Tag Archives: wisconsin

My “I’m 63.75% Through This Pregnancy” Post

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I am 25.5 weeks along in this pregnancy.  So, if you consider 40 weeks being 100% through, that’s where I got my percentage up on the header.  But some people like hearing about it in months….so I am approximately 5.7 months along.  That is, if you look at it in terms of 5 months and 3 full weeks, with each week being 21 days.  And then you approximate each month to have 30 days total….so that’s where the 5.7 comes from.

This is why I haven’t really done a post on my pregnancy yet.

I started this blog in 2013 to talk about running, Disney World and my dad.  I have been running since high school track, and then ran my first half marathon in 2004 at age 19.  By 2014, I felt like I had some knowledge to share.  And now in 2017, I feel even a bit more knowledgeable, or at least it is easier to share my insight.  For Disney World, I have been going since 1991.  I have continued to go well into my adulthood, with my mom, my husband, and most notably with my friend Maureen when we went for 16 days.  I have stayed lots of places on property, read all sorts of blogs and updates on the parks….I feel confident I can help many of my family and friends plan a Walt Disney World trip if they were to ask for my help.  And my dad, well…he is my dad.  I had to use this blog as a self-reflection on things I was struggling with since he passed in 2004.   I have not only found out more about my dad’s past as a Quebec orphan since starting this blog, but have found out more about myself in the process.

But pregnancy.  Well, I can’t tell you one thing that I can guarantee to be a helpful insight.  

I can’t give advice on this area!  Sure, I can tell people how I handled the miscarriage I had in January but that hasn’t even still fully settled in.  And what I did after the miscarriage may not work for everyone.  And I dont expect it to.  Much like how my current pregnancy is not like anyone else’s and people shouldn’t be following my advice.  Because lets face it; I’m sure someone out there will have some scrutiny for something I’ve done.  But really, I don’t care if you do!


What I’m going to share below isn’t a list of things that every pregnant woman should do, or what to expect in their pregnancy.   I’m just going to go over a bunch of different things I’ve encountered and dealt with during this pregnancy.  So in no particular order, other than what maybe you’d expect me to discuss….

 

Exercise during pregnancy

At first I was anxious about someone saying the quizzical “Are you sure you should be running still?”  Well, you’re not my doctor, but thanks for pretending like you know what’s best.  So, no one has said anything.  Maybe some strangers have thought things as they’ve seen me in races or running in the summertime here in Lethbridge.  But those who know me know I am playing this smart.

Since finding out I was pregnant, I set a goal to myself to keep running 4 days a week as long as I can.  I am proud to say that I have stuck with that ‘training plan.’  I need a plan to follow so I can hold myself accountable, so that’s why I set that goal of 4 days a week.  I generally do one “long run” and then three other shorter runs.  Yes, my pace has been slowly getting slower, but I am still getting out there.  I watch my heart rate to judge if I can pick the pace up or if I need to reign it in a bit.

I also have my weekly 9 hole golf league on Mondays and I most recently started going to the free HIGH fitness class put on by Kinetic On The Go (think of a Zumba hybrid). I had been doing the classes Kinetic On The Go brought to the school I work at during the Winter and Spring, and I figured I would try them again as I am considering registering for a Post-Natal Baby Mama Boot Camp they do at the studio.

Summer slows things down for road races, but I do have a couple things set in the final stretch.  Currently, I am taking on a RunDisney Virtual Run series, where I do a 5km in each the month of June, July and August.  I only have August left to do.  I run the 5km on my own time and log the race.  It’s given me something to “check off” each summer month.  On September 30th, I am planning on running in the Police 10km in Lethbridge.  It will be a combo walk/jog/run, as I will be almost exactly 8 months along.  If I am not up for the 10km, I’ll drop down to the 5km.  There are also some other local 5km races mid October, but I’ll wait until October to see how I am doing.   Even if I could just do the Bare Bones 5km as a walk on October 22nd that’d be amazing.

Side Effects, Symtpons and Pains

I have been pretty fortunate to say the least!  I have not puked once, which is obviously what everyone automatically assumes will happen upon finding out they are expecting. I had some very slight nausea in the single digit weeks of the pregnancy, but that subsided quickly.  I never had any full over sickness that caused me to call in sick during 2nd semester of school, so that’s a huge positive!

I have had some issues with headaches, but I figured out the main cause: hydration.  A headache starts to creep in mid afternoon if I haven’t been hydrating enough all morning.  The summer heat also kicks it up a notch, so I need to drink even more.  My only other minor issue were leg cramps in my calves.  These started in June and I would wake up with a Charlie horse.  I talked to my doctor about them and I started taking a calcium magnesium supplement three times a day.  Problem solved!  Really, the cramps weren’t too bad at all, but I think it has to do with my high pain tolerance.  The occasional back pains I get I know have to be pregnancy related, but I always just think of them like pains I would get from after a long run or race.  Overall, I’ve been feeling pretty good!

I’ve also had no food aversions!  I was very nervous about this, as I really didn’t want to have to change my diet too much.  All the normal foods that I ate before being pregnant settle in my stomach just fine.  There was one evening that cooked Brussels sprouts sort of bothered my sense of smell, but I had them again another time and were just fine.  And luckily, I am still able to enjoy all the spicy food I always loved!

Diet Staples I Miss

BEER.

It is no lie that I love beer. Specifically, I love hoppy beer.  iPA’s are my favorite!  While I am obviously handling the no alcohol stipulation, I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss it.

My husband has bought me a variety of non-alcoholic beer.  They are not all created equal! In my opinion (and he agrees) the President’s Choice brand at Canadian Superstore is the best available and at the best price.  While I don’t generally go for a blonde beer normally, their NA blonde tastes pretty comparable to a standard blonde beer.  It does the trick after an afternoon of yardwork!  But in case anyone is keeping notes, my husband asked what the first drink would be that I’d want after the pregnancy is complete…..with no more than 5 seconds of thought I responded with Lagunitas Lil Sumpin Wild.  If you’re in Lethbridge, you can buy it at Andrew Hilton on 3rd ave.  Then, just shoot me a message and I’ll tell you where to drop it off!

Other than beer, I miss egg yolks.  Cooking my eggs scrambled or as an omelette is getting old.  I also missed making sandwiches for my lunches during the school year (apparently listeria is a risk in cold lunch meat….).  I did make some occasional grilled sandwiches at home by heating up the meat first on a skillet.  I was anxious about the threat of “no soft cheese” but it is so easy to find pasteurized cheese, specifically Brie, at the grocery store.  I’m a Wisconsin cheesehead, so I need my daily dose of cheese!

What Else Is On My Mind?

The main thing is that it still doesn’t seem real.  Even though I have had four ultrasounds.  Many doctors appointments.  Blood draws.  Feeling baby move.  Setting up the nursery.  Buying baby things. Looking up information about what’s the best breast pump.  Getting really excited about finding a ridiculous good deal on used items on Lethbridge Swap and Buy.

Maybe it’ll feel more real once Dan and I start our prenatal classes this week through Alberta Health Services.  Maybe it won’t feel real until we are on the way to the hospital, or maybe even not until I give birth to this baby.  I can’t determine when it’ll actually “feel real” to me or when it’ll really hit me that we are going to be parents.  But I do know Dan and I are as ready as we can be for every unexpected, unpredictable, wonderful thing that comes our way.

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October 1st, 1984.  Me!

 

Volunteering at the Lost Soul Ultra

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Copyright LostSoulUltra.com

For all the races I have ran in over the years, I had yet to volunteer at an event.  Until now.  Each September, Lethbridge is home to a well-known ultra marathon event-The Lost Soul UltraMarathon.  This year’s event fell on the weekend of September 9-10th, and offered three different race distances: The 50km, 100km and 100 mile.  The race winds it way through the challenging Lethbridge coulees, taking you way up on ridges that overlook the river valley, and then down along the river bottom.  The course is not just full of basic climbs and descents—it is filled with grueling hills, single track madness and rough terrain.  It is not for the faint at heart!

I signed up earlier this summer for two volunteer shifts.  I would be volunteering at the headquarters, which was located behind Lethbridge Lodge.  This is the starting and finishing point for all events, plus a transition area for different legs of the 100km and 100mile.  I would be working from 4-8 pm on the Friday evening and then a few hours later, the graveyard shift of midnight-4 am.

The Lost Soul committee put on a nice volunteer BBQ a few weeks before the event on August 29th.  We got to mingle with other volunteers, receive our shirts (I was able to get a long sleeve shirt since I signed up for two shifts) and basic information.  On race day, I reported to headquarters and found Lorelei, our station captain.  The only runners on the course at this time were 100km and 100 mile runners, as their event began at 8 am that Friday.

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Finish area by headquarters

The timing of my first shift ended up being a crazy time at headquarters.  Lots of runners from both distances were coming through transition area.  As a volunteer, we were to help these runners at the aid station.  Whether it was fetching their drop bag (all runners could leave drop bags or boxes with their race number at each aid station) or finding them food or water in the aid tent.  The aid tent was unreal-at my first shift, there was a gentleman manning the grill making bacon.  Lots and lots of bacon!  The runners needed their salt!!!  He later on made burgers for the runners.  There was hot chicken broth, various fruit, sugary candy, chips, coffee, water, pop, and a whole lot more.  Runners had to check in with the timers as their entered the aid station, and could stay as long as they needed.  We then would put their drop bags back and send them off.

I was able to see quite a few runners that I knew during this time as they came through the aid station.  It was great to cheer on friends and people I knew from marathon club.  During my first shift I even got to see the 100km lead runner crush the course record and finish in around 10 hours and 55 minutes!  My friend Bob was helping crew him, so I got to hang out with Bob and his daughter Abby as they waited to see him come in and take the title.

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Shift 1 done!  Also now sporting my Lost Soul buff I received for volunteering

I headed out to dinner with a friend after shift 1, tried to take a nap (but failed) and came back at midnight.  It was a lot quieter at headquarters then, as far as runners go.  The runners have gotten more spread out, and the amount of runners coming in to the aid station at the same time had dispersed.  But that doesn’t mean that headquarters was boring.  There were lights and music, lots of happy volunteers to keep the runners’ morale up, and more food being served.  The later shift was a lot of fun because most of the 100km runners that came through were finishing.  Some of these people were seasoned vets, and some it was their first 100km race.  My friend Aimee came in well under her goal finishing her first 100km race!  She ran the race with her Dad, who is a veteran of these types of events!  I also got to meet a lady also named Andrea, who was also from Wisconsin!  She came all this way to do this race!  I had brought some Sprecher Soda with me to the midnight shift, so I gave her a taste of home by handing her a Puma Kola when she was finished.

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Aid Station at Headquarters between midnight and 4 am

 

Volunteering was an awesome experience, and I wish I had done it sooner.  It felt great to give back to the local Lethbridge running community, as it has already given so much to me.  Honestly, running races in Lethbridge and finding Marathon Club at Runners Soul really has kept me sane as I transitioned from a Wisconsinite to a Canadian.  I have met lifelong friends.  I have been able to reach goals I never thought would be possible. Everyone who runs in races should try to volunteer at a local race to pay it forward.  I am happy I did and I know I will again.

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Lost Soul Ultra is a premier ultra marathon ran in Lethbridge, Alberta, each fall.  Runners from all over North America make it out to western Canada to tackle our beautiful coulees and river valley.  For more information about this prestigious event, go to Lost Soul Ultra

August 2016—All in One Post!

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So, I did around 3,500 miles this month!….

In my car.

I haven’t been active here lately, partly due to my roadtrip!  On July 31st, I packed up my trusty 2009 Pontiac Vibe and hit the road.  Along with the essential clothing, toiletries and podcasts to entertain, I also packed my 9 year old beagle, Snoopy.  Where were we heading?  We were going across the border south east to my hometown of Franklin, Wisconsin.  We had stopovers planned in Longville, Minnesota (my aunt and uncle live there).  Snoopy is an excellent travel companion; I honestly cannot say that enough.  He just curls up and sleeps the whole time, does not fuss, and is excited to arrive to any destination.  So I kept myself occupied by listening to a variety of podcasts and when I really started losing it I would talk to Snoopy.

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All packed and ready to hit the road!

 

We made it to my mom’s on August 4th, and we stayed until August 22nd.  During that time, I was able to see all of my family that lives in the area, attend a closing day of Badgerette Pom Pon camp (I worked for Badgerette for 5 summers), watch the State Distinguished Young Woman show with my friend Maureen (I won 2nd alternate back in it’s Junior Miss hey day), go to two travelling beer gardens, see a bunch of my friends back home, eat and drink my way through both Wisconsin State Fair & Zoo Ala Carte, go to my favourite Mexican restaurant 3 times, play in a bag toss tournament, and so much more.

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“Swimming” with Snoopy in Lake Wabedo in Northern Minnesota

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When you are in Longville, MN, you go to the Meat Raffle at the bar….and win!

 

The main reason I drove was so I would be able to bring back the remains of my childhood that was still housed at my moms.  It wasn’t that she was forcing me to take it, but I have been gone since 2008, so I figured it was time.  Yearbooks, photos, games, puzzles, Barbies, Littlest Pet Shop, etc, etc, etc….It is now all back in Alberta.  I also packed up some New Glarus Beer, a ton of Wisconsin cheese, 32 bottles of Sprecher soda, and who knows what else.  Snoopy and I arrived back in Lethbridge on August 24th.  Wow, it felt good to get back!  We both missed his daddy Dan and his brothers Woodstock and Faron.

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That’s for DAMN sure!

 

During that trip, I also started running.  I had done my first 5km run prior to the trip in a numbing time of 33:43.  I had walked and jogged a bunch during it.  That was on July 28th.  Remember, my foot surgery was on June 10th.  I had been given the clear I could start running after my 6 week post op on July 21st.  I did my first humid (SO HUMID AND HOT) Wisconsin run on August 7th.  It was a little 20 minute jaunt that average 9:40 per mile.  Oww.  On August 11th, I went out to try and beat my July 28th 5km time.  I did so handedly, running a 30:02!  So close to that sub 30!  I did a couple other 1-2 mile runs during my time in Wisconsin, but I wanted to try and get under 30 minutes.  On August 16th, I set out to do that.  I ran that 5km in 28:20!  These gains I have made in less than a month since coming back into running are huge.  I was going nuts not running for over 6 weeks, and taking this time to get my newly fixed foot used to running (and running properly) has been great.

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5km well under 30 minutes!

 

Since returning to Lethbridge, I am happy that the humidity is gone.  I have ran on August 25th, 26th and 27th, and the weather has been glorious.  The biggest highlight was yesterday, the 27th.  I went out to run a sole mile with the goal of getting between 8:00-8:15, a pace I was always easily able to obtain on my runs, and my sweet spot for my Boston qualifying pace.  I finished that mile in 8:14!  Guess what world…LAMMERS IS BACK!

And guess what today is?  Today marks the start of WEEK 1 of my GOOFY CHALLENGE training plan.  I have put together a very non-aggressive 19 week training plan with the goal of “comfortable completion” of the 2017 Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge, which is a half marathon on Saturday, January 7th followed by a full marathon on Sunday, January 8th.  The even more special thing about this race is that I will be running my 2nd WDW full marathon alongside my best friend Ali.  It will be her very first full marathon!  I will be there to support her through those dark moments (especially between miles 15-23!!!)  She has run half marathons before, and I have set her up with a training plan to coincides with her Spartan Race and Crossfit schedule.  It will be a weekend to remember!

 

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The original “Pottage Pose” from the marathon portion of the 2014 Dopey Challenge in WDW

 

 

19 weeks is a LONG training plan.  When I ran the Vancouver Marathon in 2015 and Boston in 2016, I had an intense 16 week plan.  This plan does not include speedwork.  It just has two easy runs a week plus a long run on the Saturday.  Then, in late October, I add another mid distance run on Friday, which will help prepare me for the two day challenge that Goofy presents.  I am not going for any speed records at this race; I want to get my body back into running shape so I can begin to push myself again come the new year!

I have updated my 2016 race schedule, as I have a few local events in October and November.  I will be recapping those after they occur, and I will definitely be keeping you posted on how my Goofy training goes.  Until then, I need to get ready for my first day back at work tomorrow….Teachers start this week, with students coming in the day after Labour Day.  For teachers, this is our “New Year”.  Happy New Year to all the teachers, students and parents out there! 

“Run the Trailbreaker” Recap

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Back in 2013, I “Ran the Trailbreaker” when I was home for Easter.  It was the start of my racing season, with my ultimate goal being completing the Dopey Challenge in January 2014.  I was surprised at that race when I beat my former personal best, running a 1:52.53.  Little did I realize at the time (I am still realizing it now) that this race lit some fire under my feet and I’ve been pushing ever since.

It was great to be back for Easter in Wisconsin this year, and even better that the Trailbreaker fell on the same weekend I would be leaving.  While I knew catching my flight would be tight, I still signed up for the 9:30 am half marathon start.  What was even better was that two of my close friends, Melissa and Gretta, would be running also!  I was able to meet up with them the night before the race, back in our childhood homes, but also got to see them race morning.

The week of Easter was actually pretty nice weather.  However, Wisconsin weather has a mind of its own and it decided that a snow/sleet/hail/rain combo at barely above freezing would be smart.  Thanks a lot!  So, race morning was less than desirable.  I have admitted before I actually like running in the cold…but the rain and wind and then slushy melting snow on the paths is nothing close to fun.

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Looking out to my mom’s driveway at 8 am race morning

I really didn’t know what to expect from this race, as I had eaten and drank too many Wisconsin indulgences over the course of me being home.  In my mind, I had a lose goal of breaking 1:40.  (My personal best is a high 1:35, which I ran last year at the Calgary Hypothermic Half).  I ran a mile warm up and realized it would be slippery.  I knew I didn’t want to fall or do anything stupid, which would then ruin my ability to run in Boston, so I thought that maybe just taking it easy and being in the mid 7:30s-7:50s may be best.  Either way, 9:30 hit and I was off.

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Staying inside before the last minute of race start with Melissa & Gretta!

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Immediately after the National Anthem, we shot this gross selfie.  Note the hail in my left eye.  Gross

The first mile wound us through downtown Waukesha and then we were eventually on some pathways.  The bridges were so slippery!  Almost every picture that was taken catches me looking down on a bridge as I was scared to fall.  It is an out-and-back course, that takes us on to part of the Ice-age trail.  For it being a nasty day out, and a relatively small race, there was still great support from both friends, family and volunteers.  Lots of volunteers were located at any and every confusing intersection or turn.  The first 7 miles there were always a handful of runners around me, either passing, me passing, or us interchanging positions.  I ran respectable times of 7:30, 7:52, 7:51, 7:56, 7:47, 7:48 and 7:50.

By this time the turnaround was near…or maybe I had hit it.  Either way, I knew I was third female, but 4 and 5 weren’t far behind.  The way back was going to be much easier, in theory, as the sun was starting to try and come out and the wind would be with us.  I started realizing I had gas left in the tank and I may as well push and get this thing done.  I did have a plane at 3:00 pm to catch after all!

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Yes, I run in pink socks as much as possible!  My feet were soaked here.

I started pushing, and slowly my splits started getting near to where my goal half marathon splits are.  I held on to 3rd female, and even passed a few males in the process.  I ran miles 8-13 in 7:24, 7:29, 7:31, 7:19, 7:23, and 7:37!  This was the reverse of my disaster back in September at the Lethbridge Police Half, where I went out very fast and had a near meltdown in the river bottom!  And the best part of this was that I ran a 1:39.37!  3rd female out of 98, 2nd in my age group out of 17, and overall I was 11th out of 168!  

I didn’t have much time to rest, as I really did have to get on the messy roads and drive the 35 minutes back to my mom’s house.  My whole body was shaking, and some weird muscles in my leg that I didn’t know existed kept twitching.  Either way, I was beyond pleased.  I hit my goal time, I ran negative splits, I was able to see my good friends, my ailing foot held up fine, and I was able to run in my home state of Wisconsin.  A fine way to end the Easter Holiday! 

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

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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!

 

 

Southern Alberta Summer Games 10 km Recap

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As a teacher, I have summers off. But every summer even since I was a kid, my summers consisted of family vacations, going to camp, working at camp, and then going on my only vacations with my friends and my husband. I usually take off quite a bit during the summer, so my training plans fall through, and I never stay consistent with my running. I mean, two years ago I went to Disney World for 16 days….in August….how was I going to keep a stable running routine while there?

Summer 2015
…turns out I am not flying anywhere, or doing much of anything. No week long trips home, no gigantic trips to Disney, no nasal surgeries, no binging in Newfoundland….nothing. So I needed to keep a training plan and have some goals to keep me motivated. My training plan from Dean (who did my Vancouver Marathon plan!) has me training for a pipe-dream time at the Disneyland 10km Labour Day weekend of 40:30. I need a challenge, might as well shoot high?! I had ran a 41:30 in the Rattler Run 10km back in April (right at the peak of my marathon training) so this seemed within reach.
In the midst of my training calendar I had the Southern Alberta Summer Games 10km race, which was held on Wednesday, July 8th. I had heard about the event from a friend, Danny, and he has done different running and cycling events in prior years. The one thing we have in common, other than running, is that we are adults. Why does this matter! Well, in my head I just always picture these provincial summer games to be for middle-college aged kids…not me. But, sure enough, they have age categories every 10 years up to 60+. The event would be held in Claresholm (45 minute drive) and since I am a teacher and have no work on a Wednesday morning in July at 9:45 am, I figured signing up was a good way to spice up my training routine!
Now, I said I wasn’t going anywhere or “doing anything” this summer. Sort of a lie. My Wisconsin mom is currently here and six days into her three week visit. I had also thought this would be fun for her to come watch, as she hasn’t been to many of my events before. I wrote about my first half marathon she ever came to here, where I did the Trailbreaker Half in Waukesha, Wisconsin, during Spring Break 2013. This would be a good day outing for us. I didn’t really know what to expect with this race, not the same way as I do with others. She asked me the night before “how many people are in it? How many are in your age group?” I was totally left in the dark. When you do a summer games event, in particular when you do a solo summer games event, it appears you don’t know who is showing up until you show up yourself.
We headed out to Claresholm at 7:30 am. My event wasn’t slated to start until 9:45, but registration would begin at 8:00 am. My first comment to the organizers is that they should have had the 10km be the first event. It was supposed to be a mass start of the 2.5/5/10km all at 9 am, but a week or so ago I noticed on the site it was changed to the 2.5 km beginning at 9 am and then the 5/10 km beginning at 9:45. A 9:45 am start for a 10km in early July? Eeeeee…..that makes me nervous.

Arrived and was happy to see Randy and crew from Racepro as the official timers!
Yay! I went and checked in, received my race number and timing chip, and then I had plenty of time to relax and warm up. Saw my Lethbridge School District cohort Todd on site as a volunteer. He informed me that the route for the 10km would start as paved road but for about 2km you would be a fresh gravel.  Also met up with my friend Danny, the one who told me about the race.  He would be doing the 5km.



I had peaked at the entry list numbers just to take a look at how many were in my 30-39 female category. There was a number 4 listed there. Ok. I got this. We lined up at 9:45 for the mass 5km and 10km start. The weather felt comfortable standing at this point, with a slight breeze, but I could tell the heat was hiding. We started and I felt strong my first mile, settling in to a 6:45 mile one. Right on where I wanted to be. Then, we had turned onto the never ending rural road. This was still paved but it was one of those cases like when you are on the Vegas strip and you say “it’s right there….it’s just a short walk!” And it isn’t. I slowed my second mile split to a 7:03. Still in a good place.
The 5km runners had already hit their turnaround so now it was me and a high school kid in the middle of this country road. He was slightly ahead of me and I drafted right behind him. At the turnaround for the 10km, Todd was handing out water, which I took, but slightly slowed down. He yelled at me to catch that kid. So, I drank the water (oh man it tasted so good) and kept my eye on this kid. As we ran back on the same route that took us out to the turnaround, I counted all the people behind us. There were only 11 other runners. So 13 total. Small turnout indeed. The shade on this course was non-existent, and the gravel made my feet feel like they were sinking. It was pretty fresh gravel, so there were not any substantial tire tracks sunk in. I kept weaving back and forth trying to find a track to run on, but really just got stuck kicks up more gravel. My mile 3 & 4 times were 7:15 and 7:39. I was going downhill, figuratively.

At approximately mile 4 I did gain enough ground on the teenager and passed him. As much as the heat and terrain were getting to me, I think it was getting to him worse. I steadily increased my distance from him the last two miles of the race, despite having no “rabbit” in front of me to go after. And also, despite my last two mile splits being slower than some of my full marathon splits in Vancouver. I ran mile 5 & 6 in 7:49 & 7:45. I finished in a time of 45:55.

They did the award presentation about 25 minutes later, after the final 10km runner finished. There turned out to be only 2 people in my age category in the end. I also saw a bunch of race bibs not picked up. I wonder how many people were supposed to be in the event? I picked up my gold medal and got a picture with Danny, who also earned gold in his male 30-39 category of the 10km running a time of 19:32. His goal was for under 20 so that’s awesome!



Would I do the Southern Alberta Summer Games again?
Depends. Location makes a difference. I wouldn’t drive all the way out to Medicine Hat for it, but 45 minutes or less sure. They really don’t advertise the event well at all or promote it. It would be very easy for the organizers to make a single page brochure to place in race bags at local Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and area races.  Really, as far as the City of Lethbridge team goes, they just need to not just focus on the elementary schools, but other area athletic organizations who have athletes 18 years or older.  So, not just running….but biking, basketball, etc.  The City of Lethbridge is the biggest in Southern Alberta so there is no excuse as to why we shouldn’t have the most competitors, points, and medals in these games! I’m at the point now that when I run races, I need to be pushed, so the low entry numbers was huge negative.  I’m not confident enough that I can just cruise at a my fastest race pace every time if there is not someone  for me to chase after.  I also wish the start time was earlier for the 10km. July has been ridiculously hot and we are fortunate it wasn’t any worse this morning. I know they have to make sure things don’t overlap with any of the track events happening, but I wish there was a way to make this an earlier start.

So yes, I finished the race first.
But with a less than stellar time. Between the heat, no shade, gravel, small field of runners, and how early it is in my training….I should just be happy with how I did. And I pretty much am. It puts it all into perspective on how trusting your training makes a difference, and that training works. I trained for 16 weeks for Vancouver Marathon and set a new personal best in a 5km, 10km, half and then full when I qualified for Boston at that very race. I kept trucking through the month of May and capped it off with my first ever 50km. Took two weeks off and am now back in the grind, in a way starting from one of the very bottom steps. This just means I have more work to do in order to be where I want to be.

Milwaukee Recap and Training Countdown

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Three weeks to go until the BMO Vancouver Marathon!  My last few weeks have gone well, but I knew I had some crucial training runs coming up that needed to go well, as to boost my confidence.  Also, take into account I went home last week to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and this has historically led to me sluffing off on training.   I only skipled  (whoops) one day on my plan, so I am pretty proud.  I had slept in too late before a friend picked me up for the morning, afternoon and evening of activities, and by the time I got back home I was wiped.  What crazy activities did we do?  Well, went and got my bridesmaid dress for her wedding fit, and then we went to Potawatomi Casino downtown to play bingo for three hours.  We used to do this back when we weren’t yet 21, as 18 year olds can access the bingo hall at the casino, just not the casino floor.  I think the best part of it was just laughing at all the crazies around.  Best person we saw was a lady on the smoking side (glass wall separation) walking around with a surgical mask covering her face.  

 

Other Milwaukee-Related activities I partook in was watching the Badgers NCAA Final basketball game at the bar I used to work at.   They lost.   Then my mom, cousin and her husband went to Miller Park to watch the Brewers second game of the season.  They lost too.  But all was a lot of fun!  One of my last nights my mom and I spent a day and night in Milwaukee doing the Lakefront Brewery Tour, eating at some awesome local places, shopping, and then painting at Splash Studio.

 

  

  

  

  

Now, I didn’t just eat, drink and watch sports.   I did run.  I really did!  I even found one trail in the Franklin Woods that I honestly had never ran on before in my life.  It was super pretty!

   

 

It was also actually a lot of fun to do my runs back on the bike trail near my moms house.  It is really an awesome trail.  For the training runs that I did it worked quite well.  My best run was on Thursday morning when I did 5 miles at my Tempo Run pace.  I needed to be between 6:54-7:10 minutes per mile.   I was thinking “how the hell am I going to do this solo?”  I was going to get up real early to do this run but there had been thunder lightning, hail, rain, downpours, everything all night.  It was still raining pretty heavy.  I checked the radar and ther was going to be about an hour or so window at around 8:45 with no thunderstorms so I waited and headed out then.While it started thundering in the distance at mile 4, there was no lightning (just a steady rain), but this caused the trail to be empty!  You never see this trail empty.   Anyway, I head out unsure what I would be able to do, but I made it back home doing better than I could have ever hoped for!  I did my 5 miles in 35:18, with each mile being 6:52, 7:03, 7:19 (you can see this as the out and back point on the map where I had to do a turnaround), 7:03 and 7:01.  I felt like a million bucks when I got home!

  

So the running in Milwaukee went well, but I wasn’t home free yet,  what I was nervously awaiting in my Lethbridge home was my 20 miler run to do on Sunday.   After a week of making poor food and drink choices not conducive to a good training plans, and after a day of traveling….I needed to muster out 20 miles at a pace between 7:48-9:04 per mile.  The weather was quite windy, but the temperature was ideal.  I headed out optimistic and knew I wanted to push myself.  The route Runners Soul had planned for our club run today was awesome.   Only one big hill and the wind was fortunately at our back heading up it,   Running down the hill into softball valley first was more challenging, as it was the slowest downhill I have ever run!  Wind was pushing your body backward almost, and the water treatment plant sewage was wafting right in your face.  I managed to complete my 20 miles in 2:42:42 with an average pace of 8:08 an mile!   I am training for an 8:00 minute mile, so I am right where I need to be!  My fastest two miles were actually mile 3 and mile 20, each at a 7:48 and 7:49, respectively.   My slowest were mile 8 and 11, where I had an 8:29 (wind!) and 8:30 (hill!).   Being able to hold it together strong the latter half of this training run was my big concern, so the fact that I could makes me so excited for Vancouver….just three short weeks away!

   

 

Weekly Wrap Up-My Random Thoughts From This Week

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I don’t really have much to report on “race wise” but I am still trying to keep up with always posting a new blog on Sunday’s. I am actually quite shocked that I have kept up so well with it since starting this blog, as I mentioned in early posts that “journaling” was never really my thing. So the fact I am still at this almost two years and counting is amazing!

This past week brought some unseasonably warm December weather for Lethbridge (low 50s on Friday!) and then a pile of snow yesterday. Go figure. I went on an awesome 8 mile run Friday to take advantage of the weather. It was my first run with my new pair of shoes…aren’t they pretty!?!

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My RunStreak is now 47 days strong (will be 48 after a quick run this afternoon!). I think yesterday was the most comedic of the runs, as I did 1 mile on the WCHS treadmill….with my dog and two cats in the room. Why? Well, we had an open house from noon till two and I had to get the pets out of there. So taking them to work was the logical solution. I watched them in the mirror as I ran the mile and holy crap, they were confused in there. They were much more at ease once we got to my classroom. I Spy a little orange cat…..

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I also received my tentative training plan for the BMO Vancouver Full Marathon, which I am running on May 3rd. This blog will definitely focus a lot on my training for this race, as I attempt to try and qualify for Boston. I will talk more about the issues I have had in attempting before in the past year in a later post, but I can say that I feel very positive about my chances after seeing this plan. I had Dean Johnson, of RunDeanRun a local Lethbridge coach, make my training plan. He took my previous race times into account and customized my plan quite nicely. He did tell me that the plan is “pretty aggressive” and that’s what I need!

I have one last race this month, and that is the New Years Eve Resolution Run 5km in Red Deer, Alberta. I was hoping to find a race during Christmas week in Milwaukee, but apparently none exist. Oh well, I’ll just have to go on traditional training runs while home for Christmas. I may do a non-traditional run next Monday, though, while at our station stop in Minneapolis, MN. I need to keep that RunStreak going, and the Amtrak stops over there long enough that I could bolt off the sleeping car and get in a mile before we leave again…that could prove for an interesting story!

And in conclusion to this weeks random thoughts and stuff, RunDisney picked me as their “Fan of the Week” on Facebook. I had submitted my Dopey Challenge photo last week and they picked me! No, I don’t win anything for this, but it is pretty damn cool if you ask me! Have a great week everyone! The holidays are right around the corner!

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So…About This Past Month….

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I wrote about my overall alterations I was going through with my eating/drinking/running habits. Well, I can say that the RunStreak is still alive and well (35 days strong…even just got back from a 3 mile run at 7:45 am this morning in -11F temperatures-probably not the healthiest or safest running conditions, but I ran!). This RunStreak has been vital to me staying positive and happy during this seemingly tough stretch—reaching Christmas break while teaching some heavy-duty Math courses, trying to overhaul my nutrition….and, add in the fact that Dan and I bought a new house! We take possession on January 15, 2015…it is not conditional on the sale of our current one, but selling it before moving would be epically awesome. Just trying to sell during the arrival of winter and the holiday season is a whole different ball game.

I am struggling, though, with longer runs. While it is not necessary for me at this time (no “big” event coming up that I need, let’s say, a 10-miler in the weekend), I just feel lazy with my three milers. And winter is a tough time for finding races in Alberta! I don’t even care if they are legit, Chip-timed things…I need some gritty “underground” events to keep me motivated. Likewise, I need marathon club to start STAT. It doesn’t start until the weekend of January 24th….which I won’t even be at since I’ll be doing my Spartan Races in California then…so I will have to do the first weeks’ distances the week before. After California, I plan on going to both Saturday & Sunday’s run….do the full marathon training distance on Saturday, and the half training distance in Sunday. Having these routes pre-planned for me, plus the camaraderie of a group of other die-hards, gets me fired up and I am better at sticking to my training plans! This will hopefully lead to me reaching my BQ in Vancouver!

I have already day-dreamed about additional races to register for this coming 2015. I am currently registered for the Spartan Super & Sprint in Temecula (January), Hypothermic Half Calgary (February), Moonlight Run (March), Vancouver Full (May) and Spartan Beast in Montana (May). The more I can register for, the better, as I have come to find out I thrive on pushing myself to my limits. Ten-Mile Road Race, Woody’s RV 10km, any local 5km races I can get my hand on…also deciding if I want to go for Trifecta status in Canada for Spartan Race (already am in the US) Pushing myself to the limits is what I did this past month, but not necessarily in regards to running. I attempted to cut alcohol out of me “diet” and also overhaul my eating. The eating of crappy snacks can be eliminated by me just not buying the shit. The biggest offender-TOSTITOS. Oh my god, I love my chips and salsa and sour cream. And I used to NEVER eat sour cream until University….must have been the fact that the food at Whitney Center tasted “that good” that I needed to add sour cream. I improved quite a bit with my snacking, and I am trying to make Dan and I better evening meals. With Dan not working as late of hours during the winter, he can also pitch in and cook. We have tons of fish in our deep freeze, which were all caught by Dan’s dad…it is just now trying to find different ways to cook it all so we don’t get bored with it.

And the alcohol? Ok. It was going to be a two month dry-spell, with the exception of Tyranena Beer Half and Christmas. However. I love beer too much. Dan loves beer too much. And we have a very pricey craft-beer Advent Calendar to start tomorrow. Ok, that isn’t the real reasons why the two months became just one. During this last month, I realized how good my body felt during the week as I was working out. I have been increasing my muscle mass steadily, as I have been getting into the fitness center before school twice a week, where I do a lot of arm and core workouts, courtesy for Shannon and JJ. While I had been doing it sporadically in September and October, I really tried during my “dry-spell” in November. I can see, and feel, the difference. I now recognize what I need to intake and not take in my body on a day-to-day basis, and I also have realized the levels of moderation I need to take into account given the results I seek to obtain. Before it was always “I run so I can eat and drink what I want.” Now, I am going to be running, lifting and more and seeing more results by making small and steady changes in the diet realm. Sure, if I nixed beer out of my diet completely, maybe something amazing would happen FAST. But I enjoy beer for the taste and the variety—not just because it is alcohol. So, the amount I take in now will be substantially less than I used to a month ago. And I know it’s for the better.

I could ramble on and on about more of the crazy stuff going on in my head—what I want to accomplish, how I think I can get there, training frustrations I have had, and more. But I’ll save that for another time. Until then…GO PACK GO! (Halftime of the GB vs NE game… 23-14!)

Tyranena Beer Run Half Marathon-Race Recap

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When Kirby came to Calgary for my full marathon in June, we came up with the great idea to fly out to Milwaukee in November and run a race together. We had found the Madison Marathon on Sunday, November 9th, but were looking for a half marathon. After a few more weeks of searching, I uncovered the Tyranena Beer Half Marathon, which would be occurring on Saturday, November 8th. I love running, I love beer, I love friends, I love Wisconsin….so we signed up!

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With the race start being 11:30, we didn’t have to leave my mom’s house in Franklin until shortly after 9 am. The drive to Tyranena Brewery is simple-head on the Interstate towards Madison and get off at the Lake Mills exit. We arrived to the brewery at around 10:15 am, and headed into the beer tent for the race packet pickup.

Pickup was a breeze, and in our bags were our shirts, dinner vouchers, race bib and drink tickets. This stuff would be put away in the vehicle until after the race was done, as the real party would occur after the finish line! Kirby was starting to get nervous, as it was pretty chilly out. Even though it was about 43 degrees, I’d bet the wind temperature was much colder. Kirby lived in Arizona the last 7 years, so her body was not used to this standing around in the cold. We hid out in the tent for awhile, then the car, and then we had to get ready for the race.

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The plan for this race was to run together. Kirby would be running her fourth half marathon, with her most recent about a month ago in Nashville, Tennessee. I had been encouraging her this month that she could run a personal best at this race, and I wanted to help her. I had thought her personal best was around a 2:18, so we were going to go for a 2:15. Now, I am fast-forwarding a bit because it was somewhere around mile 10 that she admitted she sort of lied to me and that her unofficial best time was 2:18, from the Phoenix Rock n’Roll Half. It was unofficial because she paused it during a long potty stop, and restarted her watch after the stop. She kept telling me she didn’t want to admit her time to me, and I told her she was an idiot because I didn’t think any less of that time, because it’s awesome! She is a former sprinter, who used to do the 400m in high school in 57 seconds. This girl is a former sprinter now turned casual long-distance runner! I was just happy to be running a race with my good friend!

So her personal best was from the Women’s Running Series Half in Tennessee from the end of September this year, which was 2:24.20. I also told her I would shame her on here for lying to me, because I picked the 2:15 goal based on a 2:18 best time! Part way through the race, I would start making changes to our goal, to eventually just get a personal best…no matter what. Now, I am not a mean friend, really, I am not….because wait until the end of this post.

So the race started and we headed out for our first mile at a great pace of 10:00. It was actually 9:59 and change, but pretty damn close to a perfect 10. The weather was still windy, yes, and cold, yes, and Kirby was cold, though I knew she would warm up. The initial plan was to run around 10:10 min/miles for the first 6.5 miles and then see how she felt. For a 2:15 you would need approximately an average pace of 10:17 minute per mile. I decided to lighten the mood and also take a selfie with Kirby at each mile marker, and she would hold up the mile number with her frozen fingers. These ended up being VERY amusing. Here are the first three miles and some of the pretty views we saw!

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The course was very nice, with some rolling hills through some VERY nice neighborhoods. The view of the lake was gorgeous. The only major hill was at mile 4, but otherwise I found the course pretty comfortable. The wind was bothering Kirby, and the cold air was causing it to be harder to breathe. I tried to be encouraging, and our pace was still on, so all was good. When we exited the lake view and headed towards a farm, the wind started to kick in even more. Miles 4-6 looked like this:

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Kirby was starting to hurt, and I told her it was totally ok if we slowed down. We were now on a gravel path (was a bit boring at first) but I kept just talking to her to keep her occupied. We were still on pace, so slowing for a mile or two would be good for her to catch her breathe. We were now on the Glacial Drumlin Trail, so the wind was blocked from the trees a bit. Miles 7-9 are here:

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So after mile 9 is when the truth came out. Kirby is such a positive person, so she really wanted to keep going at that pace, but I could tell she was hurting. I made the decision we would slow down lots and try for a 2:20 finish, and if not that at least get her under that 2:24. I knew even if she kept a slow shuffle we were set for this because of the pace we held the first six miles. The unfortunate part of the last miles on the course was the boring scenery. You wound through an industrial park and then up into an older neighborhood, down and back up to the brewery entrance. You could not see the brewery at any point until the final turn at mile 13 so it was very tough mentally. Kirby never complained, and the meanest she was during this segment was when she made the face for our mile 12 photo. Here are miles 10-13:

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We finished the 13.1 miles in 2:21.28…new official personal best for Kirby! I was so proud of her! She beat her old personal best by three minutes! So solid! She was so happy to be done though, not going to lie there! We headed into the post-race tent which was filled with bananas, cookies, nuts, chocolate, peanut butter sandwiches and water. And, of course, our medals!

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The major perk of this race was the bang for your buck with post-race party items. We went back to the car to change into warm clothes and headed back to the beer tent. We had two tickets for Tyranena Beer (YUM!) and a catered lasagna dinner. We couldn’t remember what the registration price was, but know it was under $50! Probably around $45. So, a beautiful course, shirt, medal, dinner, two beers, live DJ and a great time at a great price was perfect! The dinner was HUGE and the beers were tasty (remember, I haven’t had a beer in two+ weeks so it was VERY yummy). This was my cheat day, and worth it. The atmosphere was fantastic and we stayed until 4:15, and then it was back to Milwaukee.

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I would recommend this race to anyone within the area. Next year will be the 10th anniversary, and I am sure they will hit it out of the park. The weather could vary from a warm, Indian-summer 61 degrees to a full-blown blizzard, given the time of year, but the show that Tyranena puts on makes it doable! This will be a race experience we will never forget!

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