Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ready for an adventure!

So I'm off to Baltimore Saturday morning for my first conference! I'll be attending the 2013 Sleep Meeting and will be presenting a poster of my research. I'm super excited to attend the lectures and meet lots of people doing research in a similar area to myself. I'm going to bring my macbook with me so I can fit some blogging in along the way since I have been slacking lately. Running has been kind of on the back burner while getting all of my research together and a poster made. I'm excited to get back into it once I get back, I miss it! I never though I would miss sweating but it feels surprisingly good :)

So stay tuned over the next week and I'll try and add some daily updates!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Complete Bluenose Half Marathon – Check!

So, I have officially completed my first Half Marathon! I'm extremely proud that I can finally say that :)

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{Me the night before trying on my Bluenose running shirt! The years slogan was "Run Like Your'e 10 Years Old" since they were celebrating 10 years running}

What an amazing experience – the crowds of people, the huge number of volunteers, the people all along the way cheering us all on and my family and friends all made yesterday so incredible. I honestly couldn't have done it without all of your support and am extremely grateful! Interested in a recap of the run yesterday? Here it is :) (Sorry for the lack of pictures, I haven't got pics yet from my family and I didn't have my phone with me but I will add some in later on).

So I got up around 7am and having laid out everything the night before I was well prepared and able to head out at 8:15am to the START line. I was so glad to see that the weather wasn't as bad as I imagined (I was prepared to step outside into freezing weather), but it was actually great running weather – cool but still sunny. Matt and I met up with my Mom, Dad, Katie and Alex and were able to watch the end of the 5k as they ran along the citadel as I was waiting in the start line. Goodlife fitness did a little warm up before we went which was great cause I was so nervous I almost forgot!

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{Just before moving to the START line}

The thousands of people were a little intimidating and, as this was my first ever race, it was a bit overwhelming. But once the countdown began and the gun went off it was a lot of fun. I started off with a bunch of people around my goal pace (I started out near the 2h:20m pace bunny) and when we made our way around by Citadel High there was the first water station. It was really neat to see all these people waiting with water and gatorade to hand right to us as we ran by. I thought about stopping at the portapotties there since I had drank a lot of water before the race to stay hydrated but thought it would be better to wait until the next one. Well, I guess that was everyone's idea because at the next water station there was only two portapotties and about 10 of us lined up. I knew it was either wait now or risk feeling uncomfortable and not knowing where the next stop would be. So, I was sad to give up about 5 mins waiting in line but it was definitely worth it. Note for next time though to go RIGHT BEFORE the race starts. (I have a lot of these notes to self for next time lol). After that I was good to go and the next 6 or 7 kilometres were awesome. Around kilometre 10 or 11 things got a bit hard. There were a surprising number of hills in this course (another note to self, run at least part of course before hand to see what it's like) so my legs definitely got a work out.

Kilometers 13 through 18 were through Point Pleasant Park and I have to say those were the hardest. There were a lot of hills and I find the gravel tougher to run on. I could really feel myself slow down at this point too. I still ran most of it but took a lot more very short walking breaks. And as I don't have too much practice running past 14 or 15k my legs were starting to get pretty sore (Note: do more 15k+ long runs before hand). The funny part was it hurt more to walk than to run so I think that was what kept me going for the last couple of kilometres. The last stretch was downhill on Cogswell street to Brunswick which was great and as soon as I could see the finish line I pushed it to the end. I finished very close to my goal time (2 and a half hours) with a finish time of 2h:34m:32s. Since my original goal was basically just to finish, I am pretty happy with this time. The winner only beat me by, oh and hour and a half lol But I know each time I do a run, I can shave off more and more time and yesterdays time was a great start for my very first race.

It was so cool to see all of the people waiting at the finish line to cheer people as they passed the end and I felt such a sense of accomplishment when I was finished. After you were done, volunteers gave everyone a Bluenose 10th Anniversary Medal which was a nice bonus :)

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One of the things I loved the most was the whole spirit of the event. All the way through the course people were cheering me on whether I knew them or not and, because many of us had our names on our bibs, I heard many people shout "Go, Shannon, Go!" which was so motivating to hear. It was nice when I did take a walk break people would yell out "keep going!" which helped a lot with keeping the breaks short if I was having a hard time. I must say I ran the majority of the race and kept my walking breaks to max 1 or 2 minutes which I am super proud to say :D

The major downside is the soreness that is running through my whole body lol Right after the race, it was as if I had aged 50 years. I could barely walk and my entire body was stiff. It was like that for the rest of the day with the worst being after sitting down for a while or when I woke up after my much need afternoon nap yesterday. Although I am still a bit sore today, it's actually a lot better than yesterday. I used my foam roller on my legs which seemed to help a lot.

All in all, I had such a great time yesterday and running the half marathon was a fun and rewarding experience. I had trained enough that although it wasn't easy, I didn't feel like dying by the end! :) I can't wait to run another race and hope to find another Half Marathon to run again soon (and by soon, I mean maybe after a couple more months of training so I can get a a better time and have lots of time to recover from this one). 

Thanks again to everyone that supported me through out my journey training for the run and to everyone that sponsored me to help raise money for HSHC. I'm not sure of the exact total but the ten of us that participated in the Bluenose Marathon for HSHC collectively raised over $3,500 to build the new exam room at the clinic! :D

To all my family and friends – thanks for coming on this journey with me. Keep checking the blog as I plan to still make updates as I continue to run and train for whatever is to come next!



Saturday, May 18, 2013

The big day is finally here

Well tomorrow is the Bluenose Marathon! I'm making this quick since I'm heading to bed but look for a post tomorrow about the run. Wish me luck!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Almost Bluenose Time, Baby

Three more days!!!

Got in an easy 5k/34:03mins this morning before work. I felt really good afterwards and I definitely feel ready for Sunday :D Pick up for shirts/bibs is tomorrow at the WTCC so I'm going to make a trip over there after work tomorrow. I also need to make another visit to The Running Room to stock up on some more GU Chomps Energy Chews (I blog on and on out it here… so good!)

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{Super excited for the Bluenose Marathon part – not so much about the 8:45am part. But meh, it could always be earlier!}

I'm actually getting a little nervous, not for the run on Sunday though but for our first Ultimate Frisbee practice which we're having on Saturday afternoon! A group of us are going to get together and throw a frisbee around and hopefully someone will teach us how to actually play. Then I believe another team will be joining us and we might have a little scrimmage. I'm hoping maybe we can just watch the first game and see how it's done. I'm so nervous that I am going to absolutely bomb at playing ultimate, but I guess it would be worse to not even try! So I just need to tell myself to relax. I'm really happy Maxine and I are both in the same boat (experience-wise) so we can be beginners together :)

If you're interested in the Recharge With Milk Half Marathon Route you can find it here! Looks like it will be a good run, scenery wise, starting in the North End then moving downtown towards Point Pleasant then finishing right by my house. Pretty convenient :) My mom, Dad and my sister and her boyfriend Alex will be coming down to cheer me on. Can't wait!


Monday, May 13, 2013

And the countdown begins!

So I got up bright and early at 6:30 this morning to… watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills! lol I actually got up so I could drive Matt to work since he had to drive the company truck to Liverpool again for the week. I was going to go back to sleep when I got home, but instead put on some Real Housewives (I have the whole last season to catch up on!) and had myself some breakfast. Then I got dressed for the day and headed out to work early. On one hand, I wish I had used the time to get my run in early, but on the other, I actually do enjoy running in the afternoon/evening after work. I feel like my body is more awake and warmed up.

I got in a good 40 minute workout on the treadmill this afternoon. I didn't really pay attention to mileage or pace but more on speed, doing intervals of sprinting mixed with jogging. It was a nice change up from my regular runs and should help with my training, hopefully I can get a bit faster ;). I was really happy to finally try out my new running shoes and, I must say, they were INCREDIBLY COMFORTABLE! They are not as light as my New Balance runners but they felt like they provided a great amount of support and made for a great run. They were also surprisingly breathable. All around great choice of shoe for my clown feet which are in desperate need of love and care!

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Only a couple more runs before the big day! I'm about 10% nervous, 90% excited! :D

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{Saw this walking to the car the other day and it put a huge smile on my face :D}


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Brand New Kicks

Happy almost-Friday!

I've just been letting my knee heal this week and doing some strength exercises in the mean time until I can get back to running. I've also been adding epson salts to my baths and using icy/hot patches and it seems to be helping quite a bit. There's almost no pain now when I bend my knee :)

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{I mixed the Epson salt with all of the different bubble baths I own, made for quite a treat!}

I made a trip out to Sport Chek to get new running shoes, ones with a bit more support than my New Balance Minimus W3090 V2 shoes. They are the Saucony ProGrid Guide 6s, have a nice thick heel which should help with my heel-striking, and are extremely comfortable. The colours aren't bad either :P

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I also grabbed a knee support strap to wear during the half marathon, just for extra support. I'd like to continue running after the half and not have to stop because I destroyed my knees!

Yesterday I picked up some new nail colours because they were having a sale on Essie polishes at Lawtons (check it out!)! There were so many to choose from, I wish I could have gotten them all :P

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{From left to write: Under where?, Tart Deco, Vanity Fairest and First Timer by Essie}

Put a load of laundry on once I got home and cooked up a nice halibut steak with some stir-fryed peppers, onions, mushrooms and corn – delish!

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The big day is getting closer and closer and I'm getting super excited! I need to look into the events that are going on that weekend as well. It sounds like there will be an expo put on by Goodlife Fitness at the WTC which should be fun to check out.

Thanks again to all my sponsors that helped me raise a whopping $300 for the Halifax Sexual Health Centre! I couldn't have done it without you guys and I can't tell you enough how much HSHC appreciates your generosity, as do I :)


Monday, May 6, 2013

I'm a cat person

Rest day today! And I'm thinking probably tomorrow too… I'm kind of worried about my knees since they've been pretty painful since the long run on Sunday. I've probably just been increasing my distance too fast but I really don't want anything to stop me from running on the 19th so I think I am going to take a couple of days to rest, ice my knees, as well as pick up a new pair of running shoes. I am going to get a pair that offers a bit more support and maybe this will help with the knee pain. I will leave it up to the experts though and see what they recommend :) I think wearing a small brace during the run may not be a bad idea either.

I had a pretty busy day today starting with driving Matt into work at 6:30am since he's going to work in Liverpool for the week and this way I can keep the car (yay!). Then I worked at the lab until 3pm followed by a doctor's appointment and now I'm volunteering at the Canadian Cancer Society Lodge That Gives unit 9pm. I will be glad when this day is over and I can watch the new Game of Thrones, that's for sure ;) So since I have no run to talk about today, I thought I would post some pics from the weekend that I forgot to post! Disclaimer: they are mostly of my cats...

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{This is the anchor my Dad put in the front yard with some Virgina Bluebells growing beside it. Probably one of the things I like most about our house (beside the HUGE veranda my Dad built a couple summers ago – more pics on that once it's Summer, it looks beautiful :)}

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{What a cutie – Ripley (after Sigourney Weaver's character in Alien – she had a really tiny head on a big body when she was a kitten) looking at me curiously in the living room. She is seriously the craziest cat I've ever met. Every time I'm home she picks up any clothes I have lying around and drags them all around the house! Last weekend she even picked up my ENTIRE bag of clothes and dragged it into the hallway before removing specific pieces she liked. What a weirdo ;P}

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{Afterwards I was fooling around on Aviary and thought I'd add some hipster glasses because Ripley would definitely be a hipster if she was human – don't ask lol}

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{Darwin and Ripley – aren't they adorable!? They often sleep all cuddled up with each other}

For all you greek yogurt lovers out there, I recently tried some Oikos Coconut Greek Yogurt and it is absolutely delicious! I usually stick to the 0% Plain Greek Yogurt and just add fruit, nuts, honey, chia, etc. to it as a snack or dessert. My mom had some of the coconut yogurt at home and mixed it with pineapple and melon and it tasted just like a pina colada! The coconut adds just enough flavour that it doesn't need any other sweetener and tastes great with some fruit on top. A nice change from the usual plan with still 0% fat and only 80 calories :)

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{A little snack while volunteering}


P.S. I added a section on the left hand side bar that lists the blogs I follow so if you're bored you should check them out!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Runday

Completed my longest run yet this morning – 15.39k/1:37:37mins (10:13min/mile pace)! I wanted to make sure to get one last big long run in before I start dialling it back a bit before the race. I will do another long run next weekend but more likely closer to 10k. I am super proud of myself for running this morning since I was not in the mood at all, despite the beautiful weather, and had to force myself to put my running shoes on. Once I was outside and starting running though, I always change my mind. I ran a long the usual route I do at home towards Indian Point but made it much farther than usual. There were some gorgeous (not to mention HUGE!) houses out there and the views were incredible. I had my running playlist with me, my favourite running son being Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams Come True. It seriously amps me up which is hilarious and is a perfect pace to run too :D I'm glad I accomplished this distance today since I can now feel confident I'll be able to complete the Bluenose Half Marathon in two weeks. Not that I thought I wouldn't finish, but I'm not going to lie, I am imagined myself crawling across the finish line! I think it's safe to say I'll be able to finish it still running :)

I've been trying out different gels and such to find what I like best for fuel on my long runs. I am not a fan of the gels as I find them way too thick to slurp a whole one back while running. You have to chase it with lots of water and it feels like I'm eating pudding :S So I got a pack of GU Chomps Energy Chews in Blueberry Pomegranate to see if those would work instead. Let's just say, I am definitely a fan! They are absolutely delicious and much easier to eat than the gels. Although they don't make it to your bloodstream as fast as a liquid would, I just ate them about 15 mins before I felt I would need an energy boost and they can be eaten very quickly. One pack also holds two servings (so can fuel an 1 1/2 to 2 hour run with one package) and they fit nicely in the pocket on the top/back of my Lululemon Inspire Crops. I will definitely be stocking up on these for my long runs as well as for the Half. Highly recommend these, especially for those who are fans of gummies :)

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I really enjoyed my trip home (although it was way too short, I didn't get everything done I wanted to) and am sad I'll have to drive back to Halifax tonight. We managed to get a game of Rummy in last night – Mom was leading the whole time while Dad snuck in at the last second and creamed us all.

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{Dalhousie cards with all the buildings. They're actually kind of distracting lol}

I also took a couple of pics on my run that I thought I would share:

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{I have a lot of shots of the churches but the tide was out this morning and the sun was shining so I thought it made a nice picture}

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{And a little ways up the road I found the Easter Bunny (or Easter Bear I should say?) – I guess he does exist! :P}

Sadly, I lost my water bottle on today's run. I ran with it about a third of the way and left it by the side of the road so I could pick it up on my way back but had no idea where I left it! I even went back after with the car and still couldn't find it. Won't make that mistake again! I'll be using my hand-held water bottle for the race (which I forgot to bring home) which is nice and small and can be refilled as I go.

Happy Sunday,


Friday, May 3, 2013

Time For Some Ultimate

So here's an update from the past couple of days:

On Wednesday I took a running break and a friend from my lab (Maxine) and I tossed around a frisbee for a bit. We wanted to get some practice in since we joined an Ultimate Frisbee League for the summer! We both wanted to join a team sport and thought it sounded fun. We put our names on the "free agent list" and were recruited by a team called the Raging Rambos haha. We're both pretty excited and the guy who contacted us sounds super nice and made us feel okay about not having too much experience, saying we'll put in some practice games before playing other teams. Practicing throwing the frisbee yesterday was such a relief since we wanted to make sure we actually COULD do it. Turns out we don't completely suck after all! I have seemed to get the hang of throwing the frisbee in the relatively right direction and Maxine is great at catching it even when I throw it crazy so I think we make a great pair :) I can't wait to actually learn how to play!

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{The frisbee I won at James's birthday for coming in 3rd in the "Best 90's costume contest" for being Spike from Degrassi – I dressed as her unintentionally but it worked out nonetheless! Gotta love jean vests :D}

Yesterday I went to the gym after work for a run, 4.87 miles/58:03 mins. To be honest, my legs were still kind of stiff so I took a lot more walking breaks than I should have. I think I may need to get some running shoes with a bit more support for my ankles and knees since they seem to be giving me trouble (just a little bit). I love my New Balance Minimus shoes but I'm not sure they provide enough support, at least for while I'm starting out. They stiffness seemed to subside half-way through the run though and they felt like normal which I was happy with. I think I'm still getting over taking a bit of a break when I got all those blisters since I feel like I'm just getting back into the flow I had before, therefore I must have been out of the flow!

I'm heading home to the Bay for the weekend tonight and I am very excited! It's been a couple of months since I was last home which is the longest time without a visit in a while! I'm looking forward to some delicious wheat-free meals (which I will cook my fair share of, of course) and some Rummy games with my parents – our family is obsessed with cards. Euchre is our preferred choice but unfortunately it will only be the three of us this weekend (need four to play) since Matt has to work this weekend :( I'm hoping the weather will be nice so I can do one of my last long runs before the Bluenose Half Marathon. It's getting so close, where did the time go!? My trip to Baltimore to attend the 2013 Annual Sleep Society Meeting is coming up fast too so I am busy getting my poster ready :) I leave on June 1st (my birthday!) and will be there for 5 days. I'm excited to go to and present at my first conference! I'm looking up some stuff to do during some downtime while I'm there (not that there will be too much time for sight-seeing). I'd like to visit the Edgar Allan Poe Museum which is in the house he died in, in Baltimore. Sounds pretty cool to me!

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{I used to enjoy reading Poe when I was younger and lately watching The Following has reignited my interest}

Side Note:

Within our HSHC Bluenose Marathon team there is a competition to see who can get the most new pledges by next Monday, May 13th! The winner gets a gift card to Niche (one of my fav places!) so if anyone can spare just $5 or $10, it would help me out a lot! You also win bragging rights too which is always fun :P All of the proceeds from my run (and the others running for HSHC) goes towards the conversion of an old office into a new treatment room at the Halifax Sexual Health Centre! Upon its completion, they will be able to see many more patients on a daily basis as well as decrease wait times for their critical services! Any little bit helps for this amazing organization!

Happy weekend everybody!