2nd Annual Calgary 10k

photo (4)The Scotiabank Calgary Marathon event was celebrating its 50th year and as much as it would be nice to collect a huge belt buckle for my collection, my training only positioned me to run the 10k, especially since I am running a 19.1 km leg in the Banff to Jasper relay this coming weekend. Last year I ran the Calgary 10k event for the first time as a visitor to Calgary, as this event fell on the same weekend I was here buying a house, this year I was running as a local proud Calgarian.

A month ago I ran the Sport Chek 10k in 54:31 and although I wanted to better my time by a least a minute this race I purposely set my watches virtual partner for 55 minutes for I needed to be smart about this race. Unfortunately two weeks ago over the long weekend, my left calf seized up completely and after consulting the internet I realized after the second run of the weekend that it could mean a tear to the muscle. Petrified that I would be sidelined for both races I stopped the stretching I was doing thinking that the muscle was just tight and hung up my running shoes until I could get further guidance.  When I phoned on May 20th for an appointment at the recommended sports physio clinic nearby they couldn’t get me in until the 26th, I nearly freaked at the delay but I didn’t want to just go anywhere.  So I did no exercising all that week and babied my calf like my life (/sanity) depended on it, which it kind of did.  As the week progressed my calf greatly improved and by Monday, May 26th I thought I should test the waters and go for a little run before my physio and to my great relief it was still tight but a fraction of what it was the week before.

At Physio, she couldn’t confirm whether it was a tear or not but there was definitely an issue. She asked whether I would be receptive to Medicinal Acupuncture. I said I wasn’t familiar with this type of acupuncture but if it is covered I am game for almost anything.  Since it was covered, she went ahead and inserted a needle(s) within my calf muscle, glutes and lower back and let’s just say I have some tight muscles all over.  She warned me that it might be difficult to walk on my one leg for 1-2 days after and she was right.   I was worried based on the after effects of the treatment whether I would recover in time but by Wednesday I was feeling like I had a new leg and I went out for a cautious 7k run.  No issues.  I then ran again on Saturday morning for an easy 5k with and again no issues.  Let’s just say I am a believer of this type of acupuncture and would highly recommend it to other athletes.

Even though I was part of a small healing miracle I wanted to be  safe running this past weekend.   The great thing about this year’s event is that I have met many people and I somehow convinced one of my new running friends to run this event as well.  Although we agreed to run our own races it was great to be at the start with a familiar face.

The Marathon and Half Marathoners started at 7.00 am, and the 3000 of us in the 10k group started at 7.30 am.  The first 5 k felt great, I didn’t have to resort to any mind strategies to get me to the next kilometer mark but then by 5k the running flow that existed for the first half of the race was gone. It left me, I looked around and it was no where to be found.

1k – 5:17; 2k – 5:09, 3k – 5:18, 4k – 5:26 , 5k -5:37, 6k – 5:40, 7k – 5:11, 8k – 5:35, 9k – 5:33, 10k – 5:08

I can see now looking at my stats, that I started off too fast and then was all over the map, no wonder I had a not as great back half to the 10k.  There is no question I need to work on my pacing!!!

My final chip time: 54:35 

Based on my gun time I ranked 26 out of 270 in my age category (35-39), which puts me in the top 10%.  Next year I will be in the next age category and my goal is a sub 50 minutes. It is doable.





Killarney-Shagnappi Walk Photo Essay

Date: May 29th, 2014

Walk Distance: 5 km

I had a ladies meet-up scheduled last night but London also had soccer which Mike was taking her to using the car.  At first I panicked thinking how was I going to get to my event. Mike suggested using a Car2Go but then I looked up the location and realized I could easily walk there and back.  It helps that it doesn’t get pitch black at night until well after 10.00 pm.

I couldn’t help but notice there are a lot of old cars still being operated in Calgary, and I had to take a picture of a couple I saw.

Some people have Gnomes on their front lawn, others old cars.

Some people have Gnomes on their front lawn, others old cars.

Some people have Gnomes on their front lawn, others old cars.

Some people have Gnomes on their front lawn, others old cars.

Another beautiful old century home

Another beautiful old century home

Love the lime green door

Love the lime green door

Another oldie

Another oldie

Middle of the city, love the mix of century homes,  50's and new modern homes in the same area

Middle of the city, love the mix of century homes, 50’s and new modern homes in the same area

There were three houses side by side that all had a rock like this in their front with a religious reference. Weird.

There were three houses side by side that all had a rock like this in their front with a religious reference. Weird.

Love the blue colour and the house in general, a nice oldie.

Love the blue colour and the house in general, a nice oldie.

Couldn't escape the sun but walking in this neighborhood I felt like I was transported back a couple of decades

Couldn’t escape the sun but walking in this neighborhood I felt like I was transported back a couple of decades

Quite a few old Volkswagon campers in Calgary, love the orange colour.

Quite a few old Volkswagon campers in Calgary, love the orange colour.




2014 Sport Chek Mother’s Day Run

It has been ages since I have last ran a race and Sunday morning I got to break the dry spell at the Sport Chek Mother’s Day Run.  My husband actually was supposed to run the 10k event but due to getting sick earlier and not being able to put the training in I had to step in and save the day, for you couldn’t leave a bib without a runner. Most runners would understand this 🙂

I know my husband will tell you that I sandbagged my target expectations but I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Although I did my best to run all through the winter it was not as stellar as it could have been because of the crazy winter weather we experienced and my pacing is slower than previous years due to a number of factors.  So I told my husband to I was targeting 58 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile when I was warming up by myself I thought long and hard on what might be realistic and I though let’s test the waters, so I set my virtual partner with a goal of 55 minutes.  This number put a little pit in my stomach wondering whether I was crazy or not.  I didn’t realize how hilly the run was going to be when I set this number. In the end ignorance is bliss.

There were approximately 9,000 runners/walkers in both the 5k and 10k event and I goofed before the race even started.  I spoke to another runner who said the 5k’ group goes before the 10k so I didn’t get into the corral but with 2 minutes to go I thought something was not right and tried to make my way to the front.  I made the right decision and there were going to be some 10k runners pissed they didn’t line up.  I felt a little panicked because I wasn’t as far front as I wanted to be and there were a couple of strollers around me and others who were just out for a run Sunday run.  Well 1 minute to go and then off we went.

As expected it took me about 1km to weave my way through the crowd to find a comfortable place.  I am always surprised at how stupid people some people are when going at the front of a large corral when they know they are real slow.  It has nothing to do with faster people being better than slower people but rather it comes down to safety and creating the right flow all along so it is a positive experience for everyone.

Once I found my space and everyone else was more or less at the same pace I tried to find that flow where I was focusing on one kilometer at a time.  I have employed different mind tricks or strategies over the years and this year I dedicated each kilometer to a different person I love. It is a little corny but I have to say it helps.

As you can see this was not a flat course and if I wasn’t training for a moderate leg in the Banff to Jasper relay I might have been pissed at the elevation changes but instead I chalked this up to great practice. I must say I was also impressed at how few people I saw walking up the inclines.  The people around me were strong and even more so motivating to keep up with them.


In the end my pacing was pretty consistent and the anomalies were consistent.

Laps: (1) 5:25 (trying to weave through the crowd), (2) 5:18 , (3) 5:17, (4) 5:19, (5) 5:21 , (6) 5:29,  (7) 5:36 (the hill) , (8) 5:08 (downhill),  (9) 5:30 (fiddling with the right music I wanted for the last kilometer – doh!),   (10) 5:16

Mike and the girls were watching me in the final stretch towards the finish line and as I saw them he pointed to London. So I ran over to them as London was ready to run the final 100 meters in with me. We have never done that before but it was fitting for this race.

Final Time: 54: 31 Yahoo!  And the first word that came out of Mike’s mouth was ‘Sand Bagger.’

I was definitely pleased with this time but couldn’t help but think to myself. I wonder what I could have done if I was 10-15 pounds lighter. If only I could win that battle.





Beef #1 (of many) with being a Special Needs Parent

Tonight I attended a board meeting for a severely disabled special needs summer camp program in Calgary that Reilly is going to go to this year for 5 weeks.  One of the issues that came up was Transportation. The summer camp pays for the transportation costs associated with those campers that take Access Calgarycity transit.  According to their web-site, Access Calgary is responsible for managing the eligibility, booking, scheduling and dispatching shared-ride, door-to-door public transportation services for Calgarians with disabilities.  The cost is nominal to the camp and a non-issue. What is the issue is apparently the service.  

One parent told of a horror story from last summer, where their non-verbal, highly disabled child was on the bus for over 4 hours when a direct drive would have taken 20 minutes.  Apparently it was a nightmare trying to track down where their child was and although no one else’s child experienced a crazy ride like that one, what was still echoed around the room was a complete dissatisfaction with the service. They said their kids were often subjected to be on milk-runs with multiple pick-ups, with an average commute of over an hour each way, not to mention pick-up delays, and many drivers did not seem to possess any special needs sensitivity skills let alone training.   For many parents this is the only transportation option available for them.

After hearing these stories, there is no question I will be driving Reilly to and from the camp despite the not so ideal  location of it and the timing of the camp (camp runs from 9.00 am to 2.30 pm).

Some people might be saying how is this different from what you would do with a typical child, oh let me count the ways….

1)  As indicated the special needs camp runs from 9.00 am to 2.30 pm.  Camps for typical children or ones that can accommodate milder disabilities usually run from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm and most have a before and after camp child care option.  The shorter special needs camp hours still create a child care gap for parents  – making it difficult for both parents to work full-time jobs.

2) Camps for typical children are scattered all across the city and I can easily slot my typical child into one of many within a 10 minute drive radius. It doesn’t hurt that with typical children you can easily set up car pooling arrangements with other parents.  Whereas, this special needs camp for severe disabilities is the ONLY one in the city.

3) A typical child usually goes to a camp type environment because both parents work.  When there is a stay-at-home parent, sometimes a typical child will go for a couple of weeks as an enrichment opportunity but not for the entire summer simply because of the cost factor.   In most cases the other weeks the child is at home, where the parent or caregiver is scheduling different types of activities – bike rides, swimming, going to the park, play dates, etc.  When you have a severely disabled child, summer camp is not a luxury item but often a necessity for not only the parent but also the child’s overall well being for they can’t typically engage in the same summer activities most other children can freely enjoy with little effort.

4) How many parents would allow their typical 7, 8, or even 9 year old take city transit to get to their summer camp destination? Let me guess, very few if any? Plus, any typical children of this age would be able to communicate exactly where they needed to go.  So why would anyone think it is acceptable to subject our most vulnerable population to taking public transit when these workers are not specially trained to work with this segment of the population and/or the driving times be kept to minimal stops?

At the end of the day, I am thrilled to have found a camp that suggests it is going to be a good fit for Reilly. One that will engage and stimulate her in ways that I or any one-on-one caregiver could ever accomplish at home over an 8 week period.  I truly am grateful.

As I drove home though, I was also livid, frustrated and disappointed that I am part of a society that has created such an unfair burden on families like mine.




I wish upon a star tonight

London came home from school yesterday with a terrible stomach ache and it came and went all evening.  As I tucked her in for the night, I gently rubbed her tummy and made up a little rhyme about the tummy ache disappearing in the night, never to return again.

She then said, “you know how you go to bed later when the stars are out?”

I said “yes” not knowing where this was going.

She said “could you make a wish on a star tonight for my stomach ache to go away?”

I said I would.

Running alone with my thoughts for 14k – eek!

This past weekend I was  to run 14k and you would think given that I have run 4 marathons, over 15 half marathons, and countless other races in the last several years that 14k should be a walk in the park for me.   But the idea of running 14k was daunting.   The reason is that I had to run it alone as my weekend training partner is out of town for 10 days.   Eek!

It is interesting for in other circumstances I really enjoy having ‘alone’ time but when it comes to running I need to be part of a larger collective than just me, myself and I.  Having said this I have no issues running a race alone.  Given that I am signed up for two races, 5 and 6 weeks out, a 10k race and 19.1 km relay leg, I couldn’t wimp out and had to get this training run in.  Initially I planned to run on Saturday only to be faced with snowy rain all day that made visibility atrocious. I then vowed to run Sunday afternoon regardless of whether as that was going to be the only time slot left for the weekend.  Thankfully the weather turned around and it was even warm enough for shorts.  Off I went, determined to get it done.

Results….Garmin Distance: 14 km

Breaks: 15 and 1’s (Every 15 minutes would take 1 minute walking break)

Pace Results:  6:06/km, 5:03/km (can’t be right), 7:08, 5:51/km, 6:01/km, 6:16/km, 6:04/km, 6:20/km, 6:06/km, 6:40/km, 6:16/km, 6:27/km, 6:56/km, 5:45/km

In the end I did it!!!! I kept to my intended walk break schedule and finished the last k strong.  There is no question that I would have had an even better experience running with my friends but this solo experience made me accept that going forward I need to practice running alone at least once a week for a few different reasons. One, to build up the confidence that when all of my running comrades are away I can still maintain my practice schedule without fretting unnecessarily. Second, to use it as an opportunity to do some different types of drills, such as focusing to establish more consistent pacing.


Thanks for the Memories!


Dear Winter,

We shared some good times together in the last few months, here in Calgary.  You allowed us to go skating countless times, London enjoyed playing outdoor hockey because of you, and we even had the chance to go cross country skiing, downhill skiing and sledding.  Not to mention the picturesque backdrops you provided us during my runs and walks along the Glenmore Reservoir; which allowed us to capture these photos. Although I was fully committed to this relationship these past few months, I think we now need to see different seasons. Really it is not you but me.  Maybe we can get together again next November if you are free and pick up where we left off.

All the best,