Monday, October 28, 2013

Niagara Race Weekend Recap (Part 2: Race Day!)

It's RACE DAY!
So after doing all my gear prep the night before, I was able to set my alarm clock a tad later than I would have if I wasn't confident that I was all set to go.  
CONFESSION: I was up before my alarm anyway because I kept waking up on and off throughout the night - BONUS, I still felt like I got a decent amount of sleep so I guess that can't be a bad thing.  Right before it was time to get up, I remember that I was dreaming about the race and that I had to break into someone's house (in my dream, it looked like this old triplex I used to live in when we first moved to Canada) and steal a long-sleeved shirt because it was super cold and I forgot to bring one!  Then, because I had to detour for the B&E I was late starting the 5K and it ate into the free time I had planned out to get to the 2K race. So what I did was skipped finishing the 5k to make it to the 2k except that I was late and ended up not getting ANY medals.  Yes, so in reality, I was having a nightmare!
That is one "angry bird" at 6:30 in the morning.
Top: Nike fleece-lined pullover hoodie
Shoes: Skora Forms

 So that's considered a confession because in reality, I don't care what other runners tell you their reason for taking up running is, but to me, it's still not fun and still not enjoyable and I'd rather be doing a bajillion other things besides lacing up, but I love me some bling, y'all.  It's not like I enjoy it when I'm getting dressed to go out.  It's not like I'm relishing the moments when I'm out there holding my bladder trying not to notice that my shins are on fire.  But it somehow makes it all worth it when I cross the finish and they hang something heavy and shiny around my neck.  Ergo, I'm in it for the medals.
We stayed at the Days Inn on Lundy's lane, which is about a 5 - 10 minute drive from the start line (the timing all depends on whether or not you did some research and figured out how to get to the start line beforehand instead of winging it the morning of).  It's not as convenient as staying right at the hotel with falls views, but it was $65 a night and all kinds of awesome with free parking and free wi-fi so it's really a no-brainer.  At this point, the location of the start-line had it so that even if you stayed at a super close hotel, you'd still have a trek to get to the start line anyway, so might as well save some money and drive.  The NFIM offered two parking locations - one at the finish line which was $18 paid, or a HUGE lot at the start line which was free.  I think it was pretty awesome that there was a choice.  
Clockwise from left: 1 & 2: Muuuch better spirits once we're at the start line and have made peace with the fact that it's early and cold and we now have to actually run a 5K.  3: Bonded with a few of those porta-potties throughout the day.  4: Hate out and backs because once people start looping around and you see it, it gives you this unrealistic idea that you're almost at the halfway point.  Except these mofos are fast and you're nowhere near halfway, let alone the end.
We got there at about 8-ish (the 5K run was scheduled to start at 8:30 am) and I was amped and ready to go.  So ready to go that I hopped out of the car and made my way to the start line and completely forgot to take my Vega pre-workout energizer.  I realized it by the time I got to the start line, but even then, there would have been a bit of a trek back to the car to get it and I was already in line for the porta-potties which was INSANE. IN THE MEMBRANE!  There was like, 6 porta-potties at the start line and 515 participants according to Sportstats. Dislike.

At the end of it all, we weren't able to go (perhaps our poor planning in showing up so close to race time or perhaps the fact that there were six porta-potties for 500+ people? Who knows?  But clearly, I was not shy in voicing my thoughts on the matter.
CONFESSION: As we were standing in line for the porta-potties, there was the CUTEST little 4 or 5 year old tyke beside me doing these awesome dynamic stretches.  I looked at him and watched him and totally melted because his little face was just so serious.  I had to cheer him on and tell him "you're looking really good, buddy! Way to stretch it out!"  The confession part?  Tara leaned over to me and muttered, "you're totally thinking you're gonna beat him right?" And I totally WAS.  I was looking at him all heart-melty and I was thinking, you go ahead and stretch, because I'm totally gonna smoke you at the finish line.  To a FOUR YEAR OLD.  My shame knows no bounds.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take too many photos or videos during this 5K because it was COLD.  
CONFESSION: I also had a really hard time with my shorts - or my cold little legs, who knows which.  I'd like to point out that I've never had problems running with shorts.  My legs don't usually feel cold and I can can get through a run just fine without BodyGlide.  I did remind Tara to bring it, but of course, we also forgot that in the car in our excitement to get out to the start line.  I think it was the cold that must have done it because the inside of my right thigh was on FIRE.  I have these awesome shots that Bart took of me just reaching down and grabbing handfuls of shorts and trying to pull them down to cover up my thighs.  FIRE.  I wonder if that affected my time.  I'll bet you it did.
I took quite a bit of walking breaks, I'm sad to say.  Although, at the end of the day, I shouldn't be that sad because in reality, I took less walking breaks than on our training woggles at lunch.  Probably because of the excitement and the crowd, I realized that I had gone 2.5 k without stopping.  I didn't say that I was going very fast, but there was no stopping.

Actually, on a sidenote about that, I've always wondered whether or not it's better to just keep "running" really slow.  Or to run pretty fast and then take a walking break and then go ahead and run again at a fast pace.  Hmmm...
The out and back part was 2k from the start and then another 2k back to the start.  For the last kilometer, runners by-passed the start line and kept heading down the falls on Fallsview Ave.  I've read many times that the NFIM has been voted the the best scenic route as well as one of the fastest routes because it ends DOWNHILL.  The course was pretty much on the level the entire 5K (except for that stupid bridge we had to cross which was technically like a hill.  MapMyRun elevation didn't show that *pouts*) but for the last kilometer it starts getting to a nice downhill slope until the finish line.  I had taken a few walking breaks as well as I allowed myself ONE porta-potty stop since I couldn't get in before the start of the race, but once I hit that last km mark, I started running and I told myself there was NO WAY I was going to let myself walk again until I crossed that finish line.  Although my ankles were hurting something fierce for some reason, that promise to myself was pretty easy to keep because the downhill slope was like a nice gentle "keep going" push, and as soon as you're about 500 meters away, you can hear the crowds cheering and the announcer calling in the runners and commentating and the music is blaring.  Plus, there's photographers out there.  No way they're catching me walking.  And I was also determined not to make ugly face like they caught on me three years ago!
October 24, 2010
Whatevs, still beat that couple behind me.  Hold hands all you want, folks!
*coughs* I mean, great job!

I kinda die laughing at this every time I look at it.  The pictures from this year aren't up yet and unfortunately (I don't know why I say that since I totally agree with it), they've made it SUPER hard to take any of the pictures without purchase with both static AND animated watermarks.  While I agree with it since I would never want someone to use my photographs without permission, I think $24 for a SINGLE photo download is a bit much.  I would be all about purchasing my photos if they would at least make me feel like they weren't robbing me.

And that's that.  Another official 5k time in the books - actually, I guess that one's not the "official" time - although it is to me.  My chip time, including the porta-potty break was 45 minutes. 
I was chalking up how I felt during this run while we were walking the 1k back up the hill to the 2k start line and I was saying that it was cold, I hadn't warmed up, etc.  I didn't say I was dehydrated because I knew for a fact that for the first time in a long time, I was properly hydrated for once.  I did wonder a little wistfully how I would have done and felt had I remembered to take my pre-workout energizer and I mused aloud at how odd it was that my ankles were bothering me on this run since they never seemed to before.  I have gotten used to shin splints and stiff calves, but this was the first I'd felt ankles.  And finally Tara was like, "and remember, you're PREGNANT!"
Honestly, I sometimes forget I'm pregnant and I don't really fall back on that as a reason for why my running hasn't felt as good (well, as it can be while pregnant).  I guess that would be a pretty good reason for why anything feels off during a run.
CONFESSION: A couple times throughout race day, I asked both Bart and Tara to confirm whether or not I really look pregnant or just overweight.  For some reason, in my head, while I think it's admirable to go out running while being overweight, I felt like it was more awesome to be out running while pregnant.  Honestly, sometimes I should be ashamed of how shallow I am/come across.  I guess that's why they're called confessions...

You know how I was talking about how sucky an out and back is because it makes me feel like I'm at least halfway done when I see people start to loop around and then I realize I'm nowhere close?  This is probably where you would be in regards to the blog post.  I'm almost about halfway there, but then I look at all the other pictures I want to post and things I want to talk about and realize we're not really there yet...
Proof that even with back-to-back races, there is ALWAYS time for a dance break!
Shoes: Skora Bases

Aaaand now that the 5K is done and we're pretty sufficiently warmed up (if not ready to get the heck out of the cold!), it's time for the 2K!
BOOM! And there WAS time for an outfit change!  Actually, thanks to my over-estimating, there was quite a lot of time for changing and getting warm and refueling and potty breaks as WELL as dance breaks!  It's hard not to want to bust out a move with all the fun, upbeat songs they were playing.  Without a doubt, the NFIM official theme song for the year must have been "Wake Me Up" by Avicii.  I felt like it was the only song playing whenever I heard music blaring - not that I was complaining.  I love that song!
We lined up and when the horn sounded, we were off again.  Making our way down the same route the 5K took, but this time, the loop around was MUCH closer.  I was definitely warmed up and had really made peace with the fact that we were running - AGAIN, and this time Tara stayed with me.  Actually, if I remember correctly, we had planned that everyone was going to do their own thing during the 5k to get the best times possible and we were going to make the 2k a group fun run.  After I set my watch, I looked up and was like, "Where's Bart?" We look ahead a bit and all we see is his bobbing hat and he's taken off like a racehorse out of the gates. *LOL* Tara shrugged and we figured that since he knew she was staying with me, he was going to go willy nilly and see how fast he could do it.  We slapped him some high fives when he looped around and we just chugged along.
I hate knowing that I'm holding people back, so as soon as I we got to the pylon where we loop back, I told Tara to feel free to go ahead since I felt like slowing down or stopping for a break.  Tara was pretty adamant that she was going to stay with  me (LOVES her) but she did encourage me not to stop, reminding me that my shins and calves usually hurt worse when I do stop for a walking break (p.s. anyone know why that is?)  I agreed that she was right, so I kept chugging along if not at a slightly slower pace.
I guess Tara figured I was caving because she pointed out a random person in front of us and did my little game that I usually like to play when we're out.  She said, "Okay, how about we just try to run past that person.  They're really close.  We can do that." and of course it looked reasonable so I agreed and we would hit that little mini goal.  She did that a few times and then nearer to the end, she pointed out a group quite ahead of us.  Right away I shot it down and said that I didn't think I had it in me.  I was starting to get a stitch in my side and even though I didn't want to stop to walk since we were so close, I definitely wasn't feeling like I could dig any deeper.  

So next little motivational push?  Out comes the video camera.  If you're going to do something, make it worth videotaping so you can post it.  I know it's slightly mean, but when you feel like you're about ready to quit or stop and take a break with less than a few hundred metres to go, you kind of have to just do whatever it takes, right? (P.S. Great job, ladies! No matter what you heard from that rude, preggo Asian lady!)
I'd post up the video of us crossing the finish, but as steady as I thought was holding my iPod, it definitely may make you want to puke from the jiggly-ness of it all.
In short, I was really just happy that I got to cross the finish line with Bart and Tara each.  I know some of the BEST people, I swear!  By this point, I was feeling the effects of the pre-workout energizer that I was finally able to remember to drink before the start of the 2k and the endorphins were kicking in so I was loving life pretty large.
Photo #6: Yes, that is a shot of me grabbing a handful of shorts crotch - just as I mentioned I had to do a bunch of times.  Thanks for capturing that precious moment, Bart!

Without any more races to rush back to the start line for, we were able to hang out, grab some awesome food at the finish and just walk around and cool off.
Bart kept disappearing on us and finally we found him at the results tent which we thought was odd.  I mean, why would anyone care about what they finished in a 2k?  It's a 2k.  Right?
Well, as it turns out, Bart felt like he had done pretty good (he better have, he totally ditched his pregnant wife at the start line *LOL*) and when the results were posted, he won first place in his age division.  Whaaat?!  That is all kinds of amazeballs!  Being short and pushy,  I was able to get to the results chart and look him up and once I announced his results, I turned around to get going and at the last second figured that since I was already standing there and there was a line-up, I might as well check what our results were.  There we were, and seriously. WHAAAAAT?!  Tara and I both placed third in our age groups.  We were like, oh that's neat.  We head over with Bart to the age group prize tent and the lady is explaining to him that as a first place finisher in his age group, he gets a separate GOLD medal to commemorate that.  
Instantly, mine and Tara's ears kind of perk up like puppies who have totally heard the crackle of a treat bag.  First place gets a medal?  Like, another one?!  So right away, after my neck has completed it's Exorcist twist to the lady Bart is talking to, I was like, "So, do THIRD place finishers get medals too!?"  She was only working on the male category list and directed us over to the right side of the tent to check with the other volunteers and we made a direct beeline.  I can't even tell you if we cut in front of people, I was so focused.  I really hope not, but SORRY! if we did!
I ask the girl with a listing and she goes to check and right away, my eyes do this like, zooming focus on the longest name on the list.  "THERE'S ME.  I'M RIGHT THERE. THAT'S ME. SEE IT MATCHES MY NUMBER HERE ON MY BELLY."
I have an idea what this is all meaning, but I don't want to get my hopes up just yet in case she hands me a paper certificate or with my luck, a good hearty handshake or something, but she gives my category win to the guy behind her and he turns around and he holds out a medal to me.  To me.  A medal. ANOTHER one.  As in...one other than the two I know I paid for with my registration.  So....like in real life, this is like a REAL medal (not that the others weren't and not that they weren't well earned) but still...this was a medal I never planned on.  And they're giving it to me.  And it says stuff on the back and the front of it says AGE GROUP AWARD WINNER.  It says WINNER.

CHEESE ON A CRACKER!  I'm a WINNER, y'all!  I had to change my standard photo taking peace sign to a THREE at the last minute to accommodate this change, but it turned out a bit wonky because I was holding too many things.

But there you have it.  All of a sudden it's not just a 2k race like we told Bart earlier on when we were bitter that he was holding us back from getting in the warm car and stuffing our faces with breakfast!  And the awesome thing I totally couldn't get over was the happiness at the fact that ALL of us placed.  It was a pretty darn good day already, this added bonus was just totally icing on the cake!  I was over the moon at all of it!
And then the craziness took over and I was able to focus on one thing.  Third place.  In my third trimester.  
Me: "Bart, what was your time again?"
Bart: "Just a little over ten minutes."
Me: "Next year, I'm gonna do it in EIGHT!"
Oh, brother. I'm such a jerk sometimes.
Meh, at least I have a goal!  Continuous improvement needs goal setting!  Right!?
After we had ascertained that there was no other surprise awards to be gotten (from not even expecting anything to making sure there weren't secret categories that they were handing out medals for LOL), we finally made it to breakfast so that we could relax, refuel and totally rehash the entire morning!
Yes, I totally wore them ALL to breakfast!

What's that noise?  Oh, just my medals from this morning.  #nobigdeal 
After that, it was a well-earned treat afternoon with massage appointments booked at my favourite spa at Niagara-on-the-Lake and then swimming and hanging out in their outdoor hotsprings and indoor saltwater pool.  As much as I normally do most of the time, I don't think it's an exaggeration this time when I say I think we earned it!

Left: October 24, 2010 | Right: October 27, 2013 (28 weeks pregnant)


P.S. Just for fun and because I already have the album open, I thought I'd do a before and after of myself at Niagara 2010 and Niagara 2013

 P.P.S. I would just like to thank the organizers of the Niagara Falls International Marathon for their hardwork and organization in putting this whole event together year after year.  Because year after year it seems to be getting better and better!  I'd also like to thank all the volunteers that came out - because no matter what kind of organizers you have, all of the races from 2k to the marathon could not have been done without you!  As well as all the schools and other teams and organizations that came out and set up shop in different parts of the route to cheer people on!  Even though I was in relatively short races, seeing the enthusiasm and support and encouragement still did a lot for me!

Disclaimer: I was provided bibs for the 5K and the 2K by Niagara Falls International Marathon in exchange for money that I had to give them to secure my registration.  I also missed the first early bird registration so my registration fee was higher than than the people who remembered to sign up earlier than me.  Therefore, this post is sponsored by myself and the fact that I like to drone on and on about my own thoughts and feelings and post an indecent amount of photographs of myself - preferably getting medals.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Niagara Race Weekend Recap (Part 1: Saturday/Expo)

I'm trying to think of a way to keep this as short as possible, but seeing as how I'm still me, that's not really going to happen.  I can try to make it entertaining, but I can't really do that on purpose, so how about I just get on with it? *LOL*
Once I got back into the swing of running (and once my discovering Skora running shoes), nothing ensures staying with it like signing up for a race.  We had previously flaked on our registration the last time we signed up (back in 2011!) and so this time, I was determined that I was going to follow through and I was going to PR compared to my last chip time.
October 24, 2010

October 27, 2013
Unfortunately, such was not the way of it.  I'm trying not to let it bother me that from the plain, ol' simple black and white stats, it looks like I took a three-year break only to come back SLOWER. (Apparently there isn't a spot in SportStats that let's me explain that I'm 28 weeks preggo, or something...)
When I registered with Tara and Bart back in March, I definitely didn't know there was a little munchkin on the way (because there actually wasn't just yet) so I had some pretty lofty goals - if you can call beating a 40 minute 5K a goal *LOL* Ah well, I went out there and we had at it and I had a REALLY great weekend with some really great people!
We headed down to Niagara in the afternoon and made a beeline for the expo to pick up our race packets.  Scored myself free parking at the Skylon Tower lot, thanks (for once) to my temper.  We were at an all-way stop and some guy totally turned left in front of my already moving car that was going STRAIGHT (not to mention the fact that it was MY right of way) and unfortunately, my first instinct is to flash him the bird (sorry, Mama) right in front of the gate attendant.  He waved me right on in and then continued to take the $10 payment from everyone else that was coming in after me.  Word to big bird!  Thank you, parking attendant guy!  I imagine you've seen your fair share of "special" drivers.  
Headed into the expo and it was run very well.  I can't remember our first experience in 2010 to compare, but I feel like this year was nice and smooth.  Runners received E-Mails starting on October 24th with their bib numbers (we could also look them up on the website) and we were told that we just need to know our bib numbers in order to pick up our packets.  No standing in line according to last name A - L, M - Z, etc.  Right when we walked in, there was a bit of congestion inside the front doors as they had some laptops set up for runners to look up their bib numbers.  It kind of made it hard to get in the door and it was hard not to do a bit of a head shake at all the people who didn't know their bib numbers.
In any case, bib pick up was easy - even for us, as we were picking up two different packets - one for our 5K and then another line for the 2K.  We got our bags and our bibs which also had our timing chips.  We followed a red carpet all the way throughout the expo that lead around to the different vendors and at the end of it, computers and scanners where we could activate our bib tags and away we went.
I'm having a bit of regretsies in not buying anything at the expo, but I was running around with the "BUY ALL THE THINGS" gleam in my eye, but I think I took it completely the opposite direction by not buying anything at all.  
Compression Socks from BondiBand
REALLY wanted one or two or ALL of these!  They also had a pile of their headbands and there were so many that I wanted with sayings, but I've only just started wearing headbands and I'm still not really sure how I feel about the way I look in them, not to mention that the back of my head is so flat it never holds the headband in place.  
Source: @Si11ySkitt1es on Instagram
Aaaand lookie who I met!  John Stanton - the founder of The Running Room and author of several books!  We're pretty much BFFs now.
So, I didn't get to buy too much, although there were some pretty good vendors there!  I was really interested in the Run Girl Run booth.  Also having regretsies about not picking up THIS shirt.  Now that I'm checking out their website, I'm kicking myself a little at blowing through the booths so fast because there's a bunch of stuff that I want now! *LOL*
But let's face it: I kind of had a one track mind for this:
Source: @Si11ySkitt1es on Instagram
Ummm...this is what runners meant by carb-loading, right?!  Isn't that the only reason to run?  Sooo GOOD! 
We made a pit stop to the Hershey factory outlet, but unfortunately, I was SO FULL from my carb-load, so I didn't even get a chance to enjoy it.  
Breakfast. Of. CHAMPIONS, y'all.
I felt justified in taking two bites of this because I always read about people who have a slice of toast with peanut butter before a workout or run.  This is pretty much also the same thing.  Bread is loosely translated in my world.  But I'm jumping ahead.  Pretend you haven't seen this yet!  It hasn't happened yet based on this post!
I was determined that I was going to do everything I could to make sure I was well/properly hydrated for this race and just as physically okay as I could be.  All day Saturday, starting from when I woke up, my Reebok compression socks went on (I couldn't find my rainbow ones *insert sad face*) and I filled up my Contigo water bottle (favourite water bottle EVER!) and before breakfast was over, I had finished one bottle of water already.  I was also determined that I would keep it nice and steady throughout the day.  None of this bulk water chugging which usually happens just a few minutes before bed which never leads to anything fun - like a full night's worth of sleep.  
I think this mission was pretty successful.  I know for sure because I have been experiencing leg cramps throughout the night which has woken me up from sleeping the last few weeks and I did not experience that the night after I made hydration my focus.  I had read that not being properly hydrated was one of the reasons that people experienced leg cramps, so I'm going to say that was tried and true.  I am horrible with remembering to drink water.
Before I finally headed to bed, I made sure all my gear was prepped and everything that I would need for tomorrow was ready to go.  I didn't want to wake up and scramble to look for packets of hydration and pre-workout energizer and sacrifice warm-up time or rush around and chance forgetting something.
 



I had two separate running outfits planned for each run, but I figured I was being a bit optimistic since I wasn't sure that we'd even make it back in time for the 2K.  
CONFESSION: My ambition greed for medals knows no bounds, y'all.
When I was signing up, I had originally just planned for the 5K since that's what I wanted to improve my time on, but I noticed that since the last time we were in Niagara, they added a 2K and I was like, AWESOME!  I had been averaging 35 minute 5Ks so I was thinking there'd be TONS of time to do both.  The 5K was at 8:30 am and the 2K was after that at 10:15 am.  Psssh, there was even MORE than enough time.  I'd have enough time to take a nap and then some!
Yep, that was my thought process prior to getting preggo.  Once I found out I was expecting and then realized that we were signed up for this race, that thought took on a new tune for sure.  Considering that I was averaging a 45+ minute plus 5K.  The thing that made it worse, I realized MUCH later on that the races were not an out and back in the way that the end finishes at the start like it did the last time we were there.  It was an out and back route in the way that from the start, we went one way, but then looped back around, passed the start line and then finished somewhere else completely.  So what that meant for us was that once we finished the 5K, we would have to walk about 2K to get back to the start for the next race.  GAH!  
So after that realization, I wasn't even sure there would be time for an outfit change, but I packed it all anyway to be prepared.  I had everything all set to go from my gear, to my hydration to my morning snack (besides the peanut butter cookie sandwich).  I knew my electronic running gadgets were charged and ready to go and I was able to go to sleep knowing that I could sleep right up until my alarm and get up the next morning not having to rush around.  If I was going to lose sleep about anything race-related, it for sure wasn't going to because I was stressing out about forgetting something!
With that said and all my strings tied and t's crossed, etc. I was ready for bed!  Bring on race day!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Snapshot Confessionals

In an effort to try to encourage a more regular blogging schedule for myself, I was going to try to make this entry a first of  a "theme" for Thursdays, but there are no cool alliteration words that go with Thursday, so I figure I'll just go with that title instead.  Hopefully, I can keep it up for longer than one entry! *LOL*
It's kind of like a photo dump + chance to keep my chitter-chatter to a minimum for my guy followers *coughs* Andre *coughs* who say I write too much, but clearly, as I am still me, I'm already violating my goal to keep the word count to a minimum.  He he he #sorrynotsorry!
Let's get to it!
I don't know if it's intentional and I just didn't pick up on it, but October has been a good book release month for me!  Earlier, I picked up the newest installment of Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan (a spinoff of the Percy Jackson series).  I stare at a computer screen all day looking at/talking about/dealing with money and finances, I feel like I deserve a good bit of YA material where I can zone out and not have to think too much - and also because I'm 12.  Allegiant, the 3rd and final book of the Divergent series finally came out and I grabbed it on my wander around Chapters.  Liked the first two installments better, but I still managed to stay up until 3:30 am to finish reading it.
Confession:  I have been doing this obsessively for the last few months.  I read in the "What to Expect" book that toes, feet, ankles, legs, etc. tend to swell and puff up during pregnancy and I'm that shallow that it has become a fear of mine.  Any time I have access to look at my feet, I will take that opportunity to scrutinize them to make sure they're not ginormous since I also read that some women's feet can grow up to a size and a half larger and not go back to normal.  I should feel shameful that this is a legit fear of mine.  They seem okay in this picture...for now...
 Tried to make the effort in cleaner eating, but I'm going to go ahead and blame this on the whole pregnancy thing.  The thought of going back to eating my chicken meals and salads and whatnot makes me want to punch someone in the face and then shove Reese's peanut butter cups in mine.  I feel victorious with any minimal success that I get when eating cleaner.  This effort wasn't that great.  I opened up the Astro Greek Yogurt flavored vanilla creme brulee and ended up throwing it out because it tasted horrible.  I had my protein shake ready to go and work got so busy that it sat there on my desk all day.  I did eat my balance bar though and it was delicious.
CONFESSION: Instead of doing the massive pile of laundry that is threatening to take over my entire laundry room, I just nipped on out and bought more underwear.  Bart stares at me with judgement in his eyes. #aintnoshameinmygame
There was a work wellness fair going on this week and I signed up for a yoga and zumba class.  The yoga one felt pretty good even though I couldn't do half of the things she instructed.  My bad, I didn't tell her that I had any special conditions when she asked if there was anyone who had any special conditions.  Meh, I made do and it still felt really nice.  NOTE TO SELF: No more zumba for me until after the baby comes.  It just doesn't seem right to be 28 weeks pregnant to be twerking and shaking things....
CONFESSION: I totally ate this while I was waiting outside the room for zumba to start.  I mean...it's okay.  I'm going to zumba after all!
Also...
...this was sticking out of my purse during class.  I was sad I didn't have enough time to eat them before the class started.  Probably a good thing though since I wasn't feeling so hot after all the shaking and the shimmying and whatnot.
I like to drink my water in measurable containers like this measuring cup to keep track of my liquid intake.
CONFESSION: All the clean glasses are actually in the dishwasher and this was the only acceptable receptacle that I could find to drink out of.  This snapshot confessional may be painting a very lazy and slobby picture of me to the general public...that's pretty accurate. 
I plugged in my Nike+ SportWatch to charge and when the app opened up with all my stats, it seemed like a good idea to tally up my KMs and to make sure that my KM count was accurate for my Skoras.  Since I started running in February all the way up until Tuesday's lunch time woggle, I've gone 293.75 kms.  Which is 293.75 more kms than I've gone ever, so I'm good with that.  99 of those kms were done in April which was the month before I found out I was preggo.  Halfway through May, I found out why I was feeling so tired and then June and July: 3.34 km and 5.23 km, you can tell that I wasn't having any kind of physical activity.  I thought that was pretty cool to see and I'm hoping to continue to be able to keep track of my KMs for 2013, though I expect to see a significant drop (or a complete absence of any) in February, depending on what happens with the little miss and how I react to it all.
I'm off work tomorrow and have got a spa adventure date with my cousin (who is 36 weeks pregnant) and we are practically quivering waiting for the moment when someone can get their hands on our lower backs (and legs for me!)  And then this weekend is the big Niagara Falls run and I'm really pumped for it except for the part where I have to run a 5K and a 2K.  Being serious about running and all, we have a carb-loading session planned at Red Lobster where I plan to consume an indecent amount of garlic shrimp pasta and then once they officially hand me my two medals, we'll be off for breakfast because obviously we deserved it and then the SPA!  *coughs* #massagewhore *coughs*
I'm sure that I'll be blowing up IG feeds, so if you're at all curious to see what a pregnant meltdown in the middle of a 5K or 2K looks like, feel free to follow me on Instagram and Twitter!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Work Wellness and Uphill Battles

So, I've been trolling everyone's blogs (in a non-creepy way, hopefully) who went to the Runner's World Half Marathon and Festival.  And while I can barely make it through a 10K  let alone a half marathon, I totally got caught in all the blogging excitement and found myself wishing I had been able to go and participate in the hat trick and see the RW offices and hang out with all those people who make running look as easy as breathing (like, easy breathing.  Not the huffing and puffing I just did today at lunch time.)
I think what caught my attention the most was seeing RW's office environment.  It just sounds like such a cool place to work!  I follow the Vega Team on Instagram and they post occasional pictures of the happenings in their offices and I end up just staring at the pictures and getting all bitter at my own workplace.  I know I'm being unfair since these company's whole "platform" (I'm not sure if I'm using that in the right context?) or reason for existing is for health and wellness so it only makes sense that they'd have a lot of focus on...well, health and wellness!
From reading SkinnyRunner's blog, I was all coveting the bike room (even though I very recently had some horrifying experiences with a bike seat, it didn't stop me from being all envious and whiny about it) where employees can take out bikes and go for a spin or participate in lunch time jogs and what not.  I mean, even though I might not ever want to bike around while I'm at work, I like knowing that the option is there.  And who knows, maybe with my blossoming love for spinning, I might be on the verge of a bicycle affair and my work's failure at having a bike room is what's getting in the way!
 
Perhaps the powers that be at work felt my growing disgruntled-ness (and apparently I'm making words up now) because a few weeks ago, I got an E-Mail about an upcoming Work Wellness Fair that was happening.  We were invited to sign up for seminars and fitness classes as well as attend a fair that would be going on throughout the day.  Of course, the invitation meant that you could go IF you weren't busy or could spare the time.  So, I can see that even though my work is trying, it's still not all the way there in that it's only on an availability basis as opposed to 'let's close the offices and make sure you all get out there for some healthy living info!' kind of thing.
Looking through the invite, I think I may be a little too hard on them since it's inviting me to the 3rd annual and this is kind of the first time I'm hearing about it. Whoops!  Might have something to do with the fact that I have any E-Mails with the subject line [Staff Notice] getting automatically filtered to my junk mail...
I looked through the sessions being offered and registered for:

CONFESSION: Okay, when I first saw this (before I signed up) I could have sworn that the registration schedule said genital yoga.  Seriously, though.  How could I not think it at first glance?  How do you mess up GENTLE?  I was imagining myself attending the session and raising my hand partway through a move so I could ask, "While I'm doing this, what am I supposed to be doing with my vagina?" And I'd be the one getting weird looks.  #awkward
I even Googled it in case I was just being a n00b and I didn't realize it was a name or type of yoga, ie. Moksha yoga or something.  It's not.  Although I'm kind of interested in what the session would be like if it really was genital yoga.  Perhaps it could clarify what a kegel is...TMI?  I've been told I need to examine my boundaries a little bit...
In any case, I'm finding that I'm really looking forward to attending tomorrow and wandering around the fair.  Not only because they're offering mini massage therapy sessions and I've sort of become a bit of a massage whore (I had a massage appointment at a spa last week and I've got one again this Friday and then another one at a different spa on Sunday after the run), I can't resist fairs and expos that give away free samples and swag bags.  Plus, I've been on the market for a new eReader so cross your fingers that I'll win one!  Meh, on the cooking classes.  Someone else can have that with my blessings (clearly just guaranteeing myself the fact that if I do win anything, it will probably be the cooking classes).  Updates on all that tomorrow!
In other fitness news, Tara and I went for a woggle today at lunch.  
 
A few weeks ago, Tara and I were talking about how I noticed that when I whine to her and tell her I don't want to go running, she does the good friend thing and makes me go.  Even if I get mad at her.  She's firm and we go.  And at the end of it all, I end up being happy that we went.  But when she comes into my office and says she doesn't want to go, my first response is: "Wanna go for breakfast?" So not only do I not choose the hard option of making us both accountable and going, I am also negatively enabling her.  (But SRSLY, who doesn't want BREAKFAST?!)  I remembered that today when she messaged me and said she was hungry.  That was technically code for 'I don't want to run, let's go get breakfast.'  But I was wise to my bad friend ways and so I said NOPE!  We're going for a run!  Yes! Even though it's super cold out!  We are GOING!
And to make my stance even bolder, I chose the 5K route with the HILL!  Not only am I being an awesome friend by making us go out there when we don't want to, I'm not even taking the EASY way!
I read somewhere that when you train on hills, you'll do much better when running on flat/even ground.  So here I am thinking that I've studied our Niagara 5K route extensively (read: I used MapMyRun and clicked on the elevation ticky-box) and it's pretty much one straight line.  So if we used our two runs this week to go uphill, we'll be laughing on Sunday - and I JUST MIGHT get my chance at a Niagara 5K PR (eternal optimist is my middle name, friends!)
I have some crap ideas.  I mean, I shouldn't even be making these kinds of decisions while I'm SITTING on an office chair inside a warm (that's not technically true since I'm convinced the higher ups keep our offices SUPER cold in order to keep us moving/working - yes, I'm totally on to you!) building!  We get out there and I'm at the base of this long sloping incline and I want to die.  Or at the very least walk.  
But I like to think that I am nothing if not resourceful and I will stop at nothing to try to meet a goal.  Today it was a deal with myself.  I was going to post an IG video of me going up the hill.  Of course, my pride would not allow me to post a video where I am walking uphill.  That would be unacceptable.  So that only leaves me one choice.  I have to get running.  So, open up the video and hit that round red button and here we go.  Start running.  I talk and pant and gasp and whine and cuss until I make it up the hill and really, the video itself and the content is inconsequential.  The whole moral of the story, if you will, is that I made it up the hill without stopping for a walk break.  Goal.  Set. Served.  Boom.  
At the end of the day, and I'm thinking after my little mini doubt-fest yesterday, it doesn't matter how you get things done.  As long as you go about doing them.  Today, my motivation was to be able to post something.  I set a goal where I was going to run up that hill and I did it.  It didn't matter that I wasn't really going that fast, or that my huffing and puffing and talking probably made it harder.  It took my mind off the fact that what I REALLY wanted to do was stop and turn around and walk DOWN the hill and at the end of it all, there I was at the top.  I'm going to take my small victories as they come.  And with that...here's the video:

So, friends, let's have at it:
What kind of fitness friend are you? 

Monday, October 21, 2013

All The. Small Things.

I couldn't type that title at all without singing it out.  Bonus points to who can tell me the song - especially because at this point, I can only remember just THAT part and I have no idea who sings it.  Save me a Google search, won't you? *LOL*
....aaaaand of course it's been a million bajillion years since I last posted even though I promised that I would do it more regularly.  It's not that I'm sitting here thinking that there's people out there dying to know what I've been up to, but I know that later on down the road, I'll want to recall things that have been happening and I'll have NADA.  Especially with this interesting preggo brain experience.  I have the memory capacity of a...*insert something with a really bad memory here*
I was just sitting here (it's 7:50 pm) getting mad at myself because I want to eat something and I'm thinking it's because I'm bored and have nothing to do when I realize that my shepherd's pie that I packed for lunch is currently sitting in the microwave at work.  Where I heated it up at 2:00 pm to eat.  Huh.  Preggo brain is no jokes, my friend.  Apparently, it seems to be doing a number on me, but I think I'd like to look at it that I'm just THAT dedicated a minion employee.
I've sat down to type up a blog post before, but thinking back to the last time I posted - donkey race - and all the things that happened in between (which isn't really that much, in terms of BIG happenings) and I get all overwhelmed and am like, 'ah eff it!'
So I figure I'll kind of just do a point form of sorts (sorry Andre, it still will probably be a pretty long post *LOL*) and get caught up, maybe now that I'm moving closer to the third trimester and my energy seems to be dwindling slowly, I'll have more time to hang out in bed and post more...who knows!
Off the top of my head: All Things Baby
Girlfriend is hanging out chillin' like a villain in there and at times, I'm convinced she's making like a ballerina and twisting and twirling about in there.  She's not so much a martial artists in the kicks and jabs as I don't feel those as often as I feel the flutters and squirming.  Even though it catches me off guard and I love it, it's also really pretty creepy.  There's a moving humanoid in there.  Doing acrobatics.  Inside my belly.  Sometimes, when she kicks or punches, I can actually see my stomach jolt out of the corner of my eye.  And then in a few months, whatever was inside me will be outside of me.  Being all real, human person.  Just blows my mind, I tell you!
Source: © Lolita aka My Mama
Thanksgiving 2013
CONFESSION: Speaking of Thanksgiving, I totally had this freak out moment where I realized I hadn't felt the baby move around as much as usual and I was scared that because I was feeling so SUPER, PAINFULLY full from all the food I stuffed into my face that my expanded stomach was suffocating the baby.  
Besides talking about it on here and hashtagging some photos on IG, I guess I haven't talked - or even announced - that Bart and I are expecting.  So it kind of threw me when we had an impromptu photo session at my parents during Thanksgiving and I posted up one of the pictures I liked and everyone started congratulating us.  It gave my heart warm fuzzies, though.  Should have made an official announcement sooner! *LOL* 
Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram
Was on a bit of a crafty kick for a couple of weeks.  I know I've mentioned on here (I think!?) that my friend Melissa is also preggo and is about six weeks behind me (which we are pretty PUMPED about and have all these unrealistic ideas that we'll be happily pushing smiling chubby babies around in their strollers while hanging out at the mall and going to 'mom and me' movie afternoons at the theatre - where in real life, we're pretty aware that reality will kick our butts and it'll be a good day when we can make it through the day without very bad thoughts or crying into diapers or something).  Totally forgot where I was going with all that...oh, right!  So I'm helping throw her a shower and that totally brought out the Martha in me!  She's not a shower-y type and she didn't want a bridal shower, but she's letting me have my way with her getting a baby shower and I'm going all sorts of crazy!  It's a tea party theme and I'm super excited about it.  I wish it would come sooner actually.  
One of the weekends, I went with my mama to help her out with Tiana's dance stuff.  I mistakenly thought it was an expo of some sort, but when I got there, I realized it was some kind of dance workshop/competition.  So again, I was plunged into the world of crazy, competitive dance with crazy, competitive dance moms.  I stare at them strangely and in horror now, but we all know that once my little munchkin can hold her own head up on two feet, I'm going to put all other dance moms to shame.  So the workshops totally felt like I was in a "So You Think You Can Dance" audition or something.  There were dancers ERRYWHERE.  Doing their stretching, being all bendy and stuff and then they had these breakout groups where they'd learn a quick dance number and then have to know it within like, 5 seconds or something or you'll never have a future in dance and why did you even come?  I mean, they don't actually TELL you that, but it's implied.  Obvs.  
On the lunch break, we went to grab something really quick at Tim Horton's and I totally went all stalker crazy when I saw this guy:
Source: Instagram

I mean for reals.  I know I shouldn't be posting pictures up of people on the interwebs without their permission, but I think you don't need it if you look famous or something.  Or like ROYALTY!  My mom only semi-judged me when I took this photo from super far away, but she drew the line at taking my picture as I casually stood near him so we could get a picture together *LOL*  I don't really have celebrity interests, but me and Prince William kind of go way back where I believe in his heart he knows he should have married me, hence, marrying someone else named Catherine.  
Me and Running
Still going at it.  Kind of.  If you can really even call what I do running these days anymore.  
I know people keep telling me that I'm pregnant, I'm carrying a human and all that jazz, but sometimes it's so HARD not to freak out about how I can't run anymore.  I think especially because it took a REALLY long time to be able to even say that what I do is running.  Then all of a sudden, bam! It's gone just like that.  And then the competitive person in me keeps seeing how other people are improving by being able to keep at it and I'm doing the complete opposite.  Actually, that applies more specifically to frisbee.  I miss it like nobody's business!  That's where I catch myself with all these bitter feelings watching other people on the field and they get to run around catching discs and scoring points.  I know I started out awful.  And I always took comfort in the fact that there were other people who were just as awful as I was.  But now, I watch them on the sidelines and all of a sudden they're super good.  They're getting all this time while I'm sidelined to get better than me.  And then when I come back, I'll suck and they'll be prancing around me, grabbing discs in the air, when in REAL life, before all this happened, we all know I was better than they were! *shudders*  I never said that this blog was a beautiful portal of insight into my thoughts...


But let's forget about other people.  I don't really feel that way about running - even frisbee, I guess.  I know that there will always be someone better at something.  It's just the way of it.  I think I'm just competitive and for the most part, it's really against myself.  Take this weekend for example.
This weekend, we'll be heading over to Niagara Falls to the Niagara Falls International Marathon.  Of course we're only signed up for the 5K (and this year the 2K cuz I got greedy and wanted two medals) but this run is kind of important to me in that it was the VERY FIRST official run that I ever signed up for.   That was about three years ago...or is it four now?  Meh, whatevs.  But that was the first race that we signed up for in order to have a goal to run to.  That's what started us on our Couch to 5K adventure and what kept us going through it because we knew we were going to Niagara.  I finished with a time an official chip time of 40 minutes and 13 seconds.  I always thought that the next time I ran it (we signed up again the next year, but we'd kind of dwindled off on the running so just didn't end up going and the year after that - or last year - we didn't even bother to sign up because I had just started my weigh-loss journey and hadn't started running again yet).  I had always thought that the next time I ran this race, I would have a better time.  I mean, what's the point of doing something again if not to better yourself, right?!  Judging from my 5K times lately, not only am I not slated to PR this race (compared to last time), I'm set to be SLOWER.  
Yes!  I know there's that whole, but you're pregnant.  Human. Inside.  But SportStat doesn't know that.  It will just list my next time underneath my old time and it will just look like I got slower.  There isn't a spot anywhere that I can write "I was 28 weeks pregnant here".  *pouts*
I know I'm being such a complete brat about this, and I know there are good reasons and that I should be happy that I'm still even getting out at all like a lot of people have mentioned to me, it's just...sad sometimes.  And don't get me wrong, not sad in that I wish I WASN'T pregnant or I regret this little munchkin because I already LOVE her like nobody's business, but you know.  I think it's worse because I had made a lot of progress and improvement prior.  I got a taste of what it was like to be...good at something that I was very CLEARLY not good at and it's hard to go back to that - for any reason.  Even if only for a little while.  Because you know what?  What if it ISN'T only for a little while?  What if the reality of me having a little one totally kicks my butt and I'm not able to go back? Or I lose my will? My motivation?  And Fat Catherine takes over?!
.
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.
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So this post totally took a life of it's own. 
I really thought it was just going to be a bunch of small updates about what I've been up to lately.  But, there it is.  Now that my fingers have run away with themselves on the keyboard, can't really do anything about it.  I mean, I've thought those things and it's all true...but it just looks way more real when it's out there like that.  Explains why my stats really bother me and why I can't bring myself to stop keeping track.  
Of course I know a lot of my fears are unfounded or not based on anything concrete.  Heck, my favourite fitness blogger Courtney has TWO kids and a business and a home life and a husband and she juggles it all and then some.  It can be done.  It's all a matter of wanting it bad enough.  So maybe my fear isn't that I've reached the pinnacle of my healthiest success.  It's that I won't have the motivation to try to get back at it.  And really, who am I to say that that will happen if I want it bad enough?  Is the fear then that I don't want it bad enough?  Who knows?  I don't really know what to expect, but I guess it's on me, isn't it?  Nobody ever said there was an expiry date to this fitness thing.  It didn't give me a timeline that said in exactly SIX weeks from the day I give birth, I must be ready to roll with my Skoras on and out the door and I must crank out a PR three weeks from that date.  Maybe I'm thinking it, and maybe it's my goal, but so what if the timing isn't exactly as I mapped out?  I just have to want it and then I just have to work at doing it.  A little bit at a time. 
I'm having a breakdown of the things I can't handle with life as a mom and I'm not even a mom yet!
So, in an attempt to lighten up the onslaught of fears and misgivings I just plopped down...here's an un-mom-like moment:

Aaaaand on that note, I think I'll give 'er a close for the evening!  Next post: All about Niagara!!!  And (hopefully) tons of pictures of my TWO medals! *LOL*
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