Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm B-A-C-K

Not that I went anywhere, but it seems I've been neglecting my blog. Oops. Life just got in the way, I suppose...a quick trip to Monday night football in New Orleans, a cold, Christmas baking and shopping, being stuck in nasty winter traffic induced by the current not runner friendly weather we've been having...

Two things.

One- please watch these videos. They're about 90 seconds each. They will help you to purchase new shoes. It's smart use of time. Promise. They will help you determine if you are an over-pronator, under pronator or a neutral runner.

Two- I've joined a running group. We do speedwork at the track at MRC on Thursday nights and there is an optional group long run on Sunday that leaves from the Parkdale area. SO excited. The target race for the group is a half but I'm going to run the Manitoba full instead. Yes, yes, yes. Already can't wait.

Peace out.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Running Stressed

It's Christmas time (well in a month it is, anyway...) and people are STRESSED!

The pressure of finding the perfect gifts for all of the wonderful people in your life, organizing time to spend with family and friends, preparing for a big trip away...Christmas...wonderful AND stressful!

Do yourself a favour. Go running. Keep running. And even better, do it outside in the crisp winter air. Trust me, all that fresh air and those lovely little exercise induced endorphins will reduce your stress level and keep you smiling and humming those Christmas carols.

For an excellent read on running stressed, check out the following article from Runner's World...,7120,s6-238-267--13333-2-1-2,00.html

Take a second and have a look- it just might save you this Christmas!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


That’s it. My running purist days are over. Yep, that’s right. O-V-E-R.

I’m going to start training with a gadget. And that gadget is a Garmin!

Garmin- a lovely little wrist-watch type GPS that keeps track of:

Heart Rate
Where in the world you are running
Where you are in relation to your goal pace (note: I plan on ALWAYS being ahead- hee)
Lap times

And I’m sure a zillion more things that I haven’t even figured out yet.

I must give credit where credit is due…the Garmin was purchased for me by my biggest and tallest fan for my birthday upon returning from his never ending trip to the Sahara Desert. What a lovely and thoughtful gift for a running crazed lunatic like me! Anyhow, I went for my first official run with my Garmin on Sunday. Those of you who know me well will know that I have a wee bit of a competitive side, and Garmin sure does nurture that competitive side! I was in a MAJOR race with Garmin. MAJOR. It really, really did push me to run much faster than I normally would…so I do believe this is going to be revolutionary for me. That’s right- all sorts of good can only come of this as I will train harder, faster and smarter, all thanks to that little gem on my wrist…and to the tall guy who purchased it!

Second: There is going to be a revolution. A running one. Let’s just call it a Running Revolution. Deets to follow. Stay tuned…

P.S.- AC is running the Santa Barbara marathon in just a short 19 days! Wow. Nice work, lady! The Winterstart crew is certain that you are going to rock it out. Rock.It.Out. Especially since you aren’t even the slightest bit concerned about a bathroom pit stop. Hee. PLEASE everyone- positive thoughts and energy her way through the last little bit of training and for the race!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Up The Mountain We Went!

Ains and Pyb came. We ran. We flipped. We did not get kicked out of our hotel. A monumental Winterstart for sure.

I should mention that it was a fabulous night for a run. Just as one should picture an evening run in the town of Banff…lovely snow falling against the mountain and tree back drop…picturesque indeed! Albeit a bit slick! But I am happy to report that no one wiped out on the run. After the bar on the way home, however, was an entirely different matter; and no, it wasn’t me! Luckily enough the only injury was to the “pride” as this lovely reported to the RCMP officer who witnessed the fall. Too bad this didn’t translate into a ride back to the hotel!

I would like to share the following (FUNNY) Winterstart results with ya’ll…

204 28/213 F3039 843 Andrea RICE Calgary 43:50 8:46
205 29/213 F3039 254 Amanda ELLIS Calgary 43:51 8:47
206 30/213 F3039 842 Ainsley RICE Winnipeg 43:51 8:47

Why so funny? Well, for starters, Ellis didn’t run as she is nursing an injured knee. So Ains ran with her own chip timer AND Ellis’…just because…and Ains and I ran together…so it’s VERY funny that Ellis managed to appear ahead of her in the results! Hee. Anyhow, another Winterstart bites the dust. And I hope to recover in time to participate next year.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Yes! It's finally here. WINTERSTART! Love Winterstart! LIVE for Winterstart! So excited for a weekend of fun and shenanigans with my peeps in Banff!

A small list of the things I have been looking forward to re: Winterstart...

1. Ains and Pyb making the annual trek for the event
2. Visiting with the larger group of "those girls" of which I am a card holding member and proud of it!
3. Wine, beer and hopefully NO shooters!
4. Flippy cup. Really, I left this for number 4?
5. Staying out of trouble (?) and hopefully out of jail. Eep! Good thing we have lawyers in the group (at least 4 or so I'm told...)

And lest I forget, the "intended" purpose of the yearly fun that is Winterstart...the run up (2.5 miles UP the mountain, and then 2.5 down) Tunnel Mountain on Saturday night. What could be better than a quick 5 mile night run complete with snowflakes and glow sticks. FUN!

One more thing...I also need to mention that my biggest and tallest fan is here! Yay! After a LONG almost 3 month wait, he is finally here. And although he won't be in Banff for the race, I am looking damn forward to the care he will provide me on Sunday post run, which will certainly be more for my post Winterstart hangover.

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Shoes!

No offense New Balance, but your shoes are stiff. STIFF. Like my feet are cramping a bit stiff. But they sure are pretty. And this fact alone has lead my to wear my brand new orange and white New Balance shoes to work today. Also today, I’m sporting my brand new Chicago marathon T, purchased very generously by one JRICE as she hit up the Big C just prior to marathon weekend. Nothing like moonlighting as a marathon runner! Practically every person I see hits me with, "WOW- did you run in the Chicago marathon?" To which I smile pleasantly and respond, “No, I plan to someday!"

Anyhow- I digress. Really, what I wanted to put out there in the world today was a great big thank-you to the Harvest Half Marathon and the Tech Shop, as they are responsible for the fabulous new kicks I'm sporting. No, I have not managed to become a sponsored marathoner (I WISH!) but I am thrilled to report (and also slightly embarrassed) that back at the beginning of October when I ran in the Harvest Half Marathon, I somehow managed to cross the line first for women. While I would like to attribute this first and likely only win to my exceptional training and dedication, I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty that it was probably a huge fluke, and one I’m relatively certain won't be repeated. There are simply too many variables on race day to ever go into a race believing you're going to win it. The good news is that along with the glory of being able to say that I crossed the line first, I won a prize! YAY! New Balance shoes from the Tech Shop…which I picked up last weekend and have been wearing all week. I am hugely appreciative to have won these shoes! Although I’m not going to make the switch to actually train and run in New Balance, I am very happy to have a new pair of “wear around” shoes. Thanks Harvest Half marathon! Thanks Tech Shop! Thanks a million!

For those of you who train religiously on the pavement, paths, track or treadmill, you know just what I mean when I say that new shoes are just a lovely little treat for your feet, knees, hips and lower back. And while new shoes are a bit pricey, I’d like everyone who has been putting off the purchase of new running shoes to consider the wear and tear that running has on your body. Let’s be honest- it’s significant. Our bodies certainly were not made to withstand the punishment of marathon training. So while the $150 bucks may seem like a bit of a stretch when there are other bills to pay and more “fun” items to purchase (I can think of about a million), consider it an investment in your “joint” health. Believe me, when your 40, 50 or 60, your joints will remember the favour and will pay you back ten fold. And hopefully your running career can continue into your old age because your body is happy!

And one last little note before I get back to the task of enlightening the student world with my vast knowledge of biology (?), I should mention that I am scaling back on the running. Time to let the injuries heal and the body prepare for the next round of punishment…oops I mean training. After all, now that I’m wearing the shirt from Chicago, I should actually earn the right to say I ran in it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Human Race

In exactly 11 minutes I will be leaving to run in the Nike+ Human Race...

Very cool. Very, VERY cool!

And just in case anyone's wondering...

I AM A CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER! YAY! And I am ready to assess your posture, range of motion and write you a program. Whether you want to train for a marathon, half, 10k or hit the gym to recommit to health and fitness, let me know...I AM YOUR WOMAN!

And now I must run...

P.S. I can train you...or your mother...or your brother...or your lover...or your mother's brother's lover...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weather and Hills

Saturday, October 3rd...what a lovely morning for a run! And so we did just that...

For those of you that recall, the 3rd was the Harvest Half Marathon, a nice, little UPHILL run through Fish Creek Park. I hadn't run this one in about 4 years, and the last time I undertook this half was post-flooding in Calgary and thus the route was very different. This year, the run, while very beautiful, was on an entirely different course than the one I did years ago. And again, I repeat, it was UPHILL. Ugh. It wasn't the physical toll of hills that was terribly taxing since I am religious in my hill training, however, hills on race day do require a bit of a different mindset that I didn't have right off the bat. It took me a bit, but I did eventually get there; like the sign in Boston said- "Mind over body, body over hill"!

I should also note that when my alarm went off that the rain was pouring down. Not drizzling or showering, POURING. And the temperature was hoovering right around zero which translates into rain translating into snow. This caused a moment or two of complete and utter panic in which I loaded up every single piece of running gear I own into my car on the off chance that I may have to sport some (or all) of it. The good news is that the weather gods did prevail and it stopped raining just before the run began and didn't start snowing until after the run was over. Thank goodness for small miracles as running wet equals complete and total misery for this girl!

I would like to point out that I was not alone in running this half...I had two lovelies running with me who had caught the running bug after completing the Calgary half way back in May! A huge congratulations is in order to both of these running crazies who took time of the mark they had set in the Calgary half; and on a much, much tougher course! Way to go ladies! You are both incredibly awesome and I hope you are taking a well deserved break from running. As for myself, I had hopes of getting under 1:30...but was going to be very happy with anything under 1:33, my previous personal best. And I clocked in at 1:32. Which made me smile. It was an incredibly HARD run in more ways than one. Besides the hills and the weather, wrapping my head around strategy for a half (TOTALLY different that marathoning) was interesting. I generally consider myself a slow starter and in the shorter distance there is simply no time to get off to a slow start! If you are pushing for a time then you really do have to push right from the start. There certainly isn't time to hold back for "finding your legs" as I often do in the full marathon. Anyhow- for my next half I will certainly train differently- push the pace on those tempo runs even harder and keep up with the speedwork, stairs and hills so my body is prepared to deal with the lactic acid build up it will face. Not that I'm unhappy with my race, that just is not the case, but I'm always thinking about "next" and the goal I have is to get under that 1:30 mark!

And so that brings us to today...and what is going on in my running word TODAY? I've only gone for 3 runs since the half. My hip is very sore and I am trying to remember that the body needs rest to recover and repair. Although since I lived the "all carb" diet over T-Giving I should think that I should be running a lot more. Mmm...pumpkin pie, cabbage rolls, perogies, stuffing, sweet and mashed potatoes...yes, that's right, ALL CARB! And lest I forget, I did eat a bit of turkey too!

I have 2 races scheduled in the next little bit, but I use the term "race" loosely since its much more about the fun in these 2 little jaunts! On October 24th I am running in Nike's Human Race, which is a 10k that you clock on your Nike+ system through your ipod. It was $25 to enter, $5 goes to the Lance Armstrong Foundation and you get a t-shirt. Also, on the the 7th of November is that fabulous little event we like to call Winterstart (see picture on sidebar) which is less about the running and more about the fabulous time I'm going to have with the fabulous people running with me. I can't wait!

And now I must work. At my regular job. Which is teaching and not running. WHAT? How did that happen?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Snow, Snow Go Away

CRAZY busy. Crazy. Therefore, no blogging. For this, I am sorry! I'll do a quick post here just for a running update...

Tomorrow, I will be pounding the trails in Fish Creek Park for the Harvest Half Marathon! Yes, TOMORROW! I am currently attempting to block all of the usual doubts and questions that frequent my mind during the taper and pre-race period. Have I trained enough? Did I train the right way? Is my taper too long, short or just right? Mind, be quiet please!

I should also mention that it is supposed to snow 15cm in Calgary tomorrow. That's right, people, S-N-O-W. What would be really, really fabulous is if you could all take a small moment of time and ask the weather gods if they could just hold off on this for a few days. I would be eternally grateful- to them AND to you! And while we're in the habit of asking the gods for something, could we also just send a shout out to the marathon gods to keep one eye on me tomorrow during the race? It sure never hurts to have the marathon gods on your side!

And one last thing...I know you've heard it before, body is DONE. Ugh. I see a lot of yoga in my future. And perhaps many, many massages. No more running for me. This bod deserves some good rest and TLC, so rest and TLC is what it's going to get! Until I need to start thinking about the 5 mile uphill run that is Winterstart...but that's well in the future!

Hope everyone is enjoying their fall (soon to be winter) running!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Full Moon?

Two things of consequence happened to me while I was out running this weekend. Highly unusual and somewhat humorous, I thought they were blog-worthy, so here you go...

1. I missed my long run on Friday. I KNOW. Crazy. But I wasn't feeling well. So I got some good rest and decided that I would head out for a lovely 2+ hour jog on Saturday morning. And this is when things went a bit sideways...

I wiped out. BIG TIME. I wish I had some fabulous story about how I was distracted by one of my two crushes (just for review- Tim Riggins and Rafael Nadal) running by, but sadly, I do not. I got lazy and simply didn't pick my foot up high enough to get over the curb which resulted in an arm-flailing, leg-sprawling yard sale right there in the middle of the sidewalk. Water bottles everywhere, IPod smashed on the ground (which, by the way it did survive- nice work, Apple) and blood coming out of my hands, left wrist and elbow. Nice.

For a split second I was RELIEVED when I looked around and saw that there were ZERO...yes, that's right...ZERO witnesses to my not so graceful face plant. After sitting there stunned for several moments and then slowly realizing that I hadn't broken anything, however, I was kind of disappointed that there was NO ONE to ask me if I was OK. But mainly I was relieved. And then I chuckled. Big time. This is something I have had to learn to do after realizing that I seem to embarrass myself on a regular basis. Oh well, there are worse things I'm sure...which leads nicely into item of consequence #2.

2. Let's not beat around the bush. I was running the reservoir on Sunday afternoon and I got stung by a wasp on my ankle. F&*k. Those things HURT. I had to pull the stinger out too. And when it happened I swore and kind of danced around swatting at my leg. Rest assured, Sunday was a beautiful day in Calgary and unlike the anonymity of my free fall on Saturday morning, there were several who witnessed the wasp sting. Except they probably didn't realize that I had been stung and wondered instead who the crazy woman doing a weird dance on the running path was. So, what did I do? I did what any sane individual does at this point...I kept running. I was still a good 30 minutes from home so I figured this was the best way to get there quickly. And I laughed at this one too...

I mean SERIOUSLY...was it a full moon this weekend or what?

FYI- my run this afternoon was standard. Nothing earth-shattering or eventful. Quite lacklustre, fact...and I enjoyed every second!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tennis Anyone?

Look out Tim Riggins. After last night's US Open fourth round win over Gael Monfils, Rafael Nadal maybe be taking over top spot on my juvenile crush list. Oh. My. God. Did ANYONE watch this match? ANYONE? It was about the finest display of tennis I have ever witnessed in my life. It was super physical, hard-hitting, long points...and it was amazing.

Nadal. That man is fit. F-I-T fit. After rallies with 20-30 shots hitting as hard as they possibly could (this reminds me of how elated arice and I were when we got to 10- hee) Monfils was hunched over looking like he needed oxygen and Nadal...well he was just ready for more. Calm. Cool. Collected. Sigh. I heart him.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Yesterday I had a bit of bad news. As to not bore you too much with the gory details, that certain someone who was supposed to be back in the country around the 18th of September is a bit uncertain as to when he will be making an appearance in good old Oh Canada. One of the many, many projects he has been working so hard to complete is about to come together, and that means in Africa he must stay, at least for a bit longer than expected. Sadness. Tough for sure. I'll admit it...I threw myself a huge pity party and invited my good friends crying and sobbing and lay on the couch feeling sorry for myself for a bit. And then I decided to do something about it. And what better thing to do then to get out into the September sunshine for a mind-clearing, soul-healing run around the reservoir.

This leads quite nicely to the danger part of this post. Those who know me well will attest to the fact that I consider myself a bit invincible. My level of fitness and strength often lull me into a false sense of security with the running alone thing. Of course, I never run at night after dark, but I do run in the morning before sunrise from time to time (only on the streets) and I also love to run a lot of the pathways in Calgary. I love the pathways because they are removed enough from the road ways that they have less pedestrian and bike traffic than some of the more common areas. Yesterday, I ran the reservoir path, and part of that path meanders through the Weaselhead trail area. It was mid-afternoon on a warm and lovely Sunday so the path was far from deserted, but that certainly didn't stop 2 idiots on bikes from harassing me. One of them rode beside me and one of them in front of me, and to my EXTREME annoyance, they wouldn't let me pass. They had several rude comments which I won't get into just right here, and I should also note that this carried on for a good 10 minutes or so. Eventually they did pedal away and left me to run in peace, but it did made me I need to worry about being in the Weaselhead on my own in broad daylight on a weekend day?

I'm relatively certain that these clowns were harmless, but if I were to be attacked, what would I do? I obviously can't out run a dude on a bike (thus the realization that I am not, GASP, invincible) and as the cooler weather draws nearer, there will be less and less people on this part of the pathway. I thought about maybe starting to carry a cell phone, but the thought of carrying a cell phone on a long run is a bit annoying. Also annoying is the fact that these clowns made me feel nervous and vulnerable. And they probably have no clue about that. I'm sure they didn't consider how they were making me feel, and if asked would say that they were having fun or "joking" , but I don't think that men think about things like this very often since they have to worry much less about getting attacked on the running path...and like how their comments, while not intending to cause harm, really did affect me in the long run. It frustrates me that in society today, women do need to consider their safety...even if it is in the middle of the day...on a well travelled path.

Anyhow- I survived. I lived to tell the tale. But I will be more cautious about my surroundings on my runs from now on. Maybe I will carry a cell phone. Maybe I will turn the volume down on my ipod so I have a better chance of hearing someone coming behind me. Maybe I will let someone know where I'm headed on a long run and for about how long I'll be out. After all, you never truly know where danger lurks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm Back...Sort Of

Ah. Back in Calgary, where the running paths are plentiful and the sun is shining! Yes, I am super excited to be back in Calgary and back to the comforting routine of work and running. I know I've been an absent blogger in the past couple of months, but Louisiana time and lake time sapped my desire to blog...and truth be told I wasn't around a computer all that much!

Note that in my post Calgary marathon bliss I signed up for the Harvest Half marathon which will be taking place on the 3rd of October. Note that I partially did this to inspire myself to continue with some running over the summer. Note that this DID NOT happen. Oops.

Life just seemed to get in the way of running this summer. A trip to Louisiana, some fabulous time spent at camp with my man and in between a couple bouts of flus and various other ailments, I just didn't get out there to do the job that I normally do. And that makes me a wee bit nervous. Don't get me wrong, I am relatively certain that I can complete the half distance no problem, but I had visions of a very speedy half in my post marathon bliss! This is why I am super excited to be back into the swing of has less to do with being back in Calgary (I'd rather be at the lake, please and thank-you) and has more to do with the fact that I have thrown myself right back into recommitting to health and fitness!

To all of you going through the same sorts of re-dedications, try to remember that it really is about enjoying yourself out there. And while the sun has decided to shine (at least in Calgary for a few days), we may as well be out there doing something active.

I'm going to try and remember that when I'm out running today. My body hurts.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Goal Reached

I forgot...

Please note...

I reached my goal of doubling my number of followers. Cross that off the to-do list people! Cross. It. Off.

Thanks faithful followers!!! Thanks a million!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Oh the Humanity

Please note to your left the lovely image of Ains, Ty and I completing the Manitoba half on Sunday. Yep, you read right, I ran in the Manitoba half on Sunday. I didn't have any previous plans to run this one at all, but with Ains and Ty planning on running I just couldn't miss out on the fun and had to register. And I was super happy that I did. The weather was fabulous, the course was amazing (flat, flat, flat) and I got to run the entire way with two of my favourite people in the whole world! Although I wasn't sure how this bod was going to hold up pounding the pavement on another long run, I must admit it didn't feel all that bad considering I just left if all out there in the Calgary marathon just 3 short weeks ago.

This was my first experience with the Manitoba marathon, and I must say that I was impressed. Very impressed. Nice work, sure know how to put on an event! The Manitoba marathon is the second biggest in Canada with 15 000 people competing in the full, half, and relay distances. I enjoyed it so much that I just might consider the full for next year. I am always in awe at the amount of volunteers and man hours that must go into putting on an event of this magnitude, so hi-5's to all who donate their time to ensuring that crazies like us get our endorphin fix whilst running the course on race day.

A quick comment about the It was H-O-T. And humid. We saw a couple of people go down in the half. My parents saw someone collapse in the stadium just meters from the finish. And I would not be surprised if they pulled a lot of runners off the marathon course simply due to the heat. Running in the heat brings a whole other dimension to race day. Not only is it physically taxing, it plays with your mind too. Personally, I enjoy running in the heat and humidity, which will come as no surprise to those who know me well, but its definitely not for everyone and can be dangerous if you aren't careful to replace your fluids and electrolytes when need be.

Anyhow, I was glad to have done a half since I haven't done one for a couple of years. It got me excited for the half that I've signed up for in October. Very excited, in fact. Now if only I can hold back on the training for a few days. In my immune-suppressed state I seem to have contracted a bit of flu. So its rest for me for a few days until I'm 100%...or at least 90 or 85...and then I will be off and running once again!
And one more quick thing...please note this lovely tidbit of info highlighting the importance of REST. An old dear friend of mine forwarded me this link and I think its worth a read. As a matter of fact, I'm going to read it again for the first time just to remind myself how important rest is to the training. And then I will sleep. Good night.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Please note that I now have 2 followers. 2 WHOLE FOLLOWERS! It's official. I've made it! Maybe I should make it a goal to double the amount of followers by this time next week. That would mean I would have 4 followers for those of you who don't have a calculator close at hand. Can this really count as a goal? Let's is Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. That SMART goal (yes, smart, not DUMB, chaney) is for those of you working extra hard this week to polish off the last of those IPP's. Go Get 'Em!

I was thinking earlier this week about just how wonderful it was to have a contingent of people waiting for me at the finish line at the Calgary marathon. I wanted each and every one of those people to know just how much I appreciated their attendance! It really, really means a lot that you came to see the finish or stayed after your own race when all you really wanted to do was eat a massive breakfast and get off your feet. It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it!

One smiling face that I really missed at the end of this one was my dear sis. She has been one of my most faithful supporters and I always appreciate so much when she is able to see me finish a run...or at least has the intention of seeing me finish and arrives just in time to see me finish in the porta john! I am really excited to be at the line for her on Sunday in Winnipeg- I just know she is going to be amazing!

It was amazing for me as well that that certain someone was able to see me finish the marathon this year as his return trip to the Sahara was pushed back and he was able to make it to the race. Not only did the man come on the day of the race, he had to put up with me the whole week before the run which, if you know me well, is no small feat. If you recall, to run a great race requires full on rest the week before which translates into no running at all. My mood is not always the best in this week as my body is CRAVING those lovely running induced endorphins. And by not always the best I really mean unpredictable and crazy. I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks for not just surviving the craziness, but for truly being there for me even when I wasn't at my best. And for being my massage therapist, personal chef, biggest (and tallest- hee) fan, and voice of when I really wanted to go running and you talked me out of it! How much this means to me words cannot express!

T-5 to the Manitoba Marathon people. T-5. Please. Positive thoughts and energy everyone!

And before I forget, I came across this article on the Runner's World website. Its short but sweet and definitley woth 5 minutes of your valuable time for a read!,7120,s6-380-381--13143-0,00.html?cm_mmc=beginners-_-2009_06_17-_-beginners-_-TRAINING%3a%20Get%20Stronger,%20Go%20Longer

Monday, June 15, 2009

Catching Up

This weekend I spent in good, old LA (Lethbridge, Alberta) catching up with a friend. It was so great to spend some quality time reminiscing about the past and our debaucherous days with someone who lived them in the flesh with me and is near and dear to my heart. And while those times were amazing, I don't ever want to live them again. Too much booze, too much unhealthy food and not enough exercise! Don't get me wrong, it was exceptionally fun while it lasted and I met some people that I will call friends for life, but I much prefer living in moderation, at least most of the time!

Anyhow, let's get on to the very reason for this post. The lovely young lady that I went to visit this weekend (let's call her BMcC) has decided that after a bit of a hiatus (due to babies and motherhood) that she would like to start running again. I am extremely proud of her for making this decision and taking charge of her health and fitness, no small feat between working full time and having two wee ones aged 3 and just about 5! Personally, I think she is AMAZING for starting this running thing again. I think it is so important to keep a part of your life just for yourself, especially when you have a husband and kids to look after. Taking the time each and every day to do a bit of exercise is especially important for your health and well being even more so when you are a busy mom!

In discussing with BMcC her reasons for getting back into this running thing, she mentioned that not only is she doing this for herself, she is also doing this for her girls. It is important to her (and to every mother, I'm sure) to be able to keep up with her very busy girls. She wants to be able to run around with them on the playground and swim with them and bike with them, no small feat with babes that are that age! As I witnessed first hand this weekend, their energy is endless! BMcC also believes it is cruicial that her girls have a head start in developing a positive self image and that their first role model with respect to a healthy lifestyle and good self esteem should be their mother. Let's face it, in this day and age women don't receive a lot of positive messages about their bodies. The portrayal of women in the media is about as unrealistic as it gets. Perfection. Perfect skin, perfect hair, perfect bodies. And even though we know that the perfection is unrealistic, we still compare ourselves to this unattainable image, resulting in feeling like we aren't good enough, pretty enough or thin enough. BMcC wants to her girls to see her take charge of her life for the right she can lead a long, healthy life while reducing her risk of heart disease and diabetes. So she can be active long into her life. So she can continue to be an amazing mother, daughter and wife. So she has confidence and feels good about herself. How fabulous would it be for her two little ones to see her cross the line at her first 5k, 10k, half or full marathon? I personally think it would be the most fabulous thing ever.

I really just want to end this post with a huge hug and congratulations to my dear old buddy for recommitting to health and fitness. I think you are simply wonderful and feel honoured that I am, in some small way, a part of your journey. And to all of you moms out there who manage to find time in your already over-packed schedules to run, swim, bike, hit the gym or play badminton (yes, you know who you are, CS), I thank you for being a positive role model for the next generation. Each and every single one of you kicks some major ass and are heroes in every sense of the word.

P.S. 6 days to the Manitoba full. EXCITING!

Friday, June 12, 2009


...and it felt good for about forty minutes. And then it just hurt. And THEN I remembered why I was supposed to be taking 2 solid weeks off before I went running again. Sore hips, tight calf muscles, quads feeling like bricks, hamstrings in knots...oh body, I am sorry for the trials and tribulations I put you through. I truly, truly am. And while I'm in the business of confessing running sins, I should also add that this wasn't really my first run back. Oops. How did that happen? I went out on Wednesday as well but it almost doesn't count since I only ran for 20 minutes and walked for 40. The run yesterday was a full hour of torture...I mean running. Note to self: if you would like to continue running marathons, half marathons and perhaps even attempt the odd triathlon then you need to rest and recover. Self, please, PLEASE listen to yourself!

Part of the reason I got wooed into hitting the pavement a little sooner than I would have liked is the fact that the weather is simply glorious for running. I repeat, glorious. And I could not resist the temptation of being out there in the beautiful summer weather, getting a bit of a tan and enjoying the river path. Rest assured I have learned my lesson and I am not planning on going running again until next week. Its yoga and only yoga for me until then. And a little part of me just died while typing that...

ANYHOW. Many of you who follow this blog (note that I have an official follower...1 official follower, people! Does that give me cred in the blog world? I would love to have more, hint hint, nudge nudge) have signed up for the Harvest Half marathon which is slated for the first weekend in October. And since the next race is looming in your minds and the distant future, I have fielded many questions regarding what the heck you should be doing with your running right now. The answer, strange as it may be, is this: do nothing. Nothing at all. Run if you want to. Enjoy the weather. Stop and smell the roses and pet the puppies. You are entering a phase in training that I like to call maintenance and the toughest part of this phase is wrapping your head around the idea that you won't be covering the distances that you did in your half training. Your mind will tell you that you need to run further and further, but please, do yourself a huge favour and don't listen to those messages! Your endurance will come back quickly when you start your official training, I promise. You should be running some- a couple or three times a week would be nice, but just enjoy those runs, do them at whatever pace your little heart desires and don't sweat it too much if the busy summer social schedule seems to be interfering with running. You really don't need to be thinking about building up your mileage again until the middle or end of July. So enjoy this time! Jog. Stretch. Relax. Drink a mojito. Even better, drink a summer in a can. There is plenty of time to get it together for your next race.

And on that note I would like everyone to pause and send a load of positive healing energy to my dear sister who is running the Manitoba full in just 2 short weeks. Sadly, she has developed an injury to her shin which is in turn affecting her achilles tendon and her knee. Come on marathon Gods! Let's get this lady up and running again please!

Now I should work. Really.

P.S.- My toes are not good. Not good at all. In fact, I kind of hoped that they would fall off so I could just start over. Gross.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I see people running and I am jealous.

I see them all along the river path when I drive to and from work and all over the Sandy Beach/River Park area when I am out walking (yes walking, not running), and on treadmills at the gym. However, I am in recovery and I need to stay in recovery if I want to see any more marathons in my future! After all, if the body is to recover from 3+ hours on the pavement, it needs tons of TLC in the form of rest and good food. And truth be told, I am already plotting my next marathon. I know, I said I was going to transition to triathlon (and I will at some point) and that I was going to give my bod a break from all of this pounding, but there is always room for improvement where the time is considered! And now that I demolished the 3:17 with a 3:14, I am pondering how I can conceivably get myself under 3:10...and then maybe even 3:00. Oh the marathon dreams!

The recovery is going quite well, truth be told...I don't recall recovering this quickly in recent memory. This time around I did try a couple of different things. One is that I went for a massage the day after the run. Ouch. It hurt. Big time. But I think it broke up the lactic acid nicely and put me well on my way to flushing it out of the system. Two, I went to hot yoga on the Tuesday after the run. And the Thursday. And the Sunday. And even though I couldn't do all of the poses, it was amazing for my body to be in the hot room stretching and sweating out the toxins. So low and behold I am one week and 2 days past the race and I feel...well, quite honestly, I feel amazing! Amazing enough that I think I might head out for a little jog today. Just a short one through the park for 20 minutes or so. I've got big decisions on my plate right now and I need some exertion in the form of running to help me work through them. Although I DID promise my body a solid 2 week break from running when I was in the throws of marathon pain around mile 24 or so...hmmm...

And on a very quick side note, I won some money in the marathon. $200 bucks as a matter of fact. How that happened I will never know. But I am now sporting a lovely new pair of Oakley's. Thanks HSBC Calgary marathon!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Done and Done

The Calgary marathon has come and gone...and all we are left with are sore legs and the distant memory of energy gels and a beautiful race day. And the desire for MORE, MORE, MORE!

First of all, a huge victory V and shout out to the lovely ladies who completed their first ever half marathon. What a HUGE accomplishment. I was so very proud of them I had a tear when I saw them smiling at the finish line! Running 13.1 miles is a long way indeed and they all made it in fabulous time. Alicia, Adel, Clare and Christine, you guys ROCK. Nicely done. Of interest is the fact that each and every one of these ladies has contacted me regarding what needs to happen "next" to prepare for another one. I just knew this would happen! Running, after all, is a lovely little addiction! If you are reading this post and have never run a half or a marathon and are just a wee bit curious, its very easy...throw on your shorts, lace up your shoes and get out there!

So while these lovely ladies were dominating the half with style and grace, I myself was pounding the pavement in the marathon on Sunday. I am happy to report that the marathon Gods were smiling upon me with all their might as I was able to complete the race in a personal best time of 3:14. This is 3 minutes faster than my previous PB! I am fairly sure that all of the speed and hill training I completed this go around is what made the difference. I am extremely happy with this time. The course was entirely different this year and it was TOUGH. Hilly. Very, very hilly. Including the Shaganappi Trail hill that runs in front of the Children's Hospital for 1.2km. Yikes. I didn't find my legs for about 45 minutes but once I did I just felt amazing. The sun was shining and I truly was just happy to be out there running. I really, really missed running the 10 days before the race since I didn't run at all for the last part of the taper! Anyhow, the last 10k HURT. Ouch. But I was able to push through. I do love the mental battle that happens in that last 10k...I truly believe that a lot of it is mind over matter and having faith in your training. I am living proof of that because I can sure say that my legs have never quite felt like that before.

What's next? Ugh- I need a good couple of weeks off. My legs are toast. Done. Finished. I had a massage yesterday it hurt like you wouldn't believe. Your body absolutley needs a good couple of weeks of after putting it through that type of punishment. Coming back too soon means running a serious risk of injury, so I will be happy to hit up some yoga and do some lovely walks around the neighbourhood.

It is common to feel a bit lost after the race is over...after all, this is been your focus for 4 long months! But don't worry...running is NOT fickle- it will be there when you decide to are ready to embrace it RELAX...kick back...enjoy a beer (or several) on a patio. And then we'll start talking about the next batch of training!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mind Games

Oh runners...

The marathon is a mere 6 days away.

And I am depressed. I feel like running has left me. Like it has broken up with me and tossed me aside for another runner with nicer shoes and a better playlist. Why, running? Why must we play such games?

I am in mid taper despair, people! I want to run. I need to run. I am CRAVING running. The weather is beautiful, work is slowly starting to wind down and really, its the perfect time for running. But don't worry...I will hold strong. I will not be wooed by running's attempts to win me back. No. I will be strong. Take that running.

OK, maybe just a bit harsh but I find the taper so incredibly difficult. All sorts of self doubting thoughts are in my head at this moment. Did I train enough? Is my taper too long? Should I just run today and not worry about the rest I'm supposed to be getting? One would think I am used to such thinking, but alas, every time the taper rolls around its the same thing. Running breaks up with me and I am devastated. I sure do wish my brain had an off switch!

So excited for Sunday. It is supposed to be perfect running weather- +16 and sunny! Fingers crossed everyone please! What a lovely day that would be for a run!

And now I must work.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grits, Guns and Greenery

Well runners, I spent the May long weekend in New Orleans.

Wow. I heart New Orleans. Big time. What a truly fabulous place. The food and drinks are FABULOUS, the people are FRIENDLY and the heat and the green were a lovely change from the frosty brownness that is the city of Calgary these days. It was a fabulous trip, albeit a bit of a whirlwind.

And you'll be please to note that I am not going to bore you with yet another blurb on recommitting to health and fitness following long weekend indulgence. What I will say is this: beer, crawfish, white bread, mojitos, wine, deep fried everything, hurricanes (the drink- I wasn't in one, don't worry), large breakfasts including grits, sausage and biscuits and more beer. I think we all get the picture and its NOT pretty. Definitely not the smartest diet in the 2 weeks preceding the marathon! However, you only live once, and DAMN those crawfish were tasty little jaspers!

I will mention that I went on 3 lovely jogs in the land of guns and accents. It was 90 degrees hot...and it was HUMID. LOVE humidity- makes your hair and skin feel oh so lovely-yes? Anyhow, it was tough slugging on the running path, although I did enjoy each and every second of it. Except maybe the last half hour of my 2+ hour run on Friday, completed after a very long night spent in the French Quarter. I will simply congratulate myself on getting out for that one- it was a huge mind over matter battle! I will also note that I felt like a rock star on parts of those runs due to the lovely low altitude! What a difference!

Marathon is is t-10. Ready to get-'er done. I'm starting to feel EXCITED!

Tapering? Feeling full of energy? Starting to feel nervous? Do tell, people!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Long. Done and DONE.

The biggest mileage week capped off with the longest training run is DONE. That's right- its DONE. My knees, ankles, hips and lower back are sending me a silent thank-you this very moment as I type this. I don't know about all of you, but this body is ready for a good period of rest and rebuilding leading up to the big race. Speaking of that big race, we are exactly 21 days out of the Calgary full and half! SO exciting! I hope everyone out there is feeling positive about their training. If you aren't you should be, you are ALL fit and amazing and you should be looking forward to the marathon and the half.

Those of you who know me well know that I always do my long runs on Fridays after work. I picked Friday as I used to do my long runs on Sunday and found they consumed too much of my "me" time... and I do cherish my "me" time! I had to get enough sleep (very tough on the weekends when there is fun to be had), eat properly (tough too when you are having dinners and breakfasts out on occasion) and perhaps not indulge in those few extra glasses of wine or beers (which I almost never can do- Andrea's willpower=lame). The switch to Friday has been brilliant for me. I love getting the long run out of the way with time to enjoy the rest of my weekend. However, this particular weekend I was foiled by the damn Calgary weather.

I've tried telling myself that its not reasonable or rational to be angry at the weather, but on Friday I just was. It wasn't just raining a bit when I wanted to throw on the shoes and head out for my 3+ hour was pouring. And hailing. And sleeting. And snowing at times. Really weather? It's May for the love of God and I am DONE with winter and have been for quite some time! I don't think I ask for a lot; I don't need it to be unbelievably sunny, gorgeous and hot to run, but it sure would have been nice to be able to get out there for my Friday afternoon physical counselling (also know as my long run) in some weather that was just a wee bit nicer. Anyhow- it didn't happen and I did my run this morning. It was quite lovely and sunny and worth the wait, I suppose. And best of all, its DONE. Those long ones really do take a toll on the bod and mine is ready to do the taper and have a break from all this pounding!

So- the purpose of this little should all be giving yourselves a HUGE pat on the back right now. HUGE. A stiff arm slap, in fact. You have done the hardest physical part of the training and you should be very, very proud of yourselves. This training thing is tough! And each of you has muddled your way through it one way or another; its never perfect, but you committed to it and did it. You are 21 days out of completing your first half and that is just a massive achievement. So massive in fact that I'm afraid I might tear up on race day.

ANYHOW- now that you've congratulated yourself, just remember a couple of little tidbits- lots of stretching...a massage...maybe a yoga class or two...and the most important part of all...DON'T stop running...just yet. Although the bulk of your distance work is complete, to stop running totally right now would mean very, very bad things for your endurance and after all of your hard work, we simply cannot have that happening. Consider the following...
1. Take your TOTAL distance down by about 20% this week...yes, your long run should still be pretty long!
2. Keep doing your shorter runs and pushing the pace
3. If you are doing hills, stairs or speed work that should likely stop this week. If you are doing weights one more week is OK and then you are done with that too
4. Hydrate, hydrate, well...sleep lots... and STAY healthy!

Done and DONE!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Almost Taper Time

Well people running the Calgary marathon and half, this is it...the highest mileage week before you get to taper! I have mentioned the taper in previous posts and, in a nutshell, it is backing off on your mileage in order to allow your muscles to recover and rest so they can perform to their peak potential on race day. That peak potential is something every single one of us longs to reach after the countless hours we have spent preparing the legs to carry the bod a very long distance on race day.

I came across this little gem of an article online on the Runner's World Website. If you have never visited the Runner's World website, I highly recommend that you do, it is a wealth of information about all things running. It has anything and everything you could possibly want to know about running at all levels and distances: training, nutrition, shoes and equipment and many other useful topics. Anyhow, the link I am providing here is an excellent resource regarding the taper, if you have time I'd say it deserves a quick read, particularly when it breaks down the last two weeks. You can definitley apply the concepts to the half marathon as well.,7120,s6-238-244-255-5958-0,00.html

Sunny and warm today...just the kind of day I love for tackling hills and stairs! Enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the green that is starting to be evident in the trees and grass and as always, ENJOY the running!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Here We Go!

One month people...ONE MONTH!

And by this I mean 1 month to the Calgary marathon which is taking place on the 31st of May.

SO excited to get out there and run a marathon again. Even MORE excited for the 5 lovely ladies who will be completing the half! Almost there...hang in, the next 10 days are big mileage and then the hard stuff is done and on to the taper!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Love your Run

2 small things of note this lovely and snowy Sunday evening (notice how my posts have most recently always been about two things)...

One. I downloaded and listened to a good portion of the the Darra Torres book Age is Just a Number on my long run on Friday. Wow. The women won Olympic medals in swimming in Beijing at the ripe old age of 41. Wow. More than this the book is about not letting your age stand in the way of your dreams. I cried three times on my run while listening to this. It is an amazing story about a simply amazing woman. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone even if swimming isn't really your thing.

Two. On my medium long run this morning, I came across a lovely little sidewalk chalked message which read "Heart your run". And I decided to do just that. And it was amazing. I was outside, it was kind of sunny (OK- truth- it wasn't snowing...yet) and I just loved my run. I think we all need to do this a little more often. Forget the time and the pace and the event looming in the not so far away distance and love the fact that you are out there period.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Love It

2 posts in 2 days...unheard of, I KNOW. But two things happened today that I really, really needed to get out there in the universe.

First, a great big congratulations to Michael and Jamie Allison for running the Boston marathon today. I met Michael and Jamie in Boston last year when Michael was running and Jamie was his support crew. Well, this year I am happy to report that they BOTH ran and finished. Nice work you two! I'm not going to lie, a little part of me today wished I was in Boston tackling those hills. Next year, my friends, and perhaps there will be two Rices in Boston! LOVE IT!

Second, there is a little running store in the Marda Loop called Strides. Its a great little store situated across from OJ's in the purple house. ANYHOW, I love the sign they have outside of their store which states..."FIT IS THE NEW SKINNY". Put THAT in your pipes, people! LOVE THAT SAYING! I really thought about it as I was tackling hills and stairs today, and I think the world would be a healthier, happier place if we could all just embrace this one little saying. I know I'm going to and I hope you all do too, especially since you should all be feeling fit and fabulous with all of this great training you're doing! LOVE IT!

And now I must clean my house. LOVE IT!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Le Plateau

No. Not Le Chateau (that store that sells clothes that look like they may catch on fire very easily as one Chaney likes to say), but le PLATEAU...

I've had a couple of emails this week from people that all sound suspiciously similar...

"My running was going great but now it sucks! I feel slow and sluggish like I'm running under water"...OR

"I hate running. I loved running until this week, but this week it sucks and now I hate it."

Well, my fine running shoed friends, you have reached what in training terms is dubbed "the plateau". Rest assured, EVERYONE hits these from time to time and there is not a part of me that doesn't think that you won't get through this. Your best friends and allies in getting through the plateau are good old fashioned rest and mental toughness. Make good, good friends with these two. You're going to need them from time to time in marathon or half training. We are all fickle in this respect...we befriend rest and toughness when we want to and then forget about them for the majority of the time. And suddenly we realize that we really do in fact need them and want them in our lives.

The first thing you need to do is to identify why in fact you have hit a plateau. I like to divide this up into 2 categories (and yes it is possible to fit into both at once): the PHYSICAL plateau and the MENTAL plateau.

If your plateau is mental you are probably experiencing the following: abject dread at the thought of having to go running no matter how beautiful and sunny it may be, quitting partway through your runs, or skipping runs for things that suddenly become VERY important like dusting your home. Associated with these negative Nancy type thoughts is that great feeling of guilt that keeps you up at night because the race is approaching and your training just isn't there. RELAX people! There are several things you can try in order to get through this...

1. Take some days off. That's right- ALLOW yourself and your mind the rest it deserves. Tell yourself that you are taking 3, 4 or even 5 days off of running. And then don't think about it or worry about it. Give your mind and body a chance to recover and then try and come back to running. Running will not be mad at you if you leave it for this short period of time, unlike your significant other.

2. Reward yourself for running. Plan your weekly runs and give yourself a treat at the end if you stick to it...a new lulu shirt or jeans, ice cream, whatever floats your boat, really.

3. Try and find someone to run with if you are the type that likes company on your runs. A good conversation can make a run that is feeling very, very long and arduous go by very quickly. If your running friends aren't into distance, see if you can convince one of them to meet up with you for a small portion of the run.

4. Download a book to your ipod...see sidebar for a couple of entertaining suggestions for books. It kind of takes your mind off what you're doing to your bod!

5. Realize that you are ALMOST THERE. You have done almost all of the hard work. Great job. Congratulate yourself. Training for a half or full is incredibly tough...acknowledge this and be proud of the fact that you are undertaking something not a lot of people have the guts to do.

If your plateau is physical, you are probably experiencing general fatigue (even if you are getting enough sleep), muscle stiffness and sore joints (especially knees, ankles and hips) and when you go running it doesn't feel any good at all. In fact, you feel slow, sluggish and awful no matter how hard you try. Here are a few things to try to get through this...

1. Rest, rest, rest. Before my personal training course, I underestimated the healing power of rest. OK- forget underestimated, I just ignored it totally. Your body is an incredible machine doing very, very extreme things for you in this training. You need to give it the time it needs and deserves to repair and recover from the pounding it is taking. Try taking a few days off and get some rest.

2. Get a massage. I just had one this week. So very lovely. It reminded me how tight my muscles are and how much my muscles appreciate this! In this last little bit of training I would try and go at least every couple of weeks.

3. just feels so good. And it is so important to keep you running. I know it's hard to fit it in after a long run as we are all busy people, but make stretching a priority. Even if it means cutting your run short by 5 minutes to do the stretching it will be worth it in the end. I highly recommend hot yoga as I have mentioned several times before.

4. If you are experiencing PAIN that is beyond normal stiffness and soreness, PLEASE get this looked after right away. Let's be honest. We are not trying to win the race...we are not training for the Olympics...we have simply committed to the distance for our own goals and personal satisfaction. It is NOT, I repeat, NOT worth sustaining a serious injury over this! If you think you have an injury, see your doctor, go to physio, or whatever you need to do to heal yourself!

5. Make sure you are getting enough to eat...and enough of the right things to eat (PLEASE don't limit carbs- your body needs them for this kind of training), and are getting enough sleep at night.

ANYHOW- rambling, rambling, I need to sign off here and complete the various cleaning projects I've started and abandoned. Just one final are all doing awesome in your training, wherever you are...the hardest part is almost over and we will be at the taper before you know it! Hang in there- what you are experiencing is common and you WILL get over this plateau..

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's Really Official...

...I am licensed and ready to assist people in committing and recommitting to health and fitness! The fitness gods have smiled upon me and it's official...I am a Certified Personal Trainer! Anyone want a running program? A weight program? A weight and running program combined? A general program to improve your fitness and lose weight? Well look no further people...I AM YOUR WOMAN!

Truthfully, I learned a ton in my course and studies over the past couple of months. Much of what I learned regarding the cardiovascular energy systems and nutrition I have applied to my own training and low and behold, it seems to work! Science...amazing isn't it? Anyhow, I am excited to embark upon my career in the fitness industry. It has always been a passion of mine, and I can't think of a better job to have then something that you consider a passion! Feels less like work and more like play, no? Anyhow...anyone looking for a trainer? ANYONE?

Enough about PT and onto the very meat of this post...the running part! It sure does feel good to run in shorts and a t-shirt, doesn't it? I am loving the sunshine, warmer weather and ice free pathways and sidewalks. It just makes for nicer running. And when the running is nicer, I find myself looking even more forward to it. Hopefully the great Calgary weather (if you aren't reading from Calgary here's to hoping your weather has been great too) has been motivation for ya'll to get out there to pound the pavement and get those training miles in. The half and full are fast approaching after all! By now everyone has heard me say repeatedly, PLEASE don't miss your long runs. If you have any hope for a great run on race day then these long ones are very, very important. To go the distance you need the endurance! As for your shorter runs, if you haven't been already, I highly suggest pushing your pace a bit on these runs. I'm not saying that you need to head out for an hour long sprint- that would H-U-R-T, but do try and just go a touch faster on your shorter runs...if that doesn't work for you, consider trying a run where you run a third of your run for warm up, a third at a nice steady pace and a third pushing your pace. The shorter runs where you push the pace will help your body learn to better deal with the adverse reaction your body will have to running hard, such as the lactic acid build up in your muscles and the soreness in the legs!

And with that little morsel of juicy marathon training advice, I will sign off here...lets keep our fingers crossed for more great weather! Happy Easter and Happy Running everyone!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Reality Bites

Hello runners...

Please see all previous posts following holidays re: shames spirals and recommitting to health and fitness. And that's all I have to say about that.

Spring break. Bucerias. Wow. I heart Bucerias. I also seem to have developed a taste for margaritas, guacamole, and Mexican cuisine in general...yum, yum, yum...Also, I've decided I'm not really cut out for this cold weather thing. I'm just not hearty or prepared to put up with it any longer (notice that I say this like its a choice) and I am ready for spring, summer and no more snow. Do you hear that weather Gods? DO YOU HEAR IT? Please. No more snow. Those of us in training for races would greatly appreciate it.

So people...I did something unimaginable this spring break. I ran less and I ran on the beach. Let me tell you, running in the sand is HARD work. It is a totally different work out than running on pavement as my calves can tell you. It didn't help that we were almost always running at high tide which forced us to run on a slope. Between the sand, the slope and getting soakers when the waves crashed in it was tough sluggin', BUT it was SO lovely to be running in the warm sunshine with shorts and a t-shirt! I am over running in winter gear and slogging through the slush, of this I am certain.

Anyhow- I will leave you with this little is exactly TWO MONTHS until the Calgary full and half. So where should you be at if you are running the half? I would LOVE it if your long run was at about 1:45. I would LOVE it if you were running 3 times per week. I would LOVE it if you were enjoying your training. This next month is probably the most important in your preparation as this is where the bulk of your longest runs will take place. PLEASE don't miss your long runs. It is really important at this point to be getting them in. PLEASE listen to your body...nagging muscle soreness and aches and pains? Try a massage, try some yoga, try to get a couple days of good rest, but do listen to the bod! You definitely don't want a little pain to turn into a major injury!

Well, I must work. In between working I will be daydreaming about running, and more specifically, running on the beach with my hair blowing in the lovely ocean breeze...

Snow covered, slush filled running, reality BITES!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Plant

No, I'm not referring to the lovely green turned brown foliage I murdered at my condo a couple of weeks ago. I AM referring to the MASSIVE face plant I took whilst out for a lovely little pace run yesterday.

I would like to say it was because I slipped on a massive patch of ice since there are so many massive patches of ice running outside at this time of year, but sadly, no...I tripped on an uneven side walk and went down hard. Laughing? Funny, I know, but I think I'm lucky I didn't hurt myself much more seriously.

This happened quite fortuitously at the end of my run about 5 minutes from my house THANKFULLY since I had to limp home. There I was jogging along when I caught my toe on the lip of the sidewalk and I went SPRAWLING forward. And I do mean SPRAWLING people. It was a total yard sale...completely laid out on the muddy, wet sidewalk stomach down. Ouch. Luckily, I was able to get my hands up in time so I didn't break my teeth or scrape my face...unluckily I absolutely smoked my knee on the sidewalk and it is already turning a pretty shade of purple. Nothing a little tan can't cover up, I suppose! Again, it could have been much worse with broken wrists, teeth or more serious injuries to my knee, so I'm able to laugh this one off, especially since there was literally no one around to witness it!

Bottom line is this- BE CAREFUL those of you running outside. It is slippery. It is wet. There are hazards to avoid like uneven sidewalks and black ice on the concrete and dogs so focused on their business that they don't get out of the way in time!

On a much more pleasant note, please notice to the right the fabulous playlist complied by the lovely ladies who are part of the half and marathon training that is happening right...NOW! From this point on, these ladies will be referred to as Operation Get Shredded. They are truly spectacular in every sense of the word. In my mind I am envisioning them running along in their half marathon and marathon, rockin' out to the fabulous collection. Such a diverse and awesome collection of songs. It looks like I have some downloading to do...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Surprise, Surprise...

I have a lot to say this week...shocking, I KNOW! Anyhow, I have several random topics that I believe deserve some attention so bare with me people as I sort this all out...

I must start this post off with a massive congratulations to one A. Rice junior and P. Fregeau for completing the Polar Bear run in Gimli, Manitoba yesterday. Well done, ladies, well done! You are both far heartier than I am. FAR heartier. As a matter of fact, a large bowl of thick, chunky, HEARTY, stew comes to mind when I picture you ladies trudging across the barren sheet of ice that will be Lake Winnipeg in warmer times. This run looks incredibly tough...I dare to say this was a great warm up for the Manitoba marathon which is now just months away! For those of you that are curious for further info about this run, here is a link to the run...

And now to the very meat of this post. The running portion. This past Friday was a long run for me. I had cycled down the previous week and was looking forward to upping the distance again and going for a nice, long, slow jog in the brilliant sunshine. This run became epic and noteworthy for two reasons. First, it was a virgin run for me and my brand spanking new FUEL BELT! Yes friends, it finally happened. I broke down and admitted I needed hydration and nourishment on my long runs and noticed on a well-timed pee break at the Tech Shop that fuel belts were on sale for 50% off. Anyhow, so as not to bore you with details about how it felt carrying a bunch of little squirt bottles around my waist as I attempted to complete a little 20 mile jaunt, lets just say it was a strange yet wonderful experience and is one that I need to continue. I felt much more energized throughout this run as I sipped my water and Gatorade and realized just how valuable this fuel is on these long jogs! And now to the epic part of this little adventure...

I had a TERRIBLE run on Friday. Brutal. Horrible. Painful. So bad in fact, I had a hard time remembering why it was that I decided to sign up for the Calgary marathon to begin with. Yep, I sure had one of THOSE runs...I know everyone can sympathize because we've all had them before! I felt mentally VERY prepared for this run...but for some reason my legs ached the whole time I was out and I never really found my stride. Disappointing for sure, but to try and focus on the positive, it was a beautiful day and I did run into one c-haney who was also out for her long run...and she was having a tough one too! Misery LOVES company, right? Anyhow, running along with a buddy always makes things a little less painful so I was oh-so glad that I ran into one on this day! Needless to say I did not complete the 20 miles I had set out to do, but I was out for a good two and a half hours so I'll consider this one small victory and move onward...and upward...

One reason I truly, truly believe I had a nasty, nasty run on Friday was simply because I missed my usual Thursday trip to the hot yoga studio. It was a busy week and I just couldn't seem to squeeze it in to the schedule. I have mentioned several times before that for me, yoga is necessary so I can keep my legs feeling good and this bod up and running, and this just confirms it. So- I've registered for the 7:30 class tomorrow night at the new studio on 17th. My legs are thanking me already. The Hot Yoga on 17th is a lovely, new studio if any of you Calgarians feel so inclined to check it out...

The good news is my run on Sunday MORE than made up for the crappiness of the Friday disaster. I just had a good one, folks, there seems to be no rhyme or reason. I got out there and ran and ran and ran. It was one of those runs that felt like I could have gone on forever. The weather was gorgeous, my legs felt light and I was really pushing my pace. I quite seriously may have gone one forever but got two good soakers (booters for those of you who speak Toban) along the way. While wet socks and running shoes are quite OK for some people, it was insurmoutable for me so I turned it around and busted it home, arriving just in time for a lovely home cooked meal of good old fashioned chicken gumbo. Very good post run fuel, that gumbo. I would even go so far to say it was fabulous, in fact.

And on that note, I shall sign off. I will be thinking of you all as I run carefree with my hair blowing in the breeze on the beach in Bucerias...or maybe during happy hour after several margaritas! Enjoy the beautiful spring weather...get out there for those runs! Happy trails!

Monday, March 9, 2009


WTF is up with this Calgary weather, people...


-35 with windchill- are you KIDDING? Isn't it March?

On a somewhat warmer note, its supposed to be +17 on Saturday. I think I will believe this when I see it.

And if it doesn't happen I might throw a tantrum. A good old fashioned temper tantrum.

Take THAT weather...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Running Skirt

What you are about to read is a VERY strong opinion on the running skirt. If you are the type that offends easily or has several running skirts in your running wardrobe, you may not want to proceed further. Or maybe you should read on- even if it is so that you can perhaps explain the logic behind the running skirt to me! Really, you can wear whatever the heck you want to wear when you're going out for a run as its really not supposed to be about the fashion (this from the girl that often asks if the model of Asics she likes comes in other colour choices) and I know I look foolish most of the time when I'm dressed for a run. After all, do running tights really look good on ANYONE?

Anyhow...I guess I'm not really AGAINST the running skirt, it's just more that I don't understand the whole thing. To me a skirt is something I might choose to wear to work, or to an occasion such as a wedding or a fancy dinner out with that certain man of mine...I would definitely NOT chose to wear it running. I was thinking this the other day as a saw a woman running on the track in a running skirt. If you really think you have great legs for a skirt and want to show them off (lets be honest, there's vanity galore at the gym) then can't you just get some really nice running shorts? Same length? Same material? Made for participation in athletics? Hmmm...

I would venture to say that the only time I would think a skirt should enter into the realm of athletics is in tennis. The tennis "skirt" is tradition and tons of the women on the Women's Tennis Tour wear them...but I dare say even in this case the tennis skirt has been taken a bit too far given the outfits some of the women are wearing on the tour these days!

ANYHOW- bottom line is that I will NEVER wear a running skirt. Never. Ever. And this is a promise I intend to least I think so...for now...

If you're going out there today for a jog, bundle up folks! Its c-o-l-d!

Friday, February 27, 2009


Help please...

Last week on Friday I went for a long run. Shocking, I know. My Nike/ipod chip told me I ran just under 18 miles in 2:44. I was quite pleased since it was my intention to only go 16 miles and THIS week was to be my 18 mile one. I decided that this week I would do another 18 miles before I cycle down again.

So I embarked on another long run this Friday. As a matter of fact, I embarked on the exact same run this Friday as I did last Friday. Boring, I know, but since it was the right distance and I wanted to get into my new book (Are You there Vodka, its me, Chelsea), I just did it. And this time my Nike/ipod chip told me I ran 15.5 miles in 2 hours and 41 minutes.

I'm confused.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Turtles (no, not the chocolate kind)

Well people, I am half way to being a personal trainer. I survived the theory portion of the course and only have to complete the practical exam before I am full-fledged. Look out, world, I plan on conquering the realm of personal training one newbie marathon runner at a time.

Speaking of my course, I learned something in my course that ya'll may want to consider. SO. We all know that our long run is a priority run when training for a full or a half. And this past week I have learned the science that makes it so. In a nutshell, the body operates on energy called ATP. The body has 2 different systems for making ATP- the aerobic system and the anaerobic system. The anaerobic systems are used when we are doing very high or high intensity activities that last from 10 seconds to 2 or 3 minutes. Therefore, as you may have guessed, they are NOT in use when you are training for a half or full...or at least NOT on the long run. The aerobic systems are the systems that create ATP using oxygen...they will continue to create ATP forever and ever as long as there is fat and/or glucose and oxygen available. Thus we need to train our aerobic system to be ready and efficient on race day, as it is the system that is used in running long distances. The best way to do this is to stay in the aerobic training zone when you're doing your long runs. How do you know that you're in your aerobic zone, you ask? Well, if we were going to be very scientific about it we would calculate your aerobic zone and take your heart rate from time to time on the long run to make sure you were exactly where you needed to be....but we're not, so the best I can tell you is that you need to SLOW DOWN. You should be able to carry on a conversation the WHOLE time you are running. If you want to push your pace, you need to do it on one of the shorter runs! Think TURTLES...slow, steady, happy, lovely little creatures...

You know, I've always loved turtles. They are just so unassuming and cute, sunning themselves on rocks in the heat of the summer. My lovely sis and I decided to take a stroll down memory lane this summer while she was still unmarried and free as a bird so we went for a bit of a turtle hunt, just like we did when we were kids. It wasn't quite the same as when we were chilies, we had a tin boat with a motor instead of a little wooden green boat with holes in it that we had to paddle, but it was exciting and adventurous nonetheless. Anyhow, to make a very long and funny story short, we found one of those quiet, unassuming, cute little turtles sunning himself on a log in the bay across from our cottage. We tried a few times to corner him on the log but he swam away from us and ended up where we couldn't quite angle the boat in to get him. So I made my dear sister (who was getting married in a week and really didn't want scratched and bruised legs for her wedding), climb up this rock face with tons of prickly branches, lichen and such to "scare" the turtle into swimming towards me in the boat so I could catch him in the net. Oh- and she wasn't wearing any shoes. Well, after several minutes of trying, we finally caught the little gaffer, tossed him in the bottom of the boat and took him home to brag to my sis' husband to be about our turtle hunting prowess...and to obviously prove to him that he had chosen a worthy mate. Gone are the days of the dowry, are the days of the little wifey bringing home the shape of a turtle! Needless to say, I don't really think he was that impressed and may have thought our passion for this whole turtle hunt was a little strange. Obviously he has NEVER had the thrill of netting an animal that is the size of his hand and whose defense mechanism is to pull its head inside of its shell...

I digress...the point is this. On your long run, run like turtles people! Not like the wind, not like a rabbit, not like some axe murderer is chasing you down the a TURTLE. Slow. Steady. Breathe easy. Enjoy.

Thank-you and good night.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


So many things to blog about, so little time!

Between the flu, that very important someone leaving for Algeria, my personal trainer course (its official- I WILL be official), my real job and teacher's convention, my posts have become less frequent. For this I apologize. While my blogging has been lacking, my running has not. Well, except for the turn I had with the flu...which as I learned wasn't really flu as the stomach flu simply doesn't exist. What I seemed to contract (thank-you, Shannon) was what the world wide web informed me was some sort of gastrointestinal virus. ANYHOW- you can't run while you're barfing and laying in bed with a fever and very intense bone aches. Rest assured, I am BACK...and I have lots to say.

First of all, a bit of disappointment. Sadly, I will NOT be running the Vancouver marathon this year. It seems my alter ego committed to presenting at a conference in Kananaskis that same weekend and declined to inform me of this commitment. In the sad face of reality I decided that since running is not my career that I should follow through with my conference commitment even though my lovely colleague Christine did offer to present on her own without me so I could run in Vancouver. What a woman! Anyhow teaching is my job and running is my hobby (I do have to remind myself of this every so often) so I made the executive decision that I will be running Calgary on the 31st of May instead of Vancouver. I am saddened that I will not be at the finish line to see the lovelies complete the half but I will be with them in spirit and will be excited to have some people to hang out at the starting line with this year!

Next. This past Thursday and Friday was teacher's convention. I had the very fortunate opportunity to see Mr. Stephen Lewis speak at the conference on the topic of character education. For those of you who know me well, you will know that I heart Stephen Lewis. Not in the same way that I heart running or Tim Riggins, but the man truly is a humanitarian in every sense of the word...he makes me proud to be a Canadian. Of the many, many topics that Mr. Lewis covered in his speech, his passion regarding gender inequality that persists in the world today particularly struck a chord with me. He spoke of the women in sub-Saharan Africa that are raped, mutilated and enslaved in the various armed conflicts occurring in this region and how he cannot understand how, in this day in age, that the world allows such atrocities to continue. He also spoke of the fact that a whole new branch of medical science is being created in and around "vaginal reconstruction" to deal with the "vaginal destruction" that woman in sub-Saharan Africa are suffering from as a result of being brutally raped, gang-raped, raped with object such as guns (often which are fired while inside the woman during the rape) and sodomized. We are fortunate ladies, to be living in Canada...where, by the way, women are still paid 73 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same job. Something that seems small and insignificant when you consider what the women in sub-Saharan Africa face on a daily basis, I suppose, but it still made me angry. He also spoke in disbelief of the current economic situation in which our neighbours to the south in 48 hours could find $400 billion dollars to bail out their financial institutions but since the commitment to the millennium development goals by the G8 countries in 2005 the world cannot seem to come up with $25 billion dollars to forgive the debt of African countries. Curious indeed. Anyhow, Stephen Lewis is simply an amazing speaker who is passionate about a variety of causes...if you ever get the chance to see him speak, DO go...and to think he owes his very first UN posting to Brian Mulroney. The world works in strange ways, I tell you!

As for running (which does seem trivial at times in light of certain situations in the world) I did my first long run back after the flu on Friday. And I did it at the track. Yuck. Boring. But the ice and snow did scare me a bit after I had a major wipeout on Tuesday and I made the executive decision to bring it inside. So, I tried something a bit different...I downloaded a book to listen to whilst pounding around the track. And I surprised myself by enjoying it! It was great to focus on something besides the track and the boredom! I downloaded Diablo Cody's book- Candy Girl which essentially chronicles a year in her life as a stripper. While crass...VERY CRASS...the book is interesting and held my attention for the whole 2 hours and 6 minutes that I was on the track. I highly recommend the book download for anyone that is wondering how they will get through the boredom of their long training runs!

Anyhow- this post is long and random...I'll blame the rambling on my post flu brain. OOOHHH- but I am very excited to share some of my new found training knowledge and how it applies to the long distance running training in the very near future!