Thursday, January 29, 2009

Run for Reasons

Some fun news! Actually, two things are fun in the Run Mommy house...

Joints in Motion: I had a fantastic experience participating in the WDW marathon weekend in January and it was very fulfilling to participate with the Joints in Motion Training Team. Obviously we have a personal reason to participate with this group but I would put it out there for all to consider. There are so many great reasons and organizations out there and I have no doubt that people want to do things like this for issues close to their heart. However, you might know someone who suffers from arthritis or other autoimmune diseases or perhaps it is even something that you yourself have experienced. Maybe you have considered participating for a cause but don't have one that is of high importance to you. The Arthritis Society does not necessarily have the same level of exposure as other groups do so they could use your help. To stay in theme with my previous post - It is a great way to make your running feel exceptional. If you don't know someone that could be your hero for the cause.. I happen to have a great little fair-haired arthritis hero for you to borrow.... :)
I have decided to participate in the Barbados Marathon event with the The Arthritis Society (Canada) JIM team. I am sure the Arthritis Foundation (US) does something similar as we saw a lot of team shirts at WDW. The Barbados event is in December 2009 so there is plenty of time to get registered and raise the funds. Trust me when I say that you will have a very fun time. Marci is in too....right Marci???
Second fun order of business... My better half has decided to train and run his first half marathon! I am very excited because I really wanted this sport to be something that could do together. I know there are significant limitations to this because of his long work hours, travelling schedule and the fact there are few times we can run together with two little kids. However, I really want to encourage him. The best part - we are going to Walt Disney World again!!! Him and I are going to go back to Disney in Jan 2010 because he wants his first race to be there too. We are both going to run the 1/2 marathon and I may toss around the Goofy...we will see. This time we are going to try and sneak away for the weekend WITHOUT the kids but going to WDW without our kids might be some very bad parenting. Unless we don't tell them... :)
Fun times all around! Now if only I could get rid of this nagging pain coming back to my foot.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Revolutionary Run

I recently watched the movie Revolutionary Road. I must admit, it could be a chick flick but I am certain their are men out there who would really enjoy it. The two main actors were exceptional (hello Leo) and it was quite a statement on suburban living...even it was in the 50's. After I saw it, I was running and could not stop thinking about it!

In the past I have mentioned that I tend to make up crazy stories while I run and of course this was no exception. I imagined a very elaborate story involving a bottle of wine, a set of poolside deck chairs and Leo's glorious eyes..I digress.

In the movie, there is Frank a spirited young man with goals and aspirations who eventually falls into the same non-descript job his father held where he rides the train to the city and sits at a cubicle. April is his wife who at one time wanted to be an actress but now finds herself in the position of doting housewife and mother waiting while her man brings home the bacon. The tone of the movie is that of the deadening impact of cultural suburbia turning its occupants into lifeless souls. Without giving too much away, you feel sorry for both characters at one point or another and I doubt there is anyone out there that does not find some mirroring in their own relationship.

I live in the suburbs, I have a loving husband that I adore, 2 children - a boy and girl of which the boy is older, a two story house, 2 cars and a small yard with a wooden jungle gym. I work outside of the home but let's face it, despite my vast education, my salary would hardly pay the bills making the man of the house the primary breadwinner. He commutes to work and often comes home to his dinner warming up in the oven. So despite the generations between this film's story and now, I find myself in a nearly comparable position. Does that mean I will eventually face the same crumbling grip on reality? In some ways, I chose this life but it's not like I laid out a set of instructions and checked them off my list.. Two story house in the burbs - check, one boy and one girl - check. Trip to Italy for the weekend - check (oops scratch that - that was my other life).

Running along, I wondered if I was at risk of being sucked into the vortex of suburbia wasteland. It occurred to me that there was one dramatic difference - no where in the movie did the female lead follow through on something extraordinary. As much as I beat on myself when I miss a few runs because of the other things that fill my life, I still run a lot more than most people out there. I have no idea what the stats are but I am certain there is only a small percentage of people (particularly women) that can run for more than 20 minutes at a time. In the film, April is likely feeling the effects of not only her compromised life but also the list of accomplishments unfilled. Disappointment in yourself can be more toxic than swimming in one of our polluted water bodies.

I decided that if people only found something that makes them feel extraordinary than perhaps your soul would stay in tact - even if you live in a brick box surrounded by other, nearly identical brick boxes. When I run, I feel the blood pumping and the lungs filling and I love the sound my feet make when hitting the ground and even the strange twinge I get in my 35 year old hips that have borne two children. When I run in events the energy around me from the participants and the spectators is as addictive as refined sugar. The ever popular "runners high" can ride along with me all day helping to ward off the blues, lower the blood pressure and keep stress under control.

There is no doubt that I will never win a gold medal or even my age category. I don't have lunch with political power houses, take weekend trips to Peru or write bestselling novels but running is an extraordinary aspect of my existence. I am certain that running provides me the capacity to be a great mom, a loving wife and productive citizen. It lets me exist in my cookie cutter life and still be fulfilled as a human being. I hope that everyone that runs realizes that as much as running does not define you, it certainly is part of the definition.

That said, I have get going because I have cookies in the oven -- and their burning. :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Saturday Summary

I never do this but it is what it's my summary of thoughts for this week in very boring but comprehensive bullet points:

- Tomorrow will be long run of Week 1 of Marathon #2 training...did that sentence make any sense??
- Most runs this week were on a treadmill. I hang my Canadian head in shame
- I was MOSTLY dedicated to eating Clean all week with the small exception of some french fries last night at my sister's house (reason to follow)
- My sister is hours, days (maybe a week) from having her first (and only) baby. Her husband fell down and broke his leg yesterday and now is in a constant state of drug induced pain relieve while sitting with feet up on the couch. All the mothers out there are cringing in shock and empathy for my sister while the men are thinking about the modern of version of a wife who spends her time barefoot and pregnant while serving him (come know you are a little :) :)
- My husband is leaving tomorrow morning for work until the end of January leaving me to handle all these things, make it to my job, manage my children and complete week #2 of training. Ummmm
- My 3 year old has a chest infection that has turned her into a demon spawn even thought I feel so bad for her as she coughs out her lungs.
- My 6 year old is having school yard drama with in his "bestest buddy" club that has him broken hearted and slowly slipping into a Nintendo DS coma - intervention underway
- Positives: my husband got his bonus which makes our 10th anniversary trip to Paris in August that much more likely!
- I got myself a snappy new haircut that I actually like (bless you Katie Holmes for bringing back the bob..)
- My husband and I are going to watch a movie tonight that we both really want to see (all those "youngins" are laughing at how excited I am about our plans. Love my thirties..LOL!)

I hope I didn't totally bore everyone today. I do feel much better and excited to get out for my run in the ice cold wind and air!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Middle Place

First let me aplogize in advance to my male blogging friends.  As much as I try to stay gender neutral in my posts..I could not ignore this one.  Feel free to check in after a day or two when I assure you, I will be back to normal...

Now for the women...There are many things swirling around the internet, in books, magazines, TV informercials etc..that make me a little ashamed of our gender.  I often wonder what goes through a women's mind when she is exposing intimate parts of herself (literally) on facebook or myspace or offering up her services in a way that should be her power and not her weakness.  However, I have never picked up a paycheck from Playboy either so who am I to judge?  :) 

From time to time, I come across something that makes me smile and feel glad that we live in a time when access to information is so plentiful and that positive and confirming messages are out there for all generations of women.   This video was sent to me by another woman whose strength and fortitude is equally matched by her killer scallop potatoes.  It makes me glad to be a woman and I hope you ladies will all feel the same.

Again, I promise that next post will back to my regular commentary on my hatred for the winter, runners highs and lows and the occasional rant on the price of milk. 

Thanks to all the ladies for being just that. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Week One of Marathon #2 Training

So here I go again..this time I have a much different perspective AND a specific time goal. I spent lots of time last night after the kidlets went to bed planning out my training strategy. I have to consider not only my goals but also my life and how to fit everything in it. I think I once gave the advice to someone that you have to consider your life schedule when planning your training goals otherwise you are only making this hard on yourself...I am trying to accept that advice for myself. :)

A friend gave me the same book that I think Marci and Aron have both used so I spent a long time looking through that. It was a bit complex at times but it made a lot of sense. The mileage is pretty hefty so I am taking a piece of that training plan, a piece of what I learned from the Running Room and a piece of what I know of myself personally (as well as the demands of my life). From this I have developed my customized "Run Mommy" schedule! I even charted it out in a spreadsheet and posted it on my fridge with specific instructions for each day. So begins Week 1.

Some major considerations with my new plan are that I want to improve my overall time (significantly) and I would like to have full confidence going into the marathon (May 24th). This marathon is in Ottawa which is not necessarily local but also not thousands of miles away so it is not piggy backing on a family vacation. Another positive is that the really long runs are still a few weeks away so hopefully the bulk if this nightmare weather will be on its way out.

I also will be a little more strict on making sure I follow the plan but won't beat myself silly if things get a little muddled up. Life is going to happen and unless someone wants to pay me to stay home and train full time while also covering the expenses of a full time nanny, housekeeper, cook, driver and wife (oops...I think that last one might be illegal and not in my best interest), I have to accept that it is what it is. My husband is being fully supportive so onward march!

Lastly, I will not sacrifice my other activities for running all the time. I will return to my once a month tennis tournament and I am playing soccer again for the first time since the birth of baby number 2. It is not exactly as competative as I used to play but I am pretty excited about it!

I do feel a lot "cooler" now that I can contribute to other chats on the blogs with little things like "...when I did my first marathon..." and "'s the advice that I can give..." Its like I finally graduated. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Disney 2009 Race Report

Wow, I have really looked forward to writing this one! First let me say that we had a fantastic time and no matter what - I have absolutely no regrets. That said, you must forgive me in advance as I will like slip between family fun photos and race moments. Not the typical format for a proper race report but this was not a proper race (for me anyway!).

Thursday we headed off the airplane and it was the first time on a plane for the kids. I was nervous for them but they were excited and LOVED the take off. Descending was not as fun for my little one but it quickly passed as they realized we were in Florida!
Getting excited on the plane

This is Daddy, calm cool and relaxed (because he is on the opposite aisle from kids :)
Thursday night we arrive at the All-Star Sports Resort in Disney World and the over-stimulation has begun! My 6 year old son was the perfect candidate for a WDW vacation as he LOVED every second of it.

Getting the Sword from the Stone
Walking up to the Castle for the first time
Driving the race car with Poppa...(notice Poppa almost having a heart attack with a three year old girl at the wheel.)
Jedi in training vrs Darth Vader (my son's highest point of the trip - absolutely)
So much to see at once...
A REALLY cool stunt show with lots of explosions and fast cars husband and son were literally at the edge of their seats. Me however...let's just say this was the day after the marathon and our seats where several steps down---- several. Enough said.
The magic of the castle can really get you - even the grown ups!

We arrived on Thursday and left on Tuesday. I went into this event with the full intention of completing a marathon, raising lots of money for the Joints in Motion and having a fantastic family vacation. I had no expectations of the marathon and although I had some hopes for a finish time, I was not prepared to sacrifice my other goals to do it. We'll get to that later...

Friday was the run expo and the reception where I spoke to the team. I was happy with my speech and I think it came off ok?? I have no pictures of it but I understand the chairperson of the team took quite a few so I am sure I will get some sent to me. It was more emotional than I had thought it would be and at the end when everyone stood up and was clapping - I had myself a short but thorough breakdown. This whole experience has been pretty overwhelming so it was worth a few minutes of weepy! After a few moments all was well and we headed off to dinner and to the expo!

First let me say that Disney's Wide World of Sports was pretty cool. The expo was very spread out so you got your number and chip at one spot, walk, walk, walk, climb stairs, out door, across path, walk, walk, walk and head into place where you get your t-shirt and kit, walk around and into expo. At bit confusing but there were no lines despite the thousands of people. Having the expo over several days probably helped. Bear in mind, I have little to compare it to so my standards are low. However, I didn't get much time to wander around the expo because I had my whole family with me but I did manage to get a cool sweater to commemorate the event. The T-shirts were also really nice - and long sleeved.

The next day was Saturday when they were having the 1/2 marathon. This is where things start to get a little different then I would normally do (and probably most of you would do). I had a lot of debate about how to handle the days coming into the marathon. The brain in my head said I should lay low and perhaps hang around the pool for the day. My husband and parents agreed to take the kids into a park so I can cool out. I had already decided that this was not going to happen. I did not come all this way with my family (for my daughter) just to let them have all the fun and miss out of the faces of little kids in the happiest place ever! The day before I had stayed at the Animal Kingdom for only 1/2 the day because I had to head out to my reception and expo so I didn't want to miss anymore. So...I went to the park with kids and we had a FANTASTIC time for our second day in the parks. We didn't stay late but we had a fun day none the less. I did everything possible to stay off my feet as much as I could and my husband did all the chasing around and getting of things. Thankfully, the lines were short or non-existent so this was not a concern. We were back at the hotel by 4pm and had a quiet evening.

Sunday morning we had to be up by 2:45 for the bus to pick us up around 3:15 (yes, that is AM). Of course I was up at 1:30 with nerves and concern for the alarm waking up my children. (Lesson 2 on the things I will do differently next time is not to stay in a room with my husband and children the night before. Again however, I wouldn't have changed it this time). On the bus and the nerves are really setting in now. There were so many people at the start line and it seemed so crazy that all these people were up so early! The line ups for the port potty's were not too bad but after already having thousands of people through them the day before for the 1/2 marathon - they were NASTY. Really nasty.

We got into our corral and waited and waited...I was nervous but not too bad. The start was fantastic with lots of TV screens and speakers so everyone could see and hear what was happening. The fireworks went off and off we went! When I say off we went, I mean that we started our slow crawl toward the start line and waited at least 15 minutes before we could start running.

Lesson Three in my first marathon - how to maneuver around crowds during a race. This is where more race experience would have come in handy. Thankfully, I had a very experienced team mate who helped me out with this. It was easy to get trapped in a corner or forced back to accommodate others. The first 3 or 4 miles was through Epcot and the space was a bit tight! In this race, the first few corrals started at a different location and then we all merged together at mile 4. It was really cool to look around - especially since the park was closed but there were lots of employees and of course characters to greet us!

After exiting Epcot, we began the first of three long stretches of highway. I was feeling really great and keeping up a solid 4:50 - 5 hour pace. Lots of people stopped to get pictures taken with characters but the lines were long and I was not about to give up any more time. Of course I had to pee and I managed to sneak into a men's washroom before we exited Epcot. I noticed that a lot of people (not just men) dropped their drawers wherever it seemed natural and did what they had to do! This also applied to the BioFreeze and the Vaseline (let's just say I saw my fair share of things that will stick in my head a bit too much if you know what I mean).

The stretches outside of the parks where on closed highways which were OK first thing in the AM. The temp was still cool and energy was high enough for it not to be a problem. Heading into the Magic Kingdom at Mile 10 was AWESOME! There were tons of people (even though the park wasn't open yet). I had told my family not to try and find me during the race because it would have been hard to cart around the kids but then I sort of regretted it when I saw so many people cheering on their friends and family. However, lots of people shouted out my name and people from the Joints in Motion team were great about being out on the course with a large t-shirt on a stick so they could be found. I ran through the castle - THE castle! It was fantastic. Lesson Number 4 - learn where the photographers are likely to be so that you get a great shot. I was nearly tossed into the moat (if there was one) with people trying to get their picture done by the several photographers on the other side of the castle. By the way, all the race pictures aren't available until Friday so we have to wait - that is a bummer.

We left the Magic Kingdom and got back on a highway headed to the Animal Kingdom. Again, we saw some great characters and passed lots of cool cheer teams. We headed into Animal Kingdom at around Mile 16 and at this point, I was starting to hurt. This was the first time (among many) that I started to have doubts about finishing. I was really hurting and it was getting hot and about 3 hours had nearly passed. Up to this point, I had kept myself entertained chatting with others around me and reading the many, many great shirts and signs people were wearing or holding. I was totally enjoying the creative costumes and the number of people who wore tiaras, funny hats, fairy wings.. My favourite shirt that I saw said "This is my first marathon. If you can read this, you aren't going to finish either!". I thought that was great. I saw that girl near the end and gave her nice boost for finishing! Going through the Animal Kingdom I got a bit of boost because I love it there and I saw a wedding proposal! It was really cute and there was lots of cheering for them. As we came of this park and headed out the highway again - the worst part of the entire race.

Miles 18-22 were hands down the worst part of the race. At this point, it was very hot, I was sore and exhausted. There was nothing to look at but asphalt and I was tired of reading people's shirts and signs. There were fewer spectators and I had already released my teammate from my slow pace and let her carry forward. I wanted to quit very badly and if I could have found a way to do it with some dignity I would have. Then I came across a woman who was feeling much the same way. She let me use her cell phone to call my family and then her and I ran together for next several miles. I picked up the pace as did she and we got a bit of second wind as we approached mile 22 coming in Hollywood Studios park. This was fun because we went through the centre and the parks were open and busy now. Power Rangers jumped out at us and I think this is where we saw Captain Jack Sparrow?? I can't remember now.

Outside of this park we went past a fancy resort between Mile 24 and 25. I was feeling better and now I knew I was going to finish it. At this point, a sub 5 hour was out of the question and I found myself struggling to get a sub 6 hour! I had myself a brief moment of contempt for my lost time earlier on and tried picking it up to make sure I didn't go over 6 hours. As I came into Epcot I was REALLY hurting and when I saw the sign for mile 25 and fell apart. The whole experience was catching up with me and fact that I was just over a mile away from the end had me totally overwhelmed. I kept thinking, the end of around the corner, around the corner and where is my family??? Finally I saw them just as I came up to the Mile 26 marker.

From what I understand, one of the Joints in Motion people took pictures of me when I ran up to my family to give them hugs. I was a total wreck but this point so I am sure those are really pretty. :( I am sure she will send them along and I will include them a second post called the "the Good, the Bad and Ugly". :)
It seemed like eternity before the finish line presented itself but I made it there. I even had the good sense to give a sign of victory to the cameras as I crossed over! I think the time was over 6 hours but to be very honest I am not sure. I really don't want to know and happy to keep it that way. I happily crept my way to the chip removal and the medal which I couldn't wait to get. As I made my way to the friends and family tents, I felt a huge rush but at the same time I was really having a hard time breathing. I ended up getting a few minutes of medical attention but then all was well. There were lots of teammates at the "A" (for Arthritis) and my family found their way over there and I had myself yet another meltdown. Again, I know there were several pictures of this taken by the Arthritis Society so I will be sure to post. My husband, son and daughter had cheered hard for me (and apparently lots of others!) and my Dad (and Mom) was over the moon with pride. I am told that everyone in their general area of the crowd knew our story and they were all cheering when I came around. I must admit, I barely remember this but I don't doubt it for a second.
So now I have this!
I must admit that after that race (and probably several times during) I swore this was it for me. There was no way that I would do another full marathon. However, now that a few days have passed I realize that I will do it again and this time the purpose will be different. The goal then will be for a time goal and training and prep will be much different.
Most of the pictures above were taken after the marathon. Yes, I went home after the marathon, had a shower and we headed out to the parks for the rest of the day and ALL of the next day. It was excruciating most of the time and taking stairs downhill was like knives in my thighs but I was not alone! It was like belonging to a private club as all other participants who proudly wore their medals around the park gave the compassionate nod or exchanged looks of "yes, I feel your pain". My Dad told everyone who asked about my medal how I ran my first marathon and my kids kept asking me if my legs were hurting or if I was tired. Of course I lied and said no but that was all part of it. Employees in the parks would congratulate me and park visitors would ask about how it was. I could not ask for anything more and I have learned many great lessons that I will take with me. However, I would do it all again - exactly the same way because the outcome was fantastic.
Moving on to Number 2! TI hope the others that were at Disney had a great time and I can't wait to read their posts. Thanks again to everyone for all their great comments and kind words - I am really, really lucky. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mission Accomplished

It's done!  I have SOOOO much to say but we just got home tonight and now I am doing MOUNTAINS of laundry so that my son will make it to school tomorrow.  I promise to update tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Here we go! Today I am working then packing, organizing and fretting over details but tomorrow we are off! Children have counted to the sleeps to 1 and I believe I spent more money in the last 2 days then a few months ago when we actually paid for our trip.

Thanks to everyone for all the encouraging words and now all I can do is go and do it! I pray I don't let anyone down and that we have a perfect family vacation.

Good luck to all others running Disney this weekend and if you see a blond woman wearing a lime green singlet that says "Joints and Motion" and a hat that says " Reese's Runners" , who may or may not be in motion at the time - feel free to kick her in the butt and say "Get MOVING!" :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I've Done it Again!

It is Sunday morning and here I am at the computer while my children watch Scooby-Doo.  I have gone back and forth on my last run today pre marathon and still in debate.  Two problems...first - it is FREEZING outside.  Yesterday I ran 6k outside and I was so cold that my face was totally numb by the time I got home.  This morning is even more cold.  Secondly- my foot has really flared up in the past weeks and I am a little nervous about doing anything to it before next Sunday (one week!!).   What to do...

On other notes, I have done it!  I registered for my second marathon!  I happy to report that I actually have the start of my 2009 schedule. 

Jan 11 - Disney marathon!
March 29th  - Run Around the Bay 30k (maybe)
May  24th - Ottawa Marathon (registered!)
June 13th - Durham Region Forest Trail Run (Sport Distance for my first trail run)
Sept 27th - Scotiabank 1/2 marathon Toronto
Oct 18th - Goodlife Toronto Marathon (probably - as an employee of Goodlife I should participate in at least one event and I discovered the relay was not for me)

There is the matter of finding at least one other marathon outside of Canada (as per my New Years Resolutions).  I plan on doing one other event in 2009 with the Arthritis Society and I am deciding between three:

Big Sur - California in April.  This looks absolutely spectacular!  I am a little concerned because it is in April (sooner than later) and it is VERY hilly.  However, the course cannot be ignored. 

Europe Marathon (Trieste, Italy) - May 9th.  I would love to do this one as the group from the Arthritis Society is enormous but the marathon is small.  The crowd support is not huge but come on's Italy!  However, it is significantly more expensive and it is unlikely my hubby could come with me. It seems a shame to go to Italy without my husband. Uuumm...

Barbado's Marathon (Dec 4th) - There are positives and negatives to this one.  The positives are the location (obviously) and that it is not until December so possibly my hubby can come too.  The negatives are that the comments on this race are not that great.  The organization is reported to be inconsistent and the local support is low.  

What to do??