A favorite quote:

Make play a high priority in your life for if you die tomorrow no one can play for you, but someone can and will do your work for you!!!" Ken Beebe (Dr. Play)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I want to know who talked me into this…

… running a half marathon. seriously. Why would anyone, let alone 5000 people, want to do this? for fun? wha…? I don’t know, maybe it was easier being almost 290+lbs and not even considering this kind of thing. Anyway, it’s done. My first 1/2 Marathon. I have pretty mixed feelings about it. I feel exhilarated that I completed it, yet I remember very well how it may have been the hardest (no, I can state in no uncertain terms that is WAS the hardest) physical thing I have ever done in my life. The question is… … why?

There are people who do this for fun. There are people who do this for fitness. There are people that do this for the social aspect. There are people who do this as an escape. There are people who do this because they are addicted. There are people who do this to compete. There are people who actually do this for the money. I don’t know where I fit in. Maybe I fit in a few of these, but as I was about 4km from the finish today, I was wishing I was none of these.

Let’s recap.

Last November I went out for my first ever run( for the sake of running, not like it was running scared or mad or anything). January 1st, I ran 10k for the first time. Jan 26th I joined a 10k clinic at the Running Room,and 3 weeks later I switched to the 1/2 Marathon clinic. The Training for the 1/2 is supposed to be 16 weeks, with a goal race at the very end. The Running Room is not affiliated with the HSBC Calgary Marathon weekend, so the clinic was set to finish up for the Calgary Policeman’s Half Marathon and the Vancouver Marathon Weekend. That was 5 weeks before my race, the Calgary 1/2.

I realize now you can train too long. Especially if you are new to running like I am. I think the extra 5 weeks of training took something out of me. Let me clarify. I ran with a group of about 20 people all the way up to week 16 in training. There were 5 or 6 of us who ran together all the time, and we fed off each other, pushed each other and generally ‘made’ each other run, even if you didn’t feel like it. The last 5 weeks it really just fell apart. I still ran Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, and I tried to follow a logical training plan, but even when you would go to the Running Room, no one would have any set direction for distance or training style, so it was just a bit wishy washy. I don’t have any issues with it, I understand what happened, I just wish I could have found a little more motivation the last 3-5 weeks. Going into the race weekend I was extremely anxious, not becuase of the distance, as I had completed the distance on 3 previous occasions, but because I think I lost some of the training benefits in the last few weeks. HOWEVER…

I think I had a pretty good run, considering all the factors and that it was my first big race.

With all the above said, there is no way I could have completed this INCREDIBLE feat (for me) without the training program at the Running Room. I have to thank Tracie, Susan and Glenn, for an amazing experience in training. I learned that you can run the distances, that you need to eat healthy food, there is a right way to run, stretching is important, shoes are more important, Long slow runs are the right way to train long distances, and that running with other people is much more enjoyable than running alone. I followed the training and I completed my goal!

Race Day:

I woke up at 4:45. I have to eat my peanut butter sandwich, drink a big glass of water and a half a cup of coffee. This all has to be exactly 2 hours before the race to get the benefit of the carbs and water and to facilitate the body, well… er, getting rid of excess waste. That explains the 1/2 cup of coffee eh? Well, on every long training run over 16 kms, this little routine has gone right on plan. So today is no exception, right? wrong. no getting rid. I finish the whole cup of coffee and the sit around for about a 1/2 hour. nothing. I have to go, to the race that is. So I get dressed in all my gear, Running shorts with built in compression ginch, Technical shirt, hat and fitted socks, One of two pair of identical shoes, complete with happy feet insoles and speedlaces, My Garmin 305, my Fuel belt loaded with 32 oz of Gu2O electrolyte drink if 4 separate bottles, 2 pack of Gu Wildberry(with caffine) gel, 1 pack of chapstick, my cellphone, truck keys, driver license, visa and debit card. Yeah…

I hop in the truck and head down to the MaxBell arena parking lot to get on the train down to the race location in Bridgeland. I get to the staging areas at 6am, so now I have an hour to relax and soak in the atmosphere… and hopefully… well, you know. I run into a few people from the running room, chat a little, then I figure it’s time to stash my duffle at the bag check and start warming up a little. First things first though, I spot a Tim Hortons booth. Over I go for a piping hot cup of black ‘gitter moving’ coffee. When I finish my coffee it’s time for a few warm up jogging laps. Hey whaddya know, it worked! Yay for me.

A little more warmups and all of a sudden it’s time to head over to the start. Wow, 5000 people are a lot to put together shoulder to shoulder. I am standing with a few of my Running Room friends when the gun goes off and … we stand there. hehe, pretty typical of a big race. We got moving about 4 minutes after the gun, thank goodness my time starts via the chip on my shoe when we cross the start line. The first 3km was probably my favourite part of the race. I really enjoyed the massive group of people as they were all excited and chatting and just generally happy at this point. It was a very scenic in this part of the race as well, winding through Bridgeland, past the zoo, into Inglewood and Ramsey and behind the Saddledome. It is a fairly rolly, windey route for the first 5km. It was fun. that didn’t really last too much longer. I felt bad for the people who had to line up for the porta-johns at the water stations, as they seemed to be moving very slow and it is probably a not a very good race strategy for a good finishing time. There were pretty significant line-ups at all the porto-loos along the way.

I had written a race strategy last night and created a wristband with the details. Well that was a good idea in principal, but It pretty much got thrown out with the slow moving pack for the first 5km. So I just tried to run steady.When we turned onto 17th ave, it sort of went south for me. During training we try to run some really scenic areas and I really enjoy the runs. This part was not pretty at all. In fact it was just hard. about 21 long city blocks, straight, flat and mind numbing. It’s here where I started to feel the end of my second toe rubbing in my shoe. You see, my second toes are about 1/4” longer than my big toe, so they rub. They were fine for the last few weeks as they built up a nice callous, however the other day, the callous came off and left really nice tender skin, ready to rub in my shoe. (sorry about this picture…)IMG_4726 It did, starting about 7km. I sort of ignored it for a while anyway.

It’s not that I felt bad at this point, I was still feeling quite good, I was just missing trees and curves and conversation. With this many people out there, it was still pretty solitary. Maybe I should have ran with my Ipod. The one long run I did do in training by myself was with music and it seemed easier at the time, AND it was only 2 minutes slower than my time today.

They advertised ‘on course entertainement’ in the race brochure. Well, we had a guy playing a fiddle on 17th ave. A little further down the road was an old hippy couple playing a banjo and accordion. When we rounded the off ramp from 14th onto Memorial there was a really cool drumming group, so we saw them again on the way back down memorial after the 1/2 marathon turnaround. The funniest was the Elvis impersonator. He was a hoot! all dressed up, with big speakers, doing karaoke on a tiny little stage. However, i couldn’t help but feel that the entertainment and the events were all geared up for the full marathon runners because there were a few of the entertainers just getting set up or on breaks while we were passing by. This surprised me a little as there were almost 5 times the 1/2 marathon runners as there were full runners.

On a funnyish note, when we turned onto Memorial, the elite runners were already coming back down memorial. One guy said to another guy, he felt sorry for them because they were running so hard. I commented (unsolicited) that we are the ones to feel sorry for, because we are out here for WAY longer than them.

Well, I made it to the turn around at about 13km, and it started to go down hill really fast for me. For some reason I started to feel quite bad. My toe started to ache, my legs were tired and my heart was really racing. In the race I actually peaked at 181 beats, which is my MAX HR, where in training I never got over 172 beats. Once I turned back on memorial at the turn around, the final 8km seemed a really long way. I couldn’t help my mind from thinking negatively. I tried all sorts of mind tricks, but I just kept coming back to ‘gawd I feel bad’ and ‘I think i’m hitting the wall’… OH no, I have never had these kinds of thoughts before during my runs, I have always been Mr. positive. what the heck is happening to me?

All the while, I am still on pace for a sub 2hr half. That thought was the only thing that kept me going. Even if I am hitting the wall, or ‘bonking’, I still have a chance to get in under my goal of 1:59:59. I should qualify that. Here is my thought process:

Maybe I should just walk it in (I did walk quite a bit in the last 4km, but only for 10-15 secs at time, just to slow my HR)

4 more kms is too far (and like 17th ave, Memorial is VERY long, I would have rather been up on the pathway than on the road)

I feel so unbelievably bad, I have no energy, my legs are sore

I think I am dehydrated, hope I don’t pass out

My whole body hurts.

Are my arms supposed to tingle like that?

Gawd it’s hot out.

I need new shoes.

Finishing in over 2 hours is ok

However, I did have a response to a lot of these thoughts, and for a while I actually forced myself to zone out and think about nothing, just let my body carry me. I did come to at about the 18km mark and I started running through all the things that could help me, in my mind.

Traci is at the finish line, and If I don’t get there when I said I would, she would be worrying

I have trained for this, and I have completed this distance 3 times already

I am not hitting the wall, if I was hitting the wall I would have to stop

Just slow down a little, I am still on pace!

IF I think I feel bad now, think about how I will feel if I don’t finish.

I CHOOSE to do this, no one forced me to do this.

Then I started thinking about running quotes I use:      

If I quit now, how will I get back to my car?

Pain is temporary, Quitting lasts forever

It helped. I still felt awful, but I think the training and my desire to complete my goal took over, and I sort of zoned out again. The Race organizers make a nice flat course, until the final 1km, then uphill we go! I haven’t looked at my gps data, but I am pretty sure this is where I maxed out my HR, I walked for one last stint with 500meters to go, then ran the rest of the way in.

Never in my life have I felt so un-believably bad and good at the same time as when I crossed the finish line. IMG_4714I took a good hard look at the medical tent before deciding that I really just needed a drink and a place to sit for a minute or 2. This proved hard to find as the drink line was ridiculous and there wasn’t anywhere to sit near the finish. I finally found Traci, gawd she looked good, IMG_4716 who split off from me at the finish as we were all too ripe smelling for her, and was able to make it into the food line and get a banana, orange and a few other recovery snacks.

I completed the run in 1:58:30. I think it’s pretty good. I do think I could have done quite a bit better. I suppose that gives me goals to shoot for. I was a bit emotional, not because of the time, but because it was SO hard, yet I pushed through and completed it! My body was so sore and out of sorts at the end, I have never felt anything like it. It was probably the first time in my life I used up all of my physical ability, with nothing left in the tank. Why would I want to do that? who knows, but I hope it is one of those things that make me stronger, and not jaded.

I walked with Traci to our car and she drove me over to my Truck and I went home. All of this and I was home just after 10am. yeesh. That’s a lot of work, all before lunch. Traci covertly stopped at Safeway and picked up a “Way to go Daddy” Cake.IMG_4722

Thanks Honey! After burning 2650 calories this  morning, I had 2 pieces!

We sat out on the deck, played in the new pool then had naps! What a DAY!




Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nice days…

So we are in the dog days of May. We never take nice days for granted here, especially with the slow start to spring this year. Andrew has been playing outside every day. He loves the freedom, and he especially loves helping his mom out in the garden beds. Traci has him push his dump truck around full of soil or weeds, and Andrew sure loves being a helper. We were going to try to make his bedtime a little later, by about a 1/2 hour, but it has become a bit earlier, so at 7:45 every night he is SO ready for his crib. He sleeps for about 11 hours. When he wakes up, he cry's for a little breakfast in bed (bottle) then he konks out for another hour, sometimes longer. We were worried that the sleeping in would affect his bedtime, but it hasn't so we aren’t worried anymore.

Here Andrew is TRULY enjoying the dog days of May, shortly after he woke up this morning. He has a peanut butter sandwich in his hand, so the donks are like vultures around him…


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May Long, Day 3… and 4…

What a weekend! It was a great way to start out the camping season. We had bought a new mattress for the trailer and boy was it nice! We slept great. Andrew would go to sleep on the main bed and then when we were ready for bed we would take down the dinette and set up the Pack-n-Play as a crib and move him in there for the night. He seemed really happy as he slept the whole night through. When he would wake up in the morning,  he would stand up, look at us in bed and say “hi”.IMG_4396

Saturday, Traci took a 3km run around the campground and on Sunday I did my last long run before my May 31st race. Craig came with me on his bike and we did a full 20km on the pathways in Drumheller. We ended up running out of trails and found ourselves on the highway for about 5km of the run, but it was still ok. We got back around noon and I went straight for the river. I stood out there up to my thighs for about 20mins. I really gotta get a river in my yard. It beats the heck out of sitting in an icebath.

After that we had some lunch and I took a shower. Andrew was pretty fussy and didn’t want to go down for a nap, but we persevered and we all got a nap. We actually woke up about 4pm. It was warm enough to put the AC on for a while as we weren’t in any mood to do anything but sit around. It was about an hour later and the wind hit like a ton of bricks. We didn’t actually notice it in the camper, but looking out the window it was a dusty mess! Quite a few people lost their awnings and even a few of those hybrid trailers with the tent ends received some damage as the wind blew the tent ends closed! Our ‘hoe’ across the street from us had their little sun shelter disintegrate in the wind. IMG_4399IMG_4400IMG_4401It’s kind of designed like an umbrella and performed like one too. yikes.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend. IMG_4397We have a couple of repairs needed on the trailer, like the furnace doesn’t seem to want to light all the time, so that will have to be fixed before the next trip, as well we want to set up some cutlery bins in the kitchen and have a few upholstery things to work out. Other than that, it was a perfect weekend! Yay for us!

Here we have another board meeting on Sunday morningIMG_4392 And here is a picture of the boardroom, in full camping mode, complete with slice of bread.IMG_4395  This is the first ever afternoon ‘status quo’ meeting…     IMG_4405 This ‘cliff is right in the campground, Brooke is top left, Tom is center and Mitchell is bottom right. Craig and Sherry’s kids are really nice, and their friend Tom was really pleasant to be around as well. Great to see nice considerate kids for a change!IMG_4420 Here is Dinosaur Trail RV Resort as we were leaving, it was actually snowing when we left, but we didn't mind. We will be back as we enjoyed ourselves greatly! IMG_4431

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sitt’n around the fire…

Ahhhhh, combine technology, good friends and fire and what do you get? Me… being very antisocial while I type this. hehe. I did ask the group to contribute, but they didn’t feel it. so I am blogging around the fire.

Ok, the news for the day. We did nothing.

Ate lots. Had a nap. Went for a walk. Went for another walk. Took Andrew around in the wagon. Made supper for the group. Now we are sitting around the fire. er, oh I think I said that. anyway, the weather was the nicest it had been yet in 2009. Shorts, T-shirt, birks and just sitting with nothing to do.

Here are some pictures from the day.

Wake up, the day has started! IMG_4331 No wind, the river looks nice…IMG_4335 No one is awake except me and the donks…IMG_4337 After breakfast sit down… A meeting of the board of directors…IMG_4346 The next 3 are covert telephoto shots…IMG_4366 IMG_4367 It saddens me sometimes to think that I am socially classed with this guy…IMG_4370 Here is Craig, just enjoying the day…IMG_4374Sherry and brooke came out today, and we had supper at our place…IMG_4388 And here is the obligatory Andrew shot…IMG_4389

May Long, Day 2.1…

I am sitting in the sun, blogging. In a campground.aIMG_4382 Did I mention in the sun? I am actually in the shade, which is a new activity for 2009. Sitting in the shade that is. Andrew is asleep in the camper, Traci is chillin in the sun. aIMG_4384While she has become somewhat accustomed to the colder climate here in the last 12 years, she still doesn’t shy away from direct sun exposure when it comes out.

Last night Craig and I were talking about some of the people who they actually let drive big trucks with even bigger trailers. The conversation started as we were watching people TRY to back into their sites in the ever darkening evening hours, narrowly missing posts, other vehicles and especially the tree limbs above. We noticed that people do a great job of watching the ground and the lower obstacles,  but never look up.

Then today, right on cue, this happened…bIMG_4354Hehe, the wife looked back and saw me taking pictures with the telephoto lens and said “i guess, this is for ‘what not do do when camping’, right?”…hehe. yep.

Ok, so all you trailer tow-ers, how would YOU get out of this predicament. Knowing that the trailer swings OUT behind the axles, wouldn’t you just turn the truck to the left and drive forward? NO!!! heck no. What we are going to do is take a tow strap, tie it to the tree, attach the other end to another BIG truck and PULL the tree out of the way.aIMG_4361 yes, that would be my first option. Well… even with the Darwinian approach to problem solving, it worked.

Speaking of hick… hehe… you would actually understand if you saw the owner… haha.aIMG_4375

And I just realized there hasn’t been an Andrew sighting yet this weekend, so here.aIMG_4368

That’s it. I may take a nap, see you later!

May Long – Day 1…

… We were out of town by 1pm. We forgot a couple of things so we stopped at Sobeys and picked them up. Unfortunately I forgot the one item I went in for in the first place. Oh well, we’ll get a can of coffee in Drumheller. aIMG_4303

It was raining off and on, with a few flakes of snow mixed in just for good measure, but by the time we arrived in Drum, it had cleared and was fairly nice out. I think it got up into the mid 40’s. Woowee, hot. well better than freezing I guess. Saturday is supposed to be nice, in the high 60`s.     

We got to the Dinosaur Trail RV Park early enough to not be hurried getting backed into out site and set up. aIMG_4293Our sites are in the middle of the park, in the widest sites, so they are pretty nice. The only better sites would be along the river, aIMG_4311but there tends to be a lot of kids and dog walkers behind the sites there. There are a few sites here that are REALLY close together. I think they are meant for tents, but this weekend they put in trailers instead. The awnings reach right over to the next camper. There is also a new section to the park that is completely in the open and just on new gravel. aIMG_4301It’s not very nice up there, so if you camp here, make sure you ask for a site down in the old treed area. We are in site 125 and we like it.

On the way out, we saw another perspective example. Earlier in the day we had an ambulance go rushing by us, and a few minutes later we came across the scene. A car had run the stop sign, had been clipped by the right of way traffic and ended up down a steep embankment in the ditch across the road. Probably in a hurry to get to the campground… so they could…. relax. huh. hurry up and relax.

We were hooked up and set up in no time, then Craig, his son Mitch and Mitch`s friend Tom arrived and I helped them get backed in and levelled.aIMG_4295 They have a really nice fiver, that is big enough to sleep comfortably 6 people and 3 dogs when the entire crew is out. Sherri and Brooke aren't here yet as Brooke is just getting home from a school trip to Quebec. They may come out Saturday.

We had cheese smokies for supper and then just hung around the trailer until Andrew was ready for sleep. I went over the Craig`s camp for a fire and Traci joined us once Andrew was asleep. aIMG_4322We just sat around catching up and then were ready for bed at about 10pm. We bought a new mattress and were looking forward to a REALLY good sleep in the camper. We transferred Andrew into the Pack and Play from our bed and then went to bed ourselves. Nothing much exciting for now, but we could use a little boredom and relaxation in our life right now. All is good! seeyou tomorrow!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The day has finally come…

We are going CAMPING tomorrow! yeehaw! We are off to Drumheller for the long weekend. We have booked full hookup sites in Dinosaur Trail RV Park, 10km West of town. We stayed there last October and really enjoyed the park, the staff and the surroundings.

This year we are camping with friends, so total there will be 4 adults, 4 teens, 1 infant and 5 dogs. I am looking forward to all the napping (when we get home, haha). Our TT will have only 2 of the adults, the infant and 2 dogs. Our friends do have a very big fiver that hold the rest of the campers on the list.

We will be off about noon tomorrow, and I am VERY happy to be blogging about camping finally! The weather is quite poor right now though, it is raining and about 35deg out right now, and it may snow tonight, but for the rest of the weekend we are looking at temps in the mid 60’s. hope I don’t get heat stroke.

Till, then.. we are on the road! yippee!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard. I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of. He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head; he then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.
An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out. The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour.
This continued off and on for several weeks.

Curious I pinned a note to his collar: 'I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.' The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar: 'He lives in a home with 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 - he's trying to catch up on his sleep.

Can I come with him tomorrow?'

This story was emailed to me today, thought it was really cute…

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Would the real Mother’s Day please stand up…

So, after all the fitness fairs, nice family dinners, road racing, and general mucking around, Traci had her Mothers Day. We were home from the race for about 3 minutes and the doorbell rings. It’s Charlotte’s Web Flowers and Gifts, delivering a massive basket full of Picnic supplies. I had actually put a note on the door, just in case they showed up before we got home, for them to put the basket in the Trailer. I had to rush into the house when we got home because the note was still stuck to the door.

So the basket shows up, and, wow, what a basket…IMG_4139

Woo. Let me see if I can remember all the stuff in it. A big bag of pretzels, can of pistachio nuts, Tube of Pringles, box of Breton crackers, a bunch of 8 bananas, 2 oranges, 3 apples, 3 pears, a package of Pepper Pate, a package of Cognac Pate, a wheel of Brie cheese, a block of Gouda Cheese, A basket of strawberries, a box of Chocolate Oreos,  and probably some more stuff I have forgotten. wow.

Traci left early this morning for the race, and I actually had to wake Andrew up to get down there in time, so he was WIPED out by the time we got home from downtown. He sacked out for about an hour and a half, I had a bit of a nap then started un-winterizing the trailer, and Traci got cleaned up and generally relaxed while we waited for Andrew to wake up.

Once Andrew got up, we had the Backpack loaded up and off we went for our picnic. We ended up in one of our favorite parks, George Lane Park in High River. It was an amazing afternoon, sunny, a bit cool in the breeze at first but the wind died completely and it was perfect then. Andrew sat up to the picnic table for probably a half hour eating Bretons, gouda, Oreos, oranges and Pringles and sipping apple juice. He was perfectly content to just sit and enjoy the afternoon. Once we were done with our very tasty picnic we just plomped around our area of the park. Andrew ran around like a goon, and we pretty much just chased and played with him for an hour. What fun!

I love you Mommy…IMG_4147

General running around pictures…

IMG_4166 IMG_4185IMG_4199 IMG_4223

Whoops, too fast, missed…IMG_4190 

WOW, I am CUTE…IMG_4194

Dad is whooped from chasing…  IMG_4205

Phew.. how about a rest…IMG_4228

Mom’s turn… looks like he got a bit of a lead on you… LOL, RUN!IMG_4208

I thought this was an interesting photo… only a couple days and all the leaves will be out.  Also, at this park, whenever they chop a tree down, they make a seat out of the stump, see one in the lower left corner?IMG_4215  

Once we got our fill of the park, we set out for a drink at the Hitchin Post, home of the WORLD’s greatest milkshake. For anyone who has had a Peter’s shake, HP shakes makes Peters taste like medicine.. Unfortunately, we forgot they take only cash (we didn’t have any, where’s Grampa when you need him), and there was a sign saying they close at 4pm today. We looked at the clock. 3:58. Darn. No shakes today. darn. Oh heck, let’s go to Tim Hortons in Okotoks for an Iced Capp. Ohh my, were they tasty. I think the first Iced Capp of the season is the tastiest, it really hit the spot after the disappointment of not having the shake.

That pretty much concluded the day’s excitement.

I did point out, as we were driving back toward Calgary, a sign to Traci. It said our exit was 4.7km away, and it happened to be across the valley and you could see the entire distance. I showed Traci, and asked her if she believed that she ran that far today? (it looks like a REALLY long way). It is amazing how far our own feet can take us. She just smiled. She seemed really happy with her second mothers day, from the race to the picnic, to just relaxing at home afterwards. I Love you Traci, and Andrew obviously does too! Happy Mother’s Day!