Monday, February 28, 2011

Peterborough Half Marathon - race report

Yesterday was the day that I would redeem myself. Flashback to four years ago: Candice and I both signed up to run the Peterborough half marathon. I was living in Cobden at the time, and had a leg that tended to act up every once in a while during training runs. Long story short: 13 km in the Peterborough half, I was forced to step out. But yesterday was my chance to make up for it! Fun fact: I've started this race three times now, and all three times the course was different... All of them were hilly.
I drove up to Tweed on Saturday to be able to spend some time with Candice before the race. This included some wine, but that might have helped keeping our nerves under control...
After a good night sleep we headed to Peterborough. We had lots of time since the race did not start until 12.30. It has snowed a bit the night before, but the roads were not bad. Our biggest worry was that the roads would be wet and soggy. It turned out they were in pretty good shape. There were definitely a number of puddles, but they were all avoidable.
Since we got to Peterborough fairly early we had some time to kill, and just sat around for a bit. We got approached by two Fleming massage therapist students, offering us a pre-race massage! Well of course we are interested! It probably helped us relax and calm our nerves a bit as well. It felt good, but it was hard to get up afterwards. All we wanted was a nap!
There were about 500 people starting in the half, and at first I was planning on sticking close to the 2.20 pace bunny, but at the start I was right in between the 2.10 and 2.20 pace bunny. I just ran my own race; Candice had taken off at the start (as usual :) ). I forced myself to take it easy, and ran a comfortable steady pace until 5km. Just after 5km a huge hill appeared around the corner. Knowing that I had not done a lot of hill training, I decided to walk up for the most part. Experience has taught me that hills can kill your race. After the hill I picked up my pace again and ran a steady pace along fairly hilly roads, but nothing too crazy. I grabbed some water and a gel at the half-way mark and turn-around point (it was an in-and-out race), and continue my journey. However, at that point it had started snowing a bit, and the wind had picked up as well, but it did not stop me from going strong! The hill I mentioned earlier showed up again (for people that know Peterborough a bit, it's the hill you go up after you go under the Lift Locks), and I walked it up again, now from the other end. It was the same hill down again, but even going downhill didn't feel too comfortable. We were around 16km at that point, and I was getting a bit tired... I crashed slightly at 17km, but a 30 second walk break fixed that, and especially the last 2km I felt strong, and I was even able to pick up my pace a bit at the home stretch and passed a couple of people just before the finish.
My final chip time was 2.15.00. Not bad, considering it was hilly, snowy and I didn't really start training until about 1 month ago. I was actually very happy with my time!
After the race, we drove back to Havelock to drop Sarah, grab a coffee, and go back to Tweed. After collecting my stuff etc., I hit the road to go back to Ottawa. In short I spent the majority of the four and a half hours after the race sitting still in a car. Not sure if that was a very smart thing to do, since my legs are slightly sore right now. However, I'm sure that will pass as well.

When I came home last night, Nolan had just finished painted our guest bedroom, vacuumed the whole house, and even made lunches for today. I have an amazing husband!

The original weather forecast called for snow on Sunday, and then up to 13 degrees on Monday. Sunday was not too bad, not even a couple of centimetres of snow. However, Monday turned out slightly different than they had expected. We woke up to freezing rain, which quickly turned to snow, and we have about 15 cm of fresh white fluffy stuff on the ground right now! Just when I thought the trails would be accessible again... Oh well, now we might be able to go skiing!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Half marathon - Weather forecast...

Ok, it's only Thursday and the half marathon is not until Sunday. However, they currently predict between 10 and 15 cm of snow for Sunday. That is on top of the 10-15cm they are predicting for tomorrow. Maybe I should bring snow shoes instead of running shoes?! I am still anticipating that we are going, but I also know that safety for everything, so we'll keep our fingers crossed that the weather won't be playing too much havoc.  I personally think this race is jinxed...

Work has also picked up quite a bit in the last few days. Meetings, reports, Research Forests session next week, training, articles... Lots and lots to do. But it's fun, and I much prefer being busy over having 'to look for stuff'. I'll update after the half marathon for sure, but it might get quiet for a bit after that :)

Just a quick update on Murphy. Well, really not that much to update on. He is still madly in love with his humidifier girl-friend. Never knew that cats could be so passionate and romantic!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Refreshing and colourful

Nolan enjoyed a nice long weekend (he had today off due to Family Day, I had to work...), and decided that this was a good time to start painting. From the day we moved in, we've been saying that the one thing the house need, is some colour. The previous owners probably painted it just before they put it on the market, but a) the whole house is the same cream colour, and b) the paint job is terrible! We really wanted to add some (moderate) colour and make it feel like our own. A couple months before we moved out of the old house, we pained both our offices and we liked those colours so much that we picked those colours again for our offices in this house (Nolan is blue-grey, mine is more lavender). We picked a grey colour for the bathrooms, a lighter grey for our bedroom, and a brown tone for the guest bedroom. The colours are all from the same family, so they match nicely.
Nolan started on Saturday (OK, I admit, I might have been procrastinating a bit, by doing other things first, such as making date squares, which were delicious by the way!), and we (I did do my part as well) finished his office and the guest bedroom, and it looks so refreshing!! The ceilings are white again, and so are the trim and windows, and the walls more colourful. It's a huge change, but it looks great. We're both very happy with it. The guest bedroom is next, which Nolan will tackle next weekend when I'm in Peterborough running a half marathon.... We did take before pictures, and we'll take some after pictures as well, which I'll post once the rooms are all ready.
We do have a nice incentive to get it done: My parents are coming for a visit in July, so we want to make sure that at least the upstairs is ready by then.

So next week is my half marathon, which I'll be running with Candice. I hope the weather cooperates, although we've had enough opportunities to train in cold weather... As I mentioned before, I don't really care about a fast time, I just want to make sure I finish. Last time I started in this race I had to pull out around the 13k mark because of an injury. So there is some unfinished business here that I want to get out of the way! I'm in a way looking forward to the race, but also to the girls weekend we're planning around it. I guess we just have to be careful with the 'carbo loading' the night before, and make sure we don't count wine as carbs... Obviously, a report will follow next week...

On a side note, we have a cat, Murphy, that is absolutely obsessed with our humidifier in our bedroom. Really, it's a full blown love affair! It's funny to watch, since he won't leave it alone when it's running. We're not sure what sparked the affair, but think it might be the gurgling noises that come out of the water reservoir. I wonder how long this will last for, but he's losing sleep at night, that's for sure!

And finally, some people that have followed my previous blog, might know that I have a Orchid that is very dear to me. It receives no special treatments (except for a little bit of water 1-2 a week), but it is blooming for the fourth time now! Nolan gave it to me in the summer of 2008, just after we moved into our previous house and I kept it once the flowers were gone. After about 6 months, it flowered again, and the cycle repeated itself two more times, to flower for the fourth time. Pretty impressive, eh?! It's nice to see the bright coloured flowers when there is very little colour outside. Although it did feel spring-like on Friday, with temperatures jumping to +11, and melting a lot of snow, but that night it dipped to -15, and now we're back in the deep freeze. But hey, it is February after all!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Invisalign and Cats

Last week feels like a blur. It was good, but it just all went by so quickly. I guess that’s what happens when you’re busy, and have fun at the same time!
I spent one day in Kemptville last week, attending a meeting to discuss short rotation woody crops opportunities in Eastern Ontario, which was very interesting and shed some light on the challengers, but also possibilities.  More to follow…
On that same day, I spent about an hour in my dentist’s chair, to have impressions taken in order to start my Invisalign treatment. I had an initial assessment done over a year ago, and after some hard thinking I decided to go ahead with the treatments. If all goes well, I’ll have Invisalign retainers (which are basically clear plastic trays that go over your teeth, and should be invisible), for the next year or so. I’m really curious to see how they will feel, and how it will impact my life. I will have to take them out when I eat, or drink coffee (or other dark drinks, such as wine…), but you need to wear them about 22 hours a day to be effective. Hence I can see a significant decrease in my coffee intake (and my grazing behaviour, but that might not be a bad thing…). I’ll receive my first pair on March 1st, and I’ll make sure to let you know who it will be going.

On Saturday we went to see Cats, the musical. The reviews earlier in the week were not very promising, but the show itself was very well done. Sure, the first half might have been a tad slow, the second half absolutely made up for it. I was just plain incredible, with amazing talent, both vocal and dance. Well worth it!
We got a bit of snow on Sunday, which made for a tough run Sunday morning, but despite the poor footing I was still able to get (another) 18.5km in. The run being so hard, I think that should count for a 20km run as was scheduled, right?!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Active and fun weekend

This past weekend was one of fun, friends, activities and fresh air! On Friday we met up with Denise and Dimitri to catch a glimpse of the opening of Winterlude. D&D are a Dutch couple that moved to Toronto last year, and we'd met them before in Ottawa a couple of years ago. We decided not to go to the Quebec side to actually participate in the opening activities, but we were able to watch the fireworks from Parliament Hill. And admittedly so, we were are very impressed with the quality and the duration of the fireworks.  It seems like they wanted to make up for not having any for New Year's eve... After the fireworks we went for a stroll through Confederation Park, where the ice carvers were in full swing creating the most beautiful ice sculptures. We'll have to go back soon to admire the results. There were some smaller sculptures ready, and they were truly impressive! Dimitri took several pictures, maybe I can see if I can post some of his pictures.
The next morning we all slept in (so deserved!), and D&D were impressed with how quiet our neighbourhood is. Nice to hear! After some blueberry pancakes (homemade!), we headed to the canal to go skating. The ice was absolutely amazing and the weather could not have been better with temperatures around freezing and lots of sunshine. A real pleasure! By the time we left around 3pm, the canal was over-crowded with people, but it was really nice to see so many people out there enjoying the ice.
Afterwards we went for a bowl of soup at Pub Italia. Next time we'll have to try some of the beers there as well :) Denise and Dimitri left for Kingston at the end of the afternoon, and we took it easy for the rest of the evening and called it an early night, since we'd have to get up early the next day to go running.

It was just the three of us this time, since Ann is still on her cruise... So JoAnn, Nolan and I set off, but unfortunately JoAnn had to cut her run short due to some rib pains. Nolan and I kept running, and did our loop around the Government General office, a favourite, although it's even nicer in the summer when everything is green. But nonetheless we had a great run and I manage to get over 18km in, which gave me a much-needed confidence boost for the half marathon, which is only in three weeks!

That afternoon we had more friends coming, Scott and Bonnie, who are friends from Nolan from university. It was really nice to see them and their two kids and to spend time with them and catch up. So overall it was a great weekend, it just went by so quickly!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


In a previous post (see here), I showed some pictures of Murphy, showing off his cute self. Since he's really good at that, I decided to add some more. Just one warning, there are a few of them...

But Fertile can look cute as well:

Quite the princess:

Murphy loves the stairs. His favourite place to sleep when we're watching tv.

Yesterday we finally had a bit of a snow storm. Sure, in some place it caused some havoc, especially in the United States, but I guess we got a little bit as well. I think in the end we might have ended with another 20 cm, but it was the blowing snow that really made it feel like we received a 2-foot dump.
A few more photos to get an impression. Next time there will be more text!