Monday, April 29, 2013

kenyan style market fundraiser event - may 4, 2013

Like I've written, I would love to go to Kenya with my family (some day) to serve with Wesley Kipchumba Korir and Tarah Korir's Kenyan Kids Foundation. 
We are collecting gently-used items for the Kenyan-style market fundraiser event, May 4. 
Start spring cleaning! E.g. clothing, books, toys, accessories, household items, dvds, shoes, etc. 
My family will be taking items to St. Jacobs, May 3. Message me if interested.
Check it out:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Thrilled and Blessed.

Thrilled and blessed with P.B. 72:27 and 2013 CDN Half Marathon Champion.

What a great weekend!
The Banque Scotia de Montreal Half Marathon, which also serves as the CDN Half Marathon Championship was my first race of the season with a proper taper after completing 150 km last week. I did two workouts on the track but they weren't terribly demanding, and it was nice to have a bit of a decrease in the km's to feel fresh in the week leading up to the race.
Friday morning, after getting the kids' lunches and backpacks loaded, my husband took the boys to school and Leah to my good friend Britanie's for the day. Fortunately my husband is often able to adjust his work schedule to meet my racing needs when given the time ahead to plan. I drove to the gotrain in Burlington then boarded the train at Union for Montreal. I sat with Rejean Chiasson, which was great because we got to chat about running, nutrition, and his recent training trip to Ethiopia and also get some work done. I've been getting a lot of interview and presentation requests lately, which has been great but require time to complete. I knew I'd have long periods of time in my traveling for races this spring so planned to use the time wisely. Thankfully via had wifi so I could go between my phone and laptop.
Friday evening I had dinner with Rachel Hannah and her boyfriend/coach Dave. It was great that they let me tag along as third wheel to a lovely Indian restaurant. Yes, Indian but we chose wisely, ate small portions and took the leftovers with us! A few others were going out later but we didn't connect. Saturday, Rachel and I went for an easy 35 min run, which included a few strides. Felt good. Then I got myself a Starbucks and headed back to the hotel for a bit more work, rest and relaxation. For lunch, Erin Burrett, Marilyn Arsenault and I enjoyed wraps at a local cafe downtown then I grabbed another Starbucks before going back to the room. I had my quick 20 min power nap then did a bit more work. The technical meeting was at 4 pm, which went well then a group of us headed out for a lovely dinner. Great pick, Kerri! I enjoyed a salad and some pizza (yes, I ate gluten and all was well). Marilyn and I were back in our hotel and in our pj's by 7:00 pm. Had a great sleep again that night.
Race day was bright and sunny with great temperatures. After relaxing on the cots for a while, Erin, Marilyn and I did a 20 min warmup together then got to the line for the 10am start. I was feeling good and ready to go. There was a 1 minute moment of silence in honor of the Boston Marathon events, which was very meaningful. Starting out, Dayna and I were together for a few km. I wasn't sure what she was going for, due to a nagging knee issue, but knew my plan and stuck to it. The first 2 km were 3:20/km exactly and I was 17:00 at 5km and 34:00 at 10 km. New PB for the 10 km! Shortly after that, I hooked up with a few guys, including fellow Saucony teammate, Terry Gehl. Then around the 15 km mark, I was ahead of them and on my own. A few times I wasn't sure where to go - I've had directional problems my entire life, and there were some fairly sharp turns but for the most part, the course was pretty good with just a bit of wind because of its location on the Ste-Helene Island & Notre-Dame Island. I faded perhaps a bit around 15-18 km but got another (3rd) gel going to fuel the tank. Coming through the finish was again, very special, like every other win. I just love hearing the people cheer and come together as a community. When asked about Tara Quinn-Smith's 72:09 Cdn record, I knew it was something that could possibly happen but to be honest, I am glad it didn't happen today. Rick and I are being very cautious with my training and racing after returning from injury, and know that there's still a lot of work to be done before Moscow, when I want to ultimately peak.
After a quick celebration, hug to Alan Brooks, a few photos, a 20 min cool down, and straightforward pee for doping before the awards we were back to the hotel for a quick shower and check out. My great roomie, Marilyn had to leave at 2pm for her flight and a group of us went for lunch on the way to the train. I got myself a large coffee, then got the laptop and phone going again once in my seat.
Rick was super pleased with my performance and has emailed me my plan for the week. We'll have a few heavy weeks then take it down again before the Ottawa Race Weekend 10 km. I'm already looking forward to it, especially because I've been asked do the colour commentating for the Marathon. I think I know what I'll be spending my time on when travelling by train in a few weeks. My pronunciation of Africa names is certainly not up to par. 
We're getting close to home and I look forward to seeing my husband and kids. 
Thrilled. Blessed.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

4.15.13 Boston. Runners United to Remember.

I've quite enjoyed Boston Marathon Monday the past few years. Many times I've watched and become inspired, seeing the leaders dig deep, while completing my own treadmill tempo workout at the same time. The women usually finish around noon and that's when I have to get my kid (s) from the childcare so I too am pushing to get the job done. In 2005 I completed my own Boston Marathon in 3:00:46 - it was an amazing experience in so many ways.
I didn't get to watch Boston this year because the new gym has the treadmills facing the windows, which is great and there aren't yet any tvs or wifi. But, Coach Rick (on his 35th wedding anniversary!!) was texting me updates. 
After lunch, an ice bath and my quiet time of a nap and devotions, I returned to the internet to check results and read the post-race reports. It was Wesley Korir's Facebook status that said he and his family were in lock-down at the hotel due to two explosions. Like many, he said he was safe and praying.
Unfortunately not everyone was safe. I went to the tv and sure enough, it was a terrible scene.
Shortly after I had to get the kids from school. When I returned home, so did the tears as more details were revealed. I've never believed in hiding my feelings or the truth from my kids so I explained what was happening.
And like many, it hit me hard. My spouse, two boys and a girl have watched me finish numerous races like the Richard family who lost their dear 8 yr old boy. And I've worked hard to complete difficult marathons like the thousands of runners there. I was flooded with emotion. All I could say to the kids was that Heaven won't have anything terrible like this. And like many, I too wondered about our world.
Just last week I was interviewed by Ben Kaplan for a Canadian Running Magazine article on running and faith. I explained that my faith is honest, real and true. It's not about being religious or about a quick prayer at the start, "Oh God, please let me win". Our kids attend a Christian school, not to memorize scripture or be good people but to know and love God, understanding that they were created for a reason, His reason. So I started searching for those familiar verses that comfort us in troubling times. From this site, I found this:

"Some of us struggle with the problem of evil in the world. We do not understand how an all-powerful God, who is love, can allow such evil in the world. God's long-term plan of salvation takes this into account. There is a real devil who is out to destroy all humanity, and he uses human instruments to perpetrate death and destruction. Satan the Devil is out to thwart God's plan. But he has failed—and will yet utterly fail. We read in Revelation 20 that Satan will be cast into the great abyss at the beginning of the millennium, when Jesus Christ returns to establish the Kingdom of God on earth (Revelation 20:1-3)." ....and "We need to ask: "What is life all about? Why am I living? What is the ultimate destiny of mankind?".
God allows us to make choices and sadly, there are many who make evil, terrible choices. Proverbs 21:15 says, "Justice is a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers."  Fortunately this  life on earth is temporary.
Many may cringe at this posting but hey, it's my blog and I want to be real about myself, my life, my faith.
Similar to other runners, it's been difficult to transition from talking about the devastating Boston events to our daily running routines. But it's been clear that the running community has become louder and stronger than ever before. The heart and passion seen in small, local running groups to the messages posted on nearly every major marathon site, is phenomenal.
 4.15.13 Boston. Runners United to Remember.

There are again many big races this weekend - from track events to the Toronto Yonge St 10 km, Vancouver Sun Run 10 km, and the London Marathon, it's a big one. Next weekend will be my next big race of the season. Running a strong 150 km this week with a track workout, tempo run, long run, two Chariot stroller runs, and not racing may give my legs a little extra bounce next weekend at the Banque Scotia 21k de Montréal.
I'm certainly hoping for another personal best and think I am in decent shape for it.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Another solid week of training complete. Nothing overly exciting to report but these are the weeks that really make you strong. The day in and day out with consistency in routine certainly builds a solid foundation.
With a day off, I was able to log 140 km in 6 runs, which included a 35 km long run, one track workout and one treadmill workout. This was my heaviest week so far and I couldn't feel better. Because I don't do doubles and due to the pool/childcare hours, many of my workouts are completed after 2 hours of cross training and warming up. It's not ideal to get the fastest track times or to feel fresh but it works for me. One workout this week was after a 12 km warm up and 1 hr in the pool! Hey, we all know that the majority of the work is at the end of the marathon, right?! Time in the pool, on the bike and elliptical has decreased as a result of the increased running and my body is adapting very well. I continue to see Sherri  weekly, at Essential Physiotherapy & Wellness, and am now seeing Cynthia weekly, at Therapeutic Massage Counsel. They are both consistent in their observations so the complimentary care between them is great. It's a really good balance.
We are between hockey seasons and I had a sick kid this week so life was a bit slower, which was nice for recovery. But spring hockey will start, track will continue, taxes need to be completed, my husband will travel for work, and the request for speaking engagements and interviewing is on the rise. So, I continue to prioritize and pace myself to keep the juggling act steady.
This week will see another increase in volume and intensity in training, which will be great preparation for my upcoming race in two weeks, the Banque Scotia de Montreal/Canadian Half Marathon Championships, April 28th.
April is an exciting month for Canadian road racers with Boston, Brighton, Rotterdam, Harry's Spring Run Off, Vancouver Sun Run, Montreal Half, London, Toronto Yonge St, etc. Exciting!
April 2012. Leah just finished nursing, two weeks before I left to run the Rotterdam Marathon.

April 2013. One year ago today, I ran the Rotterdam Marathon. Leah has certainly grown.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Harry's Spring Run Off to Fight Prostate Cancer. What a Weekend!

Celebrating the victory, personal best time of 26:59 on a hilly 8 km course, and comeback from injury. This shot, taken by Canadian Running Magazine reminds me of  ...

Dylan's celebration after making the Canadian qualifying time in Rotterdam for the 2012 Olympic Games. Not quite the same significance but still.
Yesterday was my first official race of the season. Yes, I ran the Around the Bay race but that was a "training run" and this time I was allowed to give it my all. What a great feeling.
Leading up to the race was a bit stressful. I'll be honest, being a mom and running is amazing but there are times I too get overwhelmed. Thursday I had to unexpectedly wait in a long line at the transportation office to get my license plate renewal stickers with the three kids, including a fevered 7 yr old. 2 yr old Leah kept everyone else in line entertained while 5 yr old Seth took videos and pictures with my camera after they quickly finished the few chocolate covered pretzels I had in my van (and each and every crumb). Then Seth had track practice, dinner, etc. Friday was a run and short bike then getting the house ready for Jonathan's relatives who are missionaries. It was last-minute but having my house in decent order was the least I could do for these people who serve the needs of others, with very little, day after day, year after year. Jonathan went to work then it was packing up our suitcases to head to Bradford for Micah's hockey tournament. I had my nephew between the 1pm and 5pm games because my sister in law was heading back to have their missionary relatives for dinner. My nephew is like a son so it's no biggie but basically waiting in a parking lot and Tim Horton's to kill time between games was not ideal as he and my 5 yr old wrestled with Leah in the mix while Micah shivered in blankets in the back. Thankfully the Advil did the job this weekend. Then, Jonathan missed the entire second game because it started and ended early, and traffic was bad. I transferred the kids to him then headed back to the race hotel in Toronto. He and the kids stayed at my brother and sister-in-law's, which was wonderful for the kids to play together. Thanks, Rob and Michelle for keeping the youngest two between games. On the way to my hotel, busy traffic, accidents and driving all the way through the city was tiring, as was the long wait to check in, followed by me getting a parking ticket in the hotel parking garage because I didn't get my license plate submitted in time. The ticket was cleared but I had a few tears at that point! As soon as I got in the hotel room I put on my pyjamas, texted Rick and Jonathan that I arrived then settled in and slept well. All good.
Race day was beautiful; cool and sunny with no wind. I went early to get a parking spot then sat in my van, resting. Rick and Ben later joined me for a bit. Ben had a great race in 28:02, winning his age division. He too is coached by Rick in Brantford and I look forward to training with him. I did a 2 km warm up and stretch then headed to the start. Many informed me that Harry's Spring Run Off was a hilly course but Rick and I knew the hills would work to my advantage, especially in the end. I knew that Dayna and Kate may get out in front with a good lead on the early downhills so my plan was to get them in the end with the hills. The first 1 km was 3:03 and the second 3:15. Yikes. I went out too hard at the Ottawa 10 km race last year and thought I learned my lesson then. Didn't want a repeat. But, I stayed just behind them and just after 3km, my body made its move up the hill, passing the two of them. "Oh dear", I thought, "Is this too soon?". But, I kept on. Dayna slipped back just a touch but I could hear Kate's breathing and footsteps the entire time, which kept me going. Once I pass, I don't intend to get passed. A track runner vs a marathoner would make for an interesting end. And as a marathoner, I was determined to keep it together. I held on to the lead, barely. Then I tackled that last hill at 7 km for the win. The best part was that the finish was just around the corner at the top of the hill. I took a quick look back and knew the victory was mine. And my watch was just where I wanted it, under 27:00 with 26:59. I congratulated Kate, only a few seconds behind, then we both stood, hunched over catching our breath. Short distance races are such a different experience. It's not about the mental toughness; it's physically hanging on for dear life! I went for an easy cool down jog then came back for the awards ceremony. It is always very special to make the podium but discovering that the race raised $320, 000 for prostate cancer research was even more significant. As I've mentioned before, losing my parents to cancer makes these events event more meaningful to me. Alan Brookes is an amazing Race Director who has the art and science perfected; from caring for elite athletes to engaging the community in great causes. Thanks again, Alan and the Canada Running Series team.
Coach Rick and I enjoyed our drive back, including a wonderful lunch at Goodness Me. We were able to chat about my progress, confirming the significance of hitting our target and sticking to the game plan between now and August. Between now and then I will average 130-170 km/wk of running with decreases to 120 km during race weeks to feel fresh to compete. The plan is to run around 73:xx at the Cdn 1/2 Marathon Champs in Montreal, 33:xx at the Ottawa 10 km, and 72:xx at the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon at the end of April, May, and June respectively. Or better of course. Another PB year is the plan. Set the bar high. There is no other way.
I just finished my week with a lovely 32 km long run this morning. Jonathan took Seth for his birthday breakfast and to church while I stayed home with the other two for Micah to recover from his tournament of 4 games in two days, and fever.

It was great to chat with Dayna and Kate after the race. They are two lovely, talented and competitive athletes whom I highly respected in the race, never taking lightly the entire time.