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.