Tag Archives: Run for Water Marathon

The hangover

What now?

It’s been a week and a half since I last ran, which really isn’t that long at all, and yet, I feel kind of lost, like I have an emptiness in my belly… or legs, I should say. I see Facebook posts of girlfriends preparing for their next running adventures, I read blogs all about running, and magazines all about running, but I’m not running.

I don’t have a plan and I planned it that way. I’ve been training almost non-stop now for more than two years (aside from a couple months where I was recovering from injury) and I’ve felt for quite some time that I’ve needed a break from training. So, while my favourite running chicks were planning this run and that run, I purposely stayed quiet, I was not going to jump into anything new. I wanted a break and by golly I was going to get that break.

But now, I feel lost. It’s been a long time since I haven’t had a race in my sights. And my legs are aching to get out there, they want to run, but my brain and my social life desperately need the rest.

So, what now?

Clockwise from top: Goodlife Toronto Half, May 2011; Police Challenge (Brother-Sister 10k showdown) June 2011; Run for Water Marathon, May 2011; Portland Marathon, October, 2010.


  • 5 p.m. BG before: 7.3
  • Temp. basal: -100 per cent (1 hour)
  • Distance: 4 sets of 4 in the deep end with 1 long jog in between each set
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • 6:30 p.m. BG after: 5.4
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (1 hour)

Tonight’s aqua jogging with my most favourite ironchickie helped. After reading on the blog a few weeks ago about how I had done a few back-to-back all deep end laps in my last solo AJ session, she decided that’s what we’d be doing tonight. No wimping out. And you know, with that sweet New Zealand accent of hers, you just can’t say no – no matter if your legs are fatigued, or you’re gulping back Slurpee sized germ water, or your head’s going under, you keep going.

I’ve had a few people question whether aqua jogging can really be considered a sufficient exercise, some have even rolled their eyes at me, figuring it’s just a little walking here and there. Granted, if you don’t put the effort in, it can be a pretty slack endeavor. But tonight, both ironchickie (who’s like a super duper Ironman champion) and I were huffing and puffing between our non-stop chitter chatter fest.

I say proof is in the huff 😀


Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! I am so excited!!! Ohmygawd so excited!!! Want to know why? Because it’s birthday ice cream cake month!!! June is hands down my most favourite month of the year, a month I prepare for for 11 straight months. With myself and two siblings sharing this birthday month, as well as my grandma and neice, and all but one of us loving Dairy Queen ice cream cake, you’ve kind got to train for it – that’s a lot of ice cream cake eating! What? Did you really think I ran those two marathons for my health? or because I actually love running for nearly 5 hours straight? Hell no! It’s all for the ice cream cake my friends! Happy almost birthday to me!!!

FYI: This is NOT the optimal size!

After writing my last post, I was reminded at just how amazing my blogging community is here. Every one of your comments touched me to the core of my heart, and I sincerely thank you. Although I found it interesting that about 95 per cent of you don’t seem to believe I’m done with marathons … maybe you’re right. I should know by now never to say never especially after shouting out “never again” with less than a kilometre to go in my last marathon and then just two days later planning how I could do better. And while I’m most definitely not at that stage, my initial stance on doing another marathon has somewhat softened – not because I enjoy running them, but because, as many of you noted, I really would like to kick its ass.

Don’t take this the wrong way, because I was honestly happy that I was able to shave 00:10:17 off my first marathon time, that’s huge, I know that. But what I wasn’t happy with is that I felt like I gave up, like I let Marathon get the better of me, let him beat me, and that pisses me off. Like even in the last 700 metres, when I knew I’d only be needing to run a few minutes tops, I couldn’t find the gumption within me, not even a crumb of it, to keep going, I was still taking walk breaks. It wasn’t until I saw that finish line that I found another level to push. It was like a carbon copy ending to my first marathon, except this time I wasn’t physically falling apart. Not exactly the way a competitive princess such as myself wanted to end things.

So, that all being said I have a couple things to figure out before I can even think about attempting another marathon:

  1. I need to figure out my race-day (and long run) stomach issues, whether it’s the gels, which I didn’t have any of on Sunday, if it’s food in general, or if it’s my nervous belly spiraling me into tumult. And if it is my nervous belly, I need to figure out how to get rid of those damn nerves.
  2. I also need to figure out how to push through the exhaustion, how to dig deeper, how to fight through the physical and mental pain when all I want to do is stop.

If I can solve those two puzzles, then maybe I’ll contemplate another.

It’s not enough to just finish with a smile.

In the meantime, I plan to take my marathon aggression out on the halfs.
New goal: A sub 2:00:00 baby!!!

Boulevard of broken dreams

Dear Marathon,
You and me, we are so over. And let me be clear on this, it was you, not me that ruined this relationship. Yes, yes, I know I was the one who sought you out, who longed for your elusive, bad boy ways, but I’ve done you twice now, and both times you kind of sucked ass. I mean seriously, did you really think we were going to last when you repeatedly punched me in the gut for 20 straight kilometres, and joyously cackled when my legs seized up at 30 kms, and laughed at my blister-clad feet, and taunted me with every shaky step I took. Really? Yeah, no. And don’t you try to come crawling back to me with your gold trinkets, because it won’t work, I’m done, I’m moving on … with your half cousin! Who’s laughing now jerk face?
Sincerely, Princess

6:30 a.m. BG before: 8.4 (1 Sharkies)
Temp. basal: -50 per cent (5.5 hours)
Distance: 42.2 km
Average pace: 6:35 min/km
Time: 4:44:24 (chip time)
@45 min: 1 fig newton + 1 DEX. @90 min: 1/2 a racecake. @2:15: 2 DEX (after that, food kind of fell off the map)

12:00 p.m. BG after: 4.8

The upside of this marathon is I shaved 10 minutes and 17 seconds off my Portland time making it another personal best just two weeks after garnering that amazing half PB in Toronto. The downside, I wanted to do better. I started out great, like really great, I was keeping a consistent 6:00 minute per kilometre pace and was on par for a 4:15 finishing time for about 23 km of the race, despite the feeling of blisters forming on my left foot at about 17 km in and the tossing and turning of my belly, which started at about 10 km in and continued right up until about 32 km.

6 km: Running like a kid!

13 km: Still smiling!

20.5 km: Little Miss Speedy Gonzalez caught up and surged ahead like nothing, finishing nearly 20 minutes ahead of me!

The second half of the race, I completely fell apart, 100 per cent. My stomach got worse, the thought of food had me gagging, my legs seized up, I was over-heating, I ran out of water, a couple of the water stations had also run low on water, I was fatigued like I’d never been fatigued before, and with about 9 km to go, I found it increasingly harder to muster up the energy to dig deeper. My pace slowed, my walk breaks lengthened, and I started questioning why the hell I was putting myself through such torture?

24 km: Starting to feel the boulevard of broken dreams

And yet despite me falling apart, and despite my goal of a 4:15 finish crashing and burning, and despite my vow never to return, this marathon had to have been one of the most special races I have ever completed. And I owe it all to the people.

Going into this race, I was skeptical. I didn’t think a small-town event could compare to the likes of Portland or Toronto, not even close. Well, it’s time for a retraction. The smaller race atmosphere had me running next to two guys I had never met and would never have talked to at a big race. But for almost the entire run, we ran together, paced each other, encouraged each other.

Thanks 5451!

And while there weren’t thousands of spectators lining the streets, there were way more than I thought there would be, and not just people cheering on their respective runners, but also people who lived at the houses and farms we ran by: an old guy who lined up water bottles and coke cans on his fence and who himself was perched on his front porch waving and smiling; kids scribbling encouraging messages on the pavement with coloured chalk; hockey fanatics blaring a “score” horn and a recording of fans cheering every time one of us runners passed by. And the most special of all were my cheerleaders!

Mario had mapped out a route for him and his Lapierre to meet me at various spots along the course, which was awesome, and kept me in such high spirits as it gave me something to look forward to.

Lapierre in the country.

At 30 km, when my mind started failing me, I saw this woman bouncing all over the place and across the street from her, I saw this guy buried in the high grass with just his head and shoulders showing and I was like what the hell, I couldn’t figure it out. As I got closer, I realized it was Mario, but why was his back to me, why was his camera directed at the crazy lady across the street? And then I figured it out. MOM!

Look at that sign!!!

At 34 km, my brother and sisters and nephews joined the cheering squad, and my goodness they were so super loud, I could hear them from practically a kilometre back – it was a boost I so desperately needed!

A princess-perfect pit crew!

I had no idea my sister was running after me until I saw the video after 😀

They are the reason I finished this race. They are the reason I kept to my motto: Run like a kid. Finish with a smile. How could I not smile with those cheers? And with my birthday just six days a way (Happy almost birthday to me!) I can honestly say, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect present!

Finishing with a smile!

Thanks guys! Love you to pieces!

The final count down

Let the count down begin! In T – 12 hours my feet will be racing across that start line and will keep going for another four plus hours. Am I nervous? Nah. Excited? A little. Turns out my endless poking and prodding, urging and reminding (and maybe a little of the threatening to bring out the voodoo dolls) actually worked. I’m pretty sure, by the phone conversations, email back and forth and Facebook messages I’ve had in the last two days, a large contingent of my immediate family will be cheering me on at the Finish LIne. And that alone, along with Mario and Lappiere cheering me on at different locales, will keep me going, and will surely, even if it kills me, have me finishing with a smile. I LOVE MY FAMILY!!!

Today has been all about the preparations, clothing preparations, mental preparations (getting your hair done fits in that category right?) and food preparations.

Bringing back the racecakes

Gimme some figgy … newton???

I’ve never run on fig newtons before, but I’ve heard lots of good things about them from other runners, and because I’m pretty darn desperate for fuel options in light of my recent issues with the GU Dry Heaves, and because I’m pretty picky in what I feel comfortable eating while running (nothing gewy or sticky that might get stuck in my teeth and nothing sharp that might get caught in my throat – how unfortunate would that be?) I figured I’d give the newtons a go. They have more sugar than the GU, but less carbs. And keep in mind the serving size is for two cookies, which I know I will not be consuming all at once.

GU: Calories: 100. Carbs: 25g. Sugars: 5g.
Figs: (for 2): Calories: 90. Carbs: 21g. Sugars: 12g.

I have no idea how the fig newtons will affect my blood sugars, or how they’ll affect my belly, or if they’ll give me the fuel boost I’ll so desperately need. But, I’ve been testing them for two days now (with insulin) and I sure do like the taste 😀

And the final food prep of the day, my traditional pre-race/pre-Sunday run dinner (red wine not shown):

Tomorrow’s motto: Run like a kid. Finish with a smile.

Like night and day

So, in just a little over two days I will be embarking upon my second full marathon, and you know what, I’m totally okay with it. I’m not freaking out, my mind is not acting like it’s been given a two-day dose of speed, and my nervous belly isn’t doing any flips, not yet at least. I’m totally calm, despite the horrific memories of my first marathon, despite hardly running beyond my Sunday runs the last two weeks, despite having no clue how my belly will react to the fuel this time around and whether or not I’ll be having to dash into the not-yet-grown cornfields along the route. Wow, how the mind does change hey.

Anyone remember this pic?

You may recall some of my posts leading up to my first marathon almost eight months ago. I was a friggin’ wreck, waking up one day with the sweats and gut aches, having anxiety attacks, threatening to quarantine myself in a hazmat suit. I was a mess. But so far, this time around, I haven’t experienced any of that, none of it. So then I was thinking, why? I mean I am totally the kind of person who blows things way out of proportion, and a second marathon where I most definitely want to do better than the first, I should theoretically be freaking out. But I’m not, I’m more freaked out about the 10 km run I’m doing with my brother two weeks later (more on that later). So what’s the deal, what’s different? Well folks, I think I may have discovered a second reason to embrace this race:

Because it’s in my hometown, and because it’s along the roads that I regularly train on when I’m with my favourite running chicks, it doesn’t feel like a race, not yet at least. I think, in my head, I’ve got it pegged as just another Sunday run, a much faster Sunday run mind you, but a Sunday run nonetheless. And you know what, I am perfectly okay with that 😀

And for your viewing pleasure, here are a couple of the, uhm, more interesting posts leading up to my last marathon. Enjoy.
Oct. 4, 2010: Getting my freak on
Oct. 5, 2010: With a little help from my friends

Prospect: lonely road

I should have known – I should have known! How can an inaugural marathon, in my hometown no less, possibly compare to a 40-year-old marathon in one of my most favourite cities that consistently brings out tens of thousands of people? It can’t. No possible way. Abbotsford is not Portland, not even close. So really, I shouldn’t have been too, too surprised that the upcoming marathon is turning out to be a bit of a, uhm, bush-league operation dare I say.

I know I shouldn’t be hard on it, it’s in its first year, it’s raising money for a great cause, and I haven’t even run the blimy thing. It could be great for all I know. But, quite honestly, I was spoiled by Portland. Yes it rained like a bloody mofo, but the expo was pretty awesome and they really did treat you like a superstar as we should be treated. And then last weekend in Toronto, while the expo wasn’t nearly as extravagant, it was still pretty good. And I guess I’ve come to kind of expect, when I run these distances, to get treated like a princess, I mean really, is that so much to ask for? Really?

Apparently it is. Last week I got an email from the organizers informing me that there would be 200 marathoners, and I know that they couldn’t exactly control how many people signed up for the race, but still my heart plummeted a little. While I’m not a huge fan of people (sorry guys), I do like that atmosphere of people around me, people to chase, people to get annoyed with when they pass me, people to understand my desires and my pains, people who wouldn’t even blink an eye with thoughts of crazy when I start belting out Livin’ On a Prayer in the last 10 kms. But on Sunday, am I really going to have that? Or, am I going to be facing a whole lot of lonely road?

And with that, how many cheerleaders are going to be on the sidelines yelling out our names, cheering us on, pushing us that one step further? Those cheerleaders are so, so important and I really do fear we will be lacking that this time around. Luckily for me, I’ve got a rather large extended family who, hear me now dear brothers and sisters, I will dig out the voodoo dolls for if they don’t come out. (ps. They can cheer you all on too :D)

Now I can’t promise they’ll be dressed in such fancy duds, but I have heard that one or two of them might be in spandex!!!

I was also notified that the roads would only be open for 5 hours, which for me shouldn’t be too big a deal as long as nothing goes wrong, but what about the first time marathoners, what about the ones who hit the wall, who have pukey bellies, or are hobbling on a IT band crippled leg just to make it to that finish line? How defeating would that be, working so hard to make it to the finish line and there not actually be a finish line. And yes I know it’s a huge rigamarole to close down the roads, etc., etc., but shouldn’t that have been thought of? Oh wait, it was. Apparently if some people don’t feel they can finish in that time, they can start at 6 a.m. – when the roads are not yet closed off! Awesome.

And my final gripe is that they’ve only got the package pickup on one day – with NO expo by the way (but I wasn’t really expecting one) – and that one day is on Saturday, which means, I’m going to have to drive into Abbotsford when I was hoping I’d be able to pick it up on the Friday on my way home from work. Can you say inconvenient?

But then again, I knew in January when I signed up for this marathon that it wasn’t for the locale, and it sure as heck wasn’t for the loot. This marathon, as flawed as it may be, has something that Portland never had: my favourite running chicks! So, it really can’t be that bad can it 😀

What was your best/worst race?