Sunday, September 30, 2012

Race Report: Montreal Marathon

This race report is very different then I thought it would be.  Per my previous post (see here), I did not have a great training season.  Due to this lack of training, I was going into the race with pretty low expectations.  I just wanted to run a comfortable pace and finish standing up.  Honestly, I think having low expectations helped a lot.  I could just go out and run and have no pressure on me.  And it worked!  I had a great race!

We started the race weekend with a visit to the expo.

Expo was nice - nothing super amazing, but big enough to entertain me and Pam for an hour.  Smaller selection of race clothing then other Rock n Roll races, but still a good selection.  I (of course) bought the race jacket (we know I love race clothing!).

I am going to run that!
The expo did also have a really cool booth were you could make your own North Face shirt.  I made one which had an upside down shoe with the Montreal skyline on it and a 42K on it.  For only $20 bucks!  Pam also made one with a shoe print on it.  Mine says Run MTL.  Great expo find!
Mine shirt is the top one - great expo find!
After the expo, we walked around Montreal a bit, but tried to stay off our feet.  We did encounter part of the race course - a big hill right at mile 10.
Yep, we'll be running up that hill
Race Day

The race started at 8:30am on Sunday morning out by Parc Jean-Drapeau.  Pretty easy to get to via the subway (they told us).  And it was - minus the 15 minute walk to the start which was pretty annoying.

The race started on a bridge (sorry, don't know the name).  We started near the end and ran down the off ramp.  The corrals were pretty well organized and they had the wave starts running smoothly.
A pic of the start from the race website
The first mile was down an off ramp and off we went!  My first mile was a little fast - combination of the excitement and the downhill.  I just kept telling myself to slow down and run my race - don't let the people around me control my pace.  The first couple of miles went around an amusement park - pretty fun to run under a roller coaster.

I had decided to break the race up like I do half marathons - two six mile sections with a mile in the middle.  By breaking it up like that, it was a lot more manageable then counting down from 26.  Since I had never been to Montreal and had no idea where I was, I just tried to soak in the event and scenery.  It was really beautiful.

My pace was turning out to be pretty consistent.  I was trying not to push it too much.  The half and full split at about 12.8 miles.  Once it split, the course really emptied out.  I was genuinely worried that my pace would slow once I was truly alone.  But surprisingly, I didn't.  I just tried not to over think it.  One foot in front of the other.  And my pace stayed the same.

Since I hadn't had a great 18 or 20 mile run, I kept waiting for the pain to set in.  But then I hit the 10k to go marker and realized I still felt really strong.  I almost startedto cry.  I couldn't believe it.

My pace really didn't slow until 22.  And then only by like 10-20 seconds.  I was amazed - couldn't believe it.  It was around 22.5 miles that we ran past the Olympic Stadium (Montreal hosted the summer games in 1976).  It's actually a pretty unique stadium and I was pretty psyched to get to run past it.  Shortly after we past the 5k to go mark.  I could not believe it.  My pace was still starting to slow, but I just kept telling myself it was okay to slow, I had run 23 miles.

There was a hill at about 24.5 miles.  It was an out and back so I had seen it going out and knew it was coming.  Right at the base of the hill, the 4:15 pace group caught up with me.  Since they were right next to me, I decided to see if I could keep pace with them up the hill.  And I did.  I continue to run with them for a little bit figuring I could try and prevent myself from slowing too much.

Right after 25, with the pace group right next to me, I was ready to be done.  So I decided the faster I ran, the faster I would be done.  And I took off.  Like literally took off.  My body was hurting but I knew I could push through it (and it made for some interesting race photos).  My mile 25 pace was much faster then any of the other miles.  When I turned the corner and saw the finish line - I was so happy.  I kept pushing myself until I crossed the finish line.

Once I crossed, I looked at my time - 4:16:52.  Holy cow.  It immediately occurred to me, I knew it was one of my faster times.  I knew it wasn't a PR (pretty sure my Dublin time will be my PR for a long long time).

My times overall were pretty consistent.  I was so happy and excited.

As they handled me my medal, tears definitely welled up in my eyes.  It was such a relief to be done and I was so happy it went well.  Better then expected.  I think since I had no expectations, it was pretty easy to just run how I felt.

I was definitely pretty sore for the next couple of days, but I was so overjoyed about the race it didn't matter.

Overall, this was an amazing race.  My final time was my second fastest time yet.  So happy about that!  I was happy I ran a comfortable race and was able to keep my pace the entire time.  Montreal provided a great course and a wonderful experience.

While the course wasn't lined with spectators, the ones that were out were fabulous.  They all cheered and yelled my name and definitely helped keep me going.

Marathon #9 in the books.  And a great one to boot.

Me in my official race jacket.
A happy marathon finisher.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall TV

I think my DVR might explode.  Literally.  There is much new TV on right now with all the fall premiere's that I can't keep up!  Trying to be good this year and not add in too many new shows since I could barely watch all my shows last year.

Here are the shows (new or old) that I am looking forward to:

Once Upon a Time
How I Met Your Mother
2 Broke Girls
Hawaii Five-O
Dancing with the Stars
Fringe (the final season! sadness)
Go On
The New Normal
New Girl
Mindy Project
Happy Endings
Criminal Minds
Modern Family
Big Bang Theory
Up All Night
Last Resort

Yep - lots of TV going on!

What TV shows are you looking forward too?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Book Club Friday - Short Story Week

I apparently was on a short story kick this past week and read 4 in a row.  All nice easy reads that took me maybe 30 minutes.  Each  book is below with a synopsis and some quick thoughts.

The Glass Case

In her classic short story THE GLASS CASE, Kristin Hannah explores the heart and mind of a young mother.  April Bannerman is a young mother of three, married to her high school sweetheart & living in the same small town in which she grew up.  Although she loves her children and husband, April is plagued by the growing doubt that she has not lived up to her mother's expectations for her---until one day when something terrible and unexpected happens, and April must face the truth about her own life and discover what really matters.

I got this as a free download from B&N for my Nook and it was a nice easy read.  I've read other Kristin Hannah books and I enjoy them - so I knew I would like this one too (and I did).  It's a pretty basic story, but enjoyable.


Ruth has left her job writing for a hit television show for reasons she’d rather not discuss and is supplementing her increasingly dwindling savings with freelance writing projects—namely, helping anxious high school students craft a perfect college essay and lonely souls craft captivating online dating profiles. When she’s not working, she’s swimming—lap after lap at the local indoor pool, in a desperate attempt to wash away the sting of professional failure and heartbreak that she can’t seem to shake. It takes an unexpected client to show her that appearances can be deceiving, and that sometimes the bravest thing you can do is simply dive back in.

I have never read any Jennifer Weiner books before, but this one definitely made me want to pick up some of hers.  It is basically a pre-story/backstory for her upcoming novel.  Thought it was enjoyable and got me to add the novel to my 'to read' list.

So, You Want to Be Canadian: All About the Most Fascinating People in the World and the Magical Place They Call Home
So, you want to be Canadian? Who doesn't these days? Canucks are enjoying a major renaissance in attention, from their enlightened social policies to their wild and wooly pop culture. This playful, trivia-packed book is a long-overdue celebration of all things Canadian, from the mysteries of "eh?" to the difference between an Ogo Pogo and a Windingo to how to prepare moose stroganoff (mmm!). Featuring a dreamy list of Canadian hotties, a toe-tapping roundup of Canadian smash hit songs, a handy CanadianAmerican translator, and pointers on how to eat, dress, and apologize like a Canadian if you weren't lucky enough to be born a Canuck, So, You Want to Be Canadian demonstrates once and for all why Canada is so cool (formerly just cold).

I got this book for $0.99 one day.  I am not sure why but I am fascinated by Canada and thought this would be an interesting read.  It was actually really funny!  I did learn some things about Canadians and really enjoyed it.  

The Diary of Darcy J Rhone

In anticipation of her new novel, Where We Belong, bestselling author Emily Giffin is releasing, as an all-new bonus, The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone. Filled with high school adventures of the beloved Darcy and Rachel from Something Borrowed and Something Blue, it gives readers a window into their lives before college, law school, and Dex.

I have read both Something Borrowed and Something Blue and while I did enjoy them, Darcy was my list favorite character in them.  She is just so spoiled!  This book was a little too Darcy for me (duh, given the title), but did get my excited for her new book.


In the end, I would have to say my favorite was So, you want to be Canadian.  It was just a nice light read and kept me entertained the entire time.  I recommend it if you are at all interested in Canada!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Two for Tuesday

I am back from Montreal and my race!  A full recap will be coming soon, but in the meantime - it went amazing!  So much better then I expected!

I am still pretty excited about it, so today's two for tuesday feature things regarding my race :)

Montreal!  I really liked this city - it has a very strong European flavor to it, which I enjoyed (plus they hosted an Olympics and we know how I feel about that!).  The people were wonderful (super supportive along the course) and I had such a great race it makes me like the city even more!

This beauty - my official finishers medal!  I was so excited to receive it, I almost starting crying (ok, so I actually did a little).  I really was not expecting this race to go well - so when it went better then expected, I couldn't believe it!

Friday, September 21, 2012

iPod Murderer... I think I killed my iPod.  I would like to say it's not my fault - but I'm pretty sure it is.

When I plugged it in to update last night - it said it was corrupted and might need to be reset.  Ugh, annoying but not the end of the world.  When it refused to sync, I decided it to reset it.

So after I reset it and it was sync, I realized my laptop battery was running low and I should plug it in.  Smart thing to do would have been to bring plug to computer.  Oh no, not for me.  I carried computer and ipod and hard drive with music (bc yes, I have so much music it doesn't fit on my computer) to the plug.

And dropped my ipod mid-sync in the process.  Now when I plug it in, the screen says it's syncing, but I can't get it to show up in my iTunes.  Anyone know what to do?

It is 4 years old so I guess I got a nice long life out of it, but I really don't want to have to replace it.  Any techies out there with suggestions?

Book Club Friday: A Salty Piece of Land

Happy Book Club Friday!  This week's book was the one I read while I was at beach - A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett.

It's not on any chart, but the tropical island of Cayo Loco is the perfect place to run away from all your problems. If you're looking for a license to chill, come along as cowboy Tully Mars takes his pony to the shore-on an unforgettable Caribbean adventure as colorful and wonderfully bizarre as cocktail hour at your favorite expatriate bar.
From a lovely sunset sail in Punta Margarita to a wild spring-break foam party in San Pedro, Tully encounters an assortment of treasure hunters, rock stars, sailors, seaplane pilots, pirates, and even a ghost or two.
Waking from a ganja buzz on the beach in Tulum, Tully can't believe his eyes when a 142-foot schooner emerges out of the ocean mist. At its helm is Cleopatra Highbourne, the eccentric 102-year-old sea captain who will take him to a lighthouse on a salty piece of land that will change his life forever.
Once again, master storyteller Jimmy Buffett weaves a mesmerizing tale that combines both humor and emotional reflection. After all, one man's cathedral is another man's fishing hole. And in Jimmy Buffett's world, paradise is just a state of mind.
I really enjoyed this book.  I thought it was a great beach read that wasn't a "chic lit" book (not that I have anything against chic lit - I LOVE it).  But this time I was in the mood for something different.  I have read other books by Jimmy Buffett (yes, the musician) and enjoyed them.  They are always about the Caribbean or living on an island or the ocean.  Perfect for the beach.

I have listened to Jimmy Buffett's music for as long as I can remember.  Think it goes back to jr. high/high school when we spend every weekend on our boat (yes, we had a boat - stories for a whole other time).  We always played Buffett.  Great summertime music.  To this day, I still put the Jimmy Buffett playlist on my iPod on shuffle as soon as it gets warm.  Just reminds me of summer.

Ok, so back to the book.  I don't want to give the plot away - but I did enjoy it.  Definitely has some turns I wasn't expecting and did keep my interest without being too heavy.  I was on vacation after all!

If you are looking for a beach read or just like Jimmy Buffett, I definitely recommend this one.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's here....

Sorry for the whole week plus off from blogging.  Every night I kept meaning too, but then I'd work late or be exhausted and it just never happened.  The last week has been crazy.  Last weekend I was on the West Coast (Santa Cruz area to be exact) for a wedding.  One of my favorite people got married and I was so blessed to be there, but combine traveling cross country and work and it was a crazy week.  The wedding was absolutely beautiful.  It was outdoors and so wonderful.

I haven't even had time to upload my photo's from the wedding - but here are a couple at the bottom to preview!  Once I have mine processed, I'll post some more.

The other reason I haven't really's MARATHON week!  And as I'm sure you've imagined - I'm freaking out a little.  I can't believe it's finally here.  It's been all consuming my brain this week, so every time I would think about blogging, I'd get distracted with something I need to do for the race.  I was also trying to sleep more this week and that definitely cut down on my free time.

Off to Montreal tomorrow night for the race.  Will definitely update next week (have lots to catch up on and a race report!) but will leave you with some shots from this past weekend.
View of the coast during my run
Me and my travel partners before the wedding (I'm second from the left)
Me and the gorgeous bride!
Sparklers instead if rice - loved it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Two for Tuesday

In honor of today's date, this week's Two for Tuesday will be a little different.  Rather then 2 things, I will share 2 memories.  It's hard to believe it's been 11 years since 9/11.

9/11 Memorial
I finally visited the 9/11 Memorial this past summer with some family in town.  My youngest cousin (who was with us) was only a couple months old when it happened and doesn't remember a time with the towers.  I do.  In fact, when I was growing up, my grandparents lived in Battery Park (about a stones throw from the Towers) and being only 2 hours away, we used to visit them all the time.  We would always play in Battery Park, the World Financial Center and the World Trade Center (annoying all the business people I am sure).  It was just part of life.

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the plane hit the first tower.  I was a freshmen in college and at the time my plan in life was graduate and move to NYC (and I did!).  I was sitting in my split double dorm room at Syracuse University's Day Hall (Rm 342) finishing an assignment for my Writing 105 class.  For some reason, as I was typing on my computer, I felt a strong urge to turn on the radio.  Very strange because I usually listened to music on my computer.  But I turned it on.  And the first thing I heard was the DJ saying, we are not sure what happened, but a plane just hit the World Trade Center.  And then shortly after that another plane had hit the other tower.  I was in shocked.  I can't even remember if I finished the assignment.  I did go to class and no one really knew what had happened.  I remember the professors (there were 2 for that class) did try and teach until someone interrupt to tell them what was going on.  At that point, I think most classes for the day were done.  I remember milling around the quad and attending a service at Hendricks Chapel, but most of the rest of the day was a blur.

Where were you 11 years ago today?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Celeb sighting!

Celeb sighting alert!

I am like 95% sure I just saw Chris Elliott sitting outside at the local pub by my apartment.  95% sure because it looks EXACTLY like him and my initial reaction while walking home from the subway (after leaving work at 8:30pm - a whole other discussion), "weird, wonder if he lives in my neighborhood?".

Not is that Chris Elliott?  Really?  Why would he be here?

Just hmph, must live here (I live in a fab neighborhood, why wouldn't he live here!)

But because I am exhaustded from work and I didn't stop to stare at him or ask to confirm.  I am going to just say I saw Chris Elliott.  He plays Lily's father on How I Met Your Mother - one of my favorite shows.  So I am excited.

On a total side note - 2 years ago before moving out of my last apartment, I saw Abby Elliott (his daughter) having drinks at the wine bar in apartment building.
HI!  I like to hang in your 'hood

Book Club Friday: Elizabeth the Queen

It's no secret that I love the British Monarchy.  I just adore Duchess Catherine and am completely fascinated by Queen Elizabeth II.  I DVR'd all sorts of specials about her during her jubilee and tried to take in as much as possible.  Therefore, it's probably not shocking that I read a 600+ page book on her life!

From the moment of her ascension to the throne at age twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled admiration and scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world’s most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in extraordinary detail the public and private lives of one of the world’s most fascinating and enigmatic women. In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes “heiress presumptive” when her uncle abdicates the throne. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. And we gain insight into the Queen’s daily routines, as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life, her children and their often-disastrous marriages, her grandchildren and friends.

Scrupulously researched and compulsively readable, Elizabeth the Queen is a close-up view of the lively, brilliant, and steadfast woman we’ve known only from a distance, and a captivating window into life at the center of the last great monarchy.


I really enjoyed this book.  I thought it was an excellent history of the Queen's life (not like I would know if it was wrong).  It definitely gave me a perspective on her life and how it has changed over the years.  It really gave me a real appreciation for how difficult her life in the public eye must have been.  Life has really changed since she first became Queen (24 hour news networks, the internet, the paparazzi), yet she seems to have taken it all in stride - something I truly admire.

It's definitely not an easy light read, but if you are interested in Queen Elizabeth II, this book should be a must read and I think you will definitely enjoy it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wanderlust Wednesdays: Seychelles

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Sorry for the slight break, but I was on vacation and decided to "unplug" while I was there.  In the spirit of vacation (and the fact I'm still slightly on beach mode), today's Wanderlust is a tropical place I would love to visit - Seychelles.

Seychelles (officially the Republic of Seychelles) is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some 1,5000 kilometres east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar (source: Wikipedia).  All photo's I find are beautiful!  And of course, doesn't hurt that Prince William and Duchess Catherine (my idol) honeymooned there!

In case you didn't know where it was 
Just close your eyes and imagine you're there!