mickey mouse

mickey mouse

Thursday, 20 June 2013

If I'd have had a bike, it would have been a Tri :-)

The Rain in Barrie Falls Mainly on.....

Everyone, for the entire race :-)

I have to say that we chose this race, a Half Marathon on the waterfront in Barrie, ON, because I wanted the medal. It's HUGE, it weighs a ton, it's a bottle opener AND a fridge magnet. I managed to convince Lori that she wanted to run it too, so we packed up our gear and went to spend the night with my BFF Shannon in scenic Orillia. 

We carb loaded like mad women on all-you-can eat sushi, and had a great time talking 'till way past my bedtime.  

The day 'dawned' (right, sure) pouring rain, like 'build an Ark, Noah' raining. Lori was having the same thoughts as me, but neither of us said them out loud......so we got up, got dressed and drove to Barrie in a downpour.  Amusing that I over-pack for every race and managed NOT to bring any kind of jacket, or plastic bag, so we schlepped to the start and hid under the tents waiting for the race start.

We watched the race team, and Jeff their fearless leader, set up the start line and do the last minute stuff, all while the rain beat down on them. I had to wonder how many people chose not to run at all, since the weather was pretty gruesome. We managed to start only a few minutes late, and off we splashed into the puddles, mud, dirt, wet boardwalks and flooded streets of Barrie.

Beats me how the race photographers got a shot of me where it's NOT raining, but somehow they managed. My Sparkle Skirt rocked the entire time too, even though it was sopping wet it never rode up and stayed comfortable.
It wasn't an easy race, it wasn't a flat course, it wasn't filled with slow walkers like the other races I've done recently.

As usual, Lori was in charge of keeping pace, of making me keep running when I was too busy inside my head trying to stop. As evidenced by the FREE (IKR, awesome, FREE race photos!) Lori literally dragged me sprinting toward the finish line so we could get there under 2:50. It wasn't my PB but it was the fastest half I've run (2:50:57 at Niagara, 2:54:59 at Goodlife) in a while. 

Despite my speed, I was second last in my age group, and 13th from last in the entire field. Seriously, I think only the insane fast people came out in the rain.....only 248 people ran the half, they must have had a ton of DNSs.

 chip time 2:49:09   age group placement 41/42  all  finishers placement 235/248

After a super-awesome post-race massage (my very first ever) we dragged our sorry selves into the car, off to Mucho Burrito and stuffed our faces with things people would not let me eat the night BEFORE a race :-).

Maybe next time I'm in Barrie I'll save myself the work and just jump fully clothed into the Bay....might get less wet.  The race was beautiful even with the weather, our fellow runners were supportive and friendly, it was organized and the volunteers were great, standing the in rain smiling. The only thing I found odd was the post-race pizza. Somehow the idea of that after running was appealing. 

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Beautiful day NOT to run a 1/2 Marathon

I have run this race series twice and I love it. The course through Sunnybrook Park is lovely, the race is super well organized and I loved the necklace bling medal (you can wear it anywhere!).
This year my running buddies forbid me from doing the half marathon, 'cause I'd run Goodlife a couple weeks ago and am scheduled to run Niagara Falls next weekend. So instead I signed up to volunteer at the race. 

My super friend Trishia was registered to run her second half marathon, and not only was she featured as a Pace Setter for the race, she was interviewed by Rogers media too (can't wait to see it). It was a beautiful day NOT to run a half marathon (for me at least). The route had changed this year due to construction, and it took the runners out of the park and onto the street. I got to course marshal at the base of the first (and last) big hill. I've never volunteered on a course before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. My fellow volunteers were awesome (hats off to Chris who rode miles on his bike), and they gave me the lay of the land. I spent about 5 hours in the park, cheering, cajoling, and basically making sure everyone knew that they were awesome. Because I didn't know the new route, I didn't realize they'd stuck a HUGE hill at the 18k mark (mean mean mean). No wonder the women looked relieved that the hill at 20 was down!

After the race we took Trishia out for breakfast, and got to heckle her as she limped to the buffet. I realized partway through my (non) post-race eggs Benedict that I was sitting there in KT Tape and wearing compression socks and I hadn't run a step!

Next stop, this race, for the first time! Let the games begin!

And guess what?
I am a WINNER!

Canadian Running Magazine picked my entry and I won a New Balance prize pack. Not just a shirt, not just shorts, not just shoes, not just a new bra....ALL OF THE ABOVE!!!
I know, right....awesome sauce for sure! The contest was for the best bra story. If you've never heard the one about the Hot Wheels car, ask me on the next long run!

Monday, 13 May 2013

We all live in a yellow (and red and blue and green) submarine

We packed our best white clothes, our oldest shoes, and our passports, and headed to Ypsilanti Michigan for

Four hours in a car, with enough snacks to sustain us in the event of being stranded without access to food....the Goofy Girls were again driving South.

None of us has ever done a Color Run before (off topic, it is VERY hard for me as a Canadian to spell colour this way). We didn't really know what to expect, but the fact that it was fun, messy and not timed was just the break we needed from our training for 'serious' runs.
I was reading Runner's World magazine this month and they focused on 'fun' 5Ks, and I was hoping that I'd emerge from the Color run looking just like the woman on the cover.....
 This was us, before, after a pretty awful night sleep in a very nice hotel room. We scored the most awesome parking spot too, I will post a photo later. Lori's awesome kids (and mine) made us custom shirts to wear, which started out pristine and white, along with our nice new white headbands. 

What a lovely town, very pretty, SO easy to find our way around in. I was loving the EMU Eagles (but I never saw one).

The entire race was among the best organized I've ever run. They said that it was sold out with about 15,000 people running, and it was seamless. We ran in waves of 1000 runners, the course was well marked, people were cheering all over the streets, the volunteers and police and ambulance folks were visible and welcoming and fun.

Each Km marker (we think) had a different colour, with crazy happy people spraying you with huge bottles of powdered colour.  You could tell you were approaching a dye station because the herds of runners and walkers would slow down and bottleneck and the clouds of dye were visible for a block.

We ran along laughing (except when we were trying not to inhale the dye). The course was super wide (whole streets) so there was never an issue with the walkers (who stayed to the right), strollers, groups or runners. The fact that it wasn't timed was brilliant, nothing to worry about except getting as coloured as possible.  Near the finish line we dumped the dye packets we were given on each other....
Needless to say Lori has great aim ;-)

After the race there was a party in the park, which turned into a big dye party, and included awesome snacks (now addicted to Kind bars) and shopping (got us some new socks).
I may have mentioned what great sports the volunteers and police and fire and other folks were? The nice fireman even let us pose on his truck, we were pondering asking him to hose us down!

would I run this again? Totally! Matter of fact we are considering doing the Windsor one in a few months. It's a scream for 'runner's to let their hair down and leave their Garmins at home.
A trip to Michigan isn't complete without a stop at the Joe, to pay homage to my second favourite hockey team. Go Wings Go *unless you end up playing the Leafs.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


I'm so thankful for many things in my life. My family, my health, my ability to run. Almost nothing makes me happier than seeing something go full circle and have as happy as ending as it possibly can.

My wonderful friends at iRun magazine helped me with so many goals in the past few years. They chose me to run in the 'So You Want to Run a Marathon, eh' contest, leading me to my first 42.2. They hooked me up with an amazing coach in Rick Hellard. That lead to Rick donating a massive box of medals to the charity I work with.

As I mentioned a while ago, I sent the Boston Marathon medal Rick donated home to Boston, with Rick's blessing, and it arrived safely this week.
Being the amazing ambassadors of running that they are, iRun magazine featured the story of Rick's Boston medal in the 'Running for a Reason' blog on their site. I'm so happy that in a small way I could be part of giving back to the community of runners.

I went to an expo and a race broke out :-)
Way back when, in 2009, I was the mom of a toddler, just living life, when I registered for a Running Room Training Program. Little did I know that you are 'supposed' to start with Learn to Run or the 5K clinic or whatever. Nope, little miss keener went right for the Half Marathon.

It was fun, it was a challenge, and I met some great people. Our goal race was the Goodlife Toronto Half Marathon, run exactly a month after my 40th birthday. My first half, the furthest I'd ever run (in training we never got over 17k).

I was so green. Didn't know it wasn't cool to wear the race shirt, didn't know they lie when they say races are downhill. Didn't know that 100m from the finish line I would have an argument with myself about just copping a squat on the curb for a few seconds.

Flash forward 4 years. I've run 7 half marathons, 2 fulls and Around the Bay. And here I am, back at the start of the Goodlife half. My toddler is 7, I've moved, changed jobs, and gotten older.

This time I know. Knees taped, no race shirt.

I was supposed to be up around 5:30. Someone tell me how I managed to be wide awake at 3:48? Ewwww....trying to tiptoe around quietly so as not to wake the sleeping (smart) members of my family.

I broke at least 3 'never' rules of running long distances. 1) Don't wear new clothes) - Had a new shirt, socks and bra. 2) Tried new fuel that I've never eaten before - Margarita flavoured shot blocks (they're awful, for the record)
 3) Train well. Whoops.

The new shirt was a must. The group Boston, We Run With You created amazing shirts with proceeds going to the Children's Hospital in Boston

The socks were compression, by a company called Dr. Segal's. My running buddy who is also a nurse, swears by these socks. They were at the Expo for the race and we went a bit insane, buying about six pairs between the three of us (mix and match!) They're graduated compression, so unlike my former (much disliked) socks, my feet weren't squooshed into them. Just supported, and my ankles and calves were totally happy! Matter of fact I washed this pair and wore them to work the next day.

 I am madly in love with this new KT Tape skin prep spray kit! I live in KT Tape, and avoid showering like crazy (much to the dismay of my family) to prolong the tape's life on my knees.

I had my left knee taped at the expo by the best taper I've ever met. He used the sticky stuff, and sent me home with instructions. My DH taped my right knee for me at home, using this stuff and the Tapeologist's directions. The tape is STILL ON. That was Saturday, today is Tuesday. I've had a long hot bath, two long showers, and it hasn't budged an inch.
I wonder how long I can stay in the socks and tape? I wore capri pants Monday and I looked like a demented Scottish dancer.
He he he! I took the socks off Monday night and I have argyle legs! I am, however, still wearing the tape!

Ha ha! I took the socks off and had Argyle legs!

Oh wait, there was a race, right? It was a great day for a race, a wee bit too hot for my liking, but clear and sunny. There were tons of water stations, all along the course. We got gels (chocolate, my fave) too. The spectators had great things to say, the volunteers were upbeat and friendly, the police officers were outstanding and even clapped as we passed. 

The best was the lady who yelled 'Sing, Sing to yourself' as I passed her. This year's race was the one where I was dermined to get the monkey off my back. The monkey I carried for the last half KM up University Avenue. I was so tired, not phyisically, but mentally, and I just wanted to sit for a bit and ponder life on the side of the road. I ran, I ran, I waited for University Ave. We ran past it....didn't turn...

I was like, HEY? I realized at that point I'd not consulted the race route and had no clue where we were going to finish.....brilliant!
Turns out we finshed at Ontaro Place....it was awesome! A great friend and fellow Digital Champion was at the finish and yelled 'Crush it' at me! Exactly what I needed to hear and exactly the right time.

I didn't PB, it was hot, I was undertrained, I have excuses for my performance, but they're all my own fault. It was a beautiful day, beautiful course, and the first time I've run that far, by myself, without music. Just my thoughts and my former hometown.

What a great day!
Next stop, Michigan for the Color Run this Saturday!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Boston Strong at the TYS10K

What a beautiful day to run 10K

This was my first race since the horrible events at the Boston Marathon, and I have to admit that I was feeling a bit uneasy. Not because I didn't have faith in the race organizers, not because I didn't have faith in the Toronto Police Department, not because I thought something would happen. I think it was because it had never occurred to me before April 15 that such a thing was even possible.  
I went through my usual pre-race ritual of eating pasta, drinking water, and lying out all the things I'd need for Sunday.  I even polished my nails Boston blue and yellow. The ribbon I wore on my jacket was an actual Boston Marathon medal ribbon, from the medal donated by Rick Hellard to Medals4Mettle. I thought I'd wear it as a small tribute, before I sent the medal back to it's home in Boston, to be donated to someone affected by the bombing.

As part of our race kits we were given special bibs to honour the runners, spectators, first responders, and the city of Boston. Since I already had two other memorial bibs, I thought that they all deserved pride of place, and I attached them all to the back of my jacket. Many sites invited runners to submit photos of themselves at races showing their Boston spirit.
Get Out There Magazine included me in their photos on Facebook in an album entitled Canadians Remember Boston. 

I've never run the TYS10K before, and this year I was invited to participate as a Digital Champion. It was a great experience, to promote the race as an Ambassador on social media. We ran awesome training runs in Toronto with other TYS10K folks, and it was wonderful to be a member of the group. For a very modest donation you could customize your race shirt. I chose my Twitter handle and the hashtag for our group.

The race was wonderfully organized, from reminders that the subway wasn't open, to offers for shuttle rides back to the start line. The bag check was flawless, organized and faster than any I've ever experienced. The corral placement, the volunteers directing us, the start. All went off perfectly.

The race course is a favourite of mine, having done it for the Goodlife 1/2 Marathon and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I love running down Yonge street, the memories of living in Toronto, of making great friends, meeting my husband, and working at some awesome companies make the miles fly by.

One of my fellow runners had recently fallen off a ladder, causing whiplash a small concussion and discs in her back to mess up. That meant she hadn't trained as much as she'd like, and despite the fact that she's way super faster than me, she was stuck limping along toughing it out. She never complained, only once admitting that she could use an Advil or two.
As we neared the finish, line, keeping a pretty good pace (but WAY slower than she normally runs) we started laughing about how we could finish with a big kick, but hey, why? This race was to remember, to celebrate, not really to PB. Would I have liked to smoke my prior fastest 10k? Sure. Will I when I run this race next year? BOO YEAH! Here's a link to the Garmin data for the race, we did 10:1s for the most part.

What's next for us? My first ever half marathon is back (and I seek revenge on the final stretch were I considered calling it a day). In a couple weeks we run down Yonge street AGAIN, in the Goodlife Toronto 1/2 Marathon


 This year we'll run together, as a team, with Boston in our hearts, our minds and on our bodies.  A group called Boston We Run With You has created shirts, with the monies going to the Boston Children's Hospital. As Mother Runners we all feel deeply the loss of young Martin Richard. I can't begin to imagine what the family is going through, and I'm overjoyed to be able to give back, even in some small way. Hopefully we will all be healthy and ready to go.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Boston Pride

When my friend and coach Rick Hellard of Zone 3 Sports donated his Boston Marthon finisher's medal to Medals 4 Mettle I was speechless at the generosity. I spent a few moments just holding it, marveling at the fact that I'll never earn one.

Then the events of this week unfolded, and the medal took on an even greater signifigance. Knowing that so very many people- runners, spectators, first responders, and more- were forever changed leaves me shaken.

I wondered what to do with the medal, because it seemed so much greater than the sum of it's parts. Then Medals 4 Mettle sent out an email from our Boston Chapters:

All of us at Medals4Mettle are saddened by the unimaginable events at the 2013 Boston Marathon. This historic event celebrates the freedom we have to run through the streets of one of America's great cities on Patriot's Day. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who must deal with the loss of life and the pain of injury. Medals4Mettle will humbly accept donations of 2013 Boston Marathon finishers' medals to be sent to our Boston area chapters. We will then place Medals4Mettle ribbons on them and award them to the courageous victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon and the first responders that raced to help them while respecting the privacy of all victims and family members. To donate, please send medals to our Boston Area chapters listed on our chapter page. 


So there it was, my answer. I have contacted Rick to see if he'd like to include a message with his medal, and I'll now return it to it's home in Boston, where hopefully it will serve as a small token of thanks to someone who deserves our support. The fact that our running family is so far flung yet so close just makes me all the prouder to be a member.

My first race since the tragedy in Boston will be as Digital Champion for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. This Sunday I will proudly wear the bib above, along with my race bib, to support our running family. I'll also wear as much blue and yellow as I can find. 

As a final thought, I leave you with something that brought me to tears. The article sums it up far better than I ever could. I followed this story from the runner's first posts on FB, and am beyond happy that she succeeded in finding the man who's act of kindess was felt the world over.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Final Finish Line

As a runner, as a mother, as a citizen of the planet, I'm heartbroken over the events at the Boston Marathon.

I've always been sort of paranoid, I hate to fly, and I've got issues galore about things that keep me up at night.  Now someone has tried to take away the one thing that I did which didn't scare me.

From my desk at work I watched Twitter and Facebook feeds as friends and friends of friends and total strangers crossed the finish line in Boston. I felt the pride I feel when my fellow athletes succeed at something that's tough to gain entry to , tough to train for, and tough to finish.

Then, the bombs went off.

I can't imagine being there, I can't fathom running into the fray (as so very many first responders did). The saving grace is that the finish line was filled with people qualified to give aid, ambulances ready to transport, and (hopefully) photo and video evidence that will help capture the inhuman being that did this.

There's a horrible feeling as a parent when something happens and you can feel it like it's coming toward you. Knowing that an 8 year old boy was a victim turns my heart inside out.  As a runner, knowing that there are people who lost limbs, who may never walk (let alone run) again, shakes me to my core.

Imagining the fear of the runners who were stopped and re-routed, knowing as a slower runner that my faster friends would have been ahead of me somewhere in the mayhem.

Several groups on Facebook and Twitter suggested wearing a race shirt today as a tribute to Boston and to salute the fraternity that we all belong to every time we lace up our shoes. As a runner of the Around the Bay Road Race, I have a collection of shirts with the tag line 'Older than Boston' on the back. I thought as a way to pay homage I'd put a 'bib' on the back.

Tonight, a group called the Run Junkees is hosting a virtual run in support of Boston.

Tonight my running friends and I will gather to run.

This weekend I will run the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. Do I feel safe? Yes, as safe as anyone can feel in public. Do I belive that the organizers, just the the ones in Boston, have and will continue to do everything they can to keep us safe? Yes.

Will I think of Boston and the runners each time I cross a finish line? Yes, for a long time.