Saturday, 31 January 2009

and it begins again

Yes, it has come again, the start of marathon training, hello streets, goodbye social life.

Tuesday nights are clinic nights and again I am the 5-hour pace group leader. It is just the commitment I need to get me out there on windy winter nights, and sunny freezing Sundays. When you run with a group, well, we all rely on one another for motivation, we share laughs, sometimes tears, and usually grunts and groans about the weather (that is mostly from me!).

Although I missed my spin class this week due to cross training, (that would be shoveling snow), I will be more diligent at attending at least two classes per week until the weather breaks and I can once again get out on Ruby Red Rose. I'm sending in my application today to join the Century Ride called the Rideau Lakes Bike Tour to Kingston, Ontario in June. This should be a riot and since it is the week after my marathon, I should be in some semblance of fitness.

Today is cold but bright and sunny and I'm heading into town to go look at snowshoes, yes, snowshoes. I've put my cross country skies and boots in the local second hand store so now I have a credit burning a hole in my wallet. Do I get snow shoes or put the money into upgrading Ruby?

What's a girl to do?

So, that's it for now kiddo's....

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Thursday, 29 January 2009

No comments necessary,

I'm just trying to embrace what I'm reading, bear with me.

Lately, as I've been browsing around in blogland, I'm finding that 2009 is bringing out the best (or worst) in people, with comments or subjects ranging from;

  • *there are blogs that don't have enough 'reality nor drama' so I don't read them,
  • *what's with the prancing unicorns, how do you write about prancing unicorns?
    (*comments, not mine)
  • there are contests, product reviews and recommendations,
  • there are blogs with wonderful movie reviews, political reviews, and sports injuries,
  • there are blogs with job losses, job findings and cross-country life altering experiences,
  • there are deaths and births, divorces and new loves,
  • there long distance romances, heart transplants & battling cancer,
  • new pets, old pets, pets passing on,
  • there is bad spelling, bad grammar, (mostly mine) & articulate renditions of travelling the globe, archaeological studies & beer swilling after running and bowling,

We share it all.

We all read blogs, we all try to support each other no matter what. Some bloggers have even met. Whether you love em or hate em, these are real people writing about what interests them, what is going on in their lives, no one else.

Whether we are battling the bulge, battling addiction, batting a health crisis, family issues or loving / hating winter, we are sharing a little of our lives. Humans as a whole need reassurance, need acceptance and absolutely require advice, tough love, hugs and condolences.

There is never a need to apologise about what is going on in your life.


Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Monday, 26 January 2009

It's all about the day...

The alarm went off at 5:30, it was still dark outside. As I made my way into the kitchen to put on the coffee I looked out at the thermometer that hangs on the kitchen window, it was -24C, Yikes, that can't be right, so I fired up the computer and checked on-line with the local weather station and it said -16C, hmmmmm, someone was lying!

Glenda was to pick me up at 06:40 so we could make our way to the race location, park and make our way to "Building 85", which we thought would be a hall of some sort where we could change, leave our bags, use the facilities and head the start line that would be just out side the door.

When we pulled into the parking lot people were already parked and outside wandering around aimlessly with their running bags, no one knew where to go and there were no signs as to where we were suppose to go. It was freeking cold and where were we suppose to be????

A last minute decision was made to grab only what we needed, therefore leaving our bags in the car, we headed off to find Building 85, wherever it may be. Walking over a Km later we found the building. It turned out the be a public washroom, that was IT! Well, at least it was heated and for the time being we had somewhere to stand (not quite the ambiance I was looking for).

With ten minutes till the start of the race start we jogged our way to the new start line, which was at least another km away. Not quite 400 runners were standing and waiting for the race to begin. This was were we found out that the race route had been changed due to construction!!

Because so many people were still wandering around trying to find the new start line the actual start time was delayed at least ten minutes. We had been waiting almost twenty minutes by now and it was really cold out, the good news was at least there was no wind (yet).

With the change and delay we had the chance to meet up with a few of the runners we knew and our friends Brenda and Roger were there to wish us well, how great is that?

Finally the gun went off and we were on our way!

The route was four loops around the Experimental Farm in greater Ottawa, this in fact made for a nice winter run, you had the opportunity to go as quickly or as slowly as you wanted and always had help within sight!

Glenda and I stayed together for the greater portion of the run, we headed up the hill to the sharp right turn at the 5K mark, it seemed to take much longer than a normal 5K, but what does my Garmin know. We were heading straight into the wind, have I mentioned hate winter and wind?

The footing was not too bad at the beginning but with all of the runners, the snow/slush , drifting snow was being churned up by many running feet and became more of a challenge. Believe me, with each loop the challenges were different.

At the first loop turnaround, there were porta-potties, a water station and the many smiling faces of the fantastic volunteers! Thanks so much all of you, you are amazing!

(a picture of Man at the water station)
I'm not sure about you, but having to stop to use the facilities in -26C is just not something you want to dilly dally around. Holy doodle it was cold!!

It was at this point when I started to really get chilled. We continued on our hamster path, up the hill, sharp right into the wind, down a hill, loop back, up the hill, sharp right down the hill, loop around, up the hill, sharp right, sharp right and you were back at the water station and porta-pots.

(me and Glenda at the 9K mark)

By now the wind was picking up and I really wasn't consistent with my speed and actually at one point I was so cold I felt faint. My face felt frozen and a very nice man gave me some of his Vaseline to put on my cheeks and lips, mine had worn off. My PowerAde was turning to slush and my Sharkies were like bullets. Even though I had enough clothing on top, my thighs, and butt were freezing, a good pair of windpants would have worked nicely! (note to self, buy a pair!)

As with all of our events, we start off together, but run our own race, so I told Glenda to go on and embrace her race that she had trained so hard for. I was going to walk. Two very nice men stopped to check on me, thanks very much you guys! Many of my running friends stopped to make sure I was okay, even my running blog buddy Nat checked in on me to make sure I was okay, THANKS girlfriend!

It was at the 13K mark I just couldn't take the cold any further. I still had two Km's to go till the water station and all I could do was try to walk as quickly as I could. Glenda was at the turn around so I asked her for the car keys. When I made it to the loop, my running pal Rick was there and he ran out and gave me a big bear hug, it was exactly what I needed to keep going till I reached the next loop where the finish line was. Although I only had 6Km left to complete the race, there was no way I could have done it. I'd made my decision, I'm no hero and there are many other events to compete and complete,

When I got to the start/finish line, I wasn't sure how I would make it all the way to the van. (remember how far away it was?)

All I wanted to do was get somewhere warm. As I was trying to get my frozen brain to work, I heard my name being called out and it was Brenda and Roger. They had just arrived to see how we were doing. Luckily they had parked very close to the finish line and they hustled me into the car. I was so cold I couldn't open the car door!! What a wimp, but I was frozen to the core. Brenda had brought a thermos full of coffee and she poured me a cup, but my hands were so cold I couldn't hold the cup and Roger gave me his mitts to put on, finally I was able to feel my fingers (well most of them anyway), Brenda put some Baileys into my coffee and had the heat blasting in the car.

Glenda still had the last 5k to go, Roger went out the walk in the last kilometer with her and then bring her back to the car.

Congratulations Glenda! You did it and you got your Snowflake Bling! Way to tough it out!

We all went back to the race luncheon that was being held at the Arrow and Loon Restaurant and had a nice buffet lunch which was included in our race entry fee.

Thanks everyone for your help and concern, both at the race and on Facebook, I am okay, but trust me, once I get through the marathon training for the race in May, this will be my last winter of running outdoors!

Lessons learned:

  • no matter how many layers you wear, you need wind protection,
  • carry extra gels, sharkies or whatever you use on the inside of your jacket against your body so they stay pliable,
  • carry a tube of Vaseline with you, don't leave it in your gym bag,
  • if you are cold, STOP, get out of the wind and somewhere warm,
  • hypothermia can be devastating to your health and well being.

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Richmond Road Race Report

As mentioned, we were experiencing extremely cold temperatures last week and it didn't look as though it was going to give us a reprieve anytime soon. It is a well know fact that the Richmond Road Race is usually held on the coldest and windiest weekend in January.

Hardy are we Canuks, we just add another layer of neoprene and go. The only skin you'll see is when we are back in the school gymnasium and people are shedding their layers. It is not uncommon to see runner's with duct tape over their shoes to prevent the cold, snow and slush from getting into their kicks and thus the risk of frostbite. Also unusual and yet a very Canadian plight, only in Canada, would the policemen move out of their way to make way for people dressed like terrorists running within 10 feet of the seat of power of the nation, while running downtown...glad to be in a free country.

But, back to Richmond.

Sunday dawned to snow, snow and more snow, my drive to Richmond was slow and treacherous, with nary a snowplow to be seen, HELLO City of Ottawa, it is winter here! Get the damn plow's out!!

The drive is usually at least 40 minutes, so I left extra early and I slip, slided my way to the school and headed for the gym, most of the 10K runner's were making their way to the start line and I knew I had 15 minutes before I had to line up for the 5k. This is a very fast race, held by the National Capital Runners Association. They are hard core speed runner's, unlike me who goes out and lopes along.

The gun went off and we were on our way. The footing was very snowy, which was turning to slush with all of the runners ahead, we headed down one of the main streets past the school and we were channeled into one lane of the road, the footing was very slippery and some runners were really starting to slip and then walk. I kept my even pace, although slower than I would normally start off, this actually paid off because the road we turned up hadn't been plowed at all. By the time we got to that road some of the 5k and 10K runners were headed back to the school, (told you they were fast!!).

I ended up running this part with a great lady, she had me laughing the whole time we were together up the snow laden road, we hit the turn around and made our way back to the main road and straight into the wind. The 10K runners were really flying at this point, so I picked up my pace, said so long and headed towards the finish area. You wouldn't believe the support we had for this race, there were so many volunteers out on the course it is amazing. Spectators lined both sides of the roadway as we neared the school. It is truly unbelievable to have so many people cheering you on in subzero temperatures.

This is always a fun run for me, I was slower this year due to the footing and I really haven't been training all that much (even though I have a Half Marathon on Sunday), I was happy with my time 32:41, not too bad.

I headed back to the gym to warm up and changed out of my running gear while I waited for the 10K Wooo Hooo's to come back. The scene in the gym was incredible, there were runner's and running gear everywhere, there was hot soup, plates with muffins, cheese, banana's along with drinking boxes and hot coffee, all handed out by the never tiring group of volunteers. Hats off to all volunteers, for without them, we wouldn't have races!! While the girls were changing, the race director was handing out door prizes, race prizes and recognition to those who had made this race possible. This is a such a great race to kick off the new year!

But we had to get going, as with any race the Wooo Hooo's attend, we had a party to go to! Yes, you should know by now, there is always a party, food and usually the odd adult BEvERage after our races!!!

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Monday, 19 January 2009

Through no fault of its own...

The Shirt that Races did not race!!

So, I'll fill you in on why;
The Shirt that Races arrived mid week from Nikki, who lives out in Langley, British Columbia (thank you Nikki)!!

I was so excited that it was here and in time for my 5K race, **The Richmond Road Race. After battling the freezing cold temperatures all of last week, we could only hope that Mother Nature would take it upon herself to grant us, at least on race day, milder temperatures.

Sunday dawned to snow, snow and more snow and yes, a little warmer temps. Although it was still cold out I started to layer up for the race and tried on the Shirt that Races.
Well, lets put it this way, I did take a picture, but it will never be posted, in fact it has been deleted from my camera, but it went something like this...

My (Anna Nicol at her heaviest), body just didn't fit the little shirt that is travelling across North America!!!

Now, Sports Fans, I'm considered *Rubenesque, and "the girls" just didn't fit the shirt!!! Needless to say, the shirt was not going to be seen in public nor would it be comfortable to be worn under any of the other layers of long underwear!

I almost considered asking one of the other Wooo Hooo's to wear it, but they were all ready to line up for their 10K race when I arrived in Richmond. So, although the little shirt made to the race, it, truth be told did not race.

I HAVE FAILED the Shirt.....
I do not feel worthy to sign the shirt nor document my race time (32:41), help, I need guidance on this!! Do I? or Don't I???


Life's fun if you don't weaken,


*yes, I'm tall and of large stature and yes, most of you are little peeps....

**the race report to follow

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Saturday, 10 January 2009


This morning I'm sitting here with my hands clasped around my cup of coffee in the warmth of my little cottage watching the day unfold. When I got up this morning the sun was just rising and you could tell it was going to be a cold, crisp day. The temperature last night dipped well below zero Fahrenheit and is now resting at minus 10F or in Canadian speak, minus 27C with the windchill.

With all of my moaning and groaning about the cold it is nothing compared to a fellow Canuk who made history this week along with two of his adventure buddies.

Ray Zahab who hails from Chelsea, Quebec, (literally across the river from me) along with Richard Weber and Kevin Vallely trekked 680 miles (1094 kilometers), self-supported, to the South Pole in a goal of under 40 days. Dragging sleds weighing over 160 pounds (73 kilograms) each, the team hoped to achieve what most are saying is impossible! Well, they did it, they completed their expedition on Wednesday in just over 33 days!!

You may recall, Ray and his friends ran across the Sahara Desert a couple of years ago, that story is truly amazing as well.

Please check out their website South Pole Quest 2008 and read about this incredible journey!!!

So, as I head out for my cold winter run this morning, I'll be thinking about Ray and his friends and wondering to myself....

Why am I running in freeking cold temperatures????

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Tuesday, 6 January 2009

So many things to talk about!

Last year at this time I was eagerly awaiting jetting off to Phoenix where a few of us were going to run the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon! Wow, time flies...

This year, well, nothing as exciting (yet), I am however, running a 5K to kick off the season at the Richmond Road Race and then the Hypothermic Half Marathon on January 25th. Yes, I have started back running albeit slowly, so no personal bests in store and really who runs that fast in the dead of winter anyway?

On Friday night I woke up at 3am and was totally stressing out about everything...running, going back to work, winter, just I lay there and stressed, but luckily there are always a ton of books on my nightstand so I grabbed one at random and began reading. The author (whom I can't recall at the moment) was discussing the trials and tribulations he was experiencing as an older runner, talk about a light bulb moment. Everything he was describing was happening with me....I don't need to run "fast", I just need to run for fun and if speed happens, then WOW. As you know I was struggling with getting my butt out the door and I truly believe that most of that was the fear of not being as fast as when I ran in September. Who cares? Certainly not Saturday morning I headed out and had a tough struggle at the beginning, it was only 5K, but worked it out....Sunday, I headed out and ran a fun, stress free 7K....I'm finding my Mojo!!!

If you have been reading my sidebar, you'll have noticed a link for "The Shirt That Races"...well, I'm so very excited to tell you, I'm NEXT!!! The shirt started with Vickie and is travelling across North America! It will be arriving from Nikki in time for my Half Marathon!! How great is that? Thanks to Nikemom, for getting this started and allowing our running community get to know one another!!!

Also, (I know you're thinking, "will she ever shut up"), well no, because I received an email from my good friend Tom over at The Runners' Lounge asking if I'd try out some laundry products called "Get the Stink Out" for my running clothes. He emphatically declared that it wasn't because he thought I smelled stinky or anything. Well, that's what he told, I'm looking forward to receiving some of the products and I'll be posting my opinion after I've used them...stay tuned. Also, I'd like to thank Tom for the fantastic Runners' Lounge shirt I received before Christmas. Thank you so very much and thank you too Xenia, for "pumping me up" over at the Lounge.

One more item to let you know about is, Tom and Amy are putting together running stories in a Book About Running. Check it out and certainly send them any of your input about your running experiences. They would love to hear from you!!

Well, I've robbed enough company time, so I'll head off to get a coffee now....

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


Monday, 5 January 2009

Murder Solved, ring in the New Year!

We are almost done with the Murder Mystery Dinner and are are now getting ready to ring in the New Year!

We had gone through clues, questions and accusations. It was getting close, everyone was on edge...LOL

Was the murderer one of these three?? Possibly!

hmmmmmmmmmmm, "Ricardo" is under the watchful eye of the assistant detective....

between Buzzy the ski bum, Alicia the information dealer and Laura Maitland (M.D.)

it turned out to be......

Yes, "Laura Maitland", Chief Coroner, who was after Buzzy, but killed his twin brother (who had been separated at birth and raised by another family in New York), with an icicle in the carotid artery, on the deck !!!


We finally got to ring in the New Year, then we sat around talked and laughed until 2:30am.

We all headed off to bed, no one went home (it's a tradition)

The next morning we had a huge breakfast, packed up and headed off.
(a couple of morning after pictures)

Anne and I sharing a laugh

Anne and Dean had to get their car home, so we headed back to my place and collected their car. I drove my car behind Dean because they didn't have tails lights and just to be safe, in case something happened and the car broke down. We made it!

I headed back home and unpacked, it was well after 3pm. I was exhausted!!

So, there you go, just another quiet time with the Wooo Hooo's.....NOT!!!

Life's fun if you don't weaken,


now we can get back to the regularly scheduled blog....

Saturday, 3 January 2009

enter 2009, well almost....

...before the trio of Glenda, Anne and Dean left to try to make it to the Resolution Run, they had to bungee cord the back end of the car together, clean up the debris that was scattered along the road and park the car in my they went. The police officer was now tending to the owner of the car that was hit while innocently parked in their own driveway...

I did the last minute twirl around the house to make sure that nothing that was needed for the evenings festivities was left behind. When I arrived at our destination the merry runners were piling into cars and heading off for downtown Ottawa, I unpacked Anne and Dean's stuff along with the help from Glenda. We both thought that was a very legitimate way of getting out the run that was -28C, with the windchill.

Brenda and her beau Roger had been busy with the table arrangements and place settings...

Brenda, or should I say "assistant deputy detective" ...

Madison Weston (father of Sammy), ya go figure!!

Karen, our beautiful mother of two huge hockey son's rocking it out as a guy ski bum "Buzzy"!!

Anne "Sammy and yours truly, Tiffany" (the Flight Attendant)

The entire cast, except for the photographer! There are many more photo's (of course), but blogger can only manage so many at a time, well me too!

We had a RIOT!!

If you've got a group of great friends like I have with the Wooo Hooo's and their significant others, definitely host a Murder Mystery Dinner, you will laugh yourself silly!Of course there was way too much food and beverages, adult and soft drinks too, after all, we are our own liquor control boards! LOL....

The rest of the evening went really quickly and just before we realised it, it was time to ring in the New Year! Party hats, horns, noise makers, we had it all.

... to be continued!

Friday, 2 January 2009

2008 went out with a BANG!

With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday, it is always very difficult to catch up with friends, especially when we've been in a deep freeze.

Most of my time off has been spent cleaning out the basement, donating computer equipment, taking tons of stuff to the Salvation Army and bundling up about $3,000 worth of clothes from my past at home based business and sending them to the local women's shelter (a cause very close to my heart).

New Year's Eve day was spent in a swirl of cleaning (I'm very superstitious) and getting ready for the evenings festivities. The oven was on and cooking none stop all day, cabbage rolls, rice bread egg tarts, cranberry brie puff pastries and other delectable delights. Lily was running around the house like a crazy cat because I was packing not only my running bag, but my suitcase with my "outfit" for the Murder Mystery Dinner plus a huge box containing food, adult BEvERages, champagne and wine....

Friends that live even further out of town were going to meet at my place then we were going to "convoy" into town to our friend Wooo Hooo Brenda's place. Glenda arrived and we exchanged our little Christmas gifts, then Anne and Dean finally made it again we took the time to exchange a few little pressie's too. By now, time was cutting close to when we had to leave to get to Brenda's to change into our running gear and head right downtown Ottawa for our annual Resolution Run!

We were rushing around packing up the car's with all of our belongings, Anne and Dean were going to follow us in, so they headed to their car, I still had stuff to pack into my car, Glenda went out to help throw stuff into the car. Next thing I know Glenda comes in the door and says, there's been an accident, Anne and Dean's car was hit out on the street. BANG!!

Apparently a guy in a huge, loaded Ford F150 came hurtling down my street and hit the car, crushing the back end and pushing the car into my neighbour's driveway thus hitting their car! The guy hauls ass out of his truck yelling that it wasn't his fault, blah, blah, blah. By now, Anne is in my house calling 911 and I'm out the door to see what is going on. "Little noisy man" is going on about how it is not his fault and Dean, being as cool and collected as he is, asks the guy for his insurance, which "LNM" answers, I don't have to "f'" ing" give you anything, I didn't bring my wallet, yada, yada. Now, if you guys know me, I have to get into the I said, (pulling myself up into my full 5'10" ), the cops are on their way, if you DON'T have any I.D. on you, especially insurance, you are in deep trouble. He pulls out his wallet.

I won't go into any further detail, but the police arrived, took all the information, made the guy blow into the breathalyzer, yup, suspended licence, justice is served BUT.....

Now we have to transfer all of Anne and Dean's stuff into my car and Glenda's van....and they still want to get to the race! So, they pile into the van and head off to Brenda's where the other's were waiting for them, I still had to finish loading up my car.

to be continued.................