Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Insane good or Insane bad

12 more days until I run my 5th Half Marathon.  Last week went OK..3 days of running on the treadmill, a great 5k race and a long run that was far from great.

This was my week
Mon: 3 miles
Tue: 5 
Wed: 3 miles
Thu: 5k race: PR!
Fri: Rest
Sat: 11 miles
Sun: 3 miles recovery
Total: 28 miles

The highlight of that week was my Turkey Trot and the low was my long run.  The night before I was unsure of when I should do it; Saturday or Sunday.  I was looking at the weather it looked the same both days..maybe more winds on Sunday.  I decided to see how I feel in the morning and go from there.  I went to bed too late and I ended up having a late start. The sun was out and I left after 8 am, a bit late for me for a LR.  I left still not sure that I would do 11 miles, looking for reasons not to do it I think.  At mile 4 I made the decision to go for 11 and be done with the LR.  Not the best attitude.  I told myself just do it and tomorrow it will be just 3.  I got dehydrated, did not see it coming.  When I realized I was in trouble it was too late.  I felt like it was 95 degrees.  Of course it was not that hot but it did get pretty warm that day...kids playing outside in shorts warm.  I finished the 11 miles and when I got home I took an ice bath.  Aouchy.  In the shower, I could taste the salty water also my black hat had several white lines on it.  Not Good.  I ended up feeling like crap for several hours, not able to eat anything and forcing myself to drink Nuun and water even though I felt like puking.  I was mad at myself for being so stupid and careless during that run.  Because it is not 100 degrees these days I tend to not drink as much during my runs but I now know I need to.  I loose a lot of salt no matter what temperature it is, during the summer I was good at taking the salt tablets and lately I have not been taking them.  Clearly that is a mistake.

I have not done a lot of speedwork on this training plan, I tried to focus more on hills because this next race will be hard for me.  I am nervous about this one because it is my first half since Long Beach and on a hilly course. I have been practicing starting SLOW on my 5-6 miles runs.  I noticed that IF I start slower my overall pace is better.  In half marathon races I have been TERRIBLE at pacing.  I am 0/4 for negative splits.  I am 1/4 for strong finish.  Work in progress.

At my last race I noticed that a lot of kids were lining up at the 5k start.  Not for the kids race, but for the open race.  Some of them were really young, some were smaller than Jonathan, my 5 yrs old son.  After I finished, I asked Bill my usual questions: Who came in first? What was their time? Was the first woman young? He told me that in the top 10 was a really young kid.  I said "Yeah in a stroller?" He said no that he ran!  1342 people ran that 5K and the winner was an 18 yrs old guy who came in 16:22:07.  That kid came in 11th overall place with a time of 18:28:07! THAT IS A 5:57 PACE. The first woman came in 22nd overall place.  I posted this picture Bill too at the start and the stats of that little boy on my race report post.  Look on the left, blue shorts and yellow top.

Someone commented about his performance and wrote: "that is insane". Insane good or insane bad?  I agree it is INSANE.  I wonder how much he trains.  Are his parents pushing him?  That kind of time does not come from just pure talent and or being blessed by the Running Gods.  Clearly he has talent but he has to be training to be able to run a 5K in 18 minutes 28 seconds at freaking 8 yrs old.  That night Bill and I were talking about that boy and wondering what would we do if one of our sons had that kind of athletic talent.  Right now, my boys love to participate in the kids race.  They have fun doing it.  They get a medal and they are happy.  They don't train.  They don't care about their time.  Best of all after each race they ask when is the next one. They both say that when they are a bigger they will do the big races like mommy.  I am one of those parent that makes their kids sign up for sports.  I don't ask them if they want to sign up or not.  I do ask what they would prefer...soccer, basketball, baseball...but they have to pick something.  For now, for the kids race I just sign them up and I tell them when they have one.  If one day they say that they hate it, I will not sign them up anymore.  I want them to be active but I also want them to LIKE being active. At their age it still has to be fun or they will give up.  Last thing I want is for them to view physical activity as a punishment or something negative and that when they are teenagers it is no longer a part of lives. 
So about that running child prodigy..what are the odds that he will still be running in 10 yrs? That he will love to run in 10 yrs?  My wish for him is that he still does.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Claremont Turkey Trot race report and a winner

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!
Ours started great with a Turkey trot for me and the boys...that was followed later by Jonathan being sick..IN THE CAR.. on our way to dinner.  Yikes....
He is fine today.

Back to the Turkey Trot.
This was my first one, I am so happy I found it just in time! It was 15 min from home and it was great!  The people were all so nice.  It was in a town I really like, it reminds me a lot of Qu├ębec (my hometown).  The weather was PERFECT, it is truly the best time of the year here in Southern California; sunny and in the 50s.   My kids were running the 1k kids race and when we got up it was 45 degrees so I said they needed to wear pants and long sleeves and they were not having it.  "You are in shorts and short sleeves! We want the same!"  Right...so I changed in tights and long sleeves top.  Better that than them being cold.

Kids race was first at 7:30 am.  It started right on time!  Will was set on coming in BEFORE Jonathan this time!  He had to save his big-brother-Pride!!!
Here they are at the start! Will in orange and Jonathan in yellow, bright colors is key to spot them in a race!!!

Ready Set Go!

So who came in first?



Not long after, this guy came around the corner!

They both did GREAT! They loved it! I loved it more!

Then it was my turn!
Start was 8:30.  They had a bit of a delay for the start, no big deal to me.  My only concern was how I was dressed, wished I had short sleeves and shorts by then.  I was close to the front for the start so no need to pass walkers or strollers.  I wanted to go under 30 min and run negative splits.  I have a pretty bad record at running negative splits in races, I can do it just fine in training though.  This was a flat fast course. 

I am right behind the 2 guys in black in the middle
See that little kid on the left, yellow top, blue short?
He came in 11th OVERALL
Time 18:28:03
Age: 8 years old

First mile went by fast, I was feeling pretty good, I kept telling myself..no slowing down, no slowing down.Mile 2...getting hot....or what a mom does for her kids..overdress for a race! A bit of going up here...not a real hill but I felt the burning in my legs a little and I was worried I would slow down but NO!  Mile 3: OH JOY! Down Down I Go!!!
I finished that fast! I never do that! I looked at the clock and it was at 28:xx
28! I have never ran under 29 minutes......until then!  My old PR was 29:29 and now it is 28:59.  BARELY under 29 minutes but a second is a second :). So I am happy.  I went under 30 min, I ran negative splits and I got a PR!
Loved the race! We will be back next year!

I passed this  really TALL guy on my way to the finish

And the winner of my My Memory software Giveaway is robinbb! Please send me an email with your email address!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankfully Alive!

Even though I did not grow up with Thanksgiving traditions, (I know some of you Canadians said you did, I am from the French side and we don't celebrate Thanksgiving like the Americans do) I do like this Holiday.  I like what it means.  I like that it is and will be a part of my sons lives.  I like that in school they made journals of what they are thankful for.  Now football....I am not in the like stages yet..even after 11 years of Thanksgiving, sorry Nelly please don't un-follow me!  The meal I love but it does not love me.  Boo Hoo. We have no guests coming over this year and with Bill working insane hours we have decided that this year we are having the traditional meal at Mimi's, our favorite family restaurant in town.  They have stuff I can eat there and I love them for that.  They make the real Thanksgiving dinner and it is good. 

Running has been all inside this week.  I am thankful for a gym membership with childcare but I struggle for the 5 miles and up runs.  It is more mental than anything for me on the machine.  I did run every day this week.  Tomorrow is Turkey Trot and Friday back at the gym or off.  I have ran every day since Saturday and I am planning on running both days this weekend so maybe I should rest Friday.

OK so I am thankful for a lot of things this year, here are some of them:

1. I am thankful to be ALIVE.
2. I am thankful for my parents and that they are in good health.
3. I am thankful for my husband, he works hard to support us and he is a wonderful father and husband and without him I could not write #4.
4. I am thankful for my 2 sons, being their mom is the greatest joy of my life. 
5. I am thankful for my brother and his family.  I miss them so much. 
6. I am thankful that my children are healthy.
7. I am thankful that I am able to stay home to raise my boys.
8. I am thankful that my tumor has not grown this year.
9. I am thankful for the friendships I have had for over 25 yrs with my friends back home.
10. I am thankful for my friends here in California who accept me just the way I am.
11. I am thankful for my kids TEACHERS.  They are wonderful. 
12. I am thankful that this year I got to go home.
13. I am thankful that my kids love school and are both doing great this year.  Education is top priority for me.
14. I am thankful for running.  I truly believe it makes me a better person to run.  I feel like I have myself back a little after 6 yrs of being a bit lost.
15. I am thankful that my family, and by that I really mean BILL, support me in all of my races.  They get up early, they wait for me to pass by them, he takes pictures.  It means the world to me.
16. I am grateful for all of you who hit the follow button.  Your support and friendship mean a lot and I appreciate all of you and all of your comments.
17. I am thankful that Bill has a job.  I am.
18. I am thankful that tomorrow Bill will be home for Thanksgiving dinner.
19. I am thankful that right now as I type all this my boys are NOT fighting.
20. I am thankful for my beautiful dog Maggie and that she is healthy.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!
I hope you will be with your family tomorrow.
If you are racing like me tomorrow; smile and run fast!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving week, more sadness at races and Be in the Game

I did not grow up with the whole Thanksgiving tradition.  In Quebec, Thanksgiving is in October and it is not celebrated like it is here in the USA.  We have a day off of school and that is pretty much it.  No big meal, no crazy shopping in the middle of the night and no football.  The big turkey meal in on Christmas Day minus the pumpkin pie.

I tried the crazy shopping once and that was my last timeI hated it.  I would much prefer going for 20 miles instead of that.  I do the shopping ONLINE.  Much better.

One Thanksgiving tradition I do like is the Turkey Trot!
This year I will run my first one!  It's a 5k and my kids are running the 1k.  I am looking forward to it! 

I only have 3 more weeks before my 5th Half Marathon.  This one comes with nice scenery and lots of hills.  I am doing it as a long run, well a good long run but not for a PR.  I don't want a personal worst and no repeat of Long Beach.  Surf City is the one I want to go for PR!

Last week I did this:
Mon: 3 miles recovery
Tue: 5 miles tempo
Wed: 3 miles easy
Thu: 5 miles 10k pace
Fri: Rest
Sat: Rest
Sun: 10.5 miles

Saturday was not supposed to be a rest day.  I had a friend from Quebec who came to visit us on Friday and left Saturday am.  I have known her since Kindergarten!  We stayed up late talking about everything, the next day we had to get up early for last soccer games and she had an early flight to catch.  After 2 soccer games we had double pizza party..I am the team mom for both teams so I had to be there!! By the time all that was over I was pretty tired.

Sunday I went for 10 miles.  It was cool and wet for the first 3 miles, I was hoping it would not start pouring.  No! Instead we got a rainbow and it stopped raining!! Thank you Mother Nature.  It went fine for my LR, I was able to pick up the pace for the last 3 miles.  I only have 2 more LR before the Holiday Half and I will do 11 and 10 I think.  I only have 1 double digit done so far so I will not do less than 10 for the last one.

Running in cooler temps is so GREAT.  I am so happy.  Here the people say it is COLD but really they don't know what cold is! It is COOL, not below 45 so far.

Yesterday was the Philly Marathon and once again it was a race that brought terrible sadness.   "Two runners died yesterday during the Philadelphia Marathon, even though conditions were described as perfect by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Both runners collapsed near the finish line, and apparently died from heart attacks."  One was only 21 and he had ran the half marathon and the other was 40 and ran the full.  After what happened to me in Long Beach this is making me even more nervous.

I was looking at all the articles that were posted after the news of the two deaths was announced and I found an interesting article from the Running Doc, you can read it here.  These are his 3 advises on race day

1. Take a baby aspirin (81mg) the morning of the event.
2. Limit caffeine that morning to less than 200 mg.
3. Take the last mile like the previous without a fast sprint.

Before I was released from the hospital the cardiologist did tell me to do 1 and 2.
I was contacted by a great all-things-outdoors blog called Be in the Game, which features anything from camping and fishing gear to sports equipment gear.

My blog has been chosen to be featured  in their Best of the Web weekly series recognizing the most interesting websites on the web!  You can see it here scroll down a bit and you will see my picture.

These are pictures from the last games of the soccer season.

Those are all pictures that I made with the MyMemories software.  If you like them and you would like to win a FREE  software go here and enter my giveaway! Just today they announced that the new version is now available and my lucky winner will win the newest version!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On Loosing 75 lbs and Running

I never did put my training for last week so I am putting it here for my personal records, I know you are all NOT dying to know :)

Mon: 3 miles tempo
Tue: 5 miles at 10k pace
Wed: 3 miles easy
Thu: REST, I went to volunteer at my kids school that day instead of Friday because Friday was off.
Fri: 5 miles HILLS at the Gym.
Sat: 3 miles
Sun: 10k Race
total: 25 miles

So far this week is going good except for warmer weather..of course the cool temps were not going to last...:(
I did all my runs outside and so no HILLS or speedwork this week.  I know all next week will be on the treadmill so I took advantage of outdoor runs for this week.

I found a Turkey Trot! A local one!  I had found 2; one on a trail and I did not want to do that and the other one was 40 miles away..for a 5k I was not convinced.  The one I will do is 10 min away and they have a kids 1k race! 

On my last race report I mentioned that I have now lost 75 lbs and that got me a lot of comments and emails.  First thank you all for the really really nice comments.  You guys know how to make a gal feel good!

I don't talk about my weight loss a whole lot here, I don't want to bore you guys with this.  This week I got some people who asked to see before and after pictures.  Ayayaye...I hate looking at those pictures.  I used to hate having my picture taken. I would try to sit and always ask Bill not to get my legs.   I would always volunteer to be the one taking the pictures. I did found pictures to show you. I have to tell you that, even though I am aware that I do not look the same as I did before, in my head I still see me like the old me.  I still put XL on the registration forms for races and when I go shopping (very rarely!), I still pick up jeans in sizes 16 even though I now need 4 or 6.  OK here we go...

See the size of my thighs and fat knees?
 Good thing Maggie saves the picture here.

I HATE this picture. 

That is Will next to me

I was asked how did I loose 75 lbs.  There was no magic pillI changed my diet. A complete 360.  I got sick and developed GI problems.  I had my Gallbladder removed and I have GERD since then.  I used to eat after 8 pm, in front of the TV and a lot of junk food.  Oh yeah the 3 big NO NO all at the same time.  Pizza, Wings, Burgers, Mozzarella Sticks, Chinese take out.  It was not pretty.  Not every day but it was often.  I did not used to eat like this when I was single.  But with Bill we got into these really lazy bad habits.  After the kids I was overwhelmed and I let myself go.   Excuses? Yes 100%.

I am 5'11" and I think it was "easier" to "hide" the extra lbs because I am so tall.   Most people I know tell me NOW that I was not fat.  Yes I was.  Nobody can loose 75 lbs and look "normal" after, without being overweight to begin with.

After my Gallbladder surgery I took all spicy food and fatty food out of my diet. The truth is if I eat that stuff I do get sick.  So far no food is worth it.  I have friends with the same issues and they choose to still eat the junk food once in a while and to deal with the consequences.  It would not kill me  but I made the choice to change my lifestyle.  It is not always easy and it demands a lot of discipline because I do not impose my diet on my family.  I think it was 3 mos after that I started running.  So to answer the person who asked if I lost 75 lbs just with running, the answer is NO.  It is changing my diet AND running.  This was about 40 lbs down and those pants were size 14.

This is me trying on my wedding dress on my 10th wedding anniversary last May

And today I look like this:

 I would never want to go back to how I was before.  I am frustrated with my diet at times because there are things I would like to eat once in a while and I can't because of how it would make me feel.  I do feel stronger and better than I did 10 yrs ago and that is after having 2 kids after turning 35!!! :) I am 42 now and I can run 13.1 miles.  If someone had told me 5 yrs ago that I would run 5 half marathons in 2011 I would have never believed them.

Thank you again for your kind comments and for reading.


Did you enter my GIVEAWAY? Go here to enter, right now your odds are looking pretty good!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Win a FREE photo-scrapbooking digital software!!! Product review and GIVEAWAY

It's Giveaway day!

I was contacted by the nice folks at www.MyMemories.com to host a great giveaway and review their My Memories Suite Scrapbook software.

If you are a follower of my blog, you know that I love to take pictures and my 2 kids are my favorite subjects.  My family is far away and I love to make gifts for them using pictures. There is nothing that makes my mom happier than to have something with pictures of her grand children.  I also like to save memories from all the activities we do as a family and everything interesting that happens in my children's lives.  I tried traditional scrapbooking and it is not for me, all the cutting, the stickers, the glue, the writing...it takes too much time that I don't have. 

This is a digital scrapbook software.  It is very easy to learn how to use it.  I installed it on my laptop and started using it right away.  With My Memory Suite you will be able to create all kinds of projects using pictures; books, cards, calendars, posters, slideshow with music, videos, gifts tags.  One of the thing I love about this software is that each page you create can become a jpg file.  You can make really nice pages using your pictures and print them as a picture of any size you like on your own printer no need to order through any websites.  If you choose to use a website to print your pages that is also something that you can do.  You would upload those pages just like you do with your regular pictures.  It is VERY EASY. 

My Memories Suite Scrapbook software comes with templates pages, several different background papers and embellishments.  You can change the shape of your pictures, frame them in any color you want, add text to them,  add a shadow, special effects, you name it!!  You can make a lot of things without having to buy anything extra but if you want to add to what comes with the software you can download more templates or embellishments on the www.MyMemories.com website.  There, you will find a lot of fun stuff! They even have a section with FREE downloads!  You can find all kinds of monograms and templates for everything; Christmas, Sports, Kids, School, Seasons etc.

I made a few things to share with you examples of what you can do with this software.

1. Christmas gifts tags: This template comes with the software.  It adds a fun personal touch to your gifts, I know my kids will love this!!!

2. An invitation; again everything I used to create this file came with the software.  It took 5 minutes to make it. (please make a note for my birthday :))

3. I made these for my nieces.  I would make one for each player on their teams and offer this to the coach at the end of the season.  I emailed them to my nieces and they loved them! The older one is now using this as her Facebook profile picture! Score for aunt Caro!
I downloaded the letters and numbers that are in circles for $1.99. 

4. I had to make one page running related!!  For this one I used a template that I downloaded from the website.  You can see the pictures have round corners and a shadow added to them, one of them is in a circle shape.  These features come with My Memories Suite Scrapbook software. I also added a colored shadow to some of the words.

5. This could be used as a blog headerOne of the great thing on the  www.MyMemories.com website is the tutorials videos. There you can learn to do all kinds of projects, one is on how to make a custom header for your blog.  

All the pages that I made were all uploaded on my blog as JPEG files, I did not have to scan anything!  I highly recommend this software.  It is easy to use, I will use it to create the project for my son's STAR of The WEEK poster.  Older kids can use this for school projects or to create their own gifts for family and friends.

So who wants a free My Memories Suite Scrapbook software ($40 value) ???

I received one for myself and one to give to one of you! 
Thank you MyMemories!


1. Be a follower of my blog. One entry.

2. Visit www.MyMemories.com. and tell me what is your favorite digital paper pack. One Entry.

3. Like MyMemories on Facebook here.  If you do that you will also get a $5 coupon to use at their online store.  1 entry.

4.  Share this Giveaway with your followers, it can be on your blog or twitter and leave me a comment here. 1 entry.

So one lucky person will win a free software and for all the others I have a special coupon to give to you

$10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store - $20 value!

This is the coupon code: STMMMS86809

You have until November 23rd to enter! I will choose a random winner using random.org.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I accomplished that today.

This is the 2nd race that I revisited since I started running last year: The Misssion Inn 10k.
Last year this was my first 10k ever.  I sucked big time but I finished it and I was happy that day.  I did not care about the time.  This year I did care about the time.

This is NOT an easy course.  It has some HILLS.  I don't like running hills and I am not very good at it either.  I knew where they were and how bad they were, the last one right after mile 5 is the worst, one of those where you think you are at the top and then ooops a turn and it still goes up...crap.

The weather was PERFECT:  46 degrees at the start, no wind, sun was out. 

This time I parked myself near the front to try to escape the walkers and the strollers.  That race had a great start, plenty of room no need to stop and go.  I wanted to start strong because I knew the hills would slow me down, so I did try to "bank" time a bit.  I felt pretty good and first 3 miles went by really fast.  First 5k at 29:27.  I saw Bill and the kids there.  I saw him first and I started waving and yelling his name from far away like a crazy person. 

Mile 4 I almost puked but I kept it clean.  Right after miles 5, the nasty hill...yikes...I had to walk a little.:(  Next year I will prepare better for this one.  I wanted to have a strong finish.  I knew the course and when we arrived at the last turn I was able to push and pick up the pace a little and have a good finish, that is a rare thing for me because usually I panic when I see the finish line.

So last year at that race my time was 1:11:59.  Not good.
One year later my time is 1:03:04.  No PR and still not breaking any speed record
Almost 9 minutes improvement on that course, I'll take it.

I have no complains about this race, the volunteers were nice, plenty of water stations along the way, did not stop at any but I appreciated the cheers at each of them.  It started right on time with a good start.  No medal but that is OK.  They had medals for the first 100 males and 100 females and the top 3 finishers.

I like this local race and I will be back next year for sure.

Talking parrots: Napoleon and Josephine! They were hilarious and the boys loved them!!

Today I stepped on the scale and I have officially lost 75 lbs.
Like someone said to me "that is a little person!"

Be sure to comeback for my next post for my GIVEAWAY !!!