Archive for January, 2015

Just When You Think You Know A Guy…

My husband and I are one of those weird high school sweetheart stories. We dated all through high school and college, and then got married at 21 and 22 years old. We lived happily ever after with our three kids and our cows on a farm in the middle of nowhere. I kid you not. What are the odds of a high school relationship actually lasting long term? Pretty slim. We’re just cool like that. ūüėČ

So after a total of seventeen years together (married for ten), I’ve got the guy pretty well figured out. He hates raisins and can spit them out of otherwise tasty baking like¬†watermelon seeds. He has a soft spot for baby animals and vintage farm machinery, and loves the smell of dirt waiting to be seeded in the spring. He has a strong dislike for hipsters. And his eyes glaze over when I talk about running.

“I don’t run unless something is chasing me.” That has been Brett’s go-to line for the past couple of years. It’s usually preceded by a neighbour saying “I saw your crazy wife out running again. You never go with her, hey? Hahaha!” or something similar.

So when he casually asked me one evening if my treadmill was set for kilometres or miles I was completely¬†caught off guard. “Killlllommmmmetresssss…. ummmmm, whyyyyyy?” When he replied, “I went for a walk after lunch,” I almost fell over. Seriously. Brett is a pretty naturally fit guy, just from doing his daily jobs around the farm, but to actually seek out physical activity was completely out of character. A high school football knee injury had left him with permanent¬†ligament damage and pain if he works it too hard. A giant custom brace (“go-go-Gadget leg!”) helps, but is uncomfortable and awkward.

The next evening, Brett walked past me with a look that told me not to dare say a word and went downstairs. I heard the treadmill start and him walking. I went down to check on him after a while and was met with a defiant stare. “No making fun of me for exercising!” After I gently reminded him that I had run 18 km that morning and was the last person on earth who would dream of making fun of anyone – especially my stubborn farmer – for exercising, I turned to leave. What he said next stopped me in my tracks. “I’m thinking of walking the 5K in Vegas while you’re running the half.”

“For real?!”

“Well yeah, I’ll be there anyway, so I may as well go for a walk while I’m waiting for you. I’m already at 2.5 km and it’s still two months away. I think I have time to work up to 5K.”

I went upstairs and was looking at the event website and schedule when he came up. We confirmed that yes, the 5K would start a while after the half and end before I was done. This would mean I wouldn’t see him finish, but he seemed okay with that. I pointed out that he’d get a shirt and a medal and he seemed surprisingly excited.

“Click on the results from last year!” Oh crap. I’d been avoiding that. I clicked overall results and he discovered that he wouldn’t be last, that the last place person in 2014 had taken over two hours… then he noticed the age category column and realized that that walker was over 70 years old. “Where’s my age category?” This is what I had¬†wanted to avoid. 33 year old men don’t typically walk 5K’s, and yes, we saw that he’d likely be last in his age category. That was it. I sighed, knowing he’d pack it in then. I knew he would never run, but also that he couldn’t handle being last.

“Maybe I could run some of it.”

WHAT?! Once I picked myself up off the floor, I told him about Couch¬†to 5K plans, and he found one. The next day, he started running a bit, following the plan. It’s only been a week or so, but his level of fitness was higher than week one of the plan, so he’s moved through it a bit quicker and is now running for five minutes at a time, and five kilometres total. Go-Go-Gadget Leg has been adjusted to fit better, we’ve talked about breathing techniques, and new shoes are on the list next. He’s only told a few select people (his chiropractor was just as shocked as I was), and is pretty hush-hush about this whole running thing. I asked when he planned to tell his Mom, and he said “well, she’ll see a picture of us at the finish line in Vegas together and then she’ll know!” Oh honey, you don’t have to tell other people, but you have to tell your Mom!

I’m so unbelievably proud of that guy. I’ve talked about how running is contagious, but my husband is the last person on Earth I ever expected it to rub off on. I can’t wait to meet him at the Red Rock Canyon finish line and send a picture to his Mom.

Disclaimer: Brett gave me permission to write and publish this post for the world to see. I made him tell his Mom first.

3 Things I Learned in 2014

As a Super Ambassador for Powered By Chocolate Milk, I was asked to contribute to a collaborative blog post for January. Each Super Ambassador was asked to list three things we learned in 2014. The result is an inspiring and motivating list of lessons that apply to all athletes, at any level.

Click the links to see our 2014 lessons:

Part 1

Part 2 (including mine)

#PBCM!

#PBCM!

7 Reasons Treadmills Are Just Fine

For the most part, runners are a pretty like-minded bunch. Encouraging to newbies, cheering for strangers at finish lines, standing guard for someone changing behind a tree, we’re cool like that.

Then someone mentions a treadmill. Instantly the judgement begins. “Treadmills should all be burned.” “How can you run like a hamster?” “Ugh, the DREADmill!” And then the kicker, “real runners don’t use treadmills.” Wow. Why the treadmill hate? Here are my top 7 reasons to fall in love with your treadmill all over again.

1. It is Winter

This is my biggest reason to turn to my basement friend. Where I live, on the Saskatchewan prairie, our windchills in the winter can easily surpass -25 Celcius, and we always have a stretch of -40 weather every winter. Right now, it hasn’t gotten warmer than -30 with the windchill for a week. There are plenty of heroes who still run outdoors in this weather, but there are many of us who choose not to. And that’s just fine.

2. It’s dark

Or foggy. Or pouring rain and you live on a farm with only gravel (ie: ankle-deep MUD) roads for miles around. Sometimes it just isn’t safe to run outdoors. Skip your run or flip on a treadmill?

3. Kids

I think parents are likely the biggest treadmill users. Often it’s not because we want to, but because our significant other is at work, one kid is sick, or we’re just flat out tired of pushing a stroller.

4. Specific training

Sometimes you need certain types of runs that are just difficult to get done on a road. For me, hills are my challenge. I have to run 4km to find a small hill, and then another three to get to the next one. When I need to do hill repeats, it just works better to do them on a treadmill instead. Runs done at a specific pace are another good example, especially for those of us who find pacing by feel very challenging (and yes, I know this is something I should work on! I am!).

5. TV

Admit it. You have a ton of junk TV PVR’d every week and only have time to watch a small portion of it. Feel good about watching by getting a run in at the same time. I know someone who sets junk TV rules for herself, such as “you can only watch The Bachelor if you’re running.

6. The gym

If you’re a gym member, odds are you’ve used their treadmills. Maybe you lift after a run, run for a warm-up before a class, or maybe you just want to utilize the gym’s childcare and have a worry-free run.

7. Shyness

This is a big one, and the main reason (in my opinion) to quit treadmill shaming. I know women who used running to jump-start their weight loss goals. They chose at first to run alone in the privacy of their own home because they were simply too self-conscious to run outside for the world to see. These are amazing people who are working hard to make a positive change in their lives and we need to be their cheerleaders, not make matters worse by putting down runners who use treadmills.

So guess what? Lots of runners use treadmills regularly for a variety of reasons. Stop the treadmill hate! And for goodness’ sake, quit saying people who use treadmills aren’t real runners. We’re all runners. And we’ll all cheer for you at the finish line.

What makes you dust off your treadmill and run indoors?

The 2014 Race Awards

2014 was a pretty amazing running year for me. I started the year without any mileage goals, but I really wanted to set personal bests in the 10K and half marathon. I got my 10K PB, but fell short in the half Рso you can guess what my top goal for 2015 will be! In the end, I am proud to have totalled 1702.8 km, more than 350 more than my previous yearly best.

Along the way,  I was able to run at 14 different races and fun runs. They were all special in their own way, but some really stand out for various reasons. Here, I will highlight the best of the 2014 races I ran.

And the nominees are…

February 1 РThe Blizzard Triathlon (ran as a skate/ski/run relay, I did the running leg), Saskatoon, SK Р5K
March 8 – The Red Rock Canyon Marathon (5K, half marathon, marathon), Las Vegas, NV – half marathon
April 13 – The Zoo Run, Saskatoon, SK – 5K
April 27 – The Saskatoon Police Run (5K, 10K, half marathon), Saskatoon, SK – 10K
May 4 – Wings For Life World Run (moving finish line, many simultaneous global locations), Saskatoon, SK
May 10 – SRRA Run For Women (3K, 6K), Saskatoon, SK – 3K
May 25 – Potash Corp SRRA Saskatchewan Marathon (5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, kids marafun), Saskatoon, SK – half marathon
June 1 – Beads of Courage Colour Run (2.5K, 5K), Saskatoon, SK – about 3K
June 8 – Bridge City Boogie (2K, 5K, 10K), Saskatoon, SK – 5K
July 6 РDirty Donkey Mud Run (6K, 10K Extreme), Saskatoon, SK Р6K
September 14 – The Heartbeat Run (1K, 5K, 10K, 3 Canadian locations), Saskatoon, SK – 10K
September 17 – school Terry Fox Run (1.5K, 3K), most Canadian schools – 1.5K with my kids
September 20 – Mogathon (1K, 5K, 10K, half marathon, 30K, 30K relay, “no-K beer run”), Saskatoon, SK – 10K
December 6 – Santa Shuffle (5K, multiple Canadian locations), Saskatoon, SK

Best Scenery РRed Rock Canyon Marathon

Saskatoon is beautiful, but it just can’t compete with the beautiful red mountains of the Nevada desert. The huge changes in elevation are worth it. This area is also home to the endangered Desert Tortoise, but I’ve yet to see this particular¬†scenery feature. (Race review posts from 2013 and 2014.)

Photo credit vegas.com

Photo credit vegas.com

Best Medal – Santa Shuffle

The sparkles on this snow globe shaped medal plus the wide ribbon make this medal stand out in my 2014 collection.

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Honourable Mentions – Red Rock Canyon Marathon, Mogathon

Red Rock’s medal is huge for the second year in a row and also features a paw print in honour of the chosen charity for the director’s races (a big cat rescue) and a mountain silhouette. Mogathon’s medal is sparkly, and anything that sparkles gets extra points in my book.

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Best Race Shirt  РThe Saskatchewan Marathon

This is hands-down the best race shirt colour I’ve ever gotten. I love this colour. The adidas shirts fit well and are a lightweight technical fabric. I wear this shirt all the time. (Event reviews from 2012, 2013, 2014.)

Great shirt colour this year!

Great shirt colour this year!

Best Race Swag – The Heartbeat Run

This is¬†a small race, but they have finisher’s medals for everyone, age group medals (gold, silver, bronze) for every 10 year age group for men and women, discounts on next year’s race for medal winners, and door prizes like Running Room gift cards and shoes. (Race reports from 2012, 2013, and 2014.)

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Honourable Mention – Mogathon

With a tech t-shirt, buff, finish line BBQ and kids’ entertainment, this event always offers a good bang for your buck.

Best Finish Line Food – Red Rock Canyon Marathon

Brownies. Cookies. Yogurt. Applesauce. Fruit. Pancakes. Other delicious carbohydrates. Hands down winner.

Honourable Mention – The Saskatoon Police Run, Mogathon, SRRA Women’s Run

Runners love pancakes. For my Saskatoon area pancake lovers, the Police Run is your race. Love BBQ? You’ll love Mogathon. d’lish by Tish restaurant sponsors delicious finish line salads for the Women’s Run, and hot dogs and hamburgers served by men earns points as well!

Most Unique Event – Wings For Life World Run

This race was run simultaneously in many global locations. Everyone started at exactly the same time (4:00 a.m. in the pitch dark for us in Canada!) and 30 minutes later a “Catcher Car” began driving at a prescribed speed. Linked with computers and all sorts of technology that took four years to organize, the cars accelerated gradually and stopped runners’ timing chips as they were passed. The last person running out of more than 35,000 runners in the world was crowned the winner. I made it 18.2 km and placed 10,565 in the world. This was televised, which made it feel pretty “big time.” I’m sad that this event will move to a more picturesque location in Canada (Niagra Falls… Saskatchewan can’t compete with that!) for 2015. (Complete 2014 summary here.)

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Catcher car, another for back-up in case of technical failure in the first, plus an ambulance passing runners.

Catcher car, another for back-up in case of technical failure in the first, plus an ambulance passing runners.

Best Untimed Fun Run – Beads of Courage Colour Run

My blog posts about this race from 2013 and 2014 will explain the details of this incredible charity and the amazing women who put this event together. My kids and I love this run, and will be back again in 2015.

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Best Overall Race Experience – Mogathon

With a variety of distances, the Mogathon has something for everyone, including a “no-K beer run,” a.k.a. beer gardens. With great swag, a medal for every finisher in every distance, lively water stations (with costumes and themes!), bouncy castles and balloon animals, an amazing catered finish line BBQ, live music and chip timing, this event is second to none in Saskatoon. Here are my race reports from 2013 and 2014.

So there you have it. These races were my “best of” for 2014, and I truly enjoyed each of them. I have a few races on my 2015 calendar already, some returning favourites and a couple new ones. All the best to you and yours in 2015!