Archive | March, 2011

Michelle the Marathoner

31 Mar

Michelle the Marathoner! (left)

As I previously mentioned, my friend, Michelle, was set to run her first marathon in Rome. Running with Team in Training and raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Michelle had a lot of drive in her pursuit to complete her first 42.2-km race! She’s back now, and in this Q&A, she talks about her race-day experience, running past the Vatican and being the third highest Canadian fundraiser in her group:

Cathy James: How did the race go?

Michelle Pye: The race went ‘ok’, considering I hadn’t trained in weeks due to the hip injury. It took me about 45 minutes longer than it would have if I had been able to do the full training (I was hoping to finish between 4:30 – 4:45), the first half was ok, but I battled through the last half. 

The Start Line

CJ: What was it like running through the streets of Rome?

MP: Running in Rome was beautiful, inspiring, emotional and overwhelming at times. I remember rounding a corner on to St. Peter’s Square and towering in front of me was the Vatican, and the Pope was outside saying mass as I ran by. I definitely got a little emotional. The start and finish was at the coliseum, and I remember hitting about 38 k and seeing the coliseum and knowing the end was in sight (again making me emotional – lol). The spectators were also great, cheering people on along the sidelines. There were even some Canadan tourists that saw the Canadian flag on my back and yelled things like, “Go Canada!”, so that kept me motivated as well!

A. mazing.

 CJ: While in Rome, you received a major kudos from the Team in Training organizers. Why is that?

MP: The night before the race the TNT organizers host an ‘Inspiration Dinner”, it includes a quick motivational speech from the director, along with a PowerPoint and speech by one of the members highlighting who and why they are running. During this they called up the top 5 fundraisers in Canada one at a time (I was #3) and congratulated us and gave us a TNT tech hat that says ‘top fundraiser” on the back. My total funds raised was $14,315!  

Michelle was the third highest fundraiser, raising more than $14,000! Say Wha?!

CJ: What was your favourite part about your entire marathon experience?

MP: I can’t say that running the marathon itself was fun, it was honestly the most difficult and most pain thing I have done! However, I think the best part was my motivation to run it. Knowing that I was honouring a friend and raising money to help find a cure for blood cancers. A few times as I was running and really struggling in the race, I would look up to the sky and smile at Caralyn and remind myself that 5:30 of exhaustion and pain was nothing compared to what people go through when they battle cancer, so it kept things in perspective for me and made me determined to finish and not wimp out.  

CJ: What advice would you give to someone who wants to train for a marathon?

MP: the best advice I can give would be to have a purpose (especially if it’s your first), whether it be to raise money and awareness for a cause, or to earn a new PB, or just to fulfill a personal goal, make sure you have something that is going to force you to battle through the pain and exhaustion. And if you are injured, I would really recommend resting, letting your body heal, then begin training again, even if it means pushing back the date you plan on running your marathon. A marathon is challenging enough when you have trained and are healthy. Had it been under any other circumstances, I would have chosen to rest my hip and train for a fall run. That being sad, I am so happy I persevered, jogged it out and finished, because once you cross the finish line you are officially a ‘marathoner’ and it is one of the best feelings in the world!


CJ: In one word, describe what this experience has meant to you.

MP: If I had to chose one word to describe my marathon experience it would be Inspiring. The people, the city, the training, my family and friends who donated, Caralyn’s family and friends who donated, all of the people who shared their personal stories with me about how cancer has affected them – it’s all so inspiring!

Caralyn would have been inspired, too! Congratulations, Michelle!!!


Spring Fever

30 Mar

After a disappointing night at home, we definitely made up for it last night. Jamally finally got to escape early from work yesterday and he walked through the front door at 4 p.m. Whoa!

After a good meal together, we decided to take the dog for a walk to a nearby park, where the river runs through it (I still haven’t seen that Brad Pitt movie). Anyway, Tux was so wired from the nice weather he bombed into the water – zero degrees outside, and he’s wading around in the Tay River. Needless to say, he came home and plunked down on his bed pretty quickly.

Today I’m up to bat for a hills workout, and while I like to get my run completed in the morning, I am going to wait because the weatherman is calling for some sunny skies and warm temps. I think I have more spring fever than the pooch!

What doesn’t have spring fever are my feet. A common running ailment is sore feet, and at this point, I would do anything for a foot massage. Jamally tries to tell me that years of playing hockey has left his hands somewhat arthritic, meaning he can’t give me massages. Isn’t that a great excuse? I have to give him credit for that one.

But my right foot’s second toe is completely bruised and I think the bone underneath is bruised, too. I actually took a photo to show you, but I’m embarrassed by the unmanicured toes. That, and my best friend will be quick to tease me about the size of my big toe!

Oh I’m feeling crazy. Here it is:

Gross, eh? And I think it’s going to get worse. Wouldn’t it be fun if I kept you updated on its status with photos. I promise I won’t. I usually put a bandaid over the toe for the runs, but I think I am going to have to figure something out soon. Especially before this weekend’s 29-km run. Eeek!

Happy Wednesday!

Fantasy Baseball and Dairy Queen

29 Mar

Jamally’s job involves political fundraising campaigning, so when the federal election was called, his hours at work skyrocketed. Some days I feel like I’m waiting for him to get home, and by 6 p.m., I’m about three steps away from watching for him from behind the front-window curtain. Creepy, I know. That’s why I don’t do it. Yet.

So when he finally got home last night past 8 p.m., I was so eager and excited to chat. We’ll talk about our day! I’ll watch him eat the delicious dinner I made! And then we’ll talk some more!

That’s when I found out he had a two-hour online fantasy baseball draft lined up for 8:30.

Instead of praise for my culinary skills or rehashing my day at the home office, all I got was this:
Jamally: “You don’t need the computer, do you?”
Me: “No. Do you want me to put a dinner plate together for you?”
Jamally: “No, thanks. Not hungry.”


So, like any normal disappointed person would do, I went and got Dairy Queen. I’m not huge on sweets, but when I get the urge for DQ, it doesn’t take a long time to convince me to go. I got a Skor blizzard, which is my go-to DQ selection.

An onlooker

Afterwards, I was groaning with a stomach ache from the dairy, while listening to Jamally shout at the computer when someone took one of his picks.

Not the night I had envisioned!

But at least:
-I’m not Chris Brown
-Jamally killed the spider that’s been lurking in our hallway for two days
-This was considered my biggest worry for the day

Jerry Seinfeld Claims My Dog is Boss

28 Mar

In a comedy routine years ago, Jerry Seinfeld once said if aliens were to watch down on Earth, they would assume dogs ruled the world. They lead us by leash and we pick up their poop.  According to Jerry Seinfeld, dogs are the master of our domain. I need to prove him wrong.

Don't be fooled by his looks!

Though sometimes, when out walking with Tux, I look up into the sky, and think I hear aliens laughing at me from above. Tux is so strong and knows he can bully me when on the leash. He’ll take turns between pulling me and then digging his claws into the ground to allow him to stop and, ahem, smell the roses. And let’s not forget about his complete distaste for small, white dogs, whom we often meet on the street. The only way I can control him is to put on the training collar.

I enjoy our daily afternoon walks out together, but lately, with Jamally working ridiculous hours, I’m on double walking duty. My patience has gotten the best of me on our walks, as I have to frequently stop him so he’ll stop pulling me, if only for a few moments. He doesn’t even look up at me to see why I’m making him stop – a sure sign of disrespect. Argh.

I get so jealous of those content dog owners whose dog does not pull or give them attitude during their time out together. I long for the walks where my shoulder isn’t sore.

So I’ve taken the no-fun parent role. He walks right beside me, and has little leeway on his leash. I’m happier and therefore, he’s happier. That’s how it works, doesn’t it? We still have a long way to go, but I’m determine to get his walking/respect under control.

When out with your pup, what’s your dog walking regime? Give me your insight and advice, and I’ll stop looking up into the sky for aliens.

Running Pet Peeves

24 Mar

The National Post published a great article yesterday titled, “Snot Rockets and Other Rules, On and Off the Track“. The story provides an overview of runners’ pet peeves. From fellow runners blowing out snot rockets to 5-km racers loading up their fuel belts, the writer interviews running experts who outline their pet peeves which fellow runners flaunt.

Sometimes you just gotta rocket


When Jamally ran the 10-km race during Ottawa Race Weekend four years ago, he discovered his runners’ pet peeve. When runners don’t get into the correct corral. Better worded: When people line up at the front of the start line and they are either walkers or should be starting further back. For 6 kilometres of the race, Jamally spent time weaving in and around runners.

My running pet peeve is when you’re in a crowded race (ok, yes, I don’t particularly like big crowds!), but then a group of runners suddenly stop for their one-minute walk, and they’re stretched across the roadway – you know what I’m talking about! You want to get around them, but you can’t because they’re pre-occupied with reviewing their stopwatch, and having a sip of water. It makes me want to go Tonya Harding on them.

It’s great to run as a group. I agree that running 10 and 1s is a good training program. But please move off to the side, signal you’re stopping to the runners behind you and scooch over. Whew. I’m glad I got that off my chest. I feel better already!

What is your runners’ pet peeve? Or just your pet peeve in general? Come on, share, it will make you feel better!

Mid-Morning Snacks

22 Mar

I had a great visit yesterday with my former co-workers and over pizza (Greek=yum) we chatted about what it’s like working from home and having the diligence not to eat everything from the kitchen cupboard, fridge, bowl on table containing delicious candy, etc.

The only way I won’t eat everything in the house is by not buying treats. If there’s a bag of Oreos in the house, they’ll be done in one day. It’s happened before. Ask Jamally. Being the official James household grocery shopper, I rarely come home with cookies or chips. Because I know my will power strength. It’s weak.

But that has left me with one little problem: when it comes to snacks, there’s nothing to eat in the house! My training runs leave me constantly hungry, and I’m always starving by 10 a.m. I have to continuously eat food throughout the day, and it’s a problem I’m totally ok with, but with few snack options (sic: treats) in the house, I usually end up cutting some cheese (hee hee) and crackers. Not the best option, I know.

I'm trying to be a good blogging photographer. I have a long way to go.

I found a great snack idea in the recent edition of Women’s Health Magazine. It’s a cottage cheese and pineapple wrap. You take a small tortilla, lay some cottage cheese along the center and sprinkle canned chopped pineapple on top. And Roll. I never usually eat cottage cheese or pineapple, but it’s packed with good nutrients and protein. It’s good, fast to make and keeps me full until lunch! I’m happy with my new find.

As I continue to find more snacks that don’t have the words “Double Chocolate” splashed across the packaging, I want to hear from you: What do you have for your mid-morning snack?

26 Kilometres, Not Miles

21 Mar

Yesterday’s long, slow training run called for 26 kilometres. Not miles. 26 miles is 42 kilometres, which is the full marathon distance.

I’ve been dealing with a cold/cough/lost voice for the past week. But I didn’t want to whiff on my long run. So following a tiny nap, I headed out.

I set out and completed a 10-km loop, returned home and my sister came out for 11 kilometres of the run, which was terrific. Then, we returned home again and I set out for my last 5k. I’ve been told to pick up the pace for the last few kilometres as that’s what you would do at the end of a real race. And I actually found it easier running at the faster pace than the long, slow pace. I struggle to go at the set pace outlined in my training program. But I know it’s important to stick to that pace, because as my boot camp instructor (who has completed dozens of marathons) said, the long runs are about getting the mileage on your legs, and it’s not about the time.

Running as Fast as a Turtle


Question: Do you find it hard to stick to the long, slow training pace?

I returned home to have a nice visit with my sister-in-law while Jamally made us dinner. I can’t tell you enough how much I love the recipe calendar. Jamally is happy to cook more often, and we’re always having good meals.

In Other News:
-My friend, Michelle, completed her marathon in Rome!!! Sore hip and all. When I hear from her, I’ll give a full race report. I can’t wait to see photos.
-It’s snowing outside as I write this. No, thank you.
-I had a great visit with two girlfriends on Saturday. But I drank three glasses of red wine, which probably didn’t help with my long run the following day.
-I need a new pair of running shoes.
-In our six years together, I’ve never seen Jamally play hockey. But I now feel like I’m a legit Lanark County wife: I went and watched Jamally play in a hockey tournament in Lanark on Saturday.