Tag Archives: hypothermic half

Hypothermic Half 2016-Why?


imageOn Saturday, February 27th, I participated in the Lethbridge Edition of the the Hypothermic Half. This event is put on by The Running Room and held nationwide. I participated in the Lethbridge event in 2013, then the Calgary version in 2015. I wrote about those events here (Lethbridge 2013) and here (Calgary 2015)…and as you can see, they were completely different experiences. Going into this event, I had an idea of what to expect, and I was disappointed. But that doesn’t mean it was an amazing race experience.

I don’t like being negative on here, especially about races. But when an event needs some improvement, I will share my two-cents. I signed up for this local event knowing it would probably be low-attendance. In comparing the Lethbridge 2013 run to the Calgary 2015, the first thing one would notice is turnout. The Calgary Running Room in Eau Claire Market downtown seems to do quite a bit more promotion and draws more runners. That event was chip timed. It was a bigger deal. The Lethbridge event, yet again, was not chip-timed had only about 40 or so runners (tops) and was a mish-mash to say the least.

Packet pickup was both the Thursday and Friday before the event. This was nice as I could not make it Friday (would have been tight on time). However, I went to packet pickup and they couldn’t confirm race start. It would either be 8 am or 9 am. I had to write down my email so they could let me know. They also had no details on the brunch. Now, while I did receive an email late Friday afternoon, that is very odd to me that a race did not have these details for participants less than 48 hours before the event. Especially when it’s an event being put on by a national store.

In 2013 the race swag was a duffle bag (Dan uses it from time to time). Last year. I received a buff-like head gear piece and black mittens (which I actually use). This year, they decided to have everyone receive a flimsy orange backpack (I like the Colour but I is destined to tear if I put anything bigger than a pair of shoes in it) and a toque that doesn’t fit over my Afro. I like it when races change up the swag, but for the registration price, this is so-so. For the record, early bird registration was $65 up until October 1, $70 until Jan 1st, and $80 until race day. I believe I did the $70 one, knowing you get an item other than a shirt. This also includes a post-race brunch…which I’ll talk about later. Really, Running Room is making a killing because this is the same cost for the 5km or 10km, which they hold that same morning. I, just really confused on this pricing tier, as since it’s a nationwide event and all race sites have the same swag and medals, it’s all ordered in masses. Anyways, onto the race.


Race did start at 9 am, which was what I had thought was the original start time anyway, so that was good. I signed up for this race knowing I would have a long training run this weekend, and it timed out to be the weekend I needed to do 18 miles for my Boston Training. I got up early and did a 5.5 mile “warmup” to get my legs going. The warmup miles felt good, but I was already going faster than I normally had been going on my long runs…not faster than the pace I should be going, but I was averaging 8:21 a mile. I made it to my car, drove down to the river bottom, and was at the start line with about three minutes to spare. Way to cut it close!

The route was a familiar one, as it went out past the nature centre to the metal gate, turn around, loop adjacent to the Oldman River and under Whoop Up Drive, past the water treatment plant and down to the loop right before the country club. Then head back to the start…and do it again. As a local runner, I know the segments of this route like the back of my hand…all the turns, dips, climbs, bridges, etc. But with the event having such a low number of people, keeping motivated would be tough as often I felt alone, yet still wanted to push to keep my goal pace for the race. I had in my mind I wanted to pace for an 8:00 minute/mile, as that is in the faster end of my “long run” pace, but exactly what I want for my goal pace in Boston (gives me a 3:30 full). Even though the race start didn’t have the traditional excitement I am used to at the start of a half marathon (maybe part of it was that I was still tying my left shoe when they said GO) I got fired up during that first mile. It felt GREAT to be in a race again. And to feel in shape. I did my first mile too fast, in a 7:22. I hope that I can remember what that felt like, as that is my goal half pace. I held close to that last year when I ran my 1:35.41 personal best. I have a half marathon on April 2nd in Wisconsin, and if I haven’t eaten too much cheese or drank too much beer the week leading up to it, I plan on going for that.

Back to Lethbridge. First half of the half went with a 7:22, 7:56, 8:04, 8:02, 8:05, 8:16, 8:01. It was around here while heading past the nature centre a second time I came across some tool walking his dog not on the leash. The dog was a huge Great Dane/boxer mix (maybe?) and came up to my hip. It was running in the side brush and onto the trail, and as I got closer it decided to run right toward me. It didn’t bite, but it nudged it’s damn head at my hip so I, naturally, turned my head back at the guy and yelled “THIS ISNT AN OFF LEASH PARK! YOU CAN GET A FUCKING FINE”. Then, I ran off the pavement a bit, and promptly ran into a rock. For real. And I hit it with my right foot. The one with the bone spur. Yeah, I jacked my foot into the rock, but caught myself and then kept running. The idiot owner was saying he was sorry….but yeah. That happened.

Regained myself and did the second loop with 8:16, 7:56, 8:02, 8:07, 8:12 and then the last 0.75 miles in 5:50, to finish with 1:42.15. My total distance was 12.75 miles, and I think I was so under due to the fact I really did run the tangents and hug all the curves, as I am so familiar with the route. The route did have a Garmin Connect map online that clocked it as the true 13.1 miles, but that would being on the outside curves the whole time. At 5km, for instance, I looked and was at 3.06 miles instead of 3.11…and then the gap just slowly grew. I was very happy with my finish, as my pace was a solid 8:01 minute/mile. Pretty much exactly what I wanted for the day!

I finished and got my medal, which is sweet. I do like the abominable snowman/Sasquatch/The Bumble that is on it, so that is a plus. I got my layers in and waited for my friend Aimee and her friend Zita to finish, and then we headed to the brunch at Lethbridge Lodge. Now, I didn’t go to the brunch in 2013 for some reason, but I did in Calgary last year when it was at Fort Calgary and it was awesome. Tons of food, fantastic scramblers…lots of juice, coffee, beverages. Filled with people. This one…was…interesting.


Got to the ballroom in the Lodge it was at, and it was basically empty. I think there were about 12 people in there, and no one was checking our race bibs to actually see if we paid to eat. The buffet line up was scrambled eggs, ham, plain cubed potatoes, and some Danishes. Then some poorly made coffee and questionable orange juice. Additional brunch tickets were sold online for $30 a piece…this was a $9.99 buffet. Thankfully, the company of Aimee, Zita and her husband made it worth it, as the food was a joke.

Would I recommend this race? Not the Lethbridge one. Would I do it again? Probably not anytime soon. But if it lined up in a training plan, I’ll probably throw my credit card number down and try to give it another chance, but the only be left to complain yet again. Memories! 7 weeks til Boston ya’ll!


8.5 Weeks Until Boston…Training Progress, Race Goals, Injury Update


Helllllloooooooooooo!  Crazy to see on my training plan that I am now 7.5 weeks in, with 8.5 weeks left to go!  Almost at that halfway point!  Training is on schedule and I am feeling pretty good.  I lamented before how it is frustrating sometimes as I notice myself slower on some workouts this year than I was last year, but I then remember that last year I was coming off some strong races in late fall/winter so I was better prepared to enter training.  I have had some awesome training runs, though, and that makes me feel even more confident getting to this halfway point.  The 16 miler I have on Saturday will be my first true test, in my opinion, as it has the mileage challenge and the mental challenge.  I missed my first 16 miler two weeks ago because I was fighting this awful stomach bug, so I need to go out and just get the mileage in.  Nothing fancy, no crazy pace accelerations…just run 16 miles in my long-run pace range (7:48-9:04 per mile).

I also have mentioned before that not having any races lately has made it hard at times to really push my limits.  On February 27th, I will be doing my first event of 2016.  The Hypothermic Half is an event held nationwide and put on by Running Room.  I am doing this in conjunction with my 18 miler that day, so I am not going to race it, just simply use it as part of my training run that day.  The ‘competitive’ events come in March and April, as I have the local Moonlight Run 10km on March 19th and the Trailbreaker Half Marathon in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on April 2nd.  My dream goal at Moonlight would be to place in top 3 women overall.  The race can be all over the place, due to the change in weather, time of year, and the wicked hill climb for the last 3/4 of a mile.  Last year, while I ran faster than the year prior, I placed 5th overall in women.  I ran a 43:47.  In 2014, I placed 4th overall with my 47:27.  This year, I expect to be somewhere in between those times, but have no real clue how I will finish.  It really depends on who shows up on race day….and I don’t mean just what competitors….I mean what Andrea will show up?!?!?

For Trailbreaker, I am planning on pushing myself to the limits and run the best half marathon I possibly can.  To beat my personal best, I would need to run faster than a 1:35:41.  I did that time exactly one year ago in frigid temperatures.  My most recent half marathon time was my less-than-pleasing Lethbridge Police Half, where I had stomach issues the last 4 miles and dropped position and time, finishing with a 1:40.13…well off what I was capable of.  So really, I am aiming for anything under 1:40 at Trailbreaker, as coming off a week of ‘vacationing’ in Milwaukee is sometimes a bit much.  And since I have been training for Boston, I know my  legs are ready for this.  And, the elevation is lower back home, so you never know!  Lets just hope the humidity stays away!

Lastly….my foot.  It’s not an injury, per say, but a nuisance.  I know, KNOW it is getting more aggravated by the day as I keep pounding out the mileage.  The new shoes and orthotics have helped tons, and I am so glad I got them.  However, the only way for it not to hurt would for me to not run, walk, stand, be human.  So, I am just going to keep ruining my foot and build that bone spur up more and more until I have a surgery date set.  I have been putting prescription 10% Voltaren on it as of late, and this has helped numb the pain.  I am set to see my podiatrist next week to talk about pain management, and then I will hopefully be booking an appointment with my family doctor (and sports medicine extraordinaire) to have him inject something into it?????  I have been going to physiotherapy pretty regularly, and I am addicted to the TENS machine…those electric wave pulses (or whatever they are) on my foot feel SO GOOD.  I really don’t know how my foot will hold up on races, as during runs I don’t really think about it. It is after I am done running and my shoe is off that the throbbing really kicks in.  So the Hypothermic half, Moonlight Run and Trailbreaker will all be good indicators on how 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston will physically feel come April 18th!  I don’t really care if my foot feels like it is going to fall off during that race, because emotionally it will feel amazing!



Digital Running “Time of the Season” Challenge


When I was training for the 2014 Dopey Challenge in Walt Disney World, I was introduced to Digital Running.  The website offers a place for other runners to meet and participate in team relays, share information, training plans, and more.  You can also register and participate in online challenges.  In 2013, I registered for the Hat Trick and Grand Slam Challenge, which were completed at the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend where I ran a 5km, 10km, half marathon and full marathon.  I also registered for the Interstate Challenge where I needed to complete an event in both Canada and USA.  



Since I am a bling addict, I registered in March 2014 for the “Time of the Season” challenge.  For a full year, I needed to log an event of 5km or longer, at least one per month.  Each event would be verified, and once I completed three months in a row, I would earn a pie piece towards a giant medal.

Tricky part was finding a chip-timed event nearby once the weather got cold.  I could not find a chip-timed event in December, only local fun run 5km events.  I still did those events (Santa Shuffle and Resolution Run 5km) but they wouldn’t be officially counted.  Luckily, a one-time “free pass” was issued if you couldn’t get a timed event in.


My final event for this challenge was the Hyptothermic Half in Calgary, Alberta.  It was tough to find a February event in Alberta, but I am glad I did as this event was where I ran my 1:35 half personal best!  Soon, after logging this event on my member page, the final piece of my “medal” came.


Virtual races and challenges aren’t something I always sign up for, and they aren’t for everyone.  But when I found something fun like this, which encouraged me to compete in events each month for a full year, I couldn’t pass it up!  


A Failed Training Run….and How it Actually Ties to Teacher’s Convention!


I have had off of work since last Friday. Had our regular weekend, however, ours was busy with my in-laws coming down to visit. It was Family Day on Monday (same day as US Presidents Day) so no work for everyone. Then, our district had the Tuesday and Wednesday off. South Western Alberta Teachers Convention was held at U of L today and will continue tomorrow. And then another nice weekend before back to the grind next Monday.

This is all fine and dandy. But….my sleep schedule has been out of whack since the start of this break. I find it necessary to stay up till some ungodly hours watching shitty television. This morning, I had to get up at a somewhat respectful time of 7:15 am so I could get ready for convention. Fast forward to coming home, I laid in bed with Snoopy at 3:15. In my head, I was going to take an hour nap and then go on my run….

5:59 pm. Snoopy decides it time to finally wake up, which in turn, gets my ass out of bed. The plan of no alarm and relying on Snoopy’s internal food clock failed me. I quickly got up, fed the dog, and headed outside. I was supposed to do 6-8 800 meter repeats with a 400 meter jog in between. The 800 meters were supposed to be at a sprint in good form. I was planning on doing the first 800 as I ran to the Civic track by the curling club, then I would do the 400 m jog, do 4-6 repeats in the track, and head back with my 800.

I went out strong on my first 800. This was on sidewalks and slightly uphill, but I powered through. I felt good, not great, when done, and then went into the 400 m jog. I had gotten to the track just before my second 800 was about to begin. The shale track, which I have successfully ran Yasso 800s on before, was wet and squishy. Footprints were all over and footing was not great. I started the second 800 on the back stretch of the track, but I only made it 3/4 around at full speed when I had to slow down.

My footing was off. It was getting darker as it was 6:30 pm. My hip, which I had loads icy hot on, was in a lot of pain. I was tired, my legs were heavy….I went into a slow jog, and then headed back home. I completed a measly 1.65 miles and had only done 1 of the 6-8 sets.

I’m pretty let down right now with how this went. I have had a tough week and a half coming off of my 1:35 Hypothermic Half. My recovery hasn’t been going to best and I haven’t been able to do all my workouts to the best of my ability. While my longer runs have been successful, these speed workouts since the half marathon have been a mess. The varied sleep schedule and the “vacation” time have seemingly thrown me off. I am hoping this is just a phase and that this Saturday’s 16-20 miler going off without a hitch. My goal Saturday is to get in 18 miles, all within that 8:06-9:23 sweet spot. Then, hopefully getting back into my normal routine next week will sort things out naturally.

This has happened to me before in the past…And I felt like a failure. While I am upset at how tonight’s attempted speed workout went, I am not calling myself a failure. A lot of my optimistic view comes from growth and maturity over the years, but most of it today was in part from a presentation I was at this morning. Our keynote speaker, Debbie Silver, at teacher’s convention today talked about how kids need to experience failure in order to find success. She has a book entitled “Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8”. She explained her points with personal stories and experiences. It all resonated well with my experiences as a high school teacher, and many of the children and students she brought up in her presentation reminded me of students I have taught. It also reminded me of me and this training. It reminded me of how far I have come with my running, how many successes I have had, and how these do in fact outweigh the failures. But the failures are just as important. I fell down tonight, but I got up. And it’s going to be ok.

Calgary Hypothermic Half-My Muddled Post-Race Thoughts


Running a February half marathon in Calgary, Alberta, is slightly crazy. But running one with the mindset of getting a personal best is slightly insane. But, that’s how I went into the 2015 Hypothermic Half Marathon. Go big or why do it, right?

I signed up for the event in November, as I had wanted to find a chip-timed event for my Digital Running “Time of the Season” Challenge (a timed event every month from March 2014 through February 2015. This was the only event I could find somewhat in the area with official timing (other than a 50km!). I have gushed about my love of running Calgary before, as the routes are always pretty and I’ve had pretty consistent race success, so driving up for a quick weekend was something I had no issue with.

I headed up to Calgary on Saturday afternoon for packet pickup at the Eau Claire Market Running Room. Pickup was easy and seamless-received my race bib, which had the timing chip right on the back, and the swag, which was a pair of winter running gloves and Running Room’s version of a Buff (neck/head warmer piece). All were very nice! The ladies at pickup were also very nice at explaining the map to me, which I had looked at online. I was somewhat familiar with the route, as I have ran parts of it on previous races but I wasn’t completely sure where the turns at the bridges would be (more in that later).

My 7 am alarm came fast and I felt pretty lethargic. I was slow to move, but made it to Tim Horton’s to get my oatmeal and coffee for my breakfast and preparation rituals. I was staying at my friend Cindy’s house which is a two minute drive to a Tim’s, so I was able to go there and get back right away to get prepped. It was COLD out…colder than I thought it would be. I needed to layer correctly so I was warm enough….but not miserable. I hate feeling overheated. I also taped my knees and quads up, as those are always potential issues. I headed out the door at 8:20 am to attempt and find my way to Fort Calgary for the race start.


Not much parking by the Fort, but I was able to finagle a spot for my tiny Pontiac Vibe. I was cutting it a little close as I needed to go to the bathroom and the women’s line was ridiculous. I made it out to the start with about 5 minutes to spare, and I ran out there doing some high knees and other dynamics. I was now set to go and hoping for the best. I lined myself up right in the front center and went out like I was going to own it…


The biggest thing for any race of a half marathon or longer, for me personally, is getting in the pace groove. I had wanted to be hitting 7:25 minute mile paces or faster in order to potentially beat my September 2014 personal best time of 1:37:51. The first three miles were pretty well marked, had an occasional volunteer directing you, and was all located in the south side of the Bow River. I ran these in 7:14, 7:25 and 7:38, respectively. Because of this inconsistency, I honestly wasn’t that sure of myself at that 5km mark. I needed to get on track fast.

The part of the course I was on now was familiar. I had been here before during Run for L’Arche last March. This “comfort zone” factor helped ease me down some. Also, since this is a public trail and local runners were out running, the random runners cheering us “racers” on as we passed was awesome! This helped push me to a 7:19, 7:26 and 7:18 mile 4-6. This brought me to the clearly marked turnaround, which if this had been a 10km race, I would have gotten a personal best. I was feeling strong, so I decided to get on trucking.

Everyone else around me looked like they were freezing, but I was strangely feeling fine. It was about 10F outside and I kept alternating between having my buff covering my mouth to just my neck. So maybe I’m superhuman, I don’t know. I was grateful that I did have my running sunglasses on, though, just to protect from the bright morning sun and wind. With the paths being clear of ice and snow, I was able to keep my pace up during the tough miles of 7-10, where I ran a 7:21, 7:24, 7:25 and 7:25.

Now looking at my GPS tracking after the race, I notice that mile 10 was approximately where we crossed over from the south side of the Bow River on the way out. I was in my own world by this point, but now it all makes sense because I didn’t recognize anything around me from that day (I recognized the road parallel to me from running on it during the Calgary Marathon, but that’s not what mattered). I knew that the last part of the course was going to be on the opposite side of the river as where we started, but I really wasn’t sure for how long. The last volunteer I saw said “go until the St. Patrick’s Bridge!” Well, that’s great, but I don’t live here and don’t know what that bridge is! That is my one complaint about this event-the lack of volunteers in the later part of the race. I asked every random runner/biker/walker/human I went past from mile 10 until the bridge where this bridge was. I was running with a little uncertainty the last 3 miles because I was nervous I would miss my turn and screw up my time!

I did keep pushing because I knew I was on pace to break my personal best. I held up mile 11 and 12 in 7:21 and 7:24. I knew I had to give anything I had left in the fuel tank the last mile to see what I was made of. There was about 1/2 mile left when I turned on that final bridge and I was feeling awesome! I gave the photographer a smile and looked way ahead for the finish. It was a winding path, heading into the Fort a different way than we had came out. I felt the strongest I had ever felt coming into a half marathon, finishing my last mile in 7:03…..7:03! My official finish time was 1:35:41, good enough to best my personal best by 2 minutes and 10 seconds. I placed 1st out of 62 in my age group, 3rd out of 216 in females, and 17 out of 426 overall. And I did this all while running in a February road race in Calgary, Alberta. And it was COLD! I thrive on the cold, I really do!


While I usually never want food immediately after finishing a race, I did today. Maybe the cold had a hunger effect on me, who knows. But let me tell you, I am glad I did want food. The brunch that was included with our race entry was awesome! I sat with some great people—-a guy from Red Deer and some local Calgarians. The food definitely hit the spot and held me over on my drive back to Lethbridge.


Anyone reading this blog for the first time may think that I have always been this fast. Let me stress this—–up until April 2013, my best half marathon time was a 1:54 and change. Finding a plan, finding a motivation within….that’s what I needed. If you read my older posts you will find that I started this blog to honor my dad’s life, and to try and deal with some of the things I had yet to handle since his premature death at age 51 in 2004. I took the thing that caused me so much pain for so many years and found a way to ease that pain-through running, I have found myself. I am also becoming more of an athlete, more of someone who I never though I could be. But I know my dad always thought I could be it. And I know he is proud.


First Race Complete! A Recap of Sorts!…



On Saturday, March 2nd, I competed in my first race of 2013, the Hypothermic Half. It was sponsored by the “Running Room” and held down in Indian Battle Park by Fort Whoop-Up in Lethbridge. I was a little nervous to see how this race would go, since I had been sick since around February 20th. The last long run I had done when training was 9 miles and that was in Friday, February 15th, the day before I went to Los Angeles. I had mentioned in the last few posts here that I attempted running when sick, and that didn’t end well. So, to say I was anxious is an understatement.

Race start was 9:00 am, with the ‘sleepy-head’ race scheduled for 10:00 am. When I had gone to pick up my race packet up on Thursday, I became aware the route was pretty simple-run twice around the park, down past the police firing range and the country club, loop back, and do it again. However, when we were running, it became clear that this was slightly incorrect. You had to do the same loop three times, only you went around the park once instead of twice.

I had my Nike SportWatch on during the race, and after the first of three loops, it became clear that this was not going to add up to 13.1 miles. It was going to be under. This is the first time I have been in a race where the distance wasn’t as advertised. I don’t know if I were to go back to the Running Room website if there would be any note about this, but I guess I could have guessed it would be like this, given the low-key atmosphere of the start and finish line. It was not chip-timed, and there would be any 1-2-3 finishers age groupings. It was just for finisher’s medals. Since I am by no means an elite athlete, this didn’t bother me too much, but I do like having that more competitive feeling, and to have results to see at the end is always good. But, I decided I had to make the most of it.

My pace started off ridiculous-I did my first mile in 8:02 and my second in about 8:07. It started to slow down a few seconds each mile, getting towards my comfort zone pace of 8:45 minutes a mile. This was good in a way to make this rookie mistake of going out a bit fast, since it was my first race. It also showed me I was capable of it! The pack started to distance themselves after around mile 3. In our 9:00 am starting group, there was about 30 people. For the whole race, I was running in the #4 or #5 spot. This proved difficult since there was such a gap ahead of everyone else, and the few ahead of me were that much faster—I was pretty much pacing myself and running alone this whole race.


My legs started getting that heavy feeling around mile 7 and 8. If there had been people for me to “chase” and keep me moving it would have been great. It actually worked out timing-wise that the 10:00 am group, with around 20 runners, started just as I was heading in to start lap 3 of 3. This brought my pace back down to where it should have been, as I had slowed to a 9:20 for one of the miles. Having people to go after and keep up with strongly helped on the last lap.

In the end, the distance my watch mapped was 11 miles, 2.1 miles shorter than an actual half marathon. I finished with a time of 1:36:43. Had this been a true half marathon, I am confident I would have been under two hours, which was my goal given my sickness, and probably be more close to 1:55, which I would have been ecstatic about.

Race results are usually the one thing you can’t delete, or that you always find online. Since this wasn’t chip timed, I don’t know if there are any results being kept. I didn’t see anyone writing my bib number down as I crossed, but who knows. I know, though, that I started off this season strong. It was a great confidence builder! It felt really neat to finish #5 in this small group in our time slot. I actually finished #2 for the women in our group. This shows how small the race was, ha! But I felt strong and proud at the end.


I will be taking a solid week off of running to recover. I am still hacking up junk from my throat and chest, and I am heading to a mathematics conference on Wednesday in Philadelphia. So the week off will be perfect. My next race will be in April, the 10-Mile Road Race, sponsored by Runners Soul. I need to register for it today while I am thinking about it!

Also, thank you to everyone who has donated to my charities I am racing for, either American Heart Association or Heart & Stroke Foundation (Canada). A few friends donated the past couple days leading into the race! I have currently raised $585 for American Heart Association and $465 for Heart & Stroke Foundation! My goal is $1000 to each charity by the time I run my culminating race, the Goofy Challenge, in January 2014. I feel confident we can make this happen well before the race, and then keep raising money and awareness leading up to the event. Thank you to everyone who has shown support for my cause of running in memory of my father, Andrew A. Lammers. He would be so impressed with the donations people have made so far, and so proud to see all the races I have registered for. Thank to anyone who has donated money, read this web page, shared this web page, or just reflected on the memory of my dad. To infinity & beyond!


First Race of the Year-Tomorrow!


My first half marathon of 2013 is happening tomorrow! It is the “Hypothermic Half.” It is a local one right here in Lethbridge, hosted by the Running Room. Being that I have been sick the last week, I am just hoping to be able to feel strong throughout the race and look forward to receiving my finishers medal at the end!

I will be doing a full race recap tomorrow afternoon, but if anyone is in town and wants to come down and watch, here is the info! It begins at 9:00 down at Fort Whoop-Up. The course seems fairly mindless, as we loop twice around Indian Battle Park, head down to the police firing range and back, only to do that same sequence one more time. The benefit is the easy viewing from the trails down in the river bottom, and the fairly level elevation. Dan will be there taking photos, but he will be lonely, so other spectators are welcome!

The Moral of the Story is…Don’t Attempt a 12-Mile Run When Hopped Up on Cold Medication!


So, interestingly enough, my Sunday post for today ties into my last post. But it is a 180 in a sense, since this post shows how much of an idiot I can be. Since taking that “unplanned day off“, I ended becoming more sick. On Friday morning of our SWATCA Teacher’s Convention, I woke up feeling like a bus had run over my body after running a full marathon. My head was pounding, my sinuses were clogged. My throat burned when I coughed. I was just feeling oh-so-lovely. I half-ass got ready for convention, and made my way to the University of Lethbridge at 7:30 am. If this had been a regular school day, I would have strongly considered calling in sick-and I don’t call in sick. I went to the chairperson’s breakfast (I was chairing a secondary mathematics assessment session at 10:30) and forced down some tea and watermelon. I apologize to anyone I came in contact with that day because I either a) looked like death b) ignored looking at you c) ignored talking to you, or d) all of the above.

As soon as I dropped off the evaluations for my session, I drove straight to Shoppers Drug Mart and did a rare thing for me-bought some OTC medicine. I wanted to cure this thing fast. After talking to one of the techs, I decided to go big or go home. I bought a box of Tylenol Complete-Cold, Cough & Flu PLUS mucus relief! The bullet points on the package were made for me–nasal congestion, dry cough, headache, sore throat pain, aches, pains & chills…this would save me.

I religiously took my two capsules every six hours. I took a nap with Snoopy (the beagle is truly the best medicine!). I also made my “I am sick, feel sorry for me” dinner-two packs of ramen noodles with only half a packet of the sodium blast. I was going to these CRAZY extremes because I had a goal-to run 12 miles with marathon club Saturday.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling a ton better. My body didn’t ache (but I didn’t take into account the mass amount of drugs in my system causing this revelation). I got up at 6:30. Had some oatmeal. Hydrated. Dressed in appropriate layers. Bid my husband ‘adieu!’ and drove to Runner’s Soul. I could do this.

I had the wise idea to run with the marathon trainers today instead of the half. While I am only doing half marathons this year (my full won’t be until the Goofy Challenge in January 2014) I wanted to get 12 miles in, as my first half of the year is next Saturday-The Hypothermic Half in Lethbridge. . So, I set out with it in my head that I would do a 10-minute mile pace, drink lots of water from my Osprey water backpack, and I’d be good. It’d be that easy.

OK…any of you in Lethbridge or Alberta know how windy it can get down here. Saturday was, excuse my French, fucking ridonkulous. Any direction you turned, the wind was against you. I tried thinking positive, thinking it would get better...but that never happened. Anyway, I ran the first 5 miles pretty solid. I was feeling great. I was on pace, going slower than normal, but sticking with the plan. Honestly, after the first 4, I think I said out loud all theatrical and such “I’m a third way done!” I really had it in my head that running cures the common cold.

Then, I hit Bridge Drive. Please take a second to look at this map, though it doesn’t do justice:

The wind was piling in, the incline was steep, my throat was starting to burn, and my chest was hurting. I kept my head up and lifted my knees, taking smaller steps. But I had to walk. My chest was pounding so much and I started panicking. I didn’t want to quit. I basically power walked straight into the wind for 3/4 of a mile up Bridge Drive. Once I got to the top, I was going to start running again-I didn’t want to quit. So I started a slow jog, but then almost burst into tears. My body was giving up-Tylenol Complete can only do so much.

I smartly had brought my cell phone in my backpack and called my husband. I asked him to pick me up from the westside Tim Hortons. I felt defeated. When he got there to get me, I apologetically said “I’m Sorry” for no reason. What was I sorry for? Making him come get me? Being an idiot? Oh yeah-I was sorry for not listening to him….because before I left this morning, I forgot to add he said “I really don’t think you should be running.”

He’s sitting on the other couch right now as I type this. He told me yesterday he wanted me to title this blog as “Always Listen to Your Husband.” I won’t do that, but I will say that he was right. And I was an idiot to try to do otherwise yesterday. I came home, took a shower, and drugged myself up more. I made my same lovely “feel sorry for me I am sick” dinner, and went to bed by 8:30 pm. Yes, I even feel better today than I did yesterday, but that’s the power of these drugs-it’s hiding the fact I am still sick.
I ran 6 miles yesterday. 6 miles sick. 6 miles I shouldn’t have even run. But, in my mind, I was supposed to run 12 miles. Initially, I was pissed I quit. This is only the second time in the past 9 years I had to stop and call someone to pick me up. . I still need to learn when it is more important to take a day off, and that it isn’t the end of the world. My legs and my body have been conditioned to this type of running over the years, so I will be fine this coming Saturday for my race–as long as I take care of myself first. It’s not like I am going out there trying to win a title or get my personal best. I am going out there to run for my dad–which is why I think I put the pressure on myself to run too soon. But, please note–if I had been able to call my dad to pick me up at the top of Bridge Drive on Saturday, I would have gotten in the car and his first words would have been “You’re a ::insert swear here:: idiot Andrea. You should have just stayed home.” And I would have responded-“You would have tried to do the same ::insert swear word here:: thing!”

In my medicated mind, this picture exemplifies how I wish my drive home from Bridge Drive had been.

In my medicated mind, this picture exemplifies how I wish my drive home from Bridge Drive had been.

Training is 10% Talent, 90% Mental (these stats are made up by me at 10 PM on a Tuesday)


I posted this week in regards to me joining a marathon club for the first time ever in my running ‘career’. I talked about my training style and how I hardly ever run with music. I also talked about how I usually always run alone. But I haven’t discussed how even after years of longer-distance road-running…getting going on a training calendar has its highs and lows.

I am the type of person who works better with a checklist, a calendar, a to-do. So as I prepped this craziness I have occurring the next year, I started making my first training calendar for my first half of the year, the Hypothermic Half in Lethbridge, Alberta. Planning out each day leading up to the race, I make sure my mileage increases appropriately, with proper rest days & long runs, and that I hit my peak distance at the opportune time. It gets me excited to run again! (Even if it is the death of winter!)

I get into a weird addiction cycle. Even though this ‘calendar’ is just a iPad created document with a stylus and Penultimate, I have to follow it. I get home from work at a decent time, get changed and done up for my run, and out I go. Before the training calendar comes into play, I find excuses to not run, stay at work longer and talk myself out of running…but the calendar gets me going! My long run this past week was Saturday-I ran 5.5 miles. I pumped it out in 50 minutes 17 seconds. i had a 9:08 pace. And I felt awesome. Then, Sunday, I got up at the ass-crack of dawn (at least as far as Sunday mornings go) and did my first Runner’s Soul Mararthon Club run. 4 miles-felt great! 39 minutes 12 seconds and 4.22 miles. Awesome pace for me on a training day!

Went into the work week feeling like the best athlete ever! Oh yeah-I felt like competing with my 18 year old self. But today, on my 4 miler, my legs felt like cinder blocks. It wasn’t windy, but I couldn’t get a good stride. I did exactly 4 miles, not a tenth more, in 38 minutes 24 seconds. And I was grumpy. I took a shower, put on pajamas, and have been sitting at the table marking papers, sitting on the couch watching “Parenthood” and crappily-wonderful HGTV shows, and sitting with my legs crossed. And they hurt even more. Point is…some training days are going to be incredible. They are going to make you even more excited for the insanity you are preparing for. Lets be honest… more often than not, you have these mediocre, blahhhhhhh training days. And those are the tough ones.

The ones that make you dread your run tomorrow in fear of it feeling even worse.

But that’s when you have to power through and focus on the reason WHY you are doing this. I am specifically doing these crazy runs this year in memory of my dad, and that keeps me going…but i also have to remember that i am doing these runs for me…to make me better, more complete, more disciplined. Not every day is going to be a record-breaker…more often than not, the days are disappointing, frustrating, cold, dreary and tough. The pain truly is temporary. Making it though the painful days makes the end even more rewarding.