Sunday, June 28, 2009

Running the half marathon in Vancouver!

I am laying on my hotel bed, my feet and legs are aching but other than that I'm feeling pretty good. I ran the Scotia Bank Half Marathon (13 miles) this AM from the University of British Columbia to Stanley Park (525 miles). We ended at the Fish House just past English Bay. I don't know how many runners were registered, a few thousand for sure. The first picture is before the race at UBC. The rest are post race pictures. My goal today was to complete the half marathon in 2 hours. I laughed when I looked at my time, 2 hours and 24 seconds! If nothing else I am decisive when it comes to my goals. I felt funny when I read the time because usually you either accomplish more than your goal or less. Reaching my goal almost to the second felt very satisfying but quite final. I guess I need a new goal now! 

I arrived at the race about a half hour before it started. I knelt down to tie my shoe lace and suddenly felt a really sharp pain in my right angle and calf. I hobbled around a bit and tried to massage my calf muscle and ankle to relieve the pain. My leg began to feel better but I started the race worried that I had injured myself earlier on in the week and I might struggle the entire race with pain. However, once I warmed up my leg began to loosen up and I felt much better. My legs are so tired right now that I don't know how they will feel once I'm rested up.

The race course was beautiful and there was not too much congestion despite the large number of runners. I pushed myself in the first half, especially on the down hills where I gained really good time.  There were a couple hills that were a bit of a challenge but in general the course was flat. We were able to see the ocean for most of the run and early into the race the clouds cleared and the sun came out. It wasn't too hot, perfect conditions for running. I would recommend this race to anyone who enjoys running a half marathon. It is well organized (we had our bags delivered from UBC to Stanley Park) and the scenery is amazing! Now for a little bit of rest and relaxation! 

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Scavenger hunt item # 3: "Run with a jogger!"

I ran 3 miles this AM (512 miles) to stretch my legs before the run tomorrow. I started today's run from the hotel and before I got started was stopped by a group of Grade 12 graduates from Oliver, British Columbia. They were on a scavenger hunt and had to run with a jogger. It was very funny; they took my picture and then I had a picture taken with my camera. We were pretending that we were jogging, hence the dramatics. I left the group giggling only to run into a second group of students a little way down the path who also stopped me and made the same request. They told me that the first runner they had asked wasn't very nice and refused to help them. I can't imagine why because they were having such a fun time and how could I not help remembering my own days as a teenager about to step into adult independence. The graduation trip they were on will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives. I was quite pleased to be "their jogger". 

The other pictures were taken during my run. Once again Vancouver proves to be a perfectly beautiful city. The picture of the branches of the tree does not easily reveal a majestic eagle that has a nest with young ones. I met a woman on my run who pointed out the tree and while it took me a minute to find the eagle, I finally spotted it sitting quietly looking around the harbor. What a very special experience. I don't know that I have very seen an eagle outside of captivity. 

After my run I met with a very good friend and colleague, Dr. Dara Culhane (in the picture buying flowers). It was so wonderful to see her and once again everything she is working on is interesting and cool. I love spending time with Dara! We discussed different avenues of collaboration and didn't have near enough time to catch up on all that we wanted too. Dara dropped me off at the hotel where the race packages were to be picked up. Our parting was one full of laughter as I told her about the "real reason" I am running a 1000 miles. She also told me some very cool news, that her and her grandchildren plan to walk 500 kilometers over the summer/fall. They are going to start their own blog and the kids are really excited about getting started. This news made my day! 

This is the second time that a friend has told me that my 1000 mile year has inspired them to do something similar. My friend Andrea Lindores who works for Oxfam Canada in Ottawa is undertaking a fund raising hike for Oxfam's work around the world. The 48 hour, 100 kilometer hike is July 24-26. Andrea is part of a 3 woman and one man team that will hike Ganaraska Trail from Fort Willow Depot to Wasaga Beach near Toronto. The name of their team is X3Y (3 Generation Xers and 1 Generation Y) and their goal is to raise $ 7,000.00. Andrea promised some photos of her "pain and gain!" I gave a little donation and see on her webpage that she will soon reach her share of the funds soon.

After I picked up my race package I had lunch with my cousin Jo-Anne.  It was great to see her and catch up. I returned to the hotel later in the afternoon, grabbed dinner from the Market and I am now relaxing and mentally preparing for tomorrow. I'm really quite excited and admittedly a bit nervous! I have to be at the race site by 6:30 AM because the race begins at 7:00. My goal is to run it in 2:00 hours :)! Go crazy legs!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Back in Vancouver!

I flew to Vancouver late afternoon after a crazy day of preparation. I felt exhausted but once my plane landed everything felt much much better. I'm staying at a cute little hotel right on Granville Island (picture above). My room is very nice and I love the atmosphere here. The Vancouver Jazz Festival is also starting this weekend with different venues on Granville Island and in other parts of the city.  I am a bit nervous about my run on Sunday and hope that I'm prepared enough for it. I finally had time to read the race information and the run will be begin at UBC (7AM) and end at Stanley Park. Even though I am nervous, I'm excited about running such a scenic race. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Viva la difference!

I ran 4 miles (509 miles) this AM with Gord Groat. Gord is the owner of Red House Animation which is Saskatoon's only animation school. Luckily he said  he wasn't in as good a shape as he normally is because the last time we ran together (over a year ago) I almost died trying to keep up to his long easy strides. For every stride Gord takes I need to take two or three. We had a nice leisurely run between two of the bridges but by 8:30 it was already starting to heat up (not our competitive nature:) making running a bit uncomfortable. We ran past a group of guys who looked like they were involved in some sort of search and rescue training. I snapped my shot and waved but only one guy waved back, the rest looked far too serious, possibly even grumpy. How could they be? It was a beautiful summer morning; the type of morning we live through cold winters to get too. I guess I'm not in Prince Albert with the wonderful friendly fire fighters anymore!

I had a crazy busy day. Skender and I ran around in the morning looking for a scooter, I had an afternoon meeting and then finally ended up taking some down time in the evening at the Spadina Freehouse. The patio was full when we arrived, so Kathy, Brent (Chubs) and I sat at the bar until our table was ready. At the bar we met Gilbert, a musician playing with Buddy Guy at the Saskatoon Jazz Festival. Gilbert lives in Dallas, Texas and grew up in Austin. He had the most wonderful southern accent and we had a bit of fun before moving to the patio for dinner. Unfortunately I'll be in Vancouver when Gilbert's band plays the Bessborough Gardens Friday night. Think of it, maybe I'm missing my chance to finally sing backup! The other photo is of Kathy and Brent on the S.F. patio and a photo of the sun set just as we were crossing the University Bridge.

Today the world lost two iconic entertainers, Micheal Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. I grew up watching both of them, had the hair, tried the moves. I loved Michael Jackson's music including his ground breaking videos and of course what teen age girl didn't want to be one of Charlie's Angels. I felt sorry for Michael Jackson in the last couple decades. He was our society's creation, and yet his own personal struggles were handled with such cruelty by the media and others. I hope that with his death the memory of Michael Jackson will be portrayed as one of a world icon that broke race barriers, opened up new avenues of creativity and left us with a legacy of music that is still unbelievably great to listen too.