Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Reads: The Enchantress by Michael Scott

You may recall my reviews of the rest of the series "The Secret of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel" a few months ago.   Well, the final book is here and, I must say, not really worth the wait.

I was disappointed. I had been looking so forward to it and hoped it would be the icing on the cake. It wasn't.  It was more like that disappointing crumbled cookie mix between layers.  I'm going to try to not include spoilers, but if I do - I apologize.

That being said - it wasn't terrible.  It just seemed to go on and on and on.  It jumped around so much, due to the characters being in different timelines and locations.  It played a bit too much with that eternal conundrum of "If you go back in time and change one thing.." but you never got a sense of how it affected the future.  

I think the thing that spoiled it most for me, though, was how fallible to "elders" ended up being.   The previous books had established them as being strong, though flawed.  This one focused on "let's watch them fall like dominoes".  Nope - actually, I lie.  That wasn't the biggest spoiler for me...the twin thing was (you'll have to read it to find out - I can't say more without spoiling the story).  That part just didn't make sense in relation to the other books.

I can't argue that Scott didn't wrap up the series, because he did.  I think I was just looking for a bit more bang instead of the hippity-hoppity fizzle.  It just didn't do it for me.  Your mileage may vary.  I hope it does because I'd hate to think I am the only one who felt this way.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1.  I was awarded a Top Healthy Living Blog award from a Nurse Practitioner website!   I received an email stating that I was nominated a couple of weeks ago and then found out earlier this week that I had won in the Running category!  It's an honour to be in the company of some of the other winners.

Check out the other winners here



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2. The 2013 Goofy Challenge training plan by Jeff Galloway has officially been posted on the Run Disney site.  I transcribed the 2012 plan to my training calendar a few months ago, but this one had a calendar import I could use.  And it also starts a week earlier than the other one.  Sooo...I guess I start Goofy training NEXT WEEK!!!!!


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3. I'm going to try really hard to not drive you all insane with updates about Goofy.  I think I've decided to just do one big Goofy update - training/fundraising/etc - each week on Sunday so you'll know what's up, how I'm doing, how I'm feeling about it all and keeping you up to date on what you might be able to do to support me on my journey.  (I have a lot of creative ideas and am a big believer of microphilanthropy.) This should keep you all from going insane from my incessant chatter about all things Team in Training.


I do have one important fundraising update, though.  For the local people.  Our Hedley fundraiser has changed :(  Hedley cancelled their show at the Cowboys tent on July 8.   The act that is replacing them is Steve Aoki - an electro-house DJ - If this is something you are interested in - the tickets we are selling are still good for him.  They are $30 each and all of the money goes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada and support our Team Alberta fundraising efforts.

If you bought a ticket to the Hedley show - and don't want to attend - we can refund your money.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's a Goofy, Goofy Day

Consider me registered.   I received the forms to register for Team in Training late yesterday


This morning, I filled out those forms while tending to my super sick kids, scanned them and sent them off.  Then I called the TNT office to hand over my VISA number to pay the registration fee.

DONE!

January 12 & 13, 2013 I will be running the Goofy Challenge.  


Stay tuned for my donation site - it will go like int he next little bit.  In the meantime, you can see what my Team is doing to fundraise at http://www.rungoofy.com

But that's not all.  January 11th - I am also going to be doing a little something at Walt Disney World as well...



Yes...I am a sucker for punishment...I'll be running this one with Nikki from Slow is the New Fast...and yes, we will totally be costumed for  it...

January 14th, I'll be heading home with FOUR shiny new medals for the medal rack.  So worth it for this medal whore...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Results: K-100 Relay

A note about timing for this race: this was not chip timed.   They had a vehicle a mile from each finish chute where someone announced which runners were coming.  Then, at the finish, they recorded the clock time for each runner as they came through.  There were forced starts on every leg.  The runner of the previous leg still had to finish their leg.   Since from leg 4 onward our team was on forced starts (usually our runner was at the 1 mile point when they did the forced start), I think the times are longer because we had 10-12 mins extra before our runners were coming into the finish chutes.  

But we weren't in it to win it.  We were in it to finish it.  And finish it we did.

Our team finished in 13th/last place in the women's open division.  I think we were 2nd last overall (from those who finished).

Finish time: 17:03:27


It looks like 7 people finished after me in Leg 1.  So at least I wasn't last...



Here was my team finish times for each leg (the names are off, because of substitutions):




Race Recap: Kananaskis 100 Mile Relay - Part Five

By the time I finished leg 8, it was after 6pm.   We had been on the go for almost 15 hours - 12 of those on the race course.  The weather had been alternating between soaking wet and slightly damp that entire time.  Our team spirit was incredible, though.  For a race that had such a rough start on my first leg - it had pretty much redeemed itself.   We had pulled together as a team and were having so much fun.

Legs 9 and 10 were running the same time as I was finishing leg 8.  Those last two legs were entirely trail and the team could not support them in there.  Leg 10 had already been reduced from 17k to 13k due to the trail conditions in this rain.  Ingrid (Alida's mom) and Crystal were our team mates out there slogging through the mud and we wanted to be there to cheer big as they came across the finish.

I think the trail shoes I lent to my friend Heather (remember her from my Vancouver recap?) for leg 10, tell the tale best of what those runners went through...muck city.


When we got to Nakiska, where these legs would wrap up - the 7 of us were STARVING and we had some time before our runners were predicted to finish.   We decided to go grab our freebie dinner.   Mmmmm never has a veggie burger tasted quite so amazing to me as that one did.


We thought we had a half hour before Crystal, our speedy gal on 10, would finish.   Suddenly, Sue got a text saying that she had finished and was sad because none of us had been out there to cheer her across.  She was already in her car and ready to drive back to Sylvan Lake.   Nothing anyone could say could even get her to come back for a team picture.   It was really sad, but she had had a rough run and just wanted to leave.

The whole episode kind of left a sour taste in our mouths that I hoped wouldn't colour the entire finish experience for us.  Instead we focused on Ingrid and waited for her to come in so we could cheer big!

And here she was! 67 years old and totally rocking the finish of her leg!   


After we were done cheering, I saw Barefoot Neil and Tina, another local blogger, heading over my way.  I went over to introduce myself in person and we chatted very briefly before Shandell and Shannon arrived and summoned me over for my "Super special treat"   I wish I'd had more time to get a photo with them.  Next time for sure!

The K-100, as I said before, is a VERY barebones race.  Runners race their asses off with no support except that which they brought with them.   There is minimal food or amenities at the handoff points.  Most of all, though, is that there are no medals.   Most of the legs come close to being half marathon in length and there's no shiny medal at the finish.

Well, our Shandell took matters into her own hands when I announced a couple of weeks ago that there was nothing.   She is a competitive swim coach and deals with making arrangements for medals and awards all the time.   She called up her guy and asked what he could do for her team of 10 ladies running a relay in the mountains.  She kept it a huge secret from us all and hauled them out at the big finish.  It's amazing. I could have cried.

I plan to have the back engraved with "K-100 Relay 2012 - Cougars in Motion"


Finished!   This isn't the entire team - we are missing Lucy and Crystal...but it is most of us.  Standing in the muck of the end with giant smiles on our faces.   Such a proud moment.

L-R: Shandell, Me, Alida, Sue, Therese, Shannon, and Ingrid

So, there you have it.  My K-100 recap in 5 posts.   The official times aren't posted yet, but I will post those when they are.

Lessons learned:
  • Going for guaranteed entry is worth it.  Sure it makes it a very expensive race, but dealing with the lottery after you get the team together would be frustrating.   BUT - for what you have to pay - there are no perks.  You get a shirt.  and an Experience.  and a dinner (or two, if you count that crappy donor dinner).  That is all.   Expect that going in.
  • You get out of it what you put into it.   There is no I in team and everyone needs to pull their weight and make sacrifices to make it work.  But in that teamwork lies the greatest reward of a race like this.   
  •  It isn't an easy race, but you can do alot to make it easier on someone else. Even if they aren't on your own team.   Sue and I often cheered for other runners than our own and if they looked like they were really struggling and didn't have support - we met them out there with water.  I wish someone had done the same for me in leg 1.
  • The team should start and finish together.  It takes so much guesswork out of it and allows for much less confusion and much more freedom.  Having our leg 1-5 runners start together meant a lot of scrambling for those first legs until the rest of the team showed up
  • Peanut butter and banana sandwiches are heaven after slogging through the rain
  • A thermos or four of coffee would have been amazing since there were no hot drinks on the course and nowhere to buy any along the way
  • Expect the unexpected - Sue saw a black bear at one point.  I never expected I would run more than half of a second leg plus a bunch of extra Kms.   We didn't think anyone would drop out - especially not the day before.  You never know how your body will react to the conditions.
  • One Imodium may bung you up for the entire day...but at least you won't need to deal with the shits on the race course (that one's for you, Shandell - since you liked it so much when I said it in the hotel room)
  • Always have a support vehicle nearby for every runner.  Even if they only need you once - at least they know you're there.
  • Bring SEVERAL changes of warm dry clothes and extra running socks and clothes.  It may seem like alot, but if you need them - at least you have them - Sue had to lend me a pair of running socks for legs 5 and 8, but they were too small and thinner than I was used to.  On leg 8, they had a seam that was giving me a hot spot on my toe.  I ended up changing into my own wet running socks from leg 1 to finish the leg.  Luckily I already know that even f they are wet, they wouldn't give me blisters.  But dry socks would have been nicer.
  • Bring a running hat.   I forgot mine and had to wear Sue's extra.  Thank goodness she had one.
  • Don't attend the Friday night dinner.  Yuck. and they hate vegetarians.
  • Despite how they say to arrive an hour in advance for the check-in at each leg - that is overkill.  It might have been worse at the later legs, but the early legs was pretty light for people.
  • The hills are hell.  Even if you think you've trained for hills - you haven't trained for THESE hills.
  • But the scenery is incredible.   Even with the low hanging clouds and pouring grey of the day - it was still a stunningly beautiful course.
  • Bring many cameras. There are no official on-course photographers. Your pics are your own resposibility - make sure you take a lot of them for each runner.
  • Know that you lose cell service by 16k of the first leg and don't get it back until halfway through leg 8.  Buy long range walkie talkies to talk between vehicles (so wish we'd thought of this)
Now for the big question...would I do it again?

Yes.  I probably would.   and knowing what I know now, it would be a better experience.  Will I do it next year?  Probably not.  But I would entertain the idea if I was ever asked again.  For a race that started off as tough as this one did for me - by the end it was one of the best race experiences of my life.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Race Recap: Kananaskis 100 Mile Relay - Part Four

Leg Eight - the game changer

As with many of the K100 teams - it wouldn't be a complete experience if your team didn't have a little drama.   Ours came in the form of a runner dropping out the day before.   Therese stepped up immediately and offered to run a second leg to save us from scrambling for a 10th runner.

Therese had come off leg 4 and immediately moved in as a shuttle and support driver for legs 6 and 7.  She hadn't had a chance to stretch or eat.   Before she went to the start of leg 8, she wanted to make sure she had a backup in case she couldn't do it.  I said I was feeling good so could step in if she needed it - never expecting she actually might.  She's a superstar runner.  I don't think she even took a walk break on leg 4!

But by 5k, she was suffering with knee issues.  I had to prepare to take over.  Alida had left her gatorade in Sue's truck so I chugged that and a downed a gel.  I guzzled some water and suited up in my rain gear.  Of course - it was raining again.

It was tough to get to Therese to hand off, though.   The traffic through leg 8 was really slow and congested.  The forced starts for legs 9 and 10 were at the same time so everyone was trying to get there in time.   But by 7k, we had caught up to her and she was really struggling.  I hopped out and a quick picture was snapped...




Then I was off.  The idea was to just run fora bit to give Therese a break and then she'd take over close to the finish.
 

But I felt amazing out there.  So strong.  So fast.   I was having the time of my life!


By 4k - I said the leg was mine and I took the bib and went on to rock it!   The rain cleared up and I ditched the hat and jacket with Sue. At the one mile to the finish point, I got one last drink from Sue and told her to head to the finish to cheer me in.

Here I am, finishing super strong. 


 
 



This was the end of about 30k for me in a single day!!!

There's still more...to be continued...



Race Recap: Kananaskis 100 Mile Relay - Part Three

Scenes from a Support Crew

Alida was supporting Lucy along her leg, so Susan and I headed on to the start of leg 3 so she could check in.

I then supported Sue through her leg - probably drove her crazy I was taking so many pictures...

Me in the super sexy support vest


 The hand off - Lucy to Sue





Then it was Therese's turn to do leg 4

and then on to Alida on leg 5 - this was the toughest leg.  Straight uphill to Highwood Pass.  Originally, Sue and Alida planned to split it but then Sue got injured so Alida had to take it on herself...but both Sue and I were there to support her.  We each took turns running segments of the leg by her side.  I think I ran about 3 extra kms by her side on some uphill stretches..


At one point, we went ahead to see Shannon off on the forced start for leg 6...but on our way back, we made sure we had some snowballs...to cool Alida off with, of course...


Once Alida finished up - we carried on.   We supported Shannon along leg 6 and saw Shandell off on leg 7.   It was torrential downpouring again...




Our team was filled with rock stars!

Leg 8 is a tale all on it's own...and I''ll tell you about it tomorrow.

...to be continued...

Race Recap: Kananaskis 100 Mile Relay - Part Two

Race day...

The 3am and 3:30am alarms came too early.  Despite popping a melatonin, I had had trouble falling asleep and ended up with maybe 3 hours total in the tank.   But we had a start line to reach and we had to be there by 5.  We got up, ate, and dressed as quickly as we could.  I was glad I laid my clothes out before bed

I was also happy I brought a toaster with me, but my stomach was doing a dance that was definitely not nerves (jalapenos and bad sour cream came back to haunt me).  I only ended up eating half a bagel with peanut butter and a banana.   And an Imodium.   Breakfast of Champs, I tell ya...



Soon, Sue, Therese and I were on the road.  Alida and Lucy were leaving about 15 mins later and would meet us at the start of leg 2.  The rest of the team would arrive later in the day.

Ready to rock.
Oh...and it was pouring.  I must mention that.  Torrential downpour.


This is what my phone said, later....never a truer screenshot was taken...

Check in at the start line went much faster than anticipated.  The hour they ask for is a bit of overkill.   With my bib in hand, I went to sit in the car until closer to the 6am start.

As we sat, it seemed like the rain was letting up a bit.   It was only lightly raining when the gun went off.


The race started off really quickly.  I was struggling to keep up and this was with the 6am "slow" people.   I looked at my Garmin and I was doing about 5:09/k for pace.  I needed to slow down or I would burn out and need my support vehicle to drag me to the hand off.  It was time to run my own race.

I slowed slightly as we looped through Longview and then came out onto the highway.   As I ran, I saw Barefoot Neil and his camera - though we'd never met in person (just on twitter), he cheered me past by name.   Later, on the highway, he slowed down as he passed to introduce himself, in case I hadn't figured out who he was.  

Thanks to his blog posts about the k100 last year, I was totally prepared for how crazy the traffic would be as we left the town.  Bumper to bumper as far as the eye could see.


I was feeling good, though a bit cement-legged.  My poor food choices and lack of Friday hydrating was giving me cramps, but I was managing them.  The biggest obstacle was the rain.  It was pouring steadily.  I started off wearing my rain jacket, but it was so warm out that I felt like I was in a sauna.  I ended up ditching it by 2k and then just running in my tank.   


It was actually nice.  After 6k, I stopped cramping and felt pretty good.  And look - I wasn't in last place after all....



At 8k, my support people said they needed to head to the leg 2 handoff to use the portapotties and told me they'd be back soon.  I siad I'd be fine for a bit so off they went.

I was aiming (best case scenario) for 2 hours in leg one.  When I hit the halfway point, I was here...so I figured that wasn't bad for in the pouring rain.


And I was feeling FANTASTIC!


But then I took my gel at 10k...and emptied one bottle of Nuun.  My energy didn't pick up again like it normally would, so I decided to down a second gel to give me a sugar burst...and then drained my second bottle.  I was suddenly out of water and waiting for my people to get back.

13k.

14k.  BIG hill. (only hill so it was of course a BIG hill).  Dehydrating fast.
you can see the start of the hill in the distance.

Up the hill.  Down the hill.  15k. Still no support vehicle

  

16k - lost cell service.  My texts were not only going unanswered...but were now unreceived.

Instead, I focused on distracting myself with scenery.  That didn't work. It was apparent they weren't coming back.  This was quickly becoming the worst race I'd ever had.



Finally - I saw the "one mile to go" point and figured I would just do my best to get through and tag Lucy so I could be done.   The chute came into view and then I was in it. 


I pointed to my hand and said to Lucy "right here" and a high five later, she was gone.





The leg wasn't quite the 18.7k that was advertised.


I was dehydrated and upset.  The first thing I did was go off on Therese asking "where the hell was my support vehicle?" (I did apologize for that later.   She didn't deserve my heat of the moment anger.  I later found out that stomach issues had hit Sue and they COULDN'T come back) Then, I crumpled to the ground and the tears came.  It had been such a struggle.   I was over heating and mad and generally hating the world.

I guzzled about 6 cups of water.  There was no food at the end of my leg.  This was an EXTREMELY bare-bones race so I wasn't expecting that.  I figured no aid stations along the route would mean a decent spread at the end of each leg...I was wrong.

Garmin Geekery from Leg 1:





At this point it was only 8am...and we still had 12 hours to go in this race.  It was time to go support the rest...

...to be continued...