Category Archives: Racing

It’s a Christmas miracle!

Yep, I’m back.

And registered for a race.

Oh yes, and I haven’t actually ran in the past 5 months.

This should be interesting.

half marathon confirmt

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Jelly Bean{s}

Lemme tell ya…I jelly bean’d it up this weekend!

First, there was my 10k Jelly Bean virtual race on Friday.  I would love to give you a riveting race recap, but essentially I ran the same 10k route that I have been running for years.  Surprises that don’t involve me opening presents don’t really interest me, so I usually stick to what I know won’t kill my legs or get me lost in the ghettos of the P-dot.  Same wonderful slight decline at the start, same creepy cemetery to make me hustle up, same main street riffraff to elbow through.  I was feeling pretty good, despite having Body Pumped and ran with the lovely Hooles the day before.  And sadly in this case, feeling good = not an awesome finishing time for me.  I clocked a sluggish 57:45…but in reality was just trying to justify extra jelly bean consumption over the next three days.  So, the Jelly Bean 10k – a success!

Slow and steady for this turtle

Moving onwards and upwards (actually eastwards) to the family homestead for the long weekend / excessive food binge coma…

As MY LOYAL READERS would know, I don’t run well at Mimded and Eduardo’s house.  It’s scary, it’s smelly and, let’s face it, I’m lazy.  So in an effort to ensure that I got my not-so mini egg’d rear out on the pavement, I made plans with Harv, my high school bestie, to take on the Jelly Bean 5k together!  (The Jelly Bean race has four events to choose from: a 5k, 10k, 21k run and 21k bike.  You can do as many or as few as you like.)  After she untangled herself from the small village of babies that occupy her living room (aka her offspring) we were off.  At this point I was happy to be running, but so, so, so happy to be running with Harvalicious.  It was so good to catch up, even if we were wheezing throughout the whole gossip session.  Between my Thursday reunion with Hooles and my race with Harv – I was in running buddy heaven!  Two running dates with best girlies in one week?!  Yes, please!  It makes me wonder why I tackled 2011km all on my lonesome?  (I’m an idiot is basically all I could come up with too)  So the Jelly Bean 5k – a success!

Even more funner with more runners

Obviously the rest of my weekend was spent lounging, snorting candy and inhaling turkey and turkey related fixings (read: gravy).  Plus some family fun a la Easter traditions, including egg decorating!

Yes, I do give (expensive) lessons!!

And one last little festive tidbit….have I mentioned that this Easter chick has one extra little jelly bean in her belly?

Jelly bean belly

Yep, this FunnerRunner is meggo-preggo.

Catching up

Even though blogging has been tossed on the back burner for awhile, I have actually been doing blog worthy activities (other than sitting on the couch “researching” the internet).

So let’s play a little catch up!

As promised earlier this year, I’m doing my darndest to keep my 2012 resolution to try one new recipe a month.

Reach for the sky!

(Please disregard numbers 1, 2 & 4 for now…I’m a work in progress)

Let’s back up a scootch and pretend like I am a domestic goddess chef extraordinaire… and that it’s February.

The month of love brought a couple of recipe challenges including one that I didn’t even force Muffin and I to eat…in fact, I made it as a “gift”.  Enter The Pioneer Woman’sThe Best Lasagna. Ever.

Best. Lasagna. Ever. (this is not mine, obs)

Source

My plan was to make two small-ish dishes – one for us and one for our dear friends who just birthed a brand new bebe (“Congrats on your new bundle!  How about some salmonella to go along with that unrelenting fatigue and incessant crying?!  You’re welcome!”)  Turns out that I’m bad at cooking AND math.  I just didn’t have enough of “spreading out ingredients to make two lasagnas” for us too.  However I’m totally confident that it turned out exactly like Pioneer Woman’s 612 “OMG this is so goooood!” comments lasagna.  What?  Just let me have that.

So although it was a new recipe, I felt like I needed to tackle something that we would actually consume ourselves in order to meet my 2012 resolution.  Enter new recipes #2 and #3 (in one month!!).

I saw all of these deeeelish looking grilled sandwiches on Closet Cooking (another Canadian blogger…wha, whaat!)  and could barely decide which one to devour create.  After much drooling and panting, I eventually landed on Bacon Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwiches served up with Creamy Mushroom and Roasted Cauliflower Soup.  Both dishes = TO. DIE. FOR.  The soup was fantastic (even with half milk, half light cream, sans wine) and surprisingly easy, and the sandwiches…well, unless you’ve had your taste buds burned off in some sort of tragic hot pizza eating incident – this will change grilled cheese for you – FOREVER.

Clearly not my actual dish again...mine looked JUST like this though. Ahem.

Soup, soup - so good for the soul. Stealing photos - also good.

Source for both images.

And just quickly, because we all know that I’m no foodie blogger and I’m running out of synonyms for “yummy”, March’s recipe was super successful and awesome as well.  Because I’m that good.  I stumbled across this little number on Pinterest (of course) – Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken and whipped up my own rendition of fried rice to go along with it.  Muffin and I eat A LOT of chicken breast and it was so nice to change it up a bit.  Super tasty and a definite keeper.  That said, I totally under estimated how long it would take to cube, dip, roll, brown, give little massages to, sing lullabies for and french braid the chicken’s hair.  Plan for some extra prep time to baby that whiny, self-absorbed little chicken so that in the end it is totally your sticky, sweet bitch.  Yum!

Seeing a pattern...not my actual dish.

Source

Alright, enough with the food.  (Is anyone else gnawing on the couch arm right now?  No?  Just me?)

Running is ramping back up for me (and likely everyone else in North America too).  The weather is a little warmer, the days are much brighter, and so running is seeming a bit easier.  Big selling point for me.

Last month’s virtual race went swimmingly, so swimmingly in fact, that I’ve signed up to do another virtual race!  They are just so darn cheap fun!  (Did I mention that I won a prize last time too?  Not surprising for people that know me and know that I win stuff.  Sorry losers, that random prize has my name all over it.)  So at some point this week (Friday, I’m looking at you) I’ve got the 10k Jelly Bean virtual race!  Again, you can do the race where ever your little legs will take you and there are four events to choose from (5k, 10k, half-marathon run or half-marathon bike).  Or you can do any combination of all four…if you are a giant keener nerd.  As for me (and probably most of the other cool kids), 10k it is.  Tomorrow is the last day to sign up and you have to complete your event by April 8 – just in time for Cadbury egg snorting!  That seems like sound logic to me folks…one little race + mucho Easter candy consumption = balance.  Sign up here…now.

And finally for our little catch up (wasn’t this fun? Just like old friends getting together over coffee, except that one annoying friend dominated the whole conversation) …one more awesome thing I did while I wasn’t here – deep water running.  Read all about it here.  (Spoiler alert, I didn’t drown but somehow still managed to look like a beached whale in a one piece.)

Shamrock shaken? Check!

Two pieces of surprising information…one, I actually ran 13k when I said I was going to run 13k.  A 2012 miracle!  And two, it felt ah.mah.zing.  Shocking, I know.

Thanks NatalieDee.com

After committing to the Shake Your Shamrock virtual race last week, I immediately starting planning out my runs for the week so that my 13k “race” on St. Paddy’s Day wouldn’t leave me feeling like a wee bag o’shite!  (That’s Irish speak for “all of my runs lately”).  Not surprisingly, I eeked out 10k on Tuesday and that was all she wrote for the remainder of the week.  Classic me.

But for some reason when I woke up on Saturday, I was feeling ready to go.  Like actually really looking forward to this run.  I think it may have been the sunny, mild weather or the anticipation of Dairy Queen post-run, but I’m not one question my motivation – I just went with it.

Ready to rock the sham...rock.

And lemme tell ya, it was a fan-Lucky Charm-tastic little run.  My hometown is pretty and clean and FLAT.  Hooray for a lazy leprechaun like me!  It wasn’t my fastest run ever (about a 5:43 pace according to Garmin) but I don’t really care.  I’m just happy that my legs felt decent and that I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.  Having taken a little hiatus from running, it seems like it’s been harder to get back in the groove.  You know, not having to force myself out the door…and down the sidewalk…without turning back home…and reaching for the Doritos…and hosting a little pity party (for one)…sniff.

*Not an exact portrayal...but pretty friggin' close.

So first “race” of the season = success!  “Official” time of 1:14:15.  My elusive runner’s high? = Welcome back, old friend!  Dairy Queen caramel sundae reward = dangerously motivating.

Official results

Thanks Aneta and Linz for hosting the Shake Your Shamrock

Shake Your Shamrock VIRTUAL run

It won’t be pretty, but I’m in.

2nd Annual Shake Your Shamrock Virtual Run

The lovely Aneta, a fellow Ontario blogger (fist-pump/ninja kick!), is co-planning a virtual run for this weekend.

I’m not going to lie….my training for the Smiths Falls half marathon next month isn’t going too swimmingly.  In fact, it hasn’t really started.  I’ve been happily plodding around the 7-9k mark for a few weeks now with very little ambition to crack the whip any time soon.

Enter brilliant Aneta and her brilliant little tactic to push me into double digits…or face looking like a virtual idiot (more than this blog already does).  So I’m signed up for the 13k run and have BIG plans to get it done this upcoming (forecasted as balmy, balmy, balmy) Saturday in the land of fear and death trapsMimded and Eduardo’s house!

Just another run in Lanark County

However, I’m also a little brilliant myself (*knuckle buff*) because I’ve mapped out what should be a Cujo-free route in town vs. the terrifying terrain of country roads.  So wish me luck…like Irish luck, the good stuff…as I move on into the world of double digit running for the first time in 2.5 months.  Gahhh.

So who else is in?  C’mon…someone else must want to drink extra green beer extra guilt free…??  Details and sign up info here!

Let's make some memories!

Bootcamping and, surprise, RUNNING!

Although I have been a little MIA on the running scene these last few weeks, I have managed to keep my ever-loving-expanding booty on the move.  By pumping my own gas?  Taking out the trash? Walking into Baskin Robbins vs. waiting in the car while Muffin fetches me a double scoop? Nope. Nope. And definitely nope. (He refuses to take the blame when ordering freakish amounts of dessert on my behalf.  SO selfish.)

Bootcamp, y’all.

For the past 3.5 weeks I’ve been sucked in the the cult that is Soldiers of Fitness.  I won’t liken them to Nazis or anything because that would be too accurate inappropriate, but let’s just say I find myself doing things under their instruction that I wouldn’t normally even fathom doing (e.g. drag an 110lb tire through the slush at 6am…).  Whether you call it brainwashing or fear or whatever…it seems to be motivating me.  Because I’m a sucker…and it was free.

Anyhoo, I haven’t mentioned it much because I’m actually being paid to write about it over here (and here), so yeah…my little brain can only muster up so many words to describe the ruthless and relentless experience that is Soldiers of Fitness.  (But c’mon over for a visit with a bottle of wine and I could be schnapped into telling you exactly what I think of endless chin ups, squat thrusts, sandbags and PRONE FREAKING PLANK POSITION!!)

However, much to my annoyance, I like it.

When my body wants to just roll over in bed and mentally flip the bird to instructors Dimacakos & Suurd (because I’m a gutless baby in real life), my head reminds me that it’s actually kind of fun.  And that I actually enjoy being kicked in the arse (metaphorically – they’re not that mean).  And that I haven’t challenged my physical limits like this in a long time.  Then my throbbing quads quickly respond with “you’re an idiot” and I find myself layering up for another wet and dark morning at the park.

Not exactly as depicted.

That said, I did hit the pavement this weekend for a little 9k jaunt and it felt goooood.  (Likely because I wasn’t dragging three tires from my waist while doing it.  Ahem, SOF.)  It seems like this love affair with that hussy bootcamp is wrapping up just when I need it. After December, I needed a break from running.  I checked out the other side of the green grass.  Now I’m ready to be reunited with my true love.  It’s all very Ross and Rachel but I think you get me.  Running, I’ve missed you.

So what’s on tap?  This weekend’s Peterborough Half?  Not quite.  But Dudes and I will be out there bringing MORE COWBELL as we refresh and replenish folks at a water station.  I’m pumped to be cheering at a local race – especially because I know how important it can be to hear a few rah-rahs! when your legs feel like they are made of wet paper towel.  So fill me in…who’s running this bad boy? Whaddaya need…gatorade or water?  Jujubes or licorice?  I’ll be watching for you, but I doubt you’ll miss us…we’re the two crappy volunteers accidentally passing over our mimosas while buried face first in a tub of Big Feet.  Best.race.ever.

Because it's what matters.

But as you know, being the best cheerleader ever just isn’t enough to motivate me.  I have to pay cold hard cash for a race bib in hopes of keeping up any training plan.  So really, what is on the race agenda for me? (Meaning that I’m actually running and not just bellowing “You call that running?!” in a hot chocolate/Baileys fueled rant.)

No turning back

Ta-da!  On April 22, if everything goes according to plan (evil finger tap), I’ll be heading to the Smiths Falls Spring Fling Running Thing! So I’ve got exactly two months to remind my legs that we likey running…and maybe even convince them that we likey not coming in dead last in a teeny-tiny inaugural race.

Best cheerleader ever.

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!

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.

Sweaty-betty beats, please

A quick favour, por favor?

Your favey-faviest music to sweat to?  I’ve got a few long runs ahead of me before this race and am in NEED of SPEED (tunes).  Mostly so that I can blissfully rock out whilst forgetting that my legs are made of frosting and vodka (coincidentally, my two favourite food groups).

Lay ’em on me…I’m taking all suggestions for this Road2Hope-I-don’t-die-race playlist.  Except for Nickelback or Rush.  Don’t make me kick your shins.  Your prize for contributing?  Full credit/bragging rights/street cred/gangsta props when I share my hustling list with y’all.