Sunday, May 30, 2010

Race Report: AstraZeneca 5k


The day started out in a very hectic way in our house (one twinner had a semi-rough night and we were all dragging) we didn't actually hit the road until almost 8am! (The race started at 9 and we are outside of the city).   Suffice it to say - CRAZINESS! We parked downtown, found out the nearest c-train station no longer existed, ran to catch the train at the next stop over and I arrived at the start line 2 minutes before the race started!   At least I got a warm up in when I ran from Bridgeland LRT to the starting line!

The race itself felt pretty comfortable.  It was MUCH smaller than the mothers day race and way better organized.   The course ran out of Bridgeland, over to the zoo, a loop of the island and then to the turn around point and in for a finish.   There were a couple of hills (and I am feeling them now) and the last hill that curved up to the finish line was the first point in my running career where I feared I might throw up, but there were great highlights too.   First - the rain pretty much stopped during the run.   I had a couple of drops fall on my glasses but it wasn't a downpour or even enough to really wet my jacket.   and right before I hit that hill at the end, there were a whole bunch of kids lined up for high-fives and as I held my hand out, it gave me some energy to kick it to the finish.

I came in as the clock was reading 32:20.   My garmin said 32:05 so I knew I was faster than my Mother's Day time.  When I finally got home and tracked down the results, I had come in at 31:54 - a new personal record AND that I came in 15th in my age group (which made me pretty happy).  Best of all - I got my first medal!   Never in my life have I ever had a medal for any sport.  Sure, it's just a finisher's medal...but it means I got out there and did it...and it feels amazing! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Keeping the Momentum Going

Today, I registered for 2 more races this summer.  I have been looking for 10K races in July and August to keep me motivated as I work towards the half marathon.  Finally I decided to take the leap with the two that I keep eyeing.  On July 11, I will run the Stampede Road Race 10k and then on August 21, I will run the Canadian Derby Edmonton Marathon 10K (not sure if that's the official title - the website didn't really call it anything but the 10K).

Yay - I'm excited! 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Second Group Training Session

I realize I didn't write anything about the first group training run last Saturday...sorry!   But here I am with the recap of the 2nd run with my Team :)

Today we met at 8am at Eau Claire Market.  As a half-marathoner, I was lined up for a half hour run.  We start off all of the group sessions with a group warm up and then follow it up with a "mission moment" to remind us why we are there and what we are working towards.  Last week, Sheena (our coach) talked about daydreaming.  Today, she had a different topic lined up to discuss, but when she arrived at the meeting place, there was actually an incredibly powerful photo exhibit set up by a different group...about cancer.   So for our mission moment, she had us wander through the exhibit and read the stories.

This was such a beautiful reminder of why we are on this journey in the first place.  Seeing photos of little bald leukemia kids with giant smiles on their faces despite the tubes and monitors they are attached to had to be the quickest way to bring me to tears.   And seeing how families memorialized their loved ones (who were forced to succumb to lymphoma) was heartbreaking. The exhibit was about all types of cancer, but I sought out the ones that were related to the cause I am running for.   It was so incredibly powerful - I was definitely not the only person in our group that was wiping tears from my eyes!

It was a gorgeous morning for a run and our group is fantastic to run with.   We ran down by the river again (Calgary has the most beautiful paved path system - we are incredibly lucky).  SInce we are all still getting to know each other, there was plenty of chatting and sharing going on!

We ran up to the 10th street bridge, crossed the river and headed back, finishing up with a loop of the path on Prince's Island.  About 4k total at a nice, easy pace.   When the group was all back, we did a guided stretch.

After the run, I went for coffee with the coach and another team member.  It was great to visit some more and to get new ideas for fundraising.  Sheena was able to give me some great tips for strengthening some areas of my body that have been complaining this week so I am looking forward to crosstraining with these exercises.  That is the great part about having a formal coach to ensure I get to the finish line injury free :)

And then, I capped off my morning out with a trip to the Running Room and got myself a running hat and a cute running skirt!   Pretty soon I'll have more running clothes than I do regular clothes lol!

And that, in a nutshell, was our second GTS!   I am looking forward to tomorrow's rest day...and to each of my runs and crosstraining sessions next week!  I'm also going to be working on my fundraising ideas next week and am very excited about everything that is coming up.  Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me so far!  I truly appreciate it and really believe that together we are getting closer to a cure! 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tech Support for a Cure

Today my department at work (ITS), hosted a jeans day to raise money toward my fundraising.  For $5, the staff bought stickers that allowed them to wear jeans today!   It was a wild success!   We raised $331 and someone from a different department also donated $25!   We might need to think about doing more of these days :)

Thanks again to all of you who participated!  Your contribution is very appreciated!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Race Report: First 5K Race Sport Chek Mothers Day Run & Walk

The day dawned cold and rainy.  By the time we got to the starting line of the Mother's Day Run and Walk, there were a few fluffier raindrops mixed in.   The twins had managed to add a roadbump to our arriving by both of them getting carsick on the drive into the city and needing new outfits.  Luckilly everything was running a little later than it should so we were still able to line up with plenty of time.  Cam and the girls headed back to the stroller lineup and I seeded myself in with the 7 min/k group (based on my training times)

Finally the girls from Good Life Fitness started a really lame cardio routine that no one back where I was could see and no one followed along to.  We were all jumping or jogging to warm up and stay warm.   At long last, the gun went off and the wheelchairs were on their way.  Then, 3 mins later, the rest of us were set free.   Everything felt like it was in slow motion as we walked slowly to the starting line (why nobody ran is still beyond me, but it's my first race - what do I know?).  Then my feet hit the timing map and I pressed "start" on my Garmin.  

The first thing I noticed was that I seeded myself with too slow of a group.  I was immediately tripping around the slower people.  The thing that annoyed me the most was when families lined up, holding hands, and spread across the street.   By the time we turned onto 5th street, though, I was past the slowpokes and was ready to really take off!  And an immediate downhill was a big help :).   I tried to accellerate through the uphills to keep going.  It wasn't too much further, and a quick glance at my Garmin, that showed I had the potential to get a much better time than the 40 mins I was aiming for!

It was like that thought added wings to my feet and I just started to fly!   When I hit 25th Ave, I zoomed past the water station.  I knew I'd be fine to the end :)   When we turned east on 10th Ave, my right knee complained a bit but quickly shut up as I told myself "only one more kilometre".   By the time I turned north on Macleod - I was giving it all I had.  Under the overpass and then up the hill to the finish line.  When I could see the clock (it read 35:08 from the time the wheelchair gun went off), I put in a good kick to the finish.   When my feet hit the timing mat, I hit "stop" on the Garmin (and missed - it took a second press).  32:24.  I was elated!

They handed me my rose (for being a mom in the race) and I grabbed a banana, a water, a yogourt, a chocolate milk and an apple juice (lol - I was ravenous) and headed off to cool down and stretch while I waited for Cam to come in.  I texted him my time and then had a girl nearby take my picture with my cell phone:

Just after an hour, Cam and the girlies crossed the finish line and we were reunited and could head home to spend the rest of our mother's day together!  (WHen I got home, I checked online to see if my official time was in - yay!  32:13!) 

I love that we spent the morning of my first Mother's Day at the race.   Our twins were born 6 weeks early and had to spend 8 days in the NICU just shy of a year ago.  It made it fairly emotional for me everytime someone came on the loudspeaker, talking about how the race would benefit the NICUs and Special Care Nurseries that the girlies lived in those few days!  I can easilly see this race becoming our first real family tradition!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

C25K Graduation Day!

Well, I guess I can officially call myself a runner as of today.   Back in Late February, I started a "learn to run" program called Couch to 5K.  It took me a little longer than the 9 weeks it is laid out for because I ended up battling bursitis in my knee for a couple of weeks (once from improper shoes while I waited for my new shoes to arrive and once from pushing myself to increase mileage too quickly - 2 important running lessons learned right there)...but today I finished the last run of the program :)  YAY!

I must say, the support I found for this program was incredible.  They have a great Facebook group where you can check in and it is so inspiring to read the stories and be cheered on by everyone from various stages in the program!   It gives you a great deal of incentive to stick with it and become a runner!  If someone had told me at the start of the year that by the start of May I would be running 40 mins without a break, I'd have laughed in their face!   But now, with a reason to keep going, I am proud to call myself a runner (and the almost 30lbs I've lost since the start of the year helps as well)!  

I jumped the gun a little and bought myself a little graduation present a week early - a Garmin GPS running watch! :)  Now I will know my pace and distance and be able to track my improvements over time!  I think it is going to become my new favourite fitness toy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

TNT Kickoff

Tonight was the official kick-off party for the Team in Training Fall races.   Lots of icebreakers to help introduce us to the rest of the team!   I had my fingers crossed to win the $100 credit toward my fundraising minimum but alas...not tonight LOL.

There was also a woman who came to speak to us who is the only leukemia survivor in North America to have survived 3 bone marrow transplants.  Her zest for life was so amazing, given the difficult hand she's been dealt over the last 13 years.  It was good to be reminded that there is no point in extending your life if you aren't going to live it!   That's pretty good advice for everyone, if you ask me :)  

First Group Training run is on Saturday morning!   I am so looking forward to it!   It will be good to start working with a coach and improving my running in all areas.  I've come a long way since I first laced up my running shoes back in February...but I know I will benefit greatly from the guidance a coach can give :)

Last I checked, I was #14 on the Top 25 TNT fundraisers in Canada!  I am only 18% of the way to my goal, so there is still a long way to go! I am confident I will get there, but every little bit helps :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Yard Sale Success!

Between the yard sale and the toonie drive, I managed to raise another $200 toward my goal!  Thank you so much to everyone who came out and supported me.

During the sale, I loved to hear the stories people shared about friends and family who had overcome Lymphoma and Leukemia.  Stories of people who were 14 years without a recurrence are a wonderful testament to how far the advances in blood cancer treatments have come!

It was the perfect day, weather-wise, as well.  Sunny with a few clouds and only one little 5 minute shower in the afternoon.  We had customers from the moment we started to set up at 8am right until they had to rifle through boxes at 4pm!

The day was so nutso, that I totally forgot to take any photos of the actual sale.  I did take some of all of the stuff stacked and ready to be hauled outside...but didn't have a chance to snap the sale in progress! :(