Thursday, June 6, 2013

6 Month Hiatus

Can you believe it's been 6 months since I ran the half marathon in Vegas?! I had to look back at my posts to see if I had mentioned the fact that I had a foot injury when I did the half. I had mentioned it so I'll just give a little update on that situation. After 4 months of not running and experiencing constant pain in my left foot and 4 months of biweekly physio therapy with minimal betterment, my doctor ordered a bone scan. The results were inconclusive, but my doctor educatedly guessed that I must have had a stress fracture. No wonder I was in constant pain every time I put pressure on my foot.

I tried running again after about 4 months of not and what a disheartening day that was. I quickly realised that running a solid 10 km with very little effort was a thing of the past. I could barely run 2 km without gasping for breath. I was right back to where I had started, so being the trooper that I am not, I gave up for a while, wallowed in self pity, and licked my wounds all the while keeping in the back of my mind that I had signed up to do a 5 km run with my sister at the beginning of July.

I vowed that I would pull myself out of my wallowing pit as of June 1st. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being my best effort, I would give myself a 6 at this point. June 1st, I walked 5 km. June 2nd, I walked 1 km, jogged 1 km, walked 1 km, jogged 1 km, walked 1 km. June 4th, I walked 5 km. I'm getting there...

On July 6, my sister and I and a few of her friends are doing the Color Me Rad 5K Run in Edmonton, Alberta. Running the strip at night is one thing, but Color Me Rad is just plain crazy! See:

I never really do anything in my life without WUSC in the back of my mind so I changed my fundraising page to reflect my newest endeavour and really hope that you'll visit, learn a little bit about why I hold the Student Refugee Program so near and dear to my heart, and maybe even donate!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


So remember when I said I was going to run a half marathon? The race was over a month ago and I still haven't shared my thoughts on the experience. It's a good thing I don't have a lot of people reading my blog! First, my excuse: When I finish one thing, I immediately move on to the next thing - 29 Random Acts of Kindness on Jan 29 for my 29th birthday - that's just how I roll; it's what I do. Now, my lecture to myself: Finish what you start; You created all of this build-up and then didn't post about the actual run!

Joe and I arrived at the pre-race prep area at 2:00 p.m. on December 2nd. Joe started the full marathon at 3:00 p.m. I "started" the half marathon at 4:30 p.m. I say "started" because by the time my corral (#31) made it to the start line, it was 5:30 p.m. The waiting to start was one of the worst parts. After sitting in the prep area for 2.5 hours, I just wanted to GO!

I started the race officially at 5:30 p.m. What a rush! I was pumped, amped, a true adrenalin junky, jogging past the slow pokes and loving it! The stomach cramps kicked in after about 30 minutes (first-timer mistake #1: taking an Imodium before the run). I grabbed a drink at the first water station (first-timer mistake #2: not running with my CamelBak), stopped to pee at the first rest station, and then went back to it. I'd estimate that I kept up the jog for the next hour or so and then the stomach cramps got the best of me. I slowed to a walk, did some intense breathing exercises, drank more water, ate some energy snacks, and watched some of those slow pokes jog past me...sigh. The race was really poorly marked in terms of how far we'd run so most of the time, I had no clue how far I was the finish (first-timer mistake #3: not bringing my own pedometer). At this point my foot (remember, I had, and still do have, tendinitis in my left foot) really started to bother me.

I started running again, enjoyed the rush that comes along with passing other people (it's incredible, really), and pushed myself until I just couldn't push anymore. I'd say I "walked" the last 3 miles or so. I say "walked" because I walked the 3rd last mile, hobbled, the 2nd last mile, and tried my absolute darndest not to pass out for the last mile. As I dragged myself passed the medical trucks, the thought crossed my mind, on more than one occasion, to just stop and get them to drive me to finish. By the end of the race, I was exhausted, sure I was going to vomit, and could hardly feel my left foot because of the pain. I was in rough I neared the finish line, the truly incredible experience of the half marathon really set in.

A small boy, maybe about 5, was standing off to the side of the course with his arm stretched out to give the runners a high-five. Most of the people had one-track minds, "I can see the finish; I'm almost there," and weren't paying any attention to him. While I was thinking the same things as the others, I was also looking for anything and everything to distract me from the fact that I was near unconsciousness. I went up to him and upon seeing that someone was actually paying attention to him, he braced himself and gave me a huge spin around high-five! At that moment, and even now, I love that kid! A little bit further on, a grown man who was clearly waiting for someone he knew to come along (which means I wasn't the last person to finish) gave me a high five and said, "You're almost there; you're doing awesome; keep it up!" I loved that man too.

At some point in there, I realised that I was actually going to finish. "Thanks, medics, but I don't need you!" With the last ounce of strength I could muster, I ran (or jogged...sort of) across the finish line. Congratulations all around, photo op, and then the struggle to figure out how to get out of the post-race area and back to my hotel so I could pass out!

I found an equally exhausted Joe already in the hotel room. We got pizza, did a bathtub soak, and fell asleep with the hopes that we'd be able to move the next morning. We could, move I mean, but barely. All day we hobbled around, braced ourselves for the immense pain every time we had to go down stairs (up wasn't really a problem), and laughed a little every time someone recognised us as runners because we were struggling so much to move.

"So how was the race?" That's all I heard (obviously) from everyone who knew I was doing it. My answer: "It was brutal, but I finished and the experience was amazing!" Would I do it again? (I was asked that quite often as well) and the answer is yes, definitely, but never with an injury again.

My official race time was 3:27:09 and I am happy with that. Ya, I wish I could have run the whole thing. Ya, I really wanted to finish in 3 hours. Ya, most average racers finish in 2.5 hours. The main point for me is that I finished. I am a FINISHER! I set a goal; I trained my ass off; and I completed what I set out to do; finish a half marathon and raise a bunch of money for the people and program that have changed my life.

21K for Change, indeed!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


On Tuesday, May 15, I announced that I would be running a half marathon to raise money for the WUSC Student Refugee Program - a.k.a. the be all and end all of what I stand for as a human being. I struggled to run a kilometre at that point. That was almost 7 months ago. At this point, the furthest I've run is 17 km.

Ready...I am all packed. Set...I leave for Vegas tomorrow. Go...I run on Sunday.

This photo scares the crap out of me. I imagine little ol' me in that vast mass of people and cry a bit on the inside. Running alone for 21 km is one thing, running with that many people, shoulder to shoulder (for at least a little while) is another. My race number is 31298. My corral number is 31. My required finish time is 4:00:00. My goal all along has simply been to finish in that allotted time. As running got easier and my confidence greater, I realised I could very likely finish in 3:00:00. That, however, was before I injured my foot on November 13 at approximately 5:30 p.m. That was 2 and 1/2 weeks ago and I haven't actually run since then. I've done a few hour long elliptical runs and I am confident that my heart and lungs will hold out for the full 21 km. As for my foot carrying me through 21 pavement pounding kms, I'm not so sure.

I have a slip on tensor and a wrap tensor and sore foot or not, I'm doing this. My new goal is to stick it out running for 12 km (a little over half of the race). If, at that point, I need to walk, so be it.

I've raised almost $3200 for WUSC and I'm hoping to reach $5000 by the end of January. Perhaps once I prove to people that I have actually completed the run, they will be even more generous! Here's hoping!

21K for Change

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Remember when...I was proud of 5K?!

As I hit lap 85 around the Shilo General Strange Hall (GSH) and realised that I was going to reach my goal of 100 laps (or 17km), I suddenly thought back to a time when I realised that I was going to reach my goal of 5km. I remembered how thrilled I was, so thrilled, in fact, that I called that particular blog post 5K MoFos and asked for a "whoop whoop!" That was back in June, a long and grueling 5 months ago. At this point, a.k.a 25 days until I run 21k, I am quite confident that I will complete the run in 3 hours. It took me 2 hours and 20 minutes to run 17km and I run an average 9-minute km so you do the math.

A 9-minute km isn't fast by any means. In fact, I shouldn't really call it running I guess; I should call it jogging, but to me it's running. I run as fast as I can to sustain myself for the length of time it requires to complete each goal. If that pace looks like jogging to you...just try and keep up! No one jogs a half marathon.

Everyone asks me if I am going to keep running after the half marathon and while there is a part of me that wants to say "yes, I can't wait to stop torturing my poor body," there is a bigger part of me that can't bear to just throw all of this progress away. Like I said, 5 months ago I struggled to run 5km and now when my training schedule says 5km, I scoff it off as an easy day! In fact anything less than 10km is typically...easy. Who'da thunk I'd ever be saying that!

If you're as impressed with me as I am with myself, you can donate here :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ghoulish Goodies & Good Causes

Perhaps I am a tardy blogger, but I am not a tardy fundraiser so I think that counts for something. With the help of my incredible mother who spent all day Saturday, October 20 buying supplies with me and all day Sunday, October 21 baking with me, I was able to raise $265 more for WUSC's Student Refugee Program. In addition to my SuperMom's help, I couldn't have done what I did if not for one of my bestest friends, Angie Currie, and one of my fabulous co-workers, Shirley Slashinsky. They both baked up a storm for me and Ang sat at the tables selling the goodies all day. I love my people who love me, so very very much!

All of the Ghoulish Goodies and Spooktacular Sweets turned out so wonderfully, that I feel the need to share my creations with everyone.

Edible Eyeballs: These goodies were made in a cake pop pan. The sclera (white part) is white chocolate; the pupil is either a brown Smartie or Reeces Pieces; the blood vessels are icing coloured red with food colouring. Now take a moment and imagine biting into one of these and seeing...Red Velvet cake. Nuf said.

Flavourful Fingers: These treats were made with a dough similar to shortbread, but there was something extra special added, crushed pecans. The bloody nails were made using blanched almonds and dying them red with food colouring. I especially enjoy the added "ick" provided by the broken almond (third finger on the bottom row).

Scrumptious Spiders: These sweets were made by rolling rice krispie cake around four pieces of black string licorice. Once again, the black for the bodies was brought about with food coloring. The creepy eyes were Reeces Pieces. Oooey gooey yumness!

Mouth-watering Worms: Here we have Devil's Food cake cupcakes, covered with chocolate icing, dipping in crushed Oreo cookies, and topped with half a gummy worm. Definitely slurp-worthy!

Om nom nom Owls: These cuties were made with French Vanilla cupcakes, covered with chocolate icing, and topped with halved Oreos. The finishing touches for the faces (pupils and beaks) were done with Reeces Pieces. Aren't they a hoot?!

Pleasing Pumpkins: These were the simplest snacks to make, add a little dab of yellow food colouring, add a little dab of red food colouring, roll the rice krispies into a ball, and stick a green jelly bean to the top; Voila!

I also made pumpkin twinkies that had a marshmallow/cream cheese filling, but I didn't take a photo because they just didn't look as cool as all of these other treats. Yum in the tum, none-the-less though. If you'd like any of the recipes for these Ghoulish Goodies, just leave me a comment stating so and I'll get right on it for you. Although, I might have to bug you for a donation...maybe.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

14KM: A Thought for Every KM

This is actually the second time during a long run that I made a point of attributing a thought to every km that I ran. Last Saturday, I had 12 thoughts for 12 km, but never got around to blogging about it. This Saturday, I have 14 thoughts for 14 km and am making a point of blogging about it. 

KM 1: Besides the resounding thought that crosses my mind as the first km slips away every run; "Man, that was easy," today I passed a sign, a bus bench actually, that read "Live Generously". As I ran by it I couldn't help but think: "Thanks, I don't mind if I do."

KM 2: The route I took today is missing the km marker at this spot or at least I can't find it. I guesstimate that it is approximately where I cross the South end of 18th Street in my city just down from the movie theatre. Every time I run by this spot I can't help but think: "Where in the heck is the km marker?"

KM 3: I ran past these two ladies who smelled wonderful, maybe it was one of them, or maybe it was the other, or maybe it was both. As I inhaled their smell I thought to myself, "I hope they can't smell me."

KM 4: My initial thought here was to write about the fact that I saw a group of children playing with a Safeway shopping cart in their yard which was a considerable distance from the nearest Safeway. "Time for new toys," I thought. Then I ran past another runner whose facial expression led me to believe that he was in total agony. "I wonder if I look like that?" As he changed directions, flew passed me, and his body got smaller and smaller as he got further and further ahead of me, I thought to myself, "There is no way he is running even close to as far as I am if he's running that fast!" Right, folks?! Right?!

KM 5: "Smokers need to stop smoking!" One of the absolute worst things about running outside is encountering a smoker. I'm running along, deeply breathing in the fresh air, and suddenly my fresh air is polluted by cigarette smoke. It's disgusting! To runners, breathing is key; breathing in putrid cigarette smoke is pretty much as bad as it gets when you've just run 4 km and have 10 more to. 

KM 6: This is where my neck injury started to act up. I thought to myself, "Here we go, it's already bothering me and I still have 9 km to go." At this point in my run I also happened by a Steakhouse; luckily it smelled more like grease than steak so my mouth didn't water too much and I could go back to focusing on the fact that I wouldn't be eating anything for at least another hour. 

KM 7: Crossing intersections while running is another downfall of running outside. The majority of the city loop keeps me off of high traffic streets, but here, I had to cross Victoria Avenue at the intersection of 34th Street a.k.a. a busy intersection. I jogged on the spot for a bit, did some j-running, stopped short of getting hit by a fat man in a truck, and as he glared at me I thought: "Sorry, fat man. Why don't you get out of your Ford F-150 (or whatever kind of huge ass truck he was driving) and run a few km." Ok, so maybe I was Angry Brandy at km 7. I also passed a family having photos taken in the autumn leaves and thought, "Aw, how precious." Enter, Not-So-Angry-Brandy. Then I passed a teenage girl walking her dog. The dog took a poop, the girl didn't clean it up, and Brandy thought, "How disgusting."

KM 8: It is October 13 here in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada which means temperatures are going below 0 degrees Celsius every night. Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone had a sprinkler going in their backyard. I couldn't help but wonder: "What the heck are they watering? Their dead grass?" Just a tad bit later, a truck drove by me with a tailgate decal that read "Slednecks". "Clever," I thought.

KM 9: This part of my run took me into unfamiliar territory; I had never run this part of the city loop before. As I ran passed a little white Terrier and its owner, I was pleased to get a little dog kiss, or maybe it was just its wet little nose, but, "what a sweety," I thought, none-the-less. 

Somewhere between KM 9 and KM 10 I ventured off the trail (not purposely) and did a little off-road running. Not great for feet in Vibrams.

KM 10: I had to cross another intersection here, more running on the spot, more angry looks from drivers, more of me not really giving a damn. Then I thought I was going to get run over because I heard what I thought was a vehicle revving its engine. It turned out that the noise was just the motor that was inflating a gigantic floating dummy. "Stupid floating dummy," I thought.

Somewhere between KM 10 and KM 11 I got myself off the trail again. Remember, in KM 9, I said I was in unfamiliar territory. I missed the km marker and likely took a short cut, but I figure the extra distance I ran between KM 9 and KM 10 made up for it. 

KM 11: This is where my right foot started to really hurt: "Mind over Matter," I told myself. I ran through the Riverbank Discovery Centre here and it is always such a lovely run. I got a surge of energy when it came to running up the small hill that leads to the bridge over the river. A surge of energy at km 11 is the thing dreams are made of. "3 km and a bit more to go and feelin' fine," I thought. 

KM 12: The 8th Street bridge a.k.a. the hill that nearly killed me. "Holy fuck!" A hill like that after 11 km is the thing nightmares are made of.

KM 13: This time it wasn't my fault that I almost got hit by a vehicle. The cab driver leaving the bar parking lot wasn't even looking for pedestrians. This time I was the one doing the glaring while thinking, "Watch where you're going, asshole." I also had to cross yet another crazy intersection on 1st Street, but I finally made it across with relatively little drama. 

KM 14: When I do my long runs outside, I take along a CamelBak (explained here). I happened to need a drink as I ran passed a woman walking her dog. I guess I could have waited until we passed each other to take a drink, but it also amuses me to watch peoples' reactions when I drink out of the nozzle. I definitely got "the look" from her and it was enough to carry me through to the end of my run. "Yes, lady, I am sucking on a plastic nipple; in fact, I would very likely pass the fuck out without it. Carry on, now."

And that, folks, was my 14 thoughts in 14 km. Fun times! 14 donations would sure be swell as well :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

So I Says to Myself; I Says, "Self, You So Got This!"

I have recently found myself addicted to this silly little facebook game called Candy Crush which is what I have been spending all of my free time on instead of blogging. It's sad, I know. I have a problem, but in about 30-minutes I'll have another life to use and so will continue to feed my ridiculous addiction.

Moving on...

I am still running. My legs are still sore. ALL. THE. TIME. I average 8km 4-days a week right now. I think it was 2 weeks ago that I ran the furthest I've run yet - 14km. It took me 110 minutes a.k.a. 1 hour and 50 minutes. As I hobbled back to my car I had one of those epiphany moments that people talk about. It donned on me that 14km is 2/3 of 21km. So I says to myself; I says, "Self, you just ran 2/3 of a half marathon; you only need to be able to run 7 more km. 7km is nothing; you so got this!"

I nearly died the Saturday before the 14km run when I ran 11km. I chalk that up to the fact that I was not hydrating at all. 90 minutes of straight jogging with no water is absolutely NOT a good idea. When I say I nearly died, I mean I had a puke bucket next to be as I drove my exhausted self home. Upon reaching home; I literally collapsed on my bed. Needless to say, I was more prepared for an even longer run the next Saturday. You see, that thing in my mouth is part of something called a CamelBak. You bite the end of the nozzle thingy which produces the pressure required to transfer the water from the pack on your back, through the hose, and into your mouth. There is absolutely no way I could have survived 14km without this contraption. At one point during the run, I thought the water was leaking. I quickly realised that the "water" I was feeling was actually my sweat dripping down my back and butt - attractive, I know.

Another note-worthy event occurred during an 8km run at the gym the other day. In the midst of controlling my breathing while sweat dripped down my face, I happened to exhale at the exact moment that a drop of sweat slid down my top lip. The result: sweat all over the treadmill's television screen. YUM!

If those updates don't make you want to donate to my efforts, I don't know what will!