Friday, June 21, 2013

It's Not The Same Thing

Me: Hey, so our volunteer time for Maizeys soccer is tomorrow morning at 11:20.

Brian: What??? What volunteer stuff??

Me: Oh relax. We have to pick up the nets. It's like five minutes worth of work.

Brian: Well I never signed up to do any volunteer work. 

Me: Yes, you are right, you didn't sign up. I did. It's either the five minutes of volunteer time, or we pay $50.

Brian: WHAT??? Jesus. Thats like kidnapping.

Me: ..... ummmm..... do you mean 'highway robbery'?!?!

Brian: ....(silence)......uhhh.... same thing.

Me: (laughing hysterically).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

That Time, 3 Weeks Ago, That I Ran 21.1km

Way back in March, while on skype with my little brother, we chatted about school and my kids and his plans for the fall and running. I threw out there possibly running the Calgary half marathon and I was wondering if he maybe wanted to run it with me. He was extremely enthusiastic about YES! He would love to! And right then, while still on skype, he signed up. Obviously, I couldn't back out once he did that, right? So a few weeks later I signed up, googled training plans, commited and never turned back.


For 12 weeks, four days a week, save for one Monday, when I decided to go to Vernon for the day instead, I ran. I read my bookmarked training plan that told me how far to go, I tied my shoes, turned my gps on and ran. My first "long" run was 4 miles. I was pretty certain I wouldn't make it. It was the day of Brians 30th birthday party. It was long and slow. By the end, that very same route was my short and fast. It is so wild to see progression.
I made a major rookie mistake and didn't replace my shoes in the beginning (or *ahem* in the last four years despite fairly consistent short runs). For weeks and weeks and weeks I ran through horrendous blisters all over my feet - toes, the bottoms, the balls, all over.

(the shitty shoe culprits, from wayyy back in the fall)

I thought they would eventually become calluses and everything would be fine. I was wrong. Two weeks before the race, after a particularly rough day on my feet, I had a choice to make - keep running through the pain, or replace my shoes and hope for the best. I opted for the latter and thank baby jesus, it was better than I ever could have imagined. It was like my feet were at the spa, even while on an 8 mile run. My blisters are just now healing.

14.5 km (1) resized
photo credit: Shanon Maksymich. Thank you. For real. 
The little reading that I did about running long distances totally overwhelmed me - carb loading, gels, pre-run drinks, post run nutrition, optimal nutrition, calorie intake, pace setting, hill training. I stopped reading and just kept running.

I quickly learned that running is just as much a mental game as it is a physical one. If I could keep my head in the game, I had a great run, but if I was distracted or negative, it was awful. One Saturday morning, I had 10 miles to do, I was trying to figure out how I was going to get some mid-race nutrition without eating a gel - which, just the thought of totally grosses me out - so I had picked up a single serving "sustain powder" , mixed it in a plastic water bottle and set out with plans of drinking it at the halfway mark. Those first 5 miles were hell. All I could think about was how annoying the sloshing water in my hand was. It grated on me. I couldn't think of anything other than the swish swish swish. I could hardly keep my eyes off the bottle.  Also, it made me have to stop and pee in the bushes. Twice. In the first half. I was agitated and annoyed. I thought of turning around atleast a dozen times. I was on the verge of tears and walking every five minutes or so. No matter what I tried, I couldn't focus, I couldn't get my head in the right place. I did end up turning around half a mile earlier than I should have so I was going to be short a whole mile in the end. I was trying to concentrate on figuring out how to make up the mileage but all I could think about was peeing. I had to stop in the bushes AGAIN. My feet were cramping, I was more tired than I should have been and plus, I was so annoyed at myself.


I was about half way home when Brian and the kids were suddenly there in front of me. They had come to cheer me on and I was so freaking thankful that I welled up. I needed them. The kids clapped and cheered and Brian told me to keep going. Not quit. I was doing great. I did keep going. But it was awful. The drink did not agree with my stomache and it was all I could do to make it home..... I'm not going to say it, you can guess. It was so so so bad. I thought what the hell am I thinking? Why am I doing this? It's awful. No one needs to run that far. I layed on the couch, cradling my crampy tummy and feeling sorry for myself for the rest of the day. Sunday was a day off and when Monday came around I was better. I was ready to keep going and my four miles that Monday morning was one of my best runs ever. The next Saturday, sans mid-run drink but armed with delicious gummies (honey stingers. yum!)  I ran 11 miles effortlessly. I focused, I filled my head with positive thoughts, I was ready to use last weeks run as a lesson to where I did not want to be and this weeks as where I did want to be. The honey stingers also didn't agree in the end, but at the suggestion of my amazing marathon running friend, I carried a nutrigrain bar in my arm band after that and it worked awesome.

Race day came and I wasn't even nervous, I was super excited.


I had put in the time, I had meticulously organized my stuff, I was ready. Brian, Maizey and I stayed in a hotel downtown Calgary to make the morning of the race easier. My parents kept Jace and were going to come down to be at the finish line when I crossed. My brother ended up having to back out due to his new job, but he came down to the expo on Saturday afternoon with us to pick up race packages and then spent the evening with us, going out for dinner and hanging out downtown. Sunday morning I woke up an hour before my alarm. I tip toed around the hotel room, making a peanut butter and banana sandwich with no knife and taking pictures of downtown as the sun was coming up off our 15th floor balcony. It was calm and awesome.
Mark, Vanita and I took a taxi to the race site and my excitement grew. It was a beautiful day, the other 10,000 people seemed happy and excited, the atmosphere was filled with electric anticipation. I had no idea what to expect, but it was better than I could have guessed.


 We lined up for bathrooms, we checked my bag, I lost my sunglasses in the taxi, I drank my pre-run drink and in the crowd of soooo many people, I picked out a friend whom I had never met (Hi Jen!). She was in the same photography course that I was in over the winter, so we were internet friends. We had chatted about the race (she's the superstar marathon runner!!!) and she gave me awesome advice. It was so totally random and so cool to meet her in person! I peed again and lined up with all the other runners.
My fear was that I would get caught up in the excitement, run wayyyyy too fast in the beginning and then not be able to finish. I chanted in my head check your pace, check your pace, check your pace. It was a great day for a run. I listened to the chatter around me, I read the spectators signs, I focused on breathing, I checked out the cool neighborhoods that we ran through. I smiled through the whole damn race. Even when I needed to pee so so so so bad and there were  no bathrooms in sight. (I finally came to one, like, 5km's later) (I had to wait 5 minutes for it) (so gross) (I'm taking 5 minutes off my time).
I have the most amazing family and friends. Brian and Maizey figured out the c-train (us small town folks are unfamiliar with such things) and made it to cheer me on with the sign Maizey had coloured the night before in tow.


My parents got Buddy and themselves down to finish line with time to spare despite Jace coming down with the flu and throwing up in the car on the way into the city (This was the beginning of the end of all of us getting the flu). My friend Shanon sent me a text at 5:40 the morning of the race saying her and her family would be somewhere along the way to cheer me on. They made it to two vantage points AND the finish line, as well as took some photos of me doing it! Cartwright and Hummel also made it to the finish line to cheer for me. The support, truly, I can't even put into words what it meant to me. It was so unexpected and amazing. Also, as I was trying to read the signs along the way, I was squinting at a tiny little sign across the street from me when the person holding the sign says "AMY??? OH MY GOD" - it was my friend Kelsey!! I ran across the street and gave her a running hug and then kept going! Her and her mom and sister were there to high five me along the last tiny bit before the finish line. How fun is that?

*ahem* it feels suuuuper weird posting pictures of myself. just saying.

Race day atmosphere? Well that right there is reason to do more marathons. It is so uplifting, inspiring, fun and intoxicating. When I crossed the finished line and I should have been laying on the ground, crying in pain, I was instead still running on high, searching the crowd for my family and feeling like I really just wanted to celebrate the awesomeness of crossing that line.

 Love this picture Full Emotion resized
Photo credit: Shanon again. What a moment to capture - I had just found my mom in the crowd and she pointed to my dad and Jace, and they were waving to me!
 I wanted to hug and/or high five everyone around me.
It was a wild sense of accomplishment, pride, happiness and relief. I did it. I had done what I set out to do. I had two goals, one was to stick to my regular pace and finish in 2:10 and the second, much loftier and probably more important, was to finish and not die. I did not meet my time goal but I did accomplish the other. I'm not sure setting an actual time goal is for me anyways. I never want to finish something that is an amazing achievement like that and feel disappointment rather than happiness.
Will I do another one? Yes! For sure! In fact, there are three races in the fall that we are looking into (I'm looking at you Shanon and Cait!). I took the first week after the race off. Then I forgot my runners at my parents house. I'm back at it, in my old shitty shoes, but still, it's good to be out there.


I am a marathon runner. Wow. What a thing to be able to say. It really is something to be proud of.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Oh, Just Another Day In Paradise

Today was hella annoying.
It started with no milk for my coffee, so in trying to make the best of it, without having to drink black coffee (cringgggeee), I put some left over coconut milk in it. Barf. It was terrible. I drank it anyways.
We all woke up on the wrong side of our respective beds.
We spent all weekend working on our basement - painting and putting flooring down. This morning while Brian was in the shower and Jace and I were on skype with my mom, Maizey was quietly coloring. On the freshly painted wall in the basement hallway. Seriously. WTF Maizey???? She was apparently just holding her colouring sheet up to the wall to colour on it, and since she can't stay on the paper, it was an "accident" . There was screaming and tears. Some even came from Maizey.
I was desperate for good coffee and we had something to return to City Furniture so we headed downtown.
All my kids did was whine. And fight. And not listen. Except when they were cramming their sausage rolls in their mouths at the Modern. That was a quiet 3 minutes.
We were supposed to go to the lake when Jace got up from his early nap. I mean, I put him down for an early nap, but naturally, he played for AN HOUR AND A HALF in his bed. No early nap for him. Which in turn meant too late for the lake. Plus, Maizey and I were still fighting and Ang was fighting with her kids, so it was just a plan for disaster anyways.
Maizey went to bed at 6:45 after eating exactly zero bites of her dinner.

So instead, would you like to see some cute pictures of our sleepover with Corbin and Danica? Thats way more fun than listening to me bitch, right?

She spent a long time combing Danica's hair - "making it longer".


ready to watch Rise of the Guardians. Also, patiently waiting for popcorn.


How freaking cute are they??!

Just a nice pre-pancake game of roll the dice.

They are small, but these four can pack away the pancakes. Wow.

The excitement was high. There was a lot of yelling, a lot of messes, a lot of made up game playing, a little fighting and a shit load of laughing. These kids, man I love them all together. They love each other all like siblings.It was so so much fun. I know my kids are looking forward to the next sleepover. Hopefully soon.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The One Where I Am Way Behind

Ohhhh boy. I am so far behind on this old blog that I don't even know where to begin.
Bullet point post to outline all we have been doing in the last weeks and then come back and hopefully elaborate on a few of the points? Sounds good.

The beginning of our trip. 

- I ran a half marathon. I certainly didn't break any speed records, but I did surpass what I thought I was capable of and felt amazing doing it. I don't like to write openly about running, because for some reason I feel like it makes me less legit or something. Like, real runners don't need to write about it, they just do it. I'm sure thats not really the case, it's just how it feels to me. But I will write more about it, because it was a pretty kick ass feeling and I want to one day look back at this and remember what crossing that finish line was like. 

- We didn't have mega holiday plans this year, so we decided to do some camping. In Alberta. In May. Suuuuper smart on our part. Dude, it was 3 degrees one morning. We went to Waterton and while very very very beautiful, the towns 'welcome to' sign should say something like Welcome to Waterton, the wind never stops blowing. We have to be this beautiful or no one would ever come back. The wind never stopped blowing. Also, Maizey and I got the flu. In a campground. In the middle of the  night. Awesome.

- My parents sold their ranch. There. I said it. They are moving at the end of the month. It's a lot to process and come to grips with. It *almost* doesn't seem real, but.... it is. It's exciting and surreal and crazy and necessary and hard and sad all at the same time. It will be good, I know it will be. It's just a bizarre thing to picture my Dad doing anything but being a rancher.

- We spent the day in Drumhellar at the Royal Tyrell Museum with my brother, sister in law and nieces and nephew. Shit, that is one cool place. Also, I love spending time with them.

- The day we left for Alberta, we had a guy finishing up mudding/taping our laundry room. He just had to sand it. Well, you know what happens when the sanding is finished and then no one walks around that house for the next 10 days? That dust settles onto every. single. surface. We came home to white EVERYTHING. I am not even exaggerating a little bit.

- Our grass was about a foot deep when we got home. It took Brian almost four hours to mow it.

- Maizey started saying What the hell?  with some regularity. I think I have got it stopped, she now says What the..... wait, mom, what is it I am supposed to say? heck? is that it? what the heck?  Seriously, you can't say anything around this kid.

- Jace picked up about 10 new words while we were away, hey, ready, set, go, down, Tessy (my parents dogs name), out, mine.  I dunno, I can't think of anymore. I am loving the new conversational skills he is learning, because the grunts and crying were getting a wee bit tiresome.

the end of our trip.

I always love to go away, especially when it is the four of us all together but it is alsowonderful to come home at the end, to our house, to our own beds, to our little routines. The work is never ending and we came home more tired than we left, but as always, I treasure the time we get as a family, every long loud mile in the truck, every hectic meal, every sleepless night.
I am happy to be home. 

*photographic evidence to come for most of those bullets.