Saturday, January 31, 2009

24 kms!

well, now that I am home and showered and stretched... I can say that I enjoyed my 15 mile (24 km) run this morning. If you had asked me at mile 14.5, there is a possibility that I may have had a slightly different answer. The last half mile (almost all uphill) kicked my butt!

I had to stop and try to warm a powerbar up (tucked into my armpit) enough that I could eat some of it without breaking my teeth. As fellow runner Mike said, that last half mile I wasn't really running... it's more like I just kept falling forward!

However, the trail was beautiful... we ran along the river on the Mt Vernon trail. There was ice and snow and slippery spots periodically, but mostly we were in the sun on clear trails. It was chilly (-3 celsius) but with the sun on my face and a good pace on, I was sweating in no time. To the point that my hair was frozen in clumps of sweat (nice visual, eh?)

My kind-hearted team mates helped to relieve me of a few spare dozen boxes of donuts that were left over after yesterday sales... and a happy group of Boy Scouts took a few boxes off my hands too (everyone's happy!).

Feeling good. Tired, but good.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

i think my website's broken...

Not this one, this one's fine and healthy... but my Team in Training page doesn't seem to be experiencing any of its expected "growth"

I keep fundraising, and the money raised section of my website just stays the same.

boo :-(

I know for a fact that my fundraising efforts have scraped together a little over $900 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (and it will be over $1100 when my uncle sends in his raffle ticket forms... get to it Chris!!). It's just that it takes so long for the deposits to process that it looks like I've been sitting on my arse eating bonbons.

Speaking of which... Sue and I sold 468 donuts this morning (part of the fundraising efforts). We had a few boxes left over, one of which my sweetheart has confiscated. It is now open on the counter. So I think I'll have myself a revitalizing cup of tea and a donut.... and then head back out into the cold for my 5 mile run while the sun is still shining.

Monday, January 26, 2009

having only just dipped my toe in to test the waters...

... it turns out that even us newbies can feel the impact of what we do.

I have been involved with Team in Training for about a month and a half. During the early weeks, when the staff were trying to get us really motivated and inspired, people whose lives had been personally affected by Leukemia/Lymphoma/Myeloma came in to speak to us about the impact that the LLS had on their experiences with blood cancer.

In spite of my enthusiasm for the running aspect, I have been struggling with the fundraising (as you may have noted from earlier blogs)... I find it hard to ask people for money. However, as Jenny reminded me a week or so ago... it isn't as though I am asking for money for me. I am asking for money on behalf of people who are fighting to stay alive.

And so I have turned a corner in my fundraising efforts. I'm working harder. I'm pushing myself beyond feeling shy and awkward, and asking people for their support. And it is working. That's been a hard lesson for me.

But that is not what I wanted to write about...

I spent four hours standing in front of a grocery store yesterday, asking people for money. I had my signs out, my donation jar, my plates of cupcakes and Team in Training waterbottles and such... Lots of people walked by with their heads down, avoiding eye contact. But lots of people stopped to talk, to tell me they thought what I was doing was a good thing, to put money in my donations jar... But the best part, for me, was when a couple of times people stopped to say thank you.

A young man with broken english stopped to say that his father had been diagnosed with leukemia a year ago, that he was undergoing chemotherapy, and that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society had been a great support to his family. Then he made a donation.

And a father with his 12 year old (or there abouts) daughter stopped on their way out of the store. She said something along the lines of "cool! cupcakes... can i have one?" And he said "thank you" as he dropped some money into my jar. She asked if she could have another, and he told me that she had been diagnosed with leukemia 2 years before, and that they wouldn't have made it through without the support of the LLS.

Her response... "Dad! Does the whole world have to know that I had leukemia?! Why did you tell her that? I'm telling Mom on you!"

And that made four hours of standing out in the cold, feeling like a dork, totally worth while.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

a few choice tidbits of information... some of which may interest or amuse you.

So, in fact, I didn't actually bother to read the running schedule for today (Tidbit #1)... and just assumed that we could continue to increase our mileage. It was a nice surprise to learn that we were not running more this week, but rather running less. Just ten miles... So the personal records start next Saturday, with 15 miles.


(I think I can, I think I can...)

That being said, I actually covered 11 miles today because Sara, the womanI was running with, was desperate for a washroom so we went an extra half mile (and back) to find one. You might think that she could have just ducked off the trail... but it's actually a very busy trail, both sides of which are loaded with blackberry brambles. (Make note of this come autumn, bring berry bucket on runs...) Not good for bathroom breaks, but very good for bird watching. You wouldn't believe the number of cardinals and blue jays we saw... I'm sure there were others, but my eyes were drawn to the bright crimson and blue.

We bonded over this... and the fact that when she ran with her open package of Powerbar "Gel" in hand, it squirted out and all over my leg. Personally I think those Gels are gross, but to each their own ( Who am I to talk? I am currently eating peanut butter straight from the jar as I type... with a spoon though, I'm not completely uncivilized). (Tidbit #2)

I have been suffering this strange discomfort over the last... lets say 2 weeks, or there abouts... in my right butt cheek. (Tidbit #3) Just the right... makes me feel rather lopsided. And stiff and sore.... Normally, after a mile or two it seems to stretch itself out and loosen up and the rest of my run is fine... But it has been getting sorer, and none of the stretches I've tried seem to be helping.

Coach Chip gave me a little trail-side instruction in a few exercises to loosen it up and strengthen the muscles relating to my hip, as it turns out I have something call Piriformis Syndrome (so next time you have mysterious pains in the butt... you now have something to call it. This includes people at home or work who are aggravating on some level or another.) (Tidbit #4)

He shared some other interesting hip information too... like the fact that he lost his nose in an accident and the nose on his face is actually made of bone taken from his hip. (Tidbit #5) This may or may not explain some things. (And this is how I find out whether or not anyone from the team is reading my blog... if Chip gives me shit next week, I'll know!!.... ps, Just kidding, Chip.)

On the drive home I finally found the running song I've been looking for. I heard it once on my sweetheart's mp3 player and have been looking for it ever since. He has something like 700 songs on his player though, and I didn't know what it was called... which makes finding it challenging. On my way home after this morning's run, I stumbled across it, and cheered. I turned it up, I had it on repeat as I flew down the 495, dancing in my seat like a fine fool at every stoplight along Little River Turnpike. Yes, that was me you were laughing at... (Tidbit #6)

52 pickup, by Ballistic Mystic
. Try it some time. It will make you sprint, I promise.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

personal records from here on...

I ran 12 miles (about 19.5 km) this past Sunday. Was supposed to run on Saturday, but we drove through the night, leaving at midnight and arriving at my in-laws at about 5:30 Saturday morning... and even after a nap, I didn't quite recover enough to get my gear on and face the frigid temperatures.

In the end, it was a good thing I waited until Sunday... because Saturday night it snowed, and I got to run in a total fairyland of sparkling white trees with the scrunching of snow under foot. Yay!

We measured out a 6 mile loop, which was lovely on lap number one... a few good hills, some nice scenery (if you think that pick-up trucks with 6 inch lifts and hand-done camouflage paint jobs make for nice scenery).

Second loop was good too... for the first four miles. And then, it was a bit of a struggle to finish. But in the end, I made it home... all sweaty and rosy-cheeked from the cold.

Every Saturday run from here on will be a personal record for me... every Saturday run will be further than I've ever run before.

What I need to do now is remember to stretch properly, or I won't recover enough from the Saturday runs to do the mid-week runs. I do stretch, but it seem I've not been stretching enough...

Tomorrow's run... just five miles. Piece of cake.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

ooops! ... and, yay!!!

So, today was a tempo run day.

A classic tempo run is, apparently, a sustained, comfortably hard effort for two to four miles. And it is designed to teach the body to use oxygen for metabolism more efficiently.

So off I went, at a comfortably hard rate... only problem is, my mind started to wander and I forgot to stop running when I reached the end of the four miles scheduled for today. On I ran for another mile.

And, get this. I ran 5 miles (little over 8 kms) in 53 mins. I feel pretty good about that.

Note to Mummer & EJ... Cheetah! Cheetah! Cheetah!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

i have to admit...

I was feeling pretty crippled after Saturday's ten mile/sixteen km run.
Mostly because it was cold out in the parking lot at the end of the run, and I didn't feel like hanging about to stretch properly. So, it was my fault.

Today's run was on the treadmill, so I didn't have to worry about it being too cold or too windy, etc. Too boring i had to worry about.

Running the treadmill requires music, because, even though there are a few televisions in the room, none of them are directly in front of me... and if i look up and to the right while running on the treadmill, i inevitably run into the guard rails. And then I either flail about to keep my balance, or fall over... either way, it leaves me feeling like catching the latest spanish soap opera or that re-run of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air just really isn't worth it.

And so, I choose headphones. Besides, get a good driving beat and I can run faster and further... too bad we're not allowed to wear them on TNT group runs.

Today's playlist included:

Feist - Inside and Out
Leonard Cohen - Dance Me to the End of Love
Diana Krall - Fly Me to the Moon
Joe Arroyo - Rebelion
Gordon Lightfoot - Don Quixote
Ani Difranco - Shameless
Stompin Tom - The Ketchup Song
Harry Connick Jr - Come By Me
Esthero - Wikked Lil Girls
Duran Duran - Hungry Like the Wolf
Men At Work - Down Under
Bjork - There's More to Live Than This
Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus
Paul Simon - Obvious Child
Alkisti Protopsalti - Ya Habibi
Los Lobos - Spanish Guitar
Alys Robi - Tico Tic
Brenda Fassie - Memeza
Deeelite - Groove Is In the Heart
Bjord - Big Time Sensuality
Blind Melon - No Rain
and a few more...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mercedes-Benz wants to give you a new car...

I have raffle tickets.

Not everyone will be excited about the idea of buying raffle tickets... however, on the off chance that YOU like to take a chance on the odds, here's the details:

Mercedes-Benz is the raffle presenting sponsor for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Ball. Each raffle ticket purchased offers you the chance to win one of two brand new Mercedes-Benz cars. The first is a 2009 CLK350 Cabriolet , and the second is a 2010 GLK350 SUV.

Tickets are $100 (US) each, and only 6000 tickets will be sold. That means chances of winning are 1:3000. And ticket holders need not be present to win.

So, drop me a line if you are interested in purchasing a ticket or two, and I will send you a copy of the ticket order form. All tickets I sell will go towards my fundraising for the the Shamrock Marathon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

ten miles today, people!

yes, you heard me correctly, i ran ten miles today. with lots of hills for the first two and the last two miles.

felt good.

and now, i'm going to take a nap...

Friday, January 9, 2009

this cap's for you!

The next person to make a contribution to my fundraising campaign will receive this CoolMax Team In Training cap. (small disclaimer: the brim on the hat i have on offer has black piping... but it is otherwise exactly the same as the hat in the picture.)

There isn't a trace of cotton in this cap, so it won't turn into a sponge. Features: mesh sides, Coloma sweatband, and super lightweight Supplex, velcro adjustment in back so one size fits most. Weighing only 1.5 ounces, this lightweight cap offers sun protection, so you can keep a cool head while running!! Machine washable. Made in USA.

Perhaps this would be more enticing if it were July and hot! But, the shortest day of the year has passed, we're in the upswing... and the warm days will be here before you know it. You'll be glad of a cap like this... you know you will.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

running mad

the miles just seem to fly by when i run mad...

this evening when i was getting ready to go for a run, i emptied all the music off my little mp3 player, because it's all been on there since the summer and i keep meaning to change it and i'm pretty sick of all the songs.... so, i delete it all... and then couldn't get any more music on, and my computer froze up and i couldn't figure out how to get it working again, and all i wanted was some new music to listen to while i ran... and i got pissy.

my sweetheart loaned me his mp3 player, and off i went.
in a grump, grump, grump.

got to the gym, hopped on the treadmill, dropped my water bottle in the little water bottle pocket, put on the head phones and got started.
still grumpy.

turned the headphones up to a comfortable level, but couldn't hear the music over the guy behind me who was talking loudly on his cell phone. turned it up until it was actually too loud, and i could still him him talking.
getting grumpier.

picked up my water bottle for a refreshing squirt... and someone had left a gooey wad of gum in the water bottle pocket, which was now stuck all over the bottom of my bottle.
i think i might have cursed out loud a little...
really grumpy.

but man, did the miles fly by!! 'cos i run fast when i run mad.

after two miles i wasn't mad any more.

and now i'm home and happy, and glad that i went.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

what your donations can do...

$5 - The cost of sending a newly diagnosed patient a packet which includes information about their specific disease and support.

$25 - Covers a single prescription co-payment.

$35 - Will purchase (12) Charlie Brown DVD's to explain cancer to pediatric patients.

$40 - Will educate (4) school employees on how to ease the transition back to school for a child with cancer.

$50 - The cost of a co-payment for a CT scan.

$75 - Average cost of tissue typing to become a bone marrow donor.

$100 - Helps supply laboratory researchers with supplies and materials critical to carrying out their search for cures.

$150 - Will train (6) survivors to make First Connections with a newly diagnosed patient.

$200 - Provides funding for a Family Support Group Program for one year where comfort can be found and experiences can be shared among patients and family members, mediated by a trained facilitator.

$500 - Provides a leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma patient with financial aid to support medical treatment and to travel to medical appointments for one year.

$1,000 - The cost on average for a one night stay at the hospital. Many patients visit the hospital numerous times and for extended periods while undergoing treatments

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

hill runs

today was supposed to be a 4 mile hill run day. but i'm feeling kind of wrung out and just generally not great. so i'm cheating and doing it tomorrow.

i did, however, walk 6 very hilly miles in the rain today to go apply for my social security number as my work permit has finally come through!

Monday, January 5, 2009

no run today

i'm scheduled to have a day off today... and i'm missing it!

to me, this means the running part of joining Team In Training is going well.

what isn't go so well is the fundraising part of joining Team In Training. times are tight, the holiday season is a particularly draining time on the old bank account... so i'm hoping that over the next couple of months things pick up, or it is going to be a very costly marathon for me!!!

got any fundraising inspirational ideas for me?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

back to the treadmill

when i first arrived in the US, it was so hot during the day that i could hardly move... never mind run. so i took up running on the treadmill, in the air-conditioned gym at our place. that quickly gets boring, but at least it was nice and cool. and it became my habit to run there... close to home, never get lost, no traffic to worry about, washroom right there.... and the motivation to go back to running outside now that it is cooler dissipates.

over the last few weeks, while i was away, i did not have an air-conditioned gym in which to run. so i started running outside again.

it's hard now to remember why i didn't want to be outside always. i love the sting of the cold air on my skin, and the bite of it in my lungs. i love the resistance of the road, and the feel of rocks and roots and mud under my shoes, the irregularities that cause each step to be slightly different... something a treadmill cannot provide.

i'm home now, and went back to the treadmill for a quick run this afternoon... just 30 minutes. and it was unbearably hot. but convenient...

i will try to find a more convenient place to run outside now.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

8 miles, and then some..

i felt a little like Hansel and Gretel on my run today... following a trail of shortbread cookies, smeared with green icing, missing a bite here, broken in half there... up the longest hill of my 8 mile run. i ran that hill three times today, and each time i giggled a little at the idea of some small person tossing cookies out the window as mom/dad drove them to some end of festive season party.

it's a strange thing, what the body can do with just a little encouragement. during my scheduled 6 mile run last week, which turned out to be closer to 7... i felt best during miles 4 and 5... and struggled to complete mile 6 and beyond.

my runs during the week were just 3 miles, and each of them felt like a struggle from start to finish, like i never quite hit my stride. today's run started out the same way... i fought my way up the first set of hills, legs heavy and slow, breathing hard and fast... but after mile 3 i felt great.

hills, no problem. wind, no problem. cold air, no problem. 2 extra miles.... no problem. sort of. miles 4 through 6 felt great. mile 7 i started to feel tired, and had to push myself to keep running the hills... and mile 8 and beyond i probably walked half of the time.

fortunately, my sweetheart came to check up on me, right about the beginning of mile 8... i could have happily hopped in the truck with him at that point, but he pointed me in the right direction and told me he'd have a hot breakfast waiting upon my return.

(yet another sprinkling of "crumbs" to guide me safely home!)

and he did.