Trip News – Some Good, Some Sad

Probably the only thing I hate about traveling to Disney World is that as a Canadian I have to pay a) the dollar exchange rate which is NEVER in my favour, and b) a foreign exchange ‘fee’ of 2.5% on EVERY DOLLAR I spend on my credit cards!! UGHHH. So imagine my gasp of joy when I learned about the Amazon Rewards Visa card a few weeks ago!!! It’s free (I would never pay an annual fee for any credit card), you get 1 point for every dollar you spend everywhere and 2 points for every dollar you spend on Amazon, AND…..drum roll…….NO FOREIGN EXCHANGE FEE!!!!!!!!!!!! :O

Naturally, I signed right up. And got approved for $3100, which was the biggest initial credit limit I’ve ever received! I’m so so so so excited, this card is going to save me SO MUCH MONEY on traveling and shopping online!!! (two things I do -and plan to do! – quite often!)

Not only will this card help me out for my Disney trip in February, but it will also be amazing for my Washington D.C. trip that is in 14 days!!!! 😀 The flights had already been paid on a different credit card unfortunately, but the hotel hasn’t been charged yet, and the card I put on file with the hotel reservation expired in July so I’m hoping they won’t mind that I want to charge the room to my new Amazon Visa instead! We’re staying at the Washington Hilton because Mike’s mom has a 3 day conference there, and it’s priceyyyyy….almost $1200 for 5 nights! 😐 Apparently I get 1 air mile for every $8 at Hilton resorts though, so that’s 142 air miles! I’m glad I did my research haha! And plus, with my Amazon Visa, I’ll get almost 1200 points just for the hotel alone (not to mention 6 days worth of meals!) and when you get up to 2000 points it turns into a $20 statement credit! 🙂 Yay for having credit cards that pay you back!

Back to Disney news – I cautiously brought the subject of the trip up with my dad the other day and he said “At this point I won’t be going”….:( He has been feeling really crappy and weak all the time lately and having weird anxiety attacks and stuff and he isn’t even going to his doctors for second opinions about anything…it’s really concerning 😦 And I’m still going ahead with planning the Disney trip as if he IS going, and then if I have to I’ll just change everything at the last minute. But I really hope things will turn around for him!


10k Race Recap! June 8th

(I’m going to just truck on here, even though a- I promised to write this within two days of my post last week and didn’t, and b- the event I’m recapping was more than a month ago…MOVING ON!)

So the Rocca Sisters Healing for Women’s Cancers 5k/10k was on June 8th this year. The Rocca Sisters are this pretty well known and successful seeming real estate agent duo who work in the 40km radius around where I live, and I assume they do well for themselves because the race merch was kinda nice! The tech shirt was white and I’d like it a lot except the T shirt sleeves are down to my elbows and they only had one generic SM/MED women’s t shirt size. It’s also quite see-through. Ah well, it’s not as if I was planning to wear mine to a gala or something!

front of shirt - says Burlington even though the race was in Oakville, lol

front of shirt – says Burlington even though the race was in Oakville, lol


Also in my race kit there was one of those handy pens with a highlighter on the end that dries out really quickly somehow but is super useful while it lasts! LOVE THOSE. And some running fuel stuff too!

DSC00970The morning of the race, I was driving myself down to Oakville to this park I’d never heard of before but it was HUGE and really easy to find (thanks Google Maps!) 🙂  My dad and his lifelong-friend Maggie were meeting me there and my dad is notoriously early for evvvverything so I wanted to try extra hard to get there at a decent time! The race start was at 10am and I arrived at 9:40 which was my goal! I don’t like having time to stretch/get anxious before a race, so this was the perfect amount of time to get my chip, go pee, chat with my dad and Maggie, grab a few quick pics, and get to the start!


I ended up reeeally regretting that I wore long sleeves after about 15mins of running…lesson learned! I KNEW it was gonna happen too..



Maggie, me, my dad

This was a smaller race than my 5k, only 173 runners TOTAL in both the 5k and 10k (103 in the 5k, 70 in the 10k). The course was beautiful: a solid dirt path (I definitely wouldn’t say “trail”, but most of it wasn’t paved, if I remember correctly) winding through forests and nature. It was a really pleasant route for sure. And it was a double loop for the 10k people, which I think I like (not that I’ve ever tried a straight out start-here-finish-somewhere else race). Before we started, there was this tacky ‘warm-up’ led by some athletic instructor and as I was already assembled at the start line and the crowd of runners was so small, I felt obligated to participate, ugh. I did a really halfass job though because I DID NOT WANT TO HURT MYSELF before running! But it was more of a dance than a ‘warm-up’ anyway, so it was kinda fun and not so bad.


you can kinda see me in the middle there, pink shirt participating minimally, haha


not sure why this pic was taken, maybe to sort of show the small crowd of runners?

The adrenaline rush as we started to run was wayyyy less than at my previous race but I just clicked on my ipod and did my own thing. My dad waved and said something supportive as I passed by him over the start line (couldn’t hear because my headphones were on) and I was about 4 mins in when I realized…..OMG I FORGOT TO START MY WATCH AGAIN!!! D’oh!

My goal for the day was to beat 90 mins (my finish time from the “practice 10k” the week before) and my dad had made a deal with me that if I finished under my goal he’d give me $5, so with that motivation I did my best on the first lap. For 5k my clock time was 38mins and something, not great compared to previous runs but if I kept up that same pace I’d be set to finish under my goal! After crossing the 5k mark, I stopped at the water table and speed-walked while I sipped my water for a few minutes. I felt a lot more comfortable in the 2nd lap and took some walking breaks but kept up a pace I was happy with. There were a couple of photographers who always managed to catch me when no one else was really around and I was going my fastest (okay, maybe I sped up for the pictures!)

  • RSAA0120.jpeg

    I’m not about to spend $30 to own this picture, jeeze

Around the 7.5km mark, I was getting tired, so I ate a couple of Honey Stinger chews and walked awhile. I couldn’t see anyone in front of me or behind and I was convinced I was the last finisher. But I tried to squash my negative thoughts and reminded myself that the path was very windy and there must have been other runners just around the bend who just kept getting out of my sight lines. Near the 8.5km point, I was neck-and-neck with a man who looked about 70, and although I was getting really tired I was determined not to let someone THAT OLD beat me!!! But I couldn’t keep up with him no matter how hard I tried; he wasn’t fast by any means but I could tell he had worked up a comfortable pace and I was struggling because I’d hit my stride earlier and then lost it somehow. So by and by, he got ahead of me, and eventually he was so far ahead of me that I realized I couldn’t catch up even if I sprinted! 😦 oops. I saved up enough energy to sprint the last 100 metres or so and I could see the clock wasn’t even at 80minutes yet!!! So I DID succeed in reaching my goal.

about to cross the finish line!

about to cross the finish line!


the look on my face: “aghhh…fiiiiinallyyyy”

Like a dummy, and just like my previous race, I walked right past the medals to the water table (lol) and had to double back like a moron to get my medal when one of the race volunteers at the water table pointed out that I’d forgotten. My chip time finish wasssss ….

1:17:36!!! 😀

Not too shabby considering my complete and total lack of preparation!  And I didn’t get hurt or anything! I met up with my dad and Maggie and we stood around chatting while I caught my breath. Other than the old man who had finished before me, I still hadn’t seen anyone cross the finish line for minutes and minutes after I finished….and I became really convinced that I had come in last. There was an MC announcing all the 1st-2nd-3rd place finishers per age group, and I listened and clapped with the crowd as people went up to claim their place medals (plain boring ones compared to the beautiful finishers medals) and prizes (free facial at a local spa). Then all of a sudden – one more person crossed the finish line and I was so happy!!! I cheered for her and I was so happy to have not been dead last!!! Then the MC was announcing the top finisher for the 20-24 age group and she said MY NAME and I literally was like “WHAT!??!?” out loud and just looked around me as if expecting someone to be like “no no, that was just a joke, don’t get too excited!” But it was NOT a joke, and I walked up to claim my SECOND medal and my free facial with a look of complete bewilderment on my face. My dad was SO proud and happy 🙂


plain little medal for 1st 2nd 3rd finishers!



BEAUTIFUL fancy medal for all finishers!!



the middle part is spinny – this is the one side (with the correct city on it! unlike the shirt!)


other side of the spinny middle bit


spinny middle bit in action!

It didn’t make ANY sense that I won my age group, unless I was #1 out of 1 female aged 20-24, which, considering the apparent average age of the runners around me (50+), was quite likely. But there were a handful of other girls who looked about my age…had they only run the 5k maybe? I didn’t know, but man was I ever jazzed about winning my age group!!!

When I got home and results were posted online, I quickly went to confirm that I had REALLY won my age group, and found out that I had not. Out of 4 girls in my age group, I came in….4th. :s So I don’t know what was going on with that MC, maybe she got her facts mixed up, but I don’t care because even if I didn’t deserve it, I got a 1st place finish medal AND a prize! Also, out of 70 runners in the 10k, it turns out I finished 63rd!!! So totally not last, even if the 7 people after me were all between the ages of 41 and 76!

Overall, this was a great race experience and my new goal for my NEXT race will be to actually train more than 3 times before running the race!! I haven’t signed up for another one yet, but I have some intentions. I did submit this finish time (1:17) to Disney with my GSC registration (more on that later), but using the McMillan pace calculator (which I’ve heard is what runDisney uses to estimate your half marathon finish time using a 10k finish time) I’d be at a 2:53 estimated finish for the half (aka Corral E) 😦 Not good enough!

I use brackets way too often don’t I?!

My Garmin stats for this race were:

9.82kms total distance (because I started it late)
7:43min/km average pace
1:15:46 total time (again, cuz I started late obviously)

The Trip Planning Begins!….224 days til Disney!!!

The trip planning actually began weeeeekkksss ago (I think around the 310 days mark??!) but now I have some juicy solid details to post about!

Who: me, obviously! And very hopefully my dad too, though this is only a maybe right now. My dad has not been feeling his best (he’s 70, and physically really healthy but lately going through anxiety/depression which has him uncertain whether he’s ready to leave the country/go on a plane/commit to a huge trip with me and then potentially have to let me down) He’s definitely getting better and better as time goes on, and he does still have over 200 days to get ALL the way better, but he doesn’t have high hopes and tends to worry WAY too much and have a pessimistic view of things, which is hard 😦 So we’ll see about this. Mike feels obligated to come support me at the races if my dad can’t come, but that remains to be decided.

What: the *inaugural* Glass Slipper Challenge at Walt Disney World! Plus an awesome daddy-daughter vacation (or solo vacation, which I’d be fine with too!) Registration for the GSC opened up on June 11th at noon and I was on my computer ready to rock-n-roll right at the crack of noon and I got in and registered with no problems! That is, no problems except the prohibitive COST!! OMG. $270 for GSC plus $15.99 for the GSC commemorative pin and $15.99 for the PHM commemorative pin, plus tax = $322.66 US. *gulp*

I splurged and ordered these limited edition pins in advance like this because with the GSC being a brand new event I felt like they’d for sure sell out at the race weekend expo and it’s really important to me to have these two pins to start my Disney PINcess collage (I know, I’m so clever right!?) and to celebrate my achievement. The collage is based on an amazing thing I saw for sale at one of the gift shops in Disney last year, but I didn’t really care to start collecting pins back then. Here’s the store version:

um, YEAH! it’s Cinderella Castle made of PINS!!!!!!!!

This beauty cost around $350 and contains 60something pins, but they are all pre-loaded in there obviously. I want to make my own version with only pins that are special to me in some way, hence the two race pins! 🙂 I also have a Canada Mickey head pin that I bought in October before making this plan, just because I liked it. It looks like this:

Mickey and Canada, two of my favourite things

When: this depends on whether my dad can come. If he can, it’ll be February 20th – March 1st, 2014 (10 glorious days!) If he can’t come, I’ll have to scale the trip back a bit because I can’t afford the 10 day extravaganza all by myself unfortunately, and Mike doesn’t want to have to pay for this trip since he didn’t want to go back to Disney so soon after our October 2012 trip and would only possibly be going just to be supportive to me at the races if my dad can’t make it. So if I’m traveling solo, it’ll be February 20th – 25th I think. Unless I win the lottery between now and then! 😉

Where: *sigh* this ALSO depends whether or not my dad is coming (does this seem like a trend?) If he is coming, we’re staying at Port Orleans Riverside in a Royal Guest Room with river view!!!!!!!!! Here are some pics I borrowed to highlight this gorgeousness:

gorgeous royal guest room at POR!! (this is not my photo)

fiber optic headboard fireworks!!! I might never leave the room
(this is not my photo)

magical little details all throughout the room that hint at the ‘royal guests’ who have stayed here before! (not my photo)

oak manor – one of the 2 “mansion” buildings where the royal guest rooms are!

There’s also a very minute chance that my dad might want to spring for the Polynesian resort, but it’s literally more than DOUBLE the cost of Port Orleans, so I HIGHLY doubt it!! But he’s always wanted to stay there and I would MELT ONTO THE FLOOR WITH HAPPINESS if I got to stay at a Disney deluxe resort!!!!!

If I’m going on my own, I sadly won’t be able to afford the lavishly decorated Port Orleans (as it’s a moderate resort), let alone the Polynesian (which I won’t even post pictures of because I don’t want to get my hopes up!) I’ll be staying solo at either Art of Animation or All Star Movies (these are both value resorts). The bright side is that I’ve never stayed at any of these before, so I’ll be very excited regardless! I’ve stayed at the other 2 All Star resorts (Music and Sports) and my dad and I stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter when I was 10, but Riverside is its own resort. They’re kind of ‘sister’ resorts, so I feel like it would be so appropriate to continue that legacy with my dad 🙂 


Something very exciting happened yesterday! And that was — rack rates were announced for 2014!! I had already booked my Royal Guest Room on June 11th when I registered for the races, but back then you couldn’t book a package since the rates weren’t out yet. So as of yesterday, I was able to accurately price out the total cost of the trip with my dad (which I’ll call trip A) and the total cost of my solo trip (trip B). Behold!

Trip A: 10 days at Port Orleans Riverside in a Royal Guest Room (river view) with 7 day park hoppers for 2 people, plus $200/day food for 2 people: $5521

Trip B: 6 days at Art of Animation in the Little Mermaid section (standard room) with 6 day park hopper ticket for 1 person, plus $100/day food for 1 person: $1868

Art of Animation Little Mermaid room (not my photo)

look at this theming!!! so bright and beautiful! (not my photo)

I’ve also pretty well picked out all the restaurants I want to eat at on this trip, but I have lots to say on that subject so I’ll save it for another post! Eating vegetarian/vegan at Disney will be a really interesting experience I think


Oh Boy….MONTH of lazy :| I’m the worst blogger

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH omg how has it been over a month since my last post?!?!?!?

I don’t even really have time right now to do a good post, but I felt the need to say SOMEthing at least!!! Since I was last here, I ran a practice 10k with my friend Nagham on Saturday June 1st at the Run/Walk/Cycle for Autism in Welland. I say “practice” 10k because it wasn’t a chip timed event, and as I would find out, it was VERY FAR from being an accurately measured distance!!! 😡  Super frustrating. I’ll do a better recap of that run asap. Anyway I stuck it out and kept running extra laps (lol) to make the stupid 7.8km “10k” into an ACTUAL 10k! And it was reeeeally hot and more humid than I’m used to, and I was not a fan of going out “2.5kms” and then turning around to go back to the start and doing that over and over.. not a great route tbh. My finish time for the REAL 10k as tracked by my trustworthy Garmin was 90mins and a few seconds (12? I think?) so that was fine with me!! My goal for that day was to be under an hour and a half! (90:12 still counts!) 😉

After that run I was sore for approximately 5 days. This is because
a) I didn’t train whatsoever to do a whole 10k
b) I didn’t stretch because I am dumb and forgetful!

Thankfully, by my REAL race day, I was no longer sore. AND I met a goal that I set for myself after arriving reeally close to the start time at my 5k race (see my 5k race recap for that story) —-I was ON TIME for the 10k!!! 😀  My event was the Rocca Sisters Healing for Women’s Cancers 5k/10k and I specifically picked it because it was just in time for me to use my finish time as a submission to runDisney for the PHM! So how did I do??

Welllllllll….I don’t wanna skip ahead to the ending so I’ll have to leave this post hanging until I can come back and do a full race recap!! I promise not to take more than 2 days to do this!! PROMISE.

OH!!!!! And also since my last post, registration for the Princess Half Marathon/Enchanted 10k/Glass Slipper Challenge opened up!!! I will have to post about that too!!! ❤ Man I’m gonna be busy catching up.

Just so this post isn’t all texty, here are some pics my gramma’s brother sent me! (This is cool because he lives in Croatia, speaks very little English, and we’ve never met! But he skypes with my gramma every week and she was telling him that I run now, and HE is an intense marathon runner in Croatia and his average finish time is like 3:17 or something like that! CRAZY. Anyway it was just so thoughtful and kind of him to send me some running-related pics, it’s like we can bond over this interest we share even though we don’t know each other!!)run2

bear runQuestion: how do you stay on top of your blog posts???? And remembering to take pictures of everything!?

Uh Oh….Week of LAZY

Confession: I have not done any running all week. No exercise at all, actually.

My body is just not in the mood to go out for a run even though the weather is beautiful! In trying to figure out what’s wrong, I’ve come up with a few things:

1) Now that my runs are ~60mins in prep for the 10k, it feels like more of a time commitment and takes a bigger chunk out of my free time (and I don’t have a lot of free time as it is)

2) I was ready for the 5k race with really only 3 long practice runs –maybe my body thinks it can get away with bare-minimum training again this time?

3) My running clothes are either for chilly runs or super hot summer runs….I don’t really have much for this sorta-warm-but-not-tank-top-weather

4) I lost my iPod strap sometime after the 5k! So I had to dig out my old clip-on shuffle that I used to use for workouts, and it’s okay but I can’t get my whole running playlist to transfer onto it, and a few times during my ONE recent run the shuffle kinda bounced around and didn’t stay tightly clipped on, which was annoying

5) If I don’t go for ANY training runs, I can’t have BAD runs

6) B210K is not as engaging or fun as C25K was. This one holds me more accountable

That’s all I’ve come up with so far. And I know I know they are all just dumb excuses and I should get my butt outside and RUN RIGHT NOW but for some reason I’m still just slouched here in this couch being grumpy and feeling guilty for my lazy week. Arrrgghhhhhhh

Right now, for example, I have to work at 530 tonight, which means I’ll have to start doing my hair/makeup around 4 and leave at 5. So I have an hour and a bit to go for a run technically, but then I’d be all sweaty and need to SHOWER before work too, and then I wouldn’t have time to get ready.

Tomorrow I have a day off, and Monday is a holiday so I have that off too!!! OKAY SELF, HERE’S THE PLAN: 8.5km run tomorrow. 8.5km run Monday too. No excuses!

I’ll post my run stats as they happen. Please feel free to yell at me in comments if I’m bad and don’t do my scheduled runs for tomorrow and Monday!

New Race Registration AND Day 1 of 10k Training!

My 5k race was exactly 2 weeks ago today. I had MEANT to start training for a 10k 2 or 3 days after the 5k…..but then I slacked and slacked and didn’t run AT ALL. 😐 For two whole weeks! Gahhhhh.

This afternoon, I finally bit the bullet and registered for a 10k! My original goal was to do one in June, and I have no good reason to change that plan so I searched for nearby June 10k races and found 4 that could work. I specifically don’t want a trail race, because I am training exclusively on roads, so I eliminated any trail races from my options. And, the most important factor in my decision: when runDisney announced a while back that their registration for the Princess Half Marathon weekend will happen on JUNE 11TH I decided to fit in a 10k before the PHM registration, so that I have at least *some* finish time to submit. (I know I can submit a 10k time to Disney for a few more months after registering for the PHM, but I wanted to submit a “base” 10k time, shall we say, so that in case I get faster/better over the next few months I can upgrade my submitted time, but in case I don’t get faster/better at least I’ll (hopefully!) be placed somewhere better than Corral H. For anyone who doesn’t know how a Disney race works, there are a handful of corrals (at the 2013 PHM, they were A through H) and the better runner you are, the closer to A you get to start. When the race clock starts, the corrals are released at measured intervals starting with A, so obviously the farther back you’re starting, the more people you’ll have to dodge around as you run (nottttt ideal). Sometime before race weekend, you can submit a proof of time to Disney to show them how fast you predict you can finish the half marathon. The time you submit though must be from an officially timed 10k race or longer. For 2013, from what I’ve heard, the placement times looked like this:

Elite: <1:30hrs
A: <2:15
B: <2:30
C: <2:45
D: <2:50
E: <3:00
F: 3:00
G: <3:25
H: no time submitted OR expected finish of more than 3:25hrs

So, even though it’s really early out, I would LIKE to set my sights on being placed in Corral B or C or D! The slowest pace you can have without getting swept off the course is a 16min/mile, so I’ll be working on getting to a consistent 10 or 11min/mile! That will give me a decent cushion of time to stop along the race for pictures, bathroom breaks, water breaks, etc.

Anyway, back to today! The race I ended up choosing is on Saturday, June 8th at 10am!!! That’s the day after Mike’s birthday, so I’ll have to make sure we aren’t doing anything too crazy the night before, hahah! Right after signing up for the race, I was super motivated to go out for my first post-5k run! The training program I’m loosely following now is called ‘Bridge to 10k’ (aka B210K) and it’s intended for people who can run a 5k (me! me!) and are ready to ramp it up to the next level! The program is laid out as 6 weeks of 3 runs per week, but if you do that math you’ll realize I only have 4 weeks, not 6. (You may also realize that if I had started 10k training a few days after my 5k, WHEN I SHOULD HAVE…..I would have had exactly 6 weeks to train for June 8th. siiighhhh)

I gotta say, I don’t love the layout of B210K. The podcasts are loveless and kinda boring, with just a tone and a cold monotone voice saying “run” to let you know when it’s time to shift gears. I miss Robert Ullrey from C25K!! 😦 I ended up just listening to my own music while following the time intervals with the help of my Garmin. Here’s the B210K program:

I started with my familiar 5min warm up walk, and had no trouble at all with the run 10 minutes/walk 1 minute intervals! I took a new route today though, since I was expecting to travel a longer distance, and the route I picked ended up being reeeaallly hilly! It’s funny how you don’t realize little hills when you’re driving but then when you run them it’s a whole different landscape!  Due to the hills I was going a lot slower than usual and I think I hit my 5k mark at 39mins? My average pace for the whole run was 8:05min/km though, which I’m happy with!  If you do the math from that B210K chart above, for the Week 1 Day 1 run you’re supposed to travel a total distance of 7.2kms including the walk intervals in about 44mins. I was more committed to meeting the distance goal than the time goal today, so I did run 7.2kms but it took me just over 58mins, not 44mins. Hopefully I’ll get faster during the other two runs this week!

Exciting Disney PHM Weekend News!

So a few days ago, runDisney announced they are adding a 10k on the Saturday of the Princess Half Marathon Weekend next year!!!!!! And if you complete both the 10k on Saturday and the 1/2 on Sunday, you get a special, brand new, exciting “Glass Slipper Challenge” medal! —on top of the two medals you receive for completing (1) the 10k and (2) the 1/2 marathon! YOU BETTER BELIEVE I AM GOING FOR BOTH!!! I’m so stoked about this, can’t wait to see what the new medals will look like!!!!! My initial training goal was to run one or two 10ks this summer, then a half in the fall to make sure I can handle the distance. But now with the Glass Slipper Challenge, I’ll also have to do a practice 10k-halfmarathon back-to-back weekend sometime in the fall…which will be okay for distance practice, but not very accurate for heat/humidity practice (fall in Ontario is wayyyyyy different than February in Florida!) Oh well, I can only do my best right? I’m toying around with the idea of maybe doing a little mini run getaway in the fall to someplace warm for my practice 10k/half-marathon back-to-back weekend. That would be fun!!! 😉 I’ll also have to come up with something a little shorter to call that practice weekend… maybe the 31.1km weekend? That’ll be the working title for now anyway 🙂 Best I could come up with in 2 minutes haha.

Registering for a 2nd Disney race also means, yup, I’ll have to save up even more money. But that shouuuld be okay, I have loads of time to do that! (291 days to be exact!) I started a second part time job 2 weeks ago entirely for the purpose of paying for the trip! (and starting my RRSP) It’s working at the same golf course where Mike works, and to be honest so far I really don’t like the job much (uh, we start at 6am….’nuff said). I just keep telling myself “This is for Disney! I’ll get to have a happy trip and a happy retirement and my hard work will be worthwhile!”

On the brighter side, two Disney races also means I get to come up with TWO race outfits!!

First 5k Race Recap!

So it feels like aaaages ago by now, but April 27th was my first 5k race and my first ever “official” race! I knew I could finish but I didn’t want to set any unreasonable time goals for myself (secretly I was hoping for about a 7min/km pace, aka a finish time of 35mins). I just wanted to run the best race I could run.


All ready to go!

So race day morning, I woke up (late! as usual….I’m still sooooo not a morning person! working on that lol) and had my usual 2 tbsps of Q’ia cereal with almond milk and a banana and a glass of water. Since I had a later start to the day than I’d planned, I felt like I was eating too close to running time; normally I run about 2-3hrs after eating and have a banana and lots of water when I get home, but this time I would be running only 1 hour after eating! So I was nervous about that. I’d also never practiced the drive to the park where the run was being held, so I wasn’t sure what to expect for driving time/traffic etc. Nervous about THAT too! All my gear was charged up and ready to go though, and my mom and boyfriend were both coming along for support which was very helpful 🙂


My race bib!

We ended up leaving the house at 9:17 I think, for a race start time of 10am 😐 And it was at leeeaast a 30min drive from my house according to Google Maps, so omg I was freaking out silently in the car the whole way! Mike was driving and he drives a LOT slower than I do haha so I had to contain my inner anxiety! It was my fault we were late anyway.

But happily we got to the park at about 9:50 so Mike dropped me off and wished me luck and then he and my mom went to find a parking spot while I headed off for the sign in/start line!!!! I had wanted to take before-race pics from when I looked all racey and pre-sweaty and excited, but alas –there was no time! 😦  The sign-in table was well marked and they gave me my time chip and…. I had no idea what to do with it! I know it goes on your shoe somehow but I had to stalk the person standing next to me to see how she put it on! So once that was taken care of, I headed over to the start where they had pump-up music playing and the mc was telling the walkers to line up on the right hand side and the “fast runners” to move to the front. I knew there would be TONS of people faster than me so I didn’t move up. I think I started about two thirds of the way back. I should also mention the weather was UNREAL on race day!!! It was the sunniest, warmest, most perfect running day with a lovely breeze and it was also the best weather day around here so far in 2013, so I was super happy about that!


Beautiful beach view from the park!

The mc announced the race would be starting in 2 minutes, so I used that time to get my playlist set up, put on my headphones, get my gps watch to find my location, double check that everything was all good, and that was when I noticed —MY LEFT SHOE WAS STILL UNTIED!!!!! omg I was freaking out! I tend to keep my shoes untied sometimes during the warm-up walk before a run, just to get the wiggle-room perfect inside my shoe before tying the laces, and I had laced up my right shoe when I put the chip timer on it…but forgot to do my left shoe! I seriously felt like such a moron, and the amount of lace I have on each shoe for tying a bow is reeeally short because I use those two extra lace holes on shoes that no one ever uses, you know the ones closest to your ankles?? Yeah! So there’s not much lace to play around with and it’s a bit finicky to get them tied properly, ESPECIALLY when you have to start running in 2 minutes! But no worries, I got it done, and then we did a big crowd countdown from ten seconds out….and then…..we were off!!! There was this huge awesome burst of adrenaline in the whole mob of runners/walkers and it was really cool to be out doing this with SO MANY PEOPLE!! There were less than 400 of us but I’ve only ever run solo or with one friend, so this was all new to me! I spotted Mike and my mom waving to me as I ran through the parking lot and I waved back at them, and as I left the parking lot I realized I had forgotten to start my running watch! D’oh. So I started it a bit late, but it was still helpful to track my pace as I ran, even if the distance markers were a little off. I had been hoping to gauge the accuracy of my watch’s gps compared to the km markers along the race route, but obviously that wouldn’t work. Oh well, newbie mistakes 🙂

I was feeling great, but I could tell I wasn’t really in my stride, so I checked my pace and my Garmin said I was running at 6:15min/km !!!!!!!!!!!! Which is ridiculously fast compared to what I’d been training at (as you may have noticed in my previous training run recaps) so I knew I had to slow it down a bit! So I slowed down slightly and found a more comfortable stride that I thought I could hold up for the rest of the race. I ignored my Garmin for most of the rest of the race because I wanted to focus on the beautiful day and people-watching all the other runners!

Around the 2km marker, there was a man picking up what looked like a huge stovetop from someone’s bulk garbage that was left at the side of the road. (The majority of the race route was through a residential survey). Then on the way back, at the 4km point, I saw him again, with the stovetop thingy loaded up in the back of his truck and just about to drive off. Not significant really, just it was cool to watch someone else’s day story unfolding while I ran! I didn’t have any pain or bad breathing or anything, which I was very thankful for. There didn’t seem to be many people my age in my immediate vicinity, and I wasn’t sure how to interpret that…were they all way faster than me?? Do 20somethings just not usually run 5ks? Was I maybe ahead of them somehow?? I tried to focus on positive thoughts. My playlist held up; it was the same one I had trained with for all 3 of my practice 5k runs but it hadn’t gotten stale (I may have to update it soon though!) When we came back around the last corner before the parking lot, I decided I would do my usual burst of energy from there to the finish line—it turned out to be farther than I remembered!! I had to slow back down to normal about halfway through my sprint, but then I picked it back up again and sprinted for most of the parking lot and right across the finish line!!!!! And the timer said 34:26 as I crossed! I was SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSO excited to have finished my first race AND to have done it in under 35minutes!!!! I honestly couldn’t believe it! There were race volunteers making runners stop about 2 steps past the finish line though, to cut off their chip timers, and I totally understand it but gahhh I’m used to walking off the sprint after I finish, not having to instantly STOP MOVING!! So that threw me off a bit and I got a teeny bit lightheaded, but the person cutting off my chip was thankfully quick and I resumed my cool-down walk.There were 2 little boys handing out medals to all the finishers, so I got mine and picked up a banana and a bottle of water from the complimentary food tables. They also had apples and scones and coffee, but I am a banana-and-water kinda gal. Mike and my mom caught up with me and congratulated me and we went over to see the list of chip time finishes, and it turned out I finished slightly better than I realized! (If I had thought about this, I would have understood, since I started out so far back that my clock time and chip time couldn’t possibly be the same).


There’s me right in the middle! This is just leaving the start line

Anyway, official chip time: 34:02!!!!!!!!! ALMOST in the 33minute range!! I was so happy and proud and could have run another 5k right away! Here are the pics my mom took during/after the race:


(I’m the teeny one in the middle-distance here! About to finish my first 5k!)


The start/finish line


Registration table & start/finish line


Mike and me! My mom has a talent for snapping pictures during people’s least flattering poses….


Like I said….


Here’s me in Speedy Gonzales mode right at the finish!!

And here are some pics of my race swag:


Front of race shirt


Little pin


Funny hat! It looks terrible on me


Finisher’s medal!!


Back of race shirt


Bling up close


One of those fold-up water bottles

All in all, it was an awesome experience, and I will try to be a bit earlier for my next race!! Being almost-late actually worked out well though, because I wasn’t tempted to stretch before running (the one day I did this I had a very painful knee for half my run) and I didn’t have time to get nervous or to let my adrenaline wind down! I will also be more clear with Mike about camera responsibilities haha! I had left my camera for him in the car and I mentioned it quickly when he dropped me off, but I guess in the flurry of things he forgot to bring it, so thank goodness my mom had hers!! The race photographers also snapped a few decent shots of me, so I’m trying to figure out a way to inexpensively get those from their website…hmmm.

After the race, Mike was craving pizza from his favourite pizza place that’s about 10 minutes from the race, so we went there for him and right around the corner was a restaurant I had forgotten about wanting to try —Kind Food!!!! I stumbled upon it in my search for vegan restaurants probably 2 months ago and have wanted to eat there ever since, but for various reasons I hadn’t been able to make it down there yet —and then it was only by accident that we were there!! So I let Mike go off and get pizza, my mom wasn’t hungry so she stayed in the car, and I went to Kind Food for the first time ever!! They were super friendly in there, and I ran into an old friend from high school who works there! I ordered a Caesar salad and the BLAT (bac’uns, lettuce, avocado, tomato) sandwich, and a green smoothie and mmmmmmm it was all SO good! But pricey…I think this all came to $27? Oh well, it was WELL worth it. I’ve already been back once since the race and I intend to keep going! They have great stuff and it’s all organic and vegan and (I think all, but definitely most) gluten-free! Plus the same lady who owns Kind Food has a bakery around the corner called Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and they are all vegan and all gluten-free too! I haven’t been in yet but that will be for a future trip!! Check them out if you’re hungry and healthy:





First 5k Race —TOMORROW!!! eep

I can’t believe it’s already April 26th!! When I signed up for this 5k back in early March, I couldn’t run 5k yet. I couldn’t run longer than 6 minutes in a stretch, actually. But I challenged myself to get there, and felt like the Ford Race to End Diabetes (#FordJDRF) was juuuust the perfect length of time away that I would actually be able to achieve my goal.


The race officially starts at 10am, so I’m planning to be out the door by 9 since it’s about a half hour drive and I’m not 100% sure where we’ll be parking! I am semi concerned about my knee, because I went for my final 5k training run today (38:15!! 🙂 average pace of 7:39/km!) and noticed a BAD pain in my right knee for the first 2kms….then it went away, and I figured it was fine. But Mike and I played 9 holes of golf later this afternoon and walked instead of riding the cart, and my knee was acting up again. This is totally new! Why did it have to start the night before my big race!!!!!?? I’m icing it right now and hoping it’ll feel okay during the run tomorrow. If not though, I’ll have to suck it up and just walk the 5k and sign up for another one asap.

Today’s run stats:
Total distance: 5k
Time: 38:15
Pace: 7:39mins/km (aka 12:19mins/mile!)

My camera, ipod, and running watch are all currently charging, I have my water bottle filled up and ready to go, my race bib, sunglasses and Road ID bracelet laid out —-but I’m not sure what to wear! It’s supposed to be about 17 degrees tomorrow (the nicest day this year so far I think !!) but I don’t know if it’ll be that warm at 9/10 in the morning…hmmm. I received a pretty nice blue tech shirt for registering in this race, are we all supposed to wear our tech shirts?? I’ll be bringing mine along just in case everyone else is wearing theirs, in which case I’ll throw mine on top of whatever I’m wearing, haha.

I’ll post my finish time tomorrow after the race! Good luck me! 🙂

love and thoughts to those affected by the Boston Marathon yesterday :(

I know this is all anyone has been talking about since it happened yesterday.

I debated whether or not I wanted to write about it.

I decided I needed to.

Yes, I’ve only been a runner for a couple of months, but the running community is an incredibly welcoming and supportive one. I have received inspiration from other people’s running blogs, from forums, from salespeople at running stores who are runners themselves, and from my one and only real-life friend-who-is-a-runner. I can’t imagine how or why this bombing could have taken place on the stage of so many runners’ dreams coming true — crossing the finish line at one of the most coveted, well-known marathons in the world. I don’t have great wise things to say about this, I am just deeply disturbed by the events of yesterday. As an incredibly empathetic person (sometimes this is a horrible personality trait to experience, like now), I have involuntarily imagined what yesterday would have been like for the cheering families and friend of runners. Being there, on the sidelines, excited, seeing the first peek of your loved one as they approached the finish line, and then—–

I have involuntarily imagined what yesterday would have been like for the runners who achieved personal records yesterday by finishing before the bombing happened. The pride and excitement they must have felt at surpassing their own personal expectations, not knowing at the time that doing so saved their lives.

Worst of all, I have involuntarily imagined what yesterday would have been like for the runners right behind the unluckiest runners in the world. After the months of training and personal struggles many of those runners went through, to approach the finish line and aaalllmost feel the satisfaction of achieving that goal…only to have the satisfaction ripped away, and to have their whole world rocked to the core out of the blue, to see ghastly horrific things that should never happen, to feel terrified at the finish line instead of joyous…. I can’t even put into words how depressing and scary this whole situation is. Although I was not in any way involved or connected, I physically feel the weight of the bombings as if they happened inside my own lungs. I am not religious, so I do not have prayers for the people killed, injured or otherwise affected yesterday, but I do have endless love and sadness and hope for them all. I hope that an answer is found soon regarding the culprit of such a disgusting crime. I hope new runners who had wanted to work up to qualifying for the 2014 Boston Marathon will still follow that dream. I hope we will invest in and implement better security measures at huge events like this. Who knew we’d ever have to… 😦