Monday, October 31, 2011


When I was 22 years old, I lost weight for the first time.  I looked good, felt great, and was full of confidence.  When Halloween rolled around, I got my (amazingly talented) mother to make a costume for me.  A Xena costume.  (Now, if you don't know who Xena is, I guess I have just dated myself.  Feel free to google it.  At one time, she was huge, and she still has fan clubs...)

Anyways, when the rapidly lost weight was regained, the costume went into a box.  And stayed in a box for many years.  11 years later, today being Halloween, I thought I would pull it out.  I actually still weigh about 15 pounds more then I did at 22, so I wasn't sure how it would fit.  Now, the fit isn't perfect, but I am much smaller then I once was at the same weight, so believe it or not, it does up!

I present to you, a much older Xena, WARRIOR PRINCESS!!
I think I'm past the age where I can actually wear this in public...

The shorts I orignally wore with it are long gone, as are the accessories.  I'm wearing tri shorts under it instead, so I could theoretically do a triathlon as Xena...

In other news, it is Halloween in Canada.  So, that means that it snows.  Seriously, it's expected.

I remember a childhood of covering up Halloween costumes with warm coats.  My kids will get the same memories...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Losing my spin class virginity

My (second) last post was all about going outside my comfort zone.  This post is too, although in a different way.  (I actually started this earlier this week, then didn't finish it.)


The discipline that I've focused on the least since starting my journey has been the bike.  I didn't need to build up to it as carefully and gradually as I did running.  I didn't need to learn the technique the way I did on the swim.  Every kid learns to pedal a bike, right?  You get on and go.

My first few triathlons even seemed to prove my point.  In terms of placing, I was doing best on the bike.  In Strathmore, I placed 61/250 overall.  It was the bike where I performed the best, relative to the field, at 49.  That would seem to indicate that the bike was my strength.

Of course, the aspect that I wasn't considering was the bike itself.  Sprint triathlons have a lot of newbies.  While I was a triathlon newbie myself this year, my bike is not a typical newbie bike.  Bella easily outclassed all of the hybrid, mountain, and cruiser bikes on the course, giving me free time in comparison.

When it came to my Olympic triathlon, the bikes were pretty much all road and tri bikes, which equalized the equipment factor.  My bike split placed me in about the same position as my overall time.  This isn't a bad thing, but it indicates that my bike needs just as much work as the other disciplines.  If anything, more, since the bike leg is the longest in triathlons (meaning it's the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to cutting down time).

Plus, I'll admit that I'm still not nearly as confident on the bike as I wish I could be.  I'm slow clipping in.  I'm scared going down hills.  I'm nervous in traffic.  I'm often unsure about my gearing.  I've never successfully rode standing up.  I can only grab my water bottle when I'm coasting, and not pedalling.

At first glance, this looks like I'm getting down on myself and dwelling on what I can't do.  That's not the case at all.  These are simply things that I am aware of, and have been working on.  Almost every one of them, I feel stronger in then I did last spring, when I started riding outside.  Having said that, I also recognize them as things that I need to continue working on.  When it comes to working on the bike, getting stronger and more confident can do a lot.

But, it's getting colder outside.  The trainer tire is already on Bella, and, as much as I hate to say it, snow is coming soon...

Considering spin class

Enter spin class.  (Just so we're on the same page, I'm referring to the kind of spin class aimed at triathletes where you bring your own bike and trainer, as opposed to at a gym on spin bikes.)

Going to a spin class is something I've really hesitated to do for a few reasons.  One is practicality.  It isn't that convenient for me.  I am able to run and bike from my house, and the pool is 5 minutes away.  Spin class is a drive into the city, so it's a good 35 - 40 minutes each way.  I prefer to use my time training rather then travelling whenever possible.

Another reason is cost.  It's a bit hard to pay to ride my bike on the trainer when I can do it at home for free.  Triathlon is far from cheap, but I've done what I can to keep costs reasonable.

The last reason is the one that held me back the most.  It's also a recurring theme in my life and my triathlon journey.  I found attending a spin class utterly intimidating.  I know how hard Angie can work us in the pool, and that's considering there's technique work in there that is done at a slower pace - meaning pool work is a mix of mental and physical work.  On the bike, it's much easier to work harder without sacrificing form.  Would I even be able to keep up?  What if I couldn't finish?  What if I puked?  Died?  I knew this would be a class full of triathletes.  Ironmen.

Hang on.  I am a triathlete.  And, one day, I'll be an Ironman.  Really, I felt about the same intimidation going to this spin class as I did joining the coached swim program.

Besides, what if some bike coaching can do for my bike what swim coaching did for my swim?  Since my own coach isn't in the budget yet, I may as well take advantage of any group coaching I can get.  The class I was going to attend is coached by Angie, who is the same phenomenal coach who helped me improve my swim.  While I may still find her intimidating, it's a comfortable intimidation.  In the past, she's pushed me beyond what I thought I could do, but not beyond my actual limits.

So, I sent her an email to ask some questions and indicate I would attend that week.  While I actually did have a couple questions, this email also served as a commitment in a way.  Once I tell people I'm going to do something, I have enough pride that I'm unlikely to back out.

So, when Tuesday evening rolled around, I packed my bike and trainer in the car and headed to spin class. I quickly found parking and headed in.

Doing Spin Class

I felt totally out of my element upon entering.  There were a bunch of people who looked like they knew what they were doing setting up bikes on trainers.  My solution to being out of my element is to act like I know what I'm doing.  It may not fool anyone, but at least I can pretend I'm comfortable.

I thought there'd be a lot of overlap between the swim program and this one, but at first, I didn't see anyone.  Then I spotted Leana, who I'd met at a race a few weeks earlier.  I took advantage of a familiar face and asked her how it worked and where I should set up.  Once other people started arriving, I saw a couple other people I knew and said hi.

Before long, Angie got there and class was starting.  She let us know that we'd be doing a lot of high cadence spinning in this workout.  She introduced a few of us that were there for the first time and announced some race accomplishments that others have had.  It was a great community kind of feeling.  Then the work started.

There were the single leg drills.  I read enough to know about single leg drills, but hadn't tried them up till now.  I started off clunking through the pedal stroke, but managed to get better efficiency.  It's still something I need to work on, but I could feel the difference.

Now, I know that spinning isn't supposed to be that hard, but truthfully, before I got my bike fit, I had trouble holding 75 rpm.  After the bike fit, I've tended to hold about 85.  Angie had us do sets where we built our rpm.  Basically 1 minute at 95, 1 minute at 100 and 1 minute at 105.  Then it was 2 minutes at each.  Then 3.  (Most other people in the class were working at higher rpms, but I thought that was a good level for me at this point, and still challenging.)

It didn't feel too hard at 1 minute, but by the time we were doing the three minute intervals, it took some serious focus to get through.  During one of the final intervals, Angie called out the phrase: "You can do it!"  

If I believe I can, I can.  One of my mantras right now.

Now, if there was one thing, in relation to bike riding that I would have used the forbidden "I can't" phrase, it would be in reference to standing up while riding.  When I was a kid, and everybody else stood up while riding, I never did.  Truthfully, I don't know if I really tried, if I was afraid of doing it, or just got frustrated.  I wasn't the most athletic kid.  Since starting to ride again as an adult, I have tried a handful of times.  As soon as I start pedaling, I've always felt like I'm about to fall over.  Even on the trainer.  I seriously felt so off balance, I thought I could overbalance the whole set up.

So, of course, there was some standing up to pedal during the class.

In the right situation, pride can be a great thing.  Surrounded by other people doing it and seeing it as no big deal, there was no way I wasn't at least going to try.  And, I did do it.  I sure didn't feel smooth or efficient while doing it, but I also didn't feel like I was overbalancing my bike and trainer.

Thankfully, standing up isn't a main focus in most tri spin classes, the way (I've heard) it is in gym spin classes.  There were two points where Angie had us doing it.  One was while pushing a hard gear at a lower rpm and one was while going as hard as we could for 15 second intervals.  I will admit that I didn't do it while going as hard as I could.  That was already a challenge, and I truthfully think I need some more practice first.  The point is, I did one of those "I can't" skills.

Then we finished off with some core work.  Um, have I admitted that I do incredibly little core work?  I always have good intentions of starting up, but then don't get off the ground.


This was one of the hardest and most intense workouts I've done.  Lately, I've been recognizing that, as much as I'm consistent with my workouts, I don't bring the intensity in often enough.  I've often considered riding on the trainer to be pure boredom, but during the spin class, boredom was the last thing in my mind.  Between the music, the coach, and being surrounded by everyone, it's incredibly motivating to work as hard as I can.

There were a couple points where I was working so hard, I thought I might puke.  Perhaps there is a bit of a masochist in me, but I love that kind of workout.  I rarely push myself to that point outside of races, but I feel phenomenal afterwards so I need to do it more often.

It is worth the travel time and the cost to do the spin classes.  As for the intimidation factor, it's definitely worth getting past that.  Quite frankly, when you are afraid to do something, it probably means you care enough that you really want to and should confront that fear.  If you just weren't interested, you wouldn't care enough to have fear about doing it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

If only there was a way to bottle that feeling

Today, I ran 24 km (15 mi).  I'm not going to say it was an easy run.  The first 12-14km was pretty easy going, the next few were still strong, and I had to fight for the last 5 or so.  Truthfully, I really wanted to stop at about 20km, but I wanted the knowledge that I could do it.  I kept going, managed to negative split overall and my final kilometer was the fastest yet.

This wasn't my best long run of this cycle.  A 22km run about a month ago gets that honour.  That run was one where I felt invincible.

Now that I'm only two weeks out from my race, the game changes somewhat from being a physical game to a mental one.  There isn't much more I can do to improve my fitness.  I have to trust that I've already done that.  Now, I need to ensure I don't lose any and try to enter my race in a rested, but ready state.

Part of the mental challenge for me is the fact that I don't get to do any more runs that exceed the distance of the race.  Those runs have been a huge confidence builder for me.  I know that, eventually, I won't be able to train over the distance in running, but at the half marathon level, it's still possible.

Mentally, it would be great to do one of these long runs a couple days before the race.  Mentally, having that reminder of my ability so close to the race would do wonders for my confidence.

Physically, it would be stupidity to actually do it.  The cost of the mental boost would be to enter the race in an exhausted state, so it's just not going to happen.

I can't bottle that feeling.  But, I can hang onto the memory and knowledge of it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Climbing, flying, and letting go

As I mentioned in my last post, this weekend, I went away to camp.  It was a fabulous weekend, organized by the babysitting co-op that I'm a part of, but open to other women in town, so it was a great group.  We talked together, laughed together, played games, climbed structures and flew through the air...

The great group of ladies that I got to hang out with all weekend!

The climbing and flying came about from doing a high ropes course and a giant swing.  Let me just say that, if you've never done activities like this, you should.  They are awesome.  Part physical, part mental.  Sometimes, it seems like it should be easy, but it's not.  Sometimes, the physical part is easy, but you have to convince your brain to actually let you do it.  Getting past the mental barriers is often the most difficult part.

First, we did the high ropes course.  The first element involved climbing up a series of cross shaped "steps" in teams of four. The first couple levels weren't too hard.  We had to make sure all of our team made it up before progressing to the next level.  Then the levels got further apart, and it got harder.  We started giving each other legs up and then the last person had the hardest job, since there was nobody left to give them a leg up.  At a couple of the levels, I was the last person.  On the previous level, I'd hoisted myself up with my arms, but this time it was further apart.  I tried to get my leg up, and that didn't work either.
About halfway up
The words "I don't think I can do this," came out of my mouth.  In that moment, it was like I sealed the deal.  My mantra lately has been "if I believe I can, I can."  Rhonda (one of my teammates) came down, and gave me a leg up.  Then, rather then try to hoist herself up, like I had, she kind of swung herself up.  I wonder, perhaps it could have been different if I had said "how can I do this?" rather then "I can't."  Having said that, I'm also not about dwelling on past mistakes.  I've looked at the situation and next time, I'll choose a different thing to say then, "I can't".  Time to move on.

We continued climbing until we got to the top.  Once we figured out how to do it, we just kept going.  The platforms got smaller the further we went up, but it just meant we had to get a bit cozy as we went up.  I may have bruises all over my legs, but I got to the top!

The next high ropes element was to climb up a pole to a small platform.  This one was physically easier, but once you got to the top, it was a matter of balancing up there and trusting everyone.  You had to trust the people you were at the top with and you had to trust your belay team.  Truthfully, I thought the likelihood of falling was pretty good up there, but you had to believe that even if you fell, you'd be okay.

The next big activity was the giant swing.  This challenge is almost entirely mental.  It isn't that "hard" to get strapped into a harness and hoisted 75 feet into the air.  

It isn't that "hard" to release yourself so that you start to swing. 

 But, man, it is hard to just let it happen.  

This was my second time doing the giant swing.  (I'd done it the at the previous year's retreat).  I am not particularly afraid of heights.  I am a bit of a thrill seeker.  I also am pretty good at acting like I'm not afraid of things, even when I am.  (Long ago, I discovered that acting like you can handle something is the first step to convincing yourself you can.)  

Even so, this was a challenge.  I also added an extra challenge for myself.  The challenge to let go, and not hold onto the rope I was swinging from.  Remarkably, this was even harder to do then releasing the rope in the first place.  Yet, it was exhilarating.

Flying through the air.  Nothing to hold onto.  Just letting it happen.

Now, I consider how I can apply it to my life.  I am afraid of a lot of things.  My biggest fear is always the fear of failure.  I'm afraid that if I give something my all, and it's not enough, that I will never succeed.  

Interestingly enough, recognizing this fear was the very thing that prompted me to dip my toe into the world of triathlon.  I made a decision for once to give something my all, to try something that I didn't know whether I would succeed at.

It's been a year and a half since the day I made that decision.  I succeeded in my original quest.  My first goal of completing a triathlon (any triathlon) was something I was capable of long before I had the chance to do it.  Now, I'm faced with reality that I need to risk more, tri more.  See how much I'm capable of.

Let go.  And Fly.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back from a great weekend!

This weekend was a getaway weekend for me.  A bunch of ladies from my town went out to a camp, recharged, connected and did some great activities, some of them out of our comfort zones.

I'm trying to get back into a normal routine today, and I'm not taking the time for a long post, but I leave you with two pictures.  The first is an inspirational quote (that I loved) posted near our activities.  The second was me doing one of the activities - the giant swing.

Have you taken any risks lately?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Being smart - addressing possible injury

So, this weekend, I am going away.  It's the second annual ladies getaway.  Last year, I had an amazing time.  We stayed up late, played board games, then we did a high ropes course and a giant swing.  Really fun!

What it doesn't leave is a lot of room for training.  So, I made arrangements to have my kids watched today so I could do my long run on the Friday instead of on the weekend like I usually do.

Yesterday, after my run, my legs weren't feeling completely happy.  I wasn't convinced it was "bad pain" though.  This morning, I've got something that just doesn't feel right.

Enter Dr. Google.  Between Dr. Google and I, we've determined a possible IT band issue.  Crap.

There's two considerations here.  First consideration: if I don't run today, I may not get to do this long run.  Second consideration: if I do run today, I may screw myself up worse and end up unable to do my half marathon.


So, here's my plan.  Drop my kids off like planned.  Call and see if I can get in to my chiropractor, who does ART (ART is often recommended for IT band issues).  Go there dressed in my running clothes and hope he'll tell me I can run.

See, smart, but hopeful.  That's an okay plan, right?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Weight loss Wednesday, buying laziness and being recognized

The numbers

So, this week's weight wasn't a huge change: 194.2, which means I was down 0.6, which is the same that I was up last week.  It also means I'm at a total weight loss of 49.6 pounds.  Seriously, could I just hit that 50 lost mark?

I'm okay with that.  I've just set some major goals for myself this week and I know losing more weight is going to make a huge difference in getting there.  That is a huge motivation and helps keep me focused.

I've been losing weight for over a year and a half now.  I've lost in some weeks, maintained in more, and gained in almost none.  I'm at the point of accepting that the weight loss part of this is going to be a long journey.  I plan to get to a healthy weight in the next few months, but I think the process of finding my optimal weight is still going to be a long road - possibly years.  These last few pounds have made a significant and noticeable difference in my running ability.  I want to find out just how far I can go, and I'm not going to let the extra pounds hold me back.

Buying laziness

On a side note, I went to Costco today.  I don't do a lot of convenience food anymore.  I prefer my food as unprocessed as possible.  Generally speaking, that means more work in preparation.  Work that is generally worth it.  Having said that, today, I bought what I refer to as a few packages of laziness.  :)

Mini carrots, Cubed butternut squash and a fruit tray to bring to a ladies retreat this weekend
Sure, it costs more to buy your vegetables this way, but it's a heck of a lot better then buying a bag of cookies or a package of pastries.  And, can I say, I love butternut squash.  Sometimes, I roast them whole and scoop them out, but I really like in pieces.  So much work to peel and dice them though!  So cool that I can buy them like this!

Being recognized

Onto another thing.  I've been feeling a bit down about my blog lately.  The comments have plummeted and I was starting to wonder if anybody actually read it anymore.  Then, today, I had my first "celebrity moment"!

I know some of the bigger bloggers get recognized regularly.  It's never happened to me though.  Plenty of friends and family read my blog, and there's some other bloggers whose blogs I read and they tend to read mine.

Then, while standing in line, the lady in front of me looked back and said "I know you.  Don't you have a blog?"  So COOL!  We do have a mutual friend, and live in the same town, so she's not a complete stranger, but it's still neat to know that someone other then my mother reads my writing.  ;)

Sarah, if you are reading, it was so nice to meet you today, and your kind words about my blog lifted my spirit in ways you don't even know.  Thank you!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How have you limited yourself? Dare to dream.

A year ago, I thought that an ultimate goal would be to run a sub-60 10k.  In terms of my running, I never really looked beyond that.  To me, that was fast.  To actually be able to hold that fast pace for a full 10k seemed almost unreachable.

Um, did I happen to mention that I destroyed that goal just over a week ago?  After 16 months of running, I reached my "ultimate" goal.

It was an incredibly rewarding experience.  Yet, at the same time, it kind of left me directionless.  Searching for something.  But what?

New goals.  New dreams.

Here's the thing though.  I was so set on where my limits were that I didn't dare to look beyond that.  But, really?  Where are my limits?  I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know one thing: I'm not setting a limit on it.

It's important to have short term goals, mid-term goals, and long term goals.  It's also important to have dreams and aspirations.  What's the difference between goals and dreams?  I'm sure there's lots of definitions, but here's my take on it.  Goals are specific and attainable.  Dreams are things that you'd like to reach, but don't know when, how or if.

So, with that said, I'm all about impulsive goal setting.  Seriously.  I think when you follow your first instinct, it's sometimes exactly what you need.  Overthink it and you can psych yourself out.

Short term goals:

Run a strong half marathon on Nov 13
Run that half marathon in less then 2:15

These goals are ones that I am currently working towards and have a date when I plan to achieve them.  I consider them to be attainable and realistic right now.  The 2:15 goal scares me a little bit, yet at the same time, I question whether I can even go faster.  The Mcmillan calculator actually predicts my half marathon time at 2:05:50 (based on my recent 10k).  Right now, I intend to pace for 2:15, and then negative split if I have it in me.

Mid-term goals:

Run a sub 26 minute 5K
Run a sub 55 minute 10K
Run a sub 2 hour half marathon
Break 3 hours in an Olympic triathlon
Complete a half ironman, to the best of my ability

Some of these goals are probably attainable (or almost attainable) now, but I don't have specific plans when I will achieve them.  I mainly plan to shoot for them the next time I am doing races of those distances.

Long-term goals:

Complete a marathon, to the best of my ability
Complete a full ironman, to the best of my ability

These are things I definitely plan to do, eventually.  The ironman is years away, and I haven't decided yet when I will be attempting a marathon.

Something that I have come to realize about myself is that I will never be happy with "just finishing".  I don't always have to have a time goal, but I need to feel like I did everything I could, on that day and at that point in my training.  Hence, the term "to the best of my ability" on some of the longer distance races.  If I cross an ironman finish line in 16:59:59 and I gave it everything I had, I'd be happy with finishing.  If I crossed it in 14 hours, but I took it really easy on the bike and walked on the run (when I had no need to), I'd be unhappy.

And now, because sometimes, you should shoot for the stars...


Place in my age group
Boston Qualify
Kona Qualify

I've often been heard saying "I'm never going to be placing".  I'm now recognizing that that's a limit that I've put on myself.  At this point, I don't know what I'm capable of.  However, I do believe that I have the potential to do far more then I have.  I've also been heard to say "I'm not a fast runner."  I now believe I have the potential to go much much faster then I have.  I haven't even scratched the surface of my speed.

And yep, I put it out there.  I would love to BQ or KQ.  Is that an attainable goal?  Truthfully, I don't know.  I honestly don't know if I have that potential.  But, then that's why it's not a "goal".  I might have that potential though.  And, that is why I've allowed it to be a dream.

As for limits?  Well, I'm not going there anymore.  About the only limit I'm seeing is that I will never go pro. Realistically, I'm too old for that, and at this point in my life, it's not what I want for me or my family.

Otherwise, the possibilities are limitless.  I'll just see how far I can go.

Monday, October 17, 2011

How often do you run naked?

This weekend, I had my second 22 km (13.7 mi) run of this training cycle.  I was just about ready to go.  I grabbed my garmin and turned it on to check a setting on it.

And, the low battery signal flashed at me.


If the low battery signal flashes during a run, I can usually still get an hour out of it.  If it flashes when I turn it on, it usually means I forgot to turn it off after my last run.  That means it won't even last 10 minutes.

This wasn't good.  I had 22 km on the plate for the day.  How was I going to know how far I had gone?  How was I going to know how fast I was going?  How would I run?

I came to a stunning realization.  I would have to run without my garmin.

My naked wrist
I thought about it a bit, and realized that people did run before garmins were invented.  How is that possible?  Wait a second.  I didn't even have a garmin when I first started running.  How did I manage?

I thought about it a bit and realized how.!  I could go and put my route in to figure out how far I'd be going.  I might not be able to know my pace, but at least I'd know my distance.  I planned out a route that came to 16km (10mi).  I decided that I could stop off at home and grab my garmin for the remaining six (after it charged some).

In the first few kilometers, I missed my garmin a lot.  I realized that, while I don't usually run with music, I am attached to my garmin.  Normally, I constantly check my pace.  This time, I couldn't do that.  It was an adjustment, but before long, I was really feeling in tune with the run.  I was just running.

Now, I wish I could say that it was a phenomenal run.  I would love to say I set records because I didn't know my speed and I didn't hold back.

Truth is, it wasn't.  It was a tough run and it took some mental strength to get through all 22 km of it.  Having said that, I think not having my garmin for the first 16 was a good thing.  Knowing that I was going slower then usual for a long run wouldn't have benefited me.  I did manage to continue running, and that's what's important.  This was my long slow distance run after all.

I did stop off at home and get it after 16 km.  I tried to make the stop quick, but I took the time to change my shirt.  (Some clothing works for shorter distances but chafes at longer ones.)

The final 6km was still a struggle.  I was tired.  My legs were tired.  Last time I ran 22km, I felt super strong.  I even felt like I could have gone further.  Not this time.  But, having my garmin did help me push a little bit.  When I felt my pace dropping, I'd tell myself to push just a little bit.  When I reached the last km, I decided to see what was left in my legs, and I ran that km in under 6 minutes (fast for me).

So, over all?  Am I going to stop running with my garmin?  Not a chance.  I like knowing how I am doing and the garmin gives me feedback so I can see when I've improved.  Sometimes, it helps me to push myself.

Having said that, am I going to stop running with my garmin sometimes?  I think so.  There's a certain freedom in running naked and not being tied to the little numbers flashing on your wrist.  While the garmin sometimes helps me push myself, it also can hold me back, as evidenced in my Oly tri - where I only ran as fast as I did because my garmin didn't work and I didn't know how fast I was going.

Having said that, I don't know how many of my runs before my half marathon will be garminless.  I am going to try to go without, once a week or so, after.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weight loss, accountability, and HBBC

So, this week, I didn't do my "weight loss Wednesday".  There's a number of reasons.  I was busy.  The kids have had lots of places to go (and me to drive them).  I've had extra appointments to deal with my calf.  Blah, blah, blah.

The thing is, if I lose weight, I'm excited to post.  I carve out the little bit of time I need to blog - be it 3 minutes, or 30.  I really enjoy blogging.  It's funny, because I never kept a journal when I was younger - not for more then 2 days, at least.  But blogging has become an integral part of my journey.  I don't just go through the steps, but I think about them and I talk about them.  For me, that's made it into a journey that has reshaped me in so many ways, I can't even count.

One thing about blogging is the accountability.  It's a great motivator to get through the rough spots when you think about how you can come on here and talk about your success.  Then, there's the times when you don't succeed.  Those are much harder to blog about.  Everyone wants to be positive, including me.  I don't like to wallow, so I have trouble talking about the rough spots.  I usually wait until I have a strategy to deal with them. (And if that helps me come up with a strategy, I'm good with that.)

So, getting back to the weight loss accountability: this week, I gained 0.6 pounds.  Not a huge amount, and nothing that will hurt me in the long run.  That it came on the tail of my hugely successful race is too bad, but I won't pretend I don't know where it came from.  I don't cook on race days, so there was pizza that night.  Then there was Canadian Thanksgiving, which included some pie.  My portion sizes were nothing compared to what they once were, but the second helping of mashed potatoes was probably unnecessary.

Truthfully, I consider 0.6 pounds to be maintaining my weight, which is fine - just not right now.

Now, talking about accountability, has everyone signed up for the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge?

It's run by Amanda, at Run to the Finish.  I really like the whole concept of it, as it's based on what you are doing and therefore, what you have control over.  It starts up Nov 19, which is perfect timing for me, as I do my half marathon on the 13th.  I can take it a little easy for a few days, and then kick it into high gear.  I'm signing up in the "Doer" category.  I know I'm past being a "builder", but don't think I count as "advanced" yet.

Looking forward to it as another tool towards accountability!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thanksgiving race report - reaching the big goal

A bit less then a year ago, I was running with some friends.  We were talking about where we wanted to go as runners, and I expressed the thought that one day, I wanted to be able to run 10K in less then an hour.  At the time, that goal seemed almost out of reach, but maybe, just maybe, one day I'd be able to do it.  If I could run a sub-60 10K, I'd be forever happy with my running speed and wouldn't need more.

Fast forward to Sunday.  There I was, at a registration table, signing up to run a 10K distance, with the goal of beating an hour.  I'd never expected to make the attempt so soon, but I have never felt more ready for a race.  Never more ready to prove to myself what I was capable of.


The morning before the race was one of my least stressful ones yet.  It's been a while since I've done a running race, rather then a triathlon.  There is a lot less stuff you have get ready!  I got up early enough to have my steel cut oats and a cup of tea, plus a glass of water.

I usually have my coffee in a travel mug on the way to a race.  Just before leaving, I realized I'd forgot to brew my coffee.  Oh no!  Now, it may not seem like such a big deal, but coffee isn't just a caffeine fix.  Other runners will get this: it makes sure things move before the run, rather then having an emergent situation during it.

Not such a big deal.  There are lots of places that sell coffee and have it ready to go.  I stopped off at Tim Hortons, skipped the insanely long drive thru option, and got served immediately in the store.  Good to go, and I started the drive into the city.

Now, I should mention that I was doing this race on my own.  My husband and kids usually come out and cheer for me, but when I decided I needed to do this race, I decided it was something I needed to do for me.  While the kids like cheering when I go by, they don't have as much fun with the waiting part (which is much longer then the cheering part), so I thought I'd give them a pass this time.  My husband asked if I was really okay with it.  I was.  Something about this day was very personal and I was totally okay with not having them there at the finish line.

When I got to the race site, I went to get registered and then walked around for a bit.  I saw Runner Leana, so I had to go say hi.  I've been following her blog for a while, so it was very cool to meet her.

Then I headed out and ran a couple kilometers to warm up.  It's amazing how far I've come.  I once viewed the 10k distance as a really long run.  No way would I run first.  Now, I know that I hit my stride after about 10 minutes of running.  I prefer to run at least a kilometer at a slow pace, and when I'm shooting for a time, I don't want that slow kilometer to be during the race.

On my way out the door, I got accosted by a photo booth guy.  One of the downsides of my family not being along was the lack of pictures, so while I was a bit stunned at first, I was glad to get a picture of the day.
Yep, that's a picture of a picture.  My printer/scanner is out of coloured ink, and apparently requires it to scan...
I detoured to drop the picture in my car, then warmed up.  My warm up run felt great, and was a nice relaxed pace.  Then I headed over to the start line and got caught up in the warm up that a fitness instructor was leading.  Do you ever do these warm ups?  I don't.  I prefer to warm up by walking or running.  Having said that, I was there in the middle of it so I step-touched and marched wide with the group...

Once the warm up was coming to an end, I headed towards the start time.  There were a lot of people, and there was a 5K walk in addition to the 10K run.  The last thing I wanted was to be stuck behind hordes of people walking 6 wide, with strollers.  Fortunately, they did have the runners line up first, so it turned out it wouldn't be so bad.

I felt amazing going into this race.  I have never felt so perfectly prepared and excited, but not nervous.  I was ready to push, and push hard.  I was completely confident that I could reach my goal.

The Race

The countdown started and we were off.  Despite the fact I was about to run my fastest 10k ever, I know that to some people sub-60 isn't fast, so I was lined up a bit back from the start line.  It never ceases to amaze me how badly some people seed themselves.  I probably passed half the people in front of me right at the start.  There were also a lot of fast runners that passed me and should have been further forward.  Then there were the people that passed me and I passed back in a couple of minutes.  There was also the couple pushing the double wide jogging stroller, not even behind the jogging stroller, but one on each side.  And, they were NOT going fast enough to justify being in the first few rows of racers.  Regardless, the path was nice and wide, so it was pretty easy to get going.  I was up to speed in about 15 seconds.

Speaking of speed, part of my strategy for this race was to bank some time.  I don't entirely trust running room races to be an accurate distance.  Regardless of what my garmin said the distance was, I wanted to cross that finish line in under an hour.  If the race happened to be long, I didn't want to whine about not beating it because it was long; I wanted to beat it no matter what.

So, I planned to run at about a 5:45/km pace.  For me, this is fast and was a bit of an aggressive plan.  I have run at that fast a pace twice, for a distance of only 5 km each time - at the end of sprint triathlons.

Having said that, I believed I could do it.  My running has done nothing but improve lately, and I regularly find myself running at faster paces then I'm used to - at the same effort level.  I also know that being able to achieve that pace at the end of the triathlon means I should be able to hold it longer when I'm not going into the run tired.

For the first kilometer, I held back a bit.  It's so easy to get caught up in the excitement at the start of the race.  Having said that, it's also a good way to burn yourself out if you go too fast.  That first kilometer almost felt easy.

km 1: 5:47

Going into the next couple kilometers is where I had to start working.  It was hard.  Doable hard, but this was no Sunday stroll.  It was a Sunday race!  I actually tried not to look at my garmin too much and instead focused on keeping my effort level steady, but hard.

km 2: 5:42
km 3: 5:42

During the fourth kilometer, I hit the water station.  I grabbed a cup and walked for a few seconds to take a drink.  I wasn't really thirsty, but my mouth was dry and it felt better to wet it.  I still suck at drinking out of those paper cups though.  Maybe one day I'll manage to do it while running.

km 4: 5:52

Then we headed down a bit of a hill.  Going down, I observed that I might lose time coming back up.  The distance markers seemed to be pretty much right on though, so as long as the turn around point was accurate, I could afford a minor slow down.

km 5: 5:37

The turn around point seemed to be at pretty much the right spot.  It wasn't out by more then a couple dozen meters, which could just be from taking corners wide and the margin of error on the garmin.

I saw Leanna a bit after the turn around.  She gave me a word of encouragement and I just smiled and tried to look strong.  She said I looked great, which was probably a lie, but made me feel good anyways.  ;)

Then it was back up the "hill".  There was a guy in black compression socks that I had been right behind for the last 5 km.  I decided that as long as he didn't slow down too much, I'd make sure to hold onto him up the hill.  He actually sped up going up the hill, so I did too.  Not so bad at all!  Seriously.  I train in the foothills of the rocky mountains, and I was considering this little slope to be a hill?  Maybe because the rest of the course was flat, I just saw it as bigger then it was.

Then I passed him.

km 6: 5:46

Then it was into the homestretch.  Back to the water station.  Another mouthful of water.  Did I really need it?  Probably not.  I think I may start skipping water stations on 10k races unless it's a hot day (which it wasn't).

km 7: 5:35

With three kilometers left, I had planned to pick up the pace.  I wanted to work for my finish, not just coast in.  I wasn't coasting though.  This was hard.  Man, it was hard.  I decided that if I could continue to hold my pace, I'd be good.

km 8: 5:35

With two kilometers left to go, I realized I could finish at a gentle jog and still break one hour.  That wasn't the point though.  I was going to finish strong.

km 9: 5:41

When I finished the ninth kilometer, I decided it was time to let it hurt.  It was already hard, but it didn't hurt.  I'd been afraid to make it hurt with three kilometers left, but I knew I could do it with one left.  As I passed the 9th km marker, I picked up the pace and passed two people that I'd been running close to for a bit.  Then I passed a couple more people.  I heard somebody close behind me and decided that I was not going to be passed for the rest of the race.  I pushed.  I pushed hard and I started feeling like I needed to puke.  I held on.

km 10: 5:05

With the finish line in sight, I sprinted to the end.  I didn't think I actually had more in my legs, but my pace for the extra 46 metres, that my garmin measured, was 3:51/km.

46 metres: 11 seconds

Finish time: 56:33
A personal best by 3:39
Beat the sub-60 goal by 3:27

So, that's it.  I guess I may as well shut the blog down and take up lawn bowling.  After all, I reached the ultimate goal I once saw as a runner.

Hmmm, It feels amazing right now, but I have a feeling I won't be able to be "forever happy with that running speed."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quick update - OH YEAH!

So, as to my goal of hitting a sub-60 10k?  I blew that goal out of the water and finished in...


The full race report is to come.  (As well as a post about underestimating my abilities and setting my goals too low...)

Race Day goals!

This has been one of the least stressful weeks leading up to a race that I've ever had.  Hmmm, wonder why?  Maybe because I only decided to race 2 days ago?

Then yesterday, I was obsessed with watching the Ironman World Championships.  Anybody else check that out?  Amazing!  What a race!  What a finish!  Both the men and women.

Anyways, today is race day.  As usual, my bad pre-race picture.  No number yet, as I still have to register...
Not my best picture.  I was looking at the side of the camera where there's a little screen.   Neat sky in the background though!


1. Break 1 hour.
2. Don't get worked up about factors beyond my control.
3. Push myself hard those last few kilometers.  Don't just coast in.

That is all!  See you on the other side of my sub-60 10K!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The itch to race...

Alright, so I realize that it's only been a month since my Olympic triathlon.  It's also only a month until my half marathon.

But, I am getting the itch to race.

There's a couple of reasons I see for this.  Part of it is purely that racing energizes me and motivates me.  The week after a race, I feel fabulous.  Another reason is that I feel like I have unfinished business at both the 5k and 10k distance.

The unfinished business is running a (stand alone) 5K in under 30 minutes.  Also, the desire to run a 10K in under 60.

I firmly believe that both are within my capabilities.  I *sort of* ran a sub-30 5K at last year's resolution run (on a short course).  I've also run two sub-30 5Ks as the final leg of sprint triathlons.  In fact, I only missed it on my third sprint by 2 seconds, and that was on a 31c (89f) day.

Then, there's the 10K distance.  I have not yet "sort of" run a sub-60 10K, but I've come close.  I came 13 seconds away at the St Patrick's day race.  On that day, I was hoping to break 62 minutes, so my time was great, but still frustrating to come so close to another milestone.  In Banff, after swimming and biking for over 2 hours, I ran 10K in 61:05.  Interesting story about that day: I expected to do the run in about 65 minutes, but my garmin had gone wacky and I had no idea what my actual pace was.  Had I realized I was going that fast, I would have slowed down, because I did not think I was capable of running that pace at the end of a triathlon.

And that's the thing.  So much of this is mental.  If you believe you can't do something, you probably can't.  If you believe you can and you give it your all, who knows?  Sometimes success requires near misses along the way.

Right now, I believe that I am capable of running a sub-60 10K in a race, and I'm ready to do it.  I also want to do it while I can still see the goal as a challenge, not a given.

So, yesterday, I searched for upcoming races.  Low and behold, there's a 10K Thanksgiving run that I can do on Sunday (aka tomorrow).  Online sign up has ended, but I can sign up on site in the morning.

Soon, I'll add a sub-60 10K to my list of accomplishments.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Don't be a dumb ass - My shin splint situation

You know how when you go to the dentist, you'll always be asked how often you floss?  You'll sheepishly reply something about how you try to do it every couple nights.  Really, you do it about once a month, or just on days after eating corn on the cob.  You know it, you're dentist knows it, and you both know you ought to do it more.

That's how I've always felt when I go to see my massage therapist, Shannon.  I'll mention a tight muscle and she'll suggest a couple stretches for it.  She also always reminds me to stretch and sometimes ice the muscles she worked on afterwards.  And... well, let's just say, I'm less then diligent.

Now, I've got another stretching advocate, Dr Greg.  He's the chiropractor I went to see about my tight achey calf, once I realized it could be shin splints.  

Now, it may seem ridiculous that I didn't realize I was developing shin splints, but let me just say that it isn't my shins that were bothering me.  Rather, it is the muscle that connects to them.  So, I was identifying it as calf tightness, which it is.  The thing is, with the location of this calf tightness (and the fact that it never really went away), it can lead to shin splints.

Anyways, Dr. Greg asked me about my stretching practices.  I said that I try to stretch - sometimes.  Truthfully, I do try to stretch, but not nearly as often as I should.  I'd say 1 out 4 runs a week are followed by a good stretch.  After swimming or biking?  Almost never.

Then he asked me if I'd been icing the sore calf.  I said no.  I know I should, but I just don't take the time.

He told me I was being a dumb ass.

Okay... actually he didn't say I was a dumb ass.  Much more diplomatic.  I think it was more like "Deb, Deb Deb, you're going to have to be a more seasoned triathlete."

What I heard (and I'm sure he was thinking) is "Don't be such a dumb ass.  You're not twenty years old anymore."

Now, the GOOD news is, I've got no restriction on running, and while this is an overuse injury, it is currently a very minor one - provided I take care of it properly.

Then he proceeded to move my leg around and prod at my calf.  If you've never had ART before, let me say it sure doesn't tickle.  But, it's productive pain, and if it would keep me running, I'd deal with any pain that can help me.

For the next couple weeks, I need to stretch after running, ice it and get some ART (active release therapy).

Oh, and I probably should keep stretching after that, as well as icing when I have sore spots.  After all, I need to stop being a dumb ass, because I'm not twenty years old anymore...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Three Things Thursday - The "I need it" edition

Lately Sweetpea is in a stage where she sucks at sharing.  She likes to have toys and hoard toys.  When her brother has something she wants, she'll let out a pitiful whiney "I neeeeeed it!".  Mind you, it might be the one car Spud is playing with when she has 10 others.  We'll still hear the pathetic "I neeeeed it" cried out when told she has to share and let him have it.

So, today's post is dedicated to Sweetpea.  It's the "I neeeeeed it" day.

1. The Garmin 910XT
This multisport watch has just been announced, and hasn't even been released yet.  Despite the fact I have a perfectly functional Garmin 305, my immediate reaction to seeing this was "I need it!"  It does everything my 305 does, and more.  Particularly the swim functions.  It can count my laps in the pool much better then I do.  It can even count my strokes!

After seeing this, I sent an email to set up some testing.  It's not something I've talked about a lot on my blog, but I'm lucky enough to live in the town where ANT+ technology was developed (it's a major technology used in the accessories with the gps watches).  As such, I sometimes get to do testing for Garmin.  I can't talk about it much (due to a non-disclosure agreement), but I can say that I do it, and I need to do more so that I can earn this watch!  I got in this morning to do a swim test session.  Little by little, I will get it!

A friend posted these shoes on facebook after her son bought them.  I LOVE them.  They would go with any colour I want to wear.  And they are just plain fabulous!  Sadly, this is a "I need it" that I don't get to have.  These are neutral running shoes.  I pronate and need supportive running shoes.  Why are all the colourful running shoes for neutral runners?  Us pronaters want something fun too!

3. Perspective

After yesterday's post, I did some thinking and investigating.  One thing I did was email the organizers of the 70.3 race I want to do.  They got back to me very quickly and I've been assured that the race is still running and they are just working on some final details before the actual announcement.

The other thing is considering my possible shin splints.  First off, I'm freaking out before it is necessary.  I don't even know for sure that's my problem.  May as well wait until I know before freaking out.  I might just have to heat and ice and stretch more.

Secondly, even if I have to take time off running, it is NOT the end of the world.  Very frustrating?  Yes.  Potential to kill my current half marathon plans?  Yes.  Likelihood of killing any of my long term training plans?  No.  I can deal with this, and one way or another, it's not that big a deal.  Many people have dealt with much much bigger issues and injuries.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Weight loss Wednesday - In a bit of a slump

So, today's weight on the scale was 194.2, for a weekly loss of 0.6 and a total loss of 49.2.  I'm not happy with that loss, but I'm not devastated by it either.

When I decided to restart my weight loss, I pledged to track all my food and watch my calorie intake.  The first week, things got away from me and I never started doing it.  I still lost over 2 pounds.  The next week, it didn't really happen either, and I still had a respectable loss of over a pound.  This week, it's caught up to me.  Since I only want to be in weight loss mode for a few months, I'm going to have to start making it count by actually counting what I eat.

On a not terribly related note, I'm feeling sort of down right now.  I've had a couple of hits this week, and there's a couple other things up in the air.  I'm a planner, and am frustrated by the lack of my ability to plan.

First off, my husband and I talked about budget and the numbers, and it looks like a coach is not in the cards for next season.  Yes, I realize I am not a pro, and I'm never going to place.  Having said that, I had really been hoping we could swing it.  I know I need to start training smarter.  I feel like a coach would help push me in ways I'm afraid to push myself.  It's not the end of the world, but I'm going to have to get past the disappointment.

Then, it seems that a lingering soreness is likely shin splints.  I've had a tight achey muscle on the inside of my calf for a couple months now, and kept hoping it would go away.  I had my husband ask his ART/chiro whether he thinks it's something that can be worked on.  He does think it is something that can be worked on, and he also suggested the likelihood of shin splints.  Now, I have an appointment for tomorrow, so I hope for a more definitive diagnosis and plan.  I just really really hope this doesn't impact my half marathon plans.  I am fairly confident that it's not a stress fracture (simply not enough pain), so I seriously hope he doesn't suggest I stop running - even temporarily.

Then there's my whole race schedule for next year.  This is one of those things that I just want to come into place so I know what I'm working towards.  I'd been planning on doing Calgary 70.3, but while the date has been announced, there's been no further information about it and it's not on the ironman website.  I'm worried it may not be happening.

Of course, there's also the fact that it's the day after my cousin's wedding.  Is it crazy to do a half ironman the day after attending a wedding?  I would have no trouble leaving early; we have kids, so probably would be anyways.  Besides, I'm not that much of a late night person.  I think we even left our own wedding before midnight.

Then there's the fact that the other half-iron I considered is likely to fill up anytime.  So, if I wait, but it turns out the Calgary one isn't running, I'll be left scrambling.

Meh, what a whiny annoying post!  Now, I've had my whine, I'll start coming up with a plan to deal with all my frustrations.  Wish me luck with that appointment tomorrow!  That's the biggest thing weighing on me right now...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Having faith in yourself and trusting your training

I have an issue that I continue to work on.  Let's just say it's a work in process, and will be for a long time.

Self doubt.

I have a really hard time believing I can do something until I've actually done it.  For instance, this weekend, my long run was supposed to be 22km (13.7mi).  I have never run more then 20km.  (Yes, I've done a half marathon, but crashed towards the end, so didn't "run" more then 20 even there.)

Okay, but let's consider this.  I have run 20km, and it wasn't even that hard to accomplish.  2 more kilometers is only 10% and isn't even a stretch.  But, I was worrying beforehand if I was going to be able to do it.  Would I be fueled enough?  What if I crashed?

Okay, another thing.  When I was training for the Police Half, I wanted to break 2:30 for the half marathon. Yeah, I wasn't setting time goals, but that was the time they started reopening the route to traffic, and I wanted to be done before then.  I didn't make it.  So, then there's the concern: am I capable of running a half marathon in less then 2:30?

Okay, it's a bit blurry, but the read out is: 2:27:06, and 22km
Mind you, I ran this 22km in my town, which is fairly hilly.  The race I'm doing in a month and a half is in a mostly flat section of Calgary.  Barring complications on the race course, I think a sub 2:30 half is incredibly achievable.  Perhaps I should even set my sights higher?

The thing is, I'm going to have to start trusting my training.  So far, I've been able to train over the distance on almost every race I've done.  BUT, my long term sights are set on Ironman, and I want to do a marathon.  You simply don't train beyond the distance in those races.

I have gotten better though.  Early on in my running I had to fight the little mental voice telling me I'm not a runner for most of my runs.  I believe I am a runner now.  I just have to believe I can go the distance.

And, in some races, when you go the distance, you get a medal...

When I got home from my 10km run on Saturday, Spud awarded me with a medal for completing my "race".  I love the fact that he still considers finishing to be winning.  I hope we can keep that attitude.

A closer look at the medal... 

This is the side you get if you don't go out the door to run at all... 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Spud and Sweetpea race!

Alright, this race report is long overdue, given it happened 2 weeks ago.  Having said that, temporary laptop trouble left the pictures trapped and inaccessible for part of that time.  Now, it's time to cover Sweeptea's very first race, and Spud's first running only race.  (He actually did a triathlon as his first race. Talk about an overachiever...)

The day dawned bright and early for me, as I was volunteering for this race, the Urban Venus Deliciously Sweet Race.  Truthfully, there's not much to tell about the volunteering.  They had way too many people for an almost non-existent job of setting up food (it was done when I got there, and I was a few minutes early).  It's great that they were able to get lots of volunteers out.  The race was in benefit of the science centre, and I think they have a large volunteer base.  Having said that, I think it's too bad they didn't use me on the course, since it seemed very few of the volunteers were runners or even knew anything about races.  I would have cheered, but that's okay.

The kids' race started an hour and a half after the adult races, so I was done at my post about 15 minutes before.  My husband had arrived separately with Spud and Sweetpea and they'd spent some time playing on the playground and running around.  We got their numbers on to them and tried to get them to smile for the camera.
Looking at the camera seemed to be an added complication that wasn't going to happen...
Then it was time to warm up...

There actually was a warm up run by a local fitness group.  The kids had fun with it.  It was pretty dance-like, and Spud got very into it.  Sweetpea followed along as well.

After the warm up, it was time to line up at the starting line.  I was running with Spud while Beejay ran with Sweetpea.  We didn't line up together as I knew Spud would run pretty quick and Sweetpea goes a bit slower.  I tried to take Spud near the starting line, leaving room for older and faster kids, but in front of the toddlers, and pretty much any kids smaller then him.  Beejay and Sweetpea went further back.

Spud got a little offended when a few 10ish year olds went in front of him and lined up right at the starting line.  I get it.  He was there first and he thinks it's like a regular line up.  I'll have to teach him more about seeding himself in the future...  ;)  I tried to give him a mini pep talk about pacing, since I knew he'd go fast. Having said that, the race was only 1 km (0.62mi), so I wasn't too worried.

Then, the starting gun went and we were off.  And I mean off!  He sprinted right out of there and was keeping up with the older kids.  I was running behind him rather then beside at this point, since there wasn't room to be beside him.  Truthfully, I had to work to keep up.  I was wearing my garmin (out of curiousity) and we reached a speed of 3:58/km in that first section.  I've often thought he'll outrun me by the time he's 12 years old, but I'm now amending that estimate to 8.

Of course, at 4 years old, he doesn't quite get that pacing thing, and he got a stitch in his side.  He slowed down and walked for a bit.  I tried to suggest going slower, but when he felt better, he sprinted off again.  I realized at that point that I should just let him run his own race.  One day he'll learn to go slower to go longer, but for now he's just having fun.  As a mom, I need to let him experience it himself.

The rest of the race alternated between walks and sprints.  When we turned back towards the finish line, he was running and probably was close to needing to walk, but he saw the end and got a new burst of energy. Off he went and he finished strong!

Meanwhile Sweetpea was running with Beejay and I wasn't sure she'd go the full distance.  Having just turned three, she doesn't have as much stamina as her brother and still often ends up on shoulders by the end of family walks.  Having said that, she went the whole way.  At one point, she had a near fall from someone stopping right in front of her.  (There was a lot of that going on.  Kids don't run the steadiest of paces.)  Fortunately, since she was running with Daddy, she got saved, but was a little shaken up.  She recovered by the end of the race and ran across the finish line.

Of course, the best part of the race was the prize received for running it.  As this was the "Deliciously Sweet Race", they were giving out cupcakes, which the kids were happy to collect.

They thoroughly enjoyed the icing!