Monthly Archives: December 2013

A Christmas Story/Family Half Marathon/Resolution Run Recap

While the title above may imply three different runs, it is in fact only one and it was completed by my family yesterday. A couple of weeks ago I posted that one of the writers over at Salty Running¬†took pity on my medal envy and offered to send me her medal from Cleveland’s “A Christmas Story” race. I love this movie so couldn’t help wanting to get this “major award” to hang on our tree. The deal offered by Pepper was if I made a donation to a charity of my choice, ran 10k and posted about the run on Salty Running, I would receive this awesome medal:

A Christmas Story Race Medal

As I posted earlier, the kids and I completed the first part of the deal before Christmas when we went shopping to donate toys to Toy Mountain. Yesterday it was time for part two of the deal, running 10k. When I first started planning this run I asked the kids if they wanted to be part of it so the medal would become a family prize. They enthusiastically agreed and then kindly volunteered my husband to take part as well. Safe to say he did not have quite the same enthusiasm as the rest of us did but without complaining (much) he joined us. He did however note that maybe his resolution could be to NOT run in 2014. Not much chance of that though in this house of runners!

At 3:00 yesterday afternoon I told everyone to start getting ready for a 3:30 run. Evan quickly argued that it doesn’t take half an hour to get dressed for a run. He was right…an HOUR later we managed to head out the door. I’m heading into my third winter of running. I have all the needed layers to stay warm while still being able to actually move. Trying to get the kids ready for a run in -16C (3F) proved to be a bit more interesting. The challenge was to find enough layers to keep them warm without making them look like Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story (picture a kid so bundled up he can’t make his arms go down). I did make a mental note to plan any future family fun runs in warm weather – shirts, shorts, shoes and out the door!

Finally ready!

Finally ready!

The run itself was great. Even one of our dogs joined in the fun. It didn’t take long to warm up and despite the cold temperature it was a beautiful winter’s day. Luke and my husband each completed 3k, Evan completed 5.1k and I, for the first time since November, made it into double digits by completing 10k. And when you add these distances up, that’s right, you get a family half marathon. I believe a new family tradition has begun!


For anyone who would also like their own A Christmas Story medal, next year’s race in Cleveland will be on December 6th. But if you don’t want to travel, you can take part in their virtual race. Just register and run the distance and you will receive your medal in the mail. And I’ve already checked with the organizers – Canadian virtual runners are welcome ūüôā

A New Running Year Begins

Like last year, my new running season starts right after Christmas Day, rather than January 1st. I have realized that for me, most of December is just not a running month. Sure, I can make all kinds of promises to myself that I will maintain my mileage throughout December. I made those promises this year and it just didn’t happen. I did at least do more running this December compared to last. A quick check of my running log showed that I in fact only managed to do 18km last December, making this month’s 38km (with a couple of days to go) seem a little more impressive. O.K. not by much, but you know what I mean. But both years once Christmas Day was done I felt that my running season was ready to start again, although I admit I have approached these new beginnings with trepidation, knowing how hard it is to start again after a break. But I am encouraged in knowing that last year January and February saw me return to high mileage and good focus. I hope the same will happen this year.

A quiet Boxing Day run on my road.

A quiet Boxing Day run on my road.

Of course it is also time to start planning the season and setting goals. My very peaceful (and very, very slow) 7k run on Boxing Day gave me time to think through what I want to accomplish this year. What I realized was that I had to pick one main goal. Should it be a fast 30k at Around the Bay? A 55 minute 10k? A second marathon? Multiple half marathons? In the end I settled on a sub 2 hour half marathon as my ultimate goal. I’m not picky, I’ll be happy with a 1:59:59. I just want to see that “1”. ¬† If all goes to plan I should have four or five opportunities to try to achieve this goal.

As for races this year, I am already registered for the following:
Around the Bay 30k (March) I’ve already decided that this will be a “fun” run, no major goals other than to enjoy the ride.
Manotick 10 Miler (April) thanks to a Christmas gift from my boys and husband.
Ottawa Race Weekend Half (May)

Other races I plan on doing:
Winterman 5k or 10k (February)
Ottawa Race Weekend 5k with Luke (Evan will be somewhere up ahead of us)
Either the Canadian Half (August) or Fall Colours Half (October) thanks to a Somersault gift certificate from my parents.
Army Half (September)
Mission Possible Half (November)

The destination race I really hope to do:
Vancouver Half (June)

This should be a big year of running for my kids, particularly Evan as he is keen on doing several 3k and some 5k races. Luke is also wants to try a number of 3k races. And for all of us we will be doing our “A Christmas Story/Resolution Run/Family Half Marathon Run” (see last post for explanation)in the next couple of days. Let the new season begin!

No Need to Go to Cleveland…

On Thursday the boys and I made a second shopping trip to buy toys for Toy Mountain.  Our first trip was done a few weeks ago and was part of our annual tradition.  Each year I take the boys to choose toys for charity in lieu of gifts for their teachers.  They then make homemade cards for the teachers and we include a note to let them know about the toys bought.  As a teacher myself, I know teachers get a lot in the way of gifts, everything from gift cards, to chocolate, to candles and soap.  This is just our way of doing something a little different that will benefit those in need.

So what does this all have to do with Cleveland? ¬†Well, in my last post I explained how I had found my dream medal which runners in Cleveland’s recent ‘A Christmas Story 5 and 10k” received. ¬†I learned about the race on a blog I follow, Salty Running, a blog with a number of contributors, all women. When I left a comment on “Pepper’s” post about the race, noting I had medal envy, she very kindly offered a trade. She and her husband both ran the race so are in possession of two medals. She offered to send a medal to me if I ran a 10k and made a donation to a charity of my choice. Needless to say I couldn’t turn down that amazing offer!

So that is why Evan, Luke and I headed out for some more fun toy shopping. The next step is to run that 10k. I wanted to do something special for the run, so my first thought was to aim for a P.B. I quickly realized that just completing the distance is going to be difficult enough with my lack of running these days, much less trying to run it in 56 minutes or less. Then it occurred to me this really should be a family event. Luke quickly agreed to join me for 3k, and Evan offered to do 5. Then Evan volunteered my husband to join in for 3 as well, to give us a total of 21km. We are now referring to the run as the “A Christmas Story Family Half Marathon” and we will be running it sometime around January 1st.

As I have been telling this fun story to friends I have been quite surprised as to how many people have never seen the movie. I guess in a way it is a bit of “cult” Christmas favourite and it was in fact a movie that wasn’t particularly well-received when it was first released. And yet now it often makes it onto many top 10 Christmas movie lists. There was an article about it in today’s paper that noted it was a little ahead of its time in terms of humour but it is that humour that has made me a fan for more than two decades. When I think of this movie I immediately think of leg lamps, Chinese for Christmas dinner, puffy one-piece snowsuits, belching furnaces, flagpoles, pink bunny suits, fudge and soap connoisseurs. If you have seen the movie, you are giggling right now, if you haven’t, check it out on CBC this Monday night at 8:00p.m. Maybe you will end up with medal envy too!

I Want This Medal!!!

I always like a nice race medal but I have never decided to do a race specifically for the bling.  I admit I have never really understood the fuss about Disney medals and how, shall we say obsessed, some runners are with getting them (obsession in this sport, never!).  But I get it now, though the medal I would love to lay my hands on has nothing to do with Disney.

Apparently a few weeks ago Cleveland celebrated the 30th anniversary of the movie “A Christmas Story” by running a 5 and 10k race. ¬†And get this, there was a Leg Lamp Fun Run for the kids ūüôā ¬†Runners were also¬†able to visit Ralphie’s house in all of its original glory. ¬†I have to admit I always assumed that house was in Toronto, or somewhere in Ontario since much of the movie was filmed in this province. But it is, in fact located in Cleveland and is now a museum filled with memories of the movie.

But here is the best part of the race…check out the medal:

A Christmas Story Race Medal

This is a medal I could get obsessed about! ¬†Hands down, the best medal I have seen ūüôā ¬†If I had this “major award” it would get a prime spot in my living room, just like the old man’s leg lamp!

No More Whining

So after yesterday’s whiny post I figured it was time to get my butt in gear and run – any distance, any time – today. ¬†There was the minor factor of a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius ( -0.4F), -28C ( -18F) with the windchill. ¬†But I decided I was not going to let that stop me…though I would let it keep my run short! ¬†I headed out in more layers than any person should ever have to run in with a plan of doing 1k. ¬†Instead I stuck it out for 4k, even having to unzip and remove some layers. ¬†The roads were slippery, the air bitterly cold but I ran with one main purpose, to prove to myself I am not entirely prepared to hibernate until the New Year. ¬†It wasn’t a fast run (24 minutes) but it did feel good to get myself out there, and when else can you feel proud that people are probably looking at you like you are an idiot. ¬†I felt like the poster child for Canadian fortitude.

Of course then I passed the high school school bus making a stop to drop off students. ¬†Not one teenager got off that bus with a hat on – except the kid with the ball cap, though he hadn’t bothered with a coat. ¬†Most of the kids hadn’t bothered with mitts either. ¬†So my fortitude is not quite on level with the average Ottawa teenager but since I long ago gave up on any kind of cool factor (don’t tell my kids, they are still young enough to think I am cool) I guess it doesn’t matter!



This Is NOT a Santa Shuffle Post

As I peruse various blogs I find post after post about Santa Shuffles, Holiday Streaks, treadmill tips and cold weather running advice. ¬†I have even read about an “Ugly Holiday Sweater Run”.

And then there is me. ¬†Am I the only one with absolutely no motivation? ¬†Am I the only one who has traded in running shoes for a couch and who is finding the idea of hibernating in flannel a very attractive idea? ¬†I’ve tried to be a runner these past few weeks, really I have. ¬†Each week I try to get out and do at least 2 runs…o.k. maybe one run. ¬†I just seem to be struggling to get out there and once I am out there I am struggling to complete a half decent run. ¬†And for a half decent run I would be happy accepting a pace faster than my marathon pace, OR a distance that moves me into double digits, OR just a run that was fun. ¬†I am not being picky, I swear! ¬†I could blame the weather, the pre-Christmas rush, work, a stiff knee, but the fact is these are nothing more than excuses. ¬†If the weather was perfect, the gifts all bought and the Christmas baking done and in the freezer, I still would be struggling. ¬†The most running I have done in one week for the past month was 13k. ¬†And it took me four runs to make it to that total. ¬†All of my distances have been in the single digits and let’s just say the numbers 8 or 9 have not come up at all. ¬†Sure, I could do some cross training, give myself a new challenge for a while. ¬†But I don’t even feel like doing that. ¬†I know, I know, I can tell myself that this is my body and mind saying they need a break. ¬†Rest is a good thing, right? ¬†Last year I took most of December off, by January I was back at it ready to go. ¬†So why is this stressing me out? ¬†Why do I no longer feel like a runner? I feel like a bit of a fraud when I read all of those happy blog posts from runners who actually, well, RUN! ¬†I’m sure part of it is because I told myself I would be sure to maintain a certain level of running fitness through December. ¬†I promised myself I would be ready to jump right into Around the Bay training on the 15th. ¬†The 15th of course would be today. ¬†I feel a little like I have given up and while I hate feeling like that I don’t seem to hate it enough to change anything about it. ¬†So what do I want for Christmas? ¬†How about a little motivation stuffed onto my stocking…