Holy fuck. What a school year. What a whirlwind. What a pandemic. To say that I was looking forward to the start of this summer break maybe more than any other year, is in fact a huge understatement. We don’t even have that much planned…but to just have a break and have time to just rejuvenate is amazing.
Andy is still in daycare full time, but at least we have flexibility for drop off and pick up time since I am not having to head in to work each morning. It has made the mornings pretty nice….we let him wake up on his own, Dan gets out the door, and after Andy has breakfast I take him in. He is usually there between 8:30 and 9:00, and then I head straight out on a run.
While places in the state have had ‘normal’ races, not many have begun in canada. I was able to score a Lost Soul 50km entry for the second week of September, and barring a hurricane, this race should happen. Thing is, I have NOT been running anywhere NEAR what I normally would during a training year. Excuse or whatever, but the school year was just a gong show and having a 3.5 year old made it challenging to get those ‘training runs’ in when I really didn’t have anything to train for.
But now, it’s summer. And I am full force into training. I have set out what I think should be a relatively simple plan to follow with most of my workouts being Monday to Friday while Andy is at daycare. I have to keep reminding myself that the time that I finish the race in does not matter….I just need to complete.
I am also starting to get a bit motivated to lose the weight I have put on during the pandemic. It is around 12-15 pounds or so in the past year and a half…and I know getting rid of it won’t happen overnight. But by focusing on making healthier meals again, running 4 times a week, taking a row class, it’ll slowly work it’s way off.
This post was more of just an update and a WELCOME TO SuMMER and show that I am still in fact alive and well, haha..I hope to update with how summer training goes and any milestones that occur. So far this week I had one of the best trail runs I have had in a long time, clocking in at about 17 km. It is a good sign of things to come 🙂
So. I have been putting off and avoiding writing a post for some time. I have even had it on my “to-do” list. This week, I made a point to tell myself I would do it by Friday, as I would have some time. When I was heading to work, I decided I wanted to title the post as “Hopeful”. So I find it ironic and a bit funny that my stupid desk calendar at work had this cartoon today:
My last post was bidding 2020 adieu. To fill you in on details of each month, I will begin with January:
Biggest thing here was getting my foot surgery. I had a Cartiva Implant put in on January 18th. Leading up to the surgery, I was not nervous about going under…but I was nervous about not getting to. With COVID, if I had been placed under quarantine at all, I would have to postpone my surgery. See, that month we had our last week of a 6 week stint of students being ‘at home learning’ and then all students in Alberta were coming back in person the week of January 11th. I joked that if any of those damn kids caused me to postpone this surgery I would never let them live it down. Good news is they did not let me down.
During surgery recovery that month I discovered I cannot handle the side effects of T3’s. I also got to watch the Inauguration of a decent human being and VP from the comfort of my couch. I binge watched Bridgerton, Blown Away and Bling Empire. Overall, January was pretty great.
Foot is healing and I was back to work by the end of the first week in February. Crazy that I was already walking on my foot. This surgery is insane! Second semester started and we were all in person, but the COVID cases in classes were still happening and effecting a ton of random classes and kids. I was trying to do strength and core workouts via the Peloton app since I was not cleared to run yet….it was something at least.
Valentines Day allowed for a fun photoshoot with myself and Andy….so adorable this little guy. We also were able to escape to Red Deer for Reading Week because we felt case numbers were down enough in the province to warrant that….little did we know this province would fucking blow up in the coming months.
OK. I feel like this is when the disparity between what was happening in the US vs Canada in COVID started to develop. Vaccines were starting to given places in the states pretty swiftly. My whole immediate family (most importantly my mom) were able to access first and second doses quickly. Rollout was great.
What was happening here? Not a whole lot.
My husband is better at explaining the rollout and why we were so slow to the game….in the end, he just commented that “When the US does something great, they do it damn well. We are just a small fish in the sea” We didn’t have the supply needed to start the rollout fast. Every province’s rollout plan was a bit different, and our Phases in Alberta were moving slow. ALSO-Educators were not included in any of the early phases….we would just be the general public in Phase 3. THANKS JASON KENNEY.
March was nice for weather at least. Very grateful for my friend Tracey who fixed my bike, which is my dad’s old Schwinn from the 90s. And Dan bought a bike off Lethbridge Swap and Buy. Andy is getting a bit too heavy for the running stroller, so we tried our friends’ Thule bike carrier and loved it. Huge thanks to Lexi and Simon who are letting us borrow it this Spring and Summer, as they have a double they now use!
Also, I started running this month. I was first told to wait until mid April, but my foot was healing and I was itching to get out there. I decided to sign up for the Virtual Moonlight 6km as a goal. I ran it in a 35:32 which for being two months out of surgery isn’t too bad. Big thanks to Tracey, again, who was there for me – she joined me as I did my 6km! Felt good to do an ‘event.’
As the month wore on, the numbers in Lethbridge for cases were growing, and our school in particular was having case after case after case. I kept dodging my classes being quarantined, but students were in and out for random amounts. Our district wasn’t allowed to make a change to Scenario 3-Online Learning. The Alberta government must approve that. But our school did get approval finally to go online for the four days leading up to Easter because it was just a hot mess and a half.
Holy shit, this month was a different thing each week….
Easter came and went. The highlight of Easter weekend was the fantastic weather and our friend Nick’s 40+1 birthday celebration. Last year, his 40th had to be completely cancelled because it was the start of the pandemic. This year, we did a “Runstravaganza” on a Saturday where a handful of us (still within the restriction guidelines of groups gathering outside) ran and biked around 18km, stopping at eachother’s backyards for drinks and snacks. We had Andy with us and I biked with him as Dan ran. It was an awesome day! Felt a little bit of normalcy, as this is something we would have done in a non-pandemic year!
Dan and I also took Andy on a little mini getaway the weekend after Easter….We went to the Calgary Zoo for the first time. While I have been to many zoos, this was also my first time here! I know it’s a bit different than normal, as no indoor-exhibits were open. It was outside only with timed entry slots and masks on. It was a cooler day, but it was honestly great seeing the zoo in a low-crowd scenario. We then stayed in Mossleigh for the night at Aspen Crossing, where we booked a Caboose Cabin. I had gift cards that had been given to me in December as reimbursement for the Polar Express that was supposed to happen, but didn’t. Andy LOVED being in his BLUE TRAIN. It was a really fun experience!
So, that weekend was approximately April 10th give or take…..we had to come back to school IN PERSON after Easter break, as the government denied our schools request to stay online for one more buffer week. Thanks guys, thanks. On Wednesday, April 14th, I was minding my own business teaching Pre-Calculus students about Quadratics when I got a phone call from daycare….Positive Covid case at daycare, children must be picked up immediately. Quarantine for 2 weeks (became a bit more due to a second asymptomatic case during tests) and daycare closed.
I had been around these school quarantines, kids and teachers being in and out all year. My husband had not. All in all, we are pretty fortunate that this didn’t already happen to us. But we had to be creative from the 15th through the 28th. My principals were super in explaining all the different ‘days’ I could access for being at home, as I took on most of the at-home care since Dan needs to be working in order to be bringing home the money. I did not have to get into my personal days or my co-curricular days, and the fact that I already have a morning spare two days a week helped too. But dear god, taking care of a 3.5 year old for over 2 weeks when you can’t leave your house with them….that is something else. Andy was awesome though….Dan and I keep having to remind ourselves that he took it like a champ. He had three different COVID tests and they all came back negative…Dan was the champ taking him for those, but honestly driving to the testing centre at least killed time.
During quarantine, covid vaccines were starting to go up a bit, but moving on from the stages was not going fast. After doing some more digging, I felt like I could honestly declare myself as eligible in one of the early phases because I looked at my Cardiac MRI results from last year pre-COVID and compared them to something that was listed an a chronic health condition. This is something I plan on discussing in a future post, so we will leave that for another day. ANYHOW, since Kenney wasn’t prioritizing teachers I took matters in to my own hands and got my first Pfizer dose on April 18th. In another twist, we heard about that the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana was holding a vaccination clinic at the Carway border crossing, as they had a surplus of vaccines to share. After looking into it all, Dan drove down to the border at 4 am on Wednesday, April 21st. He was 13th in line. Our friends were number 35 or so, and the line kept growing and growing. Dan crossed the border, stayed in his vehicle, got his first dose of Moderna, waited 15 minutes, and drove home. He received paperwork from both Canada and US exempting him from a 14 day quarantine for going into the US. The Blackfeet Nation did not have to share these excess in shots…but they did.
So then, a bunch of our friends were able to get the Astra-Zenaca shot because they opened it to 40 and older…don’t worry, no one has had blood clot problems. But the second dose of that is up in the air because of supply….but they suggest 12 weeks for that anyway….and then just when our school and another high school had gotten district approval to moved to a hybrid-teaching schedule for the duration of the school year in attempt to limit tons of quarantine, Jason Kenney sent all 7-12 students in hot-spot areas online. We literally announced to our students Thursday morning that it would be starting the first week of May, and that night an announcement was made. Could have given us a heads up, huh? Fuck.
Well, we are halfway through May so who really knows what’s going to be happening. The two week online for hot-spots now is three weeks because then they decided to move it to all K-12 online. Alberta was a flaming dumpster fire at the beginning of the month….cases are crazy. There are so many people being irresponsible and our hospital admissions are so high right now. And it’s a lot of younger people. Who are being reckless. People hosting Anti-lockdown anti mask rodeos….like seriously. Grow the fuck up. We are all sick of this pandemic but it keeps lasting longer because of idiots.
But remember at the start of this page, when I talked about Hope?
I still have hope for this month…and the rest of the year!
Vaccine supply increased…Teachers were given FINALLY given a go to get their shots before it was wide open. Kenney allowed them a one day heads up….but then it opened to 30 and older for booking. And as of earlier this week, 12 and older. Basically, anyone who wants a shot in Alberta can go get it. So thank you!
All our friends have had their first shot. I feel safe at work. Dan feels safe at work. We feel safe about Andy at daycare. Numbers are starting to go back down with the new restrictions. Weather is getting better. Summer is ahead.
We are going to escape to the cabin for May Long. In June, I have a virtual Ladies Fest 8km to do, we have our 100 Point Day event again…..I maybe (fingers crossed) will get to go to Wisconsin this summer (big fingers crossed). We will be getting second doses of vaccines. Fall school year should be more normal. And I scored a 50 km race bib for Lost Soul Ultra in September along with us doing the Lone Wolf as a team.
Well, I say this every time I type a post….but I have sucked at posting in 2020. It has been hard to keep up, be motivated to do so, etc etc. Especially since this blog was originally started with the purpose of talking about my races, training, trips, and so one…there was really not much to report on this year. I did not have one single in-person “official” race. Moonlight Run 10km turned virtual back in March as it was the week after all the chaos really began. Right or wrong, or something in between, I chose not to register for any other virtual races during this year (except the RunDisney standard 5km virtual summer series…and that was so I could get the medals…which were sent to my mon’s house since they didn’t do Canada shipping…and I haven’t seen my mom in a year, so I will get them someday).
I don’t want this 2020 year-end post to be a sob story, woe-is-me. Because my husband Dan and I have discussed, that while it’s been a tough year, it’s been tougher for a whole lot of other people out there. We recognize how fortunate we are that we both have had stable jobs and income during this. When childcare shut down from March until Summer, while we don’t have family in town, we have close friends that we basically co-parented with. We rotated who watched the kids so the adults could work.
Races and trips were cancelled, but our friends’ made the most of it. There’s a core group of us that have had a group chat on WhatsApp going since March. A lot of the daily talk is just nonsense and things that just make us all laugh. But at the start of the first quarantine, we did weekly trivia on Zoom, we would join eachother for wine tastings, we met on each other’s lawns for socially distanced drinks. In summer, when things were a little more relaxed we did socially distanced beer miles again and some outdoor gatherings. I mentioned some posts ago about our June “100 Point Day” race we held in place of the cancelled Lone Wolf. It has already been determined it is becoming an annual event, even when races get back to normal.
Dan and I were able to go to the cabin at Gull Lake twice and see family and friends, with the last time being in August. Dan actually went up with a bunch of his friends on Labour Day weekend and had a pseudo “guys trip.” This whole fall we’ve been pretty bunkered at home, and I have been feeling the constant anxiety and stress being in the school system. In the Spring, educators were praised often for switching over to virtual learning and many maybe fianlly realized how improtant it is to have your children in-school and that what we offer at a school is more than an education. This fall, many on the outside have seemed to have judgement and concern if we are seemingly doing enough. Whatever we do, it doesn’t seem to win everyone over so really you just have to do the best you can every day for your students and not take things too personal.
I have not had to quarantine at all during the school year, and any in-school student COVID cases were not a result of in-school transmission. Students and staff at our school wear masks 24/7 as social distancing is not possible due to large class sizes. I truly believe this mask wearing, increased cleaning and awareness have help contribute to the school setting being SAFE! There was at most 5 active COVID cases at our school, and this was in the window of time in the end of October and beginning of November….right near the US election, so I was already a mess. Tons of students and staff were required to quarantine and do at-home teaching and learning for whatever time frame was given by Alberta Health Services. While some stduents and colleagues of mine had to quarantine just that one time, there were a handful that then fell into a second quarantine group later in the fall because of a different case or two in their class.
Case in Alberta, as in everywhere, have been on the rise all Fall and into winter. I know people are getting fatigued with this, and many people are getting just downright rude about following the rules. I’m sorry that this inconveniences your daily “freedoms” of being able to participate in activities of privilege that you are so used to, but if you cared about everyone you would actually take this seriously. Alberta went into a second sort of “lockdown” at the end of November, where on November 30th all grades 7-12 would be doing virtual learning until January 11th. Grades K-6 would still go in-person (mainly due to childcare situations) but ALL students in Alberta would do at-home learning the first week in January, 4-8th. I am not going to go into an analysis of this, but more so wanted to put it out there that since November 30th, I switched my in-person instruction to all online. I am allowed to go to the school every day (we are required to unless we get quarantined) and I teach in my classroom to my students who are at home.
Kids WANT to be at school. While I teach mainly academic classes this semester, even the “weaker” students who may not “love” school want to be here. Many people outside the education field don’t realize that being at home poses lots of potential issues. Do students have technology? Do they have reliable wifi? How many siblings do they have? Do their parents have to work from home too? Maybe their parents work shift work and having the children home during the day can wreck havoc on a normal routine. Do they come from a troubled home? Is there a chance of abuse if they are home all day? What if the school is the safest place for them to be from 8 am-3 pm? Now what?
It is now nearing the end of my Christmas break. We were supposed to be in Milwaukee visiting my family, but that obviously had to be cancelled. While travelling within the US is still allowed, though not encouraged, many people have started to seem to bend the rules for themselves. It’s a slippery slope. And now in the past two months I have had people close to me (back in the states) contract COVID. While they are recovering “fine” it had been a tough road for them. I can’t tell people what to do, but here is my woe-is-me post: I haven’t seen my family in Wisconsin for over a year now because the land borders are still closed to non-essential travel. If I were to travel anywhere in the US I would have a mandatory 14-day quarantine back here, not be allowed to work, and loss of pay. And why risk using the loophole of having my mom come here to visit (she could actually since she is my mother) when she would be someone potentially at risk herself with her age?
I hope my mom has access to the vaccine by Spring and that by summer, she can safely come visit. There’s been some bright spots in the last month or so (though it’s seemed more than a month) with the elections, the vaccine announcements…it gives 2021 hope. Our Christmas was quieter than normal, but Dan, Andy and had each other. We Facetimed Grandma, Nana & Gramps, brother and sister in laws, friends who live far away, etc…We made it work. And having a quiet Christmas with a 3 year old isn’t possible even if you think it’s going to be quiet. He had the MOST AMAZING TIME this Christmas season. Opening his advent calendar each day for the Thomas the Train car, gluing a cotton ball to a Santa Beard chart…..he can count up to 25 easily now, because he knows that SANTA COMES ON 25! To see a kid open a set of markers on Christmas, or underwear, or socks, and be so excited to get a gift is a special thing.
This year was tough. But it is not the end of the world. Going forward, I hope that people can recognize how lucky they are and take advantage of the little things. There were lots of little things that happened this year because of the Pandemic that I know I learned from and will take moving forward.
It’s been over two months since my last post. I did a post about closing out on the year 2019 and talked about what was ahead. I titled that post “2019, the New Normal”
Funny thing about that title now that we are two and a half months into 2020….
Obviously, this post comes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. I live in Alberta, Canada. I am a teacher. We just found out a few hours ago that all Alberta schools and daycares will be closed indefinitely. The past few weeks have been crazy following the pandemic around the world, but now there is action being taken here. It is so surreal.
I’m not going to talk about the pandemic, give my two cents on social distancing, tag exponential graphs (but those are pretty cool. Because in a few years there’ll be Math 30-1 Diploma Questions related to this outbreak). But I want to talk about what this means for me personally in running.
A lot has been going on in the running world lately once this started to take off. Tokyo Marathon limited their field to just the elite runners. And then fast forward a few weeks and now London and Boston have been postponed. Those are just the big races. Tons (I’m assuming thousands) of smaller races around the world are being cancelled.
I had originally planned on doing my first running post of this year until after our annual Moonlight Run, which was scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 21st. I’ve done a Moonlight Run post every year, so I figured I would do one this year even though I thought the race would be ugly for me. My training had gotten a good start in January, but some extreme cold temps made it hard to get motivated. They cancelled the event early last week, after the Alberta government put forth an initiative to not have events of greater than 250 people congregate. It was bitter sweet, but that’s when everything started getting real. This year, my race schedule was actually very odd for me. I have been reflecting on it a lot, and I realized that this year, I had no races booked where I would have a flight required. Nothing on either end of Canada, nothing far away in the US, and nothing overseas. Everything is drivable.
The main races we had planned this year were going to the Whitefish Half Marathon in late May (that has not been cancelled at this time. We are really hoping we can get to it). We are going with a bunch of friends and driving down to a cabin in Montana. Not as fancy as New York City, but tons of fun non the less. We are also planning on doing The Lone Wolf out in Fernie, BC again. It was so much fun last year! That is in June. And in September, I am giving Lost Soul Ultra 50 km another try. Oh, and I am most likely having a second foot surgery this fall.
I’m not sure how this all aligned, but I feel extremely fortunate of where I have gotten to travel to to do the hobby I love dearly—RUN. I have had 7 straight years of amazing trips and memories made all surrounding running. And this year, while those trips may look a little different, the memories are going to be there. We have to make the most of what is given to us. These next couple of months will suck for a lot of people for a lot of reasons, but in the grand scheme of things, as long as we take care of our selves the next coming months then we have the following years ahead to look forward too. I will in fact finish those Abbott World Marathon Majors….London and Tokyo, I’m coming for you! I want to requalify for Boston. I want to find small niche races all around North American to participate in. I want to have fun running.
So, a lot of runners right now are in a weird spot. What are we training for?Well, we are training for the chance to come back fighting once that stage is opened for us again.
You can take a look at my 2019 race result link to see the events I did this year. And then, if you feel like it, you can click on 2018, 2017, 2016…and you’ll soon realize how few events I did this year in comparison to other years.
This was the first full calendar year that 1.) I was back at work full time after maternity leave and 2.) we would be now parents to our son Andy, who turned 2 in October 2019. Before a child, I could run whenever I wanted and sign up for any race I wanted (obviously within reason). There were really no constraints! Even when I was pregnant, I kept up the running and shorter events. During maternity leave, I actually did have lots of time to run and train because I was off of work and I was willing to take Andy with me to any daytime boot camps he was allowed at. We still could travel lots and my schedule was flexible. Coming back full time to work with a child at daycare and trying to manage your own activities is not for the faint of heart.
I barely remember the winter and spring of 2019, but it was me focusing on just running in general. I did start a run streak during that time to get myself motivated for the season, but stopped in late March due to just being worn out. My husband never understands it, but Moonlight Run in March is always stressful for me. The first race of the year! I ran alright, and now looking back at that 45:17 I don’t know why I was that down. Then Rita’s Run 5km in May and Woody’s Half Marathon. The half was frustrating for me because 1.) Dan beat me and 2.) my time was actually about a minute slower than the year before while on maternity leave. I just felt down about my decline.
As summer hit, things got better. Switched over to trail season and I had a lot of fun. This was my first year really giving trail running an honest try. Dan and I did a two-person coulee cactus crawl team and actually placed in the mixed division, even beating teams who had up to 5 members. We also did Lone Wolf in Fernie as a 2 person team and had a blast with our friends and Andy that weekend. In July, we travelled way West to Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, where I ran the full marathon. What an experience that was! It was a small field of runners, but I was honoured to place 2nd female with a pretty respectful time. With little recovery time and still a busy summer, I had to stay prepped for my first trail 50km Ultra. And I did the Lost Soul Ultra in September, even beating my goal time and placing in my age group.
I had one more half marathon race lined up in October before the NYC marathon would come in November. That race never happened, as my world was flipped when I got a phone call late September that my Uncle Ed had passed away. This was my dad’s only sibling. I was shook. I travelled to Longville, Minnesota, for the funeral and to see family. When I came back, I could never get back into a groove. I forced my body through the NYC marathon, thankful that my only goal that race was to run with my husband and our friend and have fun. And since after NYC I’ve just lost motivation.
Am I going to stop running? Hell no. But I need to be a little easier on myself and get back to the root of running—-to stay healthy. Dan reminded me that about two days ago. That is the number 1 reason to run. And now, our number 2 reason to run is to spend time as a family and with our friends. That is something that has changed a lot in the last year or two and I am forever grateful for our running friends. Not just the ones we see at marathon club or races, but the ones we hang out with while in NYC…at beer miles…on our patio…our friends who hosted us while we ran in Haida Gwaii…the ones who cheered me on and crewed never at Lost Soul…the ones we are running with in New Years Eve for a group pub run. The last thing is to be competitive. That may have been a higher point to me in the last years. But it shouldn’t be now. It still matters to me; I’m still going to be competitive. But I gotta remember what is more important.
So 2020, what will you bring? I am registered for the Lost Soul 50km and hope to better my time. Dan and I are also doing Lone Wolf again, and our friend and his daughter are going to come and camp with us! We also plan on having a group of us go down to do the Whitefish Half Marathon in May and making it a fun long weekend with friends. 2019 may have been different compared to my other years, but now after reflecting on it, I’m looking forward to what my running future looks like!
Having a kid puts a damper on being up-to-date on my blog posts. So, since I did three races in May (a trifecta! 5km, 10km and a half marathon) and haven’t written about any of them, I am going to do a post on all three. This may become a new way of doing things…!?!
3rd Annual Lakeview Superhero Run 5km
I have actually done this race all three years and this was my fastest one yet! This race is always a Wednesday evening, and the past two years it was hectic getting there because I would have been working during the day. This year it was even worse because I was trying to deal with stuff at home with Andy before Dan came back from work and then I had to rush over to the race start. After parking I got to the start area with less than 10 minutes before the beginning of the race. Close call.
The weather had been gross all day long and thankfully it cleared up in the evening. While I would not have minded some rain while running, this is a 2km and 5km race geared towards children and I know they would have been miserable had it been raining. The 5km runners started first, and the 2km would begin shortly after. It’s a quick loop from Lakeview School down the green strip towards Bullys, then around the east end of Henderson Lake and back. I don’t know my splits, because in the rush around the house before heading here I realized my watch wasn’t charged. Rookie mistake. But I do know that I finished in a time of 21:57! I am super proud of this as last year I ran a 25:57(albeit I was 15 weeks pregnant or so) but back in 2016 I ran a 22:16…I beat that! This sub 22 time that I ran was my goal for my July race in Wisconsin, so now my goal for that 5km will be to beat this time!
20th Anniversary of Woody’s RV World Half Marathon in Red Deer
Dan and I often go and do this race because his family lives in Red Deer. This would be my 6th time running this half marathon. More notably this would be Dan’s first full marathon!
The weather was the best I’ve ever experienced for this race. The race starts and finishes right near Dan’s old high school. I had originally made a lofty goal of running a 1:40 for this race. When I started, I had some trouble with my legs. They just felt heavy. I really thought that I would be able to shake that feeling after a mile or so, but the heaviness and tightness persisted. I ended up getting pretty frustrated at the 10km mark, but after I hit 9 miles I had a second wind so to speak. My last four miles were very consistent and back to where they should have been all along. Here are my splits:
My final time was a 1:42.28. So, not in the 1:40 range like I was hoping but still pretty good. I hope to get down into that 1:40 range or lower by the Lethbridge Police Half this fall.
6th Annual Fort Mcleod Willow Creek Wilderness Walk & Run 10km
The weekend after Red Deer was this little trail race. My friend Angela and I headed out to Fort Mcleod in the morning. She would be doing the 5km while I ran the 10km. While it was advertised as a “Wilderness Walk & Run” I guess I didn’t really take into consideration that this would be a trail race, and not on paved paths. Surprise surprise!
I would say about 90% of the route was either on gravel, pebbles, mud, dirt, or grass. I was the leader of the 10km for the first two or three miles, which was col, but very mentally challenging. With no lead bicyclist, I was starting to lose focus and drive to stay at my normal 10km pace. My feet just kept sinking into the stones and I felt my pace getting slower and slower.
One guy did pass me and he stayed ahead of me for the duration of the event. But having him in front of me helped me push a little more and get back on track. Given the terrain of the race (and my loss of focus) my splits were all over the place. (6:43, 7:36, 7:53, 8:05, 7:57, 7:46) I was happy to see myself get my last mile back down a bit. In hindsight, I probably went out too fast and had I known what the terrain would be like maybe I would have been a little less ambitious to begin. My final time was 47:48, which was good enough for 2nd overall and 1st place female. I got a sweet handmade ceramic mug as my prize!
So that was May! It is already the first weekend in June, and originally I thought I only had one event this month. But yesterday I joined a relay team for a local trail race last minute. So who knows what else I’ll decide to do last minute….
Earlier in the summer I had the idea come in my head that I wanted maternity photos done. I knew I didn’t want stereotypical maternity pictures taken (heart over the belly, weird and awkward posing). What I wanted was some nice photos of my husband and I, some solo pictures of myself, and then photos with Snoopy. I think my desire to have these photos done increased as Snoopy was having trouble in June, and I knew I wanted to capture moments with him in case he took a turn for the worse.
I contacted a former student of mine, Emmy Burton. Emmy is a very talented photographer! I knew I wanted her to take our photos. While she had not yet done a maternity photo shoot, she had done many family portraits and grad photos…so I just told her it would like that. Not to worry about the enormous belly!
I gave her my ideas about what I wanted in my photos and where I’d like them to be—west side Lethbridge by the bridge. But not down in the river bottom like everyone else’s; I wanted them above the Oldman River at eye level to the bridge. Oh, and I wanted a train to be coming by…..
Our date for photos was September 2nd. A lot of British Columbia and Alberta have been having trouble with wildfires this summer due to extremely dry conditions. About a week before our photos, lightning struck in BC and the Kenow wildfire started. The smoke had begun to loom across the mountains into Southern Alberta, and that afternoon it really hit us bad. She asked if we wanted to reschedule but I figured we should just go ahead and see how they turn out.
And I’m so glad we went for it!
In my opinion, the smoke added this natural filter that just adds to the photos! Emmy got us set up quickly and started taking photos right away. And at one point early on, Dan looked to the west, pointed and yelled “TRAIN!!!!!”
My train came! We got a few photos as the train headed across the High Level Bridge to east Lethbridge. After the train passes, we continued with the photo shoot getting some great shots of Dan and I, and then with me and Snoopy.
Emmy took the photos home and within a week she got us the edited digital files. We are so happy with the photographs and will cherish them forever! I encourage you to check out and follow Emmy’s Instagram page with her photography @lemonhurricane If you’re in the area and looking for someone to capture a special moment, consider contacting Emmy!
It’s Sunday, August 27th. Tomorrow is the first day back to work for teachers, and students start up with mini-schedule on Tuesday, September 5th. The first full day of classes will be on Wednesday, September 6th. That day also marks that I will be 32 weeks pregnant.
This was a summer like none other, first and foremost because I have been pregnant. There were many things that did not occur this summer that usually would. For instance, drinks on patios. Sure, Dan and I were able to make some of our evening outings the same with trips to Telegraph Taphouse, but having an ice cold alcohol free Erdinger doesn’t pack the same punch as a Lagunitas IPA. Right now, I am drinking a club soda with grenadine and cut up peaches. I’ve got to cool off somehow! I also did not travel much this summer. Figured it would be wise to save money and really didn’t want to deal with the potential pains of flying or driving long distances while pregnant. Since I didn’t travel, I was able to teach summer school in July. I was very happy I did, as it kept me busy and earning the extra money was awesome!
“Adaptation” has been key. That’s really the best word for how I’ve dealt with summer 2017. Because of my ever-changing body, I needed to adapt my running. Notice, I adapted. I did not quit. I am proud to say that I ran 4 times a week all summer long. I golfed in ladies league on Mondays. In August, I added in a baby bump boot camp on Thursdays and a cardio class on Fridays. All of these things kept me busy, and most importantly kept me sane. I knew I needed to keep my running up this summer, because it really is a key part of who I am. Other summers, I would have signed up for races in Calgary or Edmonton during July or August but this year I held off. I knew driving up there to do a race would not be the wisest idea. However, I kept an eye out for events local that I could do.
That brings me to yesterday, when I ran in the Taber Cornfest 5km. This event was celebrating their 25th year, and would be offering a 5km and 10km option. Taber is a small town 50 km east of Lethbridge. It would be an easy drive out on race morning, and while I was not going out to break any records or place in any divisions, I was going out to race the best that I could at that given day.
With summer being so hot down here in Southern Alberta, my paces for training runs have not been anything crazy. I had come to terms with that in the past month, knowing that just getting out there and completing the training runs during the week was what mattered…not how fast I was going. I had a goal in my mind to run around a 33 minutes 5km in Taber, roughly a little faster than an 11 minute mile. Based on how my running was going in August, I knew I could attain that goal.
Race morning was nice and cool. It had gotten quite tolerable the night before and this carried on into the morning. By the time the race started at 9 am, it was only around 59F. I went out and held a pace that came naturally to me and felt comfortable. I kept checking my heart rate during the first mile and it was always under 150. My breathing was in check and I was feeling great. Suddenly, mile 1 came and my watch hit 8:39!
I was WAY ahead of my 11 minute mile pace. For a brief second I thought about really slowing it up. But, my heart rate was good, my legs were feeling strong….so I stuck with my gut and just kept on going. Mile 2 slowed a bit, but it was still a 9:03. OK….if I can hold the final mile around this pace and watch my breathing I can definitely finish under 30 minutes!
The last mile was harder than the first two, as my heart rate did climb up a bit. I kept watching my FitBit and whenever the bpm got into the 170s I would try and focus on my breathing to bring it down. Mile 3 clocked in very close to the same time as mile 2, with a 9:04. I did let myself go a bit the final stretch, wanting to close the gap on the women in front of me. When I crossed the finish line, my watch stopped at an unofficial distance of 3.16 miles. My official chiptime would be a 28:02! I placed 4/23 in my age group, 11/98 in women, and 35/158 overall.
Running 5km races are not really my thing. They are hard for me! Call me crazy, but I’d much rather run a half marathon. It took me a really long time to get my personal 5km best of a 20:42. The fact that I am about 7.5 minutes slower than my personal best all while being 30 weeks pregnant makes me super happy. Why does it make me happy? Because it shows that my hard work this summer is paying off. I have been reasonable with my running this summer, with the overall goal being to remain healthy while progressing in this pregnancy which should then make it easier to get back to my racing form after the pregnancy.
With being 3/4 of the way through my pregnancy, I know every week will pose a new challenge. I am also mentally preparing myself for the possibility of having to stop running any day. There are a variety of things that could come up that would put my running to a halt. If my doctor told me that it was no longer safe for me to run, I would stop. I mean, come on…I am not an idiot. If something I was doing was putting the baby and/or myself in danger, I would quit it. But, I have been having a fairly low-key pregnancy with no issues so my doctor has been very supportive of my choices to continue running and working out. I am very fortunate to have an OB who supports my running, as she knows it is something I did not just start overnight. Before being referred to my OB, my family doctor was also very supportive of me continuing on with my running, as long as I didn’t have a high-risk pregnancy. I actually had an appointment with my family doctor last week to just confirm that he would be able to take the baby on as a patient and his words of encouragement meant a lot.
I am also very fortunate for the support my family and friends have given me this summer. They are pretty well adjusted to the fact that running is a part of my identity, and it doesn’t seem to surprise them at all that I have continued. I think this is one reason actually that my husband sometimes seems to forget how far along I really am in this pregnancy, because I have still gone about my running as I normally do. He doesn’t seem me out there training in the summer, but he knows I’m out there doing it. And he knows it makes me happy.
So what are the two next two months going to be like? For running, I will still continue with my 4 times a week running. I will be joining my cross country kids on their runs during the week, and will likely be the caboose of the group. I also am considering doing a 4-week session of the Baby Bump class at Kinetic, as it is offered on a Friday at 4:30 pm. This will keep me active and help burn off the energy from the work day. My mom comes to visit near the end of September. She will be a huge help around the house getting things set for baby, and we will be having my baby shower. There is also the Lethbridge Police Race on September 30th, where I will be doing the 10km, my mom will be walking the 5km and my husband will be doing the half marathon. When she leaves in October, I will have just had my 33rd birthday and I will surely start to feel the nerves and anxiety attached to becoming a family of 3. Baby is due November 1st, which may seem like a far way away from August 27th….but we all know it’s closer than you think! I can pencil in a lot of things, but I know stuff could change in an instance after one doctor appointment!
It had been a couple years since I ran in one of the Millarville events, so what better way to get back at it than do a relay with my husband?!?!? I signed us up some time back, but had always planned that I would run the first leg of the half marathon and he would run the second leg. We stuck with that plan as race day approached, since I would be over 20 weeks pregnant and the first leg was the shorter distance. Having just come off a good race time at the Lethbridge 8km Ladiesfest I knew I could pound out a good time for the 9km portion of our relay.
Our alarms went off at 4:15 am that Saturday morning. We would be driving up to Black Diamond and do our race pickup before the event. The drive took about 2 hours, so we arrived with about 45 minutes to spare. There was another reason why doing the relay was the better option for us—we had to bring our dog Snoopy along for the trip. I’ll be doing a blog post at some point this summer about what has been going on this June, but the main point is that Snoopy has bad arthritis and has been going to Calgary for doggie acupuncture appointments. We booked an appointment strategically for after the race, since we’d already be almost to Calgary. Doing the relay allowed one person to stay with Snoopy at all times while the other person ran!
I was off at 7:30 am with the other runners. All relay and half marathon runners started together. The 9km portion I was running winds through Black Diamond neighborhoods, past golf courses, and onto paved trails. It offers some rolling hills and lots to see. Being the first leg of the relay had the benefit of having lots of other competitors around you as your ran. This always pushes me more!
I had my phone with me, so I voice texted Dan when I had less than a mile to go. I wanted him to be prepared at the transition area. I crossed the relay transition with a 9km time of 48:26.08. My splits were 8:01, 8:55, 8:56, 8:59, 8:28 for miles 1-5. The distance on my watch clocked in at 5.65 miles and I had an average pace of 8:35 a mile.
I went to the car (where Snoopy was patiently waiting) and we drove the short drive to the finish line at the Millarville racetrack. After parking and walking to the finish line, we didn’t have to wait too long for the first half marathoner to come across. It was then pretty quick having other finishers for the various distances come by. Dan came by with a half marathon finish time for our team of 1:43.50. His split for the 12.1 km he ran was a 55:24.57. This works out to a team average pace of 7:55 minutes/mile. Not bad for a pregnant wife and a husband who still doesn’t really like to run!
I first ran a Calgary Marathon Weekend event in 2009. That marathon was AWFUL for me, and I took a break from running full marathons. But, in 2013 I returned to Calgary for their half marathon. And in 2014 for the full. And 2015 & 2016 for the 50km.
Calgary Marathon Expo
This year, my husband and I ran the half marathon. I went in with a few time goals, with my overall goal being to run a sub 2 hour half marathon. Normally, this is no problem as I have been running low and sub 1:40s for a few years now. But, being 17.5 weeks pregnant would be new running territory! If that goal couldn’t be met, I wanted to beat my first half marathon time of 2:05.30. Third goal would be sub 2:10. And after that, just completion.
Runners Soul Marathon Club
Weather was set to be comfortable, and the 7:00 am start is always nice. In my experience running Calgary Marathon Weekend event, the heat really kicks in at around 9:30 and on. I would be done before the heat of the morning arose, and off those non-shaded city streets. I was concerned, however, about needing to use the bathroom multiple times. I am needing to stay hydrated more than ever, but that comes with consequences!
Husband & Wife…
Dan and I started in separate areas of the starting corral. I actually started with our cousin Erin, even though I knew she’d be gone from my sight in a few short steps. I started farther up than maybe I should have, but I also know so many people self-seed themselves incorrectly. I planned on pushing the first mile just so I could get some space and not be trampled/ran into/stepped on. This plan worked as I ran mile 1 in 8:33, and therefore had plenty of elbow room.
Miles 2-5 were consistent and uneventful. Actually, the eventful parts of these miles were people running by me commenting on my shirt! “Run Faster! I’m pregnant and still kicking your ass!” I heard a comment from a guy at one point saying he’s done a lot of races and that’s the best shirt he’s ever seen. I got a lot of “congrats” and thumbs up. It kept me smiling and moving, and I’m sure it kept a bunch of other people moving! Miles 2-4 were 8:45, 8:59, 8:58, and 8:59. I was on pace to break 2 hours (ideally wanted an average pace of 9 min/mi…I was on track!)
Mile 6 was my slowest, at a 9:46. This is due in part to my one and only potty break. I spotted two Porta Potties downtown at around mile 5.8 and there was no line. PERFECT! But, they were both occupied. I had to wait probably somewhere around 15-20 seconds, went in and was out quickly. Probably used about 45 seconds there. But, it was needed. Hopefully it wouldn’t come back to taunt me as my time approached the 2 hour mark.
I was never able to get my pace back below that 9 minute mark, but I hovered right around it. Miles 7-10, which mentally were the most challenging as you saw people already heading back to Stampede grounds as you were heading to the turnaround, were 9:05, 9:03, 9:14.
During those miles, I took advantage of the soaked sponges, as I do at every Calgary event! The sun was up, clouds were non-existent…it was warming up! I needed to keep my body temperature down. I kept watching my heart rate and every time it got near 170 I would slow down a bit and adjust my breathing to bring it down to a 150.
On the home stretch I knew I could get that sub 2 hour. I ran a 9:02 for mile 11, 9:08 for mile 12 and a 9:11 for mile 13. The problem was when my watch hit 13.1 miles, I wasn’t at the finish line. This can happen in a lot of races, especially if you veer off the course to use a bathroom, run zig-zagged to go to aide stations, don’t run the tangents of the course….I pushed as hard as I could so I could get under 2 hours. My watch read 13.9 when I finished, and I finished in a 1:59.12! A sub 2 hour half marathon!
Dan was in the finish area waiting for me (I’m not sure how he managed to stay there without the volunteers kicking him out after he finished). He ran a personal best of 1:41.08. This was over 11 minutes faster than his only other half marathon, which he ran a year before this. Look what a little training can do! And with him running that time now, if I can get him to keep on with running, I will have some friendly competition post pregnancy!