crushing on both of them all of the time.
Don’t forget that I’m updating the Kickin’ asphalt page each week with workout wrap ups and plans. Check it out and keep me accountable…ish.
…and I promised to write a recap? Well, patient readers – here it is!
What seems like many, many moons ago (but was really only 2 weeks), Muffin and I packed up and headed to charming Prince Edward County so that I could torture myself, and Muffin, for a few hours. Helloooo Wellington Women’s Half-Marathon!
Now if I was a good blogger, I would have either a) posted all of the gory details right after the race while the memories were fresh or b) made some type of notes so that I could recall the details. But I’m not that kind of gal, so bear with me while crawl through the cobwebs and wine hangovers of my mind to scrape together some recollection of the event. But if my crappy memory serves me right, I won the race. And didn’t sweat or get blotchy or snot-rocket once. And I did cartwheels for the last 3km. Yep, I think that’s roughly how it went. Unfortunately for me, Muffin took photos. Photos = proof.
The race had a million little nice touches…you could tell it was planned by the ladies. No offence fellas, but specialty spa SPF application pre-race, a Zumba warm-up, firemen water stations and a handmade necklace “medal” don’t really scream “this race was the brain child of hearty manly men! Hoowah!”
(The majority of women participated in the Zumba warm-up, but I wasn’t prepared for that sort of public humility before I even crossed the start line, so I stood by the sidelines…awkwardly, obs)
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty…
– The vibe was awesome -lots of friendly gals, chatting, smiling, matching outfits, hugging…just being girls. I love it. Not bad eye candy for Muffin either. (Thank goodness because not too many other husbands were there as head cheerleader, like mine. I owed him eye candy.) It wasn’t a super competitive race at all…in fact, even with my crappy time (not a PW (personal worst), but a few minutes slower than more usual time) I managed to place 7th overall. Generally, a friendly, casual race.
– Like I mentioned, it was the little touches that made this race special. My fave…the signs along the way…”What a girl won’t do for a necklace”, etc.
– Now this is just my preference, but I’m not a fan of country runs. In fact, when I realized that the whole route was likely going to be in the wilderboonies, I almost turned right back around. Boooooring. I like to look at houses, stores, people…ANYTHING to take my mind off the fact that I’ll be wheezing and sweating for the next few hours. The only folks cheering you through the various levels of hell are the volunteers. Not going to cut it for me. I need my peeps, my fans, the horns and whistles and cowbells. Puhleeease someone drown out my suicidal thoughts.
– Second item kind of ties in with the first…sunny fields and gravel roads. Yikes. No shade and terrain that I’m definitely not used to. At one point I ran by a field with giant solar panels in it and thought, “you know there is no shade to be found when people are generating electricity with the relentless power of this sonovabitch sun…”
– Some of the ‘half a half’ (why they don’t just say 10k is beyond me) walkers were finishing up at the same time as me. I had 4 walkers crossing the finishing line in front of me -HOLDING HANDS! -which not only slowed me down a few seconds (I like to open ‘er up through the finish) but also blocked my only professional race photo of the day. Lame. There is a series of about six shots of the walkers strutting through the finish line and one of me after the fact. Not really a deal breaker, but annoying nonetheless.
So in short…if you are ok with country, scenic races (and have a vageejay), this race is probably for you! If you crave distraction in the forms of buildings, concrete and homeless people, stay outta PEC.
Btw, in a surprising twist of events…my knee, leg, groin, etc. felt pretty good throughout the whole race. I’m thinking that the plan to avoid long runs for a few weeks really did the trick. The rest and re-coup did the ol’ IT band pretty good and I ran (somewhat) pain free the whole time. Not including the regular I’m outta shape and ate too much Baskin Robbins during my “training” pain.
Soooo, tomorrow is the big day. Huzzah! I’m having a bit of love/hate with this race…part of me is hoping that daylight never comes because I am oh-so not ready and then a bigger, antsier, more unglued part of me is ready to just get it over with. So I can stop stressing about it. And limp around. And make Muffin fetch me snacks. Yeah, let’s do this already.
**the longest run that I have eeked out in about 4 weeks is a whopping 14km. You could say that I’ve been “tapering” a bit…**
…and a little sprinkle of this…
…is a perfect recipe for a disaster. I’ll let you know how it goes, unless #crappyrunnergirldies starts trending first. Either way, you’ll know the end of this fairytale.
(Editor’s note: the above workout calendar only tracks running. My numerous other athletic pursuits, such as: ironman racing, bull riding and mountain climbing are not represented. Just so you don’t think that I’m a total hobo)
So clearly I’m not running…what have I been doing? Well, hot yoga for one! I was such a snappy little thriftster that I nabbed a WagJag deal for Hot Yoga Peterborough. (Actually Dudes talked me into it, but whatevs) So for a mere $40, I have unlimited opportunity to bend, twist, slip and sweat…all month long. Huzzah, again!
Yep. The girl who honestly had to move to the back of the room during step class so I didn’t distract the instructor. The girl who left after one song of BodyJam, when she caught a glimpse of flailing, gaspy, desperate girl in the mirror and realized it was her. The gal who managed to kick herself in Combat.
Maybe I like it because I have never done yoga before and didn’t realize my potential to be an overnight success in coordination and zen-like practice?
Or maybe it’s a lovely change of pace from spin class, weights and running. That’s more like it. The lastly, it’s definitely because of this gal.
Laura is the head cheese and all-round faboo gal. She has somehow managed to get me through MORE THAN ONE CLASS in one piece. Not easy. I thought I would have got the official ban after about 10 minutes of my groaning and excessive (seriously excessive) sweating…but nope, Laura is still graciously guiding Dudes and I through all kinds of cray-cray moves. So if you haven’t tried it…newbie or not, head on down. Like today. Get your sweat on. You’ll feel looser and goose-ier than ever (like even more than that crazy summer between first and second year…wait, what? Nevermind).
My tips to ‘success’ (a bit generous there):
1) don’t look in the mirror and don’t catch your friend’s eye in the mirror. Fits of giggles may ensue because you both look like drippy heaps of awkward (and there is no way I can “Oooohm” knowing that Dudes can hear me).
2) Let go. Get over yourself and just try it. Then take a breath and try it again.
3) Don’t mutter under your breath “I smell like a hockey player” because denial is key.
4) Don’t have tacos for lunch.
Check out Hot Yoga Peterborough – deals galore and many classes to choose from!
I’m off to finish my race prep which includes nail biting turned lip chewing turned wine drinking turned horse tranquilizer snorting. And before I know, it’ll be go time!
PS – did I mention that Muffin tormented me tonight by having a delicious El Camino burrito for dinner? Rat bastard. I had to refuse in an effort to avoid this tomorrow (a nice visual before you head to bed)…
May your feet never sweat,
your neighbor give you ne’re a treat.
When flowers bloom, I hope you’ll not sneeze,
and may you always have someone to squeeze!
(Apparently) An Irish blessing
Clearly I am not Irish (just like 98% of green beer guzzlers in pubs right now) but I’m married to Muffin. Who thinks he is. According to the grapevine (read: him) there used to be an “O” in front of his last name. Bit of a stretch, but I’ll let O’Muffin have this one because it’s fun to pretend…just like I pretend that Gerard Butler is Irish. And madly in love with me.
Before I launch into the first, and probably not the last, edition of “Random thinking and inklings Thursday!”, a little running recap. I had a good week, despite the nasty side effects of daylight savings, which I’ve been milking for the past 4 days. This morning I even eeked out 21km BEFORE WORK!! Whaa, whaaat? In fact, the run felt good. Suspiciously good for a half-marathon distance at 5:30am. The conditions were great, except for the sporadic sneaky layer of glistening ice (think Edward Cullen…sparkly yet lethal) and the temperature downright balmy. I actually felt strong as “Soul clap!” brought me in through the last kilometre. So this leads me to believe one of two things. 1) I dreamt it or 2) I need to start pushing a little harder. I’ve been taking my long runs pretty easy (this morning was a 5:28 pace) so I think I need to step up my game a bit. I’m practically Kenyan, I know! Actually that is a great segue into my random ramblings! Except not really, but I can’t think of anything else.
Why I needed to run 21km at 5:30am = Because I have a super-wicked weekend planned and don’t need the guilt and shame of skipping runs looming over my festivities. PS – sneak peek into the weekend includes dancing shoes, drinking hat, SATURFUNDAY!, and whatever else the opposite of running is.
Why the guilt? Because I crunched some numbers. (Athletic and brainy and an amazing singer?! Why yes, “Triple Threat” is on my resume.) Turns out that week 26 (halfway through the year for you non-mathematicians) isn’t that far away. I’d lova love to hit 1000km by that last week of June. Soooo, that means I need to average about 43km a week. Every week. FOREVER. By the way, that’s a marathon. Every week. FOREVER. Crap.
Why I will be limiting my use of the word “crap”. My ‘rentals finally got high speed! Yes, high speed internet. The kind of internet that the rest of us having been using since the late ’90s. Mimded informed me that one day she counted how many times I used the cr*p word or any variation of it. (includes cr*ppy, cr*ppola, cr*pped, cr*apper, etc.) (Those don’t count in the tally – they are for demonstrative purposes only!) So in an effort to miraculously prove my mother wrong, I decided to Wordle my blog.
The gist of a Wordle is that the bigger the word, the more often it is used. Or something like that. See? Crap is waaaay smaller than “run” or “race” or “Piper” (am I that girl? Ew). Although Mimsy might not be thrilled with the orange arrow target either…
Speaking of la famille…my old(er) sister started bootcamp! You see this is big news because unlike her dumpy younger sister who has been dragging her doughy trunk-junk to the gym since she was 18, Linny hasn’t had to exercise…ever. She’s naturally petite and has big boobs. And she’s lucky that I even talk to her. So imagine my delight when she disclosed to me (and now I am disclosing to all of you) that she literally barfed on her first day of bootcamp!
Looks like Linny needs less of this…
And more of this…
Of course, I am rooting for her to stick with it. It’s good for the heart and mind. And, obs, I’m crossing my fingers that some of the slimming effects will be directed at her rack. Heh. (Editor’s note: Linny has also quit smoking and despite the author’s distasteful sense of humour, she is wildly happy for her sis’ new commitment to the gym and pink lungs!)
And with that I bid ya “Top o’ tha Mornin!” because that is the only Irish thing I can come up with. I better ask O’Muffin for some tips on being fake Irish. Also, I leave you with this pic that was snapped of me during my run this morning…
(Thanks to PB Fingers for the link)
Wait, how about my attempt at Irish cooking…Lucky Charms bars. Sláinte!
Ahhh, Sunday morning came early. But that doesn’t really matter because the Peterborough half is the only race I’ve ever seen with a start of 12:30pm. Which for me isn’t ideal because it gave me an extra 5 1/2 hrs to panic, stress, and wander aimlessly around the house asking the dog if she thought I had packed everything?
Before I dive into the big race recap (oh anticipation!!) lemme fill you in a bit.
Here’s what I woke up to:
A giant crack in the bottom of my foot. Runners, you get me. Everyone else, gather round and let ol’ FR tell you something. Runners have abhorrent feet. Repugnant, vile…repulsive even. That’s just how we roll.
But I digress.
I was worried about the Grand Canyon that had developed SINCE SATURDAY AFTERNOON on my foot. It hurt to step on, let alone run on for a couple of hours. I poly’d it up (popped a few Valium) and hoped for the best.
That’s the view from my front door at about 8am. A few flurries?!? Weatherman, you officially suck at your job. And you owe me $60 because I would not have signed up for this DISASTER if I knew that this was your version of “a few”.
(That’s actually my fake “photo mad” face. I actually look more like this when I’m mad…)
But because I’m cheaper than I am smart, I packed my pb & banana on whole wheat and iPod, and guilted Muffin into driving me to the race start.
Of course being a local race, I left much later than I normally would and didn’t do any of my typical race day rituals. Normally I would have packed everything the night before, attached my chip and bib, had my usual long run breakfast, bought my Gu or whatev ahead of time, etc., etc. I did none of these things. I ate something different, wore something different and I bought new socks and headphones knowing that the cardinal rule of racing is “Don’t change or test anything on race day”. Total rookie moves.
So about 30 minutes before race time, there I am bolting through Shoppers to find bandaids (San Andreas fault in my foot, ‘member?) and a Fruitsource bar….dramatically rolling my eyes and sighing like a wheezy toddler at the old farts with their 38 lotto tickets in line before me. Finally after paying and announcing to Muffin how “it must be nice to be SUPER OLD and not give a rat’s ace about ANYONE ELSE!!”, we were off.
I made my way through the trillion people gathered in the foyer of the Y, so that I could pee, change my foot padding, attach my bib & chip, check my bag and eat a sandwich…all within 20 minutes of starting the run. Again, not something I normally do. I like to be early. Like “middle of the night arrival” early. But somehow, despite having an extra 5 1/2 hours, I was rushing.
Luckily for me (and the people surrounding me because I would have started kicking shins if I missed the start) I lined up behind the 1:50 pace bunny with 4 minutes to spare.
I’d love to have a dramatic kilometer by kilometer narrative to share with you, but to be honest, I really zone out when I run.
So some of the vague highlights I remember:
- “Sunday morning” by No Doubt came on my iPod and I started thinking about how it really is Sunday morning (ish).
- I embarrassed myself by flirtatiously waving at a local superstar runner/store owner (who I love) who was pacing other (faster) people. I thought he was talking to me. He wasn’t.
- I yelled out to a cop buddy who was directing traffic and then realized that might not have been cool. Perhaps a bit distracting for the guy standing amongst 8 lanes of traffic.
- After making the half-way turn around, I lost sight of the 1:50 pace bunny and never saw him again. Probably because he was running a 1:50 pace.
- The Firefighter water station was staffed by hotties. For reals. I tried to straighten my toque and wipe the snot from my nose. Why not?
- At 16km I dropped my baggie of Tylenol and didn’t go back for it. I’d have to face the rest of the race with my knee not doped up.
- The wind and snow really picked up on the way back and I got a fat snowflake in my eye. And lived to tell.
- On the Armour Rd/Hunter St hill I schooled an old gal. She passed me about 5 minutes later.
- At 18km “If you want blood” came on…I listened to it twice.
- A barefoot guy passed me and I was in awe. Then I was just annoyed. Show off.
- At 19km I told myself that the next 10 minutes were gonna hurt so just suck it up and pour it on. It worked.
When all was said and done, I finished at 1:52, which is just fine for me. That’s right on par with other races I’ve done (1:49 and 1:53 for example). As far as I’m concerned, anyone that trains, runs, or races in the winter deserves a big ol’ medal. And pancakes for dinner. I got both.
Special thanks to Muffin and Piper for cheering me on at the finish!
Next up…Kms for Care in April. Who’s in??