Friday, June 26, 2015

The post about the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon...

Hanging out with Kathrine Switzer. A running legend...

  • I know, I know. Three weeks! I've had lots of stuff going on in my personal life. But that's for a different post. This post is about the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon. I had the privileged of running this awesome event on June 7th. Such a beautiful, mainly flat course to run. You get to run past the Falls twice!
  • I went on June 5th to pick up my race kit. The swag bag was amazing. Not only did you get a ton of personal care products and make-up, but you also get a bottle of VQA wine. I know what you're thinking. The perfect running event for me. It's true. It's the best swag out there. And the running shirt was a good quality Hoka shirt. The cut is flattering and the material is soft. I ran in that shirt for my recovery run the Tuesday following the half. And when I run this event again next year, I will wear that Hoka shirt!

Got to meet this lady. And I bought her book! She gave me some good tips:-)
Official photo and an outtake!

  • One of my highlights of race kit pick up day? Meeting a running legend and an author. Well actually they were both authors. I purchased a couple of books. Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer and Older Faster Stronger by Margaret Webb. Kathrine Switzer is the first woman to register for and run the Boston Marathon. The picture of the race director trying to forcefully eject her from the race is famous the world over. The number 261 was put on this year's race shirts. That was Kathrine's bib number for that infamous Boston Marathon. 261 Fearless is her trademark that aims at empowering women in sports and was made a non-profit organization the morning I picked up my race kit. Listening to Kathrine tell her story is awe inspiring, 
  • I also had the privileged of meeting Margaret Webb. Margaret also has an amazing story to tell. She wanted to prove that at 50, she could get into top physical shape and qualify for the Boston Marathon at the qualifying time for a 20 year old. She hired trainers, nutritionists and got into the best shape of her life. Not that I want to give away the ending, but I'm sure you can guess that she qualified at her desired time. Both women were intriguing to talk to. 
  • Picking up my race kit was stress-free. It was at the Niagara Square Shopping Centre. Very easy access off the QEW, tons of parking and so many helpful and friendly people made it a painless experience. And there was a Canadian Mountie there in full dress to greet you. Nice touch!

Check out that swag bag...

  • The morning of the event, I left my house by 5:45am. Gun time was 8am. This was the first out of town race that I attended alone. I went to this event completely solo. It was a good experience. The parking was a touch slow getting into, but once I was parked it was quick to get around. The start line was situated so close to the parking. The porta-potties were all decorated real pretty like and the entertainment was enjoyable. Gun time was delayed by a few minutes, but that's okay. I was waiting in line for the toilet for a while. 
  • It's funny. When I first started running races, which were only 5K's, I packed a freaking large bag full of what I thought were necessities. All I bring to 1/2 marathons now is my fuel belt, water bottles, gels and my phone. I also bring a recovery bar of some sort. It can be tricky in the warmer weather though because the recovery bar can get soft sitting in my car waiting for me:-)
  • So running this event solo was a great experience. I got to talk to so many women and everyone was super friendly and supportive. But don't get me wrong. There are men running this event too. Some are solo, some are with partners, friends, family. It didn't feel like I was alone at all. So many interesting people, so many different stories.

During, right after and way after the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon.

  • I know what you're all wondering. How did my feet fare during this run. Well first off, I didn't run for time. I ran for fun. I've no idea what my time was. I could check, but it wouldn't be a true representation of what I can do. I stopped and snapped pics of myself and played official photographer in front of the falls. It was fun! I also had to use the toilet twice. I drink tons more in the warmer weather. And the weather for this run was amazing. Not a cloud in the sky! And it did get warm later in the morning. But all in all it was perfect running weather. 
  • So my feet. I didn't really pay attention. My hamstring was bothering me too much. I do remember my toes cramping around 15K for a couple kilometers but then it went away and never came back. My aching chronic hamstring pain was the bigger issue. I'm working on that now. More about that in my next post.
  • Like I said, I've no idea what my time was. I just remember crossing the finish line and being hugged by Kathrine Switzer and Ross Robinson, the race director. So much love at this event. Everyone is made to feel so important and special. My favorite part? Getting my medal from a firefighter. That and the cold wet towels they gave at the finish line. That was an amazing idea. 
  • I got my recovery food. Energy drinks, water, chocolate milk and a cardboard box of fruit and Tim Horton's chocolate chip cookies. How very Canadian:-) I drove home, pumped for having run it and prove that even with my injuries, I can do anything I put my mind to. I will definitely make this event part of my yearly run schedule. 
  • The best deal is going on right now. If you register before June 30th, this half marathon is only $68. That is amazing value for money. If you wanna have an awesome time on June 5th, 2016, click here. A great destination race. Who doesn't love Niagara Falls? Gather up your girlfriends and make a weekend if it!

This is currently hanging in my rear-view mirror...

Monday, June 1, 2015

The post about a running hiatus, a personal trainer and the Fight to End Cancer

This dress hung in my closet for 2.5 years. Finally got to wear it!

  • It's been another couple weeks, but I finally have some shenanigans to share with you. First off, training for the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon is coming to a close. It's scale back week. The event is next Sunday and I'm really looking forward to it. It's such a well organized and fun time. I'm not even bothered that I'm running it completely solo. This race means a lot to me because not only is it one of my favorites, but it's also going to be my last long distance race for some time. I'll explain that in a moment...
  • So I have hit a plateau with running. I'm not going to become a more efficient or faster runner unless I work on strength training. Bottom line. So, I am going to start working with a personal trainer again 2-3x per week for the summer and into the fall. I am ready to take my fitness to the next level. I've been at the same weight and same fitness level for over two years now. I need to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. I want to lower my body fat percentage and I'm open to looking at different ways of eating. I reckon I should get a book or something about counting macros. Not really a clue what that means but I know it's how you should eat for fat loss. So I'm game. Restrictive eating is pretty much my reality for life. So it doesn't bother me to reign it in again. I'll see what the trainer has to say. We meet on Tuesday.
  • Since I'm going to be focusing on strength training, I'm going to scale back my running to 3x per week for the summer/fall. And I'll keep my furthest distance around 10-12K. This will also help with the Morton's Neuroma. It's improved dramatically with the acupuncture, and I need to lay off the distance till I get stronger. It could prevent it from going back to where it was really bad. So that being said, I think my next long distance race will not be until the Around the Bay 30K at the beginning of April 2016. Holy crap that's far off. But I really want it to be my comeback race. I've lots of work to do between now and December when training begins. I'm still going to race. I'm just going to stick to shorter distances. I've got a couple I'm thinking of for the summer.

The Fight to End Cancer White Collar Boxing Charity Gala at the Old Mill in Toronto

  • Saturday night I was honored to attend the Fight to End Cancer Charity Gala with my friend Monica. We were guests at the Eagle Professional Resources table (a connection Monica has through work). It was a boxing event and the people who volunteer to fight, put in quite a commitment to get in the ring for 6 minutes. Six months of training 4x per week at the Kingsway Boxing Club. That's a lot of crossfit yo! Eagle did not have a fighter this year, but they did sponsor one of the fights. So I'm not gonna lie, I had a bit of wine on Saturday night. And I loved watching the boxing matches. We had a ringside table. So much fun. So there's me in my wine induced state, thinking that I could train and fight for Eagle next year. Colin, the Eagle rep said they would sponsor me if I made the commitment. 
  • I had to sleep on it because I didn't want to make a wine decision. But all day yesterday, all I could think about was how much I want to do this. What a challenge! And I'd be fighting for people I love. My mom passed away from cancer 12 years ago. My sister's sister just fought this past year, as did my brother-in-law. All the hard work, sweat and tears would totally be worth it. And my husband told me I should go for it knowing I have to train 4 evenings a week for 6 months. Training would start in December, the same time I'd start training for the Around the Bay. Am I fecken crazy? Maybe I am, maybe I am...

Monday, May 18, 2015

The post about a 1st Communion, Mother's Day and recent belly pics

Fun with family for Julien's First Communion.
My sister top left, my niece top right...

  • So here I go again. Falling back into old patterns. Two weeks in between blog posts. Again, I'm running out of stuff to say. So here is a 2 week re-cap of my life. We celebrated Julien's 1st Communion at the beginning of the month. It was fairly low key. Just immediate family. It was a wonderful day and my boy was incredibly handsome in his chinos, dress shirt, tie and vest. No suit. So wasteful to spend hundreds of dollars on something he'll only wear once. I think he was the best dressed kid there, but I am biased:-)
  • After the ceremony in a church that was too hot for human life, we went to dinner at Tucker's Marketplace Buffet. Back to the church for a moment. How hot was it? It was so hot that an elderly man sitting in front of me almost passed out and had to be escorted from the church. I believe Julien's principal called 911 so they could check him out in the parking lot. A packed church with no ventilation does not make for a comfortable time.

Mother's day goodies:-)

  • Mother's Day is always bitter sweet for me. I hate that if I want to see my mom, I have to go to the graveyard. And My birth mother is gone as well. I was just getting to know her when she passed. But, I celebrate the wonderful gift that is my son on Mother's Day. Julien made me a beautiful jewelry box that he is so proud of. It's prominently displayed on my dresser and is the perfect size for my bangles. We got to have a "date" day the day before Mother's Day. Every Mother's Day I spend with my mother-in-law. I don't mind because when my mom was alive, we'd do lunch with my MIL and dinner with my mother. When I get Mother's Day to myself, it means my MIL is gone and I'd rather see her in the flesh on Mother's Day than not. 

Most recent pics of my abdomen. Taken last week.
Time to up the squats. That's one flat ass...

  • Longest running and most asked question I get regarding weight loss is where did my loose skin go. I've not a clue. I'm 45 in a couple of weeks. All I can say is I've been blessed with good elasticity on my abdomen. Now I'm not gonna lie. I'm standing as straight as possible to smooth out any wrinkles, but all in all, I'm happy with my abdominal area. It is soft though. I need to legit work on my muscle tone. I have lots of loosey goosey areas that could get nice and firm if I get my ass into a gym. 
  • I've found mobile "trainers" who will go to your gym and scream at you while you work out. That's exactly what I need. And they're billed under "physio" which is awesome for me because I have unlimited physio benefits through work. Just waiting for an assessment and I'm heading back into the gym. I'd like to get my body fat percentage down to 20-22%. Just the right amount of leanness with definition, in my opinion.

My first run with this girl since Stockholm. 

  • Training for the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon is going awesome. I'm up to 8 hill repeats and 18K for my long run. The event is being held on June 7th so I've 2 more long runs before the big day. My feet have been better. Not cured. They still go numb and cramp, but it's not as intense as it was. So although the acupuncture has helped, it's not been my cure for Morton's Neuroma
  • I am injured, again. It's my hamstring, again. The Intramuscular Stimulation Therapy helped while I was getting it, but it was intense and put me out of commission for a good day afterwards. I don't want to get poked and prodded anymore. Hence why working with a personal physio at my gym will be most beneficial. I need to work up my lower body, back and core strength. That will help most with my chronic injuries and make me a more efficient runner. My pace has gone down again. I'm running injured and it makes for a slow start. Can't remember when or if I ever ran uninjured. Yep, runner probs right there...