Saturday, August 31, 2013

Giveaway: #MyType is NOT the Stereotype #GetChickd

I have been an Ambassador for Chick'd Apparel for a few months now and you are all probably sick of hearing me rave about their capris (note to self: must order more).

I absolutely love everything about this company - from their amazing clothing to their eco-friendly attitude to the fact that everything is designed and MADE in Canada! I could seriously live in their capris!

Chick'd is about so much more than just great athletic apparel.  From their website:
We created chick’d apparel in response to the lack of quality in North American made apparel.  After being discouraged by the names of too many third world countries on our apparel tags, we decided to change the way our clothes are made.  We design and manufacture our high quality women’s apparel in Toronto, Canada.  We use environmentally conscious and sustainable fabrics whenever possible, to create unique and flattering apparel for women.  We also started chick’d to create a healthy community of strong and dedicated women who regularly surpass their own expectations and overcome life’s many obstacles.  Whether you run, walk, bike, hike, do yoga, pilates, crossfit or any other activity, you are always welcome in the chick’d community.
We want to help women celebrate themselves, their accomplishments and understand that they are worth it!  We do not believe in the exploitation of any population for financial gain and believe that a quality garment can be designed and made in North America for an affordable price.  It is our firm belief that there is strength in numbers and if we can support each other in all of our pursuits, we are unstoppable! Please contribute, communicate, like, pin, connect and support all the chicks in your and our communities! You rock chicks! 

and...Now's your chance to get yourself CHICK'D!

To coincide with the launch of the #MyType campaign, Chick'd has provided me with a pretty awesome giveaway - an amazing tee (value: $35.99) to show everyone on your runs and in your life that your type is not the stereotype.

#MyType is for our chick’d family; past, present and future. We want you to be inspired by who you are and what you can achieve, and in turn, share your story with us! Take control of your life, embody the chick’d spirit, and demonstrate how #MyType is not the stereotype applies to you! Watch our videos, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with the #MyType campaign!

You can enter in the widget below. Contests starts now and runs until September 7, 2013 at 11am (Mountain Time). I will announce the winner later that day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And while we're on the topic of Chick'd, make sure you check out the guest post I have over on their blog this week!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Reads: The Underland Chronicles (series) by Suzanne Collins

Yes - that would be the same Suzanne Collins who wrote The Hunger Games trilogy.   She didn't just appear and instantly have a hit.  But this series is brilliant YA fiction on its own.  While geared at a younger audience than Hunger Games, Collins has managed to have a much less brutal adventure that can be enjoyed by both young and old.

The premise:  It all starts with Gregor doing laundry with his toddler sister in their New York apartment building.  At 11, Gregor has been forced to grow up too quickly after his dad vanished when he was 9 and his mother was left caring for not only her three children, but also an elderly grandmother who is unable to care for herself.   The family is struggling both financially and for answers.  Then, something quite mysterious happens and Gregor and his tiny sister are sucked into a hole behind one of the machines and, the next thing they know, they are being greeted by giant cockroaches in the Underland.

After being carried to their beautiful human city of Regalia, Gregor learns that there was a prophecy, written hundreds of years earlier, foretelling of his arrival and the important role he will play.

In each of the books, Gregor is cited as "The Warrior" and deemed necessary to save the Underland as each prophecy states he will. His toddler sister, Boots, somehow falls into the adventures with him - lending an interesting twist to an adventure story as this pre-teen hero also needs to deal with the needs of a two year old.  When the giant cockroaches in the Underland decide that Boots is a princess - she starts to fulfill the prophecies further and becomes central to the plotline.

The series is comprised of 5 books, each teeming with adventure and with each passing page, we get to further explore this rich world right beneath our very own.   Collins has built an incredible landscape for her characters and has filled it with interesting inhabitants.  I devoured all of the books in about a week...mainly because I couldn't put them down.  These are a REALLY good read and I do recommend them.  

Fine literature, they are not, but for a great adventure story that will keep you turning pages and picking up the next book - this is it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Race Report: 2 By 2 Rebuild the Zoo 2.5k Fun Run

Tonight, my little family (plus my mother in law) all headed out to the Grand Reopening of the Shawnessy Running Room.   When Tina first told me about this little fun run, I didn't think it would be possible for us to attend with our long commute, but then I discussed it with Hubby and we decided the 2.5k would be a fun one for us to do with the girlies.

It was $10 and all of the fee would go towards the Zoo's rebuilding efforts.

Plus - there were to be medals for all of the finishers!  You know me...<cough>medalwhore<couch>

So, after some family carb loading at IHOP (note to self: do not eat the red velvet pancakes as a's like saying cupcakes are dinner and you are now too old for such nonsense), we headed over to the Shawnessy Running Room to meet up with Hubby's mom and Michelle and Tina, who were running the 5k.

I grabbed our bibs and the girls were so excited to choose their own numbers and get them pinned on (though Doodle was not happy I was poking holes in her dress)

The whole thing was supposed to kick off with a ribbon cutting for the Shawnessy Grand Re-opening and then the race could be on it's way.  

6:30 came and went.  then 6:45 came and went.  We killed time by dancing to Tarzan Dan and taking loads of photos.

It was nearly 7 by the time we were shuffled over to the start arch.

It was hard to hear what was being said over the megaphones, but with very little fanfare, we were soon walking painfully slowly through the archway.  As we were walking, Michelle and Tina decided they were going to stick with us for the 2.5k and just have a slow fun one.

Across the parking lot and then out to the sidewalk.

We had pretty much resigned ourselves to this being the slowest 2.5k in history.  When we had a moment to breakaway, we totally did

Soon, the grand plan started to become clear as the crowd poured into this little greenspace on the other side of the tracks.

No arch, but this was apparently the real start line.

With the sound of an airhorn, we were off for real.  Buggie has all the makings of a racer...she took off like a flash with the crowd.  Little miss independent.

The race followed a public pathway, but the path was very congested at the start so we ran along the grass beside to get past the crowds.  Soon things had thinned out enough that we could move to the path.

Doodle was complaining that her hip hurt so we would run a little then walk a while.  Some piggybacking happened.   Every now and then, there would be a burst of energy and both girls would blast ahead with us adults on their heels.  Or they would doubleback to hold hands and help us old fogies along.

Pretty soon it was time to turn around

Energy was waning on the return trip and we ended up doing a fair bit of piggybacking.  Michelle even took on some piggyback racing duties...

and then, there was the finish line.  Bug crossed it on hubby's shoulder, but Dood crossed on her own

We crossed in around 23:30...meaning that for the first time, we averaged under 10mins/km instead of our usual 16...

and then there was the long trek back to the store so we could collect our medals.  The whole way, the twins chattered about wanting to run the race again and how awesome it was.

Back at the store, John Stanton was there handing out medals...

They were generic running room medals, but geesh, you'd think those midgets just won the olympics by how proud they were of them.

Afterwards, there was an assortment of drink options (water, coconut water, flavoured water) and pizza and cake.

We couldn't stay long because Cancerhound had been at home all day waiting for us to come home and we had a bladder to rescue.   So we were soon on our way.

Despite the organizational challenges with this run, it was still really fun to do as a group and with kids.  We liked supporting a great cause and getting active with our little family.  The girls also loved having my friends around to run with...I think spending time with my runner girls helps cement the importance of being active and really ups the fun factor.  Those two really pulled out all the stops to make this as fun as possible for those two little midges.  <3  my runner girls.

Would I do another weekday Running Room fun run?  Undecided.  It was fun, but with our commute it makes it hard - especially when things aren't exactly on a tight schedule.  And the medal - nothing to write home about but I couldn't really complain for a $10 charity race.  I think for someone without the commuting constraints we have and who lives in the neighbourhood the race is in - it is a fun way to support your community.  

Practically Tempo

I was just about to go get changed, when Katie messaged me to see if I was up for a run.  The only catch was that it had to be a quick one because she had an early meeting this afternoon.

I suggested 4k and that we push the pace a bit and get back as quick as we could.

So that's exactly what we did :)

We ran the Southwood Loop and I could definitely feel it in my conversation skills that we were pushing the pace.   In the end, we were back to the office in 27 mins and she made it to her meeting.

You can't tell from that pic, but I was positively dripping sweat into my eyes. The summer heat has started to mellow a bit but it is still damn hot out there.

The nice part of this run is that I was still able to converse at this pace...and run continuously...that should bode well for maintaining this kind of pace in my upcoming races...

That first km has a really bitchy hill so that pace is a win!

This isn't it for my run today...I still have a fun one with my little family tonight as we are doing the 2.5k fun run at the Zoo Fundraiser for the Grand re-opening of Shawnessy Running Room!  I'll be back with cute kid pictures later ;)

Monday, August 26, 2013

So Much for Winging It

All day Saturday I tried to plan for my Sunday long run.  I seriously had no clue when I'd start or where I'd run from.   Even when I went to bed that night, I was close to saying that I would just run gravel roads from my house whenever I woke up.  I set my alarm for early so I could get it in before the day got too warm.

Up with the sun

But when I woke up and had break, I figured I should probably go into the was just a matter of whether to run Fish Creek or to take my chances on Eau Claire.

There was one stretch that I have been dying to see how it fared in the I headed to Eau Claire and thought I would wing it and try to get as far toward Bonnybrook Bridge as I could.

Ok - I had a plan.  Kinda.

I knew that Eau Claire to Calf Robe Bridge is 10k but I also knew that the path around Bonnybrook Bridge would be closed since the derailment.  So I needed to add on a bit.  I decided that I'd start by running up to 10 Street and crossing over before heading east.  

I'd run this first part of the run since the flood and it has been pretty well restored - functionally - since then.  I mean, they are still rebuilding parts of the bank, but temporary pathways are in place so it is not full of detours.  

When I was almost to Edmonton Trail, I reached the first path closure

The path underneath Langevin Bridge is washed right up on the shore.
Taken later in the run when the angle was better.
I'll never forget the morning I was driving to work after dropping hubby off and I saw some guy ignore the closure and end up knee deep in the river.  How asleep do you have to be?

A quick detour across Edmonton Trail and I was on my way toward the zoo.   As soon as I reached the turnoff - I hit my first real flood detour.

Running around the zoo island was a no go...I had to detour across Memorial and come down the Nose Creek pathway.  No problem.

While I was there, I figured I might as well make a pitstop. and have a good stretch.

Then I carried on down the pathway.  There were a couple of cyclists out there and one other woman passed me running.  When she made a left turn over the creek, I (non-creepily) decided to follow her because I wanted to see if that path would be the one that ran along Deerfoot.

It was.  (She was also much faster than me so it's not like I was really following her...totally not creepy.  She was outta sight in seconds)

The path over there was much less cleaned up than any others I had been on.  There were still piles of silt alongside the path near Harvie Passage

and the path itself was still really silty as well

It was really loud along Deerfoot and I wasn't that comfortable running somewhere so isolated solo, so I made the decision early that I would cross over at Blackfoot and get back onto the other side of the river.

It was from the bridge that I really saw how Inglewood was hit...heartbreaking

Just a shear cliff along the residential.  But I still didn't get how bad it was.  It didn't take long before I hit construction fencing...because the pathway just ended.

Yeah - it's going to be a while before THAT is runable again.

No problem, though, I knew a detour that would take me over to Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.

And then I hit the BIG STOP SIGN

Pathway closed from the Bird Sanctuary onward and no easy detour.  There would be no reaching Bonnybrook this day.  Boo.

So I headed back along the detour I'd just taken.  I just love this neighbourhood.  It's really too bad it's so close to the river.  Oh and that it is freakishly expensive to buy a house in...

As I was coming out on the pathway again, I made a new friend.  It's too bad JS wasn't with me - she would have loved him!  In fact - if I hadn't had 10k still to run, I might have tucked him under my arm for my own family...he was such a little sweetie and had no tags or tattoo...

I spent a fair bit of this middle portion walking and taking photos so my pace was super slow (and most of my pictures blew so it's not even like I have something to show for it)

So I carried on...

I was really happy to see the new bridge construction is underway over the Elbow...that will cut a bunch of zigzagging off of running that way once it's finished.

I cut across Fort Calgary

Saw a pirate ship

and made another pitstop at the scary robotic bathrooms in the East Village.  Checked out some new public art...LOVE IT!

About here, I faced the reality that I was coming up short on distance.  I'd hoped to just be able to stop at Eau Claire, but I needed about 3k and that is what that loop back up to 10th Street would give me so I was going to need to pass the finish line before I doubled back to cross it.

I crossed over at Edmonton Trail and carried on - feeling a bit tired, overheated and dead at this point.  I passed Leana's hubby around Centre Street Bridge though I wasn't sure if it was him or not.  I just said Hi and checked with her later where she confirmed I had recognized correctly (I've only met him once or twice).  

I plodded ever onward, crossed over at 10th and hauled my ass back to Eau Claire.  I was ready to be done so I decided to turn up the speed a bit and race it in.  I truly amazed myself here at the pace I could maintain after running 18.5k.

But it felt so good to stop...and I was rewarded with two Bernese Mountain Dogs in the dog obedience class on the plaza outside the Y

Another long run completed.   And enough adventure for one day.  It is still quite draining for me to see all of the flood damage.  While the cleanup has come so far in two months - it is going to be a very long road.

And some Garmin Geekery since I know you're waiting on the edge of your seat to see how slow I went this week...