Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This year's pumpkin carving is...

Can you guess?

How about now?

You know, don't you?

Darth Maul, people. DARTH MAUL.

With 2 tea light candles inside.

Darth Maul and tiny Ironman. Both Tristan's favorites this year :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Had an early Halloween party

My little M&M

My first Halloween party table! Details on my food blog.

Costume change to the dark side:)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We're Introverts and our son might be too

Jean-Louis and I are definitely Introverts. We have a history of being alone with just a few friends or none at all. The big difference between the two of us is that I want to be more social and I want to hang out with existing friends and I want to meet more friendly people. Jean-Louis is convinced he is happier alone. We actually call ourselves anti-social but we're "goodie goodies" so it's not quite accurate. We may not have many friends or go to many social outings but we would certainly not harm anyone, which is sort of the case with anti-social behavior.

Thanks to this parenting blog, I recently received two invitations to take part in special events in Vancouver. One was an invitation from the Premier, Christy Clark, to join in a round table discussion about issues important to families on October 23rd. This would be held at her office downtown during a day where Tristan would be at daycare. I declined on the invitation for various reasons but I did offer to give my input on their blog or article, if they choose to write about that meeting. The second invitation I received was for the Dailey Method Vancouver and InspireHealth event on October 18th. The event would feature tips on nutrition, exercise and stress reduction as well as advice on cancer prevention and self-empowerment. Sounds interesting right? But it's a week night and it's all the way by UBC, which is too far for me to go at night. It's a $30 event with food included and I was invited to go for free but once again, I declined.

So why did I decline on both great events? Part of it I think is that I'm an Introvert. The more time I spend alone or with just the family (Jean-Louis and Tristan), the more socially awkward I feel around other people and in social gatherings. Unless it's very easy and tempting for me to go, I would probably decline. The only reason I went to the Vancouver Mom's blogging event was that I was able to go with both Jean-Louis and Tristan. I would have not gone alone. I'm such an Introvert that I even added "meet another virtual friend in person" on my new year's resolutions! Funny, eh?

Last night during dinner, we asked Tristan who he played with at daycare besides his best friend. Tristan has an upcoming birthday next month and I want to invite all his friends at daycare. I know there are people he likes and some that he doesn't so I wanted to find out who I could add to the invite list. He told us that he only plays with his best friend. I kind of knew about this already. When his best friend is not at daycare, he apparently plays on his own. He used to play well with just about everyone but now that he is getting a bit older, he is starting to show signs of being an Introvert, just like his parents. Yikes :S Obviously, we want him to be more social than us and we figured going to daycare would help him. It probably has helped him but part of it might be genetics as well. How are we suppose to encourage him to be more social when we don't do it ourselves? I do try to plan events every so often but it's hard when you don't have close friends and everyone is busy. The Halloween party I tried to plan fell through the cracks. The only plans we can rely on are the ones involving the three of us. Lol. That doesn't help though, does it?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We finished the marathon with personal best times

The victory photo.
The Good News...

We finished this weekend's marathon in Victoria with personal best times. I barely made my personal best time but Jean-Louis blew his away. Holy moly is what I said! Notice how I actually beat him in our first marathon?? Hard to believe now.

April 6, 2003 Le Marathon International de Paris:

Jean-louis 04h 16' 15" 9010th/25806 Males
Susan 03h 59' 54" 652th/4339 Females

October 7, 2012 Victoria Marathon results:

Jean-louis 3:22:07 158th/1076 Males 10km mark: 45:29 21.1km mark: 1:34:48 30km mark: 2:16:28
Susan 3:57:47 182nd/837 Females 10km mark: 49:29 21.1km mark: 1:48:06 30km mark: 2:39:35

The Bad News...

I never quit and I didn't quit but in my mind I did kind of "cheat." I had to walk and jog the last 8 kms :( For the record, I have NEVER walked before during a run in my life. Not even during training have I walked. It doesn't count if you walk. So obviously I feel sad that I had to. When I say I "had" to, I really mean it too.

As you can see from my times, I started out well and as each kilometer went by, I got slower and slower. Most amateur newbies do this actually. Lol. I ran non-stop until around 34 km. It was then that my left calf went into spasm, along with my upper right thigh and front lower part of my right leg. It was so painful I thought my muscles were going to burst out of my flesh! I came to a complete halt and started pounding on them with my fists. I walked a bit to try to shake it off. Each time I tried to run, the spasm would occur again in the same places. Of course! I thought I was toast. I thought the race was over for me. This has never happened to me before. I never get leg spasms! Never. So then I had to walk, jog, walk, jog until the end of the race. I was not happy walking. I was embarrassed to walk. I used to judge people who walked but now I understand that some people may be walking because they simply can't run due to severe cramps, not because they were too exhausted and wanted to rest. Although that was the case for me too. I was exhausted of course but I would never walk just because of that. I would just run super slow.

So cute! I love this picture :)

I was discussing cramps and spasms with Jean-Louis. I told him that cramps you can run through, spasms you cannot. At least that is the case for me. I had chest cramps early on and ran with them for awhile. They would come and go and would occur in different places. But I kept running because in my experience they would always eventually go away. When I got the leg spasms, my legs just buckled and I felt like I couldn't move really. I had to stop and deal with them before moving on. It was awful! Even with just 2 km left in the end, I could not jog all the way. I still had to walk and jog through it. For the final few hundred meters, I tried my hardest to give it my all and when the spasms came again I kind of freaked out because I knew all the spectators would see me limp through the finish line in agony. So awful. So glad it's all over.

The cramping and spasms could be from a number of things. I believed I did train enough, especially since recovery right now seems to be going so well. I had half a banana the morning of the race for the extra Potassium. From what I have read online, other possible causes could have been extreme exhaustion, heat exhaustion and heat cramps, sodium depletion, or lack of Magnesium. I was drinking water at every station and pretty much energy electrolyte drinks at every station as well. It was really hot out that day! To be honest I'm not sure what I could do differently to avoid this next time. I would try again to run the first half slower and maybe look at eating more Potassium and Magnesium foods. All this could simply just be due to the unusual hot weather in October. It appeared that many people were suffering from cramps. Or maybe I just noticed them more. Jean-Louis and his boss, who also did this race, also complained about cramps during much of the race.

42.195 km for the marathon is a long race. Running it is hard. Even walking the entire route is hard. I walked two marathons in the past and it hurt. Running it is worst but at least it will end sooner. After a few hours your mind plays tricks on you and you question whether or not you are going to make it to the finish line. Your feet hurt so much that if you accidentally step on a twig, you weep in pain. The only thing keeping your body moving forward is your brain. Someone on Twitter asked me why I even bother doing marathons if they are so brutal. I told her that I choose to run marathons because they are hard. I like the challenge and when it's all over, I feel a bit more victorious. I did get my medal so yeah, I kind of do :)

Despite my unfortunate encounter with leg spasms, I was still able to finish the race faster than almost 10 years ago. I think that is amazing. Considering I took a big break from running and racing and I weigh at least 15 pounds more now. Lol. My target goal was under 4 hours and I got it. If I was spasm-free, I may have been able to do it in 3:45 even (which was my secret wishful target goal - doh). Guess we will never know now. That was so hard that I don't think I will be doing any more marathons again. My bucket list is already complete in the marathon department!

Bucket List:

Run a marathon
Run a marathon after going through childbirth

Monday, October 1, 2012

We bought cow bells for our cheering squad!

I finally got my hands on some cow bells. Boy are they hard to find! Some people suggested for me to check out music stores but I was looking for them at toy stores. Luckily, I found one at a local toy store in Vancouver called the Toy Box and Toy Jungle. They put their last cow bell on hold for me and this past weekend, we went to pick it up! It was $5.99 and then we got 25% off since it was during their annual anniversary sale. Score! They also threw in a toy blue one that doesn't make as much noise. I'm so excited about them!!! Now Tristan and my parents can make noise when they see us and for all the other runners in the race :)

We are all pretty much set now. Cow bells have been acquired. Training is pretty much over. Carbo-loading and operation "eat well" is in progress. Next weekend we head over to Victoria to the expo to get our numbers and Sunday morning we race.

Yesterday we ran a 14km route that included two hills. It was a great route because we barely trained on hills this summer and we really needed to. This was our second hill run. The run was easy, thank goodness. It is only 1/3 of the marathon we have to run next weekend. It better be easy, right?! :)

This is our resting week. Today we take a break from running. Tomorrow we do a 11km run. We break again the next day. Then we go on our last run, just 8km, which will fall on the Thursday after work. That's it! In the meantime, we are eating well and carbo-loading all week. It takes the body 2-3 full days to carbo-load without any exercise. Our race is Sunday morning.

Overall I'm feeling pretty good. If I'm not ready now, it's too late. The biggest advantage I can give myself now is to eat properly, carbo-load, take care of myself and rest this week. I was close to becoming sick with the common cold late last week. I had an increasing big headache, sore throat, and was very tired for a few days. Thanks to daily prevention cold-fx, I'm feeling more myself again :) I initially thought maybe I should go on a diet this week and try to lose a couple of pounds but now that I think about it, I should keep everything constant. It's just too late in the game for any changes! Although running a couple of pounds lighter could really help me :) But it could also present new problems and I already tested everything out that works so, yeah bad idea.

The one thing I am a bit worried about is my left foot. The spasm at the bottom has not gone away. It has been there for over a month now. It starts to hurt after about 20 minutes of running now. Sometimes right after starting. It definitely worries me but I can't do anything about it right now. It's unfortunate I will be taking this 'injury' into the race with me. I know it's going to be a big source of pain for me during the race. After the race, I plan to stop running for at least one week to see if it goes away. If it doesn't, I'll go see my doctor. That's the plan anyway.
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