Friday, 29 March 2013

Where The Watermelons Grow

Training for a marathon is a huge physical task.  We run slow, and we run fast, and we run on hills, and we run intervals and we run long LONG distances.  All the runs outlined in our training plan are teaching our bodies something.  They teach our muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints to take the pounding.  They teach our bodies how to efficiently access the fuel we need to keep going.  They teach our bodies how to heal, regenerate, and come back stronger and faster for our next run.  But our training runs are designed to teach us so much more, especially our long runs.  These long weekend runs are a place to practice all the little things that will really matter on race day.  The things that you might not even think of, that have the potential to make or break your race.

So here are some of the things we learned when we ran The Around The Bay 30K...

1.  Everyone poops
Before a race there are very important prerace routines that must take place.  These are not optional.  If this is not taken care of your race will NOT be enjoyable.  Wake up earlier then you think you need to, you will be glad you did.

2.  I'm stupid
Remember before the race when I said we had no time goal, and that this was just going to be a training run.  Well that's much easier said then done.  Stick me on a race course with thousands of other runners, and a big starting line, and lots of spectators and I morph into Lightening McQueen at the start of Cars. I'm stupid.  I run, I run faster then I should, I run with no regard for what pace I SHOULD run at, and I want to reach a time goal that wasn't supposed to exist.  Poor Leigh spent much of the race reeling me in and reminding me to keep a training pace.

3.  Trains happen
As Leigh mentioned in his recap post we were stopped at a train crossing for somewhere between 3 and 4 minutes.  I have never ever stopped in a race.  I carry my own water and nuun and fuel so I don't need to stop at aid stations.  If something hurts, I keep running, and hope it will stop (see #2).  But our train stop taught me that sometimes during a race 'trains' happen.  There might come a day when I am racing and I need to stop, this is not the end of the world...Don't have a shot at the prize money either way right!?!

4.  Childbirth still wins
Leigh said in his recap post that "It was the hardest physical test I have ever had in my life."  I can with complete confidence say that childbirth is still without a doubt the single hardest physical test I have ever had.  EVER.  Period.  I'll let you know if that changes after the Ottawa Marathon.  I don't think it will.

5.  Cliff Shot Bloks are some of the best candy EVER
When you are running very long distances your body exhausts it's available glycogen stores, meaning you need to ingest sugar to fuel your body and brain.  Since I am cheap frugal, I usually use dried cranberries or steal some of the kids fruit snacks.  But we swung by MEC on the way home from the expo on Saturday and grabbed some actual endurance sport fuel.  Pretty sure I would run 30K just so I can have an excuse to eat these.

6.  Smiling is my favourite

Slowing my pace, relaxing (a bit), high fiving kids, minnie mouse, and the grim reaper, and smiling make racing a celebration of how much I love running.

7.  Body Glide works
This stuff works like a charm.  30K, no chafing.  True story.

8.  You won't feel like dying at the end if you take it easy at the start
Leigh made me take it easy at the beginning (he's not stupid...see #2 again).  When he cramped up near the end and sent me off to the finish I felt strong and still had gas in the tank so I busted a move all the way to Copps Coliseum.

9.  Training on hills makes you a stronger runner
Our marathon training plan had us do weekly hill runs for the first 7 weeks.  We also live in a hilly city, so no matter where we run in Guelph we run hills.  In no other race have I ever felt so strong on the hills.  If you are diligent with your training you will notice the effects come race day.

10.  Toenails are for sissies 
Running Coach Google tells me that the blisters on the nailbeds of my second toe on both feet are probably from all the hills on The Around The Bay course and my shoes not being tied tight enough, so my feet scooted forward and banged/rubbed repeatedly on the front/top of my shoes.  Dr. Google tells me that my nails are likely going to fall off.  Just in time for sandal weather...Lucky!

11.  I missed my cheerleaders
I get a huge mental boost when I know that the boys are waiting near the finish of a race.  When we ran the Niagara Falls Half Marathon last fall I was hurting big time by the end of the race.  Knowing that the boys and my mom would be near the finish helped me to push through.  Other then Leigh, the boys and my mom are my biggest supporters.  I miss them when they aren't there.

12.  I love running with this guy
I did an 18 miler this morning by myself.  I missed Leigh.  Last week's long run was more fun!


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Down By The Bay....

I want to start this blog off with a confession. I have spent the last four days pretending like running 30km on Sunday was easy. It wasn't. It was the hardest physical test I have ever had in my life. But when people ask me about, I feign coolness and say things like "It was fun" or "It wasn't that bad" or "We just ran it at a training pace". Don't be mistaken, it was a ton of fun, it really wasn't that bad until my legs started burning when the race was over, and we did run it a training pace, Lexie's training pace. So here goes!


I got up before my alarm went off, I'm sure it part excitement, part fear, but probably mostly because I had to pee. I hit up the washroom, hung out in there a while, gave myself a pep talk, did some other stuff and got changed. We had to get the boys ready to drop off at Brooke and Jeremy's house (Thanks guys!) so I was moving quickly (this would be the only time all day). Luckily Cooper sleeps on his floor these days, so he was already up. After dressing, I scooped him from his room and headed downstairs so I could feed him and pack up some stuff (fuel belts, change of clothes, shoes, throwaway clothes, phone, headphones, race stuff). Lexie was upstairs getting ready during this time. Since she is faster than me, I assume during this time she was completing some important pre-race rituals that allow her to be so speedy. I'm not saying she was taking PEDs, but I am also not saying she wasn't.


We finished getting ready, and by we I mean I was ready so I spent these 10 minutes telling Lexie to hurry up. We loaded the kids up in the car to drop off at Brooke and Jeremy's and Lexie took off for their house to get them settled while I finished packing up.


During this time I was loading up the other car and starting to head to Fergus. What she forgot to tell me was that Lexie was planning on heading to Fergus via Orangeville (important note: that is not a real thing, Orangeville is waaaaaay out of the way).


I sat around waiting for Lexie's tour of Dufferin to finish and we finally dropped the kids off.


We spent this time driving to Hamilton while I complained that no matter how pretty Dufferin County is, Lexie should have saved her detour for another time because we were going to be late. We weren't.


We found a sweet parking spot near the starting line at the Hamilton Convention Centre. We changed into our race outfits and start walking to the starting line. On our way to the starting line we stopped for a potty break at the cleanest place we found find (McDonalds of course!) and by the time we (Lexie) waited in line it was time to head to the starting line.

Neither of us had any inkling of how large this race actually was until we started to head for the starting line. There were just slews of people heading towards the starting line so we just followed along. By the time we had made it to the starting line it was almost time to get going. We were lucky enough to fall right into a good place in the start line, right around the 2:45-3:00 hour pace group. Now I wish I had taken more pictures so I could have made this post a little more aesthetically pleasing. My apologies. But the start looked something like this:

We tucked our way into the group and within a few minutes the gun had sounded and it was time to roll. It took about 3 minutes between the gun going and us crossing the finish line. But we were excited to be crossing the mat to tackle this:

The Around the Bay Road Race Map
The first 3 miles were pretty busy but went smoothly. We were right on target, running mile splits in around the 9:40 range. It was also during these first three miles we realized we had overdressed for the race. I had put on running tights, shorts, a short sleeved shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a pull over and a running toque. I could have done without the tights and the pullover because I was already sweating by mile 2. Lexie was wearing a similar outfit minus the shorts over the tights, but since she is a Sprickerhoff, she was sweating before we got out of the car. We had come so accustomed to running in freezing weather, we weren't prepared for what seemed like the first sunny above freezing day in months. Lexie later commented when she went to do the laundry from the race that our clothes were sopping wet. I just figured they were dripping with awesomeness.

Miles 3-9 went smoothly, we followed our fuelling plan, drank some fluids, chatted, and took in the sights of East Hamilton. As we made the turn toward the Bay, we saw this:

Okay that is not actually what we saw, just an artistic representation. But true story, we had to stop in the middle of the race for a train. I guess this annoyed some people, but it was alright with us, we were only there for 3-4 minutes. We kind of hoped we would get a freebie out of it from the race directors. No dice, but a boy can dream.

At this point we started to head toward the bay and passed the 10km mark right around an hour into the race, which meant we were on pace to finish in our goal (under 3 hours). It was also at this point that Lexie's hip started to bother her. We had been running on tapered roads for most of the first part of the race and it was taking it's toll.

We continued to hold a steady pace through the first 11km. Somewhere between kilometres 11 and 13 we stopped quickly for Lexie to stretch out her hip. When we did, some kind runner offered us some salt tablets, aren't runners cool? and nice? We also saw two guys around this time running barefoot (like literally no shoes or anything) and in kilts.

Kilometres 13-15 were eventful and we hit the 15km right around the 1:30 mark on our watches. Just after the 15km marker we ran over this:

Hamilton Lift Bridge

This was both fun and weird. It was weird because it was clearly not designed for feet. There were large sharp ridges on the metal surface of the bridge. We took our time and made it over. We also felt very sad for the barefoot guys.

We were still feeling good and kilometres 15-19 were smooth sailing. Lexie's hip felt better when she sped up a bit so we pushed a pace a little during this time, which may have came back to haunt me. One of the things that I thought was neat about this race was the amount of spectators. Hamilton really showed up to support this race. There were loud and excited spectators everywhere, it was pretty motivating. There were also large packs of runners around us the whole time. I didn't mind this, and even enjoyed it, Lexie did not. She is accustomed to running solo, so running with all those people was a little bit of a change for her.

Around the 19km mark is where the hills start. Kilometres 19-26 were all rolling hills. We were happy that we train a city with a good number of hills because we saw a lot of people people who really struggled during this stretched. I had actually run this part of the course before during the MEC 10km race I did with two of my colleagues in August (Hey Matt and Victor!).

Things were going well until about the 24km when my calf started to cramp. I think it was a combination of overdressing and therefore excess sweating, and not replacing the salt I was losing as a result. We stopped twice for 20-30 seconds so I could stretch and that seemed to help a bit.

Before we knew it we were about to head up the "Big Hill" that everyone had told us about. Lexie and I decided at the bottom that we were going to push it up the hill, and push it we did. We KILLED it. We passed a ton of people on the way up and were passed by no one. It was a good confidence boost. The confidence boost didn't last too long for me however as my cramping returned quickly after my celebration of killing the hill.

About 500 metres after cresting the hill, I felt a strong cramp coming on in my hamstring. I tried to run through it but it was too bad. We were close to the end so I told to Lexie to head on and pulled over to stretch. She was feeling strong and I didn't want to hold her back. I knew I just needed some salt, so I took a few of the Power Bar Energy Blasts and hobbled my way to the 27km water station were I promptly downed 4 cups of Gatorade. This game me some much needed electrolytes and my cramp dissipated.

It was just after this that I came across one of the neatest traditions of the race. The Grim Reaper.

I gave this guy the best high five ever, I assume.

This guy stands in the middle of the course giving out high fives to runners as they pass him. He also tries to convince them they should just turn right into the cemetery we were passing. One of the first things Lexie asked me when I met her at the finish was if I high-fived the reaper. Of Course I did!

The last two kilometres of the race are downhill which is much better than uphill, but downhill doesn't feel as good at the end of 30km as it does at the beginning. Both Lexie and I picked up the pace in these last two km's and ended had them as two of our fastest miles in the race.

Another fun thing about Around the Bay is the finish line. The race finishes inside of Hamilton's Copps Coliseum, right on the ice surface. This years finish line looked like this:

It was very cool to finish inside an arena full of cheering people. Now I know how Usain Bolt feels, kind of. But the uncool part was running down the ramp into the arena. The last things my legs wanted to see was a steep hill on a smooth surface. But we both bombed it down the ramp and into the throngs of people cheering for us all the runners.

We had done it, we ran 30km! After we finished we were herded into the backstage area where we collected our food and medals.

We moaned and groaned as we made our way back to the car. For the first time in our racing careers, we were too spent to really bask in the glow of our post race high. That would come later.

Overall it was a great challenge for us. We both hit personal distance records and we had a great time running (most of) the race together. It was a well run, well staffed race and there is no doubt we will be back again.

Finishing Times:

Lexie - 3:03:08
Leigh - 3:06:23

Check back later this weekend where Lexie will share with you all the things we learned by running ATB and some more tidbits from our experience.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

More Cowbell!

Today we headed out to our old stomping grounds (The Hammer) to check out the race expo and pick up our bibs for The Around The Bay 30K.  We love us a good race expo.  Last fall we stopped in at the Toronto Scotiabank Expo even though we weren't running the race (we were running Niagara Falls the next weekend).  Leigh had the good fortune to win a pair of Brooks running shoes there (his second  free pair, he'll tell you about the first in his Muskoka part 2 post).  We were big winners at the Around the Bay expo as well :)

Lucas spun the Running Room wheel and won this awesome running hat, which he literally wore for the rest of the day.  When he went to bed it was on his bedside table.  I have a feeling when we go up there later he will be sleeping in it.

We strolled around, checked out the various vendors, eyed up the medals from The Ottawa Marathon, and tried on the Altra Zero Drop Shoes.  

Next we picked up our shirts and bibs.  This is by far my best race shirt yet.  Maybe it's because the average (elite) female runner is something like 5' tall and 98lbs, or because I have a freakishly long torso, but EVERY. SINGLE.  race shirt I have is too short.  Not this one!!!  It is an awesome, stretchy, long sleeved New Balance tech shirt, with a women's cut.  And it is super long.  I am excited to have a race shirt that I can wear comfortably.  Unfortunately Leigh wasn't quite as lucky, the sleeves of his are a bit too short for his freakishly long arms.

On the way out we happened by the booth for The Sears Great Canadian Run.  We stopped to chat, and mentioned that we were already registered.  When we said we were Cooper's Troopers she said "you're Leigh and Lexie right?"  It was nice that she knew who we were.  We introduced Cooper and talked a little about why we are running.  And the she decided there was just one thing our house needed...


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Run Happy

At karate today Lucas' Sensei had the kids running in a big circle.  She would intermittently have them stop, do kicks, blocks, or punches, and then start running again.  Then she would have them stop, change directions, and start running again.  The interesting thing to observe during this exercise was the  level of participation, and the look on the kid's faces.  There are about 20 four to eight year olds in the class, the vast majority are boys.  You can imagine the hijinks that go on in that class on a weekly basis.  Someone is always punching a mat on the wall, kicking the air, needing to go pee, totally zoned out and missing their turn, picking their nose, and someone's belt falls off approximately 32432589634 times each class.  But when she told them to run, EVERY SINGLE ONE of them ran.  Not only was each of those children completely engaged in the activity, but each child had a huge grin on their face.  Seriously, you would have thought they won the lottery, and the jackpot was a lifetime supply of Smarties and chocolate milk.  These kids were the epitome of Run Happy.

Now it's pretty clear that I love running.  Running is a huge part of my life, and it brings me a huge amount of happiness.  But I'll tell you what, when I am racing, you would never guess that I love what I am doing.  The level of exertion involved in pushing myself to run at my desired race pace is always evident on my face.  I swear I am happy, and that's why I keep signing up for longer and longer and LONGER races, but good grief try to catch me with a smile on my face for a race photo, or even a non-grimacing face, not possible!  This Sunday we are running The Around The Bay 30K.  Our plan is to use this race more as a training run in preparation for The Ottawa Marathon, so we do not have a time goal.  So I have decided that in this race my goal is to actually look like I am running happy, to project what I feel about running outwards, so I don't have to cringe and hit delete when my race photos arrive in my inbox.

In other Karate news...Lucas broke a board with his fist tonight.  It was AWESOME!!!  He has his grading next week to get his gold stripe belt.

Tough guy busting through a board!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Christmas in March! (weekly recap)

Today was my second Christmas. Every year around this time a jolly round man named Bryant Charles Gumbel appears on my television to tell me about all the wonderful toys basketball I will be gifted with over the next few weeks. This is Bryant's face:

Beautiful right? Anyway, today marked the start of the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. Or as we call it around here; Daddy watches basketball all day Thursday-Sunday for 3 weeks season. The average person would know this a March Madness. This year was kind of disappointing because for as long as I have been teaching the first week of March Madness has also coincided with March Break, which I have off. This year it falls the week AFTER March Break, so woe is me. Regardless, I look forward to watching many basketball games with my family (or more likely, by myself). I hope you all also partake in this wonderful occasion. I would be remiss if I didn't add this:

This was a good running week for us. Me being off work meant no one had to run super early and it was not as challenging as usual to get our runs in. Our schedule broke down like this:

Monday: Lexie - 8 miles with a hill workout she DESTROYED, Leigh - 8 hilly miles
Tuesday: Lexie - 4 miles with weights, Leigh - 4 miles
Wednesday: Lexie - 7 miles with 4 @ marathon pace, Leigh - 4 Miles
Thursday: Lexie - Spinning/Weight class, Leigh - 7 miles with 4 @ marathon pace
Friday: Lexie - 4 miles, Leigh - Chased Cooper around the house all afternoon/evening
Saturday: Lexie - 14 miles, Leigh - 14 miles

Quick story about my (Leigh's) long run. We both had a pretty tough time, probably because our legs are starting to get a little tired from all the miles. Well as I'm on my way out, Lexie thoughtful as ever, suggests I take a key so her and the boys can head out for some errands. So I oblige, putting the key in the pouch on my fuel belt. FYI: A fuel belt looks like this:

I put my key in that pouch on the right
So I get home, dreaming of a warm shower, a cold drink, and a soft seat. I reach into my pouch.......nothing, no key. It appears at some point during my run when I had reached into the pouch for the fuel I also was keeping in there, the key had fallen out. The end result was me standing in the freezing cold for 40 minutes waiting for Lexie to get home. It may have been as cold as I have ever been, and I just finally warmed back up again 34 minutes ago. Moral of the story? Use the KEY POCKET in your fuel belt next time. Seriously there is a pocket inside the pocket to prevent exactly what happened to me. In my defense I didn't notice it until I had already lost my key.

This coming week is a big one for us, and not just because of March Madness. On Sunday we will be running the Around the Bay 30K Road Race in Hamilton. Check back for a pre-race post and recap and review after.

Have a good week everyone. Don't forget....  GO HEELS!


Saturday, 16 March 2013

He had me at Hello...

Hello, I'm from the SickKids Foundation that is.

A couple of weeks ago a representative from the Sick Kids Foundation arrived on our doorstep canvasing for donations to their "SickKids Miracle Club."  Ever since Cooper started his journey with SickKids this logo literally reaches out and grabs my attention.

So when Steve from the SickKids foundation showed up on our doorstep, with this logo on his jacket, and binder, and that binder full of women of SickKids information with that logo all over it, you better believe he had my attention.  So rather then turn him away like I do to anyone else trying to sell something or ask for money at my front door, I asked him to step into the front hall and out of the cold to tell us about the SickKids Miracle Club.  He asked if we had any connection to SickKids, so I told him Cooper's story, and I got teary, and he got teary.  It was an easy decision to make, we joined the Miracle Club and are now making monthly donations to SickKids.  When you live through an experience like that with your child you are changed.  I will forever feel in debt to SickKids.  They saved my child's life.

We continue to be in awe of you, for your generosity in contributing to our fundraising for The Sears Great Canadian Run.  Since our last fundraising update Tobey, and Katie have both added to our grand total of $1240.  We have a little ways to go to reach our revised goal of $2000.  We are so grateful to all those who have already contributed, and to all those who would even consider supporting this worthy cause.

Hope you are having a great Saturday.  We are having a lazy day around here, the boys both have runny noses, and Leigh and I are recovering from rough 14 milers this morning.  Bring on ice cream night!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Best Running Adventure of All Time - Part 1

I consider myself lucky for a lot of reasons. I have healthy kids, a pretty awesome wife (she's pretty, and awesome), great family, I can grow a beard now (finally!), and it's only 6 days until March Madness tips off. But one of the big reasons I'm lucky is that I love my job. One of the reasons I love my job is that I work with great people. I'm a huge fan of all of my department members. If we had a theme song, it would be something lame like this:

It's with 4 out of the 5 (we missed the heck out of Ross, the member that didn't join us) of those members and another work friend that Lexie and I had the chance to run a relay that still sticks out in my mind as the most spectacular running events I have ever been a part of.

Last September was the first, and sadly also perhaps the last running of The Great Muskoka Relay. A 100km relay around Lake Joseph in Muskoka, Ontario. So let me take you on a blogging version of the one of the funnest weekends ever, anywhere.


After educating the youth of our future for several hours, we left work at 3:07 pm and headed to Jonelle's house where we met up with Lexie, hopped in my trusty undercover cop car and headed to the carpool lot where we would meet up with the rest of the crew. FYI, the crew was composed of Jonelle, Matt, Victor, Laura, Lisa, Lexie, and yours truly. Lisa and Lexie are the only ones that don't work in my Phys. Ed. Department. Lisa is the dance teacher at our school and hosted us in her awesome cottage for the weekend that included a steam shower that I fully took advantage of.

We met up at a carpool lot because we love nature and the environment. Lexie, Victor and I hopped into Matt's rad Minivan and Lisa, Jonelle, and Laura headed north in Laura's highly tinted sedan. Destination: Bird Lake. We resisted the urge to stop at Weber's and made it to Bird Lake and Lisa's cottage safely at about 6:30. We spend a good portion of the drive through Muskoka talking about how beautiful it would be to run there the next day.

We arrived at the cottage where Lisa showed us around and we stared slack jawed at the accommodations we were sure to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

There is the view out of the back of the cottage, the view inside was equally beautiful. We sorted out our sleeping arrangements, and since no one else was into my idea of all of us camping out on the living room floor, I had to settle for sharing a comfy bed with my better half.

Despite our generally very progressive views on gender, we somehow broke up into two gender specific groups for the next part of the evening. The boys collected firewood and devised our plan to prove how tough we were by going "swimming" in the lake after dinner, while the ladies hung out in the kitchen and helped Lexie finish the dinner up. For the record, these gender stereotypes didn't continue the next day when the ladies KILLED the race, in a good way.

We had some Green Thai Curry for dinner as we attempted to Carbo Load for the next day as we were each running at least 10km.

Following dinner, Matt, Victor, and I decided it was time to live up to our word. An important back story: all week we had been talking about how we were going to "swim" when we got up to the cottage. When we were collecting firewood, we went for a little canoe trip to scope out a spot. We found a floating dock that looked perfect. So the three of us paddled out after dinner, and climbed aboard the floating dock. We jumped into water much shallower than we imagined, screamed like we were 9 year olds, swam 10 ft each then quickly jumped back on the dock, got back into the canoe, and back to shore. It was a short swim, but we did it when no one believed in us. Too dramatic? probably, but I'm doing what Mr. Shaw called "foreshadowing" in OAC english.

After our swim we sat down around the fire for some treats and chatted the about race strategy for the next day. The strategy was this: Run, and eat M&M's.

Around 11:00pm, we all headed to bed, as we had an early wake up call.


We woke up super early Saturday, I can't recall the exact time, but I'm fairly certain there was a 5 in it, which is a time I try to never see on a Saturday. We got ready quickly, tried to pretend it wasn't raining,  which it was and did, and had some breakfast. 

Heading out into the dark rain we started to make our way from Bird Lake (east of Bracebridge) to Cleveland's House on Lake Joseph. We had to be there early to pick up our race kits and do some team stretching. Muskoka wasn't looking quite as pretty in the cloud cover as it did the night before in the sun, but we were excited none the less. 

We arrived at the start to pick our packets that included some cool T-Shirts, free juice and bagels, and some swag for the Charity that we were supporting. On that note a big shout out to Donnie Minon of Dogg Pound MMA for sponsoring our charity. Since only about 100 people read this, chances are he never will, but we were thankful anyway. 

It wasn't long before we had to get Matt ready to for the first leg of the race. All teams took off at the same time, it was an organized and quick start. Probably because there actually were only a 12 or so teams.

Matt getting ready

Matt leaving on the first leg

before we left for the first transition we took a few team pictures. Here is one so you can check out the studs we had the chance to run with:

L to R: Lisa, Laura, Leigh, Jonelle, Victor
And with that we started an exciting team adventure. 

To Be Continued.......

P.S. I know 100+ people read each entry, if you guys leave a comment, I promise I will reply to it. Pleeeeeeeeeease leave us some comments!


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Hungry Hungry Hippos

Remember these guys?

This is what Leigh and I are like lately.  Marathon training is making us ravenous...Seriously, I have never been so hungry in all my life.  It also seems like I go from being satiated and content, to HANGRY, very quickly.  We would both like to avoid gaining weight during our marathon training cycle.  It would be sort of distressing to be running 40-50 mile weeks, and cross training, and to gain weight because we can't stop stuffing our faces.  So we do work pretty hard to make sure we eat a variety of healthy foods on a daily basis.  I buy a TON of fresh fruits and veggies to snack on and for side dishes, I choose turkey or chicken bacon over regular, and leaner cuts of meat, all our bread and pasta is whole grain, I always use brown rice (our no frills carries brown basmati rice which is SO good), we only use natural peanut butter, and we always have hummus and greek yogurt dips in the fridge for a quick lunch or snack.  We typically eat out very rarely and I make an effort to limit our consumption of processed foods.  We have our homemade yogurt, and I regularly make homemade Lara Bars, and homemade (reduced sugar and fat) muffins.  Even on our splurge days we have homemade ice cream, and pizza with homemade crust.  I love to cook and bake, so I enjoy trying new DIY things.  I recently made this homemade ricotta cheese, so easy and SO SO good!

So here is a little sample of what we are eating around here these days.

This is our typical breakfast.

I throw one banana, about 2/3 of a smoothie tumbler of water, and a heaping scoop of vanilla whey protein powder in the blender.  I get it blending and then add a variety of frozen (no sugar added) fruit until it is nice and thick.  This one was banana, mango, and pineapple.  That makes a tasty and satisfying breakfast for Leigh and I, with no added sugar or fat.  Costco is the best place for smoothie fruit buying around these parts, and we found out after we spent $12 on this Starbucks reusable tumbler that Dollarama has them for $2 (I think it was $2, it was way cheaper anyway).  I still like to put my smoothie in this one though.  Makes me feel fancy.

My favourite lunch is a simple one.  Hummus, baby carrots, peas, and a whole wheat pita.  Leigh is usually a leftovers from last night's dinner sort of guy.  Sometimes tuna, or eggs, or pb&j.

And here is our next week (+) of dinners.

My sister made this snazzy little dinner calendar for me for Christmas.  SO clever, and it matches our new kitchen and everything!  I generally try to plan for a mix of vegetarian and non vegetarian meals, use a variety of different types of lean meats, and keep things mostly healthy.  We are not eating Niagara Falls on Thursday (although that might have been a possibility after some of our Florida runs last summer).  But we are taking the kids to Niagara Falls so we will be eating out.   I am working evenings on Friday, so Leigh is in charge of dinner.  That means pancakes.  As you can see Shrimp and Grits (which contain a delicious amount of cheddar cheese and cream) is for long run Saturday.  And just for good measure, I have peanut butter brownie ice cream on deck for dessert.  We can afford the calories that day.  I have to have something delicious waiting for me at the end of my 14 miler!


Comment with your favourite recipe.  I love new ideas to mix things up!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Weekly Recap + Why Guelph Running Love

Wow, seems like a long time since I have been on here typing a post. We have been busy moving and I have been sick more time in the last 6 weeks than I can remember. But you can rest assured I worked hard to recreate this commercial each time I was sick:

I'm sure if you ask Lexie, she will inform you did a great job.

This has been a huge running week in the Hanna house. We both had personal distance records with our long run on Saturday (16 miles or 26 km each) and I (Leigh) had the highest volume running week I have ever had, running a total of 39 miles (63 km). We both managed to escape it relatively pain free, as we were both in good enough shape to get 8 miles of hills in the this morning. Type A Lexie did the hill workout as described in our training plan. I just ran around and found some hills to go up and down. That is probably a good analogy to how we both approach life in general.

Here is how our week broke down:

Monday: Lexie - 8 hilly miles, Leigh - 4 Treadmill miles
Tuesday: Lexie - 4 Treadmill miles, Leigh - 7 miles (2 on treadmill at marathon pace, 5 outside)
Wednesday: Lexie - 7 miles (3 at Marathon Pace), Leigh - 4 miles
Thursday: Lexie - Cross train, Leigh - 8 Treadmill miles
Friday: Lexie - 4 miles easy (after working nights! what a stud!), Leigh - Cross training (hockey)
Saturday: Lexie - 16 miles, Leigh - 16 miles
Sunday: THIS!!

It was certainly good for our running confidence to make it through such a high mileage week without any significant issues.

I wanted to take a second to share with you why Guelph is a great place to be a runner. Now there are lots of reasons, but since my name is not Letterman, and Lexie is much prettier than both Paul Shaffer and Rupert I am just going to give you my top three reasons Guelph is a great place to run.

Number 3: These Guys!
Eric Gillis (right) and Reid Coolsaet (left) were two of the three Canadians that represented Canada at the Olympics in London. They both ran the Marathon and happen to train in Guelph (with the number 2 reason Guelph is a great running city). We have seen them running around town before (see what I did there?) but I had an ultra cool experience on Saturday. I was out on my long run, and as your can imagine/know, running for 2.5 hours solo can be tedious but it was huge boost to see Eric Gillis about halfway through. For some reason seeing a olympian running by you gives you a little boost. Not enough of a boost to catch up, but a boost none the less.

Number 2: An Awesome Track Club!

Guelph is home to one of the premier track clubs in the country. Without boring you with details, Speed River TFC has produced and worked with numerous olympians, CIS Champions, NCAA Champions, and is a sought after destination for a lot of Canada's top runners. The reason I think this is so cool is because it means that for weekend warriors like myself there is always a lot of interesting running related stuff going on around town, including seeing olympians. Very cool.

and finally: Drumroll Please............

Number 1: Lots of Trails!

Lexie might not like this part because she runs at times when its not really safe to run on trails, but one thing I love about running in Guelph is the myriad of running trails I can choose when I need to cover lots of distance. For someone who loves variety, Guelph offers it, lots of green space and parks means lots of place to run that isn't all concrete. Now if I can just get the dog owners of Guelph to keep their pets on a leash.

Hope everyone has a great week. I'm on March break which means lots of time to run, relax, and do stuff around the house!


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

"Mommy, I feel better now"

Just as we all expected Cooper was a rock star for his surgery this morning.  We started off with a little hiccup.  He needed to take a large dose of antibiotics and a dose of Tylenol prior to his surgery.  Have you ever tried to make a 2 year old swallow something they don't want to?  Needless to say, the sweatshirt that I was wearing is currently in the washing machine.  Once we got past that minor detail he settled right in.

I carried him into the OR and laid him down.  I stayed with him and rubbed his chest until he was asleep.  After about 30 minutes the nurse came to get me.  It turns out Cooper was kind enough to remove his IV for the nurse...Nice kid eh?  Helping out the nurses.  Then I was the lucky recipient of a solid 2 1/2 hour snuggle.  At one point he lifted up his head grabbed my cheeks and said "mommy, I feel better now."  I guess he knows that once he feels better he gets to go home.  Can't fault the kid for trying.  His throat was (is) sore.  He will fuss, tell me "owie" while he grabs at his mouth and then comes at me with a big wide open mouth so I can kiss his throat better...Ha.

When we got home he devoured 2 bowls of rice krispies (who doesn't love cereal for lunch?!) and a banana and went for a 3 hour nap.  Lucas was still at Oma's, so I capitalized on my kid free afternoon and painted the kitchen.

He woke up snuggly, but soon was back to his Coopery self, running around and wreaking havoc.  Guess if I want a snuggle I need to have him sedated!


Monday, 4 March 2013

He's At It Again

Cooper will be heading back to the Operating Room tomorrow.  He just wouldn't be Cooper if there wasn't something to worry about.  No real cause for alarm this time though.  He has suffered frequent ear infections since he was 3 months old.  His hearing tests indicate that the frequent inflammation and fluid in his ears is effecting his hearing, and some scarring can be seen on examination.  We would really REALLY like to hold off and not send him back to the OR again so soon, but we fear permanent hearing damage, so it's time to go ahead and get it over with.  He is also a snorer (the only one left in the house since Leigh got skinny!), and has a persistent runny nose, so they will remove his adenoids while they are at it.

Cooper being Coopery

The procedure is very quick, and very routine, but we have been really concerned about him having to go through any type of invasive medical intervention so soon after his open heart surgery.  He has been through so much, so recently, and it feels awful to put him through a remotely similar experience again.  I took him for an anaesthetic consult last Friday, which was reassuring.  I don't have to hand him off to the OR nurse this time, but rather will take him into the OR myself and stay with him until he is asleep. They will also sedate him before starting an IV, which means he won't have to endure any needle pokes.  So this will be made as easy as possible for him.

As a child I had the same procedure done.  I don't really remember much about it to be honest.  But I do remember my dad and the nurse trying to get me dressed afterwards, and puking EVERYWHERE.  So I was just wondering...Grandpa, care to take a day off tomorrow???