Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ottawa 1/2 marathon! I did it!

“Everything went as it was planned, clearly, without difficulties. This is a great success.”
Gaele Winters

Here we are at breakfast, before heading to Ottawa.
Family and friends, runners and cheerleaders, all wearing our custom made red t-shirts.
The shirts were made by my super sis-in-law and I (we took pics of our running shoes and then printed them on iron-on transfers). The name of our group is "Les Lacets Rouge" (translates to "the red shoelaces"). Indeed, all the runners in our group wore red shoelaces :) you can sort of see that on the front of our t-shirts (above), we lined up all our running shoes and tied the red shoelaces together. 
Here I am with my super sis-in-law picniking at the race kit pick-up site. If you enlarge the picture, you can sort of see that the back of the t-shirt has a circle made with all our running shoes and again the red shoelaces are tied together. We are very proud of our t-shirts! They were perfect for finding each other in the crowd.
Here we are with John Stanton, the founder of the Running Room stores and training programs. It was his training program that guided us in fulfilling this dream! Thanks Mr. Stanton.

This reminds me that I learned something important during my race. Most of you know that I was doing the 10/1 method and some of you suggested that I make sure to move to the side when I stop to walk. What I noticed is that MOST runners (not all) do move to the side before walking. However, I also noticed that many of them raise their right arm before stopping as a warning to people behind them that they are about to walk. I thought that was a great idea and I used it everytime I took a walk break. The nice thing about this, is that when I saw someone's hand go up, I knew I'd have to move around them and I was prepared. I wish everyone did this!
And we're off!
Here you can see my red shoelaces :)
I am about to high five my son and I'm probably yelling "wooooo"

Maybe you can tell, from above pic, that the heat wave warning was a false warning...ah our local weather is so often wrong I should never worry in advance. Finally, we had a predicted high of 22°C/72°F cloudy skies and even a few light sprinkles of drizzle. Perfect running weather! I will have more cool race photos soon and maybe even a short video. Until then, let me give you a recap of the actual race.

Short version: I am extremely proud of myself...I felt great and I needed no bathroom breaks. I took water only once (just in case, but I had my fuel belt) and I took a wet sponge once, but didn't have to stop for that. My goal was to hopefully come in under 2h30m...AND...

Chip time: 2h21m30s (automatic PB - first half-marathon)
Female placement: 3513/5329
Age group (50-54): 195/403 :)

Long version: Saturday, we were at the restaurant a little after 8:30am for breakfast with our Red crew and then we were off to Ottawa. We spent the afternoon checking in, getting our race kits, picniking and then rushing back because my brother and his three kids were racing in the 5K at 5pm. I didn't end up having time to visit the expo at all, I just walked quickly through it and stopping. We then spent the rest of the afternoon at the race site, which was teaming with almost 10,000 5K racers plus their families and before we left, the 10K people were getting ready to go. It was crazy! But, everyone did great and it was worth the elbowing room only. We then made it to the restaurant for 6:30pm for a nice pasta dinner. By then, my feet needed a rest because we had been standing and walking around all afternoon. After dinner, I realized I would need more water for my race the next day, so off to a 24-hour convenience store I went (a little more walking for good measure). Then, after a warm bath, off to bed, where I was hoping the arms of Morpheus would welcome me.

I slept relatively well and was awake before the alarm. Luckily, our race was at 9:15am (second wave), so we got up around 6:45am to have breakfast and get ready. We left the hotel around 8:25 and made it without too much wait time. I decided to slip in at the back of the 2:15 group, but right in front of the 2:30. I felt really good throughout. By the halfway mark, the family was there to cheer me on and I was raising my arms and yelling with them and feeling great. There was lots of encouragement along the way, the people were awesome and there were cool bands. Anecdote: We had been warned about getting goosebumps and how that could mean that we needed to hydrate. However, at one point, I was running along and I could hear a band doing the intro to the Flashdance song - What a Feeling. Just as I reached them, they broke into the chorus: "What a feeling, bein's believin' - I can have it all, now I'm dancin' for my life - Take your passion, and make it happen - Pictures come alive, you can dance right through your life"...I totally got goosebumps...and I don't think I was dehydrated :)

When I reached 18K, I decided not to walk anymore until the finish and by 19K, I picked it up a bit and finished strong, passing quite a few people along the way. I crossed the finish line in 2h21m30s (chip time), which I am more than pleased with as my goal was to make it in under 2h30m...YAY!!
We did it!
Yes, we did the twin thing...remember, we are "Les Lacets Rouge" ;)

More race pics to come...and I'm sure I'll think of other interesting things to share with you. This race was everything I hoped it would be. Interestingly, I felt no pain, other than a little pain on top of my left foot, during the race. This evening is another legs have a few creaky parts and my abs are sore (what's that about?)...but, I'm quite sure all I need is a good night's sleep. So, good night!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


“It ain't the heat; it's the humility.”
Yogi Berra

Mother nature definitely has a sense of humor. Only three weeks ago, I ran my first race (10K) in the cold and snow...and for my second race this Sunday (half-marathon), we will be in the midst of a heat wave. To be honest, I'm terrified a little worried. On Monday, we went for a run at 5:30pm and after 5K I couldn't continue...I was soaking wet and I was only wearing a sports bra and shorts. Today, we needed to complete 10K, our last run at race pace before R-day. We waited and went around 7:30pm (morning wasn't possible). It was still in the high 20's (80's), but there was some cooling wind and it was bearable. So we did it...and although it wasn't too bad, I still find it much more difficult in this weather. Thank goodness many of you have written posts with lots of advice to help us run in this weather. Thanks bloggers (I know I should have remembered who's blogs I got this information from, but I didn't think of it at the time)! 

The not-so-good news:
I've never done a half-marathon before
I'm from Québec, body reacts well to cold and snow, but it only expects heat in July
I'm a newbie, this is my first week ever of training in the heat
It feels like any water I drink goes directly out through my pores (I sweat like crazy)
I don't do Gu

The better news:
I'm used to running with a fuel belt - with four bottles (28oz. in all)
I'm used to eating sports beans and drinking Gatorade
I use the 10/1 method, so I have a few breaks along the way
Race starts at 9am, so it should be a bit cooler
I've survived my training runs this week

SO, I choose to not worry too much and just do the best I can. I will not worry about my pace at all and I will focus on listening to my body and keeping hydrated! I've been drinking water all day over the last few days and will continue doing so. I plan to focus on carbs over the next three days...and I'm going to avoid fiber and dairy as much as possible. Finally, I'm in bed by 10:30 and will continue until race day and beyond. If there's anything I haven't thought of...please let me know. I am grateful for any advice I can get. My main goal, is to complete my half-marathon and avoid pain. I am getting so excited!!!

Thanks everyone for your encouragement throughout my training.
Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


“I am adaptable, flexible, versatile, and ambitious. I am confident that I can do it all. Just give me a chance and you will see.” Anonymous

Thanks to Kerrie at Mom vs Marathon for this cute Versatile Blogger award.
Now, I must tell you seven fun things about myself.

1) Almost everytime I write the word marathon I mindlessly add a "g" at the end...marathong :) ...I really don't know why!

2) When my daughter was about 3 years old she asked me the following questions: "Do we grow by the head or by the feet?" and another time, after I told her to go to bed if she wanted to grow tall, she answered, "You'll see, I'll go to bed, and tomorrow, I won't even be tall!"

3) Yesterday, I was in downtown Montreal, on Crescent street, where there's a lot of terrasse action. I was walking along with a girlfriend when I saw a $20, a $10 and a $5 dollar bill on the ground. I picked them up and heard someone calling to me from a terrasse above me, I looked up and they pointed to the person who had dropped the money. I ran and gave the person their money. Someone yelled out "Good karma, it's going to come back to you" and the guy who had told me who it was gave me a thumbs up. It was a warm and fuzzy moment.

4) I once won a bike...I had only filled out one coupon, for a bottle of water I bought at the University cafeteria, the one and only time I went there.

5) While in a Cree community in Northern Québec, I once walked to the school where we were working (5 minutes away) in -45°C/-49°F weather...only our eyes weren't covered and ice formed on our lashes.

6) Whenever I run with my ipod (whether it be outside or at the gym) certain songs come on that I find very difficult not to sing along to. I sometimes move my lips without making any sound...but, I'm afraid one day, when I'm in the zone, I'll just break into song without realizing it (maybe I already have)!

7) Yup, that's right, 7 days, 10 hours, and 30 minutes to my first half-marathong ;)...but who's counting? Oh yeah, ME!!!

Running related, all is good...this week is race pace, with a maximum of 10K and lots of rest days. I guess it's "taper" week...I feel so cool using that word in relation to my running. Finally, I can't wait to show you some of the fun things that my "Team" is putting together for our first'll have to wait and see!!

I hope you're having a nice weekend!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Milestone...and how I started.

“Goals are dreams with deadlines.”
Diana Scharf Hunt

My goal, was to run 1000K this, I broke the 500K mark...and we're in May! That's 327 miles, which means that I should reach my 500 mile Pay it Forward goal before the end of the year. It is seriously hard for me to believe how far I've come. Here's the abridged version of how I got to this point...

Because of the asthma, I knew I needed to do something to improve my lung capacity. So I started walking in 2005. Then in September 2007 I started going to the gym three times a week. I had gained 30 pounds on corticosteroids and I didn't like what was happening to my body. It helped, but it wasn't enough.

In 2009, I turned 50, and I wanted to do everything I could to improve my health. So, I decided to try running. Why did it take so long you ask...let me tell you why. I hated running. Every time I had tried running, I did not enjoy myself. I was breathless within minutes. That's why. But, I always wished I loved running and I always envied people who ran, which explains why I wanted to try it one more time. I started at the gym, my trainer had me run for 1 minute, walk for 1 minute, then more running, less walking. I also started going for short runs outside, but I always ended up walking before I reached 1K, then I'd run a bit more and walk some more. I still found it really hard. One day, I read a book about staying young through running and it explained how to use a cardio-monitor to gauge how fast one should be running in order to stay within our aerobic zone. I went out and bought a cardio-monitor the next day and wore it on my next outdoor run. I quickly realized that I had been running too order to stay within my aerobic zone, I practically had to trot in place! But, I could run for longer and I wasn't finding it as hard. THAT is when I first started to enjoy running. On September 12, 2009, uber hubby mapped out a 3K run for me, I felt ready to run 3K non-stop. What he didn't tell me, was that he had mapped out a 5K run, just in case I felt good enough to keep going...and I did! That day, I ran 5K non-stop for the first time. I think it took me about 40 minutes. I was breathless for like 5 minutes afterwards and I was exhausted. But, I was so proud of myself. I still didn't find running easy, but I was enjoying it much more and I was definitely addicted. Still, at this point, I could not even imagine running a half-marathon. That is, until I discovered the Running Room 10/1 method. That was the second turning point! I joined a Running Room clinic and...

Now, here I am, 8 months, a good dose of discipline and determination, and 505Ks later...
I am one of them! 
...and I am about to run my first half-marathon!

p.s. A few of you mentioned that I looked really tiny in my previous post pictures...I am 5 feet 7 inches tall, not so's just a wierd optical illusion where I was standing :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010


"I'm so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark."  Muhammad Ali ;)

This week has been very busy and I was feeling quite tired by mid-week. Wednesday evening, as I was coming home from work, it was still light out and I decided to go for my missed tempo run. I have to admit that it was really hard to "just do it" and very tempting to "just relax" at that point. So, the minute I walked in the door, I went and got changed and headed out the door before I could change my mind. I did it and was very pleased. Then Thursday night was my running group. I swear I felt like closing my eyes as I was driving over to the Running Room store. Once there, we had our clinic and then headed out for an 8K steady run. I started out feeling okay and it was nice because I chatted with Laurence throughout our run. But, after about 6K I was feeling sort of dizzy, so we slowed down a bit. Thankfully, it passed and by 7K, I was doing better and once again, I did it. Still, I was exhausted when I got home.

Friday was a rest day and I was feeling tired all day. I was extra careful with my meals and snacks, just in case...and bedtime was no later than 10pm. I was a little worried because Sunday was our 20K (12.4 miles) and I'd never gone that far before.

Saturday, we had a 25th wedding anniversary celebration to attend and didn't get home until 11:30pm and to bed by midnight! Yikes!

Sunday is here and I was looking forward to running our 20K...I was excited to see how it would go. I started my day with a big breakfast - Half a banana; a sesame seed bagel with almond butter; a hard boiled egg; and orange juice. Then I got ready, managed to go to the washroom before the run (yes!), got dressed, a little body glide here and there and I was ready. What was missing was my Garmin, which I allowed uber hubby to wear today. Sigh. I missed my Garmin. I wore the cardio-monitor instead so I could have an idea of the time and to do my 10/1.
Before 20K

The weather was perfect, with a nice breeze...and I felt good! I did not have to stop for anything. Everything went smoothly. I ran using the 10/1 method and it certainly didn't slow me down...despite, a cramp on my right side near the end of the run (I walked it off and then was okay). Total time on the cardio-monitor was 2h10m! I kept asking uber hubby if he was sure we did 20K...I couldn't believe I ran it in that time and I know I could have kept on going...yes!
After 20K

This didn't just happen because I wished it...I worked hard to be where I'm at and I'm really proud of myself. I've been quite disciplined with completing most runs on my training schedule, plus some yoga, strength and core work. Now, I can't wait for race day to get here! I'm feeling very encouraged and ready for my first half-marathon in two weeks (that's 13 days, 10 hours, 45 minutes) but who's counting. :) 
I hope you all had a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits!

"Successful people do what unsuccessful people don't dare."
Don't know who said this, but I like it.

An interesting thing, is that I looked at my Garmin only once during my 10K race last Sunday. When I reached the 4K marker, I wanted to check whether my Garmin was on track and it was beeping 4K, right on. For some reason, I never even thought to check my Garmin. I'm a little surprised, because on my training runs, I tend to check on a pretty regular basis. I guess I was really focused. My pace didn't vary much either and never slowed. I had my fuel belt and so didn't need to stop for water or Gatorade. I even forgot to stop the Garmin after crossing the finish line. All I can remember is that I was running and feeling good. Please, may I feel so focused and good when I run my first ever half-marathon in less than 3 weeks! 

Today, I once again chose to complete my intervals on the Treadmill. I find it easier to control the speed. I doubled up and did 3 X 800m intervals (up from 400m last week) and near the end I did an extra minute at 7.5min/mile...happy! Then I did my gym workout, which I enjoy, and I held my plank for 2 minutes...more happy :)
Okay, almost bedtime...I'm being good about getting to bed around 10pm...athletes need their rest ;)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My FIRST race report...and thank you John Stanton :)

"I did it MY way..."

It is my pleasure to present to you, my very first race report. Today, I completed a 10K, right near my home. Also, my son, his girlfriend, my brother and his three kids were running the 5K. This is a very small local race and for the 10K, there were a total of 108 runners.
A group picture (I'm in pink on the left)...and let the races begin!
Missing from the picture is my super sister-in-law, who is healing her ankle so she can run the half-marathon with us in three weeks. I thought of you today Ju and I'm sending healing vibes your you!

Both the 5K and 10K were scheduled to start at 10:45am so no rushing in the morning, which was nice. As we were having breakfast, snowflakes were falling, the wind was howling and by the time we left, rain was upon us. BUT, the weather gods were on our side and when we got there, the rain slowed to a slight drizzle, then stopped completely and we even got glimpses of sun through clouds for a few seconds at a time (but the wind remained). I was at the start line with time to spare and since we started about 20 minutes late, that would be lots of time to spare. After jumping in place and doing what was necessary to stay warm, I was more than ready to go by the time they blew the horn.
And we're off...this is before pretty much everyone passed me :)

After I came around the loop for the first time, I ended up side by side with my son who was about to enter the finishing area for his 5K. He shouted out some encouragement to me, and I was able to encourage him to the finish, where I saw that his time was 24m46s...Yay him!! All through the race, my wonderful uber hubby took pictures and encouraged me, running from side to side (the race was a double loop) and catching my jacket and encouraging me some more...he was amazing. As usual, I started very slowly and many people passed me. There were probably about two people left behind me after the first kilometer. I admit this bothered me a little bit, but not enough to make me rush, I knew that if I wanted to have an enjoyable race, I had to run my own race.
After about 1K, there are very few people behind me, but I'm smiling.

Thanks to my awesome training plan (Stanton's Running Room plan), the inclines and small hills did not slow me down and that is where I ended up passing a few people. I believe I passed about 9 in all (but, who's counting) ;).
I'm the one smiling in front in blue (I took off my jacket).
Behind me are three people I passed after 8K...and one of them was a guy ;)
I felt great throughout the race and I enjoyed every minute, which is what I wanted. As I was nearing the last couple of hundred meters, my son, his girlfriend and uber hubby were all there yelling out the time and telling me that I could make it in under 61minutes if I son ran with me and with their encouragment I sprinted the last few hundred meters and crossed the finish line in 60m44s...and I am extremely proud of myself!
 Yay!! I may look like I'm suffering, but I'm smiling and well, I just sprinted!
I'm feeling amazing :) 
   Bonus, I came in 2nd out of 3 women in my age group and got a silver medal :)
Isn't that a cool picture...uber hubby yelled out "Come on ladies, arms up and cheer" and we did! Then, as we were cheering, my son yelled out, "Happy Mother's Day!" and everyone cheered with was such a wonderful moment.

The perfect first race!

Friday, May 7, 2010

May as well laugh :)

"If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it."
Erma Bombeck

We've been having some pretty amazing weather over the last few days, the sun is out and we are able to wear short sleeves...ah yes, perfect for a first race. So, I had no choice but to smile when I saw the forecast for my first ever race...
Yes, that is snow mixed in with rain and a maximum of 7°C (44°F). I guess I don't have to worry about getting over-heated :)

Anyways...this has been a crazy busy week...but, I did get my runs in and I am happy with how well they went. I did a 6K on Wednesday morning and it went surprisingly well, considering I only woke up after about 1Km of running. This early morning run reminded me how nice it is to start my day this way. Then on Thursday another smooth 8K run non-stop. I'm feeling ready for my 10K race on Sunday...and I don't care about the weather, bring it on, I've trained in worse...I think.

The weekend will be just as crazy busy as my week I'll be back after my race, hopefully with pictures of me smiling and crossing the finish line!

*Edit: I saw the pulmonary specialist today and my lungs are doing great...Yay!! He agrees wholeheartedly that running is one of the best things I've done to improve my lung's working! :)


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Another first!

“If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”
Albert Einstein
This whole running a half-marathon thing seemed so absurd a few short months ago...not so much anymore. It's hard to believe it is less than 4 weeks away...SO exciting! Now, the idea of running a full marathon seems pretty absurd...I guess we'll see what the future holds ;)

Today I completed my first interval training...I started with an 800 meter slow jog warm up, then 5 X 400 meter intervals interspersed with 400 meter slow jog cool downs (no walking at all!) I then ended with a 1.5 mile slow run. I actually did these on the treadmill today as I wanted to get a feel for the suggested speed. We were warned that we should not be sprinting, but running faster than we could hold for a whole race. So, my speed intervals were at approximately 8.5min/mile. Here's the amazing part...I liked it! I recuperated quickly and I felt great when I was doing my slow run at the was painless and I felt like I could have kept on keeping on forever. Speed was never something I thought about, but I used to dream of being able to run comfortably for miles...I can do that now! If someone had taken a picture, they would have once again caught me grinning to myself as I was running today :) ab pain is gone, I guess it was just a minor pull and because I didn't do any abs for a week, I was back to normal today...Yay! So, I did my jumps...if you decide to try these, please be sure to warm up well before you start, I have a feeling that may be the reason I hurt myself last week. Considering I had just finished my intervals on the treadmill, I was nicely warmed up. My whole workout felt great, I did 3 X 5 high and 5 long jumps (they're fun) and then the rest of my workout...which includes some nice core work. I want to give a shout out and special thanks to Laura for encouraging me to increase my core workouts through her challenge!

Today was a very encouraging day and I am getting SOOO excited about my first ever race this coming Sunday, which is a 10K!! The plan is to run it non-stop. The most I've ever run non-stop is 8K, yet I'm not worried about that...BUT, please let me not have to stop to desperately go to the washroom during the race (what a waste of precious time)! I have no time goals as this is my first experience, I just want to enjoy it and feel good. Anyways, no matter what my time is, it will be a PR :)


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Don't think about a white polar bear!

"It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe."
Muhammad Ali

If you are trying hard not to think about something, well that something is pretty much all you can think about. Like when you have to go to the washroom while you're running. Yesterday was my second 18K (11.2 miles) and mostly it went really well...except that at about kilometer 3 I realized I was going to need a washroom break (again). This was not going to be possible until kilometer 12! At first it wasn't too bad, but by kilometer 8, that's pretty much all I could think about. According to Garmin, kilometer 12 was my fastest :) I was almost there and I was pushing it! After that necessary, but very quick break, off we went for the last 6K...ahhhh, I could once again appreciate what a beautiful area we live in. Otherwise, it was a good run with uber hubby, who took a few pics during the first half.
I wore my running skirt for the first time on a long run and was a little worried about chafing...didn't happen! I was really glad, because I'm planning on wearing it for my half-marathon.

This is our bike trail...note that spring is back...snow is gone. The cool thing about yesterday's 18K is that, my splits were slightly faster than last week's 18K (Overall, my time was 3 minutes faster )...that's 2h8m10s. Yes, I was happy with that...
“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.”  ;)
William Shakespeare 

On Friday, Miglena and I went for a short run together after which we went to the spa for the rest of the day. It was great...we had relatively beautiful weather and we relaxed and enjoyed the nordic thermal experience, while chatting away. A wonderful day!

Hope you're enjoying a relaxing Sunday...Cheers!