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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Back to the food post! Here are my eats from November 27, 2012:

First of all, I got out of bed and ran 5k, all before 5:47am! I downed 8oz of poweraid first. Then home, shower, dress and breakfast:
I'm back on the oatmeal kick! I love having frozen berries to toss in!
When I got to work, I drank my coffee in my Contigo cup. I am very proud that my husband and I have made a routine of taking our own coffee into work since we purchased these mugs. I personally am saving over $9 a week by skipping Starbucks!

This is a re-enactment of lunch (this is today's lunch). Yesterday, I had salad with French dressing, a hardboiled egg, cheese string and a yogurt.

I had planned to grab a butter croissant to go with my lunch, but didn't have time. I picked up this Almond-Chocolate one for desert instead. I have to say, I prefer chocolate only. The almond is too strong.

We had a showing of our house (which is still for sale!) last night! It was our first showing! We've had open houses but nothing booked privately. I had also planned to take the boys to family swim with some friends, so we ended up at Subway for dinner. I had a 12" turkey on Italian cheese and herb with lettuce, black olives, green peppers and chipotle sauce. This is the part I didn't eat.

After swimming and once the kids were in bed, I decided it was time to unwind. I had two glasses of Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay and about six pieces of Nibs.

And that is my day in eats! Hope you enjoyed a good one as well.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Taking the week off

Take a look at my week in running last week. 


I didn't run at all.

On Monday, I did the "Hot 100s" (100 seconds of plank, 50s each of side plank and 100s of wall sit) and then I started to get a cold. 

By Wednesday, it was a full on, horrible cold.

I decided to take the entire week off of any kind of exercise and to just be.

I haven't done this since last November after I hurt my knees on the downhill at the Hamilton Half Marathon.

It felt great to not have to worry about fitting in a run and to just let go.

Do you know what else felt great?

This morning's run:

That's 5:46 in the AM people!

Woo! Back at it!

It sucks that I wasn't well, but I think the time off has refocused my off season. I'm looking forward to keeping the mileage up in the coming weeks.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The 6am long run

Yesterday I did something I haven't done since the summer when I was training for the midsummer night's 30k race.

I got up at 0515, ate and went for a long, solo run.

I was out the door by 0618 and headed down the road on my way to 18k with only my playlist and the fog as company.

And it felt good.

I had forgotten how enjoyable it is to simply run with your own company.

I worked out some problems, crossed the finish line of my second marathon, crossed a finish line with a BQ time and even didn't think at all. I planned meals, solved work problems and sold my house a few times over. I let those 18km and 112 minutes wash over me and send me to a peaceful and happy place.

I didn't look at my watch and let my easy pace just evolve and land where it would (6:07/km on average for the run).

I was home by 0815.

It doesn't get much better then having the privilege to be able to do the run that I did.

Safely and with the support of my loved ones.

Despite house-selling, work and other stresses, I'm lucky.

I really, really am.

So my friends. The next time you need to work something out, may I suggest a long, solo early morning run?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

I am once joining in on this weekly food fest! While my CRAP Blackberry photos may not be as nice as some and while my food may not be as interesting, I think I present a more "normalized" approach to how people actually eat (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Yesterday, I had set the alarm early to get out of bed and go for a quick 6k run before work. Then the power went out and I got up late and blah, blah, blah. I ended up coming into Toronto early and getting 5k done on the treadmill at the gym, but I needed something in my belly as I had two hours between wake up and run. This is where Riri's Famous Banana Bread comes in:

With Poweraid of course!
This bread was so yummy! I made it on Monday and the only change I made was to use whole wheat flour. I served it as dessert on Monday night and the kids both loved it!

Second piece!

After my run, I needed coffee (of course) and something else. I ended up at Starbucks as I knew I had money on my Gold Card and bought one of my favorite things from there to go along with my Grande Bold.

Lunch was okay (more cheese and apple!). I'm out of salad right now (that's melted butter on the bread).

Sweet treat (from the Niagara Falls Half Marathon race kit)

Tuesday is our crazy dinner night! We try to get to family swim with friends every Tuesday and so we tend toward a quick dinner that both kids will eat without complaint. This is the frozen pizza Ken and I ate: Chicken with onions and yum! It was so good (and on sale this week at Superstore!)

After swimming, Ken and I split a bag of this.

Please pray for house selling vibes! We are going into our third week on the market!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!

I have been double nominated for a Liebster Blog award! Both Sam and Irene nominated me! Here are the rules (but I won't be doing #3, because most of the people I read have done this already!).

  1. I made up my own nickname (a combo of the first part of my married last name MAC and my first name NIC(ole). Before that people would sometimes call me Nic, but normally Nicole.
  2. The longest I ever raced/ran before I picked up running in my thirties was 800m in grade six. I came in 7/8th.
  3. I'm 5ft tall and a lot of time I wear capri's as full length pants.
  4. I have no tattoos but yearn for one that has something to do with my boys.
  5. I have four piercings. 2 are dead (belly button and upper right ear), the other two are "normal" ear ones.
  6. I have never lived more than an hour away from my parents.
  7. My house is currently for sale. Please buy it?
  8. I believe the only way to truly get a floor clean is on your hands and knees.
  9. I have a cleaning lady who mops.
  10. After a KRA-AAAZIE scare two months ago, I finally realized that I was done having kids (though if another one popped up, I would be so happy. MMMM squishy babies!).
  11. My worst trait at work is my bluntness. I hurt people's feelings sometimes (there is no crying in business for goodness sake!). I'm working on it, trying to be more kind and less.... like a man. SIGH.

From SAM!


1) Are you a folder or a crumpler? (This is always a funny conversation in my house. Oddly it comes up often) FOLD
2) What is your favourite type of fiction? Historical Fiction, but I'll read anything.
3) What is your favourite thing for dinner, either at home or when you go out to eat? When I go out, I like to try new things or go to Swiss Chalet! HA! At home... I love my mum's chicken goulash!
4) Have you ever gone to the bathroom in the bushes on a run? YES. Thomas Street Hill, Streetsville and Financial Drive, Mississauga!
5) Coffee or tea I like both. Coffee in the AM, sometimes in the afternoon, but tea with dinner (most times)
6) What month do you wish it was all year round? October. Some warm days, some cool days, lots of brilliant colours and that wonderful fall smell.
7) Do you dress up at Halloween? I would if I had a party or something, but generally, no.
8) Do you cross train? Sadly, no. That is something I will NEED to improve to get my BQ.
9) Do you still live in the same city as where you were born? Nope, but close! Born in Etobicoke (came home to Meadowvale), live in Miton!
10) What did you want to be when you 'grew up'? According to my School Memories book, in grade one, I wanted to be "The backcatcher for the Toronto Blue Jays" I loved Ernie Whitt
11) What is your fav brand of running gear? I really don't have one. I'm loyal to New Balance shoes, so there!

From Irene!

  1. What is your favorite distance to run, swim, bike, or all three, and why? I don't bike or swim, but on a training run, I love a nice long 25ish KM. To race: Half Marathon!
  2. What inspired you to include fitness in your lifestyle? I was fat(ter). I was 5ft tall and almost 170lbs.
  3. What movie made you cry, if any? Too many. Steel Magnolias for sure!
  4. What gets you going in the morning? The freaking annoying alarm at 0510.
  5. What is your favorite pair of running shoes? New Balance... 940s. Affectionately known as my "Old Lady Stability Shoes."
  6. What is the most daring thing you've ever done? Hmm. Likely meet a few random dudes from an internet dating site. Lead me to my husband though.
  7. Do you have a life goal that you're still chasing? Always to be happy. I'm there right now (minus the HOUSE. MUST. SELL. Stress), but it is a continual goal.
  8. Favorite ice cream flavour? Chocolate.
  9. Do you have a favorite pre-race breakfast? Bagel or heavy whole wheat toast with butter AND peanut butter, water and more frequently, a small coffee.
  10. Who is your biggest fan? My Husband, Ken. And the kids!
  11. If you were to motivate someone to get off the couch and start exercising, what would you tell them? Start with a small goal. Do 5 minutes. You can do ANYTHING for 5 minutes. Build from there.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

October Recap!

Sorry for the delay in writing this post! This past week has been CRAZY with everything that is going on. We bought a new house on October 31st and now our current house is for sale:

Would you like to buy our lovely home?

Plus, I ran a half marathon this past weekend AND work is super busy as we are on-boarding a set of new advertising and media agencies (way more cool then it sounds, but if you want a hilarious portrayal of what working for an agency CAN be like, read this). Without further ado:

# of runs: 14

Longest run: 22k on Thanksgiving morning with Bridgett!

Races: The character building Niagara Falls Half Marathon

Highlight run of the month: my run with Simon Whitfield and Adam Van Koeverden

Total KM: 122.6k – This is my lowest month of the year. My next lowest month was September at 140.9k Can you tell that I'm at the end of the year?

Total time spent running: 11h51m00s

Average pace per KM: 0:05:48

Well, November started strong with the Hamilton Half Marathon and I can't wait to continue along the next two months with the off season. I hope to get at least between 125-150k in each month, and improve my core, but I'm going to also cut myself some slack (at least until those Halloween candies are gone).

I hope you had a great month! Are November and December "off-season" months for you too? How do you adjust to running in the colder weather?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hamilton Half Marathon Race Report

Yesterday, I had the honour and privilege to run with Ali as she completed her first ever half marathon and I completed my sixth! I We had a great time and came out the other side smashing all goals with a burgeoning friendship firmly in tact. Here's how things shook out.


I didn't have to pick up my race kit, because Ali graciously offered to do so, getting not just one, but two shirts for us both (for being honest and letting them know that the first shirt wasn't my colour of choice; the blue one was a low seller, so we got to keep those as well). Ali and I had decided to meet at the start holding area at Dofasco Park. I was up at 5:10 (real time 6:10 due to DST!), ate some toast and peanut butter, checked the weather, decided on final clothing options and hit the road by 6am. I made it to the end at Confederation Park and hopped a shuttle for the start. At the same time, my friend Sarah (or my real friend as I said to Colin and Ali) called me, all freaked out begging, "WHAT TIME IS IT?!?!?!" She was sure she'd miss the shuttles and was freaked out. I told her all about Sam's morning from Oakville and suggested that she might also get a PB (and she did, smoking her half in 1:52:59). I was already on the bus at that point, texting alternatively with Sarah and Ali and chatting with the super casual lady beside me who had forgotten her watch in the car but, meh, was going for the BQ in the marathon anyway!

Once at the park complex I lined up for the port-a-potties, said goodbye to any chances of Mr. Stomach-Rock and ran into my running room coach, Chris who was running the marathon to get another one under his belt (he's aiming for 40 by 40 with #40 being at Boston). I went back inside to a text from Ali saying she was there and we began looking for each other. We finally caught up and ... the whirlwind began.

Ali talks.

A lot.

At one point she had gone to say hi to a fellow blogger and I turned to Colin and asked, "Is she nervous?" "Oh ya," he said, "but she talks that way and that much all the time anyway." A final bio-break and we headed outside to get to the start:

Perfectly lined up with the 2:15 pacer!

The gun went and we were away!

1-7KM. I KNEW she was faster then a 2:15

We started strong right away and I weaved a bit, but Ali followed right along. We sorted ourselves out in terms of pace and Ali kept saying that it felt so slow. I tried to explain to her that we were 10 second above pace and if this felt good, we'd keep at it. That we had to run the first five slowly and then hit the downhill strong. This part of the course was nice on a country road with one turn so you could see the runners stretching out in front of you. It was crowded, but after the initial bit, there wasn't much jockeying so we settled in, kept talking (and talking...) and enjoyed what is always the easy beginning. I knew that the 6:23/2h15m half marathon pace would be too slow for Ali, but I was cautious, keeping her around 6:10ish as much as I could. At one point, the 2:30 run/walk pacer was with us and Ali got a bit freaked out thinking that we should speed up and pass her and I let her know that we'd be fine. We had to trust the watch as we started at a different time. We had lost the pacer by the time we turned onto the Red Hill Valley Parkway. At the parkway, Ali's spirits lifted and she yelled out how much she was loving running on the highway and LOVING the downhill. Our pace picked up and I stopped looking at my watch because this part was all about how she felt. I knew I'd have to reel her back in by 9k, but I let her enjoy one of (in my opinion) the best parts of the race.

6:12-6:08-6:05-5:54-6:09-5:41-5:17, total 41:26. I'm not even bothering with pace band. It was already out the window.

8-14KM. But how's your elbow?

By 8k, the downhill on the parkway eases a bit and it is gone pretty much by 9k. Ali took a Gu around this time (which I think was very smart) and we slowed down a bit. Ali was a stream-of-consciousness monologue the entire race:

My hip is effing killing me. I need to concentrate on my stride not to over compensate.
Oww, my ankle hurts. I just woke up today and it hurts.
I think I have chaffing on my legs! I never get that!
I have to pee. Should I just pee in the bush?
Maybe I should roll my leg sleeve and use it as a knee brace?
10k to go! I can't do it.
Yes, we've done more then we have left.
I can't wait till we get to the trail. That will really pick me up to be by the water.
I'm good. The pace is good.

I'm not lying here people. We freaking talked the ENTIRE race. If Ali started to get down, I just asked her about her elbow. You elbow never hurts when you run. True story. 

We also totally run-nerded out for photos:
Me: Photo-Opp! Ali: "Do I need a gu? I have chaffing, right? My hands are too hot!"
Me: Look at Ali, she's rocking her first Half Marathon! Ali: How do I run with this water again?

Me: Yo-Yo! Ali: Hammer! Much Respect!

When we got off of the highway at Barton street, we knew that Colin would be waiting for us for a photo opp. I'm officially calling this the best race moment (except the end) for me. I saw Colin first and shouted at Ali that he was there. Unfortunately for Colin, he was there with hands in pockets, camera non-ready. Ali shouted to him, "WHERE'S the #$%^ing CAMERA? Did you think I was going to RUN this race or WALK IT?!? WHAT KIND OF HUSBAND ARE YOU?" I was killing myself laughing and trying to tell her that we were at least four minutes ahead of schedule and it really wasn't Colin's fault, when he was in front of us again (maybe he's secretly the FLASH) and taking our photo! "THAT'S more like it! LOVE YOU BABE!" and we were away to the trail part of the race, spectator laughter in our ears. 

This part of the race was new and wow! It was amazing. While there were a few steep parts, we managed just fine, thank-you-very-much. I even told Ali, Peter's tip about relaxing arms and hands and using them to pump up hills and we used that so we didn't have to walk at all. We ran into Lyndsey at this point who was waiting with a "Go Ali Mc" sign. Actually, I saw her first and had to get Ali to notice her! Ali raced to hug Lyndsey and we were away again to hit the short part of the out part of the trail before Beach Boulevard (where I started having trouble last year). This year, there were no problems:

5:41-5:33-5:52-5:53-5:58-6:06-5:49, split: 40:52, total: 1:22:18

15-21.1KM. You CAN. You WILL. You ARE.

Just before we headed off the trail and onto Beach Boulevard, we saw our DailyMile friend, J Pierre heading for the finish looking strong. We yelled out to him and he waved to us and we continued along. On Beach Boulevard, Ali started to struggle a bit. I mean, she actually shut up for about 30 seconds (love you Ali!). She started having some negative thoughts, which we all know means she just said them out loud and I was there to keep her positive and calm. 

Ali: We're slowing down. I hate this.
Me: We are not slowing down. We're right on pace.
Ali: I can't run this fast anymore.
Me: Okay, we can ease up a bit.
Ali: NO! I don't want to go slower!
Me: Okay, we're doing good. 3 miles left. How many times have you run 3 miles? Millions. You CAN do this!
Ali: Yes. Yes. I. CAN.

And on and on as we hit the turn around and traveled along the waterfront trail to the end. At this point, it was warm as we were out of the headwind and we were a bit sheltered. I kept repeating the same things to Ali about how she COULD do this. She WILL do this. SHE WAS DOING THIS. When there were crowds of people, I yelled to them, "First timer here! Her first half marathon! Look at Ali! 10 minutes ahead of schedule!" The crowds loved it and cheered her along. We were at 18k and then 19k (and as marathoners passed on the out part, I pulled out some of my Scotia spectating lines, telling the 3:20 marathon group: "I ran as fast as you in my dreams. Once." I swear I saw at least 2 1/2 people laugh). Ali was not laughing. She was digging deep at this point. I keep the pace swift, but not beyond her control. I really knew that she trusted me at this point not to lead her wrong. Just before 20k, someone shouted, "You're almost there!" Um. This didn't sit well with Ali, "Shut. The. Fuck. Up. We are not almost there!" I had to tell her, "Actually, we are! One K to go! Excuse me, I have to hit the 20k sign." After I completed MY ritual (six half marathons, never missed one 20k sign). I headed back to Ali and forced her through the last KM. "Do you want me to shut up?" "Yes. No. Grunt." 

I kept talking. Serves her right.

Soon, I took her water bottle and told her to concentrate on the end and to make sure she put her hands up. We hit the final hill, rounded the corner and I began yelling at Ali, "Go! GO NOW!" all the while pointing at her and telling the crowd, "First timer! HER FIRST HALF MARATHON!" I fell in behind her and at the line yelled at her to "GET THOSE HANDS UP!" which she did, crossing the line triumphant and victorious!
Coach macnic: Screaming encouragement till the end!

I crossed the line, very happy myself:

5:50-5:49-5:53-5:45-5:45-5:41-5:41-2:28, split: 41:52, total: 2:04:10

Gun: 2:05:43
Chip: 2:04:10 - is this some kind of freak universe Garmin craziness? Should I buy a lotto ticket?
Place: 1213/1929
F35-39: 105/155


I tackled Ali as soon as I crossed the line and she kinda hugged me back in a daze. Then I sorted her out with getting a heat blanket, water and medal. At that point, she GRABBED me in a huge bear hug and we celebrated. Even I got emotional! Colin very quickly found us and we grabbed food, chatted and eventually I had to get home to the babysitter.

The race was truly a privilege. As I said to Ali during the race, "You're a special person. Not just for running this race, which is special in itself as many won't or can't do it. You're just a person who draws other good spirits and kindness." And that is the privilege. Getting to help someone so special through their first race and enjoying it every minute. 

This race has set up other goals. Goals about pacing races and running with newbies. For now though, I will bask in the glow of a perfect end to the race season.

And enjoy the off season.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hamilton Half Marathon Race Goals

Well, this Sunday I will run my second half marathon at the Road 2 Hope Hamilton Marathon. However my goals are a bit different for this race.

I will be pacing my stranger virtual friend, Ali as she runs her very first half marathon. I've "known" Ali for about a year or so and "met" her on Daily Mile. Then I started reading her blog and knew that I had found someone who I could like for real. She is open, honest and funny and tries her best not to miss a weekday update about her running, or baking or son or just life. Plus, she always has a smile and thumbs up for almost any occasion!
Ali Mc. Thumbs up and smiling all the time!

I volunteered to be her personal pacer after she worried that she would go out too fast and crash and burn during the race. When she said that her goal was 2:15, I knew that I could help her achieve that goal and that I'd have a great time doing so. So my goals have nothing to do with time for this race.

My goals (in no particular order)

  • Be a respectful partner. This is not MY race. It is Ali's race. I intend to listen to her and take her seriously. Of course, I do follow her training via her blog and on DailyMile, so I have a certain expectation of what she is capable of, but this is one day and anything can happen.
  • Keep on the slower pace. At least for the first half (the exception will be the Red Hill Valley Expressway). Don't tell Ali, but I'm a wee bit worried about this. 
  • Be positive. Easy peasy. I love to run and I love when others love to run. Done.
  • Be a cheerleader when needed. Be a hardass coach when needed. There will be lots of thumbs up, positive re-enforcement and cheering. If needed, there will also be some hard talk. Especially at the last bit.
  • #runnerd out for every photo opp that I notice.
  • Get major cheers for this first-timer whenever I can.
  • Cross the finish line after Ali.
  • Get Ali across the line in 2:15 or better.
I'm ready and (whether she knows it or not), so is Ali.

I'm bib #2647, Ali is bib #3523

Cheer us on if you see us!

See you after the finish!