WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

Tag: running

SeaWheeze 2017

SeaWheeze 2017

As you well know at this point, I was one of the lucky 10,000 people to score tickets to this year’s SeaWheeze Half Marathon. This race is by far the fastest selling I’ve ever run. The morning tickets go on sale is always a bit stressful, & there’s always a little drama afterwards. This year was no exception.

Fortunately, I actually had a lot of friends score tickets this year, which made it really fun to share in the excitement surrounding the whole weekend. Half the race is about Lululemon (the swag, the gear, the festival that follows the race…) & the other half is about the actual run. I understand that gear is more of a factor for many people who sign up, but even as a huge lulu fan myself, it’s a little much for me.

Last year, I opted to wait in the crazy line for exclusive SeaWheeze gear, available only to registered runners. This year, I was still in Vernon, BC when the store opened & missed a lot of the pre-Wheeze stuff. I just wasn’t willing to spend the extra time & money to be in Vancouver for an extra day. Instead, I met up with my friend Zoe at the expo, did a quick lap, grabbed my race package, & headed to our hostel to drop my bags.

SeaWheeze Expo

The only photo I took at the expo

We then decided food was more important than anything else & headed to my favourite sushi spot in Van, Kadoya, where we fueled up for the run with an obscene amount of sushi & a pitcher of beer. Not exactly your optimal pre-race meal.  I was going into this race injured though so I figured I couldn’t really do much more harm. Expectations were low.

Kadoya Sushi

We really did order a pitcher

Kadoya Sushi

My sushi rolls (just mine). Salmon Sashimi not pictured.

Zo & I are both members of November Project in our respective cities so when NP Van announced they were doing a pre-race Crate Escape, we knew we had to go. I’m so glad we did. It’s such a cool event! We both figured we might not have the opportunity to attend another one (although, I did manage to make it to SF’s last week!).

Crate Escape is a travelling storytelling series,  hosted in different NP cities all over the world. They’re usually in the evening so it’s a great intro to NP if you’re not sure you’re ready to take that early morning plunge.

NP Van Crate Escape

Richard starting off Crate Escape!

The next morning came pretty early. We’d laid out all our stuff for the race so we wouldn’t wake our dorm mates, but I still felt pretty guilty. They’d both had late nights. Last year, there were four of us so we could turn on the lights without fear of being terrible roommates, but this year it was just the two of us. Everyone else stayed in more adult accommodations. We’re cheap. It works. (Although we discussed that we may need to spring for a hotel room next year.) The kitchen only opened at 6 am, which was just early enough for us to quickly devour the food we’d picked up the night before & walk to the race.

Walking to the start line is always such a fun experience, as you run into different people running it as well. Generally, no one else is out wandering the streets that early except the participants & their cheering section. We got there early enough to check our gear & got in line for the port-o-potties. That lasted all of 10 seconds before we decided to try the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Best. Decision. Ever. There was a line at the main floor washrooms, but a helpful concierge told us to head upstairs & use the conference washrooms. Swankiest pre-race pee of my life. We obviously took a lot of selfies.

Pac Rim Bathroom Selfies

Swanky Pre-Race Pee at the Pac Rim

Happy dance!

Happy Dance! Zo just straight laughing at me, but she actually felt so happy too.

We decided to pass this tip on to a few of the ladies in the port-o-potty line before heading to the corrals, where we easily found a few of our November Project friends. I can only assume it was the good karma from our washroom tip off & not the fact that Brogan is easily the tallest & loudest person I’ve ever met. 😉 (I mean that in the best way possible. It was super cool to meet one of the founders of November Project!)

Pre-race selfie

Pre-race selfie

SeaWheeze Startline

SeaWheeze Startline

Bright Brogan

As you can see, it would be really hard to spot Brogan in a crowd…

NP Crew

NP YYC Co-leader Kyle is ready to race!

SeaWheeze Start

Our corral heading out from the start

We seeded ourselves in the second corral with our friends & the 2 hour pace beavers. I was thinking this might be a bit fast for me considering my lack of training, but I went for it anyway. Zoe wanted to break 2 hours for the first time. Meanwhile, I was telling myself I needed to be happy just to finish. (Fat chance! I’m far too competitive to be happy with that!)

The start itself is always such a rush- you’re running with so many other people, everyone still feels great, there’s a crazy energy! Looking back, we took it out pretty fast. The weather was perfect for running & we were clearly feeling good. I swear sea level does wonders when you’re used to training at altitude. Thanks, Calgary. (Or maybe sushi &  beer is just the perfect pre-race meal?)


Off we go!

First Cheer Station

First Cheer Station

Zoe & I were chatting on & off, enjoying the run, when we hit the Burrard Street Bridge. Zo wanted to stick to the inside, which was separated from runners making their way back across the bridge (already?! SO FAST!) by a line of traffic cones. As I was enjoying the view from the bridge, my foot caught on a piece of unmarked cone & I went down pretty hard. Luckily, I bounced back up pretty quick, but I’d scratched my dad’s Go Pro (that I was holding), ripped a hole in my new lulus, & scraped my hand pretty badly. The GU Gel in my pocked had also exploded down the side of my pants, so my other hand was a sticky mess from this discovery. Zo asked me if I wanted to stop at a first aid tent, but that was the last thing I wanted. This sounds pretty stupid in hindsight, but I was more concerned with how much time it would add to my race. There was a water station as soon as we got off the bridge where I managed to clean off my hands a bit & keep going.

I somehow managed to keep up with Zoe’s awesome pace until halfway up the bridge on the way back. I was still trying to decide how much damage running would do to my already injured knee so I opted not to push to catch up & ran my own race.

Go Zo

Sorry my SeaWheeze posts are always of your butt.

Go Zo

Go Zo Go! This is about where I lost her.

My fall ended up being a bit of a blessing though as it distracted me from the pain of the actual run. At one point, I was toying with the idea of stopping, thinking I was at 10 km & couldn’t run another 10+. I checked my phone for the first time in the race & was actually at almost 15 km! I’d zoned out for a solid 5 km. It was just the push I needed to keep going.

Fire Cheer

Fire Fighters are a pretty good distraction too

Sea Wall

The whole course is gorgeous, but I especially love the sea wall

YVR Sea Wall

This race was full of firsts for me, actually. First time not checking my phone or watch for my pace, first time not walking except at water stations, first time not doing an insane sprint to the finish, first time not checking the clock at the finish.

So many great cheer stations!

These Go Pro captures honestly don’t do it justice


Let’s talk about that last point. I always know my finishing time. Always. This year, I crossed that finish line in a half sprint, assumed I’d run around a 2:15 or a 2:20 & went to find Zoe. When I found her, I immediately asked if she broke 2 hours & she said she did. I couldn’t have been happier for her! I gave her the biggest sweatiest hug I could muster.

At this point, I still hadn’t thought of looking at my time. As we walked up the ramp collecting your various swag, I texted friends & family to tell them about the fall (& the race, I guess). We ate breakfast, I got first aid, & I still hadn’t checked. It wasn’t until Zoe looked up her official time that I thought to check mine. I couldn’t even get it to work so it was her who told me I’d officially ran a 2:02. A 2:02?! What?! I guess there’s something to be said for experience.

Race Finish Line

Race Finish Line



SeaWheeze Injury

Burrard Street Bridge Injury

Amazing Lululemon

Lululemon seriously made my day by replacing the pants that I ripped with some limited edition SeaWheeze ones. THANK YOU!

I couldn’t be happier with my run this year. It was definitely an unforgettable experience, & that’s saying a lot coming from someone who got engaged at the end of a race once. Mostly, I’m in awe of what our bodies are capable of. I’m so proud of my body for accomplishing what it did. I truly didn’t do anything to help it out, besides having run several half marathons in my life. So way to go, body! You’re pretty incredible.

That’s it for my 2017 SeaWheeze Race Recap. Writing this post has me excited for SeaWheeze 2018 again – I know I’ll try to register again. Sorry, Future Alanna.

I also ran with my dad’s Go Pro. Unfortunately, I just carried it so all of my footage is terribly shaky. Until I edit it better, I created a quick video using Go Pro’s new Quik App. It’s not great, but it gives you a glimpse into my race!



On Patience

Alanna running NP

(photo by Pete for November Project)

I am not a very patient person. I dread waiting in lines or sitting in traffic. When I set my mind to do something, I want to do it right away.

I set a goal to start working out with November Project during my #SoberSeptember last year, & I completely fell in love with not only the workouts, but the wonderful people as well. I looked forward to Monday & Wednesday mornings all fall, & rarely missed a workout. Then, in late November, I noticed my knee was starting to bug me. It was especially bothersome when I ran stairs. I put off seeing a physio until mid December for fear of having to give up my workouts, just as they’d become a staple in weekly routine.

It turned out I had a fair bit of swelling in both my knees. My right knee had been the one giving me grief, but my left was actually weaker. My physio told me I had something called patellofemoral syndrome: the muscles around my knees don’t keep my kneecaps properly aligned, likely due to an imbalance in my quad muscles. This is causing damage to my cartilage. This damage is what’s behind the swelling & pain. Apparently, you can’t rebuild cartilage, so he suggested we start working on realigning things right away.

He warned me that it would be a long, boring process. I’d also have to take a break from some of my favourite things, namely running stairs (& running in general). Having just hit such a groove with November Project, I was pretty bummed at this news. I’ve also never truly been injured enough to have to stop any activities. I’m stubborn & impatient so I knew this wouldn’t be easy for me, but I was determined to listen to my physio. I really committed to all my exercises, & worked on them diligently.

Over the last several months, I’ve had to compromise on a lot of things I love to do, fitness-wise. I’m still going to gymnastics. I still go to November Project. I still bike to & from work, & take Odin on long walks & hikes. There are still so many things that I can do. I’m trying to focus on that. I don’t run the stairs at NP or go for runs (except this one time I did a huge scavenger hunt a couple weeks ago. Whoops!). I’m still working away at my constantly evolving slew of quad & glute exercises. & my physio was right – it’s long & boring.

I signed up to run the SeaWheeze again back in the fall, & training was set to begin this week. I was optimistic that I’d be cleared to start running again after my appointment last week, just in time to start this training & join some of the running groups I’ve been looking forward to. Unfortunately, my left knee is only at about 80%. Until there’s no more swelling, I have to keep working on more exercises & stay away from running. It was frustrating news to get, especially considering I’d been diligent with all my exercises. & I’m just not that patient. I’m not used to being sidelined.

I’m still planning to run the SeaWheeze this summer, as it’s one of my favourite races, but I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the fact that it will likely be my slowest race to date. As a fairly competitive personality, this is also something I don’t do well with. It’s a tough pill to swallow knowing I won’t be able to push as hard as I’d like in my race. In about 6 weeks, I’ll go back to my physio, hopefully without any swelling, &  be cleared to start run training (which should be really interesting over our three weeks in Europe!). For now, I’m substituting my runs with biking & strength training. It’s not quite the same, & I find spring is when I most want to be out there on the river paths, but it’s better than nothing.

I realize this injury is a tiny blip in the grand scheme of things, but it’s definitely testing my patience. I’m trying to be grateful for everything that I can do, because I truly can still do so many of the things I really love. I know I’ll be back out there soon, & I’ll appreciate it all the more.

SeaWheeze 2016


This run was a long time in the works, & I don’t just mean in the sense that we signed up almost a full year in advance. I started talking about someday running it with my friend Zoe back in 2013. We wound up setting our wedding date for the day after the 2014 race though, so it wasn’t in the cards that year. I figured that was ok though, & I’d run in 2015. Foiled again, as registration opened while we were on our honeymoon & Zoe didn’t have enough of my personal information to sign me up. Darn!

So last September, I put all my information into Eventbrite before registration opened & was lucky enough to score one of the coveted few spots in the run (if you can call 10 000 spots few). I then proceeded to forget about it until about May, when I realized I should probably start training.

I’d had grand plans to PR, given that I’d be training at altitude & racing at sea level. Summer got in the way of that goal a little bit though, & I didn’t end up training anywhere close to as well as I should have. When it came time to fly to Vancouver for the weekend, I had decided I’d just have to be happy with a finish.

flight view

Cloudy skies on my flight


Coming in to Vancouver

I’d made plans to meet my friends at the ridiculous Lululemon Showcase Store on Friday morning, so I flew out Thursday night & stayed with a girlfriend in Mount Pleasant. Hotel Sasha is my go-to accommodation when I visit. I feel pretty lucky to be able to fit in a visit with a great friend & be staying in a fantastic neighbourhood.

I’d been wanting to try Vij’s for years, so I took myself for a later dinner after I arrived. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend stopping by as it ranks high on my list of best overall meals. I arrived around 9 pm & was told there was an hour wait (yes, there’s pretty much always a wait. It’s worth it). There was space in the lounge if I wanted to enjoy a drink & some appetizers while I waited, they told me. I thought that sounded great, so I found a cozy spot in their beautiful lounge & ordered myself one of the best sours I’ve ever had.

My whole twitter feed was basically a love letter to Vij’s that night. They had me at that Cambie Sour. Every few minutes, they came around with a different snack to try. I was in heaven; sipping my cocktail & watching the kitchen prepare naan (it’s mesmerizing to watch).


the lounge at Vij's & my cocktail

the lounge at Vij’s & my cocktail

Making naan

Making naan

It wasn’t long before a server came to take me to a table, or at least it didn’t feel long given my fantastic drink, the snacks, & my view of the kitchen as entertainment. I decided to get a glass of red wine to go with dinner & quickly decided on the wine marinated lamb with fenugreek cream curry. Generally if there is lamb on a menu, I’m all over it. This ranked very near the top of best things I’ve eaten. The flavours were incredible, the naan was perfect, the lamb was cooked beautifully. It was bliss. I left the restaurant smiling ear to ear.


My perfect lamb dish. I will dream about this for years.

The next morning came early. Luckily I was on Alberta time & Sasha was up early to start setting up at the expo for work so I was able to catch a ride to the convention centre. When I arrived people had been in line since the night before, & it looped around the building already. It was 5:30 am. I ended up making friends in the line (my other friends were an hour behind me & too scared to budge with me) & picked up a few nice items. I’m not sure I’d line up that early if I run again, but I’m glad to have had the experience for my first SeaWheeze. For the rest of the day, we hung out around the expo, getting temporary tattoos, having our hair braided, enjoying some great snacks, & taking fun photos together. It was one of the best expos I’ve ever been to, & the weather was fantastic.


Watching the sun rise


Expo line up at the back of the building


Showcase Store Haul


PARTY crew!



Treats while waiting in line!


A messy braid that actually stayed for the whole race

20160812_133131 20160812_142510

That night, after we’d checked into our hostel, we headed down to Kadoya Sushi for dinner. Sushi is probably my favourite pre-race meal, & Vancouver has some of the best. Afterwards, we were pretty tired from our day in the sun, so we headed to bed pretty early. That 5 am wakeup call comes pretty quick.

pre-race sashimi

pre-race sashimi

We were staying at the Samesun Hostel on Granville, which was only about a 15 minute walk from the start line, so we all walked down together with a few new friends who were also staying the hostel. Most people in the SeaWheeze facebook group were staying in nice hotels near the start, but we decided the hostel price was right for us. We had a private room & significantly more money to spend in Vancouver.

For the race, Zoe & I felt we would be running around the same pace & would stick together, at least in the beginning. If you’ve ever run Seawheeze, you know how epic the cheering stations are. I’d heard rumours about them, but they far exceeded my expectations. My friend, Sasha, was on the Burrard Street bridge with Clearly, & when she saw me, she gave me the biggest hug & ran a few steps with me. It was definitely one of the highlights of the race for me.

Morning walk to the start

Morning walk to the start

race ready!

race ready!

Start Line

Start Line

Sea wall

Sea wall

Sea wall

Sea wall (& amazing photos while running! 😉 )

Zoe & I ran together until about 18 km, when I had to walk for longer than expected & we lost each other. Not only was my training not quite there, but it was also really hot, so I had to slow down. There isn’t a whole lot of shade along the route, & even though I felt like I drank a lot of water, I was really struggling by the end. I ended up finishing with a time of 2:08, which isn’t as far off my personal best as I was expecting. I guess training at altitude really does work wonders. The competitive side of me is really wishing I’d training better so I could have really taken advantage of altitude training.

Zoe pulling me along the seawall

Zoe pulling me along the seawall

Thanks for keeping me going, friend!

Thanks for keeping me going, friend!

I found Zoe at the finish line afterwards & we weaved through the finishers stations to get our swag. I swear this stuff is half the reason a lot of people run this race. Not only is the medal sweet, but Sage was there with cooling & pain oils, there are some great snacks, a finishers hat, & lots of other cool things. The runners brunch after was a delicious breakfast sandwich, & we were lucky to have finished before they ran out of water (I can’t imagine that’ll be a repeat mistake by lulu. Big oops!).



We eventually found the rest of our crew & headed back towards our hotel in search of some drinks. We were all pretty ready for a drink after our run, & it was shaping up to be a gorgeous day! We found a pub & had a few before heading back to the hostel to change & shower.

A few weeks before the race, I’d started a twitter convo with the Seawheeze account & wound up telling them our proposal story. They thought it was so cute & wanted to give us something special during the race, but since N wasn’t coming, they treated me & the girls to pedicures. It was such a lovely surprise! Thanks again, Lululemon!

Pedicures. Thanks, Lululemon!

Pedicures. Thanks, Lululemon!

The sunset festival was that evening, but beforehand, we headed over to Gringo in Gastown for dinner. It’s this little spot (in a slightly sketchy alley) where the waiters learn your names, the drinks are delicious, & the food is awesome. I would go back in a heartbeat. I wish we could have stayed longer, but we had a festival to get to. The shuttle picked us up from the convention center & took us to the festival, where we joined the Clearly girls on the grass for some drinks & music. The festival was really fun, especially once we found a system for getting more than a single beer at a time. I really hope they change that rule for next year. The last thing you want to do after running a half marathon is wait in a really long line for a single beer.

Gringos tacos!

Gringo tacos!

Sunset Festival

Sunset Festival

Yoga mats for miles

Yoga mats for miles

Courageous Blondes & fresh pedis

Courageous Blondes & fresh pedis

SeaWheeze 2016

Tomorrow is registration for Seawheeze & you can bet I’ll be trying to get in. It’s one of the most intense processes to get into a race I’ve ever experienced, but we’re all going for it again. Wish us luck, & hopefully we’ll see you at the start line next year.

On Fitness


Photo by Seth McCauley

A few years ago, I stopped running with music. I know many people who cannot fathom attempting this, but I’ve come to love it. I originally stopped because N & I started training & running together more. It’s nicer to chat with him than running together in silence. (& it seems silly to run with someone if you ignore each other in favour of your iPod anyway.) Eventually, this became a habit on any run, & now running gives me a chance to think – to unplug & really listen to my body. In addition to the opportunity for self-reflection, I find myself more in tune with how my run is going, a perk I didn’t anticipate. I find I’m no longer trying to mindlessly power through my runs; I’m an active participant.


Photo by Colin Hill

I was struggling through one of my shorter training runs recently (this half marathon is gonna hurt, big time) when I started thinking about perception. I’ve spent my entire life involved in sports to some capacity. As a kid, I tried every sport available to me (ballet, gymnastics, figure skating, track, baseball, soccer…).  Competitive swimming wound up being the one that stuck.

I swam with the University of Calgary Swim Club for eight years before retiring. At my peak, I was swimming laps with some of the best athletes in the country (usually desperately trying to keep up). I’d reached a level I’d mostly thought was unattainable. & even then, I will always remember thinking, “this is hard.”


Photo by Colin Hill

I find there’s a perception that once you reach a certain level, it gets easier. Things fall into place & suddenly everything clicks. In reality, it doesn’t. You can make something a habit, like running, so that it’s easier to get out the door. & if you were to continue to train at the same level, it would take less effort to get them same result. Improvement is uncomfortable though. If you remain in that effortless zone, you’re unlikely to improve. In order to get better at something, you have to push past the arbitrary limit in your mind. It’s human nature to want to be better, faster, smarter, or stronger than we were before. Personally, I get frustrated when my progress stalls.

I notice that when someone believes that you’re fit or that you excel at something, they often attribute that skill to ease. I’ve said this countless times about my husband’s running. He’s naturally built for running & makes it look easy. Whenever I hit the pool, I get comments on the effortless look of my strokes. Great athletes make their sport look easy. That’s not to say there isn’t a level of talent involved – I’ve just found that doesn’t lessen the demands.

I discovered running from a desire to find a more versatile workout. You can run anywhere! All you need are a pair of shoes! This was hugely appealing to me after years of long hours in the pool. There was just one problem small problem: I wasn’t a terribly “good” runner. I could manage maybe ten miserable minutes at a time, & I hated every minute of it. But I’m stubborn – stubborn & determined – so I stuck with it. & eventually, I got faster. I could run for longer periods of time & I didn’t look like I was going to die the whole time. In that sense, it got “easier”. I ran 10 km. & then I ran a half marathon. I was hooked.


That took a long time though, & I still frequently have what I like to call “character building runs”. The difference now is that I have a lot more confidence in my abilities & am better at coping with the mental game.

As we head into race weekend for the Calgary Half Marathon, I’m trying to keep that mental game in check. While my training has been far from stellar, I’m a smarter, more seasoned athlete, & I’m hoping that gets me across that finish line. I’m trying to remember I’m not running to beat a time (& I’m going to do my best not to let my competitive nature get the best of me).

The conclusion I came to on that difficult run was that this struggle is normal. Even when you think you’re at the top of your game, you’re going to have bad days. The more experience you have, the less it shows, but it never really goes away.

Keep that in mind next time you think you can’t. You can. Get out there & find something you want to get better at & do it. You may not be a natural on your first attempt, but we learn by doing, & sometimes by failing. It won’t be easy, but I think someone once said, “nothing worth doing is easy”.

All that will certainly be on my mind Sunday morning.

Color Me Rad

Fun runs seem to be popping up all over the place lately. I can’t seem to login to Instagram on the weekend without coming across at least one photo from some kind of charity or fun run. It’s great! I love to see people getting out, moving around, and getting healthy.

A few friends and I signed up for Color Me Rad this year. You dress in as much white as you can and run 5 km while people throw packages of corn starch dye at you. It was originally scheduled for July Long Weekend, but due to the flooding it got rescheduled to August Long and a lot of my friends couldn’t participate.

Luckily, Color Me Rad is an easily transferable race, so a few other friends took their places. We met at Crowfoot LRT Station on Saturday morning and took the shuttle bus out to Canada Olympic Park for the run. There were so many people up there. It was great to see everyone dressed up and running around having a great time.

At the start line we were given our first colour bombs, which we proceeded to throw at each other. We couldn’t start things off with pristine white shirts. The race itself was up and down the hills and trails at the Park. It was a mix of pavement and trail running, but all in all a fairly easy course. We weren’t with many actual runners so we walked a lot of the hills and just took our time, laughing at each other as we got more and more covered in colours.

As we rounded the last corner, they gave everyone one last colour bomb to use however they wanted. Of course, we saved ours and dumped colour all over each other at the finish area.

I really enjoyed the race. It was lighthearted and easy so there was no pressure running-wise. It was advertised as a 5 km, but I’d give it 3 km at most. Definitely manageable for all fitness levels. We got a lot of great photos and laughed a lot. If you have the opportunity to do Color Me Rad or some other colour run, I would definitely go for it. If you’re worried about the colour dying your hair (like I was), coconut oil seemed to keep the colour out and had the added bonus of leaving my hair super soft after I washed it.

Happy Running!

May in Instagram

It’s already June? How did that happen? Apparently, I haven’t been very on the ball so far this month seeing as this recap is happening five days into June. Whoops! 
It feels like we got up to a lot this month. We finished out month of Paleo and no drinking (although not entirely free of grains or drinks) so we’re back to enjoying drinks from time to time and have added cheese back into our diets. We still are trying to eat primally most of the time, but we’re certainly not overly strict. Story of our lives. Enough about what I eat though. As if I don’t talk about it enough on here. On to the Instagram Recap!
Follow me on Instagram @wholansi

1. We started the month with a pizza date at Una before heading to Cirque du Soleil with my parents. Totally delicious and totally not following our supposed paleo plan. Oh well!
2. Lobsters with N’s family while his brother was in town. I’d never put one into the pot so we had to capture the moment.
3. I spent three days down at the geoConvention for work. This bird was blind in one eye, but he made for a lovely hat.
4. Treating ourselves to Peters’ milkshakes after hunting for my unjustly towed car.
5. It was N’s birthday this month and I made him this paleo smoked salmon eggs benedict (as mentioned). I’m pretty proud of it.
6. We went out to the lake for N’s birthday and even though the weather wasn’t spectacular, it’s one of my favourite places to be.
7. We had a party at our place for N’s birthday. It was a gong show.
8. Cheering at the Calgary Marathon and Half Marathon. It was a lovely day with lovely people!
9. I’ve been doing CrossFit in the park for the last few weeks. It’s been really fun and one of the coaches sometimes takes pictures. These were burpee broad jumps.

Calgary Marathon and Half Marathon

Wheelchair Marathoner coming through first thing

My alarm went off at 6 am last Sunday and one of my first thoughts was “Why am I not running this morning?”.

I’m not some crazy morning person (quite the opposite actually), but I couldn’t help wishing I was running the Calgary Half Marathon that morning. I really enjoyed running it last year and was suddenly questioning my decision to sit it out.

The lady in green had so much energy

I knew a couple people running the half and a few running the full so I decided it would be fun to go cheer them on. As a runner, I know how much it’s meant to me to see all the people cheering on the sidelines so I decided to be one of those people this year. The energy of the spectators is just awesome.

So off I went to Bridgeland for the start of the race. I knew a few people who had volunteered to marshall so I thought I’d hang out with them for a bit. I ended up hanging out until the last runners came through. It was really great! Bridgeland was one of my favourite parts of the course last year. The spectators have to get their early, but they’re some of the most energetic and motivating people of the whole race. Not to mention, it’s a trendy neighbourhood so it’s got lots of good distractions. We were about 5 km in to the race, so people are still really excited and having a good time. There were tons of smiles and lots of thanks. It was great to see.

As much as I really loved that spot for cheering, I don’t know that I’d choose it again since I didn’t manage to spot any of the friends I knew were running. Everyone is still clumped together pretty tightly so it’s hard to pick out people you know through the crowds.

After the last runners passed, I headed towards the finish to meet N and my friend’s wife. I wandered through the East Village on my way to the finish line and spotted two of my friends running the half. It was so exciting to see them and cheer them on in the last kilometres of their race, especially since I hadn’t spotted them earlier on.

The three of us found a spot near the finish where we thought we’d be visible. It’s fun to see people cross the finish line, but it gets so crowded in the Grandstand that the runners usually don’t see you. I think it’s kind of fun to choose a spot where they’ll see you and you can cheer them towards the finish line.

There were a couple Guiness World Record attempts during the race. One guy was running in full lacrosse gear. We saw him near the finish and he looked to be on the verge of collapsing. The other attempt is pictured below. Can you imagine running a marathon attached to seven other guys?

When T came by, we cheered as loud as we could and tried to snap some photos of him. Unfortunately, there were some obstacles so they’re not the best shots. Sorry, T. I tried!

It was a really long day of walking, standing, and cheering, but I’m so glad I went. Races have such a great energy. Next year is Calgary’s 50th anniversary so I will most definitely be running it. It’s funny how I always think I’m going to take a break from running and then get pulled back in to another race. I was going to take 2013 off and focus on strength training instead of running, but I’m now running the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon in September with N and a couple friends. So much for a year off. I guess I just can’t stay away.


I’ve gone back and forth all week about whether I was going to write anything about what happened at the Boston Marathon this week. I’m sure I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said. I’m also sure that there are plenty of people who will have said it much better, but I decided tonight that I’d thought about it enough to warrant posting something.

This tragedy hit home for me in a few different ways. I know that there are people who experience these types of things every year, every month, maybe even every week. I’m fortunate enough to live in a country where this isn’t my reality. For this, I am truly grateful.

Boston is a wonderful city. My roommate and I did a road trip after I graduated from the University of McGill and one of the stops was Boston. I have nothing but fond memories of the city and its people. My thoughts and prayers go out to them, their families, and their friends.

As a runner, I was shaken by the news on Monday. Boston is an iconic event. I have nothing but respect and admiration for those who endeavour to run it. I’ve qualified for Boston in my dreams although I have no intentions of ever running a Marathon in reality. For me, it’s the marathon. The one I’d love to run if I ever managed to qualify for it.

I can only imagine how awful it must have been for those who were there. I’ve run enough half marathons to know that the last mile is usually the most painful. By that point, I’m just trying to keep moving forward. Imagine getting turned away after having run 41 km of the Boston Marathon – to not officially finish the race. In my mind, those people are all finishers. And the ones who continued on to give blood at a nearby hospital are incredible heroes. I am in awe of their strength.

Even more terrifying is imagining coming down the home stretch as an explosion goes off. Or watching for your husband, wife, father, mother to finish the race and instead finding yourself in the midst of a fatal attack.

I’ve always associated running with the feeling of freedom. When I abandon it, it’s always willing to accept me back. It doesn’t judge me. It doesn’t cost me anything. It gives me time to unplug. Running gives me so much. And being a runner means being part of a community – a wonderful, welcoming, friendly community.  It’s one of the most inclusive clubs I’ve ever belonged to – it doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow, if you run barefoot or with orthotics. All that matters is that you’re doing it.

And that might just be the worst part about this tragedy. I don’t want tragedy to taint Boston, or even worse, running in general.

Wednesday at lunch, I laced up my shoes and went for a short run by the river. There was nothing spectacular about it aside from the fact that I got out and did it. I hope that others continue to do the same. I love running and I hope to never have someone try to take it away from me.

Run Run Run


One of my goals this year is to get faster at shorter distances, namely 5 km and 10 km. I’ve only run 5 km for training so I’ve never really pushed myself. Speed work is so important though, so I’m making an effort to be faster.

I went for a 5 km run at lunch today. I wasn’t expecting it to be very fast, but it felt good. I didn’t really pay attention to my watch until I hit 2 km in 10:05. I never run 2 km in less than eleven minutes. And it felt good, really good. I did a bit of a double take, I was so surprised. So I decided to consciously try and keep it up for the rest of my run. At 3 km, I was right at fifteen minutes. Holding that 5:00/km, I kept an eye on my watch and by 4 km, I was breathing hard. I came in under twenty minutes. All I had to do was hold on for one more kilometre and I’d reach a goal I hadn’t expected to attain until much later this year. I mean, it’s January 7. I only set these goals a week ago! I just tried to keep my feet moving quickly and stopped my watch at 5 km: 24:46. My first time running 5 km in under 25 minutes. Walking back to the office, I was pretty much grinning from ear to ear.

And doing a little happy dance.


Today marks 1 month until Nathan, my dad, and I will be standing at the starting line of the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas. This will be my third half marathon and both mine and Nathan’s first time in Vegas. I’m looking to finally break the 2 hour mark (last time I missed it by sixteen seconds). I can’t wait to see Vegas AND cross this awesome race off my bucket list.

Heather, Nathan, and I after Calgary 2012

Calgary’s weather has been making training a little on the difficult side, but it’s still been going surprisingly well. A month seems simultaneously like a lot of time and very little. That’s only 3 more long runs, 3 interval runs, and a couple handfuls of shorter midweek runs. Somehow it always seems like training flies by and race day is suddenly here. I’m sure this next month will be no different.

Hoping I feel better this time than Calgary Half Marathon

Vegas, I am so ready for you!

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