Ottawa Half Marathon Race Recap: Underwear and Mirrors

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well, I woke  up this AM and had trouble making it downstairs to the coffee pot but, i did it. (coffee is after all a key motivation in this equation.) cliff was actually a well behaved dog and let me sleep in a bit this morning – is it possible for a dog to know when you need some extra sleep?

the funniest part is, mike’s totally walking like he got off a horse too from the 10km race he did on saturday – i can’t help but laughing (and then wincing in pain) at both of us literally limping around the house (the stairs are the worst).

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post 10 km race saturday night ^^

so the rational side of me knows that i’m in so much pain because i didn’t train enough. the post-race side of me justifies it by saying it’s because i pushed myself like i never have before. we’ll just settle on a combo of the two – a happy little compromise.

the race: that’s what i’m talking about here. yesterday morning i got up and it was chilly out (seriously what is with this late MAY freezing weather!? especially after we had such a beautiful start to the month!?). i really despise being cold when i run, usually i wear tights/long sleeves until i’m absolutely certain i’ll be sweating in shorts, so it was a toss up on what to wear. in the end i took mike’s advice who said after he got going on saturday evening, the temperature was perfect. i think it was about 11 or 12 degrees when we left the start line, and the fact that we were jammed in the corrals like sardines helped keep me warm.

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see how everyone’s wearing like winter coats in the back ground? ^^^

photo credit: ottawa citizen

photo credit: ottawa citizen

so yea the corrals was a bit of a mess this year – usually i get there with plenty of time to weave myself to the front third of the group. this year it seemed there were way more people and way less space. my wave was scheduled to leave at 9 so i knew i had to at least get to the back of that group, but it was impossible to cut through the crowd (people were all like, “uh. no. you can’t move through here,” i’m like, “listen… move over.”)

in the end myself and some other ladies with the same problem left the starting boxes by hopping the fence, and then we found our way along the line towards the front and literally scooted back into the crowd by hopping a TV crane-thingy. Once we got in i felt so much better. i have severe pre-race anxiety – like my worst fear is missing the start of a race and i’ll have nightmares about missing it!

the race itself was awesome. ottawa is an amazing city to run in. seriously so many people line the streets- i think there was even more this year then last year. i passed my favourite spectator around the 15 km mark. she was holding a sign that said, “smile if you’re not wearing underwear.” i was so so tired at this point, but i couldn’t help expending some extra energy to give her the thumbs up. thank-you random lady with my sense of humour – you helped me through some tough times 🙂

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trying to make the heart sign at km 18 ^^

i made it to mike around km 18 – i knew it was in the homestretch and so it was the perfect place for him to sit and watch. i was just so happy to see him. i remember the first half marathon i ran in the city – i didn’t know anyone and i didn’t have any family watching. it was a really good experience to just get through it “on my own” but having that someone there to tell you, “you can do it.” just elevates you beyond what your brain is telling you are capable of. sometimes it helps to have that person rooting for you.  (side note: i found out after the fact that as i was running, he was eating breakfast. he even had the audacity to send my phone a series of texts telling me so. luckily when you run you don’t need a phone, because if i knew he was eating while i was gruelling it out… it wouldn’t have been a pretty text back).

the absolute best part of the race was the home stretch (isn’t it always!)

before the race i had mike make me a playlist and the last song that came on was list one:

fast forward to 5:30 and you’ll see what i mean ^^

i always say to mike in passing how much i love JT for this song – because it’s like you know he’s singing to jessica beal – and don’t they just make the perfect celebrity couple? so when this song came on, i literally almost cried. a) from the pain/exertion and b) because it was the most perfect song to finish on.

at the 1 km to go mark, i hit the part of the song when Justin’s going “you are, you are the love of my life.”

and then. it’s all i heard for the last 3 minutes of the run.

“you are, you are the love, of my life.”

i think for the first time in months, i was living only in that moment. i had no thoughts or worries about the future and i was just there, on that course, heading towards the finish line.

it’s the little things. ❤

and then to top it all off my friends from iRun we’re at the finish line (iRun is a huge sponsor of the race weekend – so it was official business but clearly it’s amazing to cross the finish line and immediately see a friendly face) and i gave her a hug. and then she took this picture:

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and then i went home and slept it off and woke up and when i checked on-line, i found i blew my personal best out of the water by almost three minutes!! i finished in just under 1:35 minutes! i really couldn’t believe it – i had no expectations going into the race so i surprised myself.

some races are ok, some of them you just make it through. and some of them are good ones. this was a good one.

and now… recovery!

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It’s too late to turn back now

I picked up my race kit for the half marathon today:

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It’s too late to turn back now. Yesterday I went for a short little run – a jaunt really… you know, just to test the old legs out, and it was a bit discouraging how slow and tired I felt. I can’t believe I have to run 21.1 on these gams in just over 24 hours.

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what’s made matters worst on my nerves is the fact that i’ve spent the past few days helping man the iRun booth at the Ottawa Race Weekend Expo. don’t get me wrong i love talking to all the people and meeting new runners but there’s a certain energy of nerves and anticipation at a race expo, and when i see everyone walking around with their race kits and in their fancy running shoes and tight pants – it really just washes waves of anxiety over me.

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outside the ottawa convention centre yesterday morning ^^

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the line-up of people waiting to pick up their race kits before the expo opened yesterday morning ^^

it’s not like i have any real reason to be nervous… except i just know, it’s gonna hurt a lot. i have a streak of competitively in me, and it’s like, impossible for me to just lay off and hold back. so you know, the less I train, (as has been the case the past four months) the more it’s gonna hurt. errg. damn those excuses in March… and April. *sigh*

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the past few days have been insanely busy but the expo is such a neat experience! i’ve never participated in something like it before – and what’s even cooler is I’m probably at the coolest booth in the room. it’s easy to hand out free stuff and listen to “why people love to run.”

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wall of “iRun” statements! so neat! ^^

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i mean, runners really do make the best community – i’ve met some pretty interesting people from all over. check out this guy’s dedication to the sport:

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ok well i’m off to the expo again fro the morning and then to spectate the 10 km race – mike’s running tonight! he made a nice little “carbo load” dinner last night in preparation:

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you know what’s better then running or racing or being competitive?

a spaghetti dinner with these guys on a friday night:

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ps. there’s also nothing like a grainy iPHONE picture to capture (any) moment.

Trail Run

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iPHONE: a really bad distraction if you are a runner. ^^^

(Also, not only is it distracting, it’s frustrating to hear an email pop up, or see a phone call when you are supposedly “checking out.” I really need to get an iPOD – still haven’t replaced my old one since last fall.)

This beautiful trail is nearly in my backyard. (Plus one Suburbs, minus one, downtown!). Seriously – how many trails do you know of called “Heart’s Desire?” Although I’m not sure how I feel about that creepy little cabin? It broaches on the blair witch vibe…. the bright sunshine helps – I don’t think I’d want to run across it in the fall or night time.

The breeze is so beautiful today. Last night we got some rain and it broke that really uncanny, unseasonal heat we’ve been having. Now it just feels like a lovely May day.

I got some positive feedback today on some side projects I’ve been working on – and you wouldn’t think it, but it goes a really  long way to have that sort of thing thrown your way.

That little nugget, plus the wind, plus the beautiful blue sky? Life is pretty good.

The hype over Boston

On Monday at 1:00 pm –  a week after the bombings took place in Boston – a large group of people gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to pay respect to those who were affected by the act of terrorism.

At 1:30 a tribute march took place from Parliament Hill to the American Embassy. As I was walking amongst the crowd, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit angry. A lot of people I was walking around were wearing Boston 2013 blue and gold jackets – their badge of honour, sporting it proudly. That means they were there – they had trained and made the trek from Ottawa and they ran the race. A race I’d love to be able to participate in someday. I think other people in the crowd felt similarly as they placed their running shoes on the fence behind the embassy.

Social media has been telling me that I don’t have perspective; that getting angry about the bombings in Boston is to overlook the fact that there are way worse situations around the world. Within 24 hours of the Bombings in Boston, people on social media were using it as a platform for “Pfft. Americans. They blow everything out of proportion. Stuff like this happens in Syria everyday.”

I don’t mean to sound angry or… hyped up… but isn’t it a bit too soon to be all up in arms and telling people to get perspective?

Just to be clear, I couldn’t have more of a bleeding heart for situations in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. I think what happens there every day is an atrocity. I think that any government that persecutes it’s citizens should be brought to justice. I think that any group of citizens that terrorize other subsets of populations are hypocrites. And just to be clear, I think from our position of privilege, we should be doing what we can to neutralize hostile and volatile parts of the world.

But in my opinion, that argument- the argument where you say, “Americans hype up events and acts of terrorism in their own country” doesn’t have space in the discussion of what’s happened in Boston.

What happened in Boston was awful. And people who are outraged at what happened, are more then entitled to blow it out of proportion… because, proportionally, when was the last time a bomb exploded, maiming dozens of people, injuring countless others and killing three on Boylston street in Boston? Paul Revere was probably alive if and when the last time anything like this happened.

We should be mad that international political systems don’t stand up for the persecuted when they should – and we should be disgusted by powerful governments in the world who both instigate and refuse to take a stand after they’ve stirred up trouble.

But in the meantime… I’m thankful for my position of privilege -The one that I will never take for granted. And that’s why I’m all hyped up about it.

iRun for Boston

I hate that. (when the day starts out ordinary and then all of a sudden gets turned upside down on its head.)

Twitter makes you find out news instantaneously. I seriously still can’t believe that someone would bomb the finish line of a race? It seems even more cruel and unusual. How are we capable of something like this? How is it that something so positive, as the culmination of a marathon, can turn into carnage?

Well. at least I know that mostly we are good – the bad guys don’t win. There’s more of us.

I wrote an article for iRun.ca following today’s events:

iRun for Boston

….even though mostly I’m still speechless.

 

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I got my first gig!

That’s right! Your’s truly will be guest blogging over on the Up to Speed and the Running for a Reason blogs of the iRun website!

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I do run, so it’s a perfect fit, really 😀

I’m always in need of input, so if you’re a Canadian runner and you have a “reason” for running, I want to hear it!

Also – fill me in! I’m constantly going to be scouring the web for what’s new in the world of running – let me know if you hear of anything interesting!!

Happy Running guys!

My commute would be faster if I ran

Today I missed my bus connection. In a normal city you might think – no biggie. Here, it meant half an hour in the cold, huddled in a bus stoop on the side of the road in an obscure part of town.

When I finally got home (an hour and a half after I left my starting point) I got to thinking…. I could run faster then the commute takes me.

Seriously… and I’m not even talking at a high interval… I’m just talking leisurely and even pace.

That’s gotta be saying something right?

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get to this conclusion.

I mean I don’t live close to downtown by any means – I’m in the suburbs (ugly word I know but actually I love it) but seriously… if you can get downtown faster by running, i.e. beating city transit in the process… something is wrong with this picture.

I’m just sayin’

And I guess I should put my money where my mouth (blog) is…. someday soon, mark my words, I’m going to hitch up my backpack and time myself. I might wait until the snow clears off the shoulder of the road first, but it’s gonna happen.

Pumped Up Kicks

You have no idea how glorious of a day it was today in ottawa… unless of course you live here too.

it felt like spring was breaking through. of course i was locked up inside most of the day… having procrastinated the past few evenings (only my own fault i know it). buuuuttt, i just couldn’t resist and i had to squeeze one quick run in. (actually it wasn’t that quick, it just wasn’t long).

i didn’t even wear a hat and trust me when i say this good people, i always run in a hat. i’m the biggest baby when it comes to winter running and i usually overdress.

anyhoooo… i digress. the result of this balmy +12 degree weather?

it felt like my feet were flying. pumped up kicks kept playing through my head – i think because i was bouncing and because that song reminds me of nice & warm weather.

do you know what my favourite part about running in really cold weather is?

the minute it feels a bit warmer out, it actually does feel like summer in comparison.

somehow it makes me feel like spring is closer. even though today is january 30 and something tells me there’s a lot of winter left in the old man yet.

the rest of the way to school i jumped in puddles… because i could.

(pink boots)

(pink boots)

I’m BACK

After a long (and probably much needed) hiatus I’m back to the world of blogging.

*I’ll just pause for a minute to let the cheers die down.*

Since I’ve received SO many emails about my absence ( 😉 ) I’ll fill the world in on what I’ve been doing whilst I was away:

School:

Journalism school continues. I’m now officially one quarter of the way done a two year Master’s program. There’s been a lot of deliberation, I’m not going to lie. The focus has been majorly on crafting your skills for the life of a daily news room (of which I have NO desire to work in nor do I belong in this sort of environment.) I feel like I’ve spent a lot of guilty time trying to justify to myself that not all journalists have to fit into this corner of the profession, while simultaneously  trying to justify that not all journalism is news journalism. Even as I’m typing this I’m wondering if I sound a bit crazy – because after all journalism is news (or so they tell me). All I want to do is tell people’s stories…. but they’re clearly not always relevant in this sort of “news” world.

The plus side of the past semester is I feel like my writing has improved (as in majorly). That was one of the things I wanted to achieve when I set out on this little 360 adventure, so I’m happy about that. Also, this semester we’re getting into broadcast journalism and I’m excited about a major research project that I’m under-taking. So for the time being, life goes on.

Christmas:

The Christmas break was hectic and lovely and restful all at the same time.

It didn’t need to be written down, so I just let it happen: My dad wore the traditional Clark Griswold Blackhawks jersey on Christmas day; my sister’s great dane (Patrick) behaved himself and managed not to eat the gravy this year; I found out that I’m “old” because Just Dance 4 came out and my nieces informed me that “Mr. Saxobeat” is not a new song (I had never heard it before); It was a White Christmas and that was awesome; there was a miracle Christmas baby born in the extended family and by New Years he overcame crazy odds and made it through (blessed); Tobogganing frightens me now; family and friends make the holiday season bright 🙂

Puppy:

Part of the reason the holidays were so hectic was the addition of this little guy:

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Meet Cliff.

He’s a yellow lab, now 12 weeks old. His favourite past-time includes eating icicles and Mike’s shoes. He’s just so lovely.

For the record, Lo Mein does not think he is that lovely. They still seem to hate each other, and it’s been three weeks. (Insert nervous laugh).

Running:

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(not my feet).

I’m really, really enjoying the winter running this year. We haven’t had that many cool days, so we’ve been lucky in that respect. But either way, when’s there’s snow on the sidewalks, or the need to dress in layers of warm clothing, it’s all just an extra challenge and I feel rewarded every time I just get out there. I actually think I’m more of a cold weather runner. Last year’s Ottawa Race weekend 10km tells me that the heat and dry weather are less then ideal conditions for me when it comes to racing. It makes sense since any time I get a *wee* bit hot my face turns beat red, with only a white ring around my mouth.

I managed to get signed up in time for Ottawa’s Half Marathon (held at the end of May). It sold out in record time this year… like I think maybe even a month earlier then it normally does. It’s still a bit distant but something to work towards. I’ve been toying running a 10 km in March so that might be what I set my sights on first for 2013!

I’ve been tracking my miles at Daily Mile dot Com. If you’re a runner add me- it’s so much fun to follow along and be motivated by other people’s training plans (and I mean I’ll be motivated by your training plans 🙂 ).

So that’s all for now. It’s good to be back!

94 Days Until the Canada Army Run Half-Marathon

With 94 days left until race day, the Canada Army Run Half-Marathon is already 98% sold out. It now totes itself as the fastest growing run in Canada… which can’t be far from the truth given that in the four years since its inception, race participation has doubled from 7,000 in 2008 to more than 16,000 in 2011.

I managed to squeeze my registration in before it filled up (… for the price of 91$ (which doesn’t include a donation)… Is it just me or are these things going up drastically in price each year along with the participation numbers?!) buuut, I didn’t want to miss the window of opportunity like I did in the winter with the Ottawa Race Weekend ½ Marathon which took place in May.

In fact, it was the Army Run that got me convinced I could actually do a half-marathon for the first time:

While walking around downtown shortly after I arrived in Ottawa in September 2008, my interest was piqued by the 7,000 runners who were finishing up the last km of a race and filing into a finishers area in Confederation Park. I thought to myself… “I wish I had known there was a race happening… I would have taken part.” And that might have been the first time I had felt that tug of a “race” feeling since the track days of high school. I went home and took a look at when I could have another chance to do a 21.1 (plan now, panic later?) and so I set my sights at that time on Ottawa Race Weekend 2009.

Starting line of the 2010 Army Run (Source)

I likely had never run a distance longer than 8 km up until that point but I figured if I was able to play a 90 minute soccer game, with no subs, then I could surely run for two hours straight.

Two hours was what I set my sights on for the first race. I also convinced myself that if I got tired, I could stop and walk. “No big deal,” I thought to myself. (Sometimes I question how much I actually think through with myself ) This thought of course evaporated post race when I connected the purpose of the large popcicle sticks medics had been freely handing out along the course, to the insides of my legs which were of course, due to chafe, bleeding.  Also I was kicking this naive thought in the gut when 2 days after the race finished when I was still using a geriatric bar to lower myself onto the toilet at work, at which point I was like.. yea ok, … it’s a big deal.

So now here we are. It’s June 21, the first day of summer, and I’m signed up for another Army Run. Part of me is regretting having now chained myself to a ½ Marathon training program for the extent of the summer, but…. it’s a pretty cool race. You get to run alongside survivors of war. The race is starts with a cannon blast (seriously. It’s the most intense race start I’ve ever experienced). And for finishing? You get a dog tag. Oh, and you also get to show your support for your country which makes you feel part of the bigger picture. Not too bad indeed.