MarTrain Day 9: ice cannot be trusted. ever.

If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.

run rest repeatHoly shit it was icy. Legit took my life in my own hands. Some very close calls. I really need to get yak-traks. I know, I say it every winter but I need to make it happen this year!

At any rate, despite the conditions tonight I was faster than I have been in ages. I mean, I wasn’t ever truly fast so it’s not like I’m that fast, I’m just faster than I have been lately. But every time I shave some time of my runs, I feel like it’s a tiny victory. Obviously I know I won’t be breaking records (have I mentioned that before?) but when I get quicker (even just a wee bit) I know that my training is paying off. Quite honestly, there are days whilst slipping and sliding out there that I wonder to myself: “what the feck am I doing out here?”

Then I finish. I get that famous runners high. And I’m reminded why I lace up. I love running. I can go out there with a mind full of junk but come home empty and refreshed. People are always surprised when I tell them that I rarely go running anymore with music. It started a few years ago when I was training for a race that wouldn’t allow earbuds (now a lot of races won’t for safety) and ever since then I just stuck to it.

At first I found it tremendously difficult, after all it was Eminem and G-Unit that got me through some incredibly tough runs. But after time it grew easier. To stay focused & motivated, I memorized the words to ‘Rise & Shine’

I repeated it over and over and over in my head while training. And on days when I wanted to break down, I dug in and said it out loud. I imagine I looked foolish. Oh well.

Rise And Shine Nike Motivation Find your greatnessEver since then I haven’t really needed music to kick me in the butt, though I haven’t been out running for multiple hours at a time in quite a while. I imagine I’ll have to get a good running playlist on the go for the days I’ll be out for double-digit runs. If you have any reco’s, leave them in the comments please 🙂

Just curious:

 

Running the @SpartanRace @SpartanCanada race this season? Here’s what you need to know

Kat Macaulay Calgary Running Spartan race pregnant

“Victory is paid for in sweat, courage, and preparation.”

As the running season really kicks into full-swing, lots of people are signing up for road races; 10k’s, half-marathons, relays and marathons but for those of you who have signed up for an obstacle race (like Spartan Race) here are some recommendations:

Sneakers you don’t care about ruining. 

You should only run in the sneaks you train in, so if you’re wearing your favourite sneakers be prepared to completely destroy them. Ok. It may not be that bad, but after a Spartan race (mud + water + unknown crap) they will never be the same again.

Socks that are not cotton.

In most obstacle races like Spartan, it seems like they want you to be as uncomfortable as possible for the maximum amount of time. For example, at my last race we hit the mud within the first few hundred metres, so expect to have saturated feet. I would recommend acrylic running socks (pretty much every big sports brand sells them, I’ve got a pair of Asics.)

Tank top/shirt that wicks moisture.

I usually wear a tight tank top under another tank top because I’m a prude like that. But UA sells a really cool tank top that wicks moisture away so that when you get soaked you’re not hauling around extra pounds (which is amazing during a race when you’re tired!)

Capris. 

I see people wearing shorts, but having had flesh eating disease I would never risk exposing more of my lower limbs than necessary because the reality is that you’re going to get scratched, bruised and you’ll probably get some dirt in there. I just like wearing capris because they’re also comfortable too. Whatever you wear, you’re going to want them to be tight. Shorts that are loose will be a pain-in-the-ass.

Good bra. 

If you’re female (or male…) and you need support when you’re not soaked, consider doubling up for the Spartan Race. I wear two bras (I don’t like ANY jiggle…) I also don’t want to risk having any ‘fall outs’ during the obstacles. Awkward.

Headband. 

The Spartan headbands are kind of cheesy, but they do help keep hair out of your face. I usually run with a hat, but again, when you’re getting soaked and muddy you may just want to stick to something simple.

Sunglasses/Sunscreen. 

For obvious reasons. But don’t wear your most expensive sunglasses – they could get broken, scratched, misplaced or heaven-forbid, stolen.

CamelBak.

Depending on the length of race (or in my case, if you’re pregnant or not) you may want to consider wearing a CamelBak. I LOVE mine and I don’t leave without it, whether there are water stops or not, especially now that I am pregnant. If you’ve never run a Spartan Race or obstacle course before, you may not realize how much water you will lose sweating – much more than if it were just a straight-forward road race. To make sure you’re hydrated, especially during the hot summer months, it’s definitely something to consider.*

Watch.

Again, if you’re fussy about your garmin, don’t wear it because chances are it won’t ever be the same afterward. I stopped at Walmart the night before the race and picked up a cheap little digital watch and it did the trick. Basically all I wanted to know was the time and how long I had been on the course for my own sanity.

Bring a towel & extra clothes/shoes. 

You will definitely want a towel, extra clothes, shoes and some garbage bags because you will likely be saturated if you completed the course in its entirety. I would also make sure to invest in some good laundry detergent because you’re going to need it if you want to salvage your race clothes!

Things not to carry:

Your cell phone.

You will likely be submerged. Definitely not a good idea to carry electronics.

Cotton anything. 

Running in cotton is asking for trouble for a few reasons. (1) it doesn’t allow you to cool down like a proper running shirt, (2) realistically you will get soaked and cool down, but then you’re stuck hauling around a heavy shirt, (3) they’re uncomfortable. I know running clothes can look ridiculous and not everyone has a ‘runners body’ (point in case) but it really makes a difference.

With everything I’ve said, the biggest thing to remember is that you should have fun. This is not the Olympics. Not even close. But if you’re like most people, you want to finish it. Take it all in. It’s a huge challenge – in my opinion, completing an obstacle course can be more rewarding and satisfying than running a half-marathon. But enjoy it. Race for yourself. Enjoy it, it may not feel like it but it’ll be done before you know it. Seriously!

But that’s it for my recommendations! If you’ve got suggestions, fire them to me in the comments section.

*I wore my CamelBak this year and it was stolen from the race site. I made a suggestion to the organizers that they have two volunteers at the particular obstacle (crawl through barbed wire/mud)  so people could drop their stuff and not worry about an asshole stealing it but was shot down with: “I recommend not wearing a camel back at your next event.”

So be aware that an already expensive race can turn into a SUPER expensive race if you lose gear or have it stolen. Just a reminder that there are assholes everywhere!

Good luck!

Canada Day @Spruce_Meadows ‘Heroes behind the heroes’ obstacle course

“A lot of people run a race to see who’s the fastest.  I run to see who has the most guts.” 

On Canheroes behind the heroes obstacle course at spruce meadowsada Day I started the day with an obstacle course at Spruce Meadows (it’s part of their running series to celebrate forty years.) I have to say it was a very-well organized event (kudos to organizers.) They had Up!97.7 broadcasting (Grant Buchanan), the military were present, they had a pancake breakfast, kit pick up was easy, there were lots of port-a-potties (yay!) and everything was well-marked.

Kat Macaulay Running while Pregnant Race Results heroes behind heroesThe race started on time (which is fantastic because I was feeling nauseous and wasn’t sure how long I would make it.) The had military personnel at every obstacle and had them yelling at everyone which was entertaining. They sent people who were participating in the obstacle course out in waves of 20 and I was in the third wave. I met our MLA for the first time (Dave Rodney) who was there with his wife and two boys (as it turns out we have some mutual friends that I didn’t realize – small world!)

The obstacle course itself was not bad at all (See legend). The only obstacle I would not do was the wall – I am too scared of slipping and falling on my belly; everything else was great. The very last obstacle was the “polar bear dunk” whereby you had to submerge yourself in freezing cold water. It was cold. And uncomfortable. After having lost my Cakat macaulay running while pregnant calgary at heroes for heroes at spruce meadowsmelBak at the Spartan Race in Edmonton, I handed off my brand-new bag to one of the military guys who graciously held it for me as I gingerly eased myself into the tank (despite them yelling at me to do a canon ball… I told them to ‘get real’.) The only bummer was that I didn’t bring a towel, so I had to use our reusable grocery bags on the seat of the car so I wouldn’t soak right through.

I didn’t stay long after the race to enjoy the pancake breakfast (despite the MC making a comment that I would be eating for two and ‘there goes their budget’) All-in-all, I would recommend the race to anyone who doesn’t mind pavement. For me, I enjoy trails so it wasn’t my favourite race but next year I plan to bring Felix because I know he will love it!

Running whilst pregnant comes with little surprises.

“Running slow isn’t a character flaw, quitting is.” 

This week was a good one, in terms of getting some runs in.

Pregnant_running_calgary_Alberta_canadaI did an easy run and some hill training. The hill training was tough. It was a very steep grade and I was feeling tired (up early to cram it in before work!) I did 5 repeats on the hill which took me to about 3km of hills (pretty low considering I was doing about 18km of just hill repeats at one point in time!) But I’m trying not to compare these runs to the good old days (hah!) I’m just enjoying the time I can get out because I know that before too long it will be miserable.

Today I did a 9running slow isn't a character flaw quitting is.5km run (which was great.) The weather was perfect, the trail wasn’t too busy and I had a fresh Social Media Examiner recording to listen to. However, I wasn’t very far in to my run when I realized that I needed to pee. Real bad. You all know that horrible feeling when you really have to pee, but you know you’ve got to wait? It is complete, frigging agony. (Side note: I can only compare it to the university days when you drank your beer too fast at the pub, but the line up was so long that you knew that there was no way you could hold it so you used the mens washroom instead.)

I had no such options.

And naturally, it was the only thing I could think about.

The only light at the end of the dark tunnel was the fact that I knew there were bathrooms at about the 4km mark, so I focused on just making it there and knew it’d be fine. Which would have been exactly how things would’ve gone had I not arrived there (hopeful) and guess what? THEY WERE CLOSED!

Annoyed, I kept going and at about 4.5km I came across an outhouse. It wasn’t pretty but I got to relieve myself and it was glorious. I ran a wee bit further and then turned around. I met lots of other runners and cyclists. That is one thing that is becoming somewhat annoying about running the trail in Fish Creek Park – the cyclists. I bet at least one hundred or so passed me and probably only a handful used their bell to warn me. It’s hard to explain, but you know when someone comes up behind you and startles you and you jump a bit? I did that about 95 times. I probably peed a little. Just kidding. I didn’t (because I just used the bathroom) but seriously annoying.

At any rate, when I got to the 7km mark, I had that oh-so-familiar-feeling again. I knew that there were no bathrooms until I got back to the main lot so I basically pep talked myself the entire way. How ridiculous does that sound? I had to pep talk myself just to keep going to get to a bathroom… most people pep talk themselves to keep running… not me. I need the extra boost so I don’t pee my pants.

At the end of it, I guess this run was a bit of a learning experience. I think I need to invest in the support belt because my bladder is angry with me. Anyone out there try one? I just don’t know if I can bare many more longish runs feeling like I have to pee for most of it.

But in other news, I’ve signed up for a few races to keep me busy:

  • Spartan Race – June 27 (20 wks) COMPLETE! (Finished 1073/4000+)
  • Heroes for Heroes – July 1  (20 wks) COMPLETE! (Finished 39/109)
  • Multiple Miles for Myeloma – July 25 (23 weeks, 6 days) COMPLETE! (Finished 80/272)
  • Night Race – August 8 (26 wks, 6 days)
  • Run through the Meadows – August 16 (28 wks)
  • Springbank Park Race  – Sept 12 (32 wks)
  • Ambulance Chaser – Oct 2 (35 wks)

I realize that these will not be pretty, but the goal is to stay active and at least finish.

For my running friends out there: if you’ve run while pregnant, feel free to send me your tips and recommendations — I barely remember my first pregnancy let alone how to stay active! 🙂

Happy Trails!

kat

p.s.: It is a miracle I even got out today at all. Is anyone else binge watching OITNB? Holy good.

And then you’re running for two.

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must – just never give up!”

runningkattales_runningfortwoIt’s been quite some time since I spilled my guts here. Is anyone still out there?

Much has happened since I wrote last. For one, I’m now running for two. Yep. You read that right. Our family is expecting a new addition some time in November.

Needless to say, this has been an interesting ride so far, as I totally forgot what it was like to be pregnant. At my first appointment, my doc asked if I was as nauseous with my son. I couldn’t remember. But I suspect that I must have been, hence why we waited so long to have another! Aside from the incredible sickness that comes in the first trimester, I was also lazy-as-heck. I beat myself up a lot for not pushing myself to get out and run (something I had been doing 3-4x a week at that point) but I literally could not make myself run (and we know how stubborn I am…) I got out walking instead, which was good but not the same when you’re a runner. It took almost the entire first trimester of pushing myself to get back out there – but I’m glad I did!

Now I’m closing in on the half-way mark and I’m feeling great. I’ve been doing longer runs on the weekend and short runs (one or two) through the week. The only complaint I really have is that I need to pee every few kilometres, which makes it a little challenging out on the trails. However, I’m really not minding it for the most part. I take my camel bak, fill it with water and ice, make sure my iPhone is fully charged and off I go. Today I wore my tank top that says “I’m not slow, I’m pregnant” for the first time… there was a lot of laughing and support on the trail. I especially want to thank the woman who yelled out: ‘That is a great shirt! Good job!” and another man who yelled at me from his bike saying: “You go girl!”  Oh and can’t forget the old lady who was trying to read it: “I’m … not… slow…. I’m…. what does that say? I can’t see.. What does that?” and her husband awkwardly jumped in with: “I’m pregnant.”

I think the worst part about being pregnant at this point in the season is that it’s race season and I’m envious of those people who get to do all the fun trail runs and obstacle courses. I so wish I could participate in Spartan, Mud Hero and Tough Mudder this year, but I guess I’ll have to skip a season as I’ve been told it would be reckless to do so. However, I want to keep going as long as I can… even if I have to crawl!

Oh and the one real issue I feel I could possibly have in the future is tights. I love wearing my capri running tights but the bands are really starting to irritate me. Friends: if you have been pregnant and ran OR know someone who was pregnant and ran, can you give me some recommendations? Also – wondering about the belt that is supposed to support your belly? Apparently it supports your belly so your bladder doesn’t take quite the beating. As much as I LOVED my sisters suggestion of just throwing on a depends… I’d like to investigate this further.

But that’s it for now. Tomorrow is another long run and I’m quite looking forward to it!

 

 

#AlbertaEnergized made the @edmontonjournal

 

 

 

Edmonton JournalI may or may not have mentioned that one of the guys (Nick Lees) driving our support van flew 5000km just to drive a support van for the Cabot Trail Relay Team (Alberta Energized) he also happens to be a journalist, who likes to tell stories. Here is his take on the Cabot Trail Relay and his experience. I’d like to say, on the record, that Nick loved every minute and I guarantee he will be back next year if only for the following: Yacht Club & lobster. Thanks a million to Nick, for driving the van around the winding Cabot Trail and dealing with a LOT of crazy runners.

AlbertaEnergized_Cabot trail relay“Baddeck, NS — It was 9:15 p.m. and my buddy Dave Velting and I were wondering if we could perform a miracle by quenching the thirst of 70 runners in the Cabot Trail Relay Race. We had two small bottles of water.

Snow mixed with icy rain fell as we munched lobster burgers outside Mount Pleasant View Restaurant on the May 23-24 weekend, and considered our position at the end of Stage 9 in the rugged Cape Breton Highlands.

“It could get it worse,” said Velting, a Suncor operations manager and an old marathon-running friend.

He’d invited me to drive a support vehicle for Team Alberta Energized, whose members nearly all had one thing in common. They had grown up in Baddeck (pop. 853) and loved to return to the shire’s county service town where the race begins and ends.

“In recent years, some 200 people have left Baddeck to work in Fort McMurray,” Marvin Cook, a Fort McMurray Suncor reclamation manager, had told me earlier.

How could our water plight get worse? “There’s now no cellphone coverage,” said Velting. “We can’t contact the mother ship (our other van) to pick up water supplies.”

We’d been told to the represent our team and organize a water station by 11:30 p.m., on Stage 11 in Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia.

But we only had a 500 mL bottle of water each as we set off up Leg 10, on a road that climbed nearly 396 metres (1,300 feet) over 6.2 kilometres. It was arguably the toughest of 17 legs on the 276-km race.

We were looking for Cook’s van, but the first moving object we spotted through thick, low-lying cloud was our captain, Kat Macaulay. She was comfortably in last place and breathing easily.

“All who run this stage get a local placemat at the awards banquet,” said Velting. “It’s quite a trophy. But you can buy one for about $4 at Canadian Tire.”

There was no sign of Cook and we considered our options. We didn’t have any.

The next leg of the race was minutes away from starting at 11 p.m. and our runner on the leg, Meredith McNeil, was in Cook’s van.

Runners start at a given time and don’t wait for a baton changeover. If your runner doesn’t make the cut-off, your team is handed a five-minute time penalty.

Runners were warming up on the road when we spotted Cook’s concerned face in the crowd.

“Meredith is here,” he said. “We left Kat on the road. Grab the water from my van about a kilometre down the road and set up our water station as fast as you can.”

The race never spreads out and cars move between stages in a convoy about three kilometres long. It seemed ironic to be travelling bumper-to-bumper in pitch darkness along some of the best seaside country in the world.

We drove like bandits in a getaway car to look for a good spot to hand runners their Adam’s ale.

There wasn’t one. None of the 1,200 runners in the race would vote us the best water station. Other water crews, formed by runners from Maine, Ontario, PEI, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Quebec, had, in the middle of nowhere, dressed up as pirates, leprechauns and other characters.

READ the entire story here. 

@Oprah “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it. ”

What I think she also meant is that running is the greatest metaphor for hill training: because you get out of it what you put into it.

I have been pushing myself pretty hard to make sure I put in the kind of training I need just to cross the dang finish line at the Cabot Trail Relay Race (let’s not get carried away with trying to get a decent time.) But…

Today I ran an 8km at lunchtime; all hills. (Pictures below)

It was definitely one of the toughest runs I’ve had in a while and I am definitely taking it easy tonight but I am so happy with the results.

My splits were pretty incredible for me, especially after the winter we’ve just had and how my runs have been going. They ranged from a 5:34 to a 6:35 – ironically, the 6:35 was on the downhill while I was trying to catch my breath. Seeing as the cut-off for the CTRR is a 6:00/km, I am pretty happy I am close to it, though I don’t know how this will pan out on the actual race day.

Overall, the run was really good as far as I’m concerned. I finished it with about a 6:08/km average and I’m happy with that.

Here are some shots from google maps:

calgary-centre-street-bridge-hill-training-running-x2

calgary-centre-street-bridge-hill-training-running