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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Time to Sizzle!

Well here we are, on the eve of my next half marathon. We are having some mighty hot weather right now, with humidity, so they have made some changes to the run starts for a few events. They pushed the 10K today (Saturday) back till 7pm to avoid some of the heat, and they have pulled in the start for my half tomorrow morning from 9am till 8:15am. They are also adding more water stations, some misting stations, some ice stations, and even a few air-conditioned buses at the first aid locations around the course for those that need to take a short respite during the race. The organizers are very concerned about people pushing too hard in the heat. The temperature high is still sitting at 31 Celcius, but will be higher with the humidex, Nothing like what some parts of the world get and folks run in, but here we had frost and 0 degrees just two weeks ago, so not much time for runners from around here to get accustomed to running in the heat yet. Plus the marathon event is also an official Boston qualifier (if I recall correctly- I am not up to marathon levels yet), so some are sure to be pushing even with the heat and the warnings to go easier.

For myself, I have done what I can, having done some runs during the week at noon to try to experience the heat and try to handle it. I will run with a wet sponge in my hat, and my wet cooling cloth across the back of my neck and over the tops of my shoulders, inelegantly tucked under my bra straps to keep it in place. I will take 2-3 cups of water at every water station- one for my mouth, one for my head, one for my neck and back.  I will take my chews for electrolyte replacement.  I am prepared to go slower, and even walk if needed.  Yet, if  I have to abort, I will do that too. I want to finish the race, not myself. :)   I will try and enjoy the race; the scenery, the people, the cheer stations, the music, and yes, even the weather. I will smile despite now having to get up earlier in order to get in and park and get to the Team in Training meetup before heading to the start corrals.

I am once again the top individual fundraiser for Team in Training for this event. So a huge thank you to all my sponsors! I could not do it without you!

Ok. Time to finish eating, have some more water, and hit bed early. I will be up before 5am in order to do final preps, get my before race food ready, and then get into Ottawa.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Almost there!

So here we are with less than a month to go till race day on May 29! So little time left!  That said, things are going well. My fundraising goal is within sight, and the training is progressing on track. With spring now here, the days are just packed, so I am actually looking forward to a bit of a rest after the race. Ok, maybe the week after the race as I am registered to do the 6K Mud Hero on June 4th. Then the Perth Kilt Run at end of June. Maybe that rest will be a bit further off than I might like. LOL  Oh well.

The personal training sessions are continuing. We've moved into doing mostly strength training on Mondays, and some cardio kickboxing on Wednesdays. I still follow both workouts with some additional cardio. I mix it up with the rowing machine, the elliptical, and the bike. I go for ~3k walks on these days at lunch most weeks, and I have decided to run at lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Nothing far (~4-5K), but since my time has been not entirely my own these days, its about the only window I have found to fit in the running I need apart from Sunday mornings. Speaking of the Sunday morning long runs, I have now run 15k without walk breaks! I have also set personal best times for 10K for the last 3 weeks in a row! Fingers crossed that this holds through race day too! For last weeks 15K I did it in 2:03. Previously that had taken me at least 2:18 to do, so that's about 15 min better, or a minute less per km pace.

I have been running for 2 years now, and everyone has been telling me that if I keep at it I will get faster. I had been thinking they were nuts, as it was not happening for me. Till now. I am nowhere near fast. However I am visibly better this past month and I have been feeling so much stronger. I am actually excited for race day, and seeing what I can achieve. My goal is still finish injury free, but if I just run as I have been these last few weekends, I am optimistic that I will have a personal best finish for a half marathon.

Looking back on my two year journey so far, its been quite amazing what I have been able to accomplish. The journey is far from over, but sometimes its motivating to stop and look at how far one has come. From couch potato to run/walking half marathons, to running 15k without walking, and still going. If I can do this, what else can I do?

If I can do this, what can YOU do if you set your mind to it?

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Two months to go

I ran the 10K Winterman on Valentine's Day. They changed the start time to a later time due to the extreme cold forecast. So I think it might have been a degree or two warmer than last years, but still very, very cold. This year the sun was shining though, and there was very little snow across the road, so overall a better race. I was the last runner to cross the finish. One of the volunteers on bike kept me company for pretty much the entire last out and back 5K. I had to walk a lot as the cold triggered my cough. Still, I finished in faster time than last year, and I finished!  So that's really all I ask for.

The pic to the left is me before the race, wearing  three layers on my top, four on my bottom, with base layer on my head. There are two more top layers on the back of the chair (down filled running jacket and a windbreaker), and another hat, down-filled mittens, and face mask in the plastic bag. I was definitely prepared for the cold!

There are just 2 months left before my next half marathon, on May 29th. It seems like a lot, but I know that the training has to be in earnest  now in order to be prepared. The time will go by very quickly.

I am still working with a personal trainer 2 days a week. We do strength training with some cardio. I always finish with at least another 15 min of cardio.  I try to run 1-2 times during the week in addition to my long run. At least now the clocks have changed and I can run after work when I get home as its still light out most days. I feel overall much stronger and I believe its showing in my runs so far.

For the first time, on Easter weekend, I was able to run 10k without the need for a walk break!  This is a huge milestone for me. Not only that, but I did the distance at a faster pace than I have in the past. I am going to keep pushing myself to run without walking as I go farther and farther.  I am sure to walk during the race at the water stations, but hopefully not a lot or for all of them :)

I am excited that spring is finally here. Sure, the weather is being temperamental still, but the geese and the robins are back, snow is almost gone, and the days are getting longer! I always feel the most energized in the spring. I am hoping it serves me well with the training and the race. I can't wait to get out on my bicycle again too. I have plans to get up to 50K+ rides this year on my hybrid wheels. Maybe next year I will invest in a road bike too, but for now I will stay on the rural roads around my home and be thankful for the suspension and wider tires.

My fundraising is going much slower this time around than before. Truthfully, I have been so busy that I am not pushing it as hard as last time either. I will send out some more reminders, and a few tweets and posts on Facebook, and I know that I will make the goal. If you can spare even a few dollars to help the cause, it would be much appreciated!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Long time no posts

So, I have not posted anything for over a year. Mainly because I am lazy, and busy with life. That's not to say I have not been out there, running!  So let me catch you up on what I have been up to since my first half marathon and last post.

After the Toronto Waterfront half, I did my best to stay motivated and running throughout the winter. It was tough running in snowy cold Ottawa, but I managed to get out 1-2 times a week, and if the Sunday longrun was often more walk than run, well at least we (my running buddies and I) were out there and being active. To help motivate ourselves, we signed up for the Winterman 10K race, in February. This is traditionally held on the last weekend of Winterlude, and in 2015, this also happened to coincide with the coldest spell of the entire winter. The morning of the race, it was -29 celcius with a -40 windchill. The wind was whipping, and snow was blowing up the embankment to the road the race was held on, blasting our faces and covering the road in snow. I did the race wearing 4 layers on my legs, 5 layers on my top, down mittens, a thick fleece hat, and a fleece face mask that covered my nose, ears, and neck. My lashes were covered in ice when I got done, and many participants had to be checked for frost bite. However, I finished! Slow, but since a lot of registrants chickened out, I ended up fifth in my category. Made it seem like I was way more awesome than I am LOL.

Winterman Bling!

Those of you that have read my blogs so far know that I had signed up to do the Tinkerbell Half in Anaheim California in May of 2015. Well, I did it!  It was a tough race, as I came down with a shin splint around kilometer 15 or so, and had to walk most of the rest of the race. That said, it was so much fun. So many participants were in costumes, and running through the Disney park, including some of the areas behind the scenes, was truly a treat. I finished the race only a few minutes slower than my first half, which I was pleased with given the walking.

Meeting Tinkerbell
Past the Disney Castle
Photo-op with some Fairies

The Bling!!!

I had to rest a bit after this race, but I still felt up for doing the Perth Kilt Run, in Perth, Ontario in June. This is an 8 km race, and all participants must wear a proper kilt. It holds the Guinness record for most kilt wearing runners in a race. I walked a lot of it, as did not want to overdo my leg while it was healing, and also it was dang hot running in a kilt! I still finished looking strong and fast :)  For finishing, I got a spurtle, some shortbread cookies, and beer. What a race!

Historic Perth, Ontario
Looking fast, but not really.


Since many of my friends and supporters had commented that I should run a local half marathon, I signed up for the Army Run half in September 2015. Training went very well, and I was optimistic that I might finally finish a half in under 3 hours. However, I put my back out a week before the race. It felt fine after a few days, so I opted to run. I set a PB for 10K and was pacing with the 2:45 race bunny. But my back was not happy and by just after half way, I was forced to start walking. I walked dang fast, and kept pushing. I finished in a lot of pain, but set a new PB for a half marathon, despite the walking! Needless to say, I holed up and did nothing for several weeks after the race, to allow time for things to heal.

Coming back from the QC side
Heading to the finish, despite the pain


Next up will be the Winterman 10K again next month (Feb 14). I am hoping for better weather than last year heheh. I will not be fast, as I have been fighting some virus thing since before Christmas, but I will get out there anyways and do my best.

Then I AM BACK FOR MY SECOND TNT RACE!!!! That's right! I have registered with Team in Training again, and this time will be doing another local Ottawa race, the Tamarack Ottawa Half Marathon!. End of May is the time frame. So here I go again, raising funds, and getting myself in shape in order to support the cause that got me started with running.

As I write this, its coming up on two years since Kerry passed away. I am sure many of you want to know how that part of my life is going as well. It's going okay. Actually, some might say better than okay. I am getting out there and doing things I have always wanted to do, and living life. Kerry wanted me to keep going, wanted me to enjoy myself. Knowing that, how could I do anything else without disrespecting his memory?  I did the Tinkerbell race, and went to California by myself. Yes, I went to Disney by myself too and had a blast on the rides! I took a three day performance driving course, and drove cars at speeds in excess of 200kph!!! I am doing another course this summer, and likely will hit the local track in my own car for some fun too. I am headed to Italy for three weeks this coming fall. I am dating again. I am singing with a choir group and will perform again this year at Bluesfest (yup, I sang at Ottawa Bluesfest last summer. How many of you can say that? :) ) I smile often, and laugh lots.

Does the above mean I have forgotten Kerry? No. Not even close. I miss him every day. The hole is still present in my heart. I believe it always will be. However, I am finding that I am dealing with the pain better and better every passing day. The hole is there, but I am building up some amazing things around it.  Do I still cry sometimes? You bet I do. Particularly right now, as the memories of our last days together rear up vivid and urgent. Yet I feel that I have to live, and live well, or else all that he and I had together would be for naught. Moving on without him is not something I ever thought I would be doing, or anything I wanted to do, however, that's precisely what I have to do in order to give meaning to our love. Its like I have to live for two now, and most of the time, I am living fully, joyfully, and for every moment.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Its confirmed, I AM the tortoise!

Thanks to a whole lot of training, and support from so many wonderful friends, and others, I ran and finished my first ever distance race, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront half marathon on Sunday!!!!! Huge thanks to Coaches Rick and Jenna, and my running buddies, Sue and Kaye, and to the TNT alumni runners like Tracy, who shared tips and such in the post-Sunday morning run coffee chats. And to every one of my supporters, particularly those that took the time to send me text message cheers. You made me smile every time one appeared on my watch while I was running. The few that arrived near the end were super helpful in keeping my pace up.

So let me share the excitement of my first ever race event.

I arrived in Toronto on Saturday morning, and walked from the downtown airport to the race Expo. There I picked up my race kit and bib, and had a look around, as it was my first race expo. I met and talked with Cheryl from TNT for the first time in person while there. Then it was on to my hotel, where I had expected to have to wait to check in since it was WAY before 3pm, but I was lucky and they had a room for me, so I was able to check in right away when it was only just noon. I began by unpacking my gear and getting ready for the following day.

I pack light.
Back of shirt.
Have to have a bib shot.

I had a pasta dinner with TNT folks Saturday night, Lots from Toronto there, so when I arrived I took a table by myself, since they seemed to be in established groups. This turned out to be fine, as Coach Jenna and I were the only ones there from Ottawa, and we got the other out of town  folks at our table, which was the contingent from North Texas. They were really nice and friendly, and we hit it off well.

Now comes the point where I have to say one huge thank you to all of my supporters. TNT thanked us participants at the dinner, and I was lucky enough to be the top fundraiser for the event for TNT. I could not have done that without all of you. Together, we raised over $9000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada!!!! That's just awesome. I think Kerry would be very pleased. Our charity was also the top charity for the race!

I barely slept Saturday night, I was so wound up about the race. Again, not so much the running part, but whether I would remember everything I needed, and would I find my way about, and basically all the logistical stuff that was not the actual putting one foot in front of the other part. I finally got up before the alarm went off. It was just after 5 am. I proceeded to try and prepare my body for the event, mainly my feet. My baby toes have had recurring blisters pretty much every week for last few weeks after my long run. I hesitate to say they actually healed between runs, because I don't think they did. So I knew they were likely to be my Achilles heal. I did my best to protect them, and I was in great spirits and feeling very determined when I headed off to the race area at 7 am.

Sunday morning was cold. It was just 3 degrees Celcius when we met up at the TNT pavilion before the start of the race. I made a last minute decision to wear my sweatpants rather than check them for post race, instead checking my yoga pants. I was wearing a ditch-able fleece jacket, gloves, and a windbreaker, but needed the extra on my legs during the 1.5 hour wait between bag-check/ meet up time and the actual race start. It was definitely one of the coldest days I have ever run on. I basically had my TNT vest, shorts, and sleeves as my running attire. I knew once I started I would warm up, but the waiting part was just plain cold. Many were wearing garbage bags even though they had put on extra gear.

We headed as a group to the start corrals, after posing for group photos. I think there were like 45 of us, all in our TNT gear, even if some us did not have it visible due to jackets and garbage bags. :)  A few of us peeled off into the faster corrals, but most of us were in the last runner corral, the purple one, for the slower folks. I was fine with that. I AM slow. I certainly would not want to get in the way of faster folks. I mean, I figured I was going to be passed by some of  the walkers anyway :)

In the corral, we huddled together, using our collective heat to keep warm. As the start time approached, we ditched the more bulky items, like sweat pants and sweaters. I left my fleece and pants, and tried to think warm thoughts while dressed in just my shorts, TNT singlet, and thin windbreaker. I left on my gloves though. I bounced, and shivered, and as the minutes counted down to the start, I began to warm up just from excitement. Every time a corral ahead of us started, we got to move up. The announcers at the start were great at building the excitement, and making even those of us in the slow purple corral feel special.

Finally, it was our time, and the slowest of the runners, myself among them, took off under the start banner, our chip timers beginning their count as our bibs crossed over the timer mats. People were cheering us on, shaking their cowbells, and blowing whistles and horns. It was very inspiring.

I had my race plan to follow, so while everyone took off rather quickly, and people were passing me to either side, I settled into my planned pace- a slow and steady 8:30min/km. I was hoping to finish in 3 hours or maybe even a couple of minutes under that, but this was the farthest I had ever run, and I mainly wanted to finish it, more than meeting a specific time. So I let the other runners pass me. And then some of the faster walkers too. I was smiling and enjoying the experience.

Proof that I was smiling a lot.
I tried not to really think about the route. I knew that I would not get lost, and I did not really want to focus on how far I had gone, or how far I had left to go. I wanted to just run, and take in the crowds cheering, and what it felt like to run with so many other people around. I had a small taste of that at the Terry Fox fun run I did, but that was NOTHING compared to being one of something like 20000 people all running the same course with you.

It was nice to see so many cheering despite how cold it was, and that I was at the back, with the bulk of the runners well ahead of me. They could have gone inside and left us slow folks to run without cheers, but many did not do that. The drink stations were well staffed and equipped, and I always managed to get a drink. I was glad I had decided to walk through the stations, as the pavement was slick with Gatorade and water and discarded cups, and I saw more than one person around me slip, or trip a bit, on them. But I did not walk for long, and I went back to my slow run as soon as the debris lessened.

I loved the first part, with its slow downhill, and the residential area and shops. We ran past the medal landmark for this year's event, Honest Eds. That was neat. I loved the school that had its cheerleaders out with their pom poms, doing cheers as we ran by. I loved the folks sitting on their porches in their winter coats, some with pets and small kids, who cheered us on. I loved the many wacky signs  that were being held up to encourage and motivate us. I loved the cheer station from one of the radio stations that was blasting some excellent reggae music that had me dance run past them.

Then it was onto Lake Shore. It was still cold. I only removed my gloves around 6 km in. I was still in my windbreaker. This stretch of the course was not as visually interesting, and I mainly relied on my music to carry my feet along. At the 10 km mark, I was doing well, pace just shy of my goal, at 8:37/km. I tried to go a bit faster after that, but there were fewer folks cheering, and it was still cold. Still I was happy to be out there, and I really do think I had a smile on my face the whole time. When the smile started to fade from the cold, I just added in a bit of dance to my tunes, and that picked my feet up again, along with my lips. I finally managed to remove my coat somewhere around the 15 km mark. By the time I entered into the final stretch, up the hill of Bay street, the wind was whipping down the street, and I almost put it back on again.

I know that Kerry was running with me as I passed 18 km, and was into the farthest I have ever run stretch, the last 3.1 km to the finish line. I was still smiling.

Last 100m, trying to forget the blister.
My toes were aching around 19 kms. I took an unplanned walk break for a bit around 20 kms, naturally right before coach Jenna shows up to run with me. I KNEW that would happen. LOL. But she got me back running, and I was managing about 8:00/km pace with her in the last km. I was still smiling at that point, with about 400 m to go, right about when Jenna had to peel off to go encourage her next TNT runner, when the reason for my aching toes became instantly apparent. A blister broke on my left baby toe. As I described to others, the pain was intense, as sweat and broken blister met. I saw through space and time. I am sure I was not smiling then. I kept going though, still running, as I was so close to the finish. Another TNT coach, Katie, met me with 300 m to go and ran with me to within 100 m of the finish line. At that point, I pulled on my love of Kerry, and recalled all he went through. The thoughts made me strong enough to push aside my trivial pain. I had experienced a far greater pain than a mere blister. And I had experienced a far greater love and joy. I recalled both, and pulled on the joy that was loving Kerry. I sprinted (well, ok, it was a sprint for me anyways :) ) to the finish line. I wanted to end the race strong, just as Kerry had remained strong through all he went through.

I was smiling then, as I crossed the finish.  Here is the proof.
Crossing the finish.

My chip time was 3:01:42.  I was the Tortoise. But like the Tortoise, I finished the race. Not quite last, but definitely at the back of the pack. I do not care. I FINISHED!!!

OVERALL PLACE10236/10528
I continued to smile for the rest of the day, I think.  A friend, on seeing some of these images, asked me why I was smiling so much, wasn't running 20k supposed to be hard work? My reply was that I smiled because of why I was doing it, and I smiled because I could.

Smiling at TNT post race check-in
Still smiling at my hotel later.

I never once forgot that I was running this for Kerry.

And George.    

And Patrick.     

And Anthony.    

And Lyne.    

And Little Sam.     

And everyone who has survived the battle with blood cancer, is still fighting it, or who did not win.  

Every one of them was in my mind as I ran.     

And every one of them was in my heart as I finished.   

They are the real heroes.

Friday, 17 October 2014

It's Time.

Here we are, just a day away from the race!!!! I had hoped to post something after doing my 18k run (which went well, by the way), but I have been so busy with life and training and preparing for the event and the coming of winter, that this is the first chance I've had to sit and write.

So yes, I did my first 15k long run a few weeks ago. I was slow, but I made it through. Then I did another 10k at split pace, and that felt longer than the 15k for whatever reason. Some days are good days and others not so much. Then I did the 18k run, and apart from some butt cramping in the final kilometer, it went well. I had a good pace (~8:45min/km average) and felt good. I was in my race day apparel and gear, and did the whole nine yards for prep (taping pressure points on feet, using body glide, etc.) to make it as close to a dry run of race day as possible. My plan is to run between water stations (about every 3km) and walk for 100-200m as I pass the water stations and drink. This will break the race into smaller chunks. I have my Stinger's Chews for energy and electrolyte replacement, and will have a bag of those 45-60 minutes, again what I have been practicing during long runs. I have never gotten into the gel stuffs, and I like the chews for ease of use and that I can munch on them over a longer duration (one bag lasts me up to 10km! hehehe It's like a reward every km!)

I know I will finish. The only questions are in what shape and in what time, and those go hand in hand and can't be answered in advance. :) I have prepped the best I can. Now I rely on adrenaline, my fellow runners, those cheering us on, and luck, to determine the specifics of my finish. :) I have even provided my sponsors and friends with a way to send me remote cheers as I run. I will make good use of hubby's smart watch that he barely got to use before he passed away. Plus, its a little bit of him that will be with me while I run, as it has been since I first strapped it on my wrist in April. Folks can also follow my progress via .  My bib number for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon is 12335.

Kerry has been on my mind frequently of late. As race day approaches, I can't help but wish he was here to see me do this, waiting for me at the finish reunification area to hug my sweaty self and congratulate me. I wish I could hug him back and tell him how he inspired me, and gave me the courage and reason to run. Yet in a weird way, I know I could never have done this if he were still here. He always used to undermine my resolve on exercising and food. Not out of any malice or intent. It's just he was not a morning person for exercise and would always ask me to stay a while longer before getting up. Or he would be out somewhere and see some treat that he knew I liked and he'd bring it home for me, and of course, he loved his chips and such so they were always in the house, tempting me.  In truth, I loved his sweetness in both of these gestures, but it did make consistent exercise and diet difficult. Still, I miss him and wish he could see what I have accomplished these past many months. I will readily admit that I have cried more again in these last few weeks, thinking about the whys and reasons, and the passage of time. While I don't have anyone going with me outside of my fellow TNTers, even if friends or family were go with me, I'd still feel alone, because Kerry is still the main person I want to be there for me.

There is a part of me that believes he still walks beside me however. A part that says he is watching over me, and will be with me during my race. I hear his voice in my head, teasing me and encouraging me in his usual sarcastic way. This part of me knows he knows I do this in his honor, and that he is proud of me. So while I miss his actual presence, I feel that he will be with me in some way. Like everything since he passed away, it's not the way I want it to be, but it's what I now have.

I have been obsessing about what to bring with me to Toronto for the race, and worrying whether I will remember to pack it all. I have had a list going for more than a week now, and have been putting things aside for the last week. I think I am more anxious about this aspect than the running itself. While VISA can get me out of trouble should I forget something, it won't be the tried and true broken in something that will ensure my success :)  I am sure I will be in full on panic before I am done the packing tonight. Hopefully I manage to get some sleep, as I am not sure how much I will get tomorrow night in the hotel.

The forecast at the moment is for a cool day in Toronto, with some sun. This sounds ideal, at least for me. I will still be racing in my vest and shorts, as I get hot when I run. However, the waiting for an hour and a half or more before I start running is yet another thing to plan for. I have a cheap jacket I will wear and toss when I get warm, but do not have the same for my legs, not having found anything suitable for that purpose. So I guess I will wear a garbage bag skirt before the race to stay warm and toss it right as I start. I have gloves to toss when I get warm too. My sleeves I will just roll down onto my wrists if I need to. I also have planned for some post-race warm clothes, since even on hot days I get the chills for half an hour to an hour shortly after I cool down from the effort. Now, the blankets they give out at the finish of a longer race make a lot of sense.
(That's 49/40°F for reference)
Saucony Xodus 5.0 GTX
Ronhill Womens Vizion Winter Tight
As I mentioned earlier, I have signed up for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in May. This means I have incentive to run over the winter. I think fate has been telling me this is what I am supposed to be doing, as when I was in COSTCO the other day they had some long-sleeved Adidas tops for $3.97. So I picked up several. Then, when I went into RunningRoom to get my socks for race day and the Body Glide, they happened to have some RonHill Winter Tights on sale. They just had 2 pair, and both fit me. They were on for half price, at just $45 each. So I picked those up too. Then, since obviously I am supposed to keep running based on these steals, I decided I better get some shoes too. After trying on a few waterproof ones, I settled on the Saucony Xodus 5.0 GTX. They have a good tread and should handle some snow, as well as being waterproof. The only things left to get are some gators if I plan to actually run in snow rather than on plowed/packed snow, and some sort of outer layer. I am thinking the outer layer will make a nice Christmas gift to me from someone, so will put that on my list.

Okay, moving on before my mind contemplates a Christmas without Kerry....

Stats. I have to give a final update on the stats for this endeavor. Not that my running is over, but the training for THIS event of it is, aside from one last 45min run I will be doing right after this. So you can add that time and another ~5k to these for my final stats before the race.

Count:95 Activities
Distance:515.15 km
Calories:37,064 C
Time:83:17:23 h:m:s
Avg Distance:5.42 km
Avg Speed:6.2 km/h
Max Avg Speed:7.2 km/h
Avg HR:135 bpm
Steps:592,256 s
Avg Run Cadence:62 spm
Max Run Cadence:123 spm
I have lost about 25 pounds, give or take 1-2 depending on the day, since Kerry passed away, with more than half of that since starting to run.  So I am still a heavy 167-170 pounds. I had hoped I might lose more, but what can I say? I love food. Like the Oatmeal, I think being able to eat what I like is one of the perks of running, in my opinion. :)   So maybe weight loss for me will be more gradual than others might experience. Still, I hope to cut back a bit over the winter, when I will train a bit less intensely, and hopefully I will come into the spring and the increased training for the Tinkerbell with a few more pounds shed.

To the fundraising, my total is now at over $9000. Some of that was me. I had heard from several other fundraisers that many people do not like donating when the event in question has minimums that participants have to raise, which go to covering the participant's support by the organizaton, in this case things like our coaches, race entrance fee, training/race day shirts, and support on injury prevention, nutrition, and fundraising. So I vowed that I would cover my minimum fundraising commitment myself, at the end. Its part of the reason I picked something close to home with a lower minimum. The other part was that the lower the minimum, it felt like more of what I would raise/contribute would go to the cause. I had no idea going into this what amounts I might raise, and my inital goal was just $2500.  Some people may do these sort of charity runs as opportunities to run somewhere exotic with less out of pocket to themselves, but that's not for me. Even if I were to pick a more distant race, I would still cover the minimum commitment amount needed myself.

So off I go for one last pre-race run. Tomorrow I fly to Toronto, and will pick up my race kit and bib, and see a bit of the race expo (not too much as I don't want to tire my legs!). This will be followed by a TNT pasta dinner after I check into my hotel. Then I will try and get some sleep. Sunday morning it will be up at the ass-crack of dawn to get prepped. Eat my small usual breakfast of a bagel and peanut butter (bringing it with me so I know its my usual!). Apply protection to my feet (I found some nice thin fabric bandages that cover nicely and stay put).  Glide up my body where I might get chafed. Then with my bag of post race gear in hand, I will head to the start area and check in my bag before meeting up with the ~40-50 other TNT folks that will be racing on Sunday with me. Most are from Toronto, but I am told some will be up from Texas! I will get to meet many of them Saturday night, but all of us are to meet up at 7:45am Sunday morning before we head en masse to the start corrals. At 9:05am, those of us in the purple corral, myself and the other runners who are the slowest apart from the walkers, will get to go. I hope to finish in 3 hours, but I will take a finish at any time before the 3 hour and 50 minute cutoff. And in any shape.
Like this woman, for instance.

I am excited, nervous, sad, elated, and a whole host of other emotions.

Wish me luck.

Kerry, this race, and all the effort I have given it, is for you. I love you baby, and I am getting in shape like you wanted me to. You are my inspiration. After everything you went through, and the strength and courage you demonstrated, this does not even compare. Hopefully my efforts give some meaning to everything you endured. In a weird way, its been helping me cope with the loss of you. You are the reason I run. Or rather, the lack of you.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

One Month To Go

So. If any reading this want to contribute to my fundraising, we are in the final 3 weeks of the campaign. Oct 7, 2014 is the deadline. This time next month, my race will be done, and I will be soaking sore muscles and eating rich foods! I am getting nervous and excited now. Things are coming together, and the reality of what I am doing has hit home. Not that I fear I can't do this- quite the opposite! I have done 12k runs so far, and this weekend will be my first 15k run. I have done interval training. I have done a split pace 10k. There have been more opportunities for learning, and each has helped prepare me.

Belleisle Marsh Trail (near the start)
Over the Labour Day weekend, I took a trip home to NS to visit my parents. I had to do a long run and an interval training day while there. Not wanting to run on the roads (was not sure about traffic and condition of the shoulders) I instead ran on some trails. This was actually quite enjoyable. However trail running is not the same as running on pavement. The first trail was my 10K run, and it was pretty, but not super maintained. The trail was essentially a tractor path through a nice wetlands area, so while there was some gravel and dirt bits, there were also narrow ruts, rocks, and a lot of overgrown grass that liked to catch my shoes. Never once did my foot land in a nice even position, and it was a lot of work on my legs. However, I can't see that as a bad thing!  The interval day trail was shorter, again around a wetland pond, and I had to do laps of it. It was better maintained, and more gravel covered. It was a very good session. That was the good learning.
French Basin Trail
French Basin Trail

On arriving home I discovered a had a few blisters on my feet. The ones I found were on my heel and top of one of my toes, and I thought not much of them, thinking it was the still newish non-running shoes I had worn during my trip. I tried to go for my Thursday run the next day and had to abort. The balls of my feet were so sore!  Of course, I get back home and find blisters there too. So I cleaned them and bandaged them up, and did not run that day or the next day. They felt and looked better on Sunday, so I went out for my long run of 12k. By about 7k  I noticed them again. By 9k I was walking. They felt like bruises on the bottom of my feet and every foot strike was getting rather painful. So I walked for about a km, sort of on the sides of my feet. When the pain felt less, I finished the run running. I got home and fixed them up even better. I was able to run fine by Thursday, and no more issue since then. I now believe they may have started with the trail running, with its rocks and uneven surfaces, and the newish shoes just were the straw that broke the blisters back.

3/4 of Team Kerry
One of Kerry's co-workers formed a team in his memory for the 2014 Terry Fox Run, which was last Sunday. Of course, I had to participate once I learned of it.  My two running buddies registered too. It was a cool day-- 9 degrees C-- but perfect otherwise, and once I started running, even the coolness was welcome. The run fell on my split pace long run day, so that's what I did.  I managed 9min/km pace for first 5k and 8min/km for second. New PBs for 1 mi (12:18), 5k (39:59) and 10k (1:28:50)- the last two being each 2 minutes faster than previous times !!!! There was also some walking in both segments (once while waiting for buddy to use facilities and once when passing the finish area because the marked course was NOT 10km and I had to keep going but was throngs of folks and cars to get around). All in all a good day.
I have missed a few more days of running with the blisters and a few late days at work and the need to catch the lawn mowing between the rains. However, I think training is still on track and I am feeling good about being able to do the 21.1k on Oct 19. Starting to think about what I will be wearing, planning for a few different weather contingencies. I want to try to run with that gear for my next few long runs, so that I know it will be okay come race day. My race day shirt should be here in the next few days, so I can wash it a few times and decorate it, and basically break it in a bit.

Now for the stats, because you can't really see my progress in person, can you? Well, I have been holding steady still on the weight, despite hoping a few more pounds would drop off at some point. However, that's okay as I don't want to set myself up for failure at the race. I have put in some good training so far!

     Count:                82 Activities
     Distance:           410.12 km
     Calories:            31,073 C
     Time:                67:24:21 h:m:s
     Avg Distance:    5.00 km
     Avg Speed:        6.1 km/h
     Max Avg Spd:    7.1m/h
     Avg HR:            135 bpm
     Steps:              467,618 s

My concentration issues are getting better, although I am still too easily distracted for my liking. However, I have been able to focus much better in last month, both at work and in leisure. I have read a few more books now, and I have had some longer gaming session on the consoles/computer too. I am not there yet, but am feeling more like myself than I have in half a year. This is both a good thing, and something that bothers me. Part of me wonders, if I am getting better, does that mean I will forget? Rationally I know I won't, but such is the grief thought process.

Over half a year. Yes, its now been 7 months since Kerry passed away. As I write that, I am shaking my head in disbelief. It still seems so surreal at times. Time really has gotten messed up since his death. Sometimes it crawls along, barely moving. Then, at times like this, realizing that its been 7 months, it seems like it has passed at warp speed. I am coping, and I even can enjoy myself. I have gotten to a point where I can be me now without that seeming like a prison sentence. That does not mean the pain is not still there though. It just means I have gotten more used to it, and am more adept at functioning with it.  As others have said, you don't get over the loss of your lover and partner; you simply learn to live despite it.