Monday, 25 April 2016

Hoh, Liza, Ward and Alta Run A Race

I spent a good part of the last year trying to decide if I should invest in an activity tracker. I did online research, watched videos, read reviews. To be honest, my interest was mainly in the FitBit line of trackers and this past week I finally bit the bullet and got myself a FitBit Alta.

Renee had been trying to convince me to get a Garmin Vivo-Something-Or-Other like she has, but I was reluctant due to its size and the fact that it has a digital monkey that you have to keep alive by being active. She did manage to convince Lori and Paula though, who are now both proud monkey mamas. 

I can't handle a dead monkey on my conscience. The monkeys come with names and you get attached like you would with a pet. Renee already killed her first monkey (Todd) and is now responsible for Liza. Lori has Ward and Paula ended up with Hoh. I think we've reached the bottom of the barrel with our Hoh jokes, but if you think of some new ones I'd love to hear them.

The only creature my Alta has to keep track of is me and so far it's been doing a great job. There are daily goals for steps, calories, distance, sleep, water, weight and activity and if you are the least bit OCD you feel like you have to reach them all. They turn a lovely shade of green when they're completed and there's nothing worse than looking at your app and seeing one goal in yellow while all the rest are green. Then you start running on the spot while you brush your teeth or putting laundry away one sock at a time. Anything to up those numbers.

Our first official race with our new running bling was the Mundy Pond 5 K. I was going to sit this one out but Paula has this idea in her head that because I suggested the half marathon and the Tely, we have to run 37 kms in races of her choosing as well. 

Thanks for the awesome photo George!
At the Saturday morning group run, Renee made the mistake of asking me to push her to finish the race in 35 minutes, a comment she regretted the second we approached the start line Sunday morning, but there was no going back. The four of us started out together but with the 496 other runners all crowded close, we ended up split into pairs. I ran with Renee and Lori ran pretty close behind with Paula. There was a lot of swearing (not sure if it was directed at me or the situation in general) and even though Renee was 21 seconds shy of her goal, she did get a PB, as did Paula. Monkeys were fed bananas, step goals were met and no Hoh's were harmed.

Since there were more than three people in our age groups we didn't get medals but Paula did win a prize - a Tely 10 belt she plans on wearing when she runs the race in July. I noticed that it has a nice sized pouch for carrying Rice Krispie cookies.

Speaking of which, I'll soon have to whip up a batch. Our next race is the Harbour Front 10k which is also the first long run of our half training. It's only three weeks away which means our training starts two weeks from today. Hear that girls - TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY!!! Not sure where the time has gone but surprisingly I'm looking forward to starting the whole process. Maybe it's the PB's or maybe it's the spring-ish weather but we all seem to be in the same frame of mind and are ready to give this all we have.

Maritime Race Weekend, here we come!

Monday, 18 April 2016

Fridge Blindness

I love to eat, but when it comes to feeding myself I'm basically a toddler. Not in the messy, carrots in my hair sense, but in the fact that coming up with things to eat is often what sends me careening off the rails of my diet and exercise plan.

Normally, when I open the fridge to find something to have for lunch, this is what I see:

I'm a fan of quickly prepared meals. Even better, meals that are already prepared and all I have to do is warm them up. Microwavable dinners, leftovers and take out items were created with me in mind.

It's not that I can't cook. I can. Sort of. I just don't like to. If I had a choice between cooking and running, I'd probably choose running.

Luckily for me, I have Sugar. He LOVES to cook. He could spend all day in the kitchen creating amazing meals from the bad bananas, Cheese Whiz and the box of baking soda that I was able to find in the fridge. See, when he opens the door to the refrigerator, angels start to sing and he sees a totally different picture:

I am very fortunate that Sugar is supportive of my goals. He knows how hard it is for me to stay on track because, lets face it, I have no willpower. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I would live on doughnuts and Swedish Berries if it wasn't for him. 

So you can imagine how excited I was to come home from a run, half starved, to find Sugar slaving away in the kitchen. Score. There was chicken cooking, eggs boiling, vegetables being chopped. And I smell roast???

Cue the Hallelujah chorus. 

As I sit at the counter and watch him work, I start to realize that there's enough food being prepared for the 1st battalion of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. I rack my brains to think who we have invited over for a meal, but I draw a blank. Maybe he's just doing his over cooking thing, where he prepares for twenty guests when there are only four of us eating.

The penny drops when I see the plastic containers come out of the cupboard. My wonderful, amazing, supportive husband has filled my empty fridge with easily seen, easily assembled, easily prepared healthy meals for me for the entire week. He even rearranged the shelving so that all the items are at my eye level to help combat my fridge blindness. 

I have to say, it's awesome. And it's been working. I've been back on track for almost three weeks and I've dropped almost six pounds. I've been able to find time to exercise everyday too, now that I'm not spending half an hour in front of an open fridge trying to decide what to eat. 

I finally feel like I'm making some headway and I want to give credit where credit is due and say Thank You to my wonderfully amazing meal supplier. I couldn't do it without you. 

And because I don't want to end on a mushy note, here's a photo of Sugar with a bag on his head. 

Monday, 11 April 2016

Flat Out

The highly anticipated first race of the season is here - The Boston Pizza Flat Out 5k hosted by ANE. I had no plans of registering for this race. I didn't want to give up the only morning of my weekend when I could sleep past 7 am. But Paula had other plans for me.

Last year, Paula ran the Flat Out 5k and she wanted to run it again this year to try and beat her previous time. Lori and Renee registered so it was only a matter of time before I felt guilty and joined in.

In the weeks before the race we had lots of discussions on the possibility of beating Paula's chip time of 39:15. I knew it wouldn't be a problem. Paula was a little worried because she had been having pain in her shins and thought it would affect her ability to run like she wanted. It was decided that she needed new sneakers.

She found a pair at SportsChek and was excited to try them out at the next group run. We were only a kilometer in when the pain returned. I could tell she was disappointed but she figured she'd give the shoes one more try.

Before the next group run, she gave her shoes a little pep talk.

Whatever she said seemed to work, because she was able to run farther before the pain returned. By the time we ran the Flat Out practice route, she was cruising along just fine.

Our practice time was 37:53, which was very encouraging. I knew it would probably be even better on race day.

And it was.

Despite the rain and the belief that we were going to die, Paula and I crossed the finish line together at 36:18 (chip time of 36:02). For a while, I was a little concerned that Paula might not make it. With only about 300 meters to go she looked pale, like she might have to stop and throw up. Or pass out. Or request an oxygen mask. I had visions of holding back her hair on the side of the road while she tossed her cookies over my shoes and demanded that I drag her over the finish line.

But she pushed on and stepped over the mat, upright and stomach contents in tact. Two seconds later she looks at me with a big smile and says, "That was so much fun!!"

All three of my running buddies got a PB at the Flat Out. Lori's chip time was 27:23 and Renee's was 35:43. I am very proud of them all.

Now, who's up for the Harbour Front 10k???

Monday, 4 April 2016

Dionne Warwick

The problem with making your friends register for a half marathon is they then think they have the right to make you register for other races of their choosing. When the registration date for the Tely 10 was announced the girls made sure I knew about it and informed me that I would be registering along with them. I hated to disappoint them but I had to tell them that I wasn't going to be available to register since I would be about 10,000 miles up in the air headed to the sunny south and hopefully by the time I returned, the race would be sold out. 

Not to be deterred, Paula offered to complete the registration for me and the others while they were at work. She's like our own personal Dionne Warwick.

Of course, I had decided last year as I sat on the sidelines watching all the racers go by that I would definitely do the Tely this year. Not being a part of the experience, not having a story to tell makes you say stupid things out loud in the presence of those who won't let you forget. Things like "I'm definitely doing this next year."

So while I sat in the airport, waiting for my connection, I get the confirmation from Paula that she has completed my registration.

This just got real. Real fast. 

My bib is number 46. Renee, Lori and Paula are 49, 53 and 62 respectively. I guess Paula wanted to make sure we made it in under the 4000 or so registration cap.

As of today I have 110 days left to prepare for the 16 km race. Yes, 16 km. Many first time racers think the Tely 10 is a 10 km race but I am wise to the fact that it is a 10 MILE race, created 89 years ago when we were still part of the Dominion. I've done the race before so I know what to expect. But that doesn't stop my stomach from lurching every time I think about it.

But it's exactly what I need to get me back on track with my running. There is no better way to encourage a runner to run than to have them register for a race. Having that goal gives you sometime to work towards and I know I've got a lot of work ahead of me. I also know that I can do it - me, the girls and a batch or two of Rice Krispie cookies.