Monday, 21 May 2018

Bluenose 2018 - The Pace Bunny Version!

Hey guys! 

I hope you've had a great Victoria Day long weekend!!!! It was mostly sunny skies here in Halifax but no matter what the weather an extra day off of work is always welcomed. ;)  AND it was Bluenose weekend here in the city!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
 

There are many amazing races around here in the spring and fall, but The Scotiabank Bluenose Marathon weekend draws out approximately 11000 runners! Wowzers. :0

On Saturday I headed down to check out the kids in the Youth Run. They are amazing! It is seriously cute to see them shuffle up the hill to the finish and how they carelessly slosh the water cups in any direction at the water station, lol. I managed to meet up with two of my first graders and their families for some post-race high fives and photos. They were so pumped to show me, Ms. Callaghan (their teacher who always talks about running) their medals. <3 It was so cute.

I came home and laid Flat Bunny Heather out on the bed. The race was calling for rain and the horrible flashbacks of Boston came running through my head...just kidding. I knew we would not turn to runner-sicles as we did a month ago in Boston. ;) I did however get a garbage bag, just in case from Marg when I was at her house.
Don't you like my Bunny tail?!?
 Lola says, "Hmm, actually no. Are you leaving me here...again? To run?" <3

Marg and I headed downtown early to meet up with John from White Rabbit Pacing to get our pace signs. We also saw a ton of our friends!!!

Some friends even got photos. :D Thanks Michael!



We only carry the signs for a bit more than a km and then we ditch them in the barrel at the first water stop. 

A lot of runners told me they wanted to hang with me at the start line: I was the pace bunny for the new race 15.3 km in 1hr 20 minutes. This pace was comfortable for me and the route was quite challenging. 

Mother Nature cooperated for the race thank goodness! I didn't want it to pour from the heavens, especially for the marathoners. They had a big day and we could all use some good running weather. 
 Tim Chesnutt snapped this photo of me in Dartmouth as we were cresting a serious hill and I could not help but notice how he is usually at an unflattering part of the race for me, lol. In Boston he got me at the top of Newton Lower Falls and here at Bluenose heading up the hill back to the bridge. Just sayin'.

The guy in the red shirt behind me stayed with me until the last 2k. He finished just a few seconds, maybe a minute behind me but he said he got under his goal time!

I knew the route would have some tough sections because the 15k headed over into Dartmouth which at least meant the bridge...TWICE, plus Nantucket hill and ANOTHER huge hill after that...boy! There was some super sweet downhill after that where we ran down a trail into the Lake Banook area. It was gorgeous! There was a kayaking group going on there and all the runners were running around the lake like some scene from a super cool movie. ;) I also saw Kendra in this area and she was pacing the marathon!!!!

The weather was great and we all chatted about how thankful we were that it was perfect running weather! There was an occasional pocket of humidity that was annoying but there was a bit of a breeze too so that was great.

As we turned down Ochterloney Street the wind actually became a bit of an issue. It actually made my hat lift a bit and I had to tighten it. I was thankful I did not have the pace sign with me! I told the runners around me to also be grateful since I predicted that someone would have lost an eye!

Heading back over to Halifax was tough for many runners. The bridge now had a mega headwind and is a huge incline in itself. Most runners drifted back from me here but one of the two that stuck with me the entire time was right next to me. He had never run further then 12km and this was very tough for him but he had grit and would not give up. Plus I was yelling at him, lol.

Right before the finish you go down a crazy big hill and then up another incline. I saw most familiar faces there including Michael, Corinne and Charlotte. They had sweet signs and took awesome photos!

This is me, liking the sign, haha.
I saw Stacey a little further up with her kids and she caught me finishing. Can you see me??? Well just to the left of me is a guy in black pants and a red t-shirt. He worked so hard!!!!! But he did it and was psyched at the finish. :D Pace Bunny win!


Myles thought so too. :D I got in with a time of 1:19:51 so I'm calling that success.


I saw Matt along the course once on the bridge. He was running the 10k and finished in 38 minutes winning his age category on a super tough course!
Apparently the secret to speed is not to let your feet touch the ground??? ;)
I headed inside to hunt for Marg. She paced the 10k so was long done!

Found her!

 Post race run ins with friends are the best! Everyone is always so cheerful and chatty not nervous and intense, lol.

I even got to see a pal from the past, Janet! Janet and I did our very first run together back in I want to say 2007! We felt like rockstars that day on the trail. <3

I love that they gave the Bunnies bling!

Can we just take a minute to appreciate the cuteness of this Bluenose fan??? Seriously xoxox

Here's some elevation in case you're interested! I am definitely sure you do not care about my cadence...lol.
If you're looking for fun with a challenge the Bluenose is your bet. Awesome spectators and volunteers, even a bagpipe band! Band? Group? 

Thanks to White Rabbit Pacing for having me!

Next up is the Cabot Trail Relay Race in the Cape Breton Highlands!!! I'll be running with the Halifax Road Hammers Women's Team!!!! I'm sooooooo excited. :D :D
Did you run the Bluenose????
How did it go???
Are you running the CTRR?

Thanks for stopping by the GGR Blog on this sunny Sunday!

Happy Running,
Heather :)

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Spring Running has Sprung!

Happy Sunday RUNday everyone!!!

I have so much gratitude for the wonderful weather we have been having these days. It feels awesome to dress like this...

And not like this...
LOL I could not resist!
On another note, I think I'm mostly healed up from the Boston Marathon with the exception of a few tight spots that I have to get back to work on.
Jeff has been a great help with that, lol. 

Stacey, Marg and I were talking today about how much easier it is now to go run. We can head out the door leaving several layers behind and it feels amazing!
The bugs did not feel awesome on our run today...look closely you can see them!!!

The Boston Marathon feels sort of like a dream now to me. I fee like, "Did that actually happen?" when I stop and think about it. It's crazy to think of all that training and race prep only to have race day have weather that will be talked about for years! But that's a part of the deal once you commit. You must accept what you can't control. 
You just have to adjust your expectations, even if it means picking up a dirty poncho from the ground. ;) 

That being said, I feel a sense of eagerness to get out there and have another go at the marathon. I know we're running Chicago and that's a completely different beast but I'm hungry for more. From talking to many other runners who felt that they had so much more to give on Marathon Monday I know I am not alone. (Here's to good weather for Marathon #18!)

Until then I am doing everything I can to run smart, healthy and strong. That includes some mega strengthening and diet cleanup! Matthew and I eat healthy on the regular but there's always room for improvements! Did I mention that I bought a waffle maker?! 

For strengthening I am focusing on my hips, upper body and core. I've recently started using this ab video called Ab Ripper X on Krista's suggestion. I love it because it's only 10 minutes long!!! 

Next weekend I'll be the pace bunny for the Bluenose 15k, which is actually 15.229km??? I'll be running with White Rabbit Pacing so follow me if you'd like to do the distance in 1:20! That's 8:24/mile and 5:15/km.

Until then, here's Lola enjoying the sun on the new deck: 
Are you running Bluenose???

Happy Running and thanks for stopping by!
Heather

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The 2018 Boston Marathon-One For The Books!

On your mark! Get set! SPLASH!

Or something like that, lol.


This year's Boston Marathon was one for the books. As current media coverage indicates, the weather deserves a medal of it's own.

In my packing preparations I was NOT prepared the type of weather we actually ended up having on Marathon Monday. The forecast was saying 14 Celsius and then a few days later 10 AND then 2 the day before the race! I had not packed tights or capris, so I was wearing shorts now matter what- Yikes! The weather system kept getting more intense as we got closer to race start. Runners all over the Boston area were freaking out!!!!!!!

I was trying very hard to continue my journey into denial about how bad the weather was. I trained in Nova Scotia, a little rain wasn't so scary. ;) I didn't realize that Mother Nature was going to toss in some sleet, substantial headwinds and persistent deluge!

Let's check out race day:

Marg, Matt and I headed off on the hotel shuttle to meet up with the BAA buses. We did some selfies on the 45 minute trip and pondered what the day would bring.
We may get wet, but at least we had cool nails. :D
Our shuttle met up with the buses and we were some of the first to get on.

This was a common sight...

It wasn't raining too bad at all at first. But then...
When we arrived at the Athlete's Village things got seriously intense.

The winds started picking up and that IS SNOW on the ground!

We arrived early to ensure some prime real estate in Tent 3!

We were some of the lucky ones since MANY were left standing in muddy mucky puddles trying to seek shelter.

Matt, Marg and I shared these plastic bags on our excursions to the port-a-potties! We ran into Bruce from our running group and he gave us some excellent tips on getting in and out quickly! ;)

Matt left the tent first to head off with the wave 1 runners and then Marg and I hung out with Bruce and did final preparations. My Dollarama rain suit proved very effective until I sat down, LOL!!!

I can't even...
Upon the advice of the BAA many runners packed extra running shoes for the start line. Thank goodness I did because I saw so many runners trudging through these huge puddles on their way up to the corrals. :(

When my wave was called I slowly made my way up to the start line but there was so much gear on the ground and runners trying to get through all the umbrellas and people changing that I missed my start! No big deal I know because my time wouldn't begin until I crossed the chip mat. But it was close on 10:30 and I was in wet sock feet in the middle of the street changing my clothes and shoes!!! My poncho and rain jacket got blown away during the process as I struggled to tie my shoes while keeping my gloves dry. Boy, what a challenge! Matt got us surgical gloves to wear over our thin gloves to keep us warm and dry.  

So instead of the usual bag of nerves I usually am at the start, I was a rushed runner on the verge of panic trying to take a puffer and focus! 

Once I hit start with several other runners who also couldn't get to the corral on time I was pumped and I had the biggest smile as we cruised down the starting hill of Hopkinton. This is always a very special feeling. <3 

I was feeling a bit concerned about the ice cold pouring rain that was falling on my super sleek and not so warm running outfit. I made a decision on impulse that as soon as I saw a discarded poncho I'd try to grab it if it was safe and I wouldn't trip anyone. So I did!!! I grabbed the first accessible one I could and pulled it on over my head and I immediately felt better. It was covered in muddy wet footprints!!! I couldn't help but laugh at the move I had just made, LOL. My students thought this part was the best of my whole marathon story! 

I love that it was clear and you could still see my bib! 
photo credit: Tim Chesnutt

I took it super easy on the hills since an appointment to the walk in clinic had me freaked on the Thursday before we left for Boston! I went to refill my puffer prescription and the doctor said that the congestion in my windpipe (that was giving me a tight feeling in my chest), may mean I should "abort the marathon!" I was so upset but Matt and Marg made me feel better and I decided to run and "abort" if it felt unsafe breathing wise. *It was very easy to slow the pace considering the forceful headwinds that were present for the ENTIRE MARATHON! 

When the strong gusts would blow I covered my mouth with the buff I won at the BLT Reboot Run...it was soaking wet so you can guess how that went! LOL. 

For the first few miles I couldn't tell if my legs were numb, frost bitten or tight. There were these sharp sensations in my quads and I realized it was sleet!!!! Not rain! I pulled my hat down low to keep it out of my face and every now and again I'd close my eyes and pray that I wouldn't ram into someone who suddenly stopped...which was happening, a lot. 

I have to say that there were definitely less spectators, understandably so. There were still many folks out on their balconies and lawns with tarps and umbrellas. The spectators were amazing though! They were totally invested in ensuring the runners a safe and comfortable run. Many signs with "Dry Socks and Gloves," made my heart full and so many runners were pulling over to change. I considered it but figured trying to get tight wet compression socks off of my frozen tight legs might be a marathon of its own! So on I went enduring the elements.

I saw Santa at 7.5 miles in a velor suit with an umbrella! LOL. There was also a big sign saying, "North Pole," and I was like, "No kidding!" 

I love that the traditional landmarks and cheer squads were out. I sang along to Sweet Caroline and smiled at the Rocky song when I heard it. 

In a blip, I was halfway done. The Wellesley girls were out in full screaming force!!!! The one and only sign I saw at the College said, "Kiss me, I'm already wet!" LOL LOL LOL!!!! 

I knew the race was just getting going as we sailed down the half mile decline in Wellesley heading into Newton. 
                        
This photo was taken by the amazing Tim Chesnutt who stood at mile 16 and change with a huge Nova Scotia flag on a pole in the crazy Monsoon to get runner photos! I saw Tim after I climbed the first major incline at Newton Lower Falls. This one comes before the fire station where I'd then make a switch to the left side of the road so I could see Tom! 

I couldn't believe how easy it was to pick Tom out in the crowd!!! The decreased number of spectators definitely helped. What a trooper he was to stand out there cheering!!! 
 Right before the fire station I took a cliff shot from a volunteer because getting my own gels out of my bra was proving to be quite challenging with the layers and poncho. It was so cold I had to chew it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I kid you not. So many gels were on the ground and there was enough rain that had fallen that you could actually see it smeared over the street. I'd know because my head was down for the majority of the race to keep sleet and rain out of my eyes.
I really watched my breathing and pace on the hills but before I knew it I was at Boston College! The Heartbreak was over! ;) 

The cold was making my legs feel extra tight and my feet were so wet and squishy!!!!! I took oranges from spectators and I tried to absorb as much of the atmosphere as I could knowing full well that this great pain would be over in the blink of an eye, as always is the case with the Boston Marathon Phenomenon.

I kept giggling to myself about all the thought I'd put into my marathon outfit and I ended up choosing a poncho in the end! LOL. I wondered how many other Poncho-wearing marathoners thought of the same thing along the course.

I thought of Matt, Marg, Rachael, Bruce and Pat. I hoped they were all okay in the cold. At one point I knew Matt was definitely finished and I still had a ways to go. Then I wanted to be done. 

I'd quit checking my garmin at Newton. It became less about the clock and more about surviving this marathon with good health. Several people were being taken off course and I saw many runners stumbling and looking disoriented. I was concerned. But I was feeling okay. Just freezing, uncomfortable and tired! So many puddles to dodge, so many adjustments of my poncho that kept blowing up in the air like a parade float and so many steps to be taken!!!! I had to finish this marathon-imagine how great of a story this would make! LOL.

Entering Brookline I knew this is where it usually hurts, bad. The Red Sox game had gotten postponed due to weather so there were less spectators as we headed into Boston. Honestly though, I was probably more pumped this year than any other year just to be out of the weather!!! 

I could see the Citgo Sign in the clouds? Fog? Rain? I don't know but it was hazy looking. You know what wasn't hazy? The huge freaking painted sign on the street saying, "ONE MILE TO GO!" And boy, was I psyched. I kept saying, "One mile is NOTHING!" Over and over. And then it became, "Right on Hereford, Right on Hereford, where are you????" Suddenly there it was and I couldn't believe it, I was going to freaking finish this crazy hard marathon! As I ran up Hereford I decided to quickly whip off the poncho, you know, for the photos right? ;) 

Oh if I could only express the gratitude I felt taking the left onto Boylston and seeing the beautiful blue finish arch in the distance. It was pure joy! 

 #allthepuddles

6 time Boston Marathoner coming through!!!!!

Tears of joy poured as I was handed my medal. "I'm so glad to see you!" I cried to the volunteer. She hugged me and gave me the most cheerful congratulations. <3 

Shaking and teeth chattering I headed to the train where I rode with Mirta, a medical tent volunteer. She was so kind to me and gave me here Boston Marathon pin which is proudly pinned onto my medal lanyard. She informed me that they were feeding the runners chicken broth in the tents to help with the hypothermia symptoms. I was so thankful to be feeling good, cold but good. 
 What an amazing experience I will never forget.

Tom was like Batman, as Matt called him, lol. He came to pick us all up in the super awesome warm car. He should have been wearing a cape, seriously!

Matt and I both had solid runs considering the elements. Both just very happy to have finished such a  feat that day! Now we are two Callaghan-sicles!!! Haha...it took forever to warm up!

My training partner in crime and I!
 Unicorn number 6!

Some interesting facts from an IG friend! 

My stats: It's actually my second fastest Boston Marathon if you can believe that!

I cannot thank you enough for all of the incredible support and messages!!!! Amazing thanks to tiux and Mizuno for decking me out in super fab swag and to Nova Physio for keeping me in tip top shape. ;) Another huge thanks to my run squad at the BLT runners whose cheers from afar gave me a bit of extra pep in my step. <3

Thanks for staying tuned in until then end! 

Happy Running,
Heather :)

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Tomorrow, We're Runnin' Boston!

We have arrived in Boston and the marathon is tomorrow!!!!!!

 

This will definitely be a Boston to remember with all the dramatic lead up regarding the weather. I have a new saying that's pretty much been said as often as, "One time at Band Camp..." LOL.  "Well, in 2015 when I ran Boston..." Seriously, just ask Matt, Tom or Marg!
2015 was super windy and rainy and when I finished the marathon I was almost put into the medical tent because of my blue lips and numb limbs. They let me go after I was wrapped like a tinfoil burrito and promised to go straight to the train! 

Tomorrow is supposed to be very similar. The reality is we cannot change what Mother Nature has in store. We CAN prepare ourselves as best as possible by ensuring that we stay warm and dress comfortably. Oh and of course, run smart. ;) 

Back to the fun stuff!

Yesterday we headed to the expo which was at the Seaport World Trade Center...different than previous years I've attended. There were soooo many people and the lineups were ginormous! 

Germaine is officially hired to follow us to all our races...lol. She took so many great pics!

I couldn't believe no one had flagged Newfoundland at this year's expo! Marg and I took care of that. ;)

Marg and I did a little leg loosening run yesterday morning before we headed out and it was only ten degrees, but sunny and we felt HOT! LOL.
It was so beautiful out!!! 

I love the Boston trip...not just for the marathon, but for the FOOD! 

Got to keep those fuel stores up, right? ;)

So, race prep is in full swing in our hotel room:

Unicorn earrings: Check

Nails: Check

Something to sit on: Check

Extra dry shoes: Check

Race Outfit: Check

Now, let's go do this!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a safe and amazing run tomorrow everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And a huge thank you to all the good luck messages we've received! <3
See you on Boylston!

Happy Running,
Heather :)