Product Reviews

21 Day Fix EXTREME – my thoughts so far

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Admittedly I’m less than a week into the program, but I thought now would be a good time to allay any fears people might have surrounding this program. I mean, it’s called 21 Day Fix EXTREME – emphasis on the “EXTREME”, right?

I was apprehensive about starting it since I notoriously under-estimate my level of fitness or my ability to stick with something long-term (I know, my 4 marathons should have cured me of that by now), but I dove in head-first on Monday of this week.

First of all, if you’ve done 21 Day Fix, but are afraid to take the leap I’m here to tell you – don’t be afraid. Yes the workouts are harder, yes the food lists are slightly different and there are no “treat swaps” (only ever very occasionally used them for wine, anyway), but the program remains the same easy-to-follow program it always has been.

Better yet, it comes with more recipes if you’re kitchen-challenged. I’ve used several of them so far and I’m astounded to discover I like poached fish. I always thought I disliked fish. Apparently I don’t!

I took a couple hours on Monday of this week (my day off) to prep food for my 11 hour days at the theatre Tuesday through Friday, something I haven’t really been too good at in the past. I quickly roasted some sweet potatoes, marinated and baked some chicken breasts and cooked up a half batch of the veggie egg cup recipe from the 21 Day Fix EXTREME recipe section. I also boiled some eggs. Once done, every thing went into bulk tupperware to be portioned out in the morning before I left.

My breakfasts have been either 2 Veggie Egg Cups with a slice of sprouted whole wheat bread, toasted with natural almond butter and a fruit serving.

Mid-morning (post workout) snack is Chocolate Shakeology with frozen fruit.

Lunch is a salad I’ve concocted with the baked chicken breast, a serving of sweet potato, spinach and a toss of either peppers or cucumbers topped with a dash of Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and a splash of Fig Balsamic Vinegar. So, SO good.

Mid-afternoon snacks are Edamame, Cucumbers and Hummus, and a fruit serving.

Dinners are late, but have been either fish and veggies or once I had a serving of the Turkey Chili recipe from the 21 Day Fix EXTREME – but I try to avoid that one at night because of the carbs involved and the time of day.

The only thing I’ve noticed so far is that I wake up hungry. To be fair, I also wake up late thanks to my hours, and it’s a good long stretch between my last meal and breakfast… But I’m fine throughout the day, I’m not hungry thanks to all the food allowed!

The workouts. Those are something. I’m not going to lie, you’ll catch me doubled over, gripping my knees and gasping for air more than once if you come watch me work out. But that’s a GOOD thing. These are workouts that will challenge you. There’s a modifier to follow, and even that will get you huffing and puffing – this is definitely something that will be an ongoing challenge as  you can make it harder for yourself with increasingly heavier weights and picking more advanced moves.

Autumn is her usual tough-love motivating self, starting each workout with a thought for the day.

I like these workouts so far. Every time I’ve done them there’s been a temporal shift in the 8 minute to 20 minute range. I don’t know what it is, but I look at the clock around the 8 minutes, think “This will never end”, and the next time I look we’re almost done. No time to think, I guess!

Here’s something I’m doing that makes my life a lot easier when I’m out and about, too. I use a Filofax Personal Planner for my day-to-day scheduling, and I’ve created a chart which shows me what I’ve eaten, and what I’ve got left for every day of the week.

21 Day Fix chart2

 

The inserts are a design by DIYFish on Easy, and she’s got a bunch of great options for peoples’ various needs. This weekly page is just one of the pieces of the organizational puzzle. Check out her designs for yourself!

So at the end of week one, I’m down 3 pounds, which I’m pleased with considering I’m within 20 pounds of my arbitrary goal weight. It won’t come off super fast, but it’ll come off!

If you’re interested in learning more about 21 Day Fix, comment below, or check out my Beachbody website.

Have you heard of 21 Day Fix?

Running

More Great Running Tips from Jeff Galloway

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As a Galloway Blogger, I’m able to bring you exclusive tips from the man himself! Jeff Galloway has made the concept of endurance running a reality for so many people who thought they were incapable of such a feat (myself included). His methods and techniques are solid, and intended to keep you running injury-free for life! Take it away, Jeff!

Galloway

The training journey for a marathon or half marathon raises your body’s physical performance capability and your sense of what you can do in life.

Running helps to bring body, mind and spirit together in a unique and wonderful way

In researching my book MENTAL TRAINING I discovered that running turns on brain circuits for a better attitude more vitality and empowerment better than other activities studied.

In researching my book RUNNING UNTIL YOU’RE 100 I found numerous studies showing that runners have healthier orthopedic units than non runners even after decades of running.

Training:

When a runner takes walk breaks early and often enough for the individual the muscles are strong to the end.  See RUN WALK RUN at www.jeffgalloway.com for recommendations by pace per mile.

The “exhaustion wall” can be avoided by running longer long runs up to or beyond race distance-using the appropriate run-walk-run strategy.

Marathoners tend to improve time by an average of more than 15 minutes when they increase their longest run from 20 miles to 26 miles.

To recover fast, run the long runs at least 2 min/mi slower than you could currently run in a marathon

The right run-walk-run strategy from the beginning of each run, gives any runner control over fatigue, injury-elimination, and recovery.

In numerous surveys, runners improved over 13 minutes when they shifted from running continuously to use of the right run-walk-run strategy.

I think the advice to take walk breaks early and often can’t be followed too closely. It’s a well-known and well-researched fact that starting a race too fast can lead to disaster later on. By forcing yourself to take walk breaks, even when you feel great and can’t imagine needing them later on, you’re allowing yourself to stay fresher and stronger for longer. It’s hard as heck to do on race day, but you’ll never, ever regret it.

Also, if you’re looking for a race to keep in shape or use as a goal, but there aren’t any near you, here’s a great option:

LAST CHANCE!
2014 Virtual 13.1 Half Marathon and 5K (Inaugural)
Last chance to become a “Legacy” participant!
Closes March 1, 2015.
    ** Register at https://jeffgalloway131.com/registration/ **
Or maybe you prefer travel and adventure – it’s not too late to sign up for the Rome Marathon with Jeff. (Bucket list, anyone?)
Looking to run a half marathon or marathon that goes beyond the ordinary?   RUN ITALY Tours offers more than others do and travel with “Coach Jeff”.March 22, 2015 – Rome Marathon 26.2, 13.1 and 5K distances
Book NOW at www.RunITALY.com!

 *Disclaimer* I receive no remuneration of any kind for my affiliation with Jeff Galloway through the blogger program. I’m just a big believer!

 

Life

Meet Buddy!

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In all my efforts to get caught up on race reports and life in general, I would be absolutely remiss if I did not introduce an amazing new part of our lives – it’s time to meet Buddy!

IMG_1360 2

Buddy’s first full day with us, he earned his own racing medal. He fits right in!

 

If you recall, we lost our dearly loved Jack Russell Terrier, Scooter, a little over a year ago. It was a tough one to come back from, he’d been with us for so long, and he was such a big personality. We weren’t really sure how to bring a new pet into that spot that Scooter left. It took a long time to even be ready for it.

But, this fall, once we’d decided that we wanted to be home for a while, I started casually looking at pet shelter websites. Not a lot, just once in a while…

One day when looking I came across a photo of a cute little face at the Toronto Animal Services website. Being that we are both not working full-time, Greg was naturally and responsibly resistant to a dog, but one day he relented to the cuteness. He agreed to head down to the shelter to have a look at l’il “Keegan”.

It was the day before we were heading to Florida for a week and a half. The shelter was closing in 15 minutes, we got there with 5 minutes to spare and we were told that we could go look, but that adoptions were closed for the day. We went up and found Keegan sitting quietly in his kennel, but he got wiggly and happy when we approached the cage. He leaned against the door so we could pet him, not jumping, not barking… he just seemed so little and so gentle. I adored him, but I couldn’t get too excited.

We heard the announcement that the shelter was closing, so Rachael and I headed back downstairs – somehow we lost Greg in that short trip. A few minutes later he came down the stairs too, he’d found a bag of cookies and he’d gone back to give one to Keegan, who promptly began to hop around it, and play with it. Greg had tried to get it on video, but it sounded pretty adorable.

We agreed as we drove back home that we couldn’t get too excited about Keegan. He was a pretty sweet little guy, and we didn’t expect him to still be at the shelter when we got back a week later. He’d already been there for over a month.

I will admit to checking the website every night to see if he was still there, but I resisted Rachael and Greg’s talk about what we should re-name him. I couldn’t think about that yet. I wanted that little guy to be part of our household!

The afternoon after we got home, Greg suggested we go get Keegan, and I got really excited. He’d been on the website the night before, so I did one last check before we headed over…

KEEGAN’S PHOTO WAS GONE!

I didn’t know what that meant – I didn’t understand how he could have been available the night before, but gone within a couple hours of the shelter closing the next day. That just seemed too cruel. I called the shelter to find out what had happened, and the information I got was spotty.

“Was he adopted?”

“No, he was taken off the adoption list.”

“Um, ok… what does that mean?”

“He’s not available for adoption, the supervisor is going to send him to a rescue.”

“Why?”

“There was an incident.”

“So…”

“With another dog, he attacked another dog… he’s kind of toy aggressive… we have other Jack Russells available if you want to come see them.”

“I’ll think about it, thanks.”

The whole thing didn’t sit right with me. I looked up the local Jack Russell rescue, and they had posted in large letters on their website that they weren’t taking in any more dogs, their foster homes were overbooked.

I couldn’t let it go. I emailed the Animal Services department and explained what I’d been told, and asked that our information be passed along to whatever shelter took Keegan, because we’d like to be considered, that we’d had a Jack and we understood what complicated little fellows they can be…

Soon after, I got an email from the supervisor saying that they DIDN’T have a rescue for Keegan, and that we were welcome to come and meet him if we were thinking about adopting him.

YES PLEASE!

We sat in a glass room with the little guy for a while, and let him bounce around. We played with him and let him get used to us. He seemed like a normal guy. When he saw other dogs he got excited, but not aggressive. He seemed sweet. We agreed to take him, and said we’d pick him up in 2 days (we had some dog-proofing to do, but we came to visit in the meantime).

We were warned by a couple of other employees that we should watch him, that he was the instigator of the “incident” that put him on the black list in the first place and we took them at their word, promising to keep him away from other dogs.

Buddy enjoys his first night in his new home.

Buddy enjoys his first night in his new home.

The lady who seemed to be his biggest advocate seemed relieved, and when she described us as Keegan’s “Christmas Miracle” in an email exchange a few days later, I had a jolt. He probably would have been put down…

Over the next week, we renamed Keegan “Buddy”, which suits him so well, and we kept him away from other dogs, despite every indication that he LOVED them, and watched him for aggression. He’s very energetic, he’s very playful, he growls a lot when he’s playing and acts tough, but he’s all bark. We enrolled him in obedience classes, and he’s a star every time we go. He cuddles like a champ.

And he LOVES other dogs. A lot. We call him the Mayor of the Dog Park.

He’s brought so much joy back into our lives, and I’m so glad that I couldn’t ignore that little voice that told me to check up on him.

So get ready for a lot of Buddy-talk over the years – I plan to run with him a lot…

Have you ever considered adopting a shelter dog?

Product Reviews

Blog School is BACK, Baby!

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When I first started out on this Blogging journey, I was a babe in the woods. Completely lost, exposed and unprotected. Then along came Rita Barry and her Blog School and suddenly I was emboldened! I went from plunking away on a free Blogger site, to acquiring my own domain and self-hosting.

I developed a greater understanding of social media.

I started to understand how to make my blog straight up better. I’m still learning and I’m still applying the lessons, but I’ll tell you what… I feel a whole heck of a lot better about where I’m headed, largely because I can see the route now.

And that’s all thanks to Rita. That’s all thanks to Blog School.

I am so glad I took a chance on something new, and because I did, I am able to offer you this amazing early Valentine’s Day gift! You want to “try before you buy”? Have a look at these FREE lessons from Rita available right now:

Blog-School-Screenshot

Want to snazz up your blog, get more followers, better understand how this whole she-bang works? Click on through and get yourself some free help, and then decide from there if you want to commit to the whole program.
Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link – if you use this link to purchase a Blog School tuition, I receive remuneration (although I’d promote this thing for free – it’s that good).

Product Reviews runDisney Running

I’m a Jeff Galloway Blogger!

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I’m pleased to announce that I have been selected as a participant in the Jeff Galloway Blogger Program!

The Jeff Galloway method of training is near and dear to my heart. I first heard of the former Olympic athelete’s brilliant #runwalkrun method of running endurance races through his position as runDisney’s training guru. When I decided to undertake my very first half marathon, it was only because his method of training gave me the faith that I could build up to and accomplish that goal.

I would not be a runner without Jeff Galloway. I would not have done my very first runDisney race, my two Goofy Challenges (or raised funds for RODS Racing), or my proudest personal running accomplishment – the Chicago Marathon – without what I learned about running from Jeff Galloway.

Jeff Galloway

Curious about the #runwalkrun principles and why they’re so powerful? Here are a few tips, direct from the man himself:

When paced correctly, running delivers the best attitude boost you can get. Sustain this by pacing yourself gently during the first mile or three.

A well-paced run enhances vitality for the rest of the day.  Start each run at least 30 seconds a mile slower than you will run at the end.

If you have a Run Walk Run strategy that is right for you on that day, it’s possible to feel good after every run-even the marathon.

Running is the best stress reliever I’ve found. Research shows that running tends to activate the conscious brain which over-rides the emotional subconscious brain and manages the negative and anxiety hormones during and after the run.

Research shows that as runners get faster, their stride length shortens.  A quicker cadence is the mechanical key to faster running.

The finishing of a run that is longer than you’ve run in the last 3 weeks can bestow a sense of achievement that is unique and empowering-due to positive brain circuits that are turned on.

You can’t run a long run too slowly or take too many walk breaks.  You’ll get the same endurance based upon the distance covered.

If you want to learn more about Jeff’s training programs, or find a Galloway Training Group near you, just go to his website (www.runinjuryfree.com) and have a look around!

Do you use the run/walk/run method? Are you willing to try?

Life

Free Clean Eating Challenge Group!

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free group

I don’t know about you, but there’s something just plain funky about February.

It’s cold, it’s dark… it mocks your relationship status if you’re single during the most depressing time of year (I’m looking at you, Valentine’s Day). Despite a brief shining moment that falls around the 17th (ahem, my birthday), February doesn’t seem to have a whole lot going for it.

That’s why I’m hosting a week-long Clean Eating Challenge group on Facebook. We might as well come out of this gross month with something to show for it, right?

I’ll provide you with a meal plan, recipes and a grocery list and you’ll get started on a positively focussed week, starting February 15 (if you get a nice Valentine’s meal in before that, more power to you).

Want in? It’s FREE FREE FREE!!

Bring a friend or two for extra support, and you could win a prize (whoever brings the most pals into the group wins!).

Start by liking I Run on Water on Facebook, and commenting “I want to join the Clean Eating Challenge”.

See you there!

Race Reports Running

Chicago Marathon 2014 Recap

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I know. I know. It’s been MONTHS since the Chicago Marathon.

I’ve run four races since then…

We’re in a new freaking YEAR…

But honestly, I would be remiss if I didn’t recap the darn thing. After all, it was my goal race for the fall.

Short story: I LOVED IT. I loved every moment of the race, even the moments when I was in pain – and there was pain thanks to the leg injury that had been plaguing me since June. I can see exactly where the problem started, too. My mileage in 2014 went like this:

  1. January 54 miles (ran the Goofy and the Minnie 10K in January)
  2. February 52 miles (trained for and ran the Glass Slipper Challenge)
  3. March 5 miles
  4. April 11 miles
  5. May 13 miles
  6. June 48 miles
  7. July 58 miles
  8. August 80 miles
  9. September 82 miles (and I was taking it easy)
  10. October 36 miles (STOPPED running after Chicago)
  11. November 20 miles
  12. December 50 miles

See the problem area there? In the words of Costa, my physiotherapist with magic in his blood, “our goal is to get you to the starting line as pain free as possible”.

So let’s get to that starting line, shall we?

I convinced Greg to join me in the trip to Chicago – thanks to our work with The Second City on ships, we have a lot of friends in Chicago and any excuse to visit is a welcome one. Plus, there was a good deal on airfare!

We flew down on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and took the EL into the city.

skyline

Once we were checked into our hotel (The beautiful Hotel Allegro) we made our way to a shuttle pick up spot to take the bus to the expo. It was mid-afternoon, and so I wondered how long the bus trip would take from the Loop all the way down to McCormick Place. I shouldn’t have worried. Did you know that there’s a super-secret, uber-efficient “bus only” route from downtown Chicago to the Convention Centre? I sure didn’t and IT BLEW MY MIND! I didn’t think I could love Chicago more, but now I do. Way to go, Chicago.

Once we got down to McCormick Place, I got in line to pick up my bib and Hospitality Tent access sticker. Once that was accomplished, I made my way to T-shirt pick up only to discover that they were out of women’s shirts. That’s right. OUT. Not impressed. I settled for a men’s medium, grumpily and started looking for the KT Tape booth. Greg stood in line for me while I looked around. It was a good sized expo, but frankly I wasn’t in the market for anything, my leg was a bit sore, and I was suffering from pre-marathon moodiness.

Expo

Still, we managed to have some fun – and I was delighted to see that the EAS Alert level was LOW. I’ve never run a race where it’s been low. What a treat!

Greg got an even better shot of the glowing route map on the Nike booth. That thing was freaking cool – does anyone else see the Death Star?

map

I also had a look in the Nike Booth for a pace group. Before my injury, my goal for this race was 5:45 – 5:50, but based on my reduced training and the fact that I was still in some pain, I adjusted to 6:00 and hoped it was realistic. Unfortunately, despite what the marathon website said, there was no 6:00 pace group, so I knew I was on my own.

We went shopping for a ‘throw-away” layer for me, then back to the hotel. Greg packed up a few things and I gave him the items I would want at the 10 mile mark of the race (extra hydration bottles, my visor and my coffee order – iced latte).  Our good pal had invited him to go do a show, and then spend the night at her place so that he wouldn’t come back to the hotel at 1AM and wake me. They had a fun night, and Greg spent a comfy night on a futon:

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I spent the evening laying out my clothes and deciding what shirt to wear in the less-than-warm conditions ahead of me, then I double-checked that my baggies of ENERGYbits were packed in my FuelBelt. I also created a pace band using a tool on the Running Room website which I copied to the notes App on my phone, then took a screen shot so I could zoom into the small print. The pace band was for 5:57, but anything in the 6 hour neighbourhood was ok with me. That done, I climbed into bed and hoped for sleep.

Morning brought a bit of an unwelcome surprise and a trip down to the front desk to ask for tampons. (sorry, gents) I grabbed a coffee from the lobby and headed up to my room to eat something before heading out.

I didn’t really know how long it would take to get to the hospitality tent, so I gave myself plenty of time to walk over. It was a good thing, since it was much farther than I anticipated! Since I was so far back in the corrals (and the tent was near the back of the corrals, too) it worked out pretty well for me. I watched the earlier waves start via the TVs in the tent, relaxed, used the bag check and the facilities and just generally tried not to freak out.

This, in my mind, was my first real marathon. Sure, I’d done the Space Coast Marathon the previous December, but I was woefully undertrained. Same for the Goofy Challenge I’d done in January, just a month later. What those two races did give me, however, was the knowledge that no matter what… I could cover the miles. Not prettily, but I could grind them out if needed. In Chicago I was better trained, in better shape… I was just… injured.

Like all my races, my strategy for this race was to run 2/1 run/walk intervals – I’ve been using this Galloway Running interval structure from day one, and I couldn’t imagine myself ever even starting to run without it.

I smiled for the cameras in the corral.

Starting Corral 4

But how I really felt is best summed up by this candid shot:

Starting Corral 5

I surprised myself with my emotional state. I saw a pair, likely mother and son, preparing to run together. Her shirt declaring that it was her first marathon, her leg held fast with a huge knee brace. I saw a man with a photo of his late wife on his shirt – running in her memory. I cried in the corral. In retrospect, knowing that my hormones were facing an all out assault on top of the stress, I’m not surprised, but all I could think was “I can’t keep crying, I’ll never be able to breathe properly.” Also… why the hell was I crying?? I’m not the type who cries. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Corral 1

Before we knew it, it was our corral’s turn (the last corral). “Born to Run blared over the loudspeakers and off we headed towards the river. Within the first of mile, I saw a runner take a header, but bounce right back up while crossing one of the bridges. Duly noted, watch the footing on the bridges. Good information, considering we’d cross the river a total of 6 times that day. I kept my eyes forward and stuck as close to the blue tangent line as possible as we wove through River North and back down to the Loop before hooking back North up LaSalle.

5K – 00:41:45

I was cruising. I felt good and I hoped I could keep up this pace. It was pretty much exactly where I wanted to be. I was a little concerned, since I seemed to be pacing along pretty close to the 5:45 Nike Pace Team. Either they were starting really slow, or I was starting really fast. In retrospect, it had to be the former. As I ran, I appreciated how many people were still out watching the runners – it was a welcome sight, considering how long ago the actual race started. We veered right into Lincoln Park and I spotted some portopotties with a shortish line. I hopped in the line and hoped the wait wouldn’t cost me too much time. A panicked girl approached me and asked if I was the Nike pacer for 5:45 – my shirt was similar to theirs in colour – I told her they couldn’t be that far ahead since I’d just seen them before joining the line and I wished her luck. I loved running through the park. I’ve run there before, so it was a nice visit.

10K – 01:25:46 (Diff 44:10)

The bathroom break cost me, but I didn’t care. I started to get texts from Greg letting me know that they were almost at the corner of North and Wells where I’d asked them to meet me with my coffee and an Uncrustable sandwich. Before I realized it, I was up at Addison making the turn back south. I couldn’t believe it. It had seemed so far on the map (and in our other visits to Chicago), but here I was, heading back south with a huge grin on my face. I felt GOOD! As I ran through Boystown and waved at the Drag Queens performing and soaked in the cheering patio patrons, I felt like I would burst with happiness.

15K – 02:07:18 (Diff 41:32)

As I ran down Sedgwick, I looked around at the beautiful homes, the gorgeous fall foliage and straight ahead at the Brown Line train that kept getting closer and closer with each passing step. Around the corner, I knew I’d find Greg and my friends, and I was excited to see them. They took this adorable selfie while they were waiting – they told me to look for them “by Elvis”.

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Sure enough, there they were, by the Fleet Feet stage. I ran up to them giving sweaty hugs and they were like a NASCAR pit crew. “What do you need?” I thew my hands in the air, and they swapped out my hydration bottles for full ones (including one containing my much anticipated iced latte) I handed over my hat and gloves and got my visor, and I started running away again.

MY UNCRUSTABLE!! I quickly doubled back and got my sandwich and bid them a fond farewell Seeing them gave me such a boost of energy.

20K – 02:49:41 (Diff 42:23)

I drank my coffee and munched on my sandwich as I made my way down Wells, passing the Cobbler Lofts, which feel like a home away from home for us since we always stay in corporate housing there when we’re in Chicago for rehearsals. I felt great. I fist bumped a cop. My pace and my intervals seemed to be doing right by me. I had been worried about being ‘alone’ on the course, but it turns out there were a lot of people running at my pace, and I never felt “less-than” during the race at all.

There was a big screen and a cheering zone at the halfway point – that was cool…

HALF – 02:58:45 (Diff 09:04)

It turns out my own support squad had tried to meet me closer to the half, but they couldn’t catch me, so they enjoyed some food in Greektown instead, while I ran through it. Just past Mile 14, there was a “Charity Block Party”, which was really cool. All the affiliated charities had little tents set up, and the runners could go and get support from their group (a lot of it was in the form of candies and stuff). That was really fun to see…

I also feel like my pit crew met me in here somewheres, but I can’t for the life of me remember where. Marathon brain. I feel like it was around Mile 16.

25K – 03:31:53 (Diff 33:08)

I was still feeling surprisingly good. My injury wasn’t any more sore than usual, so I took that as a good sign. I was feeling the miles, but not overwhelmingly so. Someone near me remarked that we were down to single digits, and I realized that we’d passed Mile 17. That made me feel even better! There was, however, a small problem brewing.

Pain face

I’d started to slow a little bit due to a pain across the top of my left foot, just across the arch. I tried to ignore it, popping a couple of Tylenol and focussing on the people around me. I was also getting word from Greg that it didn’t look like they’d be able to make the 20 Mile spot where I’d been hoping to see them. I texted back not to worry, that I’d slowed down and that I’d see them at the finish line.

To be honest, I was sad about not seeing them at Mile 20, but I totally understood the challenges facing them trying to get around the city that day.

30K – 04:15:16 (Diff 43:23)

Pain Town USA. I considered walking more due to the pain in my foot and I bargained with myself to walk an extra set of intervals, just till I got to Mile 20 My hammies, never having given me a lick of trouble before, started feeling crampy. I stopped on the curb and tried a stretch which seemed to make things worse so I figured I might as well keep going. My foot hurt as badly walking as it did running, so I figured I might as well keep up with my intervals, as well. I dazed older gentleman asked if we’d passed 20 yet, and giving him the good news that we had just passed it a hundred yards back cheered me up. Only 10K to go!

We were also coming up on the first food stop. I got about an inch and a half worth of banana. Stop. I’ll get fat. (It’s ok, the banana-bits got progressively bigger).

35K – 05:01:06 (Diff 45:50)

Next up: China Town!

Chinatown 6

Chinatown 3

You’ll notice, I’m practically right ON TOP of that blue line.

We carried on south before hooking left, crossing over-top of the Dan Ryan Expressway and reaching a beautiful sight. I’d already put my phone away after telling Greg I’d see him at the finish, so imagine my surprise when this happened:

My Mile 23 Surprise!

That’s Greg in the red hoodie ducking back off the course after giving me a quick kiss. After I’d told him about slowing down and being in pain, he and my friends busted ass to get to me at Mile 23 to give me one last push for that last 5K.

Autumn Colours 1

They cut a corner and met me again, a little bit farther along, so of course I had to photobomb:

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Caroline ran with me for a little bit, giving me a last-minute pep talk that cheered me up and gave me energy for the last few miles. My joy was back!

I also got a chance to get this photo taken:

Logo 2

Let’s try again with our eyes open, shall we?

Logo 1

By the way – look at how many people are around me. My goal in this last 5K was to try and pass as many people as I could.

40K – 05:44:16 (Diff 43:10)

In my final stretch, I reflected back on my journey and thought once again of all the people who had “bought” one of the miles I ran on this day – I’d been mentally acknowledging them as each mile marker clicked away – but in the final two, unsponsored miles, I thought about myself. I thought about how proud I was of what I was about to do.

I also thought about how my friend Mollie had pledged some money if I was able to run the last mile of the marathon at a faster pace than any of the others, so I gave it a shot, pushing harder than I thought I could (I will admit to walking up the last ramp/hill that lead to the finish line, though). Guess what? I did it. My last mile was my fastest mile.

FINISH – 06:01:57 (Diff 17:41)

Finish Line 2

 

Look at that SMILE!

There were no real tears after this marathon, although I will admit to misting up when I how I’d done. Happy misting, of course. I felt so strong and the pain was still manageable.

I grabbed my medal and got to texting Greg to see where they’d ended up. They couldn’t reach the finish-line viewing without a pass for the Hospitality tent, so they were up in the runner’s village, which apparently was pretty much clearing out and shutting down. They opted to head back to the hotel and meet me there.

I almost passed by the post-race beer from Goose Island, but I turned around on my heel and grabbed one happily before heading over to get my photo taken.

Done! #chimarathon

A photo posted by Tabetha Wells (@tabwells) on

I’m not a big “selfie” person, but this warrants a snap. #chimarathon #marathon #exhausted A photo posted by Tabetha Wells (@tabwells) on

Finisher

I went to the Hospitality Tent and grabbed a sandwich and another beer before they closed up (boy, EVERYTHING was shutting down). Meanwhile, Greg, Caroline and Carley saw the true aftermath of a marathon on their way out of the runner’s village.

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I bundled up a bit in the warm clothes I’d put through bag check (I was SO grateful for those extra layers) and started hoofing my way back to the hotel slowly. On my way out of the Hospitality Tent, I asked who had won and was glad to hear that Rita Jeptoo had come out on top for the women (only to be stripped of the title later for doping).

The sidewalks were jam packed with people who’d also just finished (as well as those who’d finished long ago, had already showered and were back out on the street again). I saw some ladies heading away with beautiful flower arrangements, and I congratulated them and complimented them on their flowers – I remembered seeing that you could order arrangements for runners on the marathon website, and they looked like they were really worth the effort. So pretty.

I finally made it back to the hotel where Greg and my friends cheered when I came through the door. It meant a lot that they’d spent their whole day following me around the city, and that they were as excited for me as if I’d beat that cheater Rita across the finish line! Here’s a look at the signs they carried – they made me laugh.

Sign Collage

 

 

We hung out for a bit before the gals had to take off and I had a shower and took a nap.

The next day we went for a fantastic brunch at one of our favourite spots, Little Goat Diner – SO YUM and so well deserved.

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Then we stopped by the nearest Fleet Feet to drop off my medal for engraving:

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Holy Lineup!! We left the medal there and opted to come back later to pick it up – we did, however, grab a free beer while we were there.

Then we sped over to the Nike Store on Michigan Avenue where Greg insisted I get a Finisher jacket – all that was left for women was a bright coral-pink, which I’m totally not into, so I grabbed a men’s 3/4 zip in black instead. While we were wandering around, I noticed that a generous soul in the Magic Milers group I’m a part of was offering a pair of Bulls pre-season game tickets for that night to any Miler who’d run the Chicago marathon that day. Of course I jumped on that offer!

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From there, we met our friends for drinks at Old Town Ale House which I’d run by the day before, and Greg picked up some Ibuprofen for the pain in my foot now that I was in the clear to take it. I was feeling pretty good aside from that foot.

It was a whirlwind trip full of fun, friends and running. I couldn’t believe how much I’d enjoyed running the Chicago Marathon, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d be able to improve on my time if I tried it again.

I’m still not sure I’ve fallen in love with the marathon distance, or if I have many more of them in me, but with the Goofy Challenge looming in the distance, I knew I had at least one more to go.

Once those injuries healed, that is.

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Did you run the Chicago Marathon? How did you like it?

runDisney Running

Gearing up for Goofy

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Well, here we go! I’m heading into the final two races in my racing “season”, and they’re doozies. I’m running the back-to-back Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World, which means for the next 2 mornings I’ll get up at 3:00AM and head to the EPCOT parking lots to start running a half marathon (Saturday) and a full marathon (Sunday).

I’m not sure how I’m feeling about this. I’m not “nervous”, but I’m not exactly confident. I know I haven’t written about my Chicago marathon, but it went well. I had to take a solid month off to recover thanks to my injury. My “between marathon” training schedule only had me running up to 16 – 18 miles, and my injury kept me resting more than the training schedule called for.

What I’m saying is that I feel soft. Undertrained. I’ve done some great cross training thanks to 21 Day Fix, but still…

I’m still not entirely unnerved by this. Last year I was less trained, heavier and less overall “in shape”, and I survived the Goofy Challenge just fine. Not great. Just “fine”.

So, this weekend is about “fun”. My sister and I are running the half together in costume.

That’s right. I’m running in costume. A thing I don’t do. But I’m doing it. Because: fun.

So, if you’re out there tomorrow running the half marathon look for this cheeky droid. Beep boop.

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Running

Drumroll Please!

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It’s been a little over a week since the #WinterIsComing5K run officially ended on December 6. I promised that I would award a prize for “most fun photo”, and I wanted to give people time to answer the call.

My sister and I ran our 5K in conjunction with the Santa Shuffle here in Toronto, accompanied by our new friend, Buddy. More on him later this week, but here’s our fun photo from that day.

Some pre-race kisses from our new pal, Buddy! #rescuedog #5k #run #runchat

A photo posted by Tabetha Wells (@tabwells) on

Everyone took on the challenge of a “fun photo” in their own way – some opting to be in the photos, others posting photos of their clothing, their route or their medal.

Here is what I was able to compile between photos sent to me, and pulling up images using a search of #WinterIsComing5K:

First, the “impressions” shots, as I like to call them. The subject is the run, the distance, the medal, the attire. Very moody, very artistic…

Winter Is Coming 5K2

 

Secondly, here are the runners who submitted “runfies”. Photos of before, during or after their run. Let’s start with my Dad and Chris, our WSM (Wicked Step-Mother – a title she’s given herself…)

DAD & WSM

As much as I love them, and think these photos are hilarious – they’re family, so ineligible for the prize…

Next up, everyone else!

Hello everybody! I’m thrilled to see the commitment to the theme from these runners. How great is Connor’s huge mug of mead, post-race? The bearded man (Jack) with the shovel chasing Paula, in case you’re wondering (I was) represents “Old Man Winter”… I die… so funny. What’s not to love about Hunter the honorary Direwolf’s big pink tongue as he accompanied Diana on her run? The superheroes are part of a running group that took part in the race and ran it on Halloween. Cute, right?

Props to Rod for sporting that animal on his head (even more so if he actually managed to run with it), Beth ran her race while on a Disney cruise to the Caribbean, Grant looks happy because he just set a PR for his 5K, and Emily just plain looks GREAT at this stage of her Princess Half Marathon training.

#WinterIsComing5K

 

I’ve loved getting photos and feedback from every single runner who sent them. It’s been an absolute joy to see the people who have chosen to make a difference in Marcus’ life. Thanks to these runners, and other generous donors, I met my fundraising commitment to RODS, and best of all, Marcus’ adoption is FULLY FUNDED!

As promised, I will be awarding prizes for my favourite photos. Frankly, I can’t choose just one, and that’s why each of these 8 beautiful faces are winners. I’ve already awarded a prize to the running group for being the largest group of sign-ups (there were 8 or 9 of them) in the form of Starbucks coffees.

The remainder of the prizes come from items that were given to me either at BlogFest, or donated specifically for this fundraising event.

And so, drumroll, please! Here are your winners!

Rod Paul: Armour39 Module and Chest Strap

Paula Peplanski: 7 Day Shakeology Starter Variety Pack

Beth Anderson: OtterBox Protective Phone Case (in the form of a gift voucher via email)

Emily Poundstone: Banded Headband

Grant deBruin: Subway Gift Card (physical card)

Connor Thompson & Diana Frances: Starbucks Gift Cards (via email)

I will be mailing the physical items this week, so keep an eye out for them after the holidays.

Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you once again for participating and helping fund Marcus’ adoption.

 

Running

Space Coast Marathon Weekend: Expo

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Here we are again, in sunny Cocoa Beach Florida and that can only mean one thing… Well, actually if you’ve worked on a ship as long as Greg and I have, that can only mean one OF TWO things. Either you’re in port for the day letting passengers get their fill of Wal-Mart and/or Disney World, OR, it’s time for the Space Coast Marathon!

Source: http://www.spacecoastmarathon.com

Source: http://www.spacecoastmarathon.com

Turns out, this time it’s the second of the two, although we couldn’t resist a game of “spot the crew members” while we visited what we’ve long-dubbed “The Most Depressing Mall in America”.

We arrived in the Cocoa Beach/Port Canaveral area late last night after picking Rachael up from her 11:30 flight and got checked in to our hotel. We’re staying at the Hampton Inn again this year – we really liked this hotel last year and will probably continue to come back here for our future races in pursuit of our Big Bang Series medals. Clean, roomy hotel with a complimentary hot breakfast setup. Pretty sweet.

We asked about signing up for a shuttle time to the start line in the morning, but no one seemed to know what we were talking about. Last year we put our names on a list since there was limited room – this year… no list. So we’ll hope for the best.

We headed over to the Expo to pick up our bibs around 1PM. We were bracing ourselves. Last year packet pick up took place at the Space Centre, well north of town, and was a giant fiasco. We were expecting something similar this year, but were happy with what we found.
This year the Expo took place in the main host hotel, the Radisson, and was clearly laid out in an easily followed pattern. There were boards showing your bib numbers, booths for bib ranges that were easily visible, and from there you stepped right over to chip activation and shirt pickup. Smooth. A little crowded, but nothing compared to last year!

SPACE

We had a look around at some of the exhibitors. Brooks had some very cute race-specific shirts, and if they have a booth set up at the finishing area tomorrow, I may just grab one. And of course, perennial favourite, Sparkle Skirts also had a big booth right up front. Rachael couldn’t resist grabbing a couple of skirts, and a travel sized “The Stick” for post-race care. Even with the shopping, we were in and out in less than half an hour.

We were very impressed, and felt that between how much cooler the race shirts were this year, and how much more organized the expo was, that the Race Director really listened to, and acted upon feedback from the previous year. That’s really nice to see – that kind of responsiveness and effort to improve. It made me love this race just a little bit more that before.

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing some last minute shopping (grabbed some Root Beer Flavour GU for Greg, and a new Under Armour hoodie for both of us). We grabbed some coffee at Starbucks, where a nice barista ended up giving us two of our three coffees for free, then we popped into a thrift store to buy a spare bag to bring extra purchases home.

For our carbo-loading lunch, we went back to a place we visited last year, A N.Y. Pizza. Or as we call it “Any Pizza”, because it makes us laugh. We placed our orders and reminisced about how last time we were there, they got our pizza order wrong and we ended up with the “wrong” pizza, plus the corrected pizza at no extra charge.

Guess what happened again?

I swear, we weren’t trying to be shady.

So now we have pizza for days. Which makes me a teeny bit sad, because after tomorrow, it’s back to my 21 Day Fix portions and nutrient ratios. Which isn’t to say I can’t have pizza… I just can’t have 3 slices of it at a time. Which is too bad, cause this pizza is really, really good.

There’s a lot of pizza left. And if you’re keeping track, yes, we had a complimentary breakfast today, 2 free coffees and a free pizza. Pretty good day.

All that was left was to head back to the hotel, get our race outfits ready and put our feet up.

Visor: Lorna Jane Shirt: Oiselle Skirt: Sparkle Skirt Handwrap: My Handana Shoes: Brooks Adrenaline 14

Visor: Lorna Jane
Shirt: Oiselle
Skirt: Sparkle Skirt
Handwrap: My Handana
Shoes: Brooks Adrenaline 14

Our goal tomorrow is simply to finish comfortably. Hopefully in under 3 hours. I haven’t run more than 6 miles since the Chicago Marathon in October, so I’m apprehensive about how my body will react to this whole endeavour, but fingers crossed we get through it ok. The pain in my leg is much improved and I don’t want to do anything to change that.
We’re also going to try recording some of our next podcast while we’re on the course. We’ll see how that goes. Episode 10 is LONG overdue.

How about you? Are you running a race this weekend?

NaBloPoMo November 2014

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