Friday, January 30, 2009

Silver Lining

We've had a heck of a lot of snow (accompanied by bitter cold temperatures) over the past several days, and it seems there's a lot more on the way.

So, any takers?

It's Foto Friday and you know what else that means? 2 weeks down and 5 to go (til hubby comes home).

If there's ever a good time to be laid up with an injury in Ontario, it's January and February. But don't get me wrong - I'd do just about anything to be outside freezing my butt off and trudging through the snow.

For now, I'm putting in some serious couch time, reading some great borrowed books (Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert at the moment) and memorizing the daytime television schedule.

Thank you for your continued care and concern. Your comments never fail to make me smile. Have a great weekend and run a mile or two for me, would ya?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Things I will never again take for granted

-The mobility of my right shoulder/arm to open a jar, wash my hair, use a mouse, drive a car, get dressed, play Wii, apply lotion, cut vegetables, sign my name, blow my nose...

-The ability to go for a run, or perform any exercise whatsoever. It's painfully difficult for me to sit around on the couch all day long.

-The option of sleeping in my big comfy bed (I can't lie down).

I'm frustrated that I can't take care of myself and have to idea how long this could go on for.

I have been more or less stranded on the couch since Saturday. I can get up and down as long as I am careful not to jostle the shoulder, but there's really nowhere to go except the washroom since I can't do anything.

All I can say is thank goodness for my family and friends or I would be starving to death and rotting in my own filth, not to mention bored stupid.

I have my moments of stress over work, money, my weight or running and other moments of helplessness, loneliness and self-pity, but I am trying to just focus on resting and healing. I'm hanging in there.

I hope to get some more answers at my appointment on Monday, but for now the pain seems to be about the same. It is manageable, as long as I don't move too much.

Thank you so much for all of your comments - I have been overwhelmed by your outpouring of care, concern and support.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Worse than I thought

First, thank you for all of your kind comments on yesterday's post.

Unfortunately, I did not get good news at the hospital this morning. After a series of painful x-rays where I had to hold heavy jugs in my hands to 'open' the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, it was determined that I have a separated shoulder, or a disruption of the AC joint, which is where the the scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collar bone) come together. I will be seeing an orthopaedic specialist next Monday and until then, I am in a sling.

The good (?) news is, the doctor rated it a 2.5 out of 5, and typically surgery is only required for a level 5. It could be worse, right?

Interestingly, I seem to have placed first in my age group at the Robbie Burns 8K Road Race today. (I offered my bib to a [fast] friend.) Thanks to Marci for pointing that out!

Please keep the good vibes coming and hopefully I will be on the road again sooner rather than later.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Looks like tomorrow will be my first DNS. I went cross-country skiing this morning; seriously, who gets injured cross-country skiing??

Me, that's who.

We took a trail that was perhaps (in hindsight) too advanced for a first-timer. We encountered a steep downhill. I should have turned around.I didn't. Next thing I know, I'm flying through the air, limbs, poles and skis flailing, and I land hard on my right shoulder. It hurt a lot. With some help I was able to stand up and walk back to the chalet. They had an excellent first aid trailer and I was able to see a sports therapist. I was (am) in agony. She checked me over thoroughly and believes it's a sprain in the AC joint ligaments. She helped me slowly and painfully out of some layers (it was -30C with the wind chill), rolled up a blanket under my arm (shoulder hurts less that way) and put a sling around me for stability on the car ride home.

And then we got caught in a horrible traffic jam for 2 hours behind a multi-car collision on the way home. Talk about adding insult to injury.

I eventually made it home where family and friends have helped me get into jammies (although I will not be getting this sports bra off any time soon without scissors), positioned me on the couch, given me wine and painkillers (good combo) and fed me dinner. All I need now is a bed pan - and someone to empty it. Any volunteers?

Mom is taking me to the hospital tomorrow to have it checked out and hopefully get a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and pain killers. I have to say, I have not experienced pain like this in my life. Not sure what this means for running; I guess I will have to take it a day at a time. Good vibes would be appreciated.

I'll update when I can, but this has taken forever to type with just my left hand. Comments on your blogs may be sporadic (and laden with typos), but I'll be reading your posts and counting on you to keep me company. :)

PS - Who wants to come shovel my driveway?

Friday, January 23, 2009

T.G.I. (Foto) Friday

My contribution for this week's Foto Friday is a shot that my sister snapped of hubby and I approaching the finish line at our first half marathon (and first race ever) in September '07. Notice how beautifully she captured our matching stride and hand-holding. I absolutely love it.

Speaking of hubby, his business trip has unfortunately been extended from four to seven weeks, so he won't be coming home until March 7th.

One week down, six to go...

Thankfully I have a wonderful family and truly amazing friends who are doing their best to keep me busy and make me smile. Special thanks to Sarah who had a beautiful arrangement of flowers delivered to my office yesterday and totally made my day week.

I hope everyone's weekend gets off to a good start. Today is my rest day and I'm going out to dinner with my Mom. Tomorrow I'll be cross-country skiing (for the first time in years!) with one of my running friends and Sunday I'm running the Robbie Burns 8K Road Race with a couple guys from my clinic (just doing it for fun... and the tartan PJ pants). Hope to see you there, Marci!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Today's Special

(No, I'm not referring to one of my favourite childhood television shows.)

Thursday is clinic night and tonight a lactate threshold sandwich was on the menu: 3K warm-up (slice of bread), 3K at lactate threshold pace (the meat), 3K cool-down (other slice of bread).

Although we stuck to our respective pace groups, we completed the LT portion of the run on a paved trail at a local park so we were all able to run at our own pace and meet up at the end for the jog back. I don't train with a heart rate monitor so it is hard to know what my actual lactate threshold pace should be, but I ran based on how I felt and tried to hold a 9/10 effort. I was pleased with my splits of 5:04, 4:53 and 4:51 (equivalent to 8:09, 7:51, 7:48 per mile).

It felt good to push hard and I had the almost-feel-like-I-could-vomit going on. My legs held up well, although I was really feeling it on the jog back. Next week the 'meat' increases to 4K - woohoo!

Total numbers with warm-up and cool-down:
8.96K = 5.57mi
5:42/KM = 9:10/mi

As compared to yesterday's hilly run with a friend:
7.88K = 4.9mi
6:25/KM = 10:19/mi

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


The lovely Lindsay of Chasing the Kenyans was kind enough to tag me with this fabulous award. The rules are simple: share 5 addictions and then select five more fab bloggers to receive the award and do the same.

My name is Marlene and I'm addicted to:

1. Running and racing ~ duh!

2. Grey's Anatomy ~ seriously my favourite show ever!

3. Kraft Dinner ~ I've confessed to this guilty pleasure a couple times before. I can't get enough of the stuff, especially white cheddar.

4. The Twilight Saga ~ I was late getting on this wagon, but ever since I cracked open the first book on Christmas Day, I've been hooked. I read all 4 books and saw the first movie within <2 weeks and now I'm itching to start all over again. (I also might be a little bit in love with a fictional character named Edward.)

5. Diet Coke ~ Mmmm, chemicals!

But enough about me! I want to hear from:

1. Julianne @ { i * h e a r t * r u n n i n g }

2. Jess @ 21 Days

3. Running Laur

4. Lisa @ Chasin' Bunnies

5. and my real life BFF Sarah

Thanks again, Lindsay. You rock!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lunch time chiller

I decided to take advantage of the beautiful sunny day we're having and hit the streets over lunch hour. I'm glad I checked The Weather Network and bundled up because it was friggin cold brisk.

(That's 7F, "feels like" -9F)

I was pleased to discover that the sidewalks had been roughly plowed so I started out on a route which makes a large square around my office on 4 major roads. I had turned the first corner and was about half way to the next turn when I saw this:

(Try to picture it buried in snow!)

I stopped and looked around. The sidewalk was non-existent beyond the sign, there was no safe way to cross the road and I really didn't feel like back-tracking. So on I went! For the next 1.5K, I trudged through snow over 1 foot deep; I wouldn't even call it running. It tired me out (and soaked my feet/legs) making the rest of the run more difficult than it should have been, but before long I was back at the office.

8.15K = 5.06mi
5:57/KM = 9:36/mi

And now I'm shivering away at my desk with a red face and wet hair, but I feel refreshed and invigorated. Nothing beats getting out of the office for some fresh air.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How is this fair?

While my hubby is enjoying this view from his hotel, we have been getting continuous snowfall for the past 24 hours. I slept in a little this morning after a night out with some friends and when I finally opened the front door, I didn't think I was going to make it to meet my group in time for our long run. There was a snow drift almost waist-high in the driveway and it was still snowing. I had to floor it to get my car out of the garage and through the snow (thank you, snow tires), but miraculously arrived on time.

I was surprised that almost everyone showed up. We set out and braved unplowed roads and snow pounding our faces. Every step took immense effort and my muscles were exhausted just trying to continue the forward motion.

Thankfully, the temperature was pleasant at around -5C (23F) so the run wasn't completely miserable. For the time time in weeks, my water didn't freeze!

After slipping and sliding around in the snow for almost two hours (I really need to try some YakTrax), I have muscles aching that I didn't know existed.

Despite all the complaining, it was a pretty enjoyable run. I may not have said this a few hours ago, but I'm glad I went.

17.42K (10.82 miles)
6:35/KM pace

Unfortunately, I came home and had to contend with the driveway shoveling. Where's my husband when I need him?!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Photo Friday

This morning I dropped hubby off at the airport and he'll be spending the next ~36 hours traveling to beautiful New Caledonia off the coast of Australia.

It's going to be a long four weeks in this big empty house.

Check out NikeMom's blog to participate in T.G.I.F. Foto Friday.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wasted Wednesday

This week has been freeeeeeezing cold in these parts with sub-zero (Fahrenheit) temperatures and biting winds. I braved the elements on Tuesday evening and headed out for a ~45 minute steady run. The cold and wind stung and my feet and ankles whined as I plowed through snow drifts.

8.46K = 5.25mi
5:36/KM = 9:01/mi

Yesterday I wasn't feeling so tough. I decided to pack a bag to hit the gym right after work for a wimpy treadmill run. I was short on time because we were meeting MIL for dinner and had a few stops to make for hubby's trip (he leaves tomorrow), but planned to squeeze in a quick (warm) 3-miler. I got to the gym, swiped my card, headed to the change room... only to discover that I had packed two tops and no pants. I'm not sure why I have so much trouble packing a bag, but I have done this before. I have been known to forget socks and a sports bra (believe it or not, I made it work) and this is not the first time I have forgotten pants. By the time I got home, I didn't have time to go out and run (and wasn't the least bit mentally prepared for temperatures and winds even worse than Tuesday), so it was a bit of a wasted day.

Tonight is clinic and we have an 8-10K out-and-back (negative split) on the schedule. I'm going to have hubby drop me off so I can run home to make up some of the missed mileage. I'm probably going to have to bundle up in every piece of clothing I own to protect myself from the frigid temperatures. Brrrrrr!

I'm taking tomorrow off work to drive hubby to the airport in the morning (as he flies off to a tropical climate and leaves me here to freeze my a$$ off) and plan to run another 10K or so in the afternoon (might as well take advantage of being home during daylight).

Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Going Goofy in 2010

Last night my husband and I (along with 2 of our equally insane ambitious friends) registered for the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge in January 2010. It's a plan that has been brewing for some time now, but we decided to keep it a secret until it was official. (Sorry, I've been holding out on you!)

Are you looking for the ultimate test of endurance? Then compete in Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge where you will run the Half Marathon on Saturday and then the Marathon on Sunday. If you finish both races in the time limit* you will be awarded the coveted Goofy medal.

2010 is gonna be a great year for racing, cause the whole gang will be celebrating the 5th anniversary of Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge.It will be a momentous occasion of, well uh...Goofy proportions. Plan now to take the challenge and be part of a weekend you're never gonna forget!

*Time limit is 3.5 hours for the half and 7 hours for the full, or 16 minute miles.

Our obscenely expensive $285 registration plus $19 processing fee includes:

• Race Registration for both the Half Marathon and Marathon
• Official Race Handbook
• Commemorative Champion® Race Tech Shirt for Marathon, Half Marathon and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge
• Specially themed KODAK single use camera
• Goody Bag
• Disney's Health & Fitness Expo including our world-class Speaker Series
• Event Weekend Transportation for ALL Walt Disney World® Resort Hotels
• Special Goofy Personalized Bibs
• On Course Refreshments
• On Course Disney Entertainment
• Post-Race Refreshments
• Family Reunion Area with live entertainment and characters
• Post-Race Celebration
• Post-Race web site with direct access to your race photos, results and custom finisher certificate
• All runners who complete both the Half Marathon and Marathon will receive the special Goofy medal in addition to the Mickey and Donald medals from the individual events!
• Disney magic you won't find anywhere else!

358 days to go!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My turn: Tagged!

Brian over at Big B on the Road tagged me, so here goes!

4 favorite memories from 2008.

1. My first marathon
2. Toronto City Chase
3. Bon Jovi concert with Mom
4. a week at my boss' cottage with hubby, my parents and sister

4 favorite movies that I saw.

1. Made of Honour
2. Juno
3. Spirit of the Marathon
4. Twilight

4 favorite foods in 2008.

1. Stuffed chicken and squash risotto at Cachet
2. Roasted duck and mushroom risotto at La Maquette
3. Pizza
4. Kraft Dinner

4 places I loved in 2008.

1. Our first house
2. Brand new office building (work)
3. Bobcaygeon, ON (cottage)
4. Mom & Dad's

4 things I liked in 2008.

1. my new laptop
2. Running Room half marathon clinic
3. The Biggest Loser
4. Getting to know new friends

4 things I am looking forward to in 2009.

1. Boston Marathon road trip
2. trip to Nova Scotia including Bluenose Marathon
3. getting to know my brand new second cousin (one week old)
4. the birth of my 3rd niece or 2nd nephew

4 people I tag.

1. Marci
2. Jen
3. Mel
4. Denise

Sunday, January 11, 2009


This morning I met my new run club for our first long run. The scheduled distance was 16K, but several of us met earlier to run an additional 5 before meeting our pace groups at the store. I officially joined the 4:00 hour marathon group because their target long run pace is just about perfect for me. I don't know that I'll be able to keep up with their tempo runs and other speed workouts, but I'll take it one run at a time and see how it goes.

In my haste to get out the door on time this morning after a late night, I forgot my Garmin. I can't even remember the last time I ran without it so I immediately panicked and thought, 'This run is going to suck.' But you know what? It didn't! I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom not knowing the distance, time and pace. I just ran, chatted with my fellow runners and enjoyed myself. The time flew by, I felt great and before I knew it we had 1K to go. It was liberating and probably the best long run I have had in a while.

The instructos had hot chocolate and cookies for us back at the store and I was also invited out to brunch, which is apparently a Sunday tradition. It's an awesome group of people and I'm really looking forward to getting to know everyone in the next few months.

This will be my first official week on the new program:

Monday: off (maybe xtrain)
Tuesday: HOT fitness class + 7K
Wednesday: 10K
Thursday: 8-10K
Friday: 5K
Saturday: Spin or Boot Camp
Sunday: 23K

(Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays are with the group.)

In non-running news, my husband has been asked to fly to the other side of the world (literally!) for work. He'll be leaving Friday for New Caledonia, an island off the coast of Australia, and won't return to four weeks. We have never been apart for so long and it's definitely going to be difficult, but it's a great opportunity career-wise. I'm mostly just jealous that he gets to pick up in the middle of this harsh Canadian winter for a tropical paradise!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Can't wait to hear some news from the Disney runners!

Friday, January 09, 2009


I can't remember the last time I was so happy that it's Friday. It's been a long week.

Thanks for all of your comments on my last post. A little encouragement goes a long way.

The treadmill run on Wednesday went well. It felt pretty good, actually.

Distance 8.67K/5.39mi
Time 47:41
Pace 5:31/KM, 8:53/mi

I felt like I might be making progress towards recovering My Groove.

I joined the Running Room Marathon Clinic last night and left feeling so motivated and inspired that nothing is going to get in my way. It's a large group with 8 instructors who will assist in dividing us into various pace groups. I recognized many faces from running with the summer marathon clinic a couple times last year, and most of my friends who I met way back in my half marathon clinic (and have kept in touch with) are part of the group. I know it's going to be a lot of fun and a great experience.

We went for an easy 8K last night in various groups. I headed out with the 4:15 group, but based on the pace that I typically train at, it looks like I will be spending more time with the 4:00 group. Our first long run together is this Sunday and the schedule calls for 16K. Many runners have already expressed interest in running 20K instead, so I will likely head out with them and add on another 6 at the end. For the next several weeks, my mileage will be higher than the clinic, but I should be able to make it work.

Tonight is 6K thirds progression, tomorrow is Boot Camp and Sunday is 26K, and I am actually looking forward to it. I think Marlene got her groove back.

The Walt Disney Marathon takes this weekend and I would like to wish a very special GOOD LUCK to Christy who is running her first marathon and representing the Arthritis Society, Lindsay who is taking on the half and full in the Goofy Challenge and Leana who has trained through the beginning of a harsh Calgary winter only to jet down to sunny Florida for the big race. :)

Have a great weekend, all!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Have you seen...

My groove????

I was carrying on in my last post about being so relieved to get back into my routine and get back on track. Unfortunately, it hasn't been such a smooth transition. My body is going through the motions (albeit reluctantly) of going to bed at a reasonable time, waking up with the [cringe] alarm clock, sticking to my nutrition plan throughout the day, actually getting some work done, running after work (...rinse and repeat...), but my mind is still trapped somewhere between vacation mode and real life mode.

I didn't go to my fitness class last night because I just didn't feel like it. I went out for the short run I had planned (5.5K), but dragged my feet through all 32 minutes of it. And then I ate cereal for dinner.

And right now, it's about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I'm slurping a diet coke (ahem, vice) and watching the clock and all I want to do is go home and curl up on the couch with last few chapters of Breaking Dawn. But alas, hubby and I will be heading to the gym and then to the grocery store and then eventually home to try to concoct something reasonable for dinner.

Tonight's run is 9K (5.6mi) with 40 minutes at steady state pace. I often do my SS runs on the 'mill because I find it virtually impossible to control my pace outside (something to work on). I generally try to avoid distances greater than 4 miles on the dreadmill, but I have some new music on my iPod so hopefully that will help.

And hopefully I will soon get my groove back so I can start embracing the routine instead of resenting it. *sigh*

Monday, January 05, 2009

Back to the grind

After two wonderful weeks of vacation, I am back to work today. As difficult as it was to crawl out of bed this morning, I am relieved to be getting back into a routine. Being home so much has been detrimental to my weight loss. I allowed myself to indulge and probably have a couple extra pounds on my mid-section to show for it, but I enjoyed every minute of it and now I'm back on track.

I did manage to follow my run schedule over the holidays... mostly. Last week looked like this:

Mon: off - did 60 mins. cardio
Tue: 5K - done
Wed: 9K w/ 25 mins. steady state - done (treadmill)
Thu: 5K - done
Fri: 7K w/ 6x strides @ 25s - done
Sat: off
Sun: 24K - only 12K

I met my friend P for the long run yesterday and right off the bat, we both felt off. As we started running, we each confessed that we had considered canceling, which is usually not a good sign! We slugged along and just couldn't get in the zone. It didn't help that it was bloody freezing. I usually warm up pretty quickly, but not this time - my skin was actually stinging beneath my clothes and our water bottles froze in <30 minutes. Half way through, we bailed and called P's sister to rescue us. And that's about all I have to say about that! If either one of us had been feeling stronger, we would have gotten through it, but with both of us dragging our feet and complaining the whole time, it just wasn't happening. Amazingly, it was easier to run 24K in a snow storm a couple weeks ago.

My plan for this week is as follows:

Mon: off
Tue: 5K + HOT
Wed: 9K w/ 35 mins. steady state + HO
Thu: 5K?*
Fri: 6K
Sat: Boot Camp or Spin
Sun: 26K (I will win this time!)

My Running Room marathon clinic is starting on Thursday, hence the "?". Once I get the program, I will have to merge it with my own training schedule to somehow make it work. This also means I will no longer be able to make it to Thursday night Spin classes. The only other class that works is Saturday morning at the same time as Boot Camp, so for now I'll rotate back and forth between the two.

And with that, I'm back to the grind!

ETA: Almost forgot! I got some good news a couple days ago when I found out that I was the December winner of free shoes from Running Shoes Reviews. I decided on a pair of Adidas AdiSTAR's, in my ongoing effort to find the right motion control shoes for me (I have only once purchased the same type of shoe twice).

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Bring on 2009

With the new year upon us, I thought it might be a good time to run down my plans the 2009. There have been some changes from my reveal several weeks ago, so here goes.

January 25: Robbie Burns 8K Road Race

March 1: Chilly Half Marathon

March 29: Around the Bay 30K

April 26: Hartwell Challenge Half Marathon Relay (local)

May 9: Mississauga Marathon - 5K or 10K

May 17: Bluenose International Marathon (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

May 31: Toronto Women’s Half Marathon

June 7: MudRun 10K

June 20: Toronto City Chase

July 11: Rebecca Run 5K

July 19: Nissan 10 Miler at The Toronto Distillery

August 22: A Mid Summer Night’s Run - 15K or 30K

September 27: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon

October 18: Toronto Marathon

With some urging from Frayed Laces, I've also decided to share one of my new year's resolutions.

I resolve to do real ("man") push-ups. I'm tired of having to run to the storage room to grab a mat for under my knees when my boot camp instructor orders "Drop and give me twenty!" (Especially when she notices and reminds me ever so kindly that I wouldn't need a mat if I could do them on my toes...) I can do 3 or 4 decent push-ups, but I'm aiming for at least 20 or 25.

Happy New Year!