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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wishes for Olivia part two: The 2015 Plan

The 2015 training season is almost here! And I've got the same two goals that I had last year

However, as Einstein has said:

So, this year, I'm going to work with a coach. Not any coach, but the one and only, Phaedra! I'm really excited to begin training (even though the real work won't begin until January). Along the lines of the quote above, my fourth marathon won't be another return to Mississauga. Instead, together with Sam, I will toe the line at the 41st Ottawa Marathon! I'm excited to put in the miles and my biggest wish will be to cross the finish line in under 3 hours and 39 minutes, thus qualifying to enter to run the Boston Marathon in 2016!

On the topic of wishes, one thing I will do over again in 2015 is continue to raise money for Wishes for Olivia and Make-A-Wish Canada.

Olivia Grace White, daughter of my friend, Jennifer White, went to sleep on Christmas Day 2012 and never woke up. She was 5 and a half. It was, of course, the most devastating thing that could happen to a family. To lose a child so suddenly, such a bright, shining light in their lives, has fundamentally changed who they are. 

Olivia was an amazing little girl. Anyone who knew her would tell you how very special she was. Not only was she beautiful and smart, but so very kind to everyone. She adored school and her friends, loved dressing up in skirts and dresses (pink and purple if possible), she loved her little sister Aurelia, but above all, she loved Disney. 

She really, really loved Disney. 


The White's were very lucky that they were able to take Olivia to Walt Disney World to visit her dear friends; the Princesses. She would have long conversations with Cinderella and Belle, hug Ariel, and curtsy with Merida. Disney was a dream come true for Olivia, and she talked about it endlessly. She would always say "Mumma? Do you remember when we went to Disney?" followed by her favourite memory; the fireworks, going to the Bibbiddi Bobbiddi Boutique, or throwing a coin into Cinderella's wishing well. She would make a wish and hope it would come true. 

Olivia would have wanted other children to visit Disney. She would have wanted them to make their wish and have it come true. So, in her name, Wishes for Olivia was created. 

Wishes for Olivia is a group dedicated to raising money for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada. As part of the legacy of Olivia Grace White, we strive to make wishes come true for children across Canada through fundraising, and attending and supporting group events. 

On Sunday May 24th, 2015 I will toe the line at the Ottawa Marathon, hoping to cross the finish in a time of 3 hours, 40 minutes or less. I will run that day and all training days before that for Olivia. If you can, I hope you support me. I hope you remember Olivia. And I hope we make some wishes come true. To donate, please click HERE. I promise, I will run a little harder to justify every dollar donated.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Off Season!

Oh hey!

It's the off season!

Yep. I'm done for 2014.

My next race isn't until March 2015!!!

I can hardly believe it myself. I won't be in formal training for anything until January when my cycle kicks up again. This doesn't mean that I'm going to take any time off, but I am going to to ease myself along without worrying too much about hitting ALL. THE. WORKOUTS.

Off season? New SHOES!

Let's be honest. I was burned out last year when I started my plan at the end of November. I was eager to start and hit workouts but by March I was DONE with training.

And of course, let us not forget the Plantar Fasciitis which was the biggest KILL-JOY of the entire season.

Speaking of which, this past Sunday, I felt the foot flare up again. Nothing too bad, but something to get checked out. I spent last night with my heating pad and I'm going to try to get into physio this week for sure.

I took the entire week off after Hamilton and hit last week eager and ready to train again. And I was super surprised with how it all turned out:

Monday: 7k in 38:57. Okay, a lovely little pace. Must be the early morning or the week off or the cold or something. Core work in the evening.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 5k at Goodlife after a day long off-site meeting and before a Leafs game in a corporate box with my client. I kept increasing the pace ever km and ended up with my final KM at sub-BQ pace. 27:11

Thursday: Rest

Friday: NO MEETINGS!!! The return of the lunch run. I hit the gym again. Ladder up: 8k with each mile faster: 6.4, 6.6, 6.8. 7.0, 7.2. Things felt great. Right where off season should be.
I need to cut my bangs or grown them or just rock this awesome ponytail forever

Saturday: CRAZY day, hockey, hockey pictures, hockey game, surprise 40th party for a friend. I fit in 5.15k around the block after watching KONA and I almost managed a progression: 5:35-5:24-5:20-5:06-5:08. Total: 27:19. Feeling so good!

Sunday: MORE HOCKEY PHOTOS. Then my mum fed me breakfast. Then, fueled on bacon and eggs and pancakes and memories of KONA, I went out for my long run of 11k. I realized around 9.5k that if I pushed, I'd finish in an hour. I pushed harder, ran a 4:59 final KM split and finished 59:33. Then I went to our town Santa Parade and then grocery shopping. Its all so EXHAUSTING

Off season week one: 36.16k in 3:18:18 and one session of core. I hope to get in more this week. In fact, the rest of off season looks like this:

Click for larger
Oh, you probably want to know about my 2015 plans too, eh? Well, come back again sometime and I'll tell you. Likely within the next week. Let's just say that this Saturday's workout will set up a lot of them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Road 2 Hope Hamilton Half Marathon Race Report

OH! The Road 2 Hope half marathon! The traditional season ender for me for lo, these past three years! Why not make it a fourth and complete almost a week's worth of ugly race shirts and medals?!?! Truth be told, I've always had a great race at this half marathon and it was no sacrifice to me to run it for a fourth time.

The fall season was really, really strange. I didn't train for any PBs for myself. Once it was confirmed that I'd gotten the pacing gig for the Niagara Falls Half Marathon, I concentrated on that and continued to enjoy the bike. Rather early on, I mentioned to Emma that if she wanted to go for a Sub-1:50 PB here (if Oakville didn't work out), that I'd be game to pace her (figuring that I could hold the pace... )

So race morning came and that was the plan.

The hallway we had planned to meet up in was blocked off, so we removed ourselves to the gym, but the cell service was spotty. We finally met up with everyone we were supposed to and made our way outside.

Best race memory #1: Squatting on the edge of a forest with nothing but a foil blanket for privacy with about 15 friends and strangers, all in the name of avoiding a port a potty line. That was a first.

The first half: KM 1-10

So, we made our way to the embankment/start area/clusterfuck that is one of the hallmarks of this race and tossed our pre-race warm stuff and waited for the gun. Besides Emma, there was: SamPatty, Amy and Kim. Everyone except Kim wanted the sub 1:50. No one but me had a paceband (customized to another hallmark of this race - the 4k of downhill). So, no pressure.

I might as well steal this from Kim as well.
Me, Sam, Patty, Amy, Kim, Emma

Gun goes and we're.... o f f... ish. Clusterfuck of congestion just to get on the road where I rhetorically ask, "Why don't they start this one the road?!?!" No problem. Gotta get to a 5:12 here and for the next 5k and we're golden. The first km comes up at 5:19. No problem. 7 seconds. Easy. I consider starting  to talk and banter and then I realize I'm not pacing for real and that I don't need to lighten the load and be the Best!Pacer!Ever! These gals are my friends. They already know I'm awesome. Look at the tights.

Speaking of tights, I didn't worry at all about them following me despite my short stature. How can you miss those tights?! I even make it easy because my short-legs are of the double wide/thunder thigh variety so there's more to love see.

So its fine. Sam's right behind me, and so is Emma. I'm settling in. This is feeling easy! I'm cruising on Mud Street and hear and see someone hock a loogie right behind me. I discreetly wipe my ass. "Um. Obviously I didn't spit on you! I'm a pro spitter!" Sam chimes in behind me. Okay, okay! Time to hit the downhill!

We have 5 seconds in the bank once we hit the downhill. I'm doing mental math like Stephen Hawking and and pacing like I've got the clif bar balloon stick in my hand. Hitting the down hill is the easy part. WooHOO! Follow the tights, gals, follow the tights!

We get on the Red Hill Parkway and I realize we don't have Patty. Sam tells me she dropped out in the early Ks which is likely for the best considering her calves. (Check out her blog - she ran a smart race). We all exclaim about the beauty of the down hill! If only all races were like this! If only this race was a 10k! If only I could run 4:26/km so effortlessly all the time. 

Whoa. Let's reel that in a bit, eh?

All's well though as the weather nemesis of my race year shows up and we're hit with a headwind which doesn't make it as easy as it should be (asshole). 

We finished the section with 26 seconds in the bank.

5:19-5:07-5:10-5:07-5:12-4:56-4:56-4:49-5:02-5:11, time: 50:49, pace band: 51:15

The End. The brutal, ugly (except for the tights!), end: KM 11-21.1

I'm not going to sugar coat it here. I was feeling a bit like Blerch. I had legs, I had breath, but I had no gumption. I hadn't taken a gel yet, so when the next water station came up, rather then running through it, squeezing the cup and drinking on the go like the pro racer my tights demanded, I walked to take my Island Nector Gu (Ya mon!). The 11k water station comes at the off ramp on Barton street, so it meant that I could walk the incline there as well. This is also where I got my first (of many, obvs) comments on the tights. After ripping the chewed gum off of my dollar store gloves, I set about to catch Emma and Sam back up. I was pacing after all, we had only the last half and we had time in the bank. What could go wrong?

You idiot - have you not even raced anything this year? What about the headwind? 

I caught Sam and Emma just about the time we hit the trail after the bricks and was like, "oh, hey girls!" Then I took the lead again. At this point, any sense of racing or getting to the end with a 1:49xx went, "Oh, fuck you." I just... couldn't. 9k to go and I gave up on myself. Quickly, I said to Sam, "Just keep her at 5:15s, she's got it." Sam looked at me like, WTF are you doing? I can't even read my watch! Didn't we just have a whole conversation about drug-store reading glasses. And then... I left them behind.

First things first. Music. I had put my shuffle on my small waistband pocket and had put the earbuds into my cleavage so I fished them out and turned on the shuffle. The playlist had 1h30m of music and I blasted it into my ears and took off. I could see Emma and Sam in the distance. We started to get to the red bridge that goes over the QEW and things started to feel good. Maybe I just needed the Island Nector to kick in? Hey, I'm doing awesome! Sub 5min/km pace! What the heck! Oh, we're on a downhill. HAHAH. Okay. 

Then, I'm on the lakefront path and things aren't quite that easy anymore despite the fact that Taylor Swift is telling me to Shake It Off, Shake It Off. Still, things aren't horrible. I've still got friends. This headwind and I pretty much have a goddamned blood pact by now. 

Around this time, I decide I'll probably finish 1:50-1:51. No worries. Respectable. Then, the 1:50 pacer passes and I hear her say, "Ya, we'll make up some time here." She had one person with her that I could see. Now, far be it for me to tell you how to pace, but personally, with 6k left in a race, I'd rather be trying to slow down than speed up. Just me. As she passes, another round of, well fuck this, goes through me and I decide to walk the next water station. Then, low! A vision in pink leggings - I see Sam.

S A M!!!

She turns, and we are joined once again. Destined finally, to finish a race together!

The rest of the race goes like this:

ME: Hold on, I've gotta put these earbuds back in my cleavage again.
SAM: If you angle your head for the trajectory of the spit, you'll never hit anyone, but you've gotta judge the wind too.
ME: Oh my God! We're going to actually finish together (thinking, don't sprint past me at the end)..
Sam: YAY! (I guess there will be no finish line sprint.)

Best race memory #2: After many, MANY, "I LOVE your pants!!! I love your outfit!!!" and both of us saying Thanks, I say to Sam, "Obviously, they are talking to me!" Sam: They are probs talking about me! Random guy in the God Awful race shirt: No! They are talking about me!!! Sam: Must be your original outfit.

We talked before the race (when we saw Captain American) about how it sucks to get passed by the people dressed up during a race. I mean, looking good is one thing, a costume race is another, but a random person dressed as a hot dog who passes you is just a bit too much.

Random Hot Dog dude passed us at about 18k. 

Sam and I didn't speak, but our shared look clearly communicated, are you fucking kidding me?!?

Then I saw a photographer:

Me: A photographer!!!
Sam: Hunh?
Me: Race Photos!!!
Sam, Eh, what?
Me: Take my hand, Sam. Take my hand. SAM, HOLD MY HAND!!!

Srsly! Who has the best tights? And pit stains!
Then, I realized that I hadn't tapped the 20k sign the week before. How could I forget! I can't believe it!!! As it came into view, I told Sam I was going over and tapped it. She started to pick it up here and I was dying. There is a little incline right before the turn the the finish line and I always hate it. It is just BRUTAL! Then, we're on the straightaway in the chute to the end. I start waving my arms in the universal "Make some noise!" gesture to get us all the cheers our tights we deserve and I quickly see a commotion at the end with paramedics working on a downed runner. Sadly, Richard Greidanus passed away.

Knowing how badly the guy down shook up Sam last year, I grab her hand again and yell, "Look away, Sam, Don't look!!" Thankfully, she thinks I mean don't look at the clock and we finished together and as above, holding hands. 

5:11-5:21 (GU)-6:03-5:12-5:39-5:52-5:40-5:25-5:41-5:34-5:18-1:24 (for 260m), split: 1:02:30, time: 1:53:19, pace band: 1:49:45

Well, that's the season done. Day two of off season and I'm enjoying it by doing nothing so far. Look for a bit more activity in the next while as I lay out my 2015 plans. They are familiar and big, and this year, no matter what the weather or my body throws at me, I hope to complete them all.