Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy Diabetes Awareness Month!

Okay, so I've left this a little late, but I'm getting it in just under the wire. November is Diabetes Awareness Month so ... happy Diabetes Awareness Month

In recognition, I've pulled an old running journal entry out of the vault. I ran my first marathon in 2009 with Team Diabetes in support of the Canadian Diabetes Association and chronicled that experience mostly through notes on Facebook. Below are the text and images from that entry. Enjoy!

On a side note, is it just me, or did anyone notice that there an awful lot of charities vying for attention in November? Prostate cancer, anti-bullying, diabetes awareness. All worthy causes, but it makes it difficult to appreciate them fully when they're all so crammed together!


Marathon Update: October 12, 2009

It's official. I've run a marathon! 

Screen shot from Garmin Connect of the Royal Victoria Marathon course and my stats on October 11, 2009.

It was a record-breaking year for the Royal Victoria Marathon, with sell-out numbers for both the Half Marathon and 8K road race, and the total number of participants at a staggering 12,492! 

The entire weekend was extremely well organized, with lots of activities for participants to enjoy. On Saturday, Matt and I went on a bus tour of the marathon route and, that evening, we attended a Carbo Gala Dinner at The Empress, where running emcee legend Steve King hosted, and icons Dick Beardsley and Rod Dixon gave special presentations. 

On Sunday, the weather was crisp, cool and sunny - perfect for running. And Victoria is such a gorgeous city, it's no wonder that it's considered one of the top 10 destination marathons. 

Because my expected finish time was over five hours, I requested an early start. This meant that I was up before 5 AM to be at the start line, in the dark, by 6:30 AM. Yikes! But there were cyclists guiding everyone along until the sun came up, and plenty of enthusiastic volunteers along the route, cheering us on. 

Victoria loves its marathon, that's for sure. 

Here are my official results from the big day ... 

Gun Time: 5 hours 27 minutes 54 seconds 
Chip Time: 5 hours 27 minutes 41 seconds 
Overall: 2,384 out of 2,611 
F Group: 979 out of 1,122 
F 20-29 Division: 153 out of 166 

While I haven't decided if I'll run another (maybe ask me when I'm able to walk again), this was definitely an experience I will never forget. I ran over 1,024 km during training, which took who knows how many hours of my life, and raised $2,090 for the Canadian Diabetes Association

Thank you again to everyone who supported me throughout this journey: friends, family and Team Diabetes included! 

P.S. Donations to the Canadian Diabetes Association and my fundraising campaign can be made until December 11, 2009. If you have not yet donated, please visit to make an online donation, and invite others to do the same.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day Round-Up

This is me taking a break from essay writing to bring you a selection of random thoughts on this Remembrance Day long weekend. Enjoy!

Spine woes
A few weeks ago, I experienced some serious discomfort when my neck was rendered immovable. Since then, I've been battling neck pain and headaches. Good times. I went to see my massage therapist this week and he found some weird stuff with the alignment of my spine. He suggested I visit a chiropractor - which I may do, but I thought I would try and make some "adjustments" of my own first to see if any of it helps. While the LiveStrong Foundation has been marred by Lance Armstrong's doping scandal, I found some pretty great references on their site today on spine health. Check out this article for tips on improving upper spine alignment, as well as all the links on the right-hand side of the page.

Lessons From a Marathon Not Run: From the NYT Run Well Blog
You all know my opinion on the debacle that was the NYC Marathon cancellation. This blog post from the New York Times is a practical take on what happened and a good reminder that life doesn't always work out the way we expect.  

Plug for my research project
I suspect, since you are here and reading a blog about running, that you are either a healthy person or someone who aspires to live a little bit healthier. As part of a research methods course I am taking this term, my team and I have put together a short study exploring people's eating habits and why people make the choices they do when it comes to food. If you are from the Lower Mainland, please complete our survey! It shouldn't take you more than 10 minutes, and it's interesting - I promise!

Remembrance Day
It is Remembrance Day in Canada today. While I did not attend any of the ceremonies in person, I did watch highlights on the news and made sure to fasten a poppy on my hat for today's run. Please be sure to take a moment to honour those who fought and died so that we can enjoy the freedoms we do today.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Back On The Wagon

Quickie post to report: I went for a run today! My plan is working. (Insert evil laugh here.)

I ran 5 km. The weather was gorgeous, and while my legs and lungs were kinda wondering what was going on, my arteries - and self-esteem - rejoiced.

By the way, when did fall happen out there?? Oh right ... it's been hiding behind sheets of rain. They don't call it the "wet" coast for nothing.

Rain may be inevitable, but at least I don't have
to worry about that for a couple more days.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The First Annual Christmas Canter

Admission: I have not been running. Shock! Sad face!

It's not for lack of interest. At first I genuinely believed it was a lack of time given my school schedule. But then a fellow student started training for the Seattle Marathon and he manages to do all of his weekend long runs and runs during the week - and then I feel like I'm just full of poo. 

In 2011, I didn't register for any long distance races. Not coincidentally, I barely ran at all that year. Clearly, I need a motivator. 

I did a little research on local winter races, looking for an 8 or 10 km road race, thinking that either would be a reasonable distance for general fitness and running upkeep. Sadly, I didn't find any that would work for me.

So ... now what? I can't just give up. I don't want to be stagnant for the next few months, and it's painfully obvious that I won't run if I don't have a reason.

If Santa can do it, so can I.
My solution: The Christmas Canter. It's a race I made up, just for me! It will be held on Thursday, December 20 at 9 AM. 

I've been wanting to improve my 10 km, and I think six weeks is ample time to train for that kind of distance. True, I won't have a crowd to urge me on, and there won't be a medal (or free food!) at the end - but at least it's something to work towards that will get me into my running shoes and away from my computer. And if this works the way it's supposed to, maybe I'll make it an annual event!

I'm not sure where I'm going to run this "race" just yet. I have a 10 km training loop, but the route has quite a few traffic lights, etc. Personally, I think it would be nice to have a dedicated course where I don't have to worry about that sort of thing, particularly as one of my goals is to shave off some of my time. More on this later.

What do you think about this idea? Vote on the Five by 35 poll on the home page and let me know!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thoughts on a Race Cancellation

My apologies for being absent these past few weeks! As you probably have guessed, things have been crazy. Grad school has been keeping me very busy. My parents relocated from the prairies. And if that wasn't enough, one of the bunny rabbits got really sick. Between trips to the vet, calls to my mother and studying for mid-terms, life has been nuts.

As hectic as it's been, however, I am certain that the toils of my life pale in comparison to what happened this week on the east coast with Hurricane Sandy. I sat in front of my computer, worrying, reading updates from friends in New York. But then the storm passed and our friends were all safe. And yesterday, I saw this, the announcement from the ING NYC Marathon
"The City of New York and New York Road Runners announce that the 2012 ING NYC Marathon has been canceled. While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of disagreement and division. We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event - even one as meaningful as this - to distract attention from all the critically important work that is being done to help New York City recover from the storm. New York Road Runners will have additional information in the days ahead and we thank you for your dedication to the spirit of this race. We encourage runners who have already arrived in New York City to help with volunteer relief efforts."
The last thing I'd want to do is be overly critical of a type of decision-making situation which I have never personally experienced.  However, it's become such a big topic in the last 24 hours that I feel a need to comment.  

I understand that cancelling the race was certainly a challenging decision for race organizers, the New York Road Runners. But it makes a person wonder: why was this so difficult? Why claim no diversion of resources from those undertaking Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts? Seems like a false statement to me. Anyone who's ever observed or run in a road race knows that it takes manpower such as police and city crews to pull off such a large-scale event. In addition to all this, organizers waited until only two days before the event to make this decision when it was clear that many boroughs would not be supportive of the race going ahead. This resulted in many out-of-town runners being unable to cancel their plans and incurring costs which could have been avoided.

My gut reaction to all this is that organizers were wrong to have waited so long. The backlash they are receiving now is not unfounded. What makes it worse, is the way they have positioned the media as a combatant, citing: "extensive and growing media coverage antagonistic to the marathon and its participants." 

Screen shot from

In this day and age of being able to continually receive feedback through social media channels, I find it hard to believe that organizers were oblivious to growing negative public sentiment to continue with the race following Hurricane Sandy. It's an unfortunate situation caused by something beyond anyone's control. It became even worse when organizers refused to listen to what people were telling them - but rather, forged on stubbornly with a frustrating kind of arrogance, even going so far as to say, "this year's marathon is dedicated to the City of New York, the victims of the hurricane, and their families."

People in New York told them to cancel, media reiterated that continuing with the race was a bad idea, and even runners around the world felt it would be wrong to go ahead. It's a shame that organizers weren't able to recognize all of this at a time when they should have been paying closer attention to what New York City really needed - not a race, not a defense to continue, but a need to come together instead of pulling people apart.