Sunday, 13 August 2017

No Pictures!

It's been four weeks since the Tely and I have been struggling with whether or not to write a blog about my experiences. But now that the two people who read my posts have asked "When is your next blog coming out?", I figured maybe I should go ahead and put it all down on paper, so to speak.

Race day. I stood in my corral with Lori and Renee, with our three ascending bib numbers, and we discussed the usual race day topics. What was our hoped for finish time? (1:51) Are we sticking together for the entire race? (Yes. Unless Lori wants a PB) Will we cross the finish line together with our bibs in order for an awesome photo op? (Maybe. Refer to last) Do I have time to have one last pee? (No)

The weather was nice enough that I didn't need to wear a garbage bag at the start line, although Lori had opted to wear a lovely green cardigan. Once the starting pistol was fired and we crossed the mat, I double checked to make sure we were all still together. Renee was by my side and there was a green cardigan somewhere far ahead, weaving in and out of the pack of racers, trying to break free of the group. Guess the PB won out.

We chugged along, making great time. This was probably one of my more enjoyable times doing the Tely. It's the first time I've run with someone else and the time and distance did seem to go by much more quickly. Before I knew it the crowds were getting bigger and I could tell that we were nearing the end of the course.

Somewhere around mile nine Renee's brother Robert caught up and offered to run with us as an additional support/encouragement to help Renee get her desired goal. I was pretty happy about his appearance because Renee had said something about her legs cramping up and I didn't want to go through another baby deer/treadmill experience and have to carry her over the finish line alone.

Luckily her legs held up and we crossed the finish line side by side, proudly displaying our numerically ordered bibs, with a chip time of 1:52:25. A little slower than we had hoped but still and PB for Renee.

I couldn't wait to see the pictures. Normally after a race, I sit at the computer as the race photos start to show up on Facebook and I tag everyone I know. This year, by the time I got home, other PRCers had already started the tagging process so I figured I would just let them find my photos too.

As the day went on, my news feed started to fill up with photos of everyone I knew who had run the Tely. All other news was non-existent. However, there were no tagged photos of me. Maybe everyone was just celebrating and the photos would come later.

The next morning, still no tags. The next week, nothing. What gives?

So I sat down at the computer and started looking for photos. My favorite photographer, Larry (of Larry's Running Photos) was where I checked first, but he had been out of town and didn't take any pictures this year. But East Coast Running had taken some shots:

Hmmm. Must be something better than that.

Doug Noseworthy? He didn't take any (or at least post any) after 1:46.

Finish Line Photo?


I was starting to feel like Zsa Zsa Gabor the time she played Sonya Lamor on that episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. No pictures.

After much searching, the best photo I could find of myself, Renee and our bibs was taken by Perry J. Howlett.

Oh well. No biggie. So what if there's no photos of me doing the 90th running of the Tely 10? At least my name would be printed in the Telegram along with everyone else.

Except it wasn't. All times from 1:54:03 to 1:54:58 were somehow cropped out of the paper. Nice.

So, you can see why I was reluctant to write about my race. It's almost as if I wasn't even there.

But no worries. I'm sure I'll make up for it at the Huffin Puffin half.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

I've Never Been So Happy To See A Pylon

I looked back at the blog from my first half marathon and it was so mushy and gushy and all "I can't wait to run another half!" that I nearly threw up.

Now, after my second half last week, I'm ready to quit running all over again. 

Don't get me wrong - the race wasn't horrible. The weather was perfect, not too hot or too windy. The part of the route that went up the trail FOREVER was a little (a lot) sucky, but all in all, not that bad.

I started out running with Renee. She was smart and decided that she should do the 10K instead of the half. The first 8K of both races was the same route, so we stuck together and I quickly realized when she turned back toward Bowering Park and I headed back down Waterford Bridge Road that those 8K were the best part of the run. 

Having someone to run with keeps your mind off the fact that you are torturing yourself with running a race. As soon as I was on my own the only company I had was my brain and my brain hates running even more than I do.

I was literally on my own. There wasn't another runner in sight. If I looked really hard I thought I could see one lady way ahead in the distance. I refused to turn around and see if there was anyone behind me. I didn't need that pressure. 

I soldiered on in what felt like a ghost town. Seriously, where was everyone?? There must at least be a marshal around somewhere. Was I still on course? I realized then that I was supposed to keep an eye out for the turn for the second lap when I did the first run down Waterford Bridge Road but was too busy chatting with Renee and forgot to look for it. My brain kept telling me that I had missed it. I still couldn't see any other runners and by now I had fully convinced myself that I was so far off course that I might as well just go straight down town and have a doughnut at Tim's.

But then, like a hero in the night, this guy materialized at a water table and was pointing me down a hill toward the trail. 

I've run this trail many times, but always in the other direction. I'd convinced myself that even though the trail was on a slight incline all the way to Paradise, it really wouldn't be that bad. Lies.

Now that I was on the trail, I could see a few more runners. It was a comfort to know that I wasn't on my own anymore. I chugged along, watching the lady in front of me turning back every two minutes to see how close I was getting. I knew then that I would catch up to her. I was inside her head and that's never a good thing to have happen to you when you're racing. It's why I never look behind me.

I made some remark about how much running sucked as I passed her. I think she grunted a similar phrase in return. A kindred spirit.

The trail went on and on and on. I kept thinking, "The turn around must be close," but it wasn't. When I saw Batman up ahead of me I felt a little better, knowing there was someone close by that could tell the ambulance driver my details if need be. I kept watching his back, waiting for all that yellow to turn around and face me, letting me know the end was in sight. But he kept running for what seemed like an eternity. 

Eventually I started to see familiar faces as they made their way back down the trail. At first I was happy to see all my PRC peeps but I quickly realized how far ahead of me these people should be which meant I still had miles and miles to run up the trail. I wanted to assume the fetal position right then and there.

But then I pictured the soldier running behind me in his combat boots, carrying his rucksack on his back and I knew that I had to keep going.

And then, just like the guy at the water station, there it was:

I've never been so happy to see a pylon. I think I heard angels sing.

The route back down the trail didn't seem quite as long. I caught up with Batman who didn't look at all pleased to see me. I watched a few others who were still slogging up the trail and felt their pain. Corporal Rucksack was there too and I let him know that the worst was almost over.

With the park in sight, I picked up my pace. I seriously wanted this to be over. I nearly collided with a woman who decided to walk the last few meters. I ran faster, past more walkers. I wanted to shout at them, "The finish line is right there! Why are you walking?? RUN! RUN! RUN!" 

I had hoped to finish somewhere between 2:30 and 2:45. When I ran under the clock it read 2:29:22. At the time I didn't much care, I was just happy to not be running anymore. But I guess I'm pretty happy with that number.

I know we all have bad races and even though my time was great, I still felt like this race belonged on the naughty list. I didn't feel good after and I spent the afternoon wondering how I could get out of doing the Huffin Puffin Half without Renee getting mad with me.

Who knows what the summer will bring. Maybe when the Tely is done I'll be rearing to go for half #3. Or maybe I'll retire from running yet again, take another hiatus, go on strike. 

I guess I'll have to wait and see what's beyond the pylons.

Friday, 5 May 2017


Guess who's getting a Tely shirt this year?

Against my better judgement I have signed up for Tely #3. Not that signing up for the Tely is a bad thing, it's just that I'll be on a plane for 12 hours on the Friday before the race. That gives me one day to recover from jet lag and the 6 hour time difference. Shouldn't be a problem, right?

Last year, Snap, Crackle, Pop and I tried to get ascending bib numbers but it didn't quite work out. To increase our chances of success this year, we came up with a new plan.


But, our brilliance paid off and now all three of us have bib numbers in a row.

Why were we so determined to have numbers together? I'm not sure really. It would look neat in pictures? Would make for an interesting story? We thought it would be cool?

Maybe Marc's answer is more accurate: We're nerds.

Regardless of our reasons, we're registered for the Tely. The hype and excitement is already present within PRC. We have a few first timers this year and the anticipation is almost palpable.

What is it that makes this race such a force? Why do so many people have it on their bucket list?

Could it be the fact that it's been around for 90 years? Maybe it's because it's not quite a half marathon but it's more than a 10K and it's a great stepping stone to prove that you can go the longer distances. Or maybe we all just want to be a part of something amazing. And it's pretty amazing when you're running down Military Road towards the finish line.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

A Familiar Face

Have you ever had one of those moments when someone asks you to do something and you wonder if they have lost their mind?

This happened to me a little over a month ago. I was at home, sitting by the fireplace, enjoying a relaxing evening, discussing something that I'm sure was earth shattering with Sugar when out of the blue I received a text from the PRC President.

"Wondering if you'd be interested in taking over the role of PRC's Training Coordinator." Or something to that effect.

I remember staring at my phone and thinking, "Did she send this to me by mistake? Maybe she mixed up my number with someone else who actually trains."

Maybe I should rewind to the end of January. At the beginning of the year, I was nominated for the role of training coordinator along with two other more deserving candidates. I had been on the executive a few years back and I did want to give it another go, but training coordinator? Seriously? Have you seen my training plans?

With a bit of encouragement from some of my fellow runners, I decided to accept the nomination. I didn't win, but apparently the race was quite close, with all three of us only a few votes apart. A month later, when the successful candidate had to step down, I was the next person in line.

I hesitated. Did I have what it would take to come up with training plans for our best runners? Me, who avoided hills, strides and tempo runs like they were the plague? Did they really want me to be the spokesperson for our Learn to Run program, teaching our newest runners exactly what I thought of running?

PRC has had some great training coordinators in the past. I knew I didn't have to reinvent the wheel when it came to program - all the training plans from the last few years were there for me to build on. Plus there are hundreds of training plans online. I'm sure I could tweak them with my own personal style.

I agreed to give it a shot and got straight to work. The USR is coming up soon so a half marathon program would be a great place to start.

I quickly discovered that training plans are boring. BORING. B-O-R-I-N-G. I flipped through the one running magazine I own for inspiration (Canadian Running, July & August 2014) and came across the article on PRC member Todd Ralph. I realized that seeing a familiar face would make me stop and see what was on the go. Maybe that was the key.

I tried to think of runners that most everyone would know, even those just starting out. It didn't take long to come up with three different plans: Just Running a Fewer (beginner), Run a Little Mo (intermediate) and Train Like Usain (advanced).

Each week, I've been posting a weekly training photo of these accomplished runners, along with a running schedule and a fun fact about their lives or running careers. I also post my own personal training program, called "I Just Want to Finish". Here is this weeks plan:

This last plan has been receiving quite a lot of praise.

So far things are going well with my new position. Our spring Learn to Run program is off to a great start and I managed to recruit lots of volunteers to help out (they were all voluntold). I've learned a lot about runners and running over the past few weeks. Seems this new job is teaching me much more than I anticipated. Maybe it will make me a better runner. Maybe it will encourage me to do the things most runners do when they train.

Or maybe I'll just sit here and eat a Big Mac.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

It's over. For a while there I really thought we had something but things don't always work out like we planned, I guess. Maybe I got caught up in the initial excitement of a new relationship and didn't see the warning signs. I thought I had finally found exactly what was missing in my life. I gave it everything I had but in the end, it just wasn't enough.

I've officially ended my relationship with my Sauconys.

The inside of the heels of my first pair practically disintegrated. I figured it was because I was too lazy to untie them and all the sliding on and off had worn down the lining prematurely. When I bought my second pair, I was more diligent - always making sure to take them off and put them on properly but it didn't take long to realize that irregardless of my efforts, these shoes were doomed to the same fate.

Obviously my feet and my sneakers weren't getting along as well as I had initially thought.

I was heartbroken. These sneakers were the first shoes to make me hate running a little less. They were comfortable and made me feel like I could conquer the world. Well, maybe not the world, but at least a half marathon.

I knew I had to do what was best for me and so I took my inserts out of my Saucony's for good. The next few weeks were tough - I had to stop myself from going back and giving them one last try. Maybe I ended it too soon? What if I never find another sneaker? Will I ever be able to run in comfort again?

Time is a great healer and eventually I summoned up my courage and figured it was time to get back on the saddle. I decided to start looking for my newest shoe relationship at a different location so I wouldn't be tempted to return to my old habit of buying Sauconys. As I walked into the store and made my way to the shoe section. I was grateful to note that while there were several pairs of Sauconys, there were more pairs in other brands. I scoured the wall, trying to decide where to start. 

Almost immediately my eye was drawn to a section of trail runners. My first thought was "I run trails - maybe this is a sign." I sized up each pair, rejecting shoe after shoe for various reasons - they were Sauconys, they were a hideous color, they looked like something grandma would wear - until I came to a pair that were a wide width. 

If shopping history has taught me anything, it's that my feet enjoy a wide width shoe. This particular display model was also my size so I figured it couldn't hurt to give them a try. They were black, which is a little boring, but maybe boring would make a nice change. They felt pretty good on my feet but the real test would of course be how they felt while I was running,

Unfortunately the store didn't have a treadmill, but the clerk assured me that I could return them after I tried them on my own treadmill if things didn't work out. I bit the bullet and bought them. 

Sugar was paying attention to my feet that evening as I laced up my new sneakers. He informed me that I was tying them to tight. I've always tied my sneakers loosely (or so I thought) but Sugar insisted that I have them even looser. He's been known to be right at least once before, so I figured I'd give him the benefit of the doubt. 

As I ran, my feet kept coming out of the shoe slightly with each step I took. All I could think was "I'm going to get blisters the size of Montana", but by the end of 5k, everything was still feeling fine. No blisters, not even any hot spots.

All in all, it was a pretty successful first date. I felt slightly optimistic that our second date could possibly go just as well.

Now that we have run almost 100 kilometers together, I have to say, I am very happy with how things are working out. I'm ready to commit to running my next half with these shoes. June 11th - be sure to save the date.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Saved By A Water Fountain

Did I ever tell you about my first experience entering the world of fitness? I was in my second year of university and still undecided about which field of study to enter. One afternoon I ran into an old friend who had enrolled in MUN's Phys Ed program. As we talked, I thought to myself, "That's what I should do! I've been wanting to get in shape and what better way to do it!"

I went home and signed up for my first class. I was pumped, so excited to get out there and get started.

On the first day of class we had to meet on the soccer field by the Phys Ed building. I was looking the part in my new MUN sweatshirt that I bought for the occasion, so happy to finally have made a decision about my future. Our first task was to run laps around the field. No problem! I always considered myself a good sprinter so running slower around the field should be a piece of cake.

Like a lot of newbies, I started off faster than I should have. I was doing my best to keep up with the others who obviously had been running since the age of two. I managed several laps before my lungs started burning and my classmates starting passing me one by one.

I remember thinking "Surely the instructor is going to tell us to stop any minute now." I ran another lap, convincing myself that this would be the last one, the whistle would blow and we would get to collapse on the field. Didn't happen.

My legs felt like they were on fire. My new sweatshirt felt like a survival suit. I was dying. I was being lapped. Who knew that you had to be in shape BEFORE you joined the Phys Ed program?

As I got to the end of another lap, I knew I couldn't go on. I stopped next to the instructor and told him I needed to go grab some water. He directed me to the fountain inside. I headed in, walked straight through the building and out the other side. Then I went home and dropped the class.

I kept thinking about that experience as I ran with the group last week. The other RK's were AWOL for various reasons so I ran with Batman and some of his posse. I started out running with most of these people when I first joined PRC, but over the past few years, they have all improved so much that I can't keep up with them anymore. However, on this night, there I was, smack dab in the middle of the group, not at the back, not being lapped, not dying, no burning lungs. I was keeping up with the others and all I could think was how impressed that girl at the PE Building would be with me now.

I've learned a lot about running since my university days but I think the most important lesson I learned is if you want to enjoy running, you have to run for yourself and do what works for you. Which is why I train the way I do:

The best part - I can wear my PRC sweatshirt for most of this training and not have to worry about overheating. Or where to find the closest water fountain.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

21 K, Here We Come!

Well, hello!

Yes, yes, it's been a while. In my defense, there really hasn't been much to talk about since last October but I will do my best to catch you up.

Let me see...what have I been up to since the Cape....

First of all, I did not punch Pete Soucy in the face and I hold no ill will towards him (anymore). I went on vacation and gained five pounds. Then it was Christmas and I gained another five pounds.

That's pretty much it. Oh, and I did some running. 5k here and there but nothing too strenuous. Then I signed up for another half marathon. Or three.

Some PRC members decided on another destination race, this year in Hamilton. Sugar registered for his 3rd full marathon and I chose the half. Well, I didn't really choose it, it more or less chose me. It was a sort of naturally occurring registration. No other distances were even considered. Well, maybe the full for a brief insanity ridden second, but that moment passed with surprising speed.

After registration the next step was to think about a training schedule. I still had my calendar from the Maritime Race Weekend, so I modified that to fit the dates leading up to Hamilton. Snap, Crackle and Pop were unsure about travelling for a race this year but they all wanted to register for the Huffin Puffin Half so naturally I agreed to run that half as well. The HP is seven weeks before Hamilton and I figure it will be a good indicator of how things will go in Ontario.

I modified our training schedule again to work with the HP and noticed that the USR falls into our new time frame. If we are going to run this race again (which we are) we might as well do the half instead of the 10k.

So there you have it. I've committed to three half marathons this year. Goodbye Christmas weight.

Our training begins this week, which is why I decided it's time to start blogging again. It keeps me accountable and more likely to run. The training plan we have will keep us going all summer. You might think it's a bit earlier to start training for something in June, but if you've read any of the previous blogs, you'll know that we don't train like regular runners. For example, here is our schedule for this week:

Slow and steady is how we roll. Or run.

21 k, here we come!