Thursday, November 29, 2012

One Mission. One Goal.

I'm feeling so energized today. I'm relaxing on the couch at my friends Jennifer and Casey's home in Calgary, enjoying a day off. I'm staring at the window watching the snow fall. I'm aware of how cold it is out there today, and a little unwilling to go face the elements. I did go running the other day in the cold, and survived, but today is even colder. And snowier. I am opting to stay inside and reflect. I have much to look forward to. A few smaller races coming up: a 8K and a couple half marathons. All the while though, training for my next marathon - possibly my most special one ever.

I spent the last two days at a conference in Banff, surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains. How could I not be reflective, seeing such beauty! And this conference was really like no other I'd ever experienced. Unlike conferences I'd been to in previous positions in my career that appeared to be just talk, this one was about concrete action. It was  actual steps we are going to take at LLSC to do what we do better. It was the "how" to every "what" we discussed. And all tied into the "why". Why is Team In Training raising funds? It is to invest in lifesaving cancer research and in support services for patients and their families. It is because we all have one mission at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - to find a cure for all blood cancers.We are all here for one mission. One goal.

So I'm fired up. I'm ready to do my part. I want to run and celebrate right now as I think about this (but won't because of the cold...). And I want to run with purpose going forward. I want to run for angels like Francois and Walter. I want to run for survivors, like my cousin Saeed. But most importantly, I want to raise funds for the LLSC in addition to the work I'm doing as a staff member. Why? Because I want to do my part in our collective fight. I want to make an impact. I believe that a world without cancer is possible.

I'll be writing more about those I'm fundraising to honour. I'd like to make that a focus over the coming months as I train for my next marathon - the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon. Please follow my posts here to read more. My blogging experience is a big part of who I am today, and I am excited to share my Team In Training journey with you.


If you wish to sponsor me in my efforts, please visit or click the "Sponsor Me" button at the top of the page.

Thank you for your support! We're getting closer every day!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Race Report: New Balance Fall Classic - November 18th, 2012

Sorry for the delay in getting this report written. It's been quite an exciting week since the race and I've not prioritized my time to make this post happen. I wanted to ensure to have the time to write thoughtfully about this race. It was such a great race experience. I'm so proud of how I did!

It was quite a chilly Sunday morning, not quite as chilly as 2011's Fall Classic Run, but windy, rainy, and still rather cool. There were massive puddles all over the course, and lots of really great cheerful people excited to take on the last great race of the year. It was also my last race of the year, totaling my tally to 6 races: 4 half marathons and 2 full marathons. By far, 2012 was my most active year, and the year I got to the point of confident declaration that I am an athlete and running is indeed my sport.

So it was fantastic to be able to finish the year on a high, achieving a personal best finish time for a half marathon race. I was aiming for a sub-2-hour half marathon, knowing I'm capable of that, but also knowing that it wasn't for certain I'd get it. I only spent about 3 weeks prior to this race focused on training for it after recovering from my October marathon. So little work was done on speed or at my target race pace. I'm just 3 minutes away from my goal now. I finished this race in 2:03:11 (my chip time) and I couldn't be prouder!

 Sure, the 32 seconds I shaved off my previous best isn't a lot of time. But I felt so strong this race - probably the strongest I've ever felt at a race. Regardless of the cold, the wet, the big crowds out there on at times a narrow course, I never felt the urge to stop. I pushed myself, but yet felt like it was never too much to handle. The speed was comfortable and right. I kept my pace consistent. Looking at my Garmin after and examining what took place at each km, I did notice 2km I took a little too fast and another 2km I took too slow. But otherwise, pretty consistent, and something I can be confident I can do again and build on that success further for next time. Between now and my February race, I'll have plenty of time to work on speed and practice my pacing. I'm excited!

The race was fantastic. I had tons of fun! And the race organizers at TOIT Events were a blast to work with. They helped Team In Training with a ton of publicity at this race in exchange for me helping staff the race with volunteers. As a result, I knew a whole lot of people on the course cheering, as well as having several TNT friends on the course running the race for themselves. I had lots of people to say hi to and to cheer me on to a strong finish.

I'm definitely going to run this one again. Not sure if I will in 2013 but I'll definitely be back. It's a fun race with a nice community vibe. And there's a great energy with this group of runners, enjoying their last chance to race a half in Vancouver for the year.

And then there's the 10K race too, which is the race I did last year at the Fall Classic. So that adds to the numbers out there on the course and the excitement. I remember last year running my 10K in about 57 minutes, and I knew if I could do that pace again, I could be on target for a sub-2-hour half marathon. I was pleased to hear my watch ding 10K with me clocking just barely 57 min. I was doing the same pace as a year ago, but going more than twice the distance. That was a moment of proud realization on how far I've come.

With my friend and fellow TNTer, Nancy after getting our bling.


What's next? A few shorter races and then my next big marathon! This one in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. If you'd like to support me, please follow the "sponsor me" tab at the top of the page, or click here. Thank you!

Friday, November 9, 2012

New goals

2012 has been a great year for running! On exactly January 1st, I started training for my first marathon. Every day after that, right up until race day in May, was focused on that marathon. The day after that, I basked in the afterglow of having completed my first ever 26.2 mile race (read that as I  suffered the pain of having to recover from a marathon!). It was very much a day focused on a marathon - on being a marathoner at last! And then the very next day, I registered for my 2nd marathon, making every day after that focused on that race. Every day since January 1st, right up until October 7th had marathon on the mind, on my heart, and on every thing I would do.

It's been a month since I ran my last marathon race. And yes, as a result, my blog posts have been less frequent. And I've been a bit more relaxed. I've been running a bit less. But I need to clarify that I do in fact have running goals. By most people's standards, I've still been running lots. My current goals may not be as big or lofty in the short term, but my eyes are on the prize for something big in the long term. This is what I have in mind to work on in the coming while:

  • My next half marathon! I am running the New Balance Fall Classic in about 8 days time. I am hoping to reap the rewards of my recent marathon training and go kick this race's butt. I've been working on speed again, which I'd not really focused on much of late, in hopes to achieve a new PB at this coming race. Let's see if I can. I've only been officially training for this race a few weeks, so I'm keeping expectations low. I know I'll have more opportunities to get my goal time.
  • 2 more half marathons.... yes, I've become one of "them". One of those runners who can whip off half marathons with little thought. They're not at all about completion anymore but about having some serious fun and trying to better my finish time. So here are two more opportunities to try! The distance is just enough to be a respectable challenge, trying to maintain speed over a longer distance. Yet it is something I can  train for relatively easily and recover from. It's enough to keep my weekly mileage high and get some long-ish training runs in so it'll be easier to jump into marathon training mode when needed, but nothing that's going to exhaust me or become a huge commitment. The two half marathons I'll be running are the "First Half" Half Marathon in February and the BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool's Half Marathon in April.
  • Get stronger: I'm working out harder than ever at the gym, at least twice a week, one day focused on lower body, one day focused on upper body. I'm really enjoying the weight training, I love how it makes me feel, I love the adrenaline rush I get from it, and have found that I feel better running now that I've paid attention to strength training. I firmly believe it's contributed to better running posture and form, and made me less prone to lower back pain. No doubt it'll help my legs be marathon ready too and help with my overall health, confidence and well-being.
  • Surpassing 2000km ran during 2012: This wasn't a goal for me previously until I realized it was within reach. A few months ago, on a whim I started tracking my mileage along a map of Canada, like as if I was running a virtual race across the nation. I got super excited when I realized that I had reached Alberta. Kind of cool to cross a border! Then recently I noticed that it wouldn't be realistic to get anywhere super exciting within Canada should I continue my virtual run going East (I'm sorry Manitoba...); it wasn't like I'd reach the Atlantic coast within the year. Canada is simply too big and I am much too busy to try to cross the nation in one year. A friend suggested I go South instead. I had just then completed enough distance to get myself to San Francisco and that excited me. That felt like an accomplishment. I don't think I'll quite make it to San Diego, but I'm now well over 1800km and I know that 2000km will happen well before Dec 31st. I wonder how far I'll get? Any ideas?
  • Did someone say San Diego? My next marathon will be in San Diego! I won't be starting to train for this until February but this race is on my mind now. I will be running the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon, a Race to Benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on June 2nd, 2013. I will be training and fundraising with Team In Training, to do my part in the quest to find a cure for all blood cancers. I will be running this, in part, to honour my cousin Saeed, a lymphoma survivor, who intends to run the half marathon in San Diego with me! We haven't seen each other in about 25 years so, if all works out, this will be a very special reunion. I want this to be a celebration of family, of cancer survival, and of health through running. There are others I'm running for too, and I will tell you their stories. I will blog about this adventure here as well as the many reasons why I've chosen to take on this challenge. And of course, I'll tell you how you can help me! Please stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, please take a look at the art work I am selling to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada: Art to Beat Cancer