Of course, I did my last post 3 months ago. Of course, I haven’t written about any of the races I did in the late spring and any of the training I have been doing this summer, and I haven’t written about what is ahead.
So, I am doing it now. It’s going to be pretty concise, but it’s a post.
I left you with the fact that the race weekend for Whitefish Half and Full Marathon was upon on. We headed down for the Canadian long week in May and had just an overall fantastic time. We went with our good friends Nick and Alycia, and my husbands parents also came down and stayed at a hotel to help with Andy. Dan and Alycia would then run the full marathon, while Nick and I both ran the half.
Everyone runs the first 13 miles together. Half course was relatively “easy” as far as elevation, turns, etc. Dan and I ran together and had a very good pace for most of it. Dan was actually killing it and ended up leaving me at around mile 8 or 9. I had trouble in those two miles and was very tempted to just start walking and quit. My competitive edge felt lost. However, I mustered up some willpower and pushed through. My finishing time was 1:47:47, which I will happily take after it being such a long time without racing! 20/237 for women and 4/40 for women 35-39.
The following weekend I had the disaster that was the Calgary Full Marathon. I need to stop doing this full marathon because it’s never a good race for me. The half goes well. The ultra has gone well. But this damn distance. Anyway, 5km in to the race I knew stuff wasn’t going to go right. I also had my worst day of my period and felt like shit (yeah, I’m whining. but I’m talking about a natural thing that everyone should know SUCKS when you are trying to compete) so there’s that. The fact I finished is just good enough for me. I ran a 4:30.23, and YES-Dan’s time at Whitefish (even with the crazy elevation!) beat mine. He ran a 4:07.25, with a 1:45.41 half split. And his time for the second half wasn’t slower because he hadn’t trained….it was slower because the second half of that course was EVIL!
In the end, Calgary was completed. But the highlight may have been seeing the photos and video of our son Andy run the 1.2 km kids run. Ohhh, he had the best time!
How was summer then? Well…we bought a house, sold a house, moved, went to Hawaii….and oh yeah….I trained for the Lost Soul Ultra 100KM. This race happens ONE WEEK FROM TODAY and HOLY SHIT IT IS STARTING TO GET REAL.
I did the LSU 50km twice—once in 2019 and then also last year in 2021. Last year, a monsoon came in the middle of the night before the 50km race start so they had to change things last minute and make it the wet-weather route. Not a trail race, but it was done. This will be my first ever go at a 100km race distance, with my farthest ever before being the 54km that is the regular Lost Soul…and the most I’ve ever run in one day is 70km during our silly 100 point day.
My good friend Tracey is crewing me (thank god) and the weather appears to finally be getting cooler. The rain needs to hold off and all should be good. I know there will be some really high HIGHS and some pretty low LOWS during my attempt at this. But as long as I finish, then it’s a personal best.
I really do hope to do a detailed report on this race because this is a pretty big deal for me. I’m grateful for having the time in the summer to do the training while not teaching, and also for Andy being at daycare so I have this selfish time to run.
Next post will hopefully be posted in this same month! I can’t wait to share stories from the trails!
Well well well….it’s finally time. The time has come. It’s here. WE HAVE A RACE WEEKEND GETAWAY!
I know there have been events happening elsewhere in the last year even during the pandemic. But in Canada, most of our things were still cancelled due to gathering laws. And then the ‘easy’ border crossing by road wasn’t easy because it was closed to traffic until I don’t even remember when…November 2021?
In early 2020, we had chosen the Whitefish Marathon Weekend in Montana as our spring race. Had an AirBNB booked with friends. Going to be great! Well, that got cancelled (obviously) and our race entries got transferred to 2021. The race happened in 2021, but none of us from Canada could go…I mean, unless you flew. We weren’t allowed to cross the road border.
Now its 2 years later. And it’s been about 3 years since I have done a half marathon race (my last was Woody’s RV Half Marathon in Red Deer, May 2019). I ran a 1:43.20 then. After that race, my focus was a full in Haida Gwaii (3:42 and change) and my 50km Ultra Trail Race.
I have trained pretty well this spring….but my base and my ability is SO DIFFERENT than it was since I last toed the start line of a road race. I know I should just listen to Dan and focus on that this race weekend is about travel and having fun with friends….but I am nervous. I would used to thrive on being competitive to myself in road races. I am going to push the best I can, and while I have done the mileage in training, I am not sure if I will just explode part way through. It almost feels like this is my first time doing a race and don’t know what to expect.
We leave this afternoon to do the 3-3.5 hour drive to beautiful Whitefish. The weather for the weekend looks ideal. We are staying with really good friends at an AirBNB close to start and finish. In-Laws are already down there at a hotel and are going to watch Andy race day and then take him on Saturday night so we can have some fun.
This trip and race has been 2 years in the making and we finally get to go. I have no clue what my “Race Report” will be. Maybe I’ll surprise myself. Maybe my legs will give out and I’ll have to walk my ass across the finish. Either way, I just have to remember that this means one thing—RACING IS FINALLY BACK!!!
So, as I look back at 2021…..race wise, I want to forget about it all
No races yet this year. Everything had been cancelled. Notice how on the top of my main page I have result headers going way back to 2013? And the last year was 2019? That’s because 2020 blew up all the races. And then 2021 just kept being disappointment after disappointment of races being delayed and then cancelled. I have said it before–I am not a virtual race person. So I only did one in 2021 and that was the Haida Gwaii Half Marathon. That race holds a special space in my heart from when we went and did it in person in 2019. Once summer hit in 2021, I hit the trails. It was my last hope. Lost Soul 50km WAS going to happen! The 100km and 100 mile racers started on Friday, September 10th. It was exciting that something was actually occurring. I started to get my pre-race, night before jitters and laid all my stuff out.
And then….the rain.
This won’t be a really big recap, but the main thing is rain hit at around 9 pm Friday night. We had been so dry and at risk of wildfires all summer long, and it chose to rain that night. Rained all night long….100 mile runners were STUCK on the course in coulee mud. They pulled the runners off the course starting around 3:30 am whenever they reached their next aide station. At some point in the middle of the night the race directors started making a plan.
When I woke up at around 5:30, everything was up in the air. I believe it was at 6:15 am that a decision was posted on Facebook that YES the 50 km race would start, but it would be delayed to 7:15 am, and at that time all 100 mile racers would also start up again with the 50 km runners. The final catch-wet weather route.
What is a wet weather route for a 50 km trail race in the easy-to-destroy coulees? It is a 10km loop you do 5 times that is on mainly pavement, a touch of shale path, and one 100m stretch of mud.
Now. Today’s date is Jan 6th. This race recap is so soon after the actual race, it’s going to be very detailed…..yeah, no. My New Years Resolution is going to be to get back to actually doing training and race recaps, because 2022 better have some fucking races (more on that at the end). But the main thing about this Lost Soul….we were all just SO HAPPY to have a damn race! If this race had been cancelled due to weather, and not COVID, it would have been a huge slap in the heart. Was my time faster than it would have been on the coulee course? Of course—it was pavement. But was I in more pain than I would have been on the regular route? Of course—it was pavement.
I am forever grateful for the lovely race directors who made the decision to change the route in order to protect the coulees and allow us to still have an event. It was very stressful even leading up to race day before the weather hit as there was a chance that it would be cancelled if new COVID restrictions had come in by then. So, the only thing I can thank Jason Kenney for is that he delayed any sort of Vax Passport restriction stuff until after my race. THANK YOU, but you are still an asshat.
My finish time was 5:28. I was sore AF after. I got to run with our son Andy into the finish line. My husband got to see me finish. My friend Tracey helped me at the main aid station whenever I came through. The positive about a looped course was that anyone who was spectating was in the same spot and you got to see everyone anytime you came through headquarters. No, it wasn’t the traditional Lost Soul Ultra. But nothing since March 2020 has been traditional.
So, what’s next? Register for the 50km for 2022 so I can do the regular route again and try to beat my 2019 time? Nah…..how about do it twice? That’s right….I registered for the 100km Lost Soul Ultra. This will be my farthest race ever. The most I have ever run in one day is 70 km during our crazy 100 Point Day event in 2020. This will be a total different race for me, and my main goal is to just finish. I need a different challenge; something to motivate me. I had little motivation last year with everything getting cancelled, so starting 2022 off on the right foot with signing up for races and starting plans is step 1.
While that is the Goal race it isn’t until September. I have also already signed up for the Whitefish Half Marathon and Calgary Marathon (both in May) and Taber Tuff 25km Trail Race in July. We also have a deferred entry to the Lone Wolf trail race in September (that was another last minute cancellation due to BC COVID rules). I am going to attempt to get in to the Elk Valley 50km in July to use as a training run. And I will also keep my eyes open for other races that intrigue me.
This year is about getting back in the habit and reaching some new challenges. Here goes nothing!
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!