Saturday, 25 April 2015

Pick your Poison - 25k Trail race

   Greg and I ran the Pick your Poison 25k trail race around the ski hills at Horseshoe Valley in Orillia this morning.  PYP has the reputation for being a challenging course, and it was very hilly, with very few flat sections.  The course was 2 loops of 12.5k.  I was nervous going into the race.  I wasn't sure what kind of time I could run, and I was afraid that when I pushed hard, I was going to give up and stop.
   I have been working with a coach - Derrick Spafford  and he wanted me to ease into the race, and push during the 2nd lap.  This sounded good, and it is the opposite of the way I used to run my 25k races.  I used to run hard from the gun and hold on for dear life to the end.  I don't think I'm tough enough mentally for that kind of running the moment, so I liked Derrick's race plan.
   Greg and I lined up mid-pack and we were off.  I started the race at what I thought was a reasonable pace, and stayed in a mid-pack position for the first part of the first lap.  The hills started coming.  At first they were little rollers in the heavily wooded area, then they got bigger and wound their way up big inclines.  I was already going slower than I would regularly go, and I started to become anxious about how much I was struggling to climb these huge hills.
   Looking back, everyone struggles to climb giant hills, so I needed to just calm down and keep moving forward, but I wasn't handling the hills very well at first.  Greg could tell that I wasn't doing well, so he would wait at the top of the hills for me, and encourage me as I climbed.  He would joke with me and distract me and soon I was reminded of one thing that I LOVE about trail running - the downhills.  Oh wow, there were some great downhill sections on this course!  I haven't run that fast on downhills for a few years.  It was so much fun.  There was a big downhill leading to the start/finish area, so starting my 2nd lap, I was feeling a lot better.
   We ran through at around 1:09.  I told Greg to go ahead.  I knew he wanted to run 2:15 on that course, and he would have to pick it up to do it.  Greg pulled ahead, and I followed.  I kept him in sight the entire 2nd lap, and managed the climbs a lot better.  Greg finished 8th overall in 2:16 - I felt guilty about him not achieving his goal, but he is amazing and said that he wasn't really running today for a specific time, he was doing it for me.  I am sure that if he didn't wait around for me in the first half, he would have run well under his goal time.  I am very lucky to have a husband like Greg.  The race today would have been a lot different without him.
   I came through the finish in 2:17, 10th overall.   I was happy that I had run the second lap faster than the first (negative split).  The official results have me at 1:08:48 for the first lap and 1:08:21 for the second.  I never negative split.  I was really happy about that - that was thanks to the advice of my coach Derrick.  I had no idea where I finished among the women, and I was surprised to learn that I finished 2nd. I got a merchandise prize - which I immediately gave to Greg (who needed a new backpack - love how that worked out), and we drove home together feeling good about our races.
For the results check out this link:

   Also - George Sarson (Co -Race Director for the Run for the Toad Race was running his first race in 5 years today.  He has been struggling with problems with his heart (requiring surgery a few years ago).  His condition has improved and he was really excited to be running the 25k today.  That was so inspiring to see.  I am happy to see you back on the trail George!  Best wishes to many more trail races in the future.  George and his wife Peggy were my introduction to long distance trail running in 2002 in the early planning stages of the first Run for the Toad course.  They are wonderful people.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Trail time with the family

We had a chance to play on the Grand Valley Trail near Sudden Tract this weekend.  The kids loved searching for salamanders and snakes, and running back and forth on the trails.

Tessa was introduced to sap after playing with a pinecone

Tessa tasting sap

The kids were fascinated with this salamander.  A bright little guy.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Cards for Runners

My sister Holly is an illustrator and artist, and has made greeting cards that are running-themed!  I am a huge fan.  If you would like more info, check out her card company:

Holly's a runner too.  Here she is - running the Pelee Island half marathon in 2014

Being cartoonized

After a stressful week, I am finding myself reading more comics and humourous pieces.  I love any cartoon about running, and I especially admire the comics and illustration of my sister Holly Main.  I have many one-frame comics about random funny events that have happened to us - a few are framed on my walls.  She loves to poke-fun at absurd things that happen.  When I was checking out her comic and illustration website, I came across one comic with me as one of the characters.

It shows me (in the red shirt), giving Holly a bottle of homemade wine.  Greg and I had run out of wine bottles, so I bottled her cabernet sauvignon homebrew in a sports bottle, and attached a wine label to the outside.  She thought it was hilarious.  So she made it into a comic.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Scaring away yellow dinosaurs at 1am

Last night I was startled awake by piercing screams coming from my youngest daughter's room.  I went in to check it out, and she was standing up in her crib, eyes wide and trembling.  I picked her up and she clung on to me with every limb.  When I asked her what was wrong, she told me in her 2-word sentences, why she was afraid. "Dinosaur window", "Dinosaur yellow", "Dinosaur coming", "Dinosaur bite!"
She was terrified of an imaginary dinosaur.  I took her downstairs, put on some soft,classical music, and cuddled with her.  I told Tessa how I was happy that she saw a yellow dinosaur, because yellow ones are the easiest to scare away.   Yellow dinosaurs are VERY afraid of Mommies and Daddies.  If she sees the dinosaur again, she can just call to Mommy and I will frighten the dinosaur away - or she can tell it to go away, and it will listen.  At one-in-the-morning, Tessa and I practiced saying "Go away dinosaur!", with great enthusiasm.  After a few minutes. I laid her down, and she fell asleep quickly and slept for the rest of the night.    I know it wont be as easy to calm my kids' fears as they grow, but it sure felt great to be the person she trusted to scare away dinosaurs.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Dryden Tract like pudding!

My shoes are originally white...pre pudding run.

Greg and I ran the Dryden Tract trails this afternoon, and it was gooey.  After all the rain we had in the last 3 days, the lower parts of the trail were quite wet, but it was still fun to be out there. We were both covered in mud within minutes of starting our run.  It was like running through pudding.  It's such a nice trail - lots of single track, technical but still very runable, hilly, and it features some beautiful lookouts. Maybe in the next few weeks it will dry out and we'll be able to get some longer runs in.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

I used to be addicted to the Hokey Pokey

Then I turned myself around!

Terrible I know - but I laughed when I read it on a sign on the way home from work today.  That's going to be my joke of the day in class tomorrow.  Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 6 April 2015


Easter Sunday is a big event on my Mom's side of the family.  I look forward to any family gathering on this side for a few reasons - #1 the people are great, and when we get together, we always have a lot of fun. I have 10 cousins, and most have spouses and kids, so it's a large gathering with lots of interesting people to talk to.   #2 - my Grandma is an AMAZING cook.  She knows how to cook the best Portuguese foods, that have become my go-to comfort foods.  On this occasion she had roasted a delicious turkey (marinated in wine first), made a traditional Portuguese beef stew that Greg called, "the choice meat of the meal", and after dinner - her Portuguese sweet bread.  I could eat a loaf of that without a second thought.  Oh wow.  We ate well, the kids (11 great-grandkids) ran around and played on the farm, and we enjoyed our time together.  It was nice.  Thanks to Uncle Joe for hosting.  Here we are below, and there's Grandma with her turkey.

Second best question ever

The best was when Greg asked me to marry him... in a cabin near Algonquin park on a warm evening in June, 2003.  Second best question ever - "Mommy can I run with you?"
Yesterday, on our car ride home from my family's Easter celebrations at my Uncle Joe's farm, Ella asked if she could run with me tomorrow.  I was surprised at the question.  Ella always jokes about being faster than me, and I jokingly challenge her to random races, but she was serious about wanting to go for a real run with me.  I said, "Of course."
She wanted to go to the track by our house.  I asked if she was sure - about the track - because there are many more exciting places to run, within minutes from our house, but she really wanted to run around the track with me.  So this morning, we went to the track, and ran a lap together.  It was nice.  When she runs, she has an effortless running style and seems to just float-along.  It makes me think that she will be quite fast with a little practice.  I'm not going to push though, I will wait for her to ask, and I will be there to encourage whatever she wants her running to become.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Rock your socks in April's Snap'd

We are in Snap'd!  It's fun to see our event included in this month's publication.  Thanks again Harriers.  It was a fun run.  We all need more excuses to wear wild socks.

Never trust Andrew with bunny ears

After my run this morning, I was devouring hot crossed buns at my favourite local coffee shop (the Grand Cafe), and chatting with my running buddies.  We talk about lots of things, but usually the conversation revolves around running (huge surprise right?!), well with Easter coming, there were a few people walking around wearing bunny ears.  It lead the conversation to pace bunnies at big races, that wear very similar bunny ears.  Andrew started joking about wearing fake pace bunny ears at his next half, and messing around with pacing - pretty much being a bunny-ear wearing PITA.

So if you're running a large half marathon and you're on pace to finish in 2 hours, and some guy flies by you in the last kilometer wearing 2:30 bunny ears.  Don't worry, it's just Andrew - and you should never trust Andrew wearing bunny ears.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Sudden Tract, Grass Lake trail report - according to Greg

Greg came home from his run this afternoon, and he showed off his mud-covered legs.  I have to say, I was a bit jealous that he tackled a technical trail, because I haven't been on my favourite trails since late summer.  His report wasn't great.  He said the trails are either complete mush, or covered in ice.  He also said that he fell twice.  I'm still itching to be out there.  Mud here I come!

Tessa's first race - The Bunny Hop

My kids had a race this morning.  All 3 girls ran the Bunny Hop 1k kids race at the Good Friday Road Races in Burlington.  At the start, I told the kids to enjoy the race.  If you have to slow down, that's OK.  If you have to walk, that's fine too.  Smile at the people cheering for you, and when you see the finish, run strong - because you're almost done.  We gave each other hugs and high-fives and lined up.  The kids were lined up according to ages, so Ella was up towards the front, Clara and Greg were somewhere in the middle, and Tessa and I were at the back.  Tessa being a year and a half old, I fully expected to be carrying her most of the way.  I was wrong.  When the race started, she was running with tiny steps saying: "Running like Mommy".  She would get really excited when spectators would clap and cheer and she would clap back.  She loved running on the yellow line in the middle of the road, and occasionally she would veer to the curb to check out something interesting in the gutter.  But she kept moving forward and doing her version of running.    As we were approaching the finish, Ella and Clara ran back and ran in with Tessa.  I was so proud of my kids.  Clara had run continuously the entire way - impressive for a 4 year-old.  Ella, had more of a run hard, take a break, run hard again approach, and finished among the first half of racers.  They all ran strong races and felt great about what they had done.  It's nice to see them enjoying running as much as I do.  A proud Mommy moment.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Today Greg moves into a new age category

Today is Greg's birthday!  Not a milestone birthday, but if he were running in a race with 5 year age categories, he would be in a new one.  Happy 35th Birthday Greg!
Here we are after the Pelee Island half marathon last year.
Don't you love how Tessa has a hand on my large bottle of Pelee Island's finest?!
The beer fairy has already been around, and Greg has a choice of several craft beers to enjoy.  Greg has expressed a few birthday wishes - some time on his motorcycle this weekend, and a pair of my crocheted man-slippers (to replace the pair that he wore-through this year).  Both easy requests to give him.  I love this guy.  He is a wonderful husband and father, and he deserves to have a special day just for him.  Have a great birthday Greg!