Three things Thursday – run streak timing, pants shopping and fruits & veggies

1. I’m loving the timing of this run streak

As much as November is a crazy month and it may have been easier to fit in runs in a different month, the timing is kind of perfect. The fact that I’m busy means that the streak is forcing me to do lots of runs I normally would have (somewhat fairly) chosen to skip. Also – all of this running has done wonders for some of the extra pounds of me I’ve been carrying around for the last few months when I wasn’t running nearly as much. I’m feeling trim and toned and confident right before this trip to Vegas, and before the busy dressing-up-for-holiday-parties season. Even my arms are looking pretty good! (I don’t work out my arms, ever.)

2. I hate it when…

…you work your butt off getting fit and then the “reward” for your hard work is that NONE OF YOUR PANTS FIT! I mean, it’s awesome that first time you’re like, “Wow, these pants are looser than they used to be!” But then reality sets in and your clothes look frumpy and you have to go on the horrific errand that is shopping for dress pants. Or (*shudder*) bathing suits. Luckily I think I can continue to tie the back of my bathing suit tighter for a little while longer.

3. I need to eat more fruits and vegetables

Without meaning to, I seem to do a pretty good job of eating fruits and veggies that are in season. In the summer I seem to exist only on fresh veggies some weeks. And then fall comes around and my favourite veggies disappear, or triple in price, or just start to look gross and all of a sudden I find myself not eating as many vegetables as I should. I think I need some new ideas for root vegetables. (Any recipe suggestions??) The only fruit I’m eating regularly are the berries on my oatmeal every morning.


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A belated recap: #Racegiving weekend 2013

By waiting until now to post about my Thanksgiving, I can almost pretend I did it on purpose to be closer to American Thanksgiving, right?? I’m not quite sure how I decided to turn my Thanksgiving long weekend into a three-race weekend, but somehow it happened. This is what my #Racegiving weekend looked like.

Friday, October 11 – race 1 – ElectroDash 5k

I hadn’t even heard of this run until Tommy asked if I wanted to join him and Alastair. It was a fun untimed run similar to Color Me Rad (and I think put on by the same people). It was not as much fun as Color Me Rad, which we’d done the weekend before. I’m glad I got a discount on my registration, because I think I would have been disappointed if I’d paid full price. The highlight for me was probably the ridiculous glowstick extravaganza we had on the sidewalk beforehand, putting together the bracelets and necklaces and all that nonsense.

Saturday, October 12 – race-free day

All I did on Saturday was travel to Victoria with Pippa, hang out with her puppy, go for a walk on the beach, eat greek food and watch Up. It was delightful.

Not a bad view!

What a beautiful day to travel!

Sunday, October 13 – race 2 – GoodLife Fitness Victoria 8k Road Race
We got up bright and early to make it downtown for the 7:15 start. We hit the bathroom, waited until the last minute to check our warm clothes, and then headed to the start line. Pippa and I always start races together, even though we don’t wind up running together for more than about 30 seconds. After we crossed the start line I said good luck to Pippa and set off. I didn’t really have much of a goal for this race, other than to finish in one piece, unlike last year. I was pretty confident that I would beat last year’s time, so I just wanted to enjoy it. 
Pippa's all ready to go!

Pippa’s all ready to go!

The course is beautiful, it goes out along Dallas Road to Beacon Hill Park and back. You’re running just as the sun is coming up and it starts to get light out. The temperature is pretty perfect (though both years I’ve been there it’s been dry, I’m not sure it would have been as wonderful in the rain). These are some of the reasons I’m hoping to make Victoria my first marathon next year.

I met my goal of finishing pain free and came in at 45:15, 5 and a half minutes better than last year’s time. After collecting my medal, I collected the next most important thing – snacks! And then my sweatshirt. Then I ran into my friend Steve, who was there supporting various family members – their Thanksgiving tradition. I didn’t even have time to eat my pudding before it was time to go back to the finish to see Pippa, who shaved a similar amount of time off her previous year’s 8k.

I love this medal!

I love this medal!

The next priority was brunch – a delicious eggs benedict (my absolute favourite post-race meal) – and then it was back to Pippa’s mum’s house for a shower, and before I knew it I was back on a ferry again. I ran into a girl from my soccer team on the ferry and got a ride back to Port Moody for dinner with the family. I managed not to drink too much wine or eat too many potatoes, which I think is probably some kind of miracle.  I made it home at a somewhat reasonable hour and was able to get to sleep with not too much trouble.

Monday, October 14 – race 3 – Granville Island Turkey Trot 10k

When I woke up on Monday, my body was definitely tired. My achilles was kind of sore, so I put on my brace/sleeve thing and promised myself I wouldn’t push it too hard. If it hurt, I wouldn’t run.

The first 5k felt pretty darn good. In the next 2 I started to get kind of sore. And then around 7.75 km it changed from sore to pain. So I called it. I would walk the rest. I rethought that decision for a moment at the 8k marker when I realized that even at a very slow run I could still come in under an hour. I tried a few more steps at a run, and quickly realized it wasn’t meant to be.

I did pull off a sort of half-jog step for this photo op though.

I did pull off a sort of half-jog step for this photo op though.

As someone who looks like they should be able to finish a 10k running, I sure get a lot of funny looks when I slow down to a walk. One kind older gentleman even shouted encouragingly, “You can still break 60 if you push the rest of it!” Which some days, might have been just the push I needed, but that day I was proud of myself for being smart enough to walk.

I did run the last 40m or so, which resulted in one of my favourite race pictures of all time.

That's some serious pushing through pain right there.

That’s some serious pushing through pain right there.

It’s even better when you zoom in!

I'm so attractive.

I’m so attractive.

So after collecting my medal (which was a total surprise, I wasn’t expecting a medal!) and sampling some of the delicious food, I hobbled home and spent the next several days in compression socks. Luckily all my achilles really needed was some rest and some paying attention to how I was adding mileage.

November 20

Blog post: Yet another one
Run: I was reluctant to leave the house at 7:30 pm on a cold, dark November evening, and if it weren’t for the #beaststreak I probably wouldn’t have. But I had an AMAZING 5k run, so I’m really glad I went.

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My race bucket list for 2014

It took me a while to think of something to write about tonight (I was so close to just ranting about tights/pantyhose for a few hundred words), so I think today is officially the first day that the daily blog post has been harder than the daily run. Actually, today’s run was pretty fabulous, so I think I was probably always doomed.

It was stunningly beautiful today when I went out for my run at lunchtime. Cold though. And windy!

I’ve been thinking forward to 2014 and some of the races I would like to run. This is a wish list, not a plan – I haven’t thought it through that well yet. At some point I’ll have to think more critically about how these will fit into my life and my running schedule, but for now, here’s a list.

February 16 – First Half Half Marathon (already registered)

This is my focus through the winter. I’m four weeks into a clinic and I’m really hoping that I’ll be able to train strong the whole way through and shave a few minutes off my previous best half time (1:56:12). I’ve heard nothing but good things about this race, so I’m really looking forward to it. 

March 15 – St Patrick’s Day 5k (for sure)

I’ve had so much fun at this run the last two years, so I will definitely be back next year. Running, friends, costumes, good food, and then beer? Amazing!

April 6 – Sunshine Coast April Fool’s Run Half Marathon (I deferred my registration from last year)

I love the Sunshine Coast and I was really looking forward to running this race last year, until I got sick and had to take three weeks off running in March. I’m glad I was able to defer my registration (thank goodness for small races) so I’m looking forward to trying again this year!

April 13 – Whidbey Island Half Marathon

I’m not sure I’ll be able to do this and the Fool’s Run on back-to-back weekends, especially since they would both involve spending a night away from home, but I would love to. I have a friend who lives nearby, so I’m actually hoping to get a group of friends together for this race (probably running a variety of 5k, 10k and the half). 

April 27 – Vancouver Sun Run (it’s inevitable)

The Sun Run has just sort of become a given for me. It’s big, it’s crowded, it’s exciting, and so many people I know are there every year. Also, I haven’t run a lot of 10ks, so there’s still a fair amount of room for improvement.

May 4 – BMO Vancouver Half Marathon 

After being away for the last two years, I really hope 2014 is the year I finally get to run the BMO half! (But I’m not registering until closer to the event, because I’m tired of registering for things and then not being able to run them.) 

June 22 – Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon

I love this race, but I’m not married to it for this year. Perhaps the Seattle Rock’n’Roll half that weekend instead??

October 12 – Victoria Marathon

Like… the marathon. I think. I really want to. And I think I can make it work??

October 26 – Inaugural Rock’n’Roll Vancouver Half Marathon (already registered)

I was drawn in by the very tempting $65 (+ ridiculous $8 surcharge) early registration, so I’m ready to go!

  • More fun 5ks
  • A few 8ks hopefully – I love that distance.
  • A destination race of some kind! Not as far as Ireland, and it likely won’t be a Disney run (I’m saving myself for a Coast-to-Coast in 2015) (but don’t tempt me), but I think I should go somewhere. Las Vegas Rock’n’Roll? Something in California? Who knows! 

What have you got planned for 2014? (Can I tag along?) Any other suggestions of races I should add to my list?

November 18

Blog post: It wasn’t great, but I wrote it.
Run: 3k around the neighbourhood in the evening

November 19

Blog post: Thank goodness it isn’t about tights.
Run: A lovely 5k run at lunch. 1k warmup and then 4k tempo run, too fast.


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The post-camp letdown

You know when there’s a big event (or race) or deadline in your life and you spend a whole lot of time ignoring anything that’s happening after it because you just can’t deal with anything else? That’s how I always feel about Spark and Mom Camp. We’ve been working on the preparations since September and working more intensely on in it since about a month ago. For a little while everything else fell by the wayside. (Except running, thanks to Solana’s 3k-a-day challenge, aka the #beaststreak.)

Takes a lot of energy to be this animated all weekend!

Takes a lot of energy to be this animated all weekend!

Now that camp is over (apart from sorting out the financial stuff), I feel like I’m finally able to look forward to all the fun stuff that’s coming up in the next month and a bit.

Remainder of the running streak: now through November 30

Too many of my runs in the first half of this month felt like a chore. I mean, I enjoyed most of them once I was out there, but I look forward to look forward to running for the rest of the month!

Remainder of the blogging streak: now through November 30

I made a list of some of the things I wanted to write about this month, and many of them are still on the list. Lots of times I tried to sit down and write about them, but decided to write about something simpler instead.

Catching Fire: November 21

Yes, I’m pretty excited that the next Hunger Games movie comes out this week. I’ve got tickets to see it on Thursday night (after my run clinic).

Aquarium Sleepover: November 22

My Sparks are a bit too young to sleep over at the Aquarium, but a group of Brownies and Guides needed extra leaders this weekend, so I get to tag along. This is something I never got to do as a girl, so I’m excited to crossing it off my bucket list now.

Making it out to a Sunday Run Club with my run clinic: November 24 (and ongoing)

With the craziness in the last few weeks, I haven’t yet made it out for a Sunday long run at the Running Room since my clinic started.

Hills: November 27 (and ongoing)

Call me crazy, but I’m looking forward to starting hill training with the run clinic next week. This is the point in the clinic where I got really sick last time, so I only made it to the first and last two sessions of hills. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of difference the full dose of hill training makes!

VEGAS! November 28-Dec 1

My BFF Jess is getting married in March, so her mom organized a trip to Las Vegas! I’m really excited to go back to Vegas, and to experience it this time with some of my closest girlfriends. (Last time I was there it was a “field trip” for our civil engineering grad class, so I was there with my boys.) I’m looking forward to eating and drinking and dancing and exploring and shopping and lounging by the pool. (And running the last three days of my November run streak.) But first I need to go shopping. I think I need some new “going out” clothes.

Unfortunatelythis means I’m going to miss the Ugly Sweater Run, which sounds like so much fun. (And numerous other fun things happening that weekend, but I have no right to complain!)

The whole Christmas season

The Starbucks red cups are out, I’ve had my first gingerbread latte, and I’ve already watched Love Actually once, but now that camp is over I can start thinking about shopping, baking, holiday parties and all of that fun stuff. I’m looking forward to getting a (fake) Christmas tree this year – last year our living room was all displaced because we were dealing with water leaking in through the wall, so we didn’t bother with a tree.

Mmm, gingerbread latte

Mmm, gingerbread latte

And now, I have to drag myself out on a run in the rain. I’m certainly not looking forward to that.

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Some fun Guiding photos

I sat down to write this post with the intention of writing something deep and meaningful about what Guiding means to me, because I am so full of warm fuzzies from the weekend. We had an absolutely amazing weekend at camp and I wanted to put those heart-warming experiences into words.

This is one of my absolute favourite photos from this weekend.

This is one of my absolute favourite photos from this weekend.

Unfortunately, I’m totally zonked from a crazy weekend and I’m not really capable of writing anything coherent right now.So instead I thought I would share a few Guiding photos from the last little while that illustrate some of the things that make being a Sparks Guider an insane amount of fun.

November 16

Blog post: Just a short one about being halfway through November.
Run: A 3k around camp in the evening.

November 17

Blog post: This one’s a little bit sad, I will admit. More tomorrow!
Run: A 3k around the neighbourhood after getting home from camp. Hoping for a long run tomorrow evening?


November 17, 2013 · 11:17 pm

November so far

15 of this month’s 30 days are now complete, which means now would be a pretty good time to review this month’s goals!


So far this is going quite well. I have accomplished my goal of posting something every day. One day my post was at 11:59 pm, and a few posts have been pretty short, but overall it’s been really good. I’ve really enjoyed spending more time writing again. Apparently a few people have actually been reading, which is nice to hear, but even if no one read it, I’m glad to have it all written down as kind of an archive! I’m glad I finally wrote race recaps for my last three half marathons, because  those details won’t last forever.


I owe so many of my runs this month to Solana and her crazy beast streak. November is always a busy month – combine that with the dark and somewhat dreary weather and you’re left with a lot of excuses and not a lot of runs. I have dragged my butt off the couch (or out of bed) for runs I never would have otherwise attempted if not for this 3k-a-day streak. On days where fitting in a run seemed impossible, I knew there was a spreadsheet of people who were fitting in longer runs with more impossible schedules and I just figured out how to make it work.

I was worried about not taking any rest days during the streak, but my body seems to be holding up okay. I’ve been really good about taking most of them slowly. I’ve had a few sore spots, but nothing that lingered longer than a day. So far so good.

And in other news…

I registered for my second half marathon of 2014: the inaugural Vancouver Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon (in October)! First 500 entries are $65, so I couldn’t pass it up.

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A very belated race recap: Disneyland Half Marathon 2013

I wrote about the beginning and the end of the trip here if you’re so inclined.

Sunday, September 1 – RACE DAY

3:45 came really early, but I can honestly say I’ve never been so excited to wake up that early. Three of the four of us put on our costumes: Tinkerbell, Peter Pan and Mike Wazowski. We were laughing about the fact that we’d all picked characters that involved green outfits when Mirae emerged from the bathroom in her green t-shirt – totally unplanned!

Tinkerbell is ready to rock!

Tinkerbell is ready to rock!

We left the hotel at 4:30 for the short walk to the start area. There were runners everywhere! So many awesome costumes! So much energy ALREADY! We found a nice spot in the crowded corrals and tried not to think about how warm we already were (it was about 20C if I recall correctly). Before we knew it, it was 5:30, the fireworks had gone off and we were crossing the start line.

We ran down Disneyland Drive, turned onto Katella (“Hey, there’s our hotel!”) and onto Harbor Blvd. At Disney Way, we turned in towards the back of California Adventure. The road was lined with Disney staff cheering for us and some neat props. We left Mirae at some point around here. She had told us that she wanted to run most of the race on her own. We assured her that she wouldn’t slow us down, but she said she preferred to do her own thing. Tommy, Alastair and I wanted to run together, and we weren’t sure how that would go, but we figured we’d give it a shot.

We entered California Adventure from Paradise Pier and they had all the lights and fountains on. Lots of people stopped to take photos. I snapped some blurry ones while running. We ran through Cars Land, which looked super cool with all the neon, and then back across by Soarin’ Over California. Tommy called a bathroom stop, so the boys used the bathroom while I fixed my hair. I had grossly underestimated how tightly I needed to secure my Tinkerbell bun situation. I’m glad I got a chance to fix it though.

Then we left CA and ran through the plaza and into Disneyland. As cool as it was to run through California Adventure all lit up, coming down Main Street USA was the part that felt the most magical. After that, we hung a left into Frontierland and took Big Thunder Trial around Thunder Mountain. At one point there is an ever-so-slight incline on this part and we laughed hysterically when one woman said to her running partner, “The hill I trained on is, like, four times this big.” What?

We waved to lots of characters as we ran through Fantasyland (including Peter Pan!) and pretty soon we were approaching the back of the castle. As expected, the traffic went kind of wonky at this point as everyone slowed down or pulled over to get their photo taken in front of the castle. We just kept moving. We ran through Tomorrowland and past It’s a Small World – I slowed down to snap a blurry photo of Merida as I ran by her. At this point we knew we were heading out of the parks pretty soon and tried our best to soak in as much Disney atmosphere as we could.

As we came up into Toon Town, a shirtless dude with a GIANT camera asked me if he could take my photo for Team Sparkle. Sure!

Thanks Team Sparkle guy

Thanks Team Sparkle guy

We ran out the back of Toon Town and along a lane. More Disney cast members cheering, more neat props to look at, and even some horses! Then we headed north on Disneyland Drive and turned left on Ball Rd, which took us up and over the I-5 (about 7 km in). The sky was starting to get brighter and it was slowly starting to get warmer. (My handana was already drenched, but I’m so glad I had it.)

The next 5 km were the toughest for me. The heat was definitely affecting me. Alastair’s knees started to really hurt (which was not a surprise, he has terrible knees and knew it was going to be brutally painful). We started walking through all the water stations (and a little bit longer afterwards). At just past 10k we celebrated Tommy and Alastair’s farthest runs ever.

To make up for the super boring Anaheim streets you run through at this stretch, they have lots of folks out there to entertain you. I remember seeing some tiny and adorable Mexican dancers. I think there were high school bands and cheerleaders along this part. But the coolest bit was where they had the classic cars lined up along both sides of the road and their owners are all out there cheering you on. Lots of them were offering candy and snacks, but the best thing I saw was the woman with a roll of paper towel she was sharing with sweaty runners. (We were so sweaty.)

We were also running due east for a lot of this part, just as the sun was coming up over the horizon. I had decided against sunglasses, because when I sweat a lot I find that they slide around or fog up or both. I stared at the pavement a lot.

Things started to get interesting again as we approached the Honda Centre (home of the Ducks). Then we turned and ran about a kilometer on a gravel trail along the Santa Ana “River” – I’m pretty sure it was totally dry. This was a really nice change of scenery. When we turned up away from the river again, we had arrived at Angel Stadium! I’m not a baseball fan at all, but I’d heard really cool things about this part of the race.

From the moment we entered the parking lot, the course was lined by people. People with signs, snacks, noisemakers of all kinds. It was really cool. And then we ran into the stadium. WOW. They invite local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts to sit in the stadium and they spend hours just cheering for runners! The feeling of running into a stadium of people cheering was REALLY cool. It totally surprised me how much I enjoyed it.

Coming out of the stadium there were a whole bunch of cheerleading teams and bands again. Pretty neat. Then we ran back towards the I-5 and along sort of a frontage road. Not the most interesting stretch. At this point I had to walk a little bit more frequently than we had been. Poor Alastair though was actually in more pain walking, so I tried to keep it to a minimum. Tommy seemed to be doing okay, just very quiet. I still can’t believe how well he did for his first half marathon with his longest ever previous run being a 10k, and his “training” totaling about 10-15k per week. (Stupid boys.)

Finally we crossed under the freeway (thank goodness we didn’t have to go up over an overpass at this point) and were back on Disney Way heading right for the park. At about 19.5k crossed Harbor Boulevard and ran back into the Disney grounds where we’d run already on our way into California Adventure. (“Hey, we’ve run here before!”) This time we stayed outside of the park and made our way back to Downtown Disney toward the finish line.

Another one from Team Sparkle

Another one from Team Sparkle

As discussed, we crossed the finish line holding hands triumphantly. (Which doesn’t show up in the race photos. Tommy and I are there, but Alastair’s arm is cut off.) We got our medals and water and cold towels (my goodness was this ever amazing) and took a few photos. Then it was straight to the medical area to get some ice for Alastair’s broken knees. They had bags upon bags upon bags of ice, plus rolls of tape to affix them to your aching body. It was pretty cool.

I stood watch over the crowd going by and managed to somehow miraculously spot Mirae as she came in, only a few minutes behind us. We wrangled our gimp and went back to get a group photo with all of us (not facing the sun this time!) We found some space (by the porta-potties) and stood/sat around for a while eating snacks, stretching, etc. Then it was time to wander back to the hotel for breakfast, ice baths and other such recovery.

Alastair was captain of team ice bath. We discovered that the runDisney bags they give you for gear check are the perfect ice transporting devices. I think he made 3 or 4 trips to the ice machine with that bag. Watching someone take their first ice bath is priceless. Both Alastair and Tommy braved the bath for 8 minutes. I was planning to take an ice bath too, but I didn’t last longer than about a minute. I don’t know if I got in too fast or if it was just the shock of going from being so warm to being so cold, but I kind of panicked as I got in, and then was hyperventilating? It wasn’t a good scene. I got out.

Bag of ice!

Bag of ice!

After we all showered and had some breakfast and coffee, we packed up our beach stuff and walked (very slowly) 15 minutes down the road to Budget to pick up our rental car. We picked up some lunch (my first In’N’Out burger!) and drove to Huntington Beach, where we had a lovely afternoon sitting on the beach and playing in the waves. (Spending half an hour in the ocean is way more my speed when it comes to ice baths!)

Rocking our race shirts at the beach

Rocking our race shirts at the beach

We wandered around Downtown Disney in our medals that evening, and then had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory again. Our intention was to order cheesecake for dessert this time, but we were all so full by that point that we didn’t.

My stats for half marathon #5 (the slowest one yet!)

Finish time: 2:20:44
10k split: 1:08:52
Overall Place: 3567/15872
Gender Place: 1517/10017
Division Place: 142/837

(You can see my fun race results page here)


November 14

Blog: The other half of the Disneyland story
Run: Evening 4.4k with the run clinic

November 15

Blog: You’re looking at it
Run: Early morning (!) 3k. In the rain. Yuck.

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