Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Goofy Good-bye to September - Week 13

Training Update:

Another stellar training week!  On Monday, L and I did a shortened loop for our walk.  Tuesday, I had an unexpected day off so went for a longer weekday run through Fish Creek.  Wednesday, I completed the Mojo Jar Challenge and made my coworkers think I am insane by speeding back and forth in front of my office.  Thursday was another walk.  Friday brought Long Run #1 for the week.  Then came the awesome Harvest Half Marathon on Saturday for Long Run #2.

I feel so great about this week.  And I think it is safe to say that I definitely did not break my toe.  No pain - just a ton of bruising. Phewf.  After a great training week like this - I'd hate to be derailed because my foot connected with a dresser.

And in other news - September brought me my mileage to the highest month of the past year!   Between running and walking, I hit 145k for the month.  I wish I could see my marathon training months form last year to compare might have been my highest mileage month of all time!

Fundraising Update:

I am now at $2934 (my personal page doesn't account for my portion of the group fundraising).  69% of the way there! 

We still have our fundraisers going on so please check them out and see if there is anything you might like to join us in to support us on our quest!

Fundraising in Action:

These are open across Canada so anyone can participate!
  • Biggest Loser Weight Loss Challenge

    Registration now closed for this one! Thank you to everyone who signed up!  Good luck and happy losing!
  • Magazine Fundraiser - Ongoing.
    Total raised for the team to date: $381
    This fundraiser will keep going until the end of January, so you will have plenty of time to treat your loved ones to gift subscriptions over the holidays.  
  • Norwex Party Fundraiser - Sept 9 to OCT 15
    (this has been extended by two weeks!)

    The catalogs are available online at:
    My friend, Heather, is a Norwex rep and she offered to have a Norwex party for us where her entire commission (35%) is donated to the cause!  Items will be shipped across Canada!
  • WestJet Donation Incentive
    We have two round-trip vouchers for anywhere WestJet flies up for grabs.  IF you could like to get in on this, simply make us a $25 donation for each ticket you would like on the draw! We do need to process these manually so contact me directly to purchase your tickets (cash, cheque or credit card accepted)!  The draw will be held at our Nov 17 fundraiser event (you do not need to be present to win, but we'd love to have you there too - more info will be announced soon)
Upcoming Events:
  • Make sure you head over to and "Like" us to stay informed about any fundraiser events we are putting on!
  • Birthday Party Fundraiser at Tudor Rose - Nov 17
My Personal Fundraisers:
  • Bottle Drive - ongoing
    Let me know if you have any bottles you would like to donate.  If you're in the Calgary area, I will happily pick them up from you :)  If you are out of town, you can always pledge your own bottle money to my fundraising
  • Bookmarks of Hope - ongoing
    I am selling handmade beaded bookmarks (made by me).  These elastic bookmarks will ensure you never lose your page again and work on both traditional paper books and with eReader cases.   $5 each.  There are pictures of the available styles on the Facebook page. I do sell them at my work and, starting next week, these will be available at Naughty Nelly on Northmount Drive and 40th Ave NW.  I will post other locations as I secure them.  I will also be creating several new designs shortly as I have just picked up more supplies.
  • Looking for Corporate Donors 
    If you own a company and would like to make a donation of $1500 or more, Team in Training will print your logo on the back of our race shirts for this season!  I will also happily post your logo on my Team in Training page for the whole world to see.  Don't have a logo but still want to take part?  I am a graphic designer and am happy to see if I can come up with something for you as an added perk to the program! Email me for details if you're interested!
  • Workout Challenge
    For every workout I complete, I pledged to put $2 in a jar.  If I skip a run on my training plan and don't make it up the same week - it's gonna cost me $5. (this month has been alot of $5 due to the heat and house selling. boo)
    Raised in September: $50 (I rounded up this month)
  • Virtual Half Goofy Challenge
    While I'm running my butt off in Florida, you too could be completing half of the distance in this fun fundraiser.  10k on the Saturday, half marathon on the Sunday...and you get a REAL MEDAL for your efforts!!!  Only $10 to join!  10 People registered so far!!!

As always, you are welcome to donate to me directly via my online donation site!  Just click the button below!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Race Report: Harvest Half Marathon 2012

AKA - Long Run #2
AKA - the one where I came in 20 mins faster than I was planning to...

But that comes at the end of the story.
I had to pick up my race package over a week ago so I was very happy when it survived living in my house for a week without the chip being peeled off the back of the bib by little fingers.

When I woke up this morning, I wasn't feeling it.  I was even, dare I say, dreading this race.   I didn't want to run alone.  I didn't want to run at all.  In fact - after a rough night with the girlies - I didn't want to get out of bed.  But I dragged myself up, ate my breakfast and got ready to go.  I left the house around 6:30 and, as I drove through town - I suddenly was greeted by blinding, flashing lights...and FIRE!

The school was aflame!   Well - not the main part of the school, but the portable that is only slightly detached from it.   Craziness!

I got to Mid-Sun Community Centre just as the sun was coming up - I was a tad early.  They were still getting the start line set up!

I had been nervous about the state of my toe so I taped it to the one next to it with some KT Tape...but in the 4 block walk to Mid-Sun - I could tell that was a mistake so while I waited for JS to show up, I got rid of it.

My friend, Sue, from my k100 team was supposed to be running the race so I texted her to see if she was there yet.  Turned out she'd had to pull out of the race after not being able to get the training in.   She told me another of our team mates, Alida, was running it though.  With the crowd of people there, I really didn't think I'd run into her, but I would be sure to keep my eye out.

JS, who was to be my cheer squad for the day, showed up soon after and after finding her int he crowd and making a pitstop at the potties, I headed to the start line.

It was there that Alida found me :)

I wasn't sure what her goals were for the day, but I figured we could start the race together and see how it went.  I really didn't have a time goal, since I was using this race as my second long run.  My eye was kind of on the 2:45 mark so if she ended up being faster than me - I was ok with finishing alone.

The race started at around 7:50 and off we went.  It took about a minute to cross the start line and was a crawling start...sooo slow.  But then we were off and running.  I thought the race route went though Fish Creek park in both directions so I was quite surprised to be running through residential and then down Bannister Road, past my forest and then up, up, up into Millrise (totally get why it's called MillRISE now...holly hannah hill).  I had to call walk break at 3k so I could get some water into me.  Shortly after, we saw JS for the first time of the race - cheering and shaking her cowbell!

After running past the fancy houses on the ridge - we finally turned into the park.  Wow!  So beautiful!  There was a short bit of gravel trail as we descended into the park itself and then it was onto pavement.

At around 9k, we ran into Katie (who you may remember as being my partner in crime for Corporate Challenge) - also there to cheer!  And just down the hill from her, we saw JS again - this time ready to run a bit with us!

It was somewhere around that point that we were becoming brutally aware of a Senorita Stinkypants in our midst. Holy BO batman!  C'mon.  Nobody showers before these things but I'm pretty sure most of us put on our pitstick!   This woman must not have showered for a week...and forgotten deodorant most of those days as well.  EW!   Anyway - we leapfrogged her a few times and each time it was making our eyes water to be behind her.  We finally decided to blow past her and keep going until she was well behind us!

We were soon back in familiar territory.  We ran through my forest and past the tree planted in memory of my best friend.   That memorial forest makes me so proud every time I see it (wish I'd thought to take photos).  I cared for those trees when they were only a foot high and now they tower above my head!

After this, it wasn't long before we were to the point where I turned around on Tuesday.  No rustling stalkers in the grass this time around.

Alida was having a lot of trouble with her lungs so we were taking it pretty easy.  Walking when we wanted to and running when we could.   I tried my best to encourage her as we went and didn't want to leave her, because I know how hard it is to run alone when you aren't having a good race!

Thank you random runner girl for snapping this shot of us!

 And then it was on to Sikome Lake and ...dun dun duuun.  The HILL.

Ok - I may have been understating the grade of the hill.  Or maybe running on the pathway IS gentler.   It still wasn't a hell hill, but at 17k in a half - it sure ain't easy!   We walked it.

And saw a dog dressed in a bumblebee costume walk it too...

Senorita Stinkypants passed us on this hill and we never quite caught up to her again.  We just let her get far enough ahead that we couldn't smell her anymore.

Near the top of the hill - JS was encouraging everyone with her cowbell.  She was going to stay there for a while longer and then meet us at the finish.   Back on Sun Valley Boulevard, we knew we were in the homestretch.   When we passed my favourite chinese place in the city - all I wanted was to stop for spring rolls.  Probably a good thing they don't open at 10am on Saturdays!

Then it was into residential again and Alida said she recognized this from last year and that we were almost there, despite my Garmin saying we still had a kilometre to go. (Damn thing is shorting the distances on me regularly now)

The finish for this race has to be one of the prettier ones I've experienced.  It winds though a little park and then you hit a short straightaway and it is through the finish line you go!   JS was waiting there to snap pics and cheer us across the line!

When I stopped my Garmin, it said.

A full 20 mins faster than I had anticipated.   This is my third fastest half time ever.  Not bad for a "slow training run". And it felt easy - that was the nice part.  To run a hilly course and have it feel easy.  Makes me want to do some PB smashing soon!

Then the lovely volunteers put this around my neck and handed me a water.

After I'd stretched a bit and Alida had caught her breath - we went inside Mid-Sun to see about some food.  Bananas, granola bars, yogurt and water.   I had them all.

Ran into Neil and had a nice chat as we were leaving.   He does an amazing job running the Facebook page for the race - so good at rallying people!   I'm so excited that he is going to tackle his first full next year at Calgary Marathon!

The Garmin Geekery:

My thoughts on this race:
  • Beautiful
  • Hilly
  • Well-provisioned
  • cute medals
  • well organized
  • tons of potties - both at the start and along the route
Lessons learned:
  • Training your bladder really does work - didn't need to stop at all on the course
  • Peanut Butter Gu is good unless you squeeze an entire gel into your mouth all at which case it acts like real peanut butter and coats the roof of your mouth
  • I've finally mastered the drinking water at the aid stations!  And I didn't run hot or feel dehydrated at all!  Yay!  Progress!
  • Taking a gel earlier (as advised by my nutrition guru) keeps my energy up for the whole race. 
  • Taking walk breaks whenever you want doesn't need to kill a good finish time
Will I do it again?  HELL YEAH!  I'm there.  Can't wait to do it again next year!

Official time, according to Results Canada

Friday, September 28, 2012

One Long Run Down (one to go)

First long run of my first back to back weekend! With my half marathon falling on Saturday this weekend, I needed to get my shorter long run in on Friday. 6.5k at lunch on a really, really warm day!

But poor toe.  Ignore the desperate need of new polish and focus on the inner side of my pinky toe for a moment. Yes - that dark purple's not dirt.  This is what happens when you slam your foot into your daughters dresser the previous day.   Ya.  Fun.

I don't think it's broken but it hurt like a mother-father when it happened and all evening last night.  (You TOTALLY thought I was going to write something else there, admit it!) I iced the heck out of it and today, I woke up with the bruising but it also didn't hurt as bad as it did yesterday.  I figured I would use today's run to see if  I am able to run pain-free or if it is going to warrant my skipping the half tomorrow :(

It was 11am before I realized that I have never needed a 6.5k route around the office...thank you MapMyRun for your support in this matter.  Two minutes later, I had my route - a combination of my two usual routes with a little bit cut off to save distance.

I started out along Macleod, with all of it's exhaust and congestion, figuring that I would be able to expel it all from my lungs on the remaining residential on the route.

Down Heritage and up the hill to Elbow then down the lovely tree-lined drive where I enjoyed every second of the shade form the golden boughs.

I figured 45 mins for 6.5k was good and, in the end, I came in right at that.  Long run one done!  Only one more to go this weekend!

And, in the end - no toe pain at all. So, unless that changes as the day wears on - I think I'm good to go tomorrow.

Once I was back in my cube - I stretched the heck out of any muscle that might possible tighten up today.  Hopefully that is enough for tomorrow...

With this being my first back-to-back weekend, my nutrition guru has been guiding me on proper fueling to make sure I thrive through this training cycle.   She sent me a wonderful email outlining exactly how I should eat and gave me great examples.   So, for my post-run lunch, I had some of my marvelous meatless chili (topped with a sprinkling of cheese - sorry, H - I had it pre-packaged and didn't realize I'd grabbed one with cheese), Some multigrain crispbreads in lieu of a wholegrain bun, a handful of almonds and some dates.  Yummy!

I am so not a food blogger...pardon my crappy lunch photo.

Friday Reads: Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks

It pains me to write this.  It really does.  I've been a bit fan of Terry Brooks ever since I first read Sword of Shannara nearly 10 years ago (has it really been that long?)   I've come to expect and receive a certain quality of writing and storytelling from him.  This latest offering fell short of the mark.  So short, in fact...that I couldn't even bring myself to finish it! 


I tried.  I really did try.  I have spent weeks trying to get into the story and every page of the half of the book that I did read has been like dragging my body over hot coals - so painful.  Perhaps more alarming to me was how it didn't feel like it was written by Terry Brooks at all!  The style was completely different and it was all over the map.  It felt slow and repetitive.  The story didn't feel like it was actually developing.  I would expect any book to have advanced a bit by the time the halfway mark is reached and this one just didn't seem to.  Perhaps Brooks has fallen into the Trilogy Trap, where an author gets so used to writing trilogies that they frame the series as though it is a single book...but then discover they only really have enough content for one standalone book so try to make it longer.  THAT is what this felt like.

This is the first book in The Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy. The premise of the story is set in the "future" - a time when people have grown distrustful of magic and the druids alone are trying to preserve it.  One of the druids has found a journal in the archives of the elves that hints where the magical elfstones may have gone. The Druid Order at Paranor embarks on a quest to find them.  When I left off - they had barely started the journey.

Perhaps I am being overly critical.  I am just not used to Brooks disappointing me with a story almost devoid of action.   Even the scenes which might have been terrifying in a book like the Elfstones of Shannara, felt overly set up and did not catch me like they might have in older books.  The writing did not flow like it normally does and the story stalled at every turn.

So, here I am posting not so much a review as an impression of my thoughts about this book.  I don't recommend it unless you really just want to be able to say you've read every Shannara book ever written.  I think I will wait until he goes back into the past a bit before I buy another one.

Now I'm off to read something a bit more engaging and am letting go of this one...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Back and forth...and back and forth...

Yep - you guessed it.  Mojo-booster day.  Or, the day Cori looked like a dork in Southwood.  Oh wait - that's pretty much any day!

But today is the day I looked like a dork with a purpose! Speedwork!

I started out the front doors of my building so I could warm up for a kilometre and look somewhat normal for 10 mins before I became a blur in black and grey.

So, I circled around the block until I hit the flat, straight stretch of path from my sprint last week.

I paused a moment to collect myself and then took off running like Phoebe

when I hit 400m (approx), I slowed to a walk, turned around and walked back to the start.

It was at that point that the mojo on my shoulder chided me.  "Really?!  That's the best you can do?  Speed than WALK?!?!"

Damn mojo on my shoulder
 So I took off again.  A little faster this time...and, when it came time to turn around - I slowed to a jog back to the start.

And then did it 2 more times.

Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one going back and forth on the path today.  There were these 3 ladies taking a leisurely stroll and spanning the path.  I had to veer around them 3 times.  Each time, they looked at me with amusement but didn't think to move to the side so I could pass.  Grrr.  Path Pet Peeve Numero Uno!

In the end - I did almost 4.5k much faster than I usually would.  Especially with the amount of walking I did after that first sprint.

AND - my endurance was better than when I sprinted the same stretch last week.    No walk breaks in the middle.  That's progress, people!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall in Fish Creek

In a sudden fit of luxury, I had the morning to myself so decided to go for a slightly longer weekday run through Fish Creek to check out the "nasty hill" that appears at the end of the Harvest Half this Saturday.

This was also the perfect day to take my little crafty crop for a spin to see how I'd like it.  Meet my little run shrug.  I saw an ad for one.  Saw hoe pricey it was to have shipped.  Made the decision to sacrifice a long sleeve tech shirt to my less-than-stellar sewing skills...and Voila:

If you ever see me in person wearing this - I would appreciate it if you didn't stare too closely at the stitching...if the stitching even holds.  Yes - I AM that talented...

I LOVE Fish Creek Park in the fall.  Always have.  The smells, the colours, the crisp, fall air.   Love it.  I used to work in the park, years ago, and fell in love with everything about it.  Now that I am a runner, I appreciate it on a whole 'nother level for the miles and miles and miles of pathways.

But I rarely make it down there to run.

With my half marathon coming up this Saturday, I figured it was high time I went down and explored an area of the park I never really get to.   Plus, it would give me a chance to check out the Sikome Hill that everyone on Facebook has been bitching about.

So - I dropped off the munchkins and headed to Sikome Lake.  And out I went.

I thought I would run out for 4k and then run back and do that hill.  It took me a ridiculously long time to warm up and my quads were whining at me the whole way.  

At about 3k, I saw a fork in the road and made my decision to turn around there.

and that was when I heard the rustling in the grasses and saw movement.  Because this park is no stranger to wildlife - it could have been anything - so I definitely took it a bit slow after turning around until I was clear.  Last thing I would want was for a wildcat to leap out at me (of course - its close enough to residential that it might have been a house cat!) But I never saw anything beyond moving grasses so maybe it wasn't anything and I was on crack...

So, I turned around and  plodded onward - just enjoying the journey.  Very slowly.  But before long, I was back at Sikome and faced with the start of "the hill"

It didn't look so bad...

I filmed the way up, but it is really lame so I'm not sharing it.   But my thought on this hill is that it isn't that bad.  It is a gentle slope all the way up.  The hardest thing is that it is long.  The switchback hell hill at the end of Run at the Ranch is a HILL.  This is a slight slope.  Totally doable.

In the end - just over 7k done.  All leisurely like.

But DAMN it felt good to do a longer weekday run.  

and that crop?  Was actually the perfect weight for a cool/warm fall day.  Not as cumbersome and hot as a full long sleeve would be and not as restrictive as arm warmers can sometimes be.  Plus - the short length provided extra ventilation.  Thumbs up from me.   I may invest in a couple made by people who know how to sew...

The Garmin Geekery:

Oh - and then I went shopping.  And found these. I had to have them.

I may have a small Kinvara compulsion.  Or a large one.  I've bought 3 pairs in September.    It's a problem.