Get off the road!

Ever fancied giving trail running a go? A bit unsure? Well that was me a few years ago. I really liked the thought of it, I mean, who wouldn’t want to run trails in our beautiful province? But I kept dismissing the idea as I didn’t really know what trails were good, I was worried about getting lost, running into a bear, and even where to pee (more on that subject at a later date!)

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Luckily for me (and thanks to know it all, Dr. Google) I came across the 5 Peaks website and the rest is history!

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This is just before my very first trail race. I look scared stiff!

I’m excited to announce that I have been chosen as an ambassador for the 5 Peaks race series. This is not only great news for me, but pretty good for you too, as I might just have a discount code for races coming soon!

For me, there is nothing more exhilarating than running down a trail and feeling your body start to go faster than your legs! It always makes me laugh and reminds me of those carefree childhood days, playing outside with friends and running purely for fun!30-kids-running-down-a-hill

I love that the 5 Peaks races have different distances. The shortest one (my favourite) is the Sport category which can be anywhere from 4.5 to 10k long, depending on the venue. The races are usually held each month in the summer and are at a different location. Last year, my favourite races were on the trails at the Nordic centre in Canmore, Glenbow Ranch and Fish Creek Park. It’s always exciting to find new trails to run, especially when they are so close!

Get more information on the Central Alberta races here:
http://5peaks.com/regions/central-alberta/

Trail runners are a friendly and supportive bunch of people and I’ve made some really good friends over the last couple of years which makes the races even more fun!

Oh, and 5 Peaks give out pretty sweet swag too! I’ve had a sport bag, arm warmers, hats and a Buff (my favourite!)

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Hope to see you out on the trails soon!

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Exciting News!

Here we are, a whole new year and a whole lot of races to sign up for! I know I said ‘never again’ but it appears I signed myself up for the 50k again at Calgary marathon. This is how it happened.. not being huge party animals, husband and I were sitting at home on New Year’s Eve, discussing which races we wanted to do in 2015. He decided to do the half marathon this year and I was toying between the half and the full. Then he whispered those special words in my ear, ‘You do know there’s a medal for the 50k this year?’ That was it.. click, click, enter.. Yes, I am that shallow, I have a very strong attraction to shiny things!

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A few days later, I had the exciting news that I had been selected to be a Forerunner, one of the ambassadors for the 2015 Scotiabank Calgary marathon. I had followed the Forerunners last year, and found their stories very motivating and inspiring and hope that I can encourage others this coming year.

You can read more here: http://calgarymarathon.com/forerunners.html?action=1&pID=149

Growing up and well into my adult life, I never had a single positive thought about exercise and would avoid it wherever possible! The reasons why I decided to run are another story, but the feeling of crossing that finish line after completing something you never thought possible, is truly empowering.

I have a real love of running Calgary. Not only is it a beautiful course around my home city, it was my first marathon.

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and my first ultra.

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I’m so excited and honoured to be able to encourage other runners this year and look forward to meeting everyone.

Bring it on!

Aside

As you may know, (because I’ve gone on and on about it for ages) I reached the BIG birthday back in January.. I was 50! I had been a little worried about how I would feel, turning into another decade, but so far, so good. Although the fact that I decided to celebrate my birthday all year could have something to do with it! untitled (29)

Earlier this week, a (younger) good friend told me of how she was mistaken in a store for her child’s grandmother. She was understandably rather upset by this despite our reassurances.  Another friend was feeling down about all the changes that growing older brings to women, and I am slowly becoming resigned to the fact that I’m having to wear my glasses more and more. (Shopping recently at a race expo, I spied a cute jacket that I wanted. It was $80 which I thought was a bit much, but hey, I wanted to celebrate my race in style so I gave it to Mr True North to pay for with the rest of our haul. Apparently the bill came to more than he thought because he asked me what had cost $110. Nothing, I say… turns out that I need my glasses to read price labels too! Oops!)

Anyway, back to the point..Getting older. Happens to us all. Not much you can do about it. Totally inevitable. Doesn’t have to suck though!

When Mr True North was 50, our daughter bought him a book as a joke untitled (27)

http://www.amazon.ca/Younger-Next-Year-Strong-Beyond/dp/076114773X

Turns out it was the best present ever, as it acted as a catalyst for some major  lifestyle changes.( You should all read  this book, even if you are so young you think 30 is middle age, as it has really important and useful information)

Then I saw this commercial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo6QNU8kHxI  Watch it, even if you’ve seen it before as it is profoundly shocking in that so many illnesses are preventable with a healthy diet and exercise.

Over the years of being a runner, I’ve had many people question why I run with  negative comments such as ‘You’ll wreck your joints’ , ‘Your face will sag’, and even ‘Your insides will fall out’. I could go on and on about the many reasons I like to run, but this is one of the biggies.. I want to stay fit and healthy for as long as possible, even if I can’t see where I’m going!

747649-1014-0038sLooking a bit windswept after a Goofy birthday weekend

What do you want from a personal trainer?

As a personal trainer myself, I love watching other trainers working with clients. Often I get great ideas from them but occasionally I see things that make me cringe.

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If you were hiring a personal trainer, what would you expect from them? Here are my top ten suggestions:

1. I’m sure your 20 year old butt looks much better than mine, but please do not spend half my session demonstrating your perfect squat in front of the mirror

2. Do not ask me to do an exercise that you can’t demonstrate

3. I’m sorry if I’m interrupting your lunch break, but please don’t eat when I’m paying for your time

4. Oh, and don’t stand there with your Starbucks in one hand and your cell phone in the other (yes, really)

5. If my session is an hour, I expect your attention for most of that hour. This does not mean you can leave me on the chest press machine while you wander off to chat to your buddy

6. Talk to me. I may not be able to answer you in more than one syllable, but silence is awkward

7. Don’t let me off easily. I do that on my own, that’s why I need you

8. On the other hand, don’t yell at me. That’s not encouraging, its mean and I might not want to come back

9. Don’t just talk the talk:  an overweight, unhealthy trainer does not inspire confidence

10. Remember my name, act like you’re pleased to see me and have a great workout planned for me

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Alberta Floods

Apologies that this week’s blog isn’t about running but as you may or may not know, parts of Alberta have been hit by devastating flooding this past week.  A number of people lost their lives and thousands were evacuated from their homes and have still not been allowed back.

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In my little town, we escaped most of it. A number of homes and businesses were flooded and many residents were evacuated as a precaution, including my daughter and her family. Many of our pathways and bridges have been lost into the river and beautiful parks destroyed.  However, our losses are nothing compared to other towns. Many have been affected but I am just going to tell you about our neighbouring town of High River that sadly lived up to its name last week.

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Although we were aware that the rivers were high with rainfall and snow melt from the mountains, the first I knew of the severity of the situation was from a text message from my daughter. She had received a message from her husband who works for a utilities company and had been called out to High River. He told her that the town was flooding and the water was rising at a truly frightening rate. His crew were assisting the emergency services with evacuating residents and were waist deep in water. This picture shows how fast the water rose with a truck almost submerged, and the driver swimming to rescue his cat. Happily, Kevan was able to rescue Momo and both were safe.

in High River, Alta. on June 20, 2013 after the Highwood River overflowed its banks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jordan Verlage

The 12,000 plus residents of High River are still under evacuation orders and officials do not know when they will be allowed to return home.  Some were able to stay with relatives, some are living in trailers parked at Walmart but many are living in evacuation centres with nothing but the clothes they were wearing at the time. People were ordered to evacuate immediately and had to leave pets behind as well as all their possessions. It is truly shocking and heart wrenching to see posts on social media asking for news of missing loved ones, pictures of rescued pets found exhausted in the flood waters as well as the requests for clothing and toiletries.

In times of disaster, it is truly amazing how people come together and support each other, not only the  emergency services and first responders, but utilities workers, town employees and many citizens of neighbouring towns.

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Here is ‘incredibly photogenic’ firefighter rescuing a lady from the floods. Apparently he is smiling because the lady in his arms had just told him the last time she was carried like that was on her wedding day.

Thank you everyone for your love and support towards all our flood victims, and I count myself very lucky that I live in such a caring part of the world.

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I am a Marathon Maniac!

As many of you know, I was a fairly latecomer to running. It wasn’t until I was 35 that I voluntarily ran a step that wasn’t away from a wasp or some other insect.

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Once I ran in my first race, a 10k at the age of 46, I was hooked. I loved everything about the event: the preparation, the training, the excitement at packet pick up, the buzz on race day, not to mention the feeling of success and accomplishment that I had done something I never would have imagined possible! Well, the races got longer and more frequent and when I had a few half marathons under my belt I read about a group called the Marathon Maniacs. Members of this group are exactly as described – marathon maniacs! As I read the criteria for joining I was amazed that anyone would ever do that, let alone, actually want to do that! Well the idea obviously took root in my mind and eventually I qualified to join their sister group, the Half Fanatics.

The last few years, I have found it very empowering to set myself goals and my goal for 2013 was… yes, to qualify for the Marathon Maniacs! I already knew I wanted to run the Calgary marathon and so I looked around for another one close to that date.  For the first level, I needed to run two full marathons within a 16 day time frame. Handsome Husband decided that Rock and Roll San Diego was the one to do! That worked out perfectly for me because it would mean a mini runcation in that beautiful city, but not so good because it was just one week after Calgary!

Eventually race day for the Calgary marathon dawned and I was feeling good! I had trained, rested and was hoping to beat my last time. We set off running and all was good. The miles (or kilometres in Canada) ticked past and when the half marathoners split off, I settled into the rest of my run. Until 30k (18.5 miles) I began to get bad stomach cramps which worsened and resulted in two porta potty visits! I also developed a huge blister on the ball of my foot and maybe this affected my running gait because my hip flexors hurt, as did my lower back! I really struggled the last few miles, had to walk a fair way.( I’ll stop the injury list there because I know my mother will read this and be even more convinced that I should stop running before I damage my joints!)

I eventually finished with a time of 04.58.52, very disappointed with my performance and worried if I was going to be able to run another marathon in a week!

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We left for California on the following Thursday and spent a wonderful few days in the San Diego area before race day arrived. Well, I was very nervous and wasn’t looking forward to the run at all. Luckily, I had spent so much money at the expo that I had a VIP porta potty pass which allowed access into the VIP potties at the start line (If you have never seen these… wow!)

As the pre race nerves got worse, I decided to focus on the fact that I was getting to run in a beautiful place in perfect running weather, and forget about everything else. To cut a long race report short, it was great! No stomach issues, no blisters and hardly any leg/hip pains until the last couple of miles. Apart from having to walk up a killer hill at mile 21, I didn’t need to walk at all, and finished in 04.46.06.

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As I was handed my medal, I felt a little emotional. Although I hadn’t been  happy with my Calgary performance, I am amazed and proud that I am now officially Marathon Maniac #7283!

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Obsessed? Me?

This weekend I am running in the Calgary marathon and as I was planning my race day outfit, it became glaringly obvious that I may have an obsession with a certain brand of clothing.. and looking through my previous race photographs confirms it.. I am obsessed with YMX!

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If you have never heard of YMX by Yellowman brand, boy are you in for a treat! I first discovered this brand 3 or 4 years ago when I was searching online for different, more exciting exercise clothing. Where I live in Alberta, Canada isn’t a very exciting shopping destination! We don’t have access to many of the smaller brands or manufacturers and although a certain popular brand began in the next province over,  you can almost guarantee that someone else in the gym will be wearing exactly the same item of clothing as you!

As I browsed through the website, http://www.ymxbyyellowman.com  I was hooked! I placed my order and later that afternoon I had a phone call from a representative of the company explaining that shipping to Canada would cost extra and was I ok with that! Great customer service! Living in Canada, additional shipping costs are something we just have to face and I was expecting the usual 3 to 6 week wait time until I received my order. But no, it arrived the next day!

I am not going to go into the technical details because you can read all about those here http://www.ymxbyyellowman.com/c-sport_performance_fabric.html  but I will tell you that the fabric is amazingly soft and light. There are no rough seams and you honestly won’t feel as if you are wearing anything at all! (This from someone who had her mother remove all the scratchy labels from her clothing as a kid!) The fabric is sweat wicking, most has an SPF factor and the colours and designs  are beautiful, oh, and it’s called Madkool!

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As you all know, gym clothing takes a beating but even my oldest YMX tops look like new. They don’t fade or shrink at all. I love that you can wear them for any occasion, not just working out, they pack up really small when travelling and don’t crease and you can rinse them through in a hotel bathroom and they will air dry overnight!

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What more could you ask for?  Well, maybe this.

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When YMX announced that they were looking for ambassadors, I knew I had to apply and was honoured to be chosen to represent a brand that I am so passionate about.