Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Clinical Race Review of the Downsview Half

I went to to review the Downsview Half Marathon - a more personal review of the race is forthcoming.

I think the most fair way to approach this is to address the race based on how it was promoted, and therefore my impressions compared to those expectations.

From the race’s website: (My comments in brackets) 

 Race Information 

 Certified Half Marathon 21.1k route (13.1 miles) and 5k (My Garmin – and others – measured the course over the 21.1k. I was told on facebook by the race organizer that the course was accurate, and that sometimes GPS devices can be inaccurate. So I guess there were a number of inaccurate GPS devices out there. I hugged the pylons and didn’t do any bobbing and weaving between people, so I can’t place where else the distance comes from.) 

Flat & fast course (NOT flat. Not super hilly like the Oasis Zoo Run, but the park section, which we ran twice, had plenty of hill action… including the final stretch to the finish line. Ouch.)

Start & finish inside Downsview Park (Yes, yes it did!)

Run throughout the Park past the new lake, the ‘mounds’, hangars, soccer fields and more (We sure saw all those things – twice!)

Run past vintage planes and modern Bombardier jets (Not really. I don’t fault the race organizers for the fact that there was only one airplane on the course, despite the course map delineating 6 spots where planes and jets would be located. Clearly, this one is on Bombardier, but it was still kind of a bummer. The planes were a big draw for me.)

Free parking (Yes! And it was CLOSE!! Wonderful)

Technical race hat, goodie bag, finisher medal (Nice hat, lots of great treats in the goodie bag – side note, are Werther’s Caramelts the new big thing for races? I sure got a lot this season! – and finally, the MEDAL. The medal is GREAT. It is a big part of what drew us to add this race this year as we train for another half in January.)

Remembrance Day ceremony with military personnel, bagpiper & more (Very nice, and very respectful. It was a nice touch.)

Aside from all that:
There were great, supportive volunteers along the course (I was only almost mis-directed one time).
There were a handful of military personnel hanging around the parked military vehicles (including a wee tank) and I got a big kick out of them saying “Good job, ma’am”.
The course didn’t seem too crowded, despite the narrow pathways (although that could be because we were well in the back of the pack!), so the number of runners felt right.
Having a place indoors to wait for the race, stretch and cool down afterwards was a huge plus.

Things I’d like to see improved?
Get Bombardier to pony up the airplanes
A turnaround chip reader
Reword the race description (some rolling hills through parkland, baby)
The road to the military base was muddy (slippery) and full of holes – obviously the organizers can’t go out there and fill the holes themselves, but I hope that the road is in better shape next time
Clear signs (not just volunteers trying to deal with hundreds of runners) showing “1/2 marathon, this way” “5K, second loop, this way” – and maybe clearly colour-code the km signs – they got confusing in the 5k loop.

Overall, I had a good time. The weather happened to be perfect, and so it added to my enjoyment of the race so I was more forgiving than I would have been had it been gross outside. While I had a good time, and enjoyed a PR I’m not sure I’d hurry back next year without some changes.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Downsview Half Marathon Result

Race Report to come, but for now, I'll just say it was a great day for a PR! 
It didn't hurt that this was the first long run we've done in a long time that wasn't in the rain.

Hooray for sunshine and unseasonably warm weather!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Oh *that* work/life balance

It may come as no surprise that while home from my job working on a cruise ship, my schedule has been relatively open.  Not working has a funny way of keeping your time pretty free.

But it also has a wicked toll on an already tight budget.  I've been doing pretty well with our grocery budget using flyers and coupons, but more than anything, I needed to start bringing in some money.

Getting a job when you know you're leaving town in 5 months can be tough.  I can't in good conscience not tell people that I'm not sticking around, and I couldn't face an office job, temporary or no.  So as a result, I've found work doing product demonstrations, which has been fun and a good second use of my compression socks (hello, at least 6 hours on your feet!)

So, that's where I've been.  Bridal show, in-store demo, some mystery shops... I've missed a couple of conditioning runs (but not many) and I've also completed a 10 mile long run.

The long run was delayed.  We were scheduled to run it on a Saturday, however we woke up to significant rain, so a long postponed trip to the Running Room outlet store in Etobicoke was in order.  We stocked up on warm, water resistant attire, did some Halloween candy shopping, waited for Greg to get his hair cut (he booked a commercial and needed to look "clean cut"), then accepted that we would be running the next day instead.

Cold run.  Wet run.  Long run.  But, ultimately, successful run.  We ended up speeding up for the last few miles to try to outrun my sister's dying iPhone battery.  That's one way to guarantee a negative split!

We were happy to finish the run feeling good, because it was our last long run before our upcoming half marathon this Sunday, November 11.

I had to opt out of my weekend run this past weekend because I'm pretty sure I gave myself a mild concussion after walking into a cement overhang in a parking garage on Sunday on my way into work.  I was tempted to just pack up the car and leave and head to the hospital, but in my mind, I HAD to work - there wasn't really anyone to replace me, and despite Greg being out of town shooting a commercial that will help us get through the next few months comfortably, I NEEDED to bring in some money.

It was a real knock to the noggin, too.  My vision went for a second, I dropped what I was carrying, and the pain was something I don't think I've ever felt before.  It wasn't just hurting me, it was scaring me, and I was on the verge of tears for about an hour.  The only reason I didn't let myself cry was because I was wearing makeup and didn't have extra to do touch-ups.  I just applied ice to my head with one hand, and set up my display with the other.

I was a blathering idiot for the first hour of trying to do my product demonstrations for people, and then less of an idiot but still confused for the rest of the day, with a headache that wouldn't go away.

In retrospect, hospital.  Right away.  I was a dummy.

In the long run, though, everything was much better after a good night's sleep.  All is well.

So that's where I've been.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Photo Phriday

Last Saturday was a perfect day for running... A crisp snap in the air, and that wonderful fall smell of leaves, the lake and moist earth.

My sister and I had a 6.5 mile run scheduled, but as we set out, we set our sights a little higher than that.  Since we'd already run a 10K a few weeks prior, we figured we could add some more distance in an effort to build up to a half marathon we want to do in November.

And so we set off, aiming for at least 6.5 miles, but "hopefully 8".

These Canadian geese seem not to notice that fall is here and winter is fast approaching.
Shouldn't they be in a V formation, somewhere over Virginia?

Even these sunflowers haven't gotten the memo...

The beautiful Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion, closed for the season.

The lake knows it's fall...

See that windmill waaaay off in the distance?  We started beyond even that!
We set a reasonable pace, and before we knew it, we'd already gone 4 miles.  So much for turning back for anything shorter than an 8 miles!  Now, that's how you know you're enjoying your run.

We just registered for our next race last night.  Downsview Half Marathon, here we come!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Weekend

Since I've been home from the ship, I haven't been working.  So that leaves me in a frustrating place - I have all the time in the world to do all the fun things I wish I could do when I'm working, and I have exactly zero dollars to do it with.

This time/money budget imbalance led me to find a new way to feed my racing bug this past weekend.  As I mentioned in a previous post, and like other runners, I'm always so amazed by, and grateful to the cheerful volunteers who make a race possible.

And so since I'd self imposed a racing entry fee moratorium until I found actual work, I decided to act as a volunteer for the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon Weekend.

Since I knew I wanted to go to the Expo anyway, I picked up a quick 4 hour shift handing out race kits to runners.  I was assigned to the 5K bib area, and I had a great time explaining the race details and handing out bibs and race kits.  It was a wonderful experience to meet all the runners as they came for their kits - flush with excitement, (or sometimes nervousness).  There were a couple of things I had to figure out on the fly (oh, there is a clipboard here with parking information - why didn't I know about this an hour ago...) but overall I felt well prepared by the job after being briefed at length by a co-ordinator.  There were also snacks (Werthers, Powerbars), 6 inch subs from Subway, water and juice.  For my shift I also received and got to keep a Volunteer shirt new dusting rag.

I had walked over with my sister and we got to look around together for about 15 minutes before I had to head to my shift.  Imagine my surprise (and amusement) when she swung by the kit pick-up area to show me all the goodies she had bought.  (Shoes, hydration belt, socks, toe caps)

The Race Expo gets another one!

I went back the next day because I was jealous of her super sweet new Nathan hydration belt (The Race Expo gets another, 'nother one!), so I swung by the Running Free booth and I got one too...  I tried it out on our 8 mile run on Saturday, and it's a dream come true, I tell ya!  More stable than the one I picked up on sale from MEC for the Zoo Run.

Nathan X-Trainer Mutation  Nice big bottle, plus a smaller bottle for gel.

Here come a few Expo photos...

The view walking into the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place.
Welcome to the Expo!
Race kit pick up was at the rear of the room.

This... I can't even explain this.  Giant pasta bowl.
Now get shopping!

While I was at the Expo, I also picked up some gloves and a thermal headband/ear-warmer, because race day promised to be cold and rainy.

And it was.


The majority of the Toronto skyline was obscured behind low hanging clouds.  It was spooky.  I had volunteered as a course marshall for my neighbourhood, and so I made the short walk through Exhibition Place to the Lakeshore where I would be standing between KM 16 and 17, and about 1KM from the start of the 5K after it looped around out of the parking lot behind us.

For a few moments, I thought I was in the wrong place.  There was nothing indicating where we should be, but eventually I spied a couple of people putting on the same vest I had in my knapsack (picked up from the expo) so I joined them under their tree to avoid some of the rain.  We waited there and kept an eye out, since our race day instructions were to go to our spot and that a volunteer co-ordinater would be by to introduce themselves.  But that never happened.

While we were standing there, a very cold looking runner in a tank and shorts asked if he could share my gigantic umbrella, and so we chatted for a bit with a very fast (planned to run the 5K in 16 minutes) young fellow.

Eventually he trotted away to get into his corral and we listened while Olivia Chow (my local MP) spoke to the runners (she was running that morning, too) and while they introduced Fauja Singh.

Wet, wet start to the 5K

And then, they were off!

Minutes later, here they came!  The frontrunners.
As the 5K wound down, the skyline started to emerge.
Once the 5K runners were gone, we thought surely a volunteer worker would come by and introduce themselves.


About 20 minutes later we saw the front runners for the marathon.
Here they come!

And some time later, we saw the rest of the runners start to come.  As time went by the crowds got thicker as the runners got slower, but they all looked strong.
Slower than the front runners, but still WAY faster than me!

Before we knew it, the front runners had hit the turn around, and back they came.
Here they come again.

There's the CN Tower!

Lady Runner!

Pumpkin Runner!

The straggling Canadian Geese.  Always the last to cross the finish line.

It was a long day that started in the rain and got progressively chillier as the day wore on, but the runners made it worth it.  It was so inspiring to see the amazing athletes, and just as inspiring to see the "regular folk" who were slogging through, just trying to get to the finish line.  Doesn't matter which one you are, you're still covering the same distance.

In the end, I was glad I was there to help.  The two other volunteers I was working with were great people.  Very nice.  They were not runners, nor had they ever been to a race, and so there were things that they didn't know.  Which wouldn't have been a problem, if someone had greeted and briefed us on arrival.

We all brought the snacks that were in our marshal kits, but no more, since the volunteer paperwork had indicated that someone would bring sandwiches by for us during our shift.  I had eaten a good breakfast at 6am, and knew that if I had a sandwich coming by 10 or 11, I'd be fine, so I didn't pack one.

I should have.  No sandwiches came.

And we gave away a bunch of our snacks to a very hungry runner who was minutes away from hitting the wall.

Now, I don't care about getting a free anything, be it a sandwich, or a t-shirt.  That's not why I did this.  But if you tell people that they'll be fed.  Well, feed them!  I would have had NO (zero!) problem bringing my own lunch.  Just give me that head's up.

By the time we were done, we were STARVING, and we had no idea if we were actually "done" since no-one came to release us.  We figured we were safe to go when a girl the other volunteers knew walked by after having finished her shift at the 16K water station and having broken it down.  I asked if she had been fed.  Nope.  She was told they ran out of sandwiches.

So, that's something they need to work on for next year.

Someone was supposed to collect our vests when they released us (never came), or we could hand them in to the nearest water station (now closed).  My colleagues took mine, and started walking the course in hopes of finding someone to take them on their way back to their car.  I wished them luck, bid them farewell and waited for my sister to meet me so we could cheer on the last of the walkers.

I sent an email about my experience to the volunteer email address I got my instructions from, so hopefully feedback can be applied to next year's race.

Am I glad I volunteered?  Sure, I had fun.  Would I do it again?  For the Expo, maybe.  For the on-course?  Probably not.

Besides.  I hope I'm running next year.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

8 Miles Today

Yeah we finished up with a cupcake.  Wouldn't you?

Totes MIA

It's been a week.  I am a prodigal blogger, but I've been hunkering down on the job hunt and the "getting real world things done" front.

Lots going on here.

Vet appointment (Scooter's doing GREAT), a job interview (nailed it, more on that in another post) my own doctor's appointment (I'm doing GREAT) volunteering for the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon weekend (Expo yesterday, Course Marshalling tomorrow for the race) and then a snippet of work this morning (along with some shopping at the expo).

Jam some conditioning runs and an 8 mile long run in there along with my regularly scheduled flyer scouring and coupon snipping (I'm not an extreme couponer, I'm just on a budget) and you've got my week.  Ok, ok.  There was a significant amount of dog-cuddling peppered in there, too.

So no blogsingtons.

BUT, I'll have a lot to share after I stand out on the race course tomorrow (in the rain, oh boy).  I'm super excited to have a chance to see the 5K runners start in my area, and that also means I'm stationed around MIle 17 of the Marathon course, so I'm also excited to get a chance to see the Marathon runners as they come through.  There is something so thrilling about seeing that first runner kicking away.  It's one of my favourite memories of the runDisney Princess Half Marathon this year - arriving at Mile 3, and seeing the eventual winner of the race just killing it as she ran back towards the finish line.  Absolutely thrilling.

Fingers crossed for an exciting day (but not too exciting - let's all stay upright, runners).

Good luck everyone!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Photo Phriday - Premature Turkification

I was born in the United States (hello, fellow Michiganders!) and spent the first 9 years of my life there before moving to Canada.  As a result, there are certain things which are hardwired into my psyche that no amount of free health care can dislodge.

  1. I measure in inches and feet, not centimetres and decimetres.
  2. I am perpetually mixed up by the difference between temperatures in Celsius vs. temperatures in Fahrenheit.
  3. Black Friday - Canada, get on it!
And finally (and most importantly)...


It just is.

September you have Labor Day.
October you have Halloween
November you have Thanksgiving
December you have Christmas (or your variation on the winter holiday).

It's a progression of holiday awesomeness.  It's a perfect build.  If you jam Thanksgiving in before Halloween, what's there to look forward to in November?  I mean, really.

And so, to my Canadian friends, I wish you a Happy FAKE Thanksgiving this weekend.  I hope you enjoy your seasonally presumptuous turkey.  But mine is right where it belongs (and is today's Photo Phriday subject)

Stay cool, Turkey.  We'll see you next month.  I'll be out, running.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I'm not competitive, but...

I'm trying to be smart about this next round of training.  I'd love to hire a coach, but since I'm not working, that's not in the budget.  So I'm doing my best.

Today when my sister got home from work, we decided to spend our 30 minute conditioning run doing hill work.  There's a park in our neighbourhood that has what is known as 'the dog bowl'.  It's a sunken area in the middle of the park which is used as an off-leash area - one of Scooter's favourite places.

Now when I say 'sunken', I mean for realzies.  It looks like a little dried out glacier lake, or pit. So it seemed like a good place to go for a quick hill workout.

We warmed up on the way to the park, and then did a quick lap of the park's paved "track" so I could measure it's distance with my Garmin (about a quarter mile).  We plan to run our Magic Miles there when they come up in the training - but it'll have to be during daylight because, WOW.  That is one rough track.

We jogged our way over to the dog bowl, and chose our slope.  We picked the north end and did our first run up.  I thought I was pushing, I really did.  But as I was walking back down,  THEY arrived.  A couple, also doing hill work on the north slope.  And they were FAST.

Without even speaking to each other, we had a traffic pattern set up so we wouldn't be in each other's way as we made our way up and down and up and down that hill.

Suddenly, I realized that I had more pep in my step, and more push in my tush.  It was as though watching them be fast made me faster, too.  I can't say whether it was me just subconsciously trying to keep up, or if I just didn't want to seem like the out of shape blob that I feel like, but either way the result was the same.  I went harder and faster thanks to that couple.

Are you motivated by other runners when you're putting in your miles?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Photo Phriday - Four More Years!

Yes.  I am rearranging the days of the week this week.  It's for a good reason, though.  Today is our fourth wedding anniversary, and I thought that momentous occasion warranted the displacement of a Phriday.  I mean, I'm already bending Friday to my will by renaming it "Phriday", so what's another infringement?

Greg and I were married on September 30, 2008 at Walt Disney World with about 30 friends and family members on hand to help us celebrate.  It was a perfect day.
You can watch a highlights video at Cinema Chic's Vimeo account here.

If you're in Florida and want an amazing videographer, I highly recommend Kat at Cinema Chic.
And if you want a wonderful photographer, I was very happy with Randy Chapman.

The Wilderness Lodge was a perfect setting for our pre-ceremony photos.
It's my favourite resort, and our Disney Vacation Club home resort.
What can I say?  I love nature.
(Photo: Chapman Photography)

As much as I love nature, who doesn't love a ride in a vintage Rolls Royce?
(Photo: Chapman Photography)
The bakery staff at the Grand Floridian, where we had our reception, custom created this cake for us based on our invitations and an inverted photo of an art deco light fixture that I sent them.
They are geniuses.
(Photo: Chapman Photography)
I dream about these strawberries to this day.
Delicious and adorable.
(Photo: Chapman Photography)
We had a vintage/Art Deco vibe going on, which meant lots of fun with feathers!
(Photo: Chapman Photography)
Yup.  We are mature.
(Photo: Chapman Photography)

We had a break between lunch and our evening party, so we took a monorail to the Magic Kingdom to snap a photo outside the gates and catch a boat back to our resort.

Boating back to the Wilderness Lodge, champagne-faced.

We enjoyed the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth fireworks display at EPCOT with our guests.
Lots of snack-treats to enjoy, but the hit of the evening were the chocolate shots - especially when someone had the bright idea of adding vodka.
(Photo: Chapman Photography)

The day after our wedding, I tried golf for the first time at Disney's Oak Trail course.
We got about 3 holes in before it started to pour.  I didn't golf again for 3 years.

I have now been golfing semi-regularly for about 6 months.
Here I am today, during our Anniversary Golf game lamenting the 2 inches which cost me my very first hole in one.

We had a wonderful anniversary.  Greg made us pancakes for breakfast (his first time!), we played golf, and then we came home and cooked chicken and dumplings for dinner.  It may not sound too exciting, but for us it was perfection.  When you're away from home as much as we are, sometimes a home-cooked meal, your couch and your dog curled up beside you are the most blissful things you can think of.

What unique thing makes your anniversary perfect?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Runners, Oh My!

This weekend marked a new chapter around our house.  It was the first race our entire household ran together.  Well, almost the entire household - sorry Scooter.

Since my sister is running the WDW Marathon Weekend Half Marathon, and didn't want to end up in the very last corral, we decided that a practice race was in order.  We also wanted Greg to get a decent individual chip time recorded (aka, not dragged down by my slow-ass) so that his corral placement for the Marathon portion of his Goofy Race and a Half would better reflect his actual abilities and also give him a little breathing room.
We chose the Oasis Zoo Run 10K for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was that running through the zoo sounded like a lot of fun.

The morning started out a little... unevenly...  I thought I was organized, I really did, but when it came time to get dressed at 6am, I found I didn't have the right pants laid out, I couldn't find my calf sleeves and I was generally a shambles.  There was breakfast to make, a dog to give his morning pills, walk and last minute details to attend to.  Not the usual race day morning.

We got out the door a good half hour later than we meant to, which meant things were going to be tight getting to the zoo and getting checked in.  We hit pretty bad traffic for the final 2km, so there was a little stress about being able to pick up our packets before things shut down.

Turns out we should have been more worried about checking our race bags from check in.  We pinned on our bibs, consolidated all our bags into one, turned around and the bag check truck was gone!  We were about 5-10 minutes to race start and a good 500m from  our car.  Greg grabbed the bag and ran back to the parking lot to put the bag in the car.  He made it back too late to get in his corral, but Rachael and I were still standing in line for the porapotties, so he joined us there and then joined our corral to start.

By the time we were done with portapotties and in our corral, we were just minutes away from starting.  I synced up my Garmin, wished Greg & Rachael luck, and we were on our way!

The first three kilometres were outside of the zoo.   Running out of the parking lot and a little bit down Meadowvale Road.and doubling back north (where we got to see Greg moving up in the pack and cheer each other along), right on Old Finch Road and then doubling back to a rear entrance for the zoo.

Once we got into the zoo itself at about 3.5km there was a refreshment stop set up with water and PowerAde, and lots of enthusiastic volunteers shouting our names and encouraging us along.  We were pretty far back in the pack, so they had been out there for a while, but they were as enthusiastic as if we were the first runners they'd seen.

After the refreshments, Mother Nature gave us some refreshments of her own in the form of rain.  It was light, and it didn't last long, but it was a fun distraction.  We were running on a dirt/gravel access road at this point - away from zoo guest areas - so we were getting the full splashy experience.

My favourite kilometre had to been the one between 5K and 6K.  Beautiful, lush tree canopy overhead, wide open trail, fresh woodland smells.  It was everything I love about nature.  It's that kind of environment that makes me feel alive.

After 5K, Rachael and I checked in - how are we doing, how are we feeling, that was a good 5K time for us... can we go faster, do we need to slow down.  We both felt strong, so we decided to keep plugging along and maybe pick up the pace a little bit.

We'd been warned that this course was hilly, and it was, but we had expected much worse.  By the time we ever really 'felt' any of the hills, they were pretty much done.  We found it to be very manageable.

Animal-wise, we saw a few once we were farther along into the zoo.  We saw a giraffe having brunch and watching us race by, we saw a rhino, some warthogs and a very ornery batch of water buffalo (Is it a 'batch' for a group of water buffalo?  I'm going to say, yes.).  As I was coming around a corner, I just caught one of the water buffalo charging the fence and ramming it with his head.  I wasn't sure if he was mad at the runners, or the younger water buffalo in the pen, but they were running around their pen like crazy.

Now, the course map shows 3 water stations.  One at 3.5K, one at 7K and one at 8.5K.  I genuinely don't remember there being 3, but there's a very good chance that I had a case of race brain, and forgot one.  Either way, I was glad that I had gone to Mountain Equipment Co-op the night before the race and bought one of these babies:

Not my favourite colour, but it did the trick.  And it was on sale!
Not too bouncy, roomy pocket, good functional bottle with no spills.
Now here's a tip for all you aspiring Course Marshals out there.  Know exactly where you are in the course.  If you're BEFORE 7K, don't say "only 3K to go".  Because when people hear that, and then get to 7K several minutes later...  Well...  That's frustrating.  And by the same token, if you're positioned AFTER 7K, don't say "only 3K to go", either.  Because we heard "only 3K to go" for about a full kilometre, and it made me want to throw Honey Stingers at people's heads.

The final kilometre was mean.  It was all up hill.  Or at least if felt like it.  But the good news was, as soon as it felt like it was all going to be a bit much, boom.  There was the finish line hidden around the corner.

Rachael and I crossed the finish line together with the announcer calling our our names, crushing our lofty goal of 1:30.  Chip time 1:25:57.
Greg was waiting at the finish line for us, and we went together to collect our medals, and through to the food area.  Food!

They had bagels, greek yogurt (yum!) apples, bananas, cookies, and a package of Werther's candies.  Pretty good haul, food-wise.  And very welcome.

This is the mischievous 7K point.
Notice how it is now disguised as the 2K point for the 5K racers.
Sneaky.  Very sneaky.

Here we are, basking the the glow of a race well run.

Greg did great - he ran the 10K in less than an hour!

This is the weirdest pose.
We're trying to duck down so you can see the "Toronto Zoo" sign waaaay in the background.
I would certainly recommend this race to others - it's fun, well organized, and the medal is adorable - this year it featured a Polar Bear Cub.
You get to run on the same course as some very elite Canadian runners (some Olympians) and you're free to spend the day at the zoo with free parking afterwards.  We opted to go home, get warm and nap, but we also received in our race bag a 2 for 1 admission coupon, so we can always go back later.
There was also a 5K, and a Cub Run for kids, so this is also a good race for families to enjoy together.

And in the race bag, there was a card for a very tempting Half Marathon in November...

That medal is so cool!  Tempting... verrrry tempting...

Have you ever signed up for a race, simply because you liked the medal?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Photo Phriday #2 - My Favourite Places

Life is funny.

Never in my wildest dreams would I think that I would be lucky enough to go the places I've gone and see the things I've seen, all in the course of doing a job that I love.
It's not running related, but it's 'water' related!

Here are a few of my favourite places...

Cannes, France.  We stopped here weekly during a Mediterranean itinerary.
So charming!

We would grab a pain chocolate, café latté and browse the flower and farmer's market.

It smelled amazing, and it was fun to 'visit' the fresh fruits and vegetables (and sneak some back on the ship).

Some of our best espresso and cappuccino were from train stations in Italy.
This is the train station in Livorno - I can still hear the clatter of the saucers on the marble countertops.

Incredibly beautiful.
Incredibly silly.

We found this bakery in Pisa - I think we tried EVERYTHING.

The Panforte was a hands-down favourite.
Dense and flavourful, it was everything a christmas fruitcake wishes it was.

This is the El Glop restaurant in Barcelona, Spain.
It's unassuming, tucked away in a little neighbourhood.

But it must be something special, if the Boss has popped by...

Oh my.  The Paella.  Oh my.

Florence - incredible.

Why do I look surprised?  We managed to climb all the way to the top of the Duomo in Florence.

What must have been the cheap seats in the Colosseum.

We spent our first wedding anniversary exploring Capri.
Here's a hint - the Blue Grotto is a tourist trap.

Sienna in Tuscany - some of the most breathtaking scenery...

We loved Europe, and especially Rome.
I'm tossing a coin in Trevi Fountain so we'll be sure to come back.

As amazing as Europe was, we were happy to come 'home' after 6 months.
Hello, Lady Liberty!

I hope you enjoyed these photos - wish me luck at my 10K tomorrow!  I'll have a report done ASAP.