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.
Oh hey. I still have a blog. Just haven’t had time in the last three months to actually write what I’ve wanted. COVID is the reason why. I have time today to write something, and I want to just do a month-by-month recap on things. Some of it family, some of it running, some of it work, some of it just whatever. More so now, I just want this as a record of what the hell has happened since the Pandemic started!
Yeah, so March was a chaotic mess. On a Friday at work I frantically printed out like a dozen different study packages for my IB kids in case we weren’t there on Monday….and sure enough, school got canned Sunday night. For the month of March, in our district we had to still be coming into work unless you were immuno-compromised. This also meant daycare was cancelled. Our son is 2.5 years old. We have no family in town. Our family are our best friends Peter & Mac and their daughter, Aria. Since both kids go to daycare together, we figured out a way to make a cohort family and basically co-parent. We rotated days that one adult would take both kids. It took some planning, but we had to make it work. And it did.
Races and events this month that were cancelled was Moonlight Run 10km (which is usually the kick-off of the race year) and we officially cancelled my mom’s trip for the month of April. I had a hunch that she wouldn’t be able to come visit, so she cancelled her Amtrak ticket and got refunded, and then about a day or two later the borders got closed.
I barely can remember April. It was Easter, but we didn’t do anything special. Actually, we were going to try and do a dinner, but then I got a sore throat and freaked out and two days later I got a COVID test. It was negative, but I was happy at how easy it was to book. In Alberta, we have been fortunate to have pretty easy access to testing. At that point and time, they had expanded testing a bit, but all I had to do was go on the Alberta Health website and complete a self-assessment. The next day, I received a call from someone and booked an appointment for that afternoon. It was quick and easy, and it was the throat swab, not the nose jab one. In three days I got an automated call telling me my results were negative. At this point in time, I remember talking to a friend back home who said she wasn’t even sure how they could access a test if they wanted one. I realized at that point how lucky I was to be where I am.
As I said before, April was supposed to be a time my mom came and visited. 10 Mile Road Race was cancelled, our friend’s 40th birthday party pub run was postponed, Dan’s yearly Guys Trip to watch NBA playoffs was a no-go, and Andy’s appointment at the US Consulate in Calgary to get him a Social Security Number (first step to get him dual-citizenship) was canned. We had the option to start working-from-home, so I started doing that. I became less-motivated as the month wore on. With running and work. With no real consistency it was very hard to stay on track. Our friends started doing weekly trivia on Tuesday nights so that was a great way to pass the time via ZOOM calls. I said it at some point this month that I actually felt like Dan and I were ‘doing’ more with friends, as there was a concerted effort for front lawn drinks together, quarantine wine and beer tastings and Tuesday Trivia.
This is when it got weird. Beginning of May was just like April in that we were pretty much at home all the time. But in Mid May, Phase 1 of the Alberta Relaunch came. Our friends, due to their jobs, opted to have their daughter go back into daycare. That left Dan and I with Andy on our own. It ended up being that I basically stayed home and worked while taking care of Andy so Dan could go into work and make money. Dan has been the busiest he’s ever been this year (we think that since everyone is just at home they decided to take care of all their yard stuff!) By the month’s end, I was at the end of my rope.
In May, our Whitefish trip for the half marathon was cancelled. We had a beautiful cabin booked for us and three other couples. We hope to do it next year. Instead, some friends and I partook in an underground race involving trail running and drinking. That’s all I am going to say about that!
We waived the white flag for help and my mother in law came down for a week to watch Andy so both Dan and I could actually get work done. HUGE stress relief. The school year was wrapping up and then thinking of the next school year was stressful in itself, as there are so many uncertainties. The Alberta Government will make an official announcement on August 1st for the the plan in going in to the fall. So I am just going to shut myself off in the month of July.
Phase II began in mid June and at that point Dan and I decided to try and get Andy back in to daycare, at least part time. The month prior, I had said we could just save money this summer and wait to put him back in August….but my sanity to wearing thin. He needs to socialization, we need him to be back. He started back two days a week just last week and in July he will be back full time. The protocols that they are following are very detailed and we feel confident and happy that he is back.
This month also marked some sadness. Our beagle Snoopy had to be put down. He had a decline occurring the previous six months, and it was just time. His last week with us he stopped eating. It was a cue. We are so grateful that he made it to his 13th birthday in May, because back in 2017 was when he stopped walking for a bit due to his arthritis. All we really were hoping for was that he would be around when Andy was born. We aren’t sure how much Andy will remember Snoopy, but we will remember the time that he had with him.
The US/Canada border is still closed to vehicle traffic. I understand why. But it is now hitting me hard. In a week, I was supposed to take the train back to Wisconsin with Andy. We last were in Wisconsin with him during Christmas 2018. This is the longest time that I haven’t been back. The fact that I can’t go is hard. I know there are worse things in life, but I am starting to struggle with this.
As I write this, it is my last day at work. I took tomorrow off and we are heading to the family cabin at Gull Lake after school with Peter, Mac & Aria. We haven’t ‘gone on a trip’ in some time. To be somewhere different than Lethbridge for a few days, with our best friends, and seeing some of our family will be amazing. COVID-19, you’ve really sucked the life out of 2020. But, this is going to be a story to tell for the rest of our lives.
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!
While this is a bit delayed (2 months….)It’s official. I completed my first trail ultra marathon! On Saturday, September 7th, I trekked out into the infamous Lethbridge coulees on an adventure. I felt prepared enough, I suppose, but I didn’t really get as much trial running in during the summer as I had hoped. However, my training and completing of Totem to Totem in July must have helped as my legs felt better than expected. And my result was better than I could have asked for.
The last two years, the weekend of Lost Soul has been HOT and smoky. Forest fires over in British Columbia were the culprit. On Friday, when the 200km, 100 miler and 100km runners started it was cool, overcast, and even drizzled a bit of rain. On Saturday morning the temperatures were comfortable and great for running.
The course is split into 6 different sections, or legs. There are also three aide stations-Headquarters (HQ, where the start and finish are), Softball Valley and Pavan Park. Each leg varies in length and difficulty.
I had done *just enough* training this summer that I felt confident going into the race. I had ran on legs 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 before during training. I was not able to attend the leg 4 training night-Leg 4 is on private land and is only opened once during the summer for runners to explore and then again on race day. I made a general race plan that I gave to my friend Aaron, who would be my crew captain for the race. Well, he was my only crew person to be exact—I didn’t want to have to rely on Dan with Andy, because if Andy gave him any grief during the day, they may not be at a required spot when I needed them. Aaron’s job was to meet me at each aide station around the times I was hoping to get in, provide me with any food and beverages I needed at that time, fill up my water, and then also keep Dan in the loop.
This was the general plan I gave Aaron to follow:
LSU GOAL of SUB 7 HOURS with Time of Day to LEAVE Aide Station
Leg1 -South Loop 7km, goal of 45 min, no stop at aid station T.O.D 7:45 am
Leg 2-HQ to Softball Valley 8.4 km, goal of 55 min, 2 min stop at aide station T.O.D 8:42 am
Leg 3-Softball Valley to Pavan 9.6km, goal of 1 hour 15 min, 5 min stop at aide station T.O.D 10:02 am
Leg 4-North Loop 16.4 km, goal of 2 hours, 5 min stop at aide station T.O.D 12:07 pm
Leg 5-Pavan to Softball Valley 6.6 km, goal of 55 min, 2 min stop at aide station T.O.D 1:02 pm
Leg 6-Softball Valley to HQ 6.2 km, goal of 50 min T.O.D 1:54 pm
Total time—6 hours and 54 minutes
RACE TIME! (My “actual times” are found on the Aide Station breakdown results from the LSU website. I believe these are the times I came through the aide stations)
I knew I couldn’t get caught up in the hype. I took it easy and paced myself off of someone I knew. Not really much to say about this section except I did start off fast just so I knew I wouldn’t be stuck behind people on the first narrow hill climb.
Goal time-7:45 am Actual time-7:43 am
I ran though the first aide station at HQ like planned. This is also a section I was familiar with. I have done this section many times as it is easily accessibly from our house. The weather was still nice and cool so I focused on not pushing too hard (since it was still comfortable) and just focusing on the goal. I also made sure to hydrate and get some calories in, even though I wasn’t hungry or thirsty yet.
Goal time-8:42 am Actual time-8:39 am
I met Aaron at Softball valley and got a few bites of watermelon. I also walked a bit through the station before running onward. I didn’t have a need for a bathroom break so I decided to keep moving. This leg was one that I had a bit of experience on the first half of it (Gun range hill, Ryan’s hill) but not as much experience in the second half as you head to Pavan. As I was getting further along on this leg I was definitely starting to feel hungry and a bit tired. I was also looking forward to getting to Pavan so I could go to the bathroom before hitting the North Loop.
Goal time-10:02 am Actual time-9:53 am
This is where I will definitely need to find room for improvement. The fact that I had no first-hand visual of what this route looked like was a mental struggle for me. It was also starting to get warm and we were pretty spaced out on the course. I felt very alone on this long segment. I did not realize how many late-in-the-first-half of this loop coulee climbs there would be. I think there were at least 3 that I didn’t expect to happen. My stomach was bothering me and I was crabby. I really thought I would be falling being my goal here and I was starting to come to terms with it. As soon as I realized we had crossed the bridge to the other side of the lake and were heading BACK to Pavan, my spirits were lifted. I also found a fellow runner who was training for NYC Marathon with us on the weekends, Steven, and we ran a bit together which was nice. It was also a huge mental boost coming in to the aide station and seeing Dan with Andy.
Goal time-12:07 pm Actual time-12:05pm
Apparently, I looked like hell when I got in to the aide station. I think I spent a solid 10 minutes or more going to the bathroom, getting ice, drinking fluids and eating watermelon. I couldn’t stomach any other solid foods other than watermelon or gummi chews. I got my body heat cooled down and headed out. With this being a shorter leg than the last, I knew I could focus on the fact that I wouldn’t be out there as long as the North Loop. And, the first part of this loop had shade! I tackled it the best I could, and as I head in to Softball Valley for the final time, I was feeling a burst of energy!
Goal time-1:02 pm Actual time-1:07pm
I didn’t even stop for Aaron at Softball Valley. All I did was ditch my hydration backpack and I didn’t even take the water belt. I knew I could get this last leg done efficiently. It is the easiest leg on its own, but after doing 5 prior it could still be a challenge. I had a goal and I was going to reach it. I had planned on trying to do this leg in 50 minutes….I ended up crushing it in 41 minutes!
Goal time-1:54 pm Actual time-1:48 pm
I BEAT MY GOAL! Holy shit it was a ride. And to be honest, as I finished, I felt like I could have run another 5 km. With the strategy of ultra running being a mix of running on flats and downhills, power walking on inclines, my body actually felt incredibly good. Aaron was there at the finish line with my single tall-boy can of Blindman Longshadows IPA on ice. Dan and Andy were not there immediately because they didn’t think I’d be there by that time!
I ended up finding out that I placed 3rd in my age group! I knew it would be close, but I did in fact place 3rd in the 18-39 female category with an official time of 6:48.11. I placed 3/17 in my age group, 5/61 women and then 15/137 overall. The coveted LOST SOUL ROCKS were awarded to all finishers this year, as it was a special 20th anniversary year. However, I earned a special age group rock which I received sand-blasted about a month later. This means so much to not only finish this bucket-list race, but also earn an age group award!
Will I do this again? YES! Now that I have a baseline, I would love to try and beat my personal best. I think with more trail training and experience, I could definitely break 6:40, and maybe head down to the low 6:30s. I have a lot to learn on the trails, especially work on my downhill descents, fueling, stomach issues, and just overall trail experience. I don’t know if I will be out there in 2021, as a lot revolves on a possible 2nd foot surgery, but I will be back!
I ran this as an unexperienced soloist in 2013, then as a last minute team member for leg 2 in 2018. This year, my husband and I opted to run as team “Danada & Miss America” for the 25th anniversary event. This event was now lengthened from 20 miles to 25 miles in length. You could choose to run the 5 legs of the race however you want between you and your relay partner(s). The interesting thing for this race that since there are 5 legs to it, you could have a relay of up to five people. Dan and I decided two would be the way to go, and I am very happy with how it all went!
I was nervous the day before the race, as the smoke from the wildfires up north had travelled south to our area. Not nervous just for us as runners, but nervous for Andy as a spectator. He would be outside with us all day at the race, as we would be trading him off at each relay checkpoint. Thankfully, the smoke cleared and all we had to battle through was the heat.
We had originally planned for Dan to run legs 1 & 2 and I would run legs 3-5. Dan started off what with what seemed to be a conservative pace. About 20 minutes into the leg, my phone rings. It’s Dan. WTF….you should be running….He said “be ready to run leg 2.” With that statement I had no clue what type of shape he would be in coming to the transition area. He came through in a decent time, and actually had us 2nd in our category (mixed relay <40 years old). I headed off to the 2nd leg.
I had messaged him before heading off stating I would run leg 2 & 3 and hope he could do 4, and then I would do 5. This is what ended up happening. Dan was recovered by the time it got to leg 4 (which was just leg 2 in reverse) and his main issue was the pressure the water belt was putting on his stomach. At the end of leg 2 we were still in 2nd place, but then during leg 3 (when presumably other teams had a fresh runner take a spot) I slid our team down to 4th place. This was the longest and most challenging leg, and I was happy to have a little break.
During these breaks we were basically just shuttling Andy and ourselves to the different transition areas. Andy was a CHAMP! It was hot out, but we kept him under umbrellas and in the shade. With the help of our friends who were also running as teams or spectating, we had such a great crew surrounding us. It’s awesome to have a random selection of people to pass your kid off to when you have to use the bathroom before heading off on your leg of the relay!
So Dan made up some epic time in leg 4. We were in 4th in our division when I came in after leg 3. When Dan tagged me off for my portion of the race he had climbed back up to 3rd place. With our friend Nick on the team in 4th place, I knew my burnt out legs (which had already ran 10 miles) would have some work to do in order to stay ahead of his fresh legs (he was running his first leg of the race).
I somehow mustered to hold on, bringing our two-person relay in with a time of 4 hours 23 minutes even. I was really proud of how Dan and I adapted the race on the fly given how he was feeling, and how we were able to hold on and place in our division with just two of us! We had so much fun that day with each other, our friends, and with Andy. We are looking forward to our upcoming race weekend in Fernie, where we will be doing another relay together. This one is a set two-person relay, and thankfully a lot of our same great friends will be out there too. Hope Andy does as well as he did here!
The kid is napping, I finished my Sunday chores, so I am going to try to push out a blog post! It’s early February, and I will say that the last month has been tough on me for running. With the holidays and the year end of 2018, I was getting my daily runs in for the December Holiday Run Streak that our local store puts on. But other than that, my physical activity was going downhill. Work has been tough, and managing work with being parents and wanting to still do the same level of running and training I did before Andy is even tougher. And it’s not even the ‘before Andy’ that is the most challenging. It’s the now being a working parent. Maternity Leave was a godsend and I was probably close to the best shape of my life by mid July and August of last year. I ran my best 5km ever, was feeling strong AF and also felt like a pretty bad ass mom.
Now, I just feel like a mom trying to swim upstream.
I am still doing the Runstreak, and have been running at least a mile a day every day since December 1st. My first 2019 goal is to continue the RunStreak for one whole year. It’s not a mileage goal, or a race time goal, but it gives me something to focus on every day and it something that I know can be attainable even when I am feeling overloaded with work and everything else.
As 2019 creeped into existence, I knew I needed to get back in control of my diet and exercise. It wasn’t awful, but in the last months of 2018 I started buying chips and salsa again for at home. And I was drinking more beer than my ‘lack of running’ body should be consuming. The husband and I both went in for body composition appointments at Kinetic at the beginning of January. My weight was actually better than I expected. But, weight is a funny thing. It’s a number to not take too much to heart. I weighed in at 135 lbs. The measurements for the body composition though, however, were frustrating (but expected). I didn’t completely fall of the wagon, but comparing the results to what I had back in June at the end of the Mommy “Time 4 Me” challenge was frustrating. My body fat percentage had gone up and my measurements had increased in total inches.
This was all expected because I 1.) Wasn’t running as quality of workouts 2.) It’s winter and not race season so I wasn’t in the training mode for anything in particular 3.) I am not able to go to boot camp anymore (damnit, I wish I was still on mat leave!) 4.) our diet had started to creep back into the higher carb amounts.
Husband and I have decided to tweak our eating habits, using the tools I learned during the Time 4 Me challenge. Lower carb, higher protein. We’ve also greatly cut the beer intake, and have generally switched to red wine (except I am drinking a beer as I type this……). I’m not making myself go crazy with this, but we are going to do another body composition early March to see what has happened in two months with some small changes.
The bigger thing is that I have my second goal of getting back into racing shape and loving to run. I contacted Dean Johnson, who did my race training plan for Vancouver in 2015, and asked him is he’d make a plan for me for this year leading up to my big race in September (more on that later). If someone makes me a plan to follow, I automatically make it work in my day. It was also key that I gave him which days work best for me to fit in quality workouts (Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and then have the other days as just my minimum mileage for my runstreak. I started this Thursday with his set workouts and even though the cold and snowy weather is absolute shit, I have to say I’m already feeling better about myself and the race season ahead.
I know I can’t necessarily have crazy time goals for my races this year, but I need to have some goal. If I just register for random local races but don’t have a new big race or plan in sight, I’ll get into a rut. My 2019 race schedule is shaping up to look like this:
-Moonlight Run 10KM in March
-Some local 5km races (possibly with Andy in the stroller) in April and May
-Red Deer Half in May (goal of sub 1:37, depending on how training goes!)
-Lots of trails in June (Coulee Cactus as a relay, Lone Wolf in Fernie as a relay with the husband)
-Haida Gwaii Full Marathon in July (would like to run at least faster than Berlin, with the dreamy goal of sub 3:30…but its a very small race and it’ll be mentally challenging for me).
-Lost Soul Ultra 50km in September (My first trail ultra….more on that in a much later post)
-Police Half Marathon in October (would like to beat my time from this years’ race which was 1:37.39)
-New York Marathon in November (run with the husband and just generally have a blast)
How the next two months go will determine how those 5km’s and Red Deer half goes. Will I be competitive with the field, or even with my own times? I’m sure as hell going to try. When June rolls around and I start playing with trail races, I have the hope that this ignites a new fire in me. I am really looking forward to July and August, as I will have off of work and Andy will still have daycare Monday-Friday. I can use those days to follow a trail training plan in preparation for Lost Soul. As that approaches, a reasonable goal for the race will be determined. Or maybe not so reasonable. I have one in my mind, but it may be a bit lofty.
Anyway, with second semester in full swing and a new training plan to follow, I have high hopes for the coming months of running. And bonus—kid is still napping!
One year ago today, I was sitting in the “induction room” at Chinook Regional Hospital. Dan and I knew that our baby boy would be coming sometime soon, and it was sooner than originally planned. Andy was originally due November 3rd, but he made his appearance when I was 38 weeks along at 12:32 am on October 19th, 2017.
We didn’t know what the next year would really look like other than the fact that we had a small human to take care of. What things would we be involved with as a family? What things would Andy and I find to do during my maternity leave? What would my post-partum running actually look like? Sure, we were able to theoretically imagine what the next year would look like, but we really wouldn’t know what it was like until experiencing it first hand.
I have said many times before, but I am beyond fortunate enough to be here in Alberta, Canada, where I have a one year maternity leave with my job. Also with my job, I was guaranteed my same position as long as I came back by that one year. I had sick pay covered for the first 15 weeks (I maxed it out mainly because I ended up having the emergency appendectomy 7 weeks post-partum) and then I received unemployment insurance for 35 additional weeks. Along with the money we saved in the year leading up to having Andy, we were able to live comfortably and take part in a lot of activities and trips. Some of the things specifically Andy & I were able to do were:
-“Mommy Connections” 8-week programming during three different sessions
-“Baby Steps” postnatal classes at the Lethbridge Health Unit
-“Baby PACT” (Parent and Child Time) 10 week session at Lethbridge Family Centre
-Swimming Lessons! 10 classes
-Baby Mama Boot Camp through Kinetic Fitness. We did this often twice a week during the winter and spring and then once a week in summer
-Stroller Boot Camp at University of Lethbridge for one winter/spring session
-Kindermusik Drop-In program at CASA
-Library programming like “Babes in the Library” and “Small & Tall”
-HIGH Fitness classes held at the northside LDS church
and much more!
The great thing about these programs were that they were all locally operated in Lethbridge and while some cost money, many were lower cost (Baby Steps & PACT) or FREE! (Library, HIGH fitness). These programs were important for both mine and Andy’s well being as it got us out of the house in the dead of winter, we got to socialize with other adults and children, and it kept us active.
While it was mainly Andy & I doing specific classes together, Dan also took Andy to a few “Me and my Dad” drop in programs at Family Centre on Saturday mornings. He plans to start doing this again when winter rolls around. I would also often bring Andy for visits at my school, we would go to basketball games, we would do mall walks when it was brutally cold and even just going grocery shopping got us out of the house.
We were also able to do some trips this year. Our first ‘road trip’ was Christmas, where we packed Andy, Snoopy, Woodstock & Faron (2 month old baby, beagle, and two cats) in our car and drove 3.5 hours to Red Deer to see Dan’s family. A highlight was going to Edmonton to see Dan’s Grandpa and get a four generation Pottage men photo. Dan’s grandpa passed away in late spring 2018 so this will definitely be cherished.
In April, we flew out to Walt Disney World in Florida to participate in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend. We met my mom out there and experienced our first family vacation via plane. This helped us tons in preparation for our summer trip where we flew out to Milwaukee over 4th of July to visit my family. We also acquired a camper in the summer and plan on using it for family camping trips. We tested it out for one night in Beauvais Lake and it went so well!
Lets not forget about RUNNING! Running was going to be a big part of my maternity leave year, as it is a huge part of me in general. I knew that if I couldn’t run, I would possibly run the risk of falling into a depression. I was fortunate enough to be able to keep running during the first 37 weeks of my pregnancy, with one week off before having Andy, and then two weeks of recovery. I ran my first 5km race post-partum at just 1 month having Andy. If you are interested in all my races and times in detail check out the result links at the top of this page
Then the appendectomy hit. Ouch. But a month later I was back. Boot camps, walking, running….it came back slowly but it was worth the wait. The picture below depicts all the races I was able to participate in during my maternity leave:
I was able to run in 15 different races:
Four 5km races (Claus Cause, Superhero Fun Run, Travelling Beer Garden Race, Coalhurst Family Run Run)
One 4 mile race (Firecracker 4)
One 8 km race (LadiesFest)
Three 10km races (Moonlight Run, Star Wars 10km, Fort Macleod Wilderness Run)
One 10 mile race (Lethbridge 10 Mile Road Race)
One Trail Race as a Relay (Coulee Cactus Crawl)
Three Half Marathons (Star Wars Half Marathon, Red Deer Half Marathon, Lethbridge Police Half Marathon)
One Full Marathon (Berlin Marathon)
OH YEAH….WE DID THE BERLIN MARATHON?!?!?!?! HOW COOL IS THAT!? If it wasn’t for being on my maternity leave at the time, it would have been very hard to make this work. What an amazing experience that my husband and I can say we shared in together.
I was also able to run some amazing times in the last year. I hit an unofficial 5km personal best of 20:30 in the Beer Garden race (chip time was 20:50 and course measured long) and my Police Half Marathon time was actually my 2nd fastest half marathon time EVER! (1:37.39) Andy and I ran in a 5km race last weekend and were the first stroller across the finish and actually the first female runner too. I won some money at different races and I also earned ago group awards throughout the year. While I was worried on how pregnancy and postpartum would treat me as a runner, I think it’s safe to say that all my hard work before, during and after pregnancy has paid off.
So what’s next? Well, there’ll be another year to follow. And years after that. And while I have ideas of things we have as plans, goals and dreams, we really can’t say those things for certain until they happen. There will be family events, trips, races, and just family time. A quote many of my friends have shared on Instagram and Facebook this year comes to mind right now:
“The days are long but the years are short”
To say that this past year went fast is a huge understatement. But many days were long and tiring. Some were filled with frustration. But in the end, all the days created lasting memories. Next year the days may feel long too. I know going back to work is something I am struggling with in my mind. Some of those days are going to feel hella long. But when we have the free time as a family to do things, we will. We need to fill our time with memory-making opportunities and seize the moment.
Wow. We conquered the Berlin Marathon! What a crazy experience it was! I could write multiple blog posts, all very long, detailing the day by day events. But, it’s 9 pm on a Friday…I am worn out, sick, and have an 11 month old who may wake up middle of night! So I’m doing a small recap that’ll touch on some details I think are worth noting, especially if you are contemplating making the trek out to do this race. update. It is now Sunday. I hope to finish this post today!!!
Pre-event issue…I started feeling sick on the Tuesday before the race. At first I thought it was just my body being sore after boot camp, but I think I was just wearing out. On the drive to my in laws on Wednesday, I started popping cold medicine because my nose was a running machine. Great…a transatlantic flight is upon us and I feel like trash.
I think the whole adrenaline of the trip made me feel better, because once we got to the airport I just forgot about it. But the transatlantic flight was tough. We left at 6 pm Thursday. It was my first time flying overseas and the first leg of flight was 9+ hours from Calgary to Frankfurt. Neither my husband or I slept well. But we kept pushing. By the time we got to Berlin it was 2:30 pm (8 hours ahead of home). Our only confusing transit issue in Berlin was getting from the airport to hotel. We hadn’t researched which “zone” we were travelling to, and the lineups at the machines to buy tickets were long with a lot of other confused people. We did make it to our hotel eventually…freshened up, changed, and headed to the expo.
The expo was very easy to get to from our hotel. I booked our hotel on Priceline in December and got it at a rate of $82 USD/night. It was walking distance to the Friedrichstraße station, which could link you anywhere. And also walking to the start/finish by Brandenburg gate. We got to the expo quick, and arrived around 5pm.
I’m glad we didn’t have anything we really wanted to stop and purchase because this was the first instance we realized this event was going to a semi-organized chaos. The room to pickup your race packages were in the way back of the old airport hangers, and everywhere around you there were lines. And the lines weren’t straight, just a mosh pit of people pushing through. Luckily I had preordered us two event shirts (no shirts included in registration fee) so we didn’t have to push through people to buy them. Just had to find that line to pickup.
We didn’t spend much time at the expo. We headed back to the hotel, went out way too late, and then slept in the next day. It was the day before the race, so in theory we should have been taking it easy. But seriously…we were in Berlin. We needed to see as much as possible.
We did a short shakeout run by the river. After changing and finding food, we then trekked around Berlin seeing all sorts of sights. Highlights included Humboldt University, Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie, Hitler’s bunker, Berlin Wall memorial, and Topography of Terror. We also had a group dinner that evening for all of us in the Runners Soul group. Ate at a fantastic Italian place called Via Nova II. By the time Dan & I made it back to the hotel we had clocked in 11.5 miles. Time to rest for the marathon!
Marathon morning cake bright and early. But with this being a 9:15 am start time for the elites, and our hotel so close to the start, we didn’t have to get up at a ridiculous time. We had pre-bought some breakfast items the night before and I went to the McDonalds two blocks away to get coffee at 6:15 am, so we were set. The group met at 8 am for a photo and then we all dispersed.
Biggest thing to know about this race is that the Europeans “organize” things differently. 44,000 runners and I’d guess the number of pre race porta potties available were 1/10 of what was available at Boston (25,000 runners). My friend Heather waited 45 minutes to use one and missed her corral start. Dan and I stood in line for about 15 minutes and then left the race grounds to go to a cafe, pay 0.50 euros at a turnstile, and use their bathrooms. People were pissing all over the park on their way to the corrals. It was disgusting. I don’t know if the city just doesn’t have the supply of porta potties or what, but you’d think since they’ve been doing this race for 44 years they’d know it’s an issue.
So the race itself. Well, it was 26.2 miles through Berlin and my Garmin clocked it as 26.44 miles. That’s bound to happen in a race this large with all the weaving going on. Instead of going through a mile by mile recap, I want to just note some key things during the race.
I was in the second wave of runners, in corral E. You could just jump into any corral with no one checking your bib…I didn’t have an issue with people around me being in an incorrect corral (up too far) and I was able to weave myself pretty close to the start of our corral. I was about 10 deep to the left of the start area. It was an awesome feeling at the beginning with thousands of runners being let off at once!
I kept on perfect pace through the half marathon point. I actually had a 1:47.30 once I crossed the timing mat, which if I were to have replicated that exactly in the second half I would have had my goal of 3:35.00
My legs started to cramp and tighten in my hamstrings and quads around mile 9. I am guessing due to transatlantic travel and the ridiculous amount we walked the days prior while touring
Water stations were plentiful, and were also stocked with gels (which I heard tasted disgusting) and fruit later on. The issue I had with these water stations is that it was not like when you run a race in North America….no “excuse me” or “sorry” or people being aware of those around you. I got smashed into by no less than a dozen sweaty men during the course of the race as they plowed into the water stations. Even when I would raise my hand up once getting water to signal I was walking someone would plow into me. The etiquette I am used to was not present here.
On the website, they said there were 40,775 runners representing 133 nations who finished, with 12,332 being women and 28,443 being men. So while we are used to races in North America being pretty closely represented by women and men, this european race was not. Also, while all of Berlin seems to speak English, the race participants I was around did not. There was no one I could have a conversation with when I started to struggle at mile 16. Everyone was so serious.
Once I got to mile 16, I knew I needed to slow up and try to just enjoy the last 10 miles. That’s when I started getting more frustrated with the lack of people around me who I could talk to while running, and all the pushing and shoving by the water stations. I will say that the course is shaded pretty well in areas throughout, with no long stretches of blazing sun. This was important because it was actually quite warm compared to what I would be used to doing a marathon in.
For better or for worse, I stopped at the bathroom after mile 20. Then, lo and behold, Marissa from our Runners Soul group came up behind me. She was having frustration also and just wanted the race to be “fucking over.” I now had my person to talk to the last 6 miles!
We had a ton of fun in the last stretch, stopping for water and fruit when we could. Just past mile 25 someone had a makeshift beer station so we stopped for a beer too! Finishing as strong as we could in the final stretch through Brandenburg Gate was awesome, because each of us started to just pure on race one another to try and beat the other person. Marissa’s chiptime came out on top by about 3 seconds.
The finishing area was pretty well organized compared to the whole mess getting to corrals. I wish I had selected “Poncho” instead of “bag drop” because the poncho that people got was nice. And I was getting chilled in the shade as we waited for people from Runners Soul to finish.
My husband came in about an hour later. He started in a farther back corral than me. I am so proud of him! He finished his second marathon with a 4:00.35 run, beating his first marathon by over 4 minutes. Since the course ran long, he could have been under 4 hours if it had been less crowed. And he also, along with four other guys, helped a Brazilian woman across the finish line. And by help, I mean they carried her because she was passing out. They just wanted her to finish.
Below are a selection of the professional race photos (which I bought). I will say that these photos are of higher quality than the Marathon Foto ones I am used to from North America races. I wish I had seeked out more photographers for pictures before and after the race so I could have had some with Dan.
And we are off!
Somewhere in Berlin between miles 20-26.2 🙂
Focused on finishing
Probably my favorite photo, having an on course beer with less than a mile to go. The tossing of the cup totally captures how we feel.
Brandenburg Gate in the background and coming into the finish!
Berlin Marathon finisher!
THIS WAS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE! My husband and I would have not been able to take part of this if it wasn’t for Runners Soul in Lethbridge putting together a travel group. Also, if I was not still on my sweet 1-year Canadian maternity leave (sorry Americans) then we could have not left the country during this time of year…teachers have a great amount of days off, but you can’t just take time off at random times! Oh, and if my in-laws couldn’t have watched Andy for a week then this trip would have been impossible..We want to do more races overseas, particularly finishing the Abbott World Marathon Majors. We have New York (yeah, not overseas), London and Tokyo left for myself. Dan still needs Chicago and Boston too. We hope that Runners Soul does more travel groups to these races and that we are able to attend. Dan still does not love running. However, he loves these experiences of seeing new places and being with friends. On our drive back to Lethbridge we talked about races in the future we want to travel to. It is awesome that we have a common hobby that we can enjoy together. Until the next race…..Auf Wiedersehen!
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….