Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year-End Mish Mash

We've been slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things here at home. I've even managed to get out for a few runs including a particularly blustery 5-miler on Tuesday in -25C/-13F conditions - quite a shock from 20C/86F runs last week.

Unfortunately, I woke up this morning with a brutal stomach flu and am completely laid up between the bed and the bathroom. It's awful. This is the first time I have been able to sit up long enough to throw some words together. It's been a puke-tastic day with no signs of improvement. Looks like I am ringing in the new year from my bed. As much as it sucks, I'm just grateful that this didn't happen yesterday and force me to miss my sister's torch relay.

Speaking of which, a few of you asked if April was able to keep her torch. Each torch bearer was given the option to purchase theirs for $400 and she certainly did. She bought a display case as well, which is back-ordered at the moment, but I will post an update once she has it set up and on display at home.

Given how chaotic this week has been, I haven't had a chance to write up an official year-end review and I am in no condition to stay on the computer much longer at the moment. I'll try to throw something together before we leave for Florida (8 days til Goofy!), in addition to some goals and plans for 2010. I've also enjoyed reading many of your decade-in-review posts, so I may take advantage of this opportunity to reflect on the last 10 years.

I will mention that my 2009 mileage totals 2289 kilometres (1422 miles), a pretty big jump over 1614 kilometres (1003 miles) in 2008. I'm definitely pleased, especially given that I did not run at all in February due to my shoulder separation.

That's it for now. Catch ya in 2010!

Happy New Year!

HBBC Update

Monday 28 - run 5mi = 5 pts
Tuesday 29 - run 5mi = 5 pts
Wednesday 30 - run 3 mi = 3 pts

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Sister's Olympic Torch Relay Segment

Several months ago, my youngest sister April was selected as one of 12000 Torch Bearers in the 45000 KM Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.

Today was the big day. We bundled up and headed north to Bracebridge, Ontario.

After dropping April off at the official event bus, we headed to her connection point to wait for the fun to begin.

She was dropped off right on time and we had the opportunity to snap some photos and wish her good luck one last time. Quite a crowd had gathered and many people were asking to take photos with April and hold or touch the torch. The support was incredible as many people drove by honking and complete strangers were shouting 'I love you April!'

Before long, another official vehicle came along followed by the Torch Bearer.

Transferring the flame:

And there she goes!

Hubby and I were able to run alongside her on the sidewalk snapping photos and cheering her on. She did awesome and made us all proud.

April had the last run segment of this leg of the relay so at the end she transferred the flame to a lantern, which was then transported by bus to the next location.

What a truly memorable and exciting day for all of us.

Way to go, April!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vacation Recap in Pictures

Warning: Photo Overload Ahead

First stop: lobby bar for the hotel's signature drink, Club Coco

Overlooking the main pool from the lobby

Beach shot during a morning run

Beach running

Followed immediately by a dip in the ocean, running gear and all

Snapped during a beach run


Tennis time

Reading by the pool

Heading out on the catamaran


Hubs and I at the beach gazebo

The "kids" - my brother, me, hubs, sister, sister's BF, other sister

Another shot of hubs and I

Christmas in the ocean

Christmas with a palm tree

Group shot Christmas Day

Farewell Cuba!

Vacation HBBC Points

Sunday = 0
Monday = 3 (run, swim)
Tuesday = 5 (run, swim, tennis)
Wednesday = 3 (swim, tennis)
Thursday = 3 (run, swim)
Friday = 1 (swim)
Saturday = 3 (run, swim)
Sunday = 0

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm ba-ack!

Ahhh, what a glorious week of sun, sand and strawberry daiquiris. But as always, it's good to be home.

Thanks for all of your comments while I was away. I hope everyone has been having a wonderful holiday. Can't wait to catch up with all of you soon. Fortunately, I am off work til we return from Florida so I should have plenty of time to do so in the coming days.

I'll be back soon with a full recap, but for now...

I wouldn't miss RunningLaur's latest Virtual Race, the Winter Misery One Miler. I was happy to participate with a morning run along the beach. Without any means to measure time or distance, I don't have any "official" results to submit, however I do have this photo:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Signing off.....

We had a great time last night. I stayed out of the booze, but left with a fancy food processor, mall gift card and hefty bonus. Definitely a positive way to end the 2009 work year!

I also chopped off my hair!



The Run

I have just one word for this morning's 30K/18-miler: cold. It was -16C/3F from start to finish and I didn't warm up at all. I was underdressed and suffered for it for three hours. And my water froze! So much for "thermal", Nathan! The water was slushy and the nozzle was completely frozen closed after an hour and a half. Not cool. Fortunately I had plenty of good company to keep me distracted - and warm thoughts of daiquiris on the beach...

It's taper time! 3 weeks til Goofy and less than 24 hours until we are on our way to Cuba!


HBBC Update


run 18 mi = 18 pts


And with that, I'd love to wish everyone a wonderful holiday and a Merry Christmas! Catch you in a week!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Five Things Friday

Five Things Friday borrowed from The Happy Runner.

1. Thanks for all of your awesome suggestions yesterday for Beach Bootcamp. I'm sure my family will just love you for it.

2. On Wednesday evening I headed out for a 10K with my training group. It was a beautiful evening with gently falling snow the entire time. We ran through a local park where the annual Christmas light display has been set up. I felt like I was in a movie, prancing along the path lined lit by festive decorations, surrounded by families out enjoying the evening. Last night's 5K on the treadmill wasn't nearly as inspiring.

3. Tonight is my annual company Christmas party. It's quite the affair where we all get dressed up to enjoy a delicious meal and open bar. For the first time in eight years, I will not be taking advantage of the free-flowing booze and courtesy cab ride home - I have a 30K run tomorrow morning (last big one before taper).

4. 1.5 sleeps til Cuba! (0.5 because we will be leaving for the airport at 3AM Sunday.)

5. Today is another round of Cans for Comments! 5 comments = 1 food donation. Comment, comment, comment!

HBBC Update

run 6 mi = 6 pts
F/V = 1 pt

run 3 mi = 3 pts
F/V = 1 pt


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ideas Needed: Beach Bootcamp

In an effort to maintain fitness next week, I've recruited my Mom, sisters and even hubby to join me in a bootie-busting Beach Bootcamp every (?) morning while we're in Cuba (yes, the whole family is going!)

But I need some IDEAS! We won't have access to any training tools - just ourselves and the sand. I have plenty of ideas for cardio, but we're going to have to get creative in using our own body weight for strength training. Please share your suggestions in the comments. Thanks!

You better believe I will be running as well. No guarantee as to how often, how long or how fast, but I will be putting in the miles... Cuba-styles! I was hoping to bring my Garmin and map out some amazing routes along the shore, but recently discovered that it is forbidden to bring GPS into the country! I could probably smuggle it in, but I am not willing to take any chances. Crazy!


As promised, here is a group photo from Sunday's festive run.

Click to enlarge.

We put on quite the show running through the streets.


As you can see to the right, I currently have 199 followers. (WOW, THANK YOU!) Now don't leave me hanging... who wants to be # 200?


HBBC Update


1h HOT = 4 pts
1h Spin = 4 pts

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits


It seems that my mysterious red & green tights from Sunday have aroused some curiosity.

The truth is, they came like this - one leg red and one leg green - in an elf costume that I picked up years ago. I had too much fun wearing these and I'm already seeking out another opportunity to wear them.


I'm the lucky winner of Chocolate Agave # 9 gels from Her Name is Rio & She Runs.

Can't wait to try them!

Virtual Race!

It's that time again! RunningLaur is hosting another virtual race: The Winter Misery One Miler!

I think it's ironic that I will actually be in CUBA for the first day of winter and this virtual event. I'll be sure to think of my northern friends while I'm running along the beach. :)

New Handheld!

Yesterday I introduced my new Nathan Thermal Quickdraw Handheld which I used for the first time on Sunday's run.

Nathan boasts:

-Insulated carrier keeps fluids warm or cool
-Wall Mesh moisture-wicking hand strap with adjustable-tension buckle
-Zippered pocket with Key Clip
-22 oz. Hydration Bottle with Clipless Cap

I've been a big fan of the 10-oz Sprint Handheld for some time now and was excited to try out the larger version to hopefully carry me through longer distances without needing my Fuel Belt (which I hate).

At first, the bottle felt insanely heavy and was a real nuisance to carry. When it was about 2/3 full, it became much more manageable. I do believe that in time I will get used to carrying the full bottle without it being a bother. Even when it did feel heavy, it was far less annoying than my Fuel Belt.

Other than the weight, it felt pretty comfortable. I was able to secure the strap (without making it too tight) so that I didn't have to actually grib the bottle. It was also easy to transfer back and forth from left to right - which I did often.

The pocket is a nice perk, although it doesn't hold much. I'm not sure I could even squish two gels in there.

I decided to spend the extra $10 for the thermal feature, although I was skeptical as to how well it would work. I hate it when my water gets too warm in the summer, but even worse when it becomes freezing cold (or even frozen) in the winter. I was pleased to discover on Sunday that my water remained pretty close to room temperature for the duration of the run. I will truly put it to the test when it gets really cold out, but for now I'm satisfied.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekend Festivities

Somehow Monday isn't so bad when (a) this is my last Monday at work in 2009 and (b) next Monday I'll be at the beach! 6 more sleeps... (not to rub it in)

This weekend was light on training and heavy on festivities.

On Friday night I baked up a storm of Christmas cookies with my Mom and exercised some serious restraint in not sampling every single one.

Saturday morning was a medium long run of about 12 miles. Hubby joined me for the first half before we parted ways. It was cold and windy, but the sun was out in full force, which actually made it a pretty nice morning. I ended up stopping at the Running Room to lose a layer because I was feeling pretty warm.

Saturday afternoon was errands, errands, errands! Still plenty to do before our trip!

That evening I attended a gingerbread house decorating party (which is really just an excuse to get together) with some girlfriends. We had a great time decorating our houses, nibbling candy and playing Taboo.

Yesterday morning I had a festive bRUNch with most of the group I trained with all summer. It was great to get everyone together again for a nice run and some good eats. Many of us decided to dress up for the run. Here's what I wore:

My legs were FREEZING. We had one guy dressed in a full Santa suit, a couple of elves and plenty of reindeer antlers and Santa hats. We must have been quite a sight running through the streets. I'll post some more photos of the group when I get them.

Notice my new Nathan Thermal Quickdraw Handheld. More on that soon...

Sunday afternoon we had Christmas with my Mother-in-Law since we won't be around for the holidays. She spoiled us with spending money for both our Cuba and Disney trips.

And that about wraps up the weekend! How was yours?

HBBC Update

F/V = 1 pt

run 12 mi = 12 pts

run 10.8 mi = 10.8 pts
F/V = 1 pt

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Beating Boredom & Impromptu 1600's

I didn't feel up to facing the frigid temps after work tonight (-8C/17F, -16C/3F with the windchill) so I hit the gym treadmill for the first time since last winter.

0.10mi in and I was already bored even with music and people-watching. I knew I had to do something to keep it interesting if I was going to last 5 miles.

3 x 1600 sounded like a good idea. After a 0.5mi warm-up, I cranked up to something close to 5K pace (8.0mph, 7:30/mi) for the first interval. It felt good. 0.5mi recovery jog followed by another mile at 7:30. 0.5mi recovery followed by the final 1600. After the first half I thought I could push a little harder, so I bumped it up to 8.5 (=7:03/mi) for that last 800m.

0.50mi cool-down and done.

Excellent workout and felt much easier than the last time I completed a similar workout.

HBBC Update

run 5.0 mi = 5 pts
F/V = 1 pt

Happy Thursday (almost Friday)!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

First Snow + Running Errands

Over night and early this morning we had our first real snowfall of the season. The roads were a disaster this morning and my commute took me four times longer than usual. Something like that could really mess with my mood if I didn't have a trip to Cuba coming up in 11 days.

The temperature rose quite a bit throughout the day and it was a wet, slushy mess by the time I headed out to run this evening. I almost bailed and hit the treadmill at the gym, but decided to brave the sloppy sidewalks and run an errand in the process. I loaded my Nathan Intensity for Women with books to return and hubby joined me on a jaunt to the library. Leaving the library, my pack was even heavier as I stuffed it full of a few hardcover books that I had on hold. We also made a quick stop at the Running Room to stock up on nutrition. Needless to say, I was carrying several extra pounds on my back on the way home. Do I earn extra HBBC points for that? ;) I also had freezing cold and soaking wet feet. Yuck.

HBBC Update

run 5.8 mi = 5.8 pts
F/V = 1 pt

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Lift Your Sole

A while back I was the lucky winner of a giveaway via Laura - live, laugh, run, enjoy. I won $24 to spend online at Lift Your Sole.

Jill at Lift Your Sole offers hand-made stamped and engraved jewelry in addition to apparel and handbags. Each piece is beautiful and unique. Below is just a small sampling of Jill's creations.

Here's what I selected:

Isn't it cute??

I hope to host a giveaway with Jill and Lift Your Sole in the new year, so stay tuned.

HBBC Update

Zero (oops)

1h Bootcamp = 4 pts
1h Spin class = 4 pts
F/V = 1 pt

Monday, December 07, 2009


Two days. 53 KM (33 mi).


It was about -6/21F when I set out - coldest long run yet! I bundled up in my favourite winter gear.

Hubby joined me for the first half of the run, which helped take my mind off the fact that this long run was in fact the short run for this weekend. I was feeling pretty intimidated by all the miles that lay ahead, but I tried to take it one at a time and remain positive. I knew that after this weekend, the remainder of my training would be a piece of cake.

21KM (13mi) done!

(Not sure if you can see the chocolate gunk all over my jacket. I had a leaky Gu!)


It was time for The Big One. I met up with about a dozen others for the big 20-miler (some were running a shorter distance). Hubby came along too! It was another cold morning (and windy!) but we warmed up quickly once we got moving and the sun came up. We still had quite a shock each time we turned into the wind. Brrr! I was extremely nervous about this run. How could I run 20 miles that day after 13? I was pleasantly surprised that it went really well. I didn't bonk and I barely got tired. My legs were quite sore throughout the last hour of the run, but nothing unmanageable. As I finished it off and walked in the front door, the first thing I said to hubby was "I can run 10 more."

Bring on Goofy!

I've been feeling stronger on the long runs of this training cycle than ever before, even with the back-to-backs. In fact, my pace for yesterday's run was only a few seconds slower than my marathon pace from September. I'm confident that this is as least partially a result of Project Lean Mean Running Machine and the amount of weight I have taken off. My ultimate goal is to maintain this weight through the holidays/Goofy and lose about 7 more before my goal marathon this Spring (to be announced).

HBBC Update

F/V = 1 pt

run 13mi = 13 pts
F/V = 1 pt

run 20mi = 20 pts
F/V = 1 pt

P.S. Big congrats to Aron who got her BQ this weekend!