Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Year of Bells and Buses and Buns

2015 has been an amazing year for the Paradise Running Club! There has been sadness and joy and change as there is every year. However, for me this year has had some recurring themes...

Bells: From the jingle bells on Madeline's runners during the Christmas season to the cheerful clang-clang of Ed Long's bicycle bell to the bells of Christmas at the Santa Shuffle and other holiday events it appears that bells were everywhere. They are a joyous sound to many and the sound can certainly motivate runners during a long practice run.

Buses: From the yellow school bus of the Holyrood Chilly (or chili) Dash to the fleet of Metrobuses wrangling Tely Ten and Cape to Cabot runners, buses were our eco-friendly transportation to race start lines everywhere. We even managed to hire Paradise's own Cy's Taxi minibus for a Cape to Cabot practice run. Oh the fun we had ... just like kids again!

Buns: Not what you are thinking perhaps? The buns of PRC are those which reward our members at the end of a gruelling bun run! The now classic route through Paradise and Conception Bay South has become a high energy run to get to the tailgate party at the finish. It has become so popular we had to move the party away from the Woodstock so patrons could park there for Sunday brunch!

PRC members made some serious strides into Newfoundland running history this year as well. Our group continues to grow with two Learn to Run clinics supplying an opportunity for newbies to try us out. Many have stayed! We now have had 80 or more Tely Ten finishers, 30 to 40 Cape to Cabot conquerors and 25+ marathoners among our members. And the yellow and black has been well represented at other races and community events in many locations in Newfoundland and Labrador and other Canadian, American and European cities. I can't wait to see what the New Year will bring!!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

That's a hard question

Hey all! As promised, here is my introductory blog. I am Andrew Tobin. Ok blog over!

Just kidding!

I am often asked how long I've been running. Some people can answer this very easily, "two years" "oh only a month or so" but I find that question is very complicated. Lets begin.

As a child. I was never really good at sports (I'm still not truthfully), I couldn't catch, I couldn't throw, I wasn't very fast. In grade 4 I kind of had enough of being the worse in my class at sports. I wanted to prove to myself and my classmates that I wasn't the slowest around. So I joined cross country running. I went to several meets and competed in the 1500 metres race. Now it seems like ah that's nothing but I remember being at the Torbay rec centre and fighting through that kilometer and a half like it was hell. Anyways each time I got through it and each time I was not last. Usually second last or third last but never last, and that was the pint. I reached my goal and I was pleased.

After that I moved on, I did it I reached it and I never did it again. I was still trying to find a sport I was actually good at. I tried Swimming and that was no good either. In Grade 9 I tried rowing lessons, they had 4 weeks lessons at long pond at the time. I enjoyed it so much I did a second 4 week lessons. In Grade 10 I joined the high school team. We did a lot of running in rowing. At every practice we would do a warm up run, since I got my Garmin I've been meaning to see how far the warm up marker was. I never did but I imagine it was probably around a km. Also if it was too windy to row (which was more often than not) our coaches would send us on a run either around the pond on the trail (3.8km) or on the road way (6.2). Then I joined fixed seat rowing (what you see in the regatta) and eventually the provincial team. Through all of them we did a significant amount of running as cross training. For years people would ask if I was was runner and I would say "No I'm just a rower that runs", all it was to me was cross training.

Then in the fall of 2012 Kyla (my wife, girlfriend at the time) was trying to find her fit. The Town of Paradise has a learn to run program, separate from PRC that two members of ANE put off. I convinced Kyla to try it if I joined with her. So we joined up. Things never went according to plan however. They had two groups, a beginner and an experienced. They quickly caught  on that I ran before and threw me in the experienced group. Long story short I really enjoyed myself and she hated running. That summer was a tiresome summer when it came to rowing. I would leave the house at 4:45 in the morning row at 5:25am, cox (coach) at 7:10 go to work for 8:30 leave at 4:30 go back to the pond to cox at 5:05 and 5:40 then row at 8:00pm, go for a run, get home around 9:30pm, eat supper, go to bed and do it all again. So once that summer was over I decided it was time for a break, I was going to take a year off rowing and do something I said I would never do, run the Tely.

In order to keep me on track I joined the Paradise Running Club. It was a bit of a rough start trying to find a group my pace. My first night was hills night, it went pretty good, everyone was amazed I came hill night and returned though, I kept up pretty good with some of the runner....until after the hills, then I died. My second night Keith invited me to run with him, Andrew G, Craig P, and Ron. The first km was awesome, then I learned quickly that I was not any of their paces. My third run I started off alone and just clinged on to a group as long as I good. Eventually behind me came Pam, Susanne, and and Sharon. I was about to get lost and then told me where to go. I struggled  but in the second half of the run I managed to keep with them...well slightly behind them. Shortly after I met Joyce and Tanya. After a few run in the girls said "We have a boy in our group! We use to have a boy but he got faster and left us, you're not allowed to leave us". I'll never forget that. They basically wanted me to scare away dogs (which I have done) but their words meant a lot to me and it was then I knew I found my running buddies.

In October I did my first race, after being talked into registering by Tina L and Denise. It was the Turkey Tea 10k. At this point I was still new and still didn't know many of the members. The Thursday before the race was the first time I met Tanya who was also running the race, we ran 6k together. I thought to myself well I know I can run with her for 6k, so I'll try to keep up with her for the first 6 and then muster my way for the final four. Any time I got tired I thought to myself no they told me I could not leave them and I would dig deep to find the energy to stay with Tanya. I managed to stick with her for the full 10k, it was an unbelievable feeling to finish my first race. After that I did several other races, and though my plan of staying away from the pond did not go according to plan, I still managed to fun my first Tely. Planning to break 1 hour and 52 minutes I did it in 1 hour and 47 minutes. I have just entered my third year with the club, having completed most of the NLAA races and rocking two Telys now. I am continuing to improve and meet new running buddies. They keep pushing me and keep me accountable, I know I wouldn't of made it this far with out them. However now when someone asks me how long I've been running I just answer, "well I've been with the club for two years". It's easier that way.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Half - Half Marathon

Hey all! So for November I will be your blogger. Generally people start off with an entry to explain who they are, however I'm going to be a bit backwards. Unfortunately I never got a chance to write an entry before I went to Florida and I really want to write about my Half Marathon in Disney World while it is fresh in my mind, so my introductory post will be my second post. Most of you who know me know I am a bit backwards anyways, so it kind of works. So for now you get I am Andrew T, the 5th of 5 Andrew's to join, I am your membership coordinator, and I have a reputation of bleeding somewhere on my body during a race.

So have many of you know, I just got married and headed to Disney World for my Honeymoon. Months before we left I discovered that Disney Hosts the Wine and Dine Half Marathon around the same time we were planning on going. After debating over it for a long while, I asked mt Bride to Be what she thought. She said it may be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I should take it now while I had the chance- I knew then I was marrying the right girl! We had a group going down with us, I quickly convinced Andrea, one of our bridesmaids and an avid runner who lives in Northern Ontario to run it with me and last March we signed up.

This race  was going to be different than anything I did before for various reasons:
  • It was in Florida 
  • It was in Novemeber when generally our racing season is over
  •  It started at 10:00 at night.
  • It went through three parks: Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios ( Formally MGM Studios) and Epcot.
To prepare for this  race I planned to do two things
  1. Get some night runs in at home
  2. Get some runs in at Florida as we were there a week before the race.
I did neither. I had my Garmin on while we were in the parks, and it would count my steps and give me an approximate distance I walked from my steps. This turned to be about 17-22km a day. So I was getting close to a half marathon of walking a day, plus we were leaving at 7am and getting back around 10pm, I was doing a lot of walking and my body was already tired, I didn't want to over do it for the race by then going to run about 5km or more.

Friday Evening myself and Andrea and my wife headed to the Expo at the ESPN to pick up our bibs. This was also like nothing I have ever seen. You first entered this huge gymnasium to pick up your bib number. In this gym there are also some merchandise for the race such as magnets, glasses, shirts etc. After there you go to another huge gym where you get your long sleeve shirt (Because it's "winter"). In this gym there was an expo with lots of big vendors such as New Balance  and Fit2Run.

Saturday we went to a waterpark, I felt like it might of been the best way to stay hydrated. I ran this idea off of hydration expert Mark Didham before hand, he said it would probably be good just to watch out for the sun, as it more likely to sun burnt in the water. So I sunscreened up a few times, and spent a bit of time in the pool and the lazy river. I then returned to the hotel and had a nap. Then I got up and went to get something to eat. I found this the hardest part of a night race, on what to eat and when, I pretty much have a routine for a race at 7 or 8am but this 10pm business hadme thrown off. Anyways I tried to follow the race guide's tips and hoped for the best.

The race started at 10 but we had to be on the bus by 8 and to our corrals by 9:15. We got on the bus around 7:30. One the way there Andrea pointed out some lightning. We then started talking to the people behind us who said that there was a big storm around, it was moving quickly but it was dropping a lot of rain in a short period of time. After doing Cape to Cabot in a Hurricane I wasn't really worried about the rain but I was worried about the lighting canceling the event. It was in the race guide that they would stop the event once the lightning got within 10 miles. But  we hoped for the best and soon got to the starting area. When we were out in the morning it wasn't too bad heat wise, but when I left to hotel at 6pm you could feel it was a lot more humid. they have a flag system for heat stroke risk. Green, Yellow, Red, and then Black. We were at red. It was about 30 degrees and 95% humidity. 

When we got there they has a huge field where all the runners were, there was a big stage with a giant screen where they were keeping people entertained through announcements music, making people dance,  interviewing participants, etc. Someone even proposed to their girlfriend on the screen, it was pretty cool. There was some characters, so we went in line to get our picture with chef Pluto and then we got in line for the portapotties.  These were lined up ina row in a parking lot roughly the size of the parking lot for the Paradise arena.  It was about 9:00 when there was about 3 or 4 people in front of us for the bathroom.  We figured we'd use the bathroom and then we'd go line up in our corral. With that we had officials come and say they were "evacuating the area" and we all had to move immediately. We decided we were too far in the line not to use the bathroom so we ignored their 15 announcements in a minutes and  proceeded to leave after we finished our "business".  They brought us to the baseball field, where the braves play, where we just waited for an update for what seemed like an eternity. We had two announcements stating that they'll let us know when they know something. At 10:00 I  started thinking that the name of this blog would be "The Race that never was" Around 10:10 we saw crowd of people moving. We decided to follow the crowd. Eventually I saw a volunteer and asked what was happening. He said that the race was going ahead. They were suppose to get to the start line before us but everyone started following them so that didn't happen. Shortly after we heard an announcement "The weather authority of Florida has given us the go ahead to start the race" We then heard a WOOOOOO from the other runners. We got to the corrals aroun 10:15 so we were about an hour behind.

The corrals when from A to L. We were in Corral D. I was pretty impressed with myself that I was in the 5th fastest Corral our of 15,000 people.  As we got into the corral they mentioned that they were altering the course. At this point we had no idea how. Shortly later they said they were talking 6 miles off the 13.1 mile course.  Then you heard BOOOOOOO from all the runners. Obviously we were all pretty disappointed, Andrea was especially as it would be her first half marathon and now she didn't get to take that off her bucket list. As corral D started we got excited and decided we weren't going to let the lack of 10 kms ruin our night , we were going to go a bit faster than planned, and still have fun.  We kept walking forward and forward..............DAMMIT......We got in Corral E instead of D. That ticked me off but nothing we could do then. Shortly after We started to go, We both started off awesome, but we had a lot of dodging and weaving through people due to A. There being about 1000 people in a corral, and B. We were in a slower corral then we should of been. Km 1 was a bit slower because of this but we were doing great. The road ways were filled with music and lights. They had djs on the side of the road and as one got out of ear range there was another one. There was also characters on the side of the road that you could stop and get a picture with. We never saw anyone that was worth the line up at the beginning. There was a water station at about every 1.5 miles (2.5km). We'd stop and get some water and powerade and go on. By the time I got to km 5 I was really feeling the heat. I slowed my pace about 40second/km. I told Andrea to go on but she refused and stayed with me. As much as  I was said I was slowing her down, I was relieved she was sticking with me, she really kept me going. At this point I would take a powerade and 2 waters at the water tables, I'd drink the powerade and 1 1/2  waters. The other 1/2 would go over my head.

Shortly later we ended up in Hollywood Studios.  We then discovered they had cut out Animal Kindgom, as much as we expected this would be the case I was a little sad s I was looking forward to running around  the tree of life (it's a giant tree in the park with all kinds of animals carved into it). Hollywood Studios was a lot bigger than I remembered it being. I knew at some point we were going to be at the Osmond Family Spectacle of Lights but it seemed to go forever.  We then ended up underneath a bridge. It had flashing lights and "Let It Go" Playing it was pretty cool and it helped get my second wind. It was then I discovered that even though it was the dead of night the shade was helpful in keeping me cool. I don't know why, it might of been a mental thing but from that point on I looked for Shadier places and it seemed to help. We passed the Incredibles but didn't realize they were there until we passed the line, we decided to go on as it would be too hard to back track in the masses of people. Then we got to the  Osmond Family Spectacle of Lights. This was a street filled with Christmas lights that went off  to Christmas music. It was really cool and got me going a bit more. Here are some picture from our non race visit of it.

  We kept going and at 7.5km we stopped and got a picture with Genie. It was in this line I looked at my heart rate and noticed that it was coming down to 154, which is my average racing heart rate. I think the stop for the picture was the best thing I could do a the point. We then proceed it to Epcot - the last park. At the point there was a lot of people there cheering us on and at the 12 mile marker (which wasn't 12 mile) I managed to be able to pick it up again. We got close to the finish line and there was loads of spectators watching including my wife and our friends. It was awesome to see them all there. We got to the end  I did my traditional sprint  and finished it off. I did the 11.1k in about 1:15. It wasn't my best race but I got it done and it was one I will certainly remember.  From there they gave us a box of snacks, a banana, and most importantly our complementary bottle of beer/glass of wine. We then met up with our friends at the after party to eat a bunch and drink some more. It was certainly a memorable race!  Oh before I go, check out the bling!

 Hope you enjoyed the blog! Until next time!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cape to Cabot - My Experience

Let me tell you a story about my Cape to Cabot (C2C) experience or as they like to advertise it as the "toughest race in Eastern North America." That should've been a red flag right there.  

When I first started with the club I kept hearing all the race talk, Tely 10, Huffin Puffin and Cape to Cabot etc..  With each new running goal that I set and achieved I got confidence to take on another. So I thought Cape to Cabot that sounds like a challenge I'll put that on my bucket list, at the very bottom of the bucket. 

Fast forward to registration day 2014 and I'm all pumped and can't wait to register and even talked Andrew Tobin into doing it with me, only 400 spots so the rush is on before they are all gone.  YES, there are 400 people wanting to register for this insane race and they always end up with a wait list; go figure.  So I happened to be at the mall all in a panic when registration opened, phone was ready to go, hubby was on the computer at home ready to go; my girls are eating pretzelmaker so as not to disturb this important event.  So many people tried to register at one time that they crashed the system; I know insane right.  Speaking of insane, I get a bit crazy when its race day registration especially when races are capped. The mall trip gets cut short, I have to go home to see if I was one of the lucky ones that was able to register. Whew, I made it, now for the fun part to begin....training. Let's see if you like those hill repeats now. 

That year brought a lot of training for me - Half Marathon, Tely10 and then right into Cape to Cabot.  A month before the race I found that the longer runs were leaving me limping with severe shin pain and on my last 18K I couldn't walk without pain for three day's.  So here comes the multiple doctor visits, the pleading to my GP to send me to anyone that's gonna tell me what I want to hear.  You don't understand I said I have a race in 4 weeks I can't be injured but "Nooooo" all I got was you really shouldn't run. Pffff what do they know anyway, I was like a child throwing a temper tantrum; health professionals must really dislike Runners. Finally my husband said I think you should listen to all the people telling you it's not okay to run; you need to make the decision so that you can mourn the fact that you're not able to do it this year - he's a brave man, I give him that. 

Hats off to all those that did run it in a hurricane though - ROCKSTARS!

After months of therapy and ortho appointments I was finally able to get back to running and Cape to Cabot was always in the back of my mind.  When the 2015 C2C race chatter started again a new rule got created in my house "NO Cape to Cabot talk." I guess I was told. :(

I was apprehensive in signing up again as I didn't want to be disappointed if I couldn't run.  On registration day I was up two hours before it opened still pondering if I should register as I still wasn't fully recovered. I reasoned with myself that the Tely10 was done and I felt good afterwards and I was registered for the Huffin Puffin Half, so why not. Decision was made, I just couldn't talk about in my house. LOL

The closer the race day came the more excited I got that I was actually going to get to do it this year.  Now I didn't finish the race in 1:18 like Ed Durnford but I finished and that was my goal.  That race was the most physically and mentally challenging race I have ever done and I learned so much about myself from it that in the end it was worth it.  The moment I ran out of Shea Heights and could hear all the people cheering was the moment I realized Holy (bad word) I just ran from Cape Spear, I became overwhelmed.  Kudos to Colleen Sager for helping me through the hardest 10K ever, you rock! The fact that I still had Signal Hill left could not have dulled that moment and when I got close to the top of Signal Hill and could hear the best cheerleading group ever cheering me on, I knew I could do it especially since they had beer!

Will I do it again? We'll see, I do know that the feeling of accomplishment was amazing and throughout the day I had several moments of "what did I just do" and felt like crying I was so happy.  Crossing that finish line and having my family there to greet me was fantastic, after all they put up with all my running craziness :)

I would just say that if you ever have this race on your bucket list, you won't be disappointed.  Anything is achievable and if at first you don't succeed, try try again.

Happy Running :)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Learn To Run

This week its back to learn to run, only this time its with my 13 year old daughter. What a group of people, there is never a shortage of participants in the LTR program; they must hear about how awesome we are (wink,wink). It's so nice to see so many people come out and I applaud you all; you have a super group of leaders to take you through the program for the next 8 weeks. I wish I had a LTR group when I started running, my only company was the voice from my iPhone app "Couch to 5K" - which I could change from a male or female voice depending on my mood.

My daughter often expressed interest in running. I think it's more about following me than the actual running, but that's okay at least she's active. I have tried to encourage her interest and hoped she would catch the running bug too.  In the past I registered her for some 5K races like the Five and Dime, Uniformed Services Run, and the Santa Shuffle. However, conversations usually consist of "I have a stitch, can we walk, can you slow down" (said no one ever) - and that comment would actually feel good if it wasn't coming from my 13 year old. After the Santa Shuffle it was "don't ever ask me to do that again." Oops no Mom of the Year Award for that one. I obviously didn't scare her off - she's back for more.

The first week of LTR and we're off to Neil's pond.  I answered more questions throughout the run that she was almost done before she realized what was happening. I haven't heard I don't wanna do this anymore, I'm impressed! She's more interested in when she can get a PRC shirt and now she found a running buddy, thanks Connie for signing Kiera up.

So for all the new LTRs (my daughter included) keep going and with patience and hard work you will be running 5K before you know it.  Everyone has to start somewhere and this is just the beginning to a great running experience with the support of an entire group behind you.

Next week Cape to Cabot will be behind me (Thank Goodness) and I'll be a consistent member of LTR for the next 7 weeks.  Good luck on your runs and see you on the trails.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Running is my Therapy

Hi everyone, my name is Tina Barry and I will be writing the blog for October; as I was voluntold by Andrew Tobin.  Many of you know Andrew, he is the membership coordinator for PRC and was my friend - Past Tense LOL

Running has become such a huge part of my life and I love it. It is funny how I now plan my life around running with my friends. Things such as drink nights, children's activities, socializing; nothing interferes with run days.  Running is my therapy :)

I started running in 2008 and my first race was the 5K Centennial Cup race in Grand Falls-Windsor, time and pace unknown, as I was more concerned with making sure I made it to the finish line and didn't die. When I moved to Mount Pearl in 2012 I continued to run with a friend of mine until I joined the Paradise Running Club in February of 2013.  I found out about the club from a co-worker, who told me that she was going to join and I thought I should too. My hope was it would get me out to meet new people and motivate me to run more.

I went to the trusty Google search engine to view the website for more information and soon I had the date and time for the PRC Club registration.  Excitement and apprehension set in as I was still new to the area and did not know a lot of people, but I felt comfortable knowing I would know at least one person there.  Fast forward to registration day, where I find out that my co-worker didn't even register; oh dear what have I done.  Oh well, too late now! Armed with all the details of the scheduled run times and directions from Susanne Ivany Blundon, I set out for PBD. For those who know me, I'm a directionally challenged individual and 2 1/2 years later Susanne and my other running buddies are still providing me with directions. The common joke amongst us is don't let Tina lead and someone make sure Tina's knows where she's going!

"Happiness is running with a friend" especially friends who make sure you don't get lost :)

It's been an awesome 2 1/2 years. I can honestly say it was a great decision to join the club.  I have made fantastic friends, who I can't imagine my life without and I have pushed myself physically to places I didn't think possible. Since joining the club I have run several 5K and 10K races, the Tely10 x3 and just recently completed my first half marathon.  This would not have been possible without being part of a fantastic group, who support and encourage one another with their running goals.

One of my goals has been to run the Cape to Cabot, crazy I know, but I think it's the challenge that entices me.  I felt last year was my time to take on this crazy adventure, but unfortunately a month away from the race I got injured and had to withdraw; that's another story for another time. Here it is, one year later and the Cape to Cabot is right around the corner; here's hoping my training and the support of the club can get me through.

Happy and healthy running! I look forward to seeing you all on the trails or at the pond!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My last blog; Kiara’s last run:

Today, as I (Andrea) laced up my sneakers, I watched for a response from my all time favourite running partner.  I waited to see if Kiara would perk up her ears and start following me around eagerly.  There was a time when she would get excited as soon as I pulled a certain type of shorts out of my dresser, knowing what that meant.  Since we started running together in 2007, Kiara has always loved going for our runs.  In the beginning,  there was a lot of pulling and resisting.  She would pull, and I would resist.  Her fitness and excitement levels were clearly unmatched by me and I could not keep up.  Slowly, as I learned to claim the dominant role and she learned to run beside me;  we became an awesome running duo. 

Boerboel’s need a lot of activity and I was happy to provide it for Kiara.  Apart from the occasional challenge from the un-leashed dog, our runs would go pretty smoothly.  Over the years, our runs changed from her pulling me, to us running in sync, to me pulling her.  As she began to slow down in the last 6 months or so, I wondered if it was due to laziness, bad timing, lack of interest on her part, among other things. It wasn’t until we took Kiara to the vet for a check up that we began to see differently.  The vet mentioned that we should soon consider putting her on a “seniors diet”. That blew my mind. Kiara is our youngest dog.  We knew Kobe (our almost 14 year old Choc. Lab) was a senior, but Kiara too???   Yes, the vet said a 9 year old Boerboel is considered geriatric and that we shouldn’t run much with her anymore.

Sadly, I wanted to go for just one more run with her. After that, I agreed I would walk her to her hearts content.  So, today, I laced up my sneakers, and waited; hoping to see the familiar excitement.  She didn’t appear thrilled, however she did saunter over and agreeably went outside with me.

What started out as a brisk walk, quickly turned into a smooth jog.  I started thinking, maybe she’s not too old and maybe she really could keep running with me.  Shortly thereafter, she wanted to sniff and pee. So, as per usual, I let her, but without complaint this time.  It was an interesting run.  Jog, sniff, pee, repeat.  Not quite the fartlek we were used to, however we enjoyed it much the same. 

I will certainly try and keep Kiara as a part of my runs as long as possible, even if it means simply having her walk with me during the cool down after the run.

So, tonight was the last time Kiara joined me on one of my runs and tomorrow will be the first time I join her on one of hers. Her pace; her direction. I follow. Just like in the beginning.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Huffin And Puffin for 42K!

Roseanne here.

I registered for the marathon weeks ago. I had every intention of doing all the training.
Did I stick to the plan? Not really.

But I got many runs in and I was going to run the full, with no time goal in mind.

When I registered, I remember entering the information for age, run group, visa and shirt size. What I don’t remember is the check box that says “Leave your ego at the start line.”

I’d like to make the recommendation that any future races that I enter, should definitely have that check box.

I was excited to start. The first 10km flew by as Ron, Juanita and Madeline chatted. The second 10ish, slightly more challenging.

Crossing the mat at the 21.1km felt awesome and sucked at the same time. I loved the first loop, but was not at all excited about repeating it. The second go-around saw my pace slow down, which I anticipated, even though my ego was not impressed. It was around 30ish km mark that I started to think I don’t like running anymore.  Right around the same time that one of the five-bandaged toes started to throb. At the 35km mark, my back started to feel achy. I can remember looking at my watch at 37km and cursing – a lot. In order to tune out the achy complaints my hips were screaming, I started to count footsteps at the 39km mark. I counted to 100 and then started again. Those numbers got me through to the park.

Then a stranger cheered me on at the bridge and said, “Almost there, you look strong. Finish strong.”

Maybe it’s a good thing that my ego wasn’t left at the start line, because I’m sure his words spurred whatever of my ego was left to help carry my sorry behind the last few steps.

Finishing my first marathon was amazing. Within minutes of crossing the finish line, I texted Andrea and said I will never do one again.

Several blisters later, one less toenail, a shaky walk in the office today, and I’m slowly starting to wonder if I’ll stick to what I said to her. Maybe my ego will get the better of me again and I’ll find myself entering another one….

Until we meet again, Huffin and Puffin’ers.

Andrea here.  First off, I want to say a huge congrats to all the PRC’ers who ran the races this weekend!  Although I was in Bermuda and not able to watch, I was certainly cheering you on!  There was however, a few similarities in my weekend and yours.  Yah sure, you say! Let me explain…

As you were laying out your running gear the night before the race, I was drying out my swimming gear preparing for another late night dip in the pool.

As you were hydrating all day Saturday, I was also consuming copious amounts of fluids. Some of which was water (the ice cube portion), the rest was rum and whatever else goes in Bermuda’s famous Rum Swizzles.

As you were inspecting the damage on your feet on Monday, I too, did some damage.  All that running in the Toronto airport to catch our connecting flight has left me with one fewer toenail. One that was hanging in for dear life after the Tely 10, has been left behind somewhere in the airport. (eww!)

As you are feeling pretty stiff today from the race, I too, am feeling muscle pain.  Brad and I rented a Ski Doo one day and he so mischievously took a sharp turn and sent me flying into the ocean.  I suffered some whiplash and lost my sunglasses, but certainly enjoyed the flight. 

All jokes aside, I am very proud of all that you guys have accomplished! Enjoy the post race pain/stiffness and let it remind you of your hard work and determination.  As for Roseanne, I am elated to see that you have joined the group of Marathoners.  One thing I will say to you is that I’m certain EVERYONE says they will never run another marathon right after they finish.  But, they will, and you will. Next time will be alongside me!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

ITP runs

ITP Season

Back to school means a lot of things in my (Roseanne’s) house. It means packing lunches, homework, resuming tumbling, karate and all the other activities and responsibilities that fall to the wayside during the summer. Plus, fall is a busy work-travel season for me.

Biggest on my bummer list is the ITP runs – translation “If time permits”.

I texted my friend Lisa. “Want to run Sunday?”

Response “Sure. What time?”

Between the two of us, we had two birthday parties, one swim team meeting, one hockey game, karate, tumbling, groceries to buy, meals to cook and a few drop-offs.

See where I’m going with the ITP run? Neither of us are competitive runners – we are competitive with each other and have our own goals, but not expecting podium finishes.  

We’ve been friends for a long time and value the social part of running together just as much as the exercise benefits. So we have to be flexible in our run times and lengths if we want to squeeze it in and run together.

There have been times where a quick coffee together in between meetings and events was all that we could fit in. And this is just fine with me.

Luckily, Lisa was fine with forgoing the only morning she can sleep in to help me on my run, which started at 6am.  

She ran 11km in the midst of my long run. Heading back to her place, I was ready to drop out of the marathon training. I had even asked her to drive me home, rather than finish the last leg. Sitting in her porch, as she is looking for her keys and she says, “Are you sure you don’t want to try and finish the run?”

Just that one question. And I was off running again.

Here’s to friends and family who pass on the extra zzz’s just to run and know when to ask the right questions!

Speaking of missing some zzz's, I (Andrea) planned on getting on the treadmill once the kids fell asleep tonight. As they are both still awake, I know I won't care to complete a run later, even if I started. I will most likely be cracking open a bottle of wine instead.  Now that, I can finish.   ;) 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

34 K? Yes, sure. Wait…what?

34 K? Yes, sure. Wait…what?

Last week,  the marathon group was talking about the route for Sunday’s long run.  As soon as I (Andrea) heard mention of the long run, I laid claim to providing the refreshments somewhere along the route. It was my turn to set up the “lemonade stand” as Leah put it, and provide water/Gatorade and snacks. So, my husband and kids volunteered to park alongside the road and wait for the groups of PRC runners to stop by for drinks.  When the time came, I asked Ron where Brad and the kids should park along the route. He suggested around the 23-25km mark in Killbride.   Wait, what?  How long was the route?  34 km! Oh shit.  Leave it to me to volunteer to be a key part of the longest training run they had planned.   

So, Sunday’s run started off cold; reminding us that the summer we barely saw has left already.  As usual, I complained for the first ten minutes; wishing I had worn warmer clothes. I had follow my tried and trusted method of deciding what to wear, named “WWJD” or rather, What Would Janice Do. She said capris and a shirt.  It was about the 3rd km in when I realized she was right (once again) and we didn’t need gloves.  Janice 300 : Andrea 0.   

Apart from a near miss with a little mouse around Neil’s pond, the first half of the run was easy-going and we settled into an average pace of 5:30.  I managed to keep up with them for about 16k, then as the fatigue set in, I started to plan my escape for the 25km mark.  Surely Brad would need help passing out the Gatorade and the kids would be upset watching me leave again so quickly with the group.  I had myself convinced I had to stay.  Why not, I wasn’t running the marathon… just out for a long run and 25k was good enough!  I was quite happy to see Brad, the kids and the candy at Tim's in Killbride and was ready to haul off the sneakers when the girls said I had to keep going; only a few km more!   I’m not sure why I agreed at the time, but I did, and kept on running.  

I am glad I did.  The last part of the run was certainly the hardest, having to run uphill to Coffee Matters for the finish.  As I was questioning my decision to continue with every step, Randy must have heard my thoughts.  He was chatting with John and ever so timely, said how enduring this part of the run is what makes us stronger/faster.  Thanks Randy, that gave me the motivation to keep going just long enough to finish the 34k.     

I, (Roseanne) have a Randy, too.

I have a habit of taking my lack of thought (see last week’s blog) and just agreeing to runs and races. A marathon is a bucket list for me. My husband thinks it should be on the f&*k-it list. Note to self – husband is not a Randy.  So a few weeks ago I signed up for the full thinking I can do it!

Well…. I’m still wondering if I can.

I haven’t put in the diligence that Andrea has. I’ve missed a lot of the runs, shortened some, and well, just plain-old said “Not going at it today.”

With the plan for yet another long run looming, I told Andrea I was heading to the cabin for the long weekend and would have to do it in cabin country. I’m sure she thought I would bail.  

But this time, I had some accountability. I asked my husband and a few friends to each take a 10km-ish leg and help me run it. Well, they did. And I did it. 30km in Deer Park, on the Saturday morning of a long weekend.

The first 8km flew by. When I stopped to tag out partners, I started to get a little hungry and grabbed some fuel. By the 25km mark, I was covered in dust from ATVs, thirsty and hangry – you know so hungry you are angry – hangry. Another bit of fuel, some water and off I went again. I passed an older gentleman sitting on his deck four times in the span of 3 hours. The last time I ran by, his beer looked so cold, maybe I should stop…it would be the polite thing to say hi… Hmmm what do I smell on the bbq? 

Thankfully, Randy (aka known as Justin for my run) said, “almost done, Rose. This will be the longest I’ve run so far this year. Thanks for pushing.”

Well that did it. I had to finish it. And I did.

Funny how a few words at the right moment can make all the difference.

Thanks to all the Randy’s – whose words of encouragement can spur us on that much further.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Blister Sisters

There’s nothing more common than two ladies hanging out on a Thursday night sipping on a glass of red wine and comparing foot blisters and missing toenails…  Right??  Instead of talking about what happened on Bachelorette, or how our kids swimming lesson went, we find ourselves predicting which of our toenails won’t make it through the end of this running season.   Classy!

Hello.  For those of you who don’t know us, our names are Andrea and Roseanne Leonard. We are two sisters who come from a very active family of six.  We have both played many sports throughout our lives but have settled in on running in the last few years.  

We have a lot of similarities in our personalities, and interests. We love food, shoes, reading and are very stubborn (according to our husbands). The difference between us is in our running.

If you want to learn about different sneakers and how they change the mechanics of your foot placement as you are running, ask Andrea. If you want to know how many gels you can have during a run, ask Andrea. How much can you run while pregnant, again – as Andrea.

I (Andrea) love to read about running. I follow blogs about running. I am mildly obsessed with collecting race medals. I analyze my runs. I can tell you how long my foot was connected to the pavement during my last run and where my pace was higher or lower than planned. I try to follow schedules to the last KM and I truly believe in the process.

What does Roseanne bring to the running table? None of the above.

I (Roseanne) like to run. I lace up my sneakers and start with one foot in front of the other. It is my time to clear my head. I went for my first run when I was twelve with my dad. I remember wearing a pair of black jeans (I had to look cool) and that I skinned my knee (thru the stupid jeans) as I missed a curb. I don’t remember much else from the run, but I know that I was hooked.

My lack of thought, and Andrea’s abundance of thought is a great combination. The last half marathon we ran together, I actually took her advice and fuelled properly. Not surprisingly so, it was a better run for me. When Andrea’s kids kept her up all night and she started to lose steam and kept an eye on the watch with 5km to go, I told her to chill. Stop worrying and just run, or walk, or stop. And then we were off again.

We balance each other. Sometimes we plan to save the world during our runs. Other times we argue. I’m sure we caught Janice off guard during last Sunday’s run when we took opposite sides on the “Ashley Madison” situation. Sorry Janice!!

But then there are the times when we just silently run and for that small amount of time, I am happy to be running along side my best friend.   Tonight was one of those nights. We headed out for run in the dark around Elizabeth Park. The goal was to get at least 5k in and one hill.  We ended up with about 7k and covered every hill in the park except Dungarven.   Not bad for the start of our hill training.

We will continue to blog as Rose wraps up her marathon training and we begin the beloved C2C hill training, but for now, it’s back to the wine and blisters. Good night.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

They Must Be Runners!

Tuesday’s run was much better than the 500m fiasco. I did have a bit of anxiety before we started out wondering if there would be a repeat which would be the beginning of a long streak of 500m runs. I’m happy to report that this was not the case.

I ran with Renee again. We discussed our options and decided on two laps of Neil’s Pond which would be 5k. Instead, we ended up doing a 6k run. We (Renee) kept changing the route as we ran and eventually we ended up on Mary Ann Place. As we were looping the cul-de-sac we passed a group of kindergartners who stopped what they were doing and stared at us like we were Santa and Rudolph. One of them whispered to the others “They must be runners!”

In that moment, I realized that to these 5 year olds I looked like an elite runner. It felt pretty sweet. It just goes to show that no matter what your pace there is someone out there who thinks that you are amazing at what you do - even if that person also thinks the Tooth Fairy has a castle in the sky made from teeth.

Enter Thursday. As I was waiting in the parking lot, I get the usual text from Renee.

For some reason, I tried to convince Renee to do a short run instead of nothing. She grudgingly agreed and we headed out for our two loops of Neil’s Pond. Once all the other PRCers passed us, I realized that Renee was having a 500m night. It just wasn’t there. So we decided to walk instead.

Right to Coffee Matters.


There is something a little odd about drinking tea and eating Rice Krispie cookies while wearing running gear and a fuel belt.

I’m sure every member of the club ran past us on the way back to the community center. Most were too fast to notice our beverages, but not all. Tanya, Sue and Sharon stopped for a chat before heading on down the trail to rat us out to our husbands.

Marc and Sugar almost never run together. And when they do, they never stop or slow down when they pass us. Thursday was the perfect storm.

We promised the men that we would make up for the run on Friday. It didn’t happen.
We decided to go Saturday afternoon instead. It didn’t happen.
Sunday afternoon would be better anyway. It didn’t happen.

I realize now that was most likely my last "run" for the month which also means my last blog entry.

What has this time of reflection taught me?

1)     If you aren’t enjoying your running, figure out why and make the necessary changes (Go shoe shopping and make cookies)

2)     Everyone has bad running days/months/years. It doesn't mean you have to give up on your goals (Colin Fewer didn’t run the Tely 10 this year and he’s awesome)

3)     There will always be someone faster than you and that’s okay (you are ahead of those home on the couch)

4)     You never know who you are inspiring (everyone is a hero to someone)

5)     Don’t be a slave to your schedule (It’s okay to miss a run if your bestie needs a tea break)

I still don’t love running but we’ve reached a truce. I will continue to run and I’ll keep on trying to figure out how to make it more enjoyable. It may take some time and lots more Rice Krispies but I’m up for the challenge. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Runner's High (and Low)

Last Wednesday Sugar and I decided to take part in Biped’s first ever (and hopefully annual) Scavenger Hunt Run. The staff had put together a list of clues for us to solve and we had to run around downtown St. John’s trying to find the locations. It was at this run that I discovered that I am actually able to reach a 6:11 pace. All I need is a puzzle to solve along the way.

We didn’t win the hunt but we had a lot of fun and there were chocolate bars at the finish. Score! It was nice to see PRCers Amanda and Sarah there too and I think they had just as much fun as Sugar and I.

It was another good run. I picked the big toothy grin on my app because I had such a great time.

I had planned on skipping Thursday’s run since I ran on Wednesday. Sugar was working and there was no one to encourage me to go. I was all set for a relaxing evening in front of the television.

Then I get a text from Renee.

Then I get a call from Sugar telling me he finished work early and was going to the group run if I wanted to go.

Looks like I’m running.

Renee and I did 5k in her best time to date. The look on her face when she realized that was one of complete disbelief. Running has definitely been on the upward swing lately.

Then Sunday happened.

I was working on Saturday morning (again) so I didn’t make the group run. On Sunday Sugar played the guilt card and suggested we go for a 10k run down the trail.

I’ve discovered that a lot of people run not out of love for the sport, but out of guilt. Some examples:

1)                           I missed a run because of work. I have to make it up or my race time will suffer.
2)                           I only ran 5k when my schedule says 8k. I have to run the extra 3k or my entire training plan will fall apart.
3)                           I ate two Costco sized bags of chips this weekend, now I have to run to Port aux Basques to burn off the calories.

In my case it was pulled pork poutine but they thought process was the same.

If I was still following my training plan, I’d be doing 10k so I was happy with the suggested distance. Things had been looking up running wise so I was feeling good about getting back on the trail, having another successful experience.

I think I made it about 500m.

It might have been the humidity. It might have been the attempt to run a 6:11 pace again. Or it might have been the tasty pixie drinks I’d consumed the night before. Either way, I didn’t have the ability to run without an air sick bag strapped to my fuel belt.

Sugar gave me a pep talk on the walk back to the car, doing his best to make sure this set back didn’t derail my progress. “We all have days like this,” might seem trite but I know it’s true. I’ve seen many strong, competent runners have bad days. It’s just a part of being a runner. I have no plans to let this one bad experience put an end to all the success I’ve had so far.  

Tomorrow is Tuesday. It’s another opportunity to run with the group and another chance to work towards running goals. Don’t let the little stumbling blocks prevent you from joining me J

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Renee Alivio is AWESOME!!

Don’t worry, she hasn’t hijacked the blog. She really is awesome.

I got to run 5k with her on Thursday for the first time since our Tely 10 start line nap incident. Normally when we run together, we end up walking and discussing how much running sucks, but not this time. Renee was in the zone! She put in her headphones and took off like Colin Fewer at the Tely 10. I was behind her for almost the entire run. At first I thought it was because she has had her new Sauconys for longer than I have. Or maybe listening to Eddie Vedder really does give you the ability to run like the wind. But then I realized it was more likely that Renee is working towards achieving a goal. Maybe it’s to be faster. Maybe it’s to train harder. Maybe she secretly wants to beat her husband in just one race. Or maybe she, like me, is trying to learn to run without feeling horrible.

Whatever her motivation, it seems to be working.

Lots of PRCers say they need a goal in order to keep them running. They register for races so they will continue to train. Having a goal keeps them on track.

So maybe I should set a goal. Not the how-many-seasons-of-Elementary-can-I-watch-in-one-day type of goal, but something that will help me enjoy running more. My secret goal of the Tely/Half never came to fruition, so maybe I should figure out how to run beyond 13k and not spend the rest of the week horizontal. Or in the bathroom.

It’s possible it has to do with what I eat (or don’t eat) before or during a long run. I started drinking Gatorade on all my runs about 5 months ago and it has definitely made a difference. I no longer get the leg cramps that were obviously a sign of dehydration. Maybe it’s time to introduce some snacks into my runs as well.

There are thousands of articles online with advice on how to improve as a runner, but I figured I’d start with the ultimate source of running knowledge, the Ironman, Craig Pike. Ironman loves chocolate and he can run 67km in one day so maybe he has a secret food that gets him through (fingers crossed it’s Big Turk Bars).

Ironman had several suggestions:

1)     avoid milk and milk products on the day you run. (there goes the chocolate theory)

2)     replace 75% of the fluids you use on a run. (note to self, add another water bottle to your fuel belt)

3)     replace 50% of the calories you burn by eating something high in carbs/low in fibre during the run. Like Rice Krispy Cookies cut into small cubes. (….Did he just say cookies?)

My brain just fist pumped my taste buds. Ok, we need more info.

Is there a recommended cookie to kilometer ratio? Should I go with homemade or pre-packaged? And why has nobody mentioned this before?????

So on Monday afternoon, armed with my Gatorade and my little square treats I decided to put my new plan into action. Sugar decided to join me (I think it was to make sure I didn’t just sit in the car and eat a tray of cookies) and we headed down the T’railway with 10k on our minds. Somewhere along the route I bumped that number up to 13k, which is where my running goals came to an abrupt halt this summer. I wanted to see if Snap, Crackle and Pop could actually make a difference in my overall level of crappiness post run.

13k later, my muscles were a little sore, but I am pleased to announce that everything else stayed where it should. I couldn’t believe it. I could still function. There was no hatred, no disgust, no wanting to crawl into a hole and die.

Craig Pike is AWESOME!!

I am definitely looking forward to my next long run and not just because I get to eat cookies. I think I’m going to continue my original training plan and see how far it takes me. Just because I’m not running the races doesn’t mean I have to give up on the goal. There’s always next year.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Saturday’s group run was replaced with PRC’s 8k race, The Figure 8. I wasn’t able to run since I had to work, but I was able to help out with registration before the race.

I always have mixed feelings on race day. If I’m running I feel sick and full of regret that I actually paid to do this. I could be on the side lines cheering everyone on, or better yet, still home in bed watching re-runs of The Big Bang Theory while eating Sour Cream and Onion Rings. But then the race starts and the anxiousness leaves and before I know it I’m across the finish line, feeling pretty good about the whole thing as I eat a celebratory banana with my fellow runners.

If I’m not racing, things usually go the other way. I feel all smug that I’m not standing at the start line feeling sick and full of regret, wishing I had made one more trip to the bathroom. But once the yellow singlets start passing by and the race finishes and everyone is talking about times, I feel like I missed out on something great. And the bananas don’t taste as good.

PRCer Kiley Dominie won the Figure 8 in a time of 31:13. He too must have new Saucony’s. However, even with my new sneakers, I am well aware that I would have only been at the 4k mark as Kiley Dominator crossed the finish line.

This might be discouraging to some but not to me. Because I just don’t care. I will never run 8k in 31 minutes. I probably won’t ever run 5k in 31 minutes and what’s more, I don’t ever NEED to. I will never cross a finish line first. I will never place in my age group (unless there are only three of us). Nike and Saucony will never have a bidding war over who gets to have me as a spokesperson for their merchandise (FYI – Saucony would win). That’s just the way it is and I’m okay with that. It really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I don’t need to be the best.

I learned pretty early on in my running career that I have to run for myself, no one else. I have to run my pace, not the pace of that 70 year old man who always crosses the finish line just ahead of me. It takes practice to forget about everyone else and listen to what your body is telling you but once you figure it out, you’ll be more likely to stick with the sport.

It’s why I pushed on at the back of the pack on Tuesday’s run. It was hot and we took a hilly route thanks to Sugar’s suggestion. As the distance increased between the rest of the girls and myself I forced my thoughts to what would keep me going – “run the kilometer you’re in” and “look for the positives on this run”. I’ve discovered that looking for the positives helps me to forget the kilometers. For example, as we ran down Donna Road there was the most wonderful scent from a lilac tree. Marathoner Extraordinaire Mrs. Collins was waiting for me at the corner to make sure I wasn’t dead. Oh, and that cat in the ditch that assumed the attack pounce position did not jump on me and rip my new sneakers to shreds.

Crossing Topsail Road and heading up another hill on Karwood Drive, I briefly considered taking a short cut down the heavily shaded and beautifully flat Trailway. Marathoner Extraordinaire Mrs. Collins was just ahead of me – I could let her know I was taking a detour. The heat and hills were just too much of a challenge. Then I saw this:

Construction sign motivation. Very funny. I get it. It’s a challenge, I’m the challenger. OK, I’ll keep going.

This challenger has a support crew. Kind of like me and Marathoner Extraordinaire Mrs. Collins. I have to keep going.

This challenger has fallen flat on its face. I think it’s time for a walk break.

Marathoner Extraordinaire Mrs. Collins waited for me near the roundabout and we finished the rest of the route together before going to Dairy Queen. 7.42 km was the distance recorded on my app. The time – well, it really doesn’t matter now does it?