Camore Rocky Mountain Half Marathon 2013

All done.

I can finally check “Run a half marathon” off my bucket list. Best part? I loved every second of the race. Although I was nervous the night before and hardly slept, I was very excited when my alarm went off on Sunday morning. Had my usual pre-run breakfast of PB toast and a banana, got dressed and headed over to the start of the race. It was a chilly morning but the sun was out and  no rain clouds were in sight which made me extremely happy, I hate rain with a passion.

The race organizers finally hoarded all 900 half marathon runners to the start line. The horn went off, I pressed start on my Garmin and off we went. A few of my friends racing the 10km came for the start of my race and it was so encouraging to see them and my dad in the first few metres.

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My first thoughts were “ok, settle in, find a comfortable pace” which quickly changed to “wow, a lot of people are passing me, am I really slow right now?”. I quickly calmed down after I passed a few people myself and forced myself to just focus on my own race. I played games for the first few km to chill out: who had the nicest outfit, which house I would pick if I lived on that street, what the best plan was if I encountered a bear…I have issues. I started feeling comfortable and relaxed around kilometre 4-5, when we switched from running in the street to a trail in the woods. It was so beautiful and so fun to be running with people around me. The entire course was gorgeous, the switch from street to forest to eventually running by the river was a real treat. I had a good laugh every time I reached a water station…is there a trick to drinking from a glass and running without spilling it all over yourself? I’m fairly certain every single volunteer died of laughter watching us runners get more water on our face/body than in our mouth!

I had a gel at about 10km and another at 16km. Around kilometre 15 I started getting excited, I was still holding a steady pace and the end was near. I still felt like I had a decent amount of energy and I knew the last part of the race had some awesome downhills. I started pushing harder at around the 19km mark. I knew I had less than 15minutes to go and that I was capable of a negative split. Soon enough I saw the 21km sign, turned the corner and spotted the finish. I quickly glanced at my watch and realized that I could finish in under 2.10:00 if I sprinted. I hadn’t officially set a goal time but I secretly really wanted to go under 2.10:00. End time? 2.09:06 !

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My initial thoughts when I decided to train for a half were that I would do it this summer and “get it over with” (yeah, running and I weren’t very good friends). I would race and then never have to do it again. Well, I’m fairly certain there will be more. I had tons of fun at the race and am already looking forward to dropping my time to under two hours. I heard about these “destination races” in wine country cities….yes please!!!

I cannot thank all my friends and family enough for the support and well wishes. I received so many wonderful messages this past weekend, my heart was filled with love on that start line yesterday morning.  I feel very blessed and lucky!

Steph

Summer Challenge

I never stopped working out after I hung up my skates. Even if I had wanted to, my body was so used to sweating and training everyday that I felt “off” and couldn’t sleep well if I went more than 3 days without working out (okay, if i’m being totally honest, I was also terrified that I would gain 150lbs if I didn’t hit the gym everyday). So while I was able to maintain an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits (actually I’m pretty sure my diet is way better now than when I skated) I got BORED after 1.5/2 years of not skating. I was beginning to force myself to go to the gym instead of wanting to go. Training is what I miss the most about skating. I miss having training partners to cheer me on when I think i can’t push any harder and I really miss having a coach. Sure, I went on runs and organized gym dates with friends but it’s just not the same and I found it really hard not have something to train for. I also really missed being proud of myself. Staying healthy is a great reason to sweat but it just wasn’t enough anymore. I finally realized I needed to challenge myself, train for something I considered scary and that I wasn’t very good at…a half marathon.

Early morning run - Barcelona Spring 2012

Early morning run – Barcelona Spring 2012

I bit the bullet and signed up for the Canmore Half Marathon at the end of March. I think I had a mini panic attack when I hit that register button; the longest i had ever ran was 10km, usually got bored after 30minutes, and I found running to be really really hard. Running a half had always been on my bucket list but I figured I wouldn’t actually attempt one for quite a few years. I used my friend Google to do a bit of research on training plans and then just combined a few to my liking (yep, total amateur). My goal? Just train starting June 1st and finish the race September 8th. No time goal.

Training began a few days later than planned due to a 4 day escapade to Vegas. I bought a Garmin watch and kept increasing the distance every week. I felt strong and actually began to enjoy running. After 7-8km I always began to feel really calm and was able to settle into a groove and keep going until my watch told me I had achieved my goal for that day. Every Sunday my Garmin would inform me that I had ran a “New Record Distance”. After I hit 19km I had to take almost 3 weeks off due to some pretty intense knee pain. I hadn’t been stretching/foam rolling enough and my body was a hurting unit.

The race is now in 3 days. I leave for a Banff getaway with my dad tonight. My runners, shorts and gels are packed. How do I feel? Both nervous and excited. My goal for Sunday is to really just focus on having fun. Canmore is an extremely gorgeous town and I’m really excited to finally hit 21km!

Looking forward to updating you after Sunday!

Steph

Friday Faves

A few of my favorite things from this week…
1. Margaritas. Loving this drink lately, especially when paired with homemade fish tacos. I am looking forward to sipping on a few of these this weekend to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

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2.  Colorful pants. Bright bottoms are in every store right now and I am so on board with this fashion trend.

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3. This mug. There could not be a more perfect mug.

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4. Protein pancakes. Pancakes are my fave and these protein-packed babies make for a perfect healthy breakfast. I promise I will post the recipe soon, it’s too good not to share.

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5. Pinata Cake. I think I squealed and jumped up and down a few times when I saw this masterpiece on A Subtle Revery‘s blog. I cannot wait to make this.

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Have a great weekend!!!!

SB

Farewell Workout ADD

Since I retired from speed skating it’s been a challenge to find workouts that motivate me to push a little harder. I make it a priority to work out at least 3 times a week, but I often have to force myself to lace up my sneakers. The high I get from a long run, hard intervals or a strength circuit is amazing, but I have zilch creativity, so it tends to be the same exercises and same scenery every week = boring. And then I tried a spin class…

My bestie, Suzy, has been going to Peloton Cycling for a few months now and always has awesome things to say about the spin studio. I’ve wanted to try a spin class for a couple years but I don’t consider myself to be awesome cyclist so I never went for it. Suz asked me to go with her this morning, and since she has been present for 99% of my most embarrassing life moments, I figured I wouldn’t have to worry about her making too much fun of me. End Result? AMAZING!!! The instructor, Martine (who is also the owner), was so motivating and the studio is such a cool place. The workout was fierce: 75 minutes of non-stop spinning. My average heart rate was 178 and I probably could have filled a few buckets with sweat. Best part? There is no way you can get bored what with the high-energy music (every song means a new challenge: sprints, hills, intervals) and the video screens showing actual roads from around the world.

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Peloton Cycling Studio

I will definitely be visiting Peloton Cycling again. I’ve already got a date picked..December 9th. I encourage anyone in Calgary to also visit the studio that Sunday, since the “Spin for Suz” fundraiser will be happening. One hundred percent of the proceeds from this fundraiser will go towards helping Suzy out with her training costs this year. So you not only get an amazing workout and have a great time, you also get to help my best friend reach her dream of being an Olympic athlete. If you’re interested, follow along with @PelotonYYC and @SuzHami for #SpinForSpeed event details. I may have heard that there will be goody bags….

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Spin for Suz Fundraiser

Have a good week,

SB

My Favorite Weekly Outing

Long lineups, annoying people and spending money are a few reasons why most people dislike grocery shopping. I look forward to this weekly adventure. For some odd reason, grocery shopping completely relaxes me; the meal planning and flyer reading makes me so excited. I prefer grocery shopping alone since I get to roam the aisles as slowly as I want to, and really look at everything thats offered. 

The return of fall has made grocery shopping even more enjoyable lately. Seasonal favorites have made a comeback and have inspired me to try a whole slew of new recipes. 

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These days, everything seems to be pumpkin flavored. This week I even created a recipe for some awesome GF banana-pumpkin muffins. Holy Moly were those fabulous. Since I’m not sick of it yet, I decided to buy an actual organic sugar pumpkin today so I could make some homemade pumpkin puree. The goal is to create something that will also incorporate the fresh cranberries that were $0.99/bag instead of $2.99! And to celebrate the return of squash season, a cute little spaghetti squash was also purchased ($0.69/pound at Superstore…I was very excited about this deal). 

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These B.C sweet peppers also made it home with me. I’m thinking they will be used to make some type of mexican rice/bean dish. 

I’m not sure if its my 80 year old soul or my love of food that makes me look forward to my grocery adventures, but if you’re planning on impressing me, just take me to a grocery store. I promise I will love you for life…especially if the following are purchased.

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SB xox

Student. Graduate. Worker bee.

Although my last post was not even a month ago, it is unbelievable how much has happened. For one, I FINALLY graduated. Yep, I can now add a few letters after my name. Grad day (make that grad week) was sooo much fun. Having most of my family here, and celebrating it with my 2 best friends made it quite a special affair. It was so nice to achieve this milestone together and to be able to be so proud of one another. I feel absolutely blessed to have developed such a great friendship with Suz and Andy over the course of 6 years and this moment can be added to the list of our crazy conversations when we are old and senile.

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Although graduation is crazy exciting and I honestly would have almost died if I had to go to school for one more year, part of me was also scared. My main concern (apart from walking across the stage in heels) were the inevitable changes that come once you are no longer a student. Goodbye not worrying about health/dental benefits (yep, you eventually have to be taken off your parents plan!) and hello paying for my own groceries and everything else I want need.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about finding a job. Not only did I secure a job before I left for Europe, I managed to get a job I enjoy and don’t dread going to everyday. Having speed skated for 16 years, being able to work in my “second home”, the Olympic Oval, is motivating and inspiring. I get to be part of a team that strives to make dreams come true. Can it get any better?

Thank you to everyone who helped make my big day a special one. Present or not, I was definitely feeling the love!

SB