Tag Archives: teaching

Lethbridge Police Half 2015

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OHHHH, I had high hopes for this race personally. It isn’t my goal race of the summer (that’s next week at Disneyland 10km) but it was a local half that I have done the past two years and know the course quite well. The Lethbridge Police Half Marathon (and 5km/10km) was held Saturday, August 29th, 2015. Of the 126 half marathon finishers, I finished 9th overall and 3rd place female…so I even won $75.00! So why am I a little upset with myself? …




Race morning came and I was psyched. I felt positive and strong and ready to go. I did have an awful stomachache the night before and it had sort of gotten better, but I thought it was just nerves. I was hoping to try and run my personal best, so below a 1:35.40. I was aiming for 1:35. I started off quite strong…perhaps too ambitious. I went out way fast for mile 1, and slowed to where I should be in miles 2-4. I could see my friend Bob (the one who paced me in Vancouver) right ahead. I wanted to keep this nice distance between us as I wanted to be pushed.

   
 
I also was lucky to have my husband come help me out today. I had asked him a few weeks ago if he would not work today and bike along the course (he’s an arborist for his own business so it’s not like he called in sick!). I had picked key spots I wanted him to meet me at and then he could let me know how my placing was, and really, wanted his encouragement. By the time we got to Henderson Lake, at around mile 5, my legs were starting to feel a bit heavy and my stomach wasn’t feeling right. Ok, I just kept my eyes ahead and kept looping the lake and when I got to mile 6 I was still on pace for my goal. 


Then, it started to slowly get slower. 


Now that I look at the barely used Nuun water I prepared in my bottles, I don’t know if I didn’t hydrate enough or what. My legs got so heavy and I was not able to keep going in the 7:20s. After mile 7 I officially gave up my 1st place female spot. I could still catch up if I lit a fire up my rear, but the gap slowly grew. I knew I had to make up time when we crossed Scenic Drive down to Lynx Trail around mile 9. So going down that hill I got back on pace. But my insides did not appreciate the downhill descent. 
I have done this hill a ton of times, but my ever present stomachache got exponentially worse as I descended to the river bottom. I had to speed walk in two spots and I almost wanted to stop at the porta potty near Helen Schuler when we got to mile 11. At that point first place was long gone and Heather came up earlier on in the river bottom and passed me. I wanted to hold on to 3rd but I also wanted to stop!

Down in the river bottom was where Dan made all the difference. Up above on the streets and parks, he just biked to a spot, took a picture, and sped ahead. Since I was in pain down here and no one was around us, he stuck close by my side for the final 3 miles. I needed to keep having him tell me I had good distance on those behind me and that if I kept where I was at I could stay at 3rd. We ran under Whoop Up and two of my WCHS cross country kids snapped a great photo that showed how happy I was even though I was feeling the pain. Actually, how happy we both were because in the end, Dan would admit to me that he “...actually had a lot of fun doing that with you today! I’d do it again!”

  
I held onto 3rd somehow but boy, I was glad to be done. 1:40.13…well off what I am capable of. I know I haven’t been running the farther mileage on weekends this summer like I was in Spring training for Vancouver, so that’s a huge issue. Summer heat training has been tough and I’ve been doing lots of short speed work. I’ll be set for my 10km next week as long as I take it easy the next couple days. The smoke-filled air from the wildfires I don’t THINK bothered me…no coughing at all. But who knows? And I really can’t peg what caused my stomachache….other than perhaps still having some of the craziness of Kelowna in my system from last week. 

So all in all, while I wish my time was faster, I am happy about the day. I got to spend the day doing my favourite sport (Running!) while my favourite guy (my husband Dan!) was by my side and I got to celebrate it all in the end with lots of great friends from the running community who also participated. I also got to spread the running love to four of my WCHS Cross Country athletes, as they did the 5km. The other coach was there at the start and finish to see them, but I got to see them all before leaving. They placed 5th, 13th, 14th and 18th overall in their event out of 188 people! So now, I’m going to just try to enjoy my weekend before we are all back to school with kids in our class next week! Final weekend of no exams or papers to mark!  

   
   

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

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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.

The Best Medicine….

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News Flash—-I have been ridiculously busy since the start of this school year. Yeah, I realize most people in the work force are, but this school year has really been a busy one. Our school day runs 8-3 each day, however, I am usually there by 7:40 AM, and have been staying until 6:00 PM or later each night. Planning for my new classes and staying ahead has been a priority. As for running. I have been able to do three runs a week after school with the Cross Country kids, but other than that, I haven’t been doing anywhere near what I was doing last year. My long runs tend to now just be when I have an event (Lethbridge Police Half, Bare Bones Half) and I am not really sure I am liking this. While the rest on my body is much needed, the consistency I was used to and valued the last year and a half is not there currently.

Yesterday, we had parent teacher interviews from 6:00-9:00 PM. This was after a morning of teaching, and an afternoon of professional development. A few of us went to dinner beforehand, and a friend of ours (who is not teaching this year) met us. We made a comment on how tan she looked. She hadn’t been tanning, but made a comment on how she has been going on walks mid day while the sun is out. What a rare concept for us locked in a building all day-outside…..fresh air…the sun! Today, during round 2 of Parent Teacher Interviews, a colleague came and sat down by me to ask how my running has been going. I lamented on how I am not going “as crazy” as last year but have some good events coming up, and that cross country with the kiddos was awesome. We chatted about my upcoming half marathon back in Milwaukee and my Spartan Races in January. I even mentioned how I am contemplating some crazy winter races in February. My best friend Ali, who is now a glorified runner in her own right, sent me a text from the Rock n Roll 5km expo in Los Angeles—she found a head band to buy me and wanted to share it. And later today when I went to the wine & scotch tasting at Andrew Hilton, Max (the owner) randomly started talking to me about my running, asking me what distance it is I usually compete in. He had been well aware of my RunDisney events, but he wanted to know more about what I do in the local area.

All this talk of running made me feel guilty of not having a plan at the moment, calendar wise. All during my RunDisney, Calgary and Edmonton training, I had a meticulous calendar with my runs planned out, whether they were long or short, speed work or easy. I have been sort of half-ass been going forward through the motions. I have been so worn out from work that after my short runs with the cross country kids, all I want to do when I get home is shower and collapse on the couch. That was my plan for today too, as I was beat from the full day of work and interviews all night and morning. However, I decided that perhaps the best medicine for this case of the blues was to just go out there and do what everyone knows I do-Run.

I changed into my running gear, threw on my Fitletic belt, and went out with the mindset of running more than 4 miles. I knew I needed to go someplace different, to get me motivated. I decided to run out of our neighborhood over to Whoop-Up Drive, where I took a paved walking path to Bull Park Trail. I have been on this red shale path before, but not in the recent future. I did my first mile in a powerful 8:20, flying with the wind pushing my forward. I headed onto the shale path with the plan to head down to the river bottom and come back up. However, when I made it to the bottom, I decided to go off the beaten path.

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I was adjacent to the Oldman River, but on the opposite side of where I usually would run. Fort Whoop-Up and the paved trails were East, while all I had in front of my was a grey shale path. I followed this path for some time until I got to a fork in the road—stairs up, or a foot path towards the bridge.

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I decided to go for the foot path. And it rejuvenated me. If I had been walking this path I would have been having a mild case of vertigo, as this was narrow and dropped off to the river. But, I was feeling alive, running in the cool 50 Fahrenheit wind, with the fall leaves crunching at my feet. For a bit of time while on this path, I felt like a crazy-ass Ultra runner…one of the 50km participants in the yearly Lost Soul Ultra. And I was loving it. I was snapping photos every chance I could with my phone—the scenery was uplifting.

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I stopped right next to Lethbridge’s icon-The High Level Bridge. I have taken photos of the bridge before, but not from this spot. I didn’t even remember to stop my watch as I snapped photos and took in my surroundings. This was what I needed.

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At this point I was already over 4 miles into my run. I needed to turn back. Instead of doing the same route back, I opted to run through the tunnel under Whoop Up drive to the path that heads up to the University. I ran up to the university, weaved through the parking lot, and headed through Nicolas Sheran Park. By the time I reached home, I had clocked in 7.3 miles.

I hadn’t planned on running 7 miles today. All I had planned was to shower and collapse on the couch. But, I opted to head out there and muscle through to see what was possible. This run woke me up, made me realize I was in fact alive. While I have been running the past 11 years, and while I have been going crazy with races and training the last year and a half, this simple solo run was an morale and confidence booster that I very much needed. It reminded me why I love to run.

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Father’s Day

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Last week, I avoided doing school work during my prep by choosing to clean my classroom shelves. I still had binders from my classes at UW-La Crosse! I had emptied many in the past and dumped them, but the few that remained in the bottom corner must be ones I thought I may use??…well, I still had some of my “methods” classes down there. Language Arts binder, Reading Methods 432…yeah, don’t need these anymore. The binders were in great condition, so I emptied the contents into the recycling bin and was going to call it a day.

Until I found my journal entries in the back of my RDG432 binder.

This RDG 432 course I remember clearly. It was fall of my senior year, and we met once a week on Monday. The class was 3 hours long. I initially dreaded it, because I really had no interest in teaching reading or language arts, but I came to enjoy it. Part of it was the professor, Michelle Boge. She was very humorous, approachable, and realistic. The journal entry activity was something she did with us at the start of a few of our classes, as it was something we could do in a classroom of our own. She wasn’t going to read them, but they were meant to get us to reflect on a broad topic for 5-8 minutes and write. Michelle would write a statement on the board for us to copy down, and then we had to write whatever came to mind. One entry I did was on chocolate chip cookies, one was on my first job of being a caddy. And the one below was on my dad.

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Was this a happy day I wanted to relive? Not really at all. But it is still a day engrained in my mind. Is there anything I can do about it, now 10 years later? Not really. Except not beat myself up over it. I have matured and I have come to better terms with the situation. I have handled the loss of my father by running for him, using that time during my races to reflect on our family and the times we spent together. I am still not 100%, nor will I ever be, but I can say I am in a better place than I was in October 2006.

It’s never too late to say “I Love You.” I love you Dad—Happy Father’s Day.

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I have the WCHS treadmill “friend-zoned”…

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I strongly dislike running on treadmills. Always have. I’d rather be out on the roads. Most distance runners seem to agree. I wrote about how in December I caved and bought a pass at the U of L so I could use the indoor track during my Dopey training. It was so ridiculously cold out for many days that if I wanted to get my runs in, I just had too. Some of the days I got stuck on the treadmill instead of the track because of U of L track practice.

December and Dopey came and went, my pass expired, and so did my time using the treadmill……WRONG. It again is stupidly cold outside, and since my training for my spring races is in gear, I can’t skip runs. I need to get them in…so I have hit the last resort….

…Use the treadmill at my schools’ fitness centre.

Now….you may be wondering why I didn’t just do this in December, as I have access to the WCHS fitness centre for free, since I teach there. I have found out there are a variety of reasons why I didn’t…however, now I am finding myself there a few times a week. What have been some issues or interesting tidbits since doing this?

Well….timing is one. After a day of teaching, if I want to get in the fitness centre right away, it’s packed with students….which is great because they are working out! But not great for me, because honestly I’d rather be running without the kids I teach all day surrounding me (sorry guys. You probably have the same feeling towards me!)

If I wait late and go in after the kids get kicked out at 4:30, I run into the potential issue of not getting the good treadmill.Which is the “good one?” Well…it’s definitely not the one that doesn’t even turn on. Or the one that seemingly only let’s you run 20 minutes before ending your course, thus having to restart. So the “good one” is the treadmill in the far corner next to the stereo. Omar and I seem to always now get in there around the same time and have to beat the other person to this treadmill. If he is on that treadmill when I go in there, I just pivot on out and head back to my classroom and find something to mark, or find something to avoid marking…

Now. The U of L was full of clowns in their fitness room, but it was a decently temperature-controlled room. And the treadmills were conveniently located near a big old fan. I liked that. The WCHS fitness centre reminds me of the House of Corrections gym circa 1992, as it smells like sweaty armpit and feels like a sauna. I honestly want to bring an outdoor thermometer in there and see how warm that room gets…has to be at least 80 degrees. There is a big box fan, and on Friday when I had to do 6 miles, I thought I was all smart and jimmy-rigged it in the corner near the “good one.” Too bad it didn’t even blow any air. I looked like a tomato after that run.

So, yeah. I’m complaining. I’m whining. And it sounds like I’m talking trash about where I work. But trust me…even with all this moaning and groaning…this fitness centre now has a special place in my heart. The heat—-it actually is going to help me. I know I get crabby when I run in the warm weather, so this humid cave will actually prepare me for my summer races. And today when I went to Runners Soul Marathon Club at 7:45 am, and my car said -14 Fahrenheit….I swore a little to myself.

Do I miss the indoor track at U of L?—-yes, but I didn’t push myself on that. On the “good one” I can set my speed to the pace I want to reach and it forces me to stay on it. My interval days have been outstanding…and that 6 miler on Friday was a range of 6.5-8.0 mph, finishing in 52:39. I couldn’t have done that on the snowy sidewalks of Lethbridge.

And running in my own private bubble? While it isn’t always guaranteed at the fitness centre, if I have to be surrounded by other people working out, I’d rather it be those kids I teach during the day than the whack jobs at the gym. It is great as a teacher to see the kids outside of the classroom pursuing their personal interests and hobbies, and seeing so many of them getting hooked on an active lifestyle is great. And it is great for us teachers to show the kids that we are active ourselves!

So is the “good one” ideal? No, of course not. But she will have to do for now. I will make the most of her during this training! And who knows…even when the weather warms up, I may still end up using the “good one” for those speed workouts….or I may just have to do sprints with our track & field athletes!

All I wanted to do was put on sweatpants…..

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….but I had to go run 7 miles.

Now, yes….I know….I don’t HAVE TO go run 7 miles. It’s my choice in matter because of my training. But today I had 7 scheduled, with 5 tomorrow, and then nothing for Thursday and Friday leading into my race Saturday evening in Walt Disney World. The Wine & Dine Half Marathon is this weekend….and I couldn’t be more pumped for my first ever RunDisney …. But I am in a weird flux of tiredness from work and being gone multiple weekends for other races, where all I want to do after a day at work is hole up on the couch.

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Example A.…today, I left school at 4:45. Went and got a Skinny Peppermint mocha from Starbucks, got home, and proceeded to eat black bean salsa dip I had made this weekend. The prospect of me getting out on my run by 5:30 was dwindling. Then, I put on my running tights and plopped on the couch. Not good. Then, I whined to my husband that I didn’t want to run. But I somehow mustered up the energy to get my ass out the door.

I had my headlamp on, as it was already dark at 5:45 pm. Daylight Savings Time really does suck! I made my loop on all sidewalks….out of our neighborhood and headed down to Sunridge. It was once I got onto University and nearing Riverstone that I started hearing this devil voice saying to me “you are tired….turn left now and go home. You don’t need to do all 7!” Cut it short ! See….like I have said before, I don’t run with music….so these voices kept taunting me. I had to ignore them.

The farther I kept looping out away from home, the more likely I was to actually do my whole 7 miles. I hit the point of wanting to run straight home after passing the university stadium. I wanted to turn left! But I forced myself forward, swearing in my mind. Who knows….I probably dropped an f-bomb out loud in the dark. Whatever.

Funny thing is that as I head down the far end of Columbia, with a little under 3 miles to go….I hit my happy place. I started thinking about my weekend in Disney I have ahead….I started strategizing how doing a 10pm night race in Eastern Time Zone is going to be just fine for me in Mountain….at this point in my run it was nearing 6:30 pm….that means last week it was 7:30 (and my body still thinks this!) and in Orlando right then it was 8:30! This night race with no elevation would be great! (As long as he humidity breaks!)

I got home with all 7 miles completed. And I was happy. Sure, I had a million things to mark at home (ok, more like three different class sets of assignments, but you get it) but for my own sanity, I needed this run. Even though I didn’t want it to start, I knew I needed it. I now have showered, cleaned, marked one class set of worksheets…..and am in my sweats. With a glass of red wine. And in 48 hours I’ll be waiting at the Calgary airport for my red eye flight to Disney.

…Life is good….

School has Begun, Motivation is High…How is Dopey Going to Fit in….?

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People who are on here who have not met me in real life may not know I am a high school math teacher. School officially started for students today in most places across Alberta, and many spots in North America. We all know that the start of school brings new beginnings. It brings excitement….motivation….spirit….and for me, it also got me wondering how I am going to manage to do all I strive to do in the classroom & my school, manage my Dopey Challenge Training along with other scheduled races, keep somewhat sane, and not drive my husband completely nuts in the process.

I am a teacher who puts her time in during the summer. I do this so come fall, I can start off with at least some sanity and peacefulness of what is going on. Or at least what I want to go on. A false security that I am prepared maybe! But, even if I plan a whole new unit ahead of time, three units ahead, a whole course…things come up and changes have to be made. Work and lessons often need to be adjusted. I keep telling myself the importance of time management this semester is going to be key, as after my day at school, I need to make sure I am prepared for the following days of class….thing is, I can’t work solely on school work non-stop 24/7. It doesn’t work like that. If anyone did tha, you would turn all types of crazy.I need to head off on my run.

But, here is the thing: I am afraid that at first I will be feeling guilt about these runs. Even though I set myself a 5 pm limit to staying at the school doing school work each night and an 8 pm limit marking papers at home, if I feel like there is something to work on, I may feel guilt about going on that run. But I know eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later, once on the run I will realize how much of a release it is. Running has kept me calm and sane through so many tough times. It is the best therapy, even after your hardest day. This Dopey Challenge training may actually help me keep a sane mind during my heavy-loaded semester…

I spent this whole last weekend following everyone and everything in regards to the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. Watching the videos online, looking at the photos of the race itself and all of the sweet bling handed out, reading the blogs, getting in on the discussion via social media… I got excited, pumped up, motivated, spirited….all the same feelings I get for the start of school. Now I just have to make those feelings and emotions in running work with the feelings and emotions of the school year, and most importantly, keep them in balance. So here’s to being motivated for the school year and being motivated to earning some major RunDisney bling!

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