Friday, December 31, 2010

Boxing Day 10-Miler

On Boxing Day Juliana and I decided to run off some of the Christmas turkey at the Boxing Day 10-Miler in Hamilton. I ran this race back in 2008 and would have participated last year as well if we hadn't been in Cuba. It's a fun little race that makes for a great annual tradition, and this was its 90th year so there's a great deal of history. This year offered the added incentive of adorable snowman medals and mittens (pic at bottom).

The race was started at noon, so we were able to sleep in and take our time getting to the headquarters at the YMCA. We were able to pick up our bibs/chips/mittens on race morning and stay warm inside the YMCA until the start. We also had access to the washrooms, showers and locker rooms.

J and I had decided to have some fun and wear our costumes from our Christmas Runch a couple weeks ago. We got ready in the gymnasium and got a few interesting looks (as well as some compliments!) once we were all geared up.

We ended up bumping into our ultra-running friend M (who had run a casual 50K training run on Friday) and posed for a quick pic before heading outside.

The three of use decided to head out for a warm-up run, mainly to pass the time before the start. We didn't record it, but I'm guessing we ran about 2 mi/3KM before lining up with a few minutes to spare.

I was planning to stick with Juliana and didn't have any time goals for myself this time around. It's always a nice feeling to line up for a race without any nerves! Without too much hoopla, we were off.

I snapped this pic of a guy dressed as a Christmas tree as we climbed the initial hill from the start.

For the first couple of miles we ran through a commercial area, gradually making our way toward the lake. The next three miles were along the paved waterfront trail, passing the marinas and a few parks. It was definitely the nicest part of the route and we were taking in the scenery and chatting away as the miles ticked by.

I made an effort to stay half a step behind Juliana and let her set the pace for the first half. We stopped for short walks at each of the three water stations.

At was busting to use the washroom so I sent Juliana on her way and zipped into a port-o-potty when I finally saw one around mile 4-ish. I had so many layers on the bottom (running tights, red/green tights, running skirt, festive skirt) that I got myself into quite a mess as I tried to hustle in and out. I would spend the remainder of the race resisting the urge to adjust myself.

Once I was back on the trail, I ran like hell to catch Juliana. She was soon in my sights but I knew she was motoring and I was running close to 5K pace in order to close the gap. I logged a 4:34 kilometre here and finally caught up.

We crossed the half way mat in 43:59.

After leaving the waterfront trail, we faced a long, gradual and winding climb as we made our way toward the Chedoke Golf Course. We caught up to M around this time and I ran ahead to snap a pic.

Next up was a short and steep climb up the escarpment. I remember this hill killing me in 2008, but I felt comfortable all the way up this time. Juliana and M probably wanted to kick my ass, but I tried not to be too obnoxious about it. ;) I snapped these pictures from (near) the top of the climb. Juliana is looking a little worn out, but hanging in there.

From here, I knew I'd have to give her a little bit of a pull to the finish. We had about 3 miles to go so tried to stay a couple steps ahead and tug her along.

M had pulled ahead, but we managed to catch her again. We headed onto a dirt trail for about a mile, all downhill. It felt great cruising down, although we did see one guy take a major spill just ahead of us. (He was okay.)

We were soon back on the roads and passed the 8-mile marker. Neither M nor J seemed particularly enthused when I called out "2 miles to go!" over my shoulder. I stayed a few steps ahead, making sure I could hear them behind me, and plugged along toward the finish.

The majority of these final miles were downhill, which was a nice treat. Our pace was strong and pretty soon I called out "1 mile to go!"

We started seeing runners who had obviously already finished, and got some encouragement as we continued along the streets to the finish. I remember someone saying "Just three more turns and you're there!" (Better than the usual "It's just around the corner.")

Juliana took off like a rocket as soon as the finish was in sight, and we finished with identical chip times of 1:28:05. Juliana worked hard and pulled off a great time. I had a lot of fun, enjoyed the race and out in a solid run feeling comfortable throughout. Not a bad way to spend Boxing Day!

20th race of 2010!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

When things don't go quite according to plan...

Here's what was supposed to happen this morning:

  • Go for a run
  • Physio appointment at 9:30

This is was actually happened:

  • Went for a run
  • Came home 30 mins. later to discover that I was locked out of the house
  • Stare at the door helplessly
  • Curse and stomp my feet
  • Pace up and down the driveway trying to decide what to do
  • Run like hell to the trail where I know hubs is running
  • 5K in 23:23! (Nothing like some adrenaline-fueled impromptu speed work!)
  • Arrive our usual parking lot and no sign of hubs' car
  • Minor melt down
  • Collect call Juliana to rescue me (THANK YOU!)
  • Use J's cell to call physio and let them know I'm not going to make it (J offered to take me but I'm a sweaty mess and hadn't shaved my legs - lol)
  • J drives me back home to see if hubs has turned up (he hasn't)
  • J drives me to an alternate parking lot on the running trail to see if hubs' car is there (it is)
  • Leave a note for hubs and head back to J's house to wait
  • Hubs eventually shows up to take me home
  • We discuss where we could stash a spare key
This is sooooo not how I expected to start my day, but sh*t happens.... at least I hadn't broken my leg, which was Juliana's initial thought when she heard "Collect call from Marlene..."

HBBC Ongoing Tally Dec. 25-31:
Dec. 25 - run (5.4)
Dec. 26 - run (12)
Dec. 27 - run (7.6), cross-training class (4) = 11.6
Dec. 28 - run (9.9)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Hoopla

I hope everyone has been having a fantastic holiday. Ours started on Thursday night with my company Christmas party. It was nice to get all dolled up and spend the evening drinking too much celebrating with my colleagues. I received a very generous bonus, which is always a nice way to kick off the holidays.

Showing off the new bod dress:

This is what I looked like Thursday night:

I was quite a sight Friday morning. :-)

Hubs and I dragged our butts out of bed and stumbled to the Running Room to meet some friends for a run. I wasn't feeling so hot at first, but it was nice to get moving and take in the crisp, fresh air. By the end of the run, I felt great.

Friday evening we headed to my Mom's where we found a massive tree and tons of gifts.

We kicked off the festivities eating, drinking, playing board games and being merry with my family.

Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts and french onion stuffed mushrooms. Mmmmm!

Having a laugh playing Cranium

Christmas morning it was time to tear through the pressies. I was thoroughly spoiled!

After gifts and a sugar-laden "breakfast", hubs and I were able to sneak out for a late morning run with our friends Ueli and Patricia who live around the corner from Mom's. The afternoon was then spent playing more games, hanging out with the sibs and getting dinner ready.

After another big day, we were all pooped and crashed pretty early. On Sunday morning the excitement started all over again with the Boxing Day 10-Miler (recap to follow!) followed by Christmas with Mark's family. Phewf... it's a good thing I have a week off to recover from all of this!

I hope you have all had (and continue to have!) a wonderful holiday! I'll be catching up soon...

HBBC Update Dec 18 - 24:
Dec. 18 - run (6.6), Bootcamp (4), F&V (1) = 11.6
Dec. 19 - run (10.9)
Dec. 20 - 0
Dec. 21 - run (6.2), strength./aerobics class (4), F&V (1) = 11.2
Dec. 22 - run (6.3), F&V (1) = 7.3
Dec. 23 - run (3.1)
Dec. 24 - run (8.8)

Ongoing Tally Dec. 25-31:Dec. 25 - run (5.4)
Dec. 26 - run (12)

Friday, December 24, 2010

From Our Home to Yours:

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Athlete's Plate: Mmmm, I'm Hungry!

Do you know Jason over at Life of an Aspiring Athlete? If not, you should!

Each week Jason runs a feature called the Athlete's Plate where he creates a custom meal plan (complete with recipes and photos) for a lucky blogger/athlete using tidbits of information he collects via thorough stalking research procedures.

This week, I'm the lucky athlete thanks to a nomination by SUAR! And now I get to nominate one of you for next week's edition, so leave a comment and let me know if you'd like to be considered. I accept bribes!

But first - click over and see what Jason thinks this canuck should be eating!

Thanks Jason!!!

Three Things Thursday

1. SUAR isn't the only one who can rock a FatBooth face! My friend's daughter was kind enough to create this gem for me:

What do you think? I kind of like the original better.

2. Thanks for all of your good wishes yesterday. Thankfully, I am feeling worlds better as the week goes on. I had put in a call to postpone Christmas, but it looks like that won't be necessary afterall! :-)

3. Tonight is the big company Christmas Soirée. Time to get all dolled up, put on my hot new dress, kick up my heels and hit the wine with my bosses and co-workers. And that makes today my last (half) day of work for 2010.

Happy Holidays!

HBBC Ongoing Tally: Week of Dec. 18-24
Dec. 18 - run (6.6), Bootcamp (4), F&V (1) = 11.6
Dec. 19 - run (10.9)
Dec. 20 - 0
Dec. 21 - run (6.2), strength./aerobics class (4), F&V (1) = 11.2
Dec. 22 - Run (6.3), F&V (1) = 7.3 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Doesn't it seem like I was just sick? Why yes, I was: in October and before that in August. What gives?? I dunno, but I started feeling those familiar tingles over the weekend and woke up Monday feeling like I had been hit by a dump truck. I went to work and did my best to go through the motions, but it was not happening. When my boss asked me to do something and I spontaneously burst into tears, we both realized that I needed to go home. I spent the majority of the afternoon and evening curled up on the couch with a pounding headache and chills coursing through me. Taking Tylenol at regular intervals was the only thing that kept me feeling slightly human.

Fortunately I was able to get a decent sleep and felt a little better Tuesday morning. I decided to give myself the time to recover and called in sick, since I was definitely not feeling 100%. The headache and fever seemed to have passed, and I was left with just a sore throat, congested head, running nose and dry cough.

The plan was to take it easy, but I quickly got restless and found myself getting caught up in cleaning the house and last minute preparations for Christmas. I went to the gym as well, hoping that a light run and workout might help me sweat it out. Although I didn't do a whole lot of relaxing, I was feeling better as the day went on.

Today the cold symptoms linger, but I'm back to work to get caught up before the holidays. 1.5 days until Christmas Vacation!

Stay healthy!

HBBC Ongoing Tally: Week of Dec. 18-24
Dec. 18 - run (6.6), Bootcamp (4), F&V (1) = 11.6
Dec. 19 - run (10.9)
Dec. 20 - 0
Dec. 21 - run (6.2), strength./aerobics class (4), F&V (1) = 11.2

Monday, December 20, 2010

Festivus Weekend

On Friday we finally got the tree decorated and pressies wrapped. It's feeling like Christmas in the house!

Saturday morning I hit the streets early for a run before Bootcamp. I decided to carry the camera to snap some pics of one of my favourite winter wonderland running routes. The trails look quite a bit different than they did in October.

I had parked my car at the gym, so I grabbed my bag after the run and headed inside for a quick wardrobe change for Bootcamp. Bathroom stall self-portrait!! (you know you're a freak blogger when....)

After a good body-busting sweat-fest, I hustled home to get ready for a fun photoshoot with my siblings for Mom's Christmas gift. We laughed our butts off traipsing through the snow, trying to figure out how to work the tripod and self-timer. Here's one of the out-takes:

L-R: sister A, me, Hubs, brother J, sister E's BF, sister E
+ Penny the family dog!

Saturday afternoon/evening it was off to the father-in-law's for Christmas dinner. We exchanged pressies, had a great meal and got to hang with our cutie nieces.

Sunday morning was our second annual Santa bRUNch with the running posse. We all get dressed up, go for a long(ish) run, eat food, drink spiked coffee and be merry!

I'm waiting on the group shot (there were about 30 of us!) but here are a few that I took. We got plenty of honks, waves and big smiles from drivers (a pleasant change from when they try to run us off the road). How could you NOT smile at this bunch?

The spread:

Secret Santa Stash:

My haul:

I had one more festive party to get to, and boogied straight from the brunch to my friend L's downtown. We had a great afternoon with all the girls eating candy decorating gingerbread houses, playing Taboo and catching up on gossip. We recently stumbled upon this pic at the same get-together in 2008 with my plate of cookies and decided to do a re-take.



How was your weekend? 5 sleeps til Christmas!

HBBC Update: Week of Dec. 11-17

Dec. 11 - run (6.8), Bootcamp (4) = 10.8
Dec. 12 - run (16.8)
Dec. 13 - run (5), F&V (1) = 6
Dec. 14 - run (8), weights (1), F&V (1) = 10
Dec. 15 - F&V (1)
Dec. 16 - run (10.3), spin (6), weights (1), F&V (1) = 18.3
Dec. 17 - run (4.4), F&V (1) = 5.4

HBBC Ongoing Tally: Week of Dec. 18-24
Dec. 18 - run (6.6), Bootcamp (4), F&V (1) = 11.6
Dec. 19 - run (10.9)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tagged + Foto Friday

The lovely ultra-running, stroller-pushing, nature-loving, pigtail-wearing, dish-collecting Shelly of It's Just One Foot in Front of the Other tagged me to answer a few questions. Thanks Shelly!

SUAR said it best: "I always appreciate another opportunity to talk about myself." (Isn't that what blogging is all about?)

On to the questions:

What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2010?

What are your running goals for 2011?

As always, I hope to remain injury-free and continue running for the love of it... pushing myself to new limits and hopefully achieving goals along the way. I'm not ready to put anything official in writing yet... but I will be looking to smash the above-mentioned personal records.

What was your favorite race?

Rock N Roll Seattle - no personal records here, but it was a privilege and so much fun to run side by side with Tall Mom for 26.2 miles. We shared countless highs and lows, pit stops, laugh attacks and photo ops. I'll never forget it! We even made the website with the best finish photo of all time:

Team Pretty In Pink

What is your favorite holiday guilty pleasure?

You mean like these?

What is your most embarrassing running moment?

I have had my fair share of "squat in the bush" moments. Fortunately I've never been caught bare-cheeked, but these are certainly not my finest moments...

TAG! You're it:


Another Restroom Photoshoot!

Thursday Lunch Run - Before:

Geared Up:

And done:

Living Room - New House, 2008

New Paint!
(and sweaty post-gym 6:30AM Marlene)

(don't mind the weird shadows; I swear it's not my paint job!)

(tree still needs to be decorated)

I'll share some better wide-angle photos once the house is fully put back together (curtains up, photos on the walls, etc.). So far, I'm really happy with it! The colour is called "Reflecting Pool"; I thought the cool blue would be a nice compliment to all of our browns. Stay tuned for more photos and what my next paint project will be! (Although on Sunday I swore I would never paint again...)

Have a great weekend!!
One Week til Christmas!

HBBC Ongoing Tally Week of Dec. 11-17
Dec. 11 - run (6.8), Bootcamp (4) = 10.8
Dec. 12 - run (16.8)
Dec. 13 - run (5), F&V (1) = 6
Dec. 14 - run (8), weights (1), F&V (1) = 10
Dec. 15 - F&V (1)
Dec. 16 - run (10.3), spin (6), weights (1), F&V (1) = 18.3