Friday, 26 July 2013

I didn't know he knew my name?!

You know that feeling you have when you get a new haircut?  All fresh and peppy, like the removal of a half ounce of hair has taken a literal weight off your shoulders, making you feel light on your feet.  Is that just me?  Anyhow, we got haircuts on Wednesday morning, and on Wednesday afternoon we had the jogging arms on our new Chariot replaced in an effort to fix some issues that were making the stroller very very very very VERY hard to run with.  Like harder then just pushing 75 lbs of boys and all their boy accessories, and all their boy snacks, and all their boy tendency to bother each other.

So we set out for a 90 minute stroller run on Thursday morning and I was feeling all peppy, and light on my feet, and happy to be out on the trail with my best boys.  We got out the door and to the trail relatively drama free (like it took less then 14 hours).  The stroller was tracking in a perfectly straight line, instead of trying to pull me into the bushes.  I felt like I was a runner running with a stroller, not a frazzled and sweaty mom hanging on desperately and trying to get the run done before the figurative wheels came off.


The boys were happily chatting away and I was in the zone and not paying particular attention to what they were saying until Cooper's voice singing the same words over and over pulled me back to reality.  What was he saying?


This guy...

Thursday, 25 July 2013


Since I started running just over 2 years ago I have grown to love the community we live in.  As a runner you learn so much about your community.  What it looks, and sounds, and feels like in the darkness of morning, and then how it slowly begins to wake up with the sun. How the streets rise and fall under your feet, and where the trails are hiding and inviting you to explore.  

It doesn't take long to become part of the running community.  Hello's are exchanged between passing runners, or maybe just a smile, or wave, or perhaps a grunt when that is all that can be mustered. When running my hill repeats a couple of weeks ago, a kind runner on her way by shouted, "Doing hills...Great job!"  She certainly buoyed me up on repeat 10 of 14!   

This running community is vast.  It is not limited only by the borders of our city.  Whenever we run a race we see this community of runners out in full force.  The sea of runners, the race organizers, the amazing volunteers...These are the people that make running great.  At The Around The Bay 30K when we stopped so I could stretch my very cranky, and very tired of running on a slanted road hip, another runner stopped thinking I was having electrolyte related cramping, to offer me a salt tablet.  The running community is big hearted, it's inclusive, it's empowering.

A month or so after I started running I read the book Run Like A Mother: How to Get Moving-and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity, and then immediately after finishing it I turned back to the beginning and read it again.  

Authors Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell have created an amazing community of "Mother Runners" on their website and Facebook page.  This community is a rich source of information, there is so much wisdom and experience to be shared by runners of all skill levels and stages of experience.  Even more important then the informative aspect is the camaraderie.  Though we come from many situations and walks of life we share the common bond of being mothers and being runners.  I can find people there who understand what it's like to orchestrate and then run a double stroller run.  Getting out the door is usually the hardest part!  I can find women who are juggling families, and homes, and jobs, and running, who get sheer, bone aching, tear inducing exhaustion.  And if you hang out for just long enough you'll see all sorts of chatter about bodily functions and fluids, injuries, PR's, struggles, and goals.  It is a place of acceptance and encouragement.  I can say one thing for certain, without that community I would not have accomplished the things I have in running, and I would not have the inner sense of confidence and empowerment that it has created.
source  "Train Like a Mother"-The companion to "Run Like a Mother"

Today I am the featured runner on the Another Mother Runner Website!  I am so honoured to have had this opportunity.  I am so grateful to Sarah and Dimity for all they have created, for the inspiration they are to Mother Runners around the world!  You can check out my profile here.

You can find their books on and

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Someone Give Me a Gold Star

This morning I counted to 16, all by myself, and without losing track.  I did in fact finish kindergarten, many years ago, so this shouldn't be surprising.   But when in the midst of 16 hill repeats counting to 16 without losing track is one of the hardest things you can do.
For some reason when I get somewhere near repeat number six my brain goes all haywire.  Was that six or was that seven?  I wonder if I can count the down part of the hill as it's own repeat?  I'm hungry. Oh shoot, was that eight or was that nine?  Who in their right mind runs 16 hill repeats?  Hey there's a squirrel.  How the heck am I going to do 20 in a few weeks?  Fifteen!?  I am at fifteen!  Sixteen...I'm the King of the world!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

How To Impress Olympians

Since Lexie and I started marathon training and now 50K training, we have gotten pretty accustomed to getting weird looks from people. There is something about running for 3-4 hours that makes people think there is something seriously wrong with you your medulla oblongata:

But to be honest, most people I talk to are sick of used to my stories of long distances and hours pounding the pavement. Until 4 weeks ago. I set out innocently enough for the first 16 miler of our training plan. I was excited because it was overcast and calling for rain. I like running in the rain. It cools me down and makes me feel a little bit hardcore. After hitting some of my usual streets/trails for a while I started to feel some discomfort in my chest area, also known as my nipples being on fire. Then it hit me! I forgot to lube my nipples! I'm going to have to pause this post for a moment while I add "lube my nipples" to my list of things I have done since become a runner that I never thought I would (also on the list: wearing short shorts, wearing socks that reach my knees, and wearing short shorts and socks that reach my knees at the same time). It wasn't that bad though, so I just kept going thinking a little burning in the shower would be my greatest consequence.

Not long after the realization of my nipple faux pas, one of my favourite things about Guelph Running happened, I saw an Olympic Marathoner! My BRF (best running friend) Eric Gillis passed me, going twice as fast but chatting easily to his partner, who I am pretty sure was Dylan Wykes. We exchanged the usual runners greeting of a smile and of they went. They must have turned around because before long they were coming back towards me. Again, the usual pleasantries were exchanged and I kept going. This is when I looked down and saw some red spots on my shirt and first it didn't register, then it hit me.


It was a weird feeling, I spent the rest of my run oscillating between feeling heroic about my bleeding nipples and feeling self conscious about my bleeding nipples. I finally decided that neither was appropriate, I should just be proud of the fact that my nipple blood was surely a source of entertainment for two Olympic Athletes for at least a few minutes.

About a mile from home the rain came down in buckets, it was nice to cool down. my excitement was growing about showing Lexie my bleeding nipples. I walked in the door and looked down and saw this:

Awesome, right? Lucas isn't a fan of blood so he had a million questions about why I was bleeding. Lexie's response was the best though. "Want me to take a picture so you can blog about it?" she asked. She is always thinking of you readers (all 15 of you) and what we can do to entertain you. 

So that is the story of my bleeding nipples. It was the perfect storm of humidity, white shirt, no nipple lube, and sheer will.

I will leave you with video about the importance of avoiding nipple chaffing as I patiently await a call from our Olympic Marathoners inviting me on a run to keep them entertained with my sensitive nipples. 


Monday, 22 July 2013


Since becoming a parent almost five years ago I have learned all kinds of things from my kids.
  1. Kitchen floors contain powerful food magnets.
  2. Do not serve rice the day you clean the floors (see #1).  If you make this mistake, resist your OCD tendencies and let the rice stay on the floor until the next morning when it is dry.  Sweeping dry rice is easy, crawling around and picking up individual grains of cooked rice is not.
  3. A trip to the library for Star Wars books is a trip worth taking.
  4. A newly potty trained child will always chirp "Mommy I need to go pee" when all the groceries are on the belt and there are 53 people in line behind you.  Take newly potty trained children to the potty when you pass it.
  5. I will never get a picture of both of my children smiling and looking at the camera at the same time.
  6. Kids do not care when their parents are exhausted.  They MUST HAVE rice krispies immediately upon waking, immediately.
  7. Dressing a two year old to play in the snow is never worth the effort. 
  8. Going to bed late does translate into sleeping in.  
  9. An endless supply of rocks and a small stream can provide hours of entertainment.
  10. Sleeping on the floor is more comfortable then sleeping in your bed, if and only if it means you are in control.
  11. And last but not least, kids want to be like their parents.

There are all sorts of ways that kids want to be like their parents.  Try it out, say something that you do not want your child to repeat.  I dare you...Say 'fart' in front of your 4 year old boy.  There are of course, many other things.  Daddy wears a tie to church, and the boys want to also.  Daddy wears athletic clothing all the time, the 'sports shirts' are the go to for the boys.  I eat hummus for lunch most days, of course Cooper follows suit.  They follow the leader in more important ways also.  When children see good manners, empathy, consideration of others, love, and compassion they demonstrate these characteristics.

The children of running parents are a different breed of child all together.

Lucas'  has a cheap watch for learning to tell time.  He has informed me many times that it is his garmin, and then runs around the house reporting his distance and pace.  They love to have race numbers pinned on and to be awarded medals for their races around the house.  My children have a built in nuun radar.  Not only do they come running when I am making a glass of nuun post run, but they will report being very sweaty from running while they are playing and request a glass of nuun.  Lucas and Eliza fondly remember their first race last Thanksgiving.  The 100 meter run that they held hands for the duration of.  They have requested to run another race this year.  We are (possibly foolishly) considering the 1K option.

My cousin and her husband have a great Sunday morning routine where Daddy takes the girls on a long walk while Mommy gets her run in.  They then meet up at the park and walk home together.  Just like Mommy, Isabel needed hydration for her strenuous workout.

I hope that as our children grow they will remember our commitment and passion for running and fitness and become runners find a way to exercise that brings them joy and a feeling of competence and accomplishment.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Knocked Over

Yesterday morning Leigh and I set out to run our first really long long run (20+ miles) of this training cycle.  My awesome mom comes and watches the boys so we can do these runs together, which prevents our entire Saturday from being taken up with someone's run.  Not only is it nice not to lose 8 hours to running on Saturday, but it is nice to have company on such a long run, especially for me.  Because I frequently run solo I stay in residential areas where I can approach a house for help if I ever feel threatened.  This is definitely the safest approach, but the scenery becomes somewhat mind numbing, especially on long runs.  House, house, house, house, house, house, house, house, playground, house, house, house, house, house, store, store, store, store, store, house, house, house, house, house...You get the point.  Running with Leigh means that we can hit the trails.

Leigh is indigenous to the various trails in Guelph.  He does a lot of trail running, which is very different then road running.  He is used to it, and good at it.  I, clearly, am not!  We set out on our first loop of a new to both of us trail.  It offered shade (glorious shade) and beautiful views.  Portions of it were wide enough for us to run side by side, while some areas were a single track.  We cruised along easily and the conversation flowed about all sorts of things, things parents talk about when they manage to get out of the house without their kids (the kids, what we are going to do when we take the kids on vacation, funny things the kids have said...).  That's when we approached a large tree branch overhanging the trail.  Leigh pulled it back as he passed, and sort of 'passed' it to me so I could take it as I passed.  Well, my inexperience as a trail runner showed.  As I reached for the branch my foot his a muddy rut from a bike tire and I went down, hard.  And you are not going to believe what Leigh said to me.


OK, OK, that is not exactly how it happened.  But that would have been funny.  I hit the ground, Leigh turned back looking very alarmed, asking if I was ok, I muttered and moaned, mentally assessed the damage, and got up.  I am not entirely sure of the mechanics of the fall, but I do know my sunglasses went flying, one of the bottles from my Fuel Belt went flying, and when I got up my right side and back from my ankle to my shoulder were muddy, muddy and sore.  Leigh, always chivalrous, helped me clean up using the water from one of his fuel belt bottles (mine were all filled with Nuun), leaving him down one bottle on a very hot day.  We started to run again (I always try to leave the scene of a fall quickly), and that is when, thinking of that scene from Despicable Me, I yelled KNOCKED O-VER.  I figure, if I am going to fall like an idiot the least I could do is have a sense of humour about it.

Now just to add insult to injury, that was not my only mishap on this run.  I stumbled once more after hitting a rock, but managed to catch myself.  Then Leigh, trail runner extroidinaire, stumbled and caught himself.  As I asked him if he was ok, and was being careful to avoid the rock he tripped on, my other foot got caught on a root, and you guessed it, I bit it again.  AGAIN.  This time my comedic timing was better.  First I muttered, "for crying out loud," and then with the best Gru accent I could muster...KNOCKED O-VER.  You see, I am of the firm belief that when you find a good joke you should reuse it as much as possible.


This tumble scraped both knees, ripping my KT tape off, and somehow involved my left shoulder and elbow.  Leigh was out of water due to my previous fall, and I wasn't particularly interested in having Nuun or Gatorade poured on me, so I wiped up the best I could and off we went again.  As we ran on I told Leigh, "I am trying to decide if this makes me a BAMR or an idiot."  We determined that I was an idiot for falling repeatedly, but a BAMR for getting up to keep going.  Sounds reasonable.

Is this talking about falling?  No? source
 So I guess there has to be a take home message from this run, some sort of lessons learned.  I certainly learned a few things, some from Leigh and his trail running experience and some just from the experience itself.

  1. When trail running you have to be much more aware of the ground.  You need to always be scanning to look for rocks, roots, mud, sticks and all sorts of other things that jump up and grab your feet when you least expect it.
  2. When trail running downhill the trick is to sit back on your heels more then normal.  It feels more jarring on your body but keeps your toes up so they don't get caught in the above jumping and grabbing objects.
  3. Running skirts are good for something other then providing wedgie free runs.  I made good use of my skirt wiping down my muddy arms and legs.
  4. Hiking steep, completely rock covered uphills is actually faster then trying to run them.
  5. When single track running with a running partner, especially a big football player sized running partner, it is wise to drop back and shift to one side.  This allows a better view of the trail ahead instead of being blinded by the body in front of you.
  6. This old lady's body is more spry then I thought.  When I fell I fell hard, and I was pretty sure I was going to pay for it today.  I woke up feeling pretty good.  My right shoulder, deltoid, and tricep are sore, but surprisingly I do not feel like I fell like a sack of potatoes twice.
  7. Trail running is fun!  Despite my mishaps this was a great run.  It was a nice change of scenery and is a totally different challenge.  Maybe this is in my future...

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Can't Go Under It...


Can't go over it.
Can't go around it.
Gotta go through it.

The boys and I had a 90 minute run planned for this morning.  I prefer to avoid busy streets when stroller running so I went about the extra super speedy, not time consuming at all task of getting the boys, snacks, and toys ready, and then loading the boys and the snacks and the toys and the stroller into the van so we could drive to the trailhead.  Being close to the trailhead is the only (ONLY!!!!!) thing I miss about the old house.  Once at the trail we unloaded the van, loaded the stroller and we were off...For less then a mile.  This is where we found that the river had flooded over the path.  The thought of back tracking to the van, unloading the stroller, loading the van, going to the other trail, unloading the van, and loading the stroller was more then I could bear (at the time), sooooooo...

...We went right through it.  The water went to the tops of my shoes, and thankfully the stroller is high enough that only the tires ended up in the water.  The boys thought it was a fantastic adventure and were excited that we were going to have to go back through it on the way back.  Sigh...To be 2 and 4 again.  All I can say is, thank goodness for moisture wicking socks.  Despite indulging in a swim at the beginning of my run, these babies (from pro compression), kept my feet feeling dry and blister free.  Which is a good thing now that I am down almost 3 toenails and have a blood blister under one more.  Add blisters to the mix and I would never be able to convince Leigh to rub my feet (hint hint).

Saturday, 6 July 2013

It's Not The Heat...

This little tidbit deserves a post of it's own.  Got home from my 18 turned 19 miler (made my loop too long) and Cooper took one look at me and said...

"You go swimming Mommy??"

The humidity out there is a killer!

Happy Saturday.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Guest Post: Adventures of a Newbie: My First Race

After running for a few months, I wanted to get some race experience under my belt. I signed up for the Canada Day 10K in Elora, thinking that I could train through the spring and race before the heat of summer crept in. I used the ‘10K: Own It’ training plan from the highly recommended book ‘Train Likea Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line - and Not Lose Your Family, Job, orSanity’, a ten-week plan with a mix of easy runs, speedwork, hill workouts, and long runs designed to get the body ready for race day.

When the big day arrived, my husband and kids were dragged with me to Elora at 7:00 am, which sounds dreadful, but my husband and I have a saying: “Why set the alarm for 6:00 am when the kids will wake us up at 5:55?” No alarm needed that morning with all the early risers in my house! Once in Elora I picked up my race kit and time chip, then we walked around, took pictures, and watched the racers warming up. Normally I would have felt intimidated lining myself up beside other runners – REAL runners – but I trusted my training. I knew I had worked hard, pushing myself up hills, on the track, in the rain, and on mornings so early that all I could see of Lexie, coming to pick me up for a run, was the circle of light from her watch bouncing toward me through the darkness. I could do this.

There was all kinds of fancy footwork on display in the minutes leading up to the race. While I had done a bit of jogging and stretching to warm up, I wasn’t nearly as ‘warm’ as I could have been. Before I knew it, it was time to line up at the starting line. When my husband wished me luck, all I could say is, “I’m not ready!”. As much as I hate strides, I am sure one or two would have helped.

The gun went off, and I pumped up my power jam:

Yes, I am a nerd.

The race started on a road, but quickly turned onto a narrow trail, which meant that the runners were tightly packed. I glanced at my watch, and saw that the cluster of runners I was in was travelling at a fairly leisurely pace (about 30 seconds/km slower than I wanted to be). I’m sure this is terrible racing etiquette, but I ran around them onto the grass and booted it to a faster looking group. Perhaps because of my not-so-warmed-up body, my brain searched out people who were running at my target pace to follow. I expected to run the race focused on myself and my watch; I was surprised by the feeling of desperation and by how much I needed other people around. I felt just about done by the time we reached the 3K mark.  7 more to go…

One hope I had for the race was to be able to be grateful; that is, I wanted to feel gratitude for the strength to run, to soak in the scenery, to enjoy the race. I was overwhelmed when I saw all the volunteers and organizers who had worked to put this event together. To think that they, like me, had spent the last several weeks preparing for this day, that they had woken up as early as… well, my kids to create this experience for us. I made sure to say thank you or wave to the volunteers who clapped and cheered us on at each turn of the route, to the lady who applauded the runners from her front porch, and especially to the two bagpipers who were situated at the end of a bridge somewhere around the 7K mark. It was such an unexpected treat. I turned off my music and made sure to take in the view:

There were no more signs to mark each kilometer after the 7K point, so I had to keep an eye on my watch for both pace and distance. The race came once again to a narrow stretch of trail, which was muddy due to recent rain. Although I felt like I was maintaining my pace, my watch informed me that we were travelling at 6:10 minutes/km, which is not exactly the speed I was looking for in a race. Because I have trust issues with my watch, I assumed that it had broken. Fortunately part of me thought it might be a good idea to start hustling. Which is always fun in mud…

My plan was to hold my pace for the first 5K, then speed up if I could, especially after 7K, but I found that I wasn’t able to do much more than simply keep up with the lady in front of me. Once we arrived at the home stretch, I sprinted to the finish.

Watch out, finish line! There’s a monster in a blue shirt trying to sneak up on you and attack! Oh… wait, that’s… me… (Let me get this straight, y’all have been letting me run like this IN PUBLIC for the last nine months? We need to talk.)

Despite my lack of form, my final time was 52:53 (and I love every single one of those seconds below the 53 mark). 

I plan to tackle another 10K in the fall. My goal is for a similar time, but to feel stronger (less desperately struggling) while I run.

A special thank-you is due to my family for months of encouragement and support. It meant so much to have them at both the starting and finish lines, especially my daughters and nephews with their homemade signs.

It is no small thing to have a cheering section. 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Summer Fun!

Summer is here and we have been busy with all manner of family activities.  As a result our blog has been neglected, like the floors, bathrooms, and flowerbeds at our house.  We kicked off the first real weekend of summer with an epic camping trip...In my sisters backyard.  We treated it (mostly) like a real camping trip, just using their kitchen sink for dishes, and the bathroom.  The boys had a ball!

Unlike household chores and blogging, running has (of course) not been neglected.  We may have set a world stroller running record with our 16 miler on Saturday.  Ok maybe not a world record, but before Saturday the farthest I had ever gone with the stroller was 10 miles.  At 2.26 miles we were forced by some irrational behaviour to bust out the iPad to keep the peace and the pace (womp womp).  We split it into 4 mile intervals, thinking that would be the easiest way to manage such a long distance.  But the end of 16 miles is still the end of 16 miles, and it was very tough to push through the end.  For me anyway, Leigh likes to make stroller running look easy...It's not easy!  On Sunday we did our regular hour long family run.  How better to train for a 50K then to push the kids...Right?

In other (more exciting) running related news, Lesley ran her first race!!!  We got some great photos of the kids at the starting line, but didn't get any good ones as Lesley ran by.  You're welcome for not posting the ones we did get Lesley ;)

I will let her share the details when she writes a race recap, but I will share that she rocked it and met her goal...We are so proud and loved being there.

We capped off the weekend at Riverside park for the Canada Day festivities.  Nothing like a little goat poo on your shoe (ugh...hate petting zoos!) to say Happy 146th Birthday to Canada.