About Me

My photo
Milton, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hey! I just met you...

While the title of this blog denotes that I like to join things, I would suggest that I am not one to branch out and create my own meetups or events.

This is why I am forever grateful that the running blogs I read began linking to dailymile early last year. Those links allowed me to go down the rabbit hole of the niche social media sites on the internet to find a community of (mostly) runner’s combined with a data store for all of my running activity.

Fast forward to over a year later and I have managed to amass 96 friends on DM. Some are real life friends, others are bloggers I follow, there’s my brother and sister in law, but the majority of my friends are strangers. People I have never met in person. People, who like me, run for pleasure and fitness. People who are goal setters and/or racers. People who love the functionality and social component that DM has to offer.

This past weekend, I took a step towards the merging of the relative anonymity of the internets and planned a DM meet-up for all interested to run the Milton Half Marathon route.

Three stranger friends showed up.

Emma, Alan, Phillip and me quickly fell into an easy paced run along the sunny sidewalks in Milton and were able to easily chat about life, running, food and build up those friendships that were previously stuck behind screens and confined to keyboards.

I love this community and its spirit. I love that three people were brave enough to meet me IRL (but honestly - how is a 5ft nothing, 35 year old suburbanite, mainly seen grinning like a fool with a thumbs-up in photos, scary?). I love that I now feel that much closer to three of those 96 people whose runs and fitness I read about daily to offer encouragement to them and myself.

And I really enjoyed Emma, Alan and Phil. I hope that these types of meet ups can continue and friendships can be created to expand beyond the wires of the broadband.

I encourage you to do the same. Join a running group. Plan a meetup. Because if someone is offering you some kind of value through 10-point font, chances are, they will offer you value in person as well.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Another great installment of What I ate Wednesday, featuring the food I ate on Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Kashi Go Lean Crunch with 2% milk started my day. I had a coffee in my Contigo mug once I got to work.

Around 10am I had this snack which features one of my summer staples - a peach. I then went to the gym for a quick 5k run at half marathon race pace (my 2012 goal half marathon is a mere 17 days away!)

Lunch at my desk was leftovers from Sunday! Iceberg salad (from a bag with some cucumbers and tomatoes) topped with French dressing and BBQ'd pork tenderloin with apple-butter BBQ sauce.

Mid-Afternoon snack. This box is finally done!

My husband had to work a tiny bit late and Alasdair and I had to go to the eye doctor at 7:30, so we had frozen pizza for dinner (Canadian and Chicken with Veg)

I got home from the eye doc and Fergus was still up. After I rocked him to sleep, I indulged in the Deep and Delicious that was in our fridge.

And that is my day in eats. Pretty standard around these parts!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

 Breakfast - Half a grapefruit, not sugar, peanut butter on toast, coffee and the Globe and Mail

Lunch- Leftover birthday party pizza!

Dinner - Fried purple peppers and fingerling potatoes with corn and BBQ'd whole chicken

 We ate outside!

 He ate 1.5 cobs of corn!

This picture posted upside down! Anyway, that was our desert. These cookies are super hard to find. I should have bought two packs.

I hope you enjoyed a great day of eats!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Midsummer Night's 30k Race Report!

Through the forest have I gone, 
But Athenian found I none, 
On whose eyes I might approve 
This flower's force in stirring love. 
Night and silence.—Who is here?
PUCK, A Midsummer Night's Dream 

What a race! WHAT A RACE!!!

I have run two 30k races this year and they are both so unique and so worth contemplating if you are looking  for a longer race or a stepping stone to a marathon.


I had no idea how to tackle this race as the longest I had ever run at night before this was 16k after work and I had stomach problems and was sick after. I did this last summer and I've run a lot longer since then including the marathon. Saturday was a busy day as my husband had to work and Alasdair had his baseball champ day. Thank goodness that my parents were able to help out and my mum watched Fergus while dad and I took AlMac to baseball and then dad stayed for the end while I headed to Toronto.

On the way down to the Canada Post building, I ate a bagel with peanut butter and finished up my water bottle. I had been drinking regularly throughout the day, but wanted to ease off around 4pm as I didn't want to have to pee like at Around the Bay. I got to the parking, got on a shuttle bus and was at the start line with 1.5 hrs until the race start. The bag check wasn't even open yet.

I snagged a spot on the grass in the shade and waited. Eventually, I did the usual: peeing, bag checking, being jealous of all of the amazing female abs on display, before I started to look in earnest for the three hour continuous pacer. Along the way, I was able to run into some dailymile peeps and some bloggers including Kenny and Paul. I finally found our trusty crusty 3 hour pacer and got to hold the sign while he put on his compression socks. I was like a rock star of slow running for a few minutes fielding race strategy questions by basically pointing down to Paul, who was the "real" pacer. Next thing I know, I turn around and there was Sam looking perky and cute in her pink shirt and bird-shit hat (I did NOT notice the crap, Sam).


With about 5 minutes to the race start, I loudly suggested to our pacer that we may want to line up and our group of about 8 moved to the line. All was good as we were right with the 3hr 10/1 pacer as well. The gun went and we were off. The first bit of the run was the usual - we got around slower people and chatted with the group a bit. Paul explained that he wanted to walk through each water station to get a good drink and that he'd be taking photos for his running scrapbook ("Not that I scrapbook. Not that there is anything wrong with that."). He was a pretty funny dude and mentioned that he usually paced people to BQ's. I'm not sure if this was his first official pacing gig, but it was his first time at the MidSummer Night's Race, which I think was a mistake as he did complain about the boring route (and this part was) and the slow pace (hey, you get what you sign up for). As we passed the first KM marker, Paul actually asked what our pace should be and then told us that 6min/km was easy for mental math to see if we were on pace (6Xkm= total time). Sam chimed right up and said, "Perfect, Nicole loves mental math, so she can do it." I looked at my pace band and thought - or I can just use this thing. All of our watches were chiming KMs about 200 metres before the route markers and a lady in our group said it was the same last year and it would make itself up eventually (which was a fun, end of race surprise - but I foreshadow - something the Bard was great at, BTW). At 8k I wondered aloud about taking my planned gel, and Paul offered some great wisdom: "You should take it based on effort, not time or distance." I agreed with this and evaluated that I would need to take the gel now, so I dug it out of my spibelt and swallowed some Lemon Sublime. I had yet to think about putting on my music despite the drudgery that was the view from Commissioners Street.

KM1-10: 5:51-5:44-5:54-6:18-5:55-5:52-6:00-6:28 (gu)-5:57-6:09, split: 1:00:08, pace band (do I really need to?) 1:00:00 (okay Paul, you're not fired yet)


As we headed out to the spit and into Tommy Thompson Park, I started to feel not good. The GU was sitting in my stomach and well, it seemed that it was going to work its way back out as well (TMI? Meh, its running - shit happens). I spotted a port-a-potty and took off to get some relief. So I went in and realized that my stomach was offering me a huge false alarm (yay!) and got the heck out of there ASAP, booking it with crazy speeds (at one point my watch said 4:23 pace) to catch up with the group who had slowed down a bit for me (shucks, thanks guys!). This ended up being my fastest split! This was my favorite part of the race scenery wise. TTP is just beautiful with the long grasses, the views of the lake and the city and the lighthouse at the turn around. I also got a chance to see the manager of my running room, Ben who was running the 15k and I shouted out to him. I got a great chance to chat with a man in our pace group named Neil who was an ultra runner pacing slower to get used to  it for longer runs. This was also my least favorite part of the race because of the 15k walkers. Now, I have no problem with a race that includes walkers, especially a charity race raising money for important things like kids hospitals. The problem I have is with race etiquette. You have to get to the RIGHT when the runners are coming up behind you. That's the hand that DOESN'T make the "L" with your index finger and thumb. There was some effort getting around people here which, combined with my stomach tomfoolery didn't make for best feelings. I did enjoy the barbs being traded between our pacer and the 10/1 pacer every time they passed us. Each group was having a good time still and laughing along with the pacers. This was good as this part of the course had every kind of terrain and though beautiful felt long (though not as long as the last 10k!).
Oh hai walker who knows her right from left! Also, hello CN Tower view!

KM 11-20: 5:54-5:20 (potty sprint)-6:14-5:56-6:03-6:28 (gu)-6:03-5:57-5:52-5:55, split: 59:42, total: 1:59:50, pace band (really?): 2:00:00


From 20-21.1k, I just concentrated on getting to the half marathon point. I just wanted to get there. We were still 200 metres off of the KM markers so we ran over the mat after my watch clicked over, but my split was 2:06:13 which was 13 seconds off. We were still running very well. This part of the race pretty much went downhill for me. My stomach. My legs. Dry mouth. I could smell myself. THE WALKERS! Then we're on a road and I'm thinking that we are close to the end, but I had forgotten about Ashbridge's Bay Park. Before we hit the park, around 22k, I got stabbed in the stomach. There is no other way to describe the pain I had from the stitch that hit the front right side of my stomach. AWESOME. I tried to run though it and breath, but I had to stop dead. I dealt with it via controlled breathing and continued on, chasing down my group for a second time, heading into ABB.  I took my last GU at 24k and said, "C'mon caffeine Gu, do your job!" which made some ladies around me laugh. It was a nice, scenic part of the run, but those people BBQing and drinking beer were killer. MMM BBQ and Beer. At one point some dudes held out a bottle to Paul and I absolutely thought he was going to take a drink. He didn't, "I only drink from un-opened bottles." There was a family watching the run and a lady was cheering and offering hi-fives. Of course I slapped her palm! Woo! I felt like shit, I stunk, but man, I was racing! At this point I had lost Paul; our pacer who lost his Garmin and decided that he'd push the pace a bit to get us to the end. I also lost Sam which sucked because knowing what I know now, we could have stuck together and I'm positive I could have gotten her in at 3hrs. When my watch clicked over to 26k, I looked ahead to see the marker. I didn't. Not yet. Not now even. Oh, there it was. And my watch was at 26.45k. AWESOME, now we are that far off. From this point on, I found it hard to focus in front of me as it was getting dark. I was determined to finish at three hours and knew that I was fine and I just didn't let myself slow down at all. I used all of my mental reserve to keep pushing those sub 6 minute KMs. You've finished a marathon, 4k is nothing, look there's a dude with a medal - you're that close! I debated putting my music on at this point but didn't want to lose time trying to figure it out, so I didn't bother. Oddly, not having music wasn't a big deal even though I was alone in the crowd of runners. I kept waiting for the final turn. Surely it was now. Okay, now? Now? Don't get me wrong, I felt badly, but not too bad:
Ohmigwad, I'm almost done. See this okay sign? Its lies, all lies!

Finally, I'm back on Commissioners and finishers are cheering and letting us know we're at the end. THANK YOU SWEET BABY JESUS. As I'm rounding the corner to the finish a dude comes blasting by me on my left, and I realize that I should sprint. That it is the end. That that arch is the 30k mark. Then I though, "I should put my hands up. Yep. Put them up. Up."

Willing my hands in the air. My hands are saying, "Are you effing with us?"

And then, I'm done. And dead. And perfectly on pace and on plan:

KM 21-30.2: 5:54-6:02 (stabbing)-5:45-6:05 (gu)-5:37-5:42-5:46-6:05-5:41-5:37-0:56 (last 224m, 4:10 pace), split: 59:10, time (per garmin which paused during my potty and stabbing) 2:59:00, pace band (playing along, right?): 3:00:00. Have I mentioned that this is my first negative split race, like ever?

Time: 3:00:17
Chip: 2:59:51 
F30-39: 73/128
Females: 177/361


Our pacer finished in 2:59:11 official, 2:58:46 chip. I think he did a great job. He was funny (to me), even if he complained a bit and he got us to within 7k with every chance of continuing to our goal (and I hit mine). The only thing I would recommend to any pacer is to know the route just so that you can help your group with what to expect. 

I got through the medals, food (we got reusable water bottles which was cool) and bag check and stretched a bit. I saw my cousin Jodi's good friend, Darren win third place overall for the 15k race and said hi to him. Then I hobbled to the bus, hobbled to my car, stretched some more and drove home in a bit of a haze. While driving I ate my bagel and banana and when I got home I ate a Greek yogurt. I went to bed around 10:45 after a shower and I woke up around 12:30am to take two Advil for the pain in my legs that wouldn't let me sleep (I should have drank more water, but couldn't stomach it). The next day we had Fergus' birthday party and we went to a community pool which I think helped to recover my legs further.

So, would I run this race again? Yes I would. I want the pin. I want to race it harder. I'd love to run it with friends.  Until then:

Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.
JULIET, Romeo and Juliet

Friday, August 17, 2012

MidSummer Night's Run 30k Race Goals!

Tomorrow, I will run my very first Midsummer Night's Run 30k race! I'm so excited as I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Theatre Theory and Criticism (and a minor in Film & TV Theory/Criticism), so this run is right up my ally. Plus, the Bard's Midsummer Night's Dream is one of the best of his cannon; a fun, sexually charged romp with fantasy, frolic and love (of course, as it is a comedy).

I had originally thought I would attempt a 5:40 pace per KM for this run, but have decided against that plan.

I want to have fun on this race.

The race starts at 5:30pm and the longest distance I've ever run at that time was 16k and I was very sick afterward.

I won't be able to nap or rest during the day on Saturday as my husband has to work (although my parents are coming to help with the kids!)

I want to run with DailyMile friends.

I want to run with a pacer.

And so, my goal for the MidSummer Night's 30k Run is:


That's a 6:00/km pace and should be easy for me! I'm planning on bringing 3 gels and a pack of chomps and eating a bagel with peanut butter around 3-3:30 to mimic what I'd normally do in a morning race. I will also run with water (belt or handheld TBD) and take advantage of the water stops. If I feel crappy, I'll go slower. If I feel amazing, I'll go faster. The plan is to stick with the pacer through 20k at the very least.

I can't wait to run this race for the first time! If you see me, please say "Hi!" I'll be starting with the 3-hour pacer.

Good luck to all and HAVE FUN!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Midsummer Night's 30k run training - weeks 8, 9, 10

Ah, the summer months are ticking by and so is the training plan. The Midsummer Night's Run 30k race is THIS SATURDAY!

Without further ado (or much ado about nothing <--- do you see what I did there? Eh? That BFA in Theatre comes in handy, right?), here is how training has shook out for the last few weeks.

Week 8

Monday: An amazing day for a treadmill tempo run! I watched Sportscentre and it kept me moving right along. Per usual, I did a 10 minute warm up, ran 24:27 at a 5:01/km pace and the rest to cool down. I just felt amazing! 8k, 44:28

Tuesday: I only had time to squeeze in a quick treadmill run between meetings. Again, I ran a bit of a ladder, with 1 mile at 9:40/mi, 1.1 mile at 8:06, 1 mile at 9:40. Again, I felt awesome. 5k, 28:30. I also played softball that night.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: I ran a neighbourhood loop after the kids were in bed. This was just a great run - I didn't look at my watch and just enjoyed myself and the running. 6.3k, 36:03

Friday: An amazing morning for a long run! I ran the first 8.6k on my own and then Julie met me at my house and we finished the rest together. Julie struggled a bit and kept telling me to leave her, but I wouldn't because a LSD run is not about finish time, it is about time in total. The run felt great and the company was wonderful. 27k, 3:01:33

Saturday, Sunday - Rest as we were camping at Awenda Provincial Park

Total KM: 46.3, Total Time: 4:50:37, Average pace per KM: 0:06:17

Week 9

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - Rest - we were still camping:

Best buy EVER!

A rainy morning spent at the table in the camper watching Max & Ruby on the iPad

Beach #4 at Awenda. You could almost walk out to the sailboats. The figure in blue is Alasdair. The sand was so hot that you had to wear your shoes down to the water.

Thursday: The first time back on my feet in 5 days and I felt like I flew through this neighbourhood run after a rather long work day. 6.25k , 37:44

Friday: I worked from home because I had no child care for Alasdair (Fergus was at daycare), so instead of a lunch break, my friend Jenn came over to watch Alasdair while I took some time to get another awesome run in! 6.5k, 39:16

Saturday: 19.15 on my own and then Julie joined me for the end. It was a great morning to run even if I was worried about the heat when I walked out the door at 6am. I weighed myself on Thursday morning and was 135.0lbs, after this run I was 130.4lbs. I drank over 48oz of water on the run as well, but it was hot. This run felt great and I was fine after but I felt the effects for days after (as you'll see!). 29k, 3:10:52

Sunday: Rest

Total KM: 41.75, Total Time: 4:27:52, Average pace per KM: 0:06:25

Week 10

Monday: was a holiday in Ontario, so I took advantage of it to go on a run! This was the most brutal run in a while. 12 minute warm up and though I knew better, I attempted tempo (10 mins at 5:13/km pace - aiming for 5:01/km pace). I shut it down and got home in a jog that felt brutally slow even though it was a 6:24/km pace. I don't think I drank enough water after my LSD on Saturday and I think my legs were still tired from the 29k. Oh well, time on my feet! 6.6k, 40:31

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: My children slept over at my parent's house so I was free to do what I liked! I decided to attempt another tempo run and again it was the suck! I only lasted 5min30sec before I shut it down and conitnued my run (I was pretty much at a point of no return in terms of getting home). I ran out of water, but found a man watering his lawn and got a refill! I got through the run and spent the rest of the night chugging water (and pints) with my girlfriends on a patio! 9k, 54:51

Thursday: Rest

Friday: After supper, but before the kids went to bed, I decided to get out for a short run without any expectations. This proved to be the best strategy as I had my best run of the week to date. 6k, 35:10

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: I had wanted to go out with the running room group, but both my husband and I had plans with the kids early enough in the morning which meant I couldn't go for a run that late. I was up early and caught the start of the Men's Olympic Marathon before heading out for an amazing race pace run. This shorter, faster run allowed me to also see the end of the Marathon. It felt great to run quickly. 14.26k, 1:20:16

Total KM: 35.86, Total Time: 3:30:48, Average pace per KM: 0:05:53


As mentioned, the Midsummer run is this weekend! I shall return with some goals!

In the blink of an eye

Two years really do fly right by:

August 15, 2010

August 12, 2012

Happy Birthday to my Fergus.

What I Ate Wednesday

It seems like lately, I can only commit to these posts! I have others in my draft folder, but I just can't get to them! Here is what I ate Wednesday Tuesday, August 14, 2012

 Before I ran for the train, I had half a pink grapefruit - no sugar

 When I got to my desk, I enjoyed a homemade oatmeal, chocolate chip muffin and my coffee in my Contigo travel cup!

Lunch was two homemade mini quiche with some dried out baby carrots and mixed greens with balsamic

Desert from lunch

Afternoon snack - peaches are a summer staple around these parts. I ADORE peaches. When I was pregnant, I sometimes ate up to three in one day.

Oh hai complete crap day at work! Why not eat some feelings on the train ride home?

Dinner - farmer's market chicken and veg pot pie (another staple as our market is only on during the summer. I do not make these - I buy them and no, they don't have veg only options), smiles and corn
Post baseball. Crappy, muddy game (we were winning and then lost), crappy day. More feelings consumed. I had two beers.

And there it is, my day in eats!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Here we go! Time for another What I Ate Wednesday Tuesday thanks to the lovely Jenn (click image above). I had really wanted to bring you a post focused on what I ate during a day of camping last week, but alas, the camera was never at easy reach, and my phone was locked away in the car. So, you'll just have to suffer through a typical Tuesday from me (August 7th)

Breakfast was amazing! Honey Shreddies which I highly recommend and sliced strawberries, which are a summer staple for me.

I was a bit hungry by 10:30 and well done my grande bold, so I ate a granola bar.

I REALLY had a craving for a bacon sandwich, but I stuck with the lunch I had brought and only indulged in some toasted sourdough bread.

Dinner was great for a Tuesday! We had left over chicken from a BBQ, so I created a mock gravy to simmer it in (chicken stock, cornstarch and spices). With rice and broccoli, it was a perfect meal.

When I got home from Alasdair's baseball game, I indulged in desert and some Olympics instead of going for a run (I don't get the bike evens where they go slow until the last lap and then bike like crazy).

I was still snacky at 9am and well over the Olympics and into my second reading of Catching Fire, so I indulged even more.

So that's my day in eats and non-exercise. Yesterday was a very BLAH day for me. I think it may have been returning to work from the long weekend. I plan to run it out tonight with at least 8-10k.

Friday, August 3, 2012

July Recap

July ended up being a great month. I decided to work around my life and to not worry so much about the five day training plan. I aimed to get four solid days of running in per week and enjoyed less pressure and being able to be more flexible with what my husband and family wanted to do.

# of runs: 17 (I got in 4 runs per week per the new plan)

Longest run: 27k My running friend Julie met me at my house last Friday after I had run about 9k. We then headed out for another 17, but my route was longer then expected. It is so nice to have company on a long run. We are planning to do the same tomorrow during my 29k run with Julie meeting me for the last 10k!

Races: 0

Total KM: 182.4 – Not a bad month indeed!

Total time spent running: 18h34m33s

Average pace per KM: 0:06:07

I also managed to up my tempo pace mid-month and am now running about three miles of tempo at 5:01/km pace (8:06/mi). It feels good. I hope that it will continue to feel good so that I can bust out the speed at the half marathon.

August should be fun with the Midsummer Night's 30k Race right in the middle.

I hope you enjoyed a great month!