Saturday, April 9, 2016

Flagstaff > Nanaimo > Rotterdam

Where in the world am I? This last month has been a whirlwind of experiences and I wouldn't change it for the world. Last I checked in I was midway through my Altitude Stint in Flagstaff Arizona. Normally I am there alone (since my coach hasn't been able to join me for the last 2 years) so it was a nice change to be there at the same time as fellow Canadian Lanni Marchant (everyone knows who she is). Thankfully I had her there for the first 3 weeks of my trip, with the last week being solo.

It was quite the change to go from always running solo back home to having a daily run buddy but it was such a good change that it was then weird to go back to solo. Amy Van Alstine was very kind in offering me to join in with NAZ elite; however, none of our easy days seemed to match up. While in Flagstaff I was able to catch the Bagel Run each of the 4 weeks which was always fun. If you catch yourself in town on Thursday mornings, head to Biff's Bagels downtown at 8am.

Shortly after my last blog I had my longest/hardest workout of the marathon build. I arrived back to the house after with many text messages from my sister trying to get ahold of me. Apparently my Grandma (last remaining Grandparent) was failing and she wanted me to know in case I wanted to call. In the 2.5 hours I was gone, it went from Grandma having a few hours left to receiving an email from my Aunt that she had passed peacefully about an hour before I got back. Poor Lanni walked into my room to ask about my workout and I think it went like "how did your workout g......." as she saw I was in tears. Ultimately it was a good thing as my Grandma suffered for years with Dementia and simply was not the same woman anymore. She passed exactly 1 week before her 89th birthday. Rest in Peace Grandma.
Old Picture but this is how I remember her

The rest of my time was spent with too much time on social media where #RyanSnaps was trying to convince me to run the Barkley Marathons. Umm yeah no, especially not after watching that on Netflix. I do not care if I could be the first Canadian to finish it or even the first woman to finish it.

Day hike to Devil's Bridge in Sedona

I also caught up with the Team Run Eugene BBQ for a quick night out. Even though I think I only met a couple of the actual team members, thanks for having runners out.

Sadly though my time in Flag came to an end and I had to pack up and leave on March 30th. I know I have said it before but the running community in Flag is simply AMAZING. Even though I always know I am coming back, I am always sad to leave. Not to mention I simply suck at goodbyes. I'd prefer to sneak out of town then actually say goodbye or even see you later. I say goodbye and there's a HUGE chance of tears. Yep, I'm a suck. Some good people in Flag that's for sure. I'll be back.

Dinner at Diablo on the last night

The last 2 days in Flag were actually filled with tons of wind and some snow. Those runs were freaking cold. My hands took the brunt of it, even with gloves. The day before I left, I ran with Canadian (and Vancouverite) Natasha Wodak as she had just arrived to town. Natasha and I go WAAAAAAY back. My claim to fame is that I did used to beat her. Sure we were like 12 or 13 but still it happened. ;) We tried to take some pictures and my fingers were way too frozen to even press the button on the remote so I had to pass that job over to Natasha. I ended up with pictures of the sky, and my stomach etc. Apparently she went "button happy" and pressed it at random times. Haha. But we did end up with some good ones.

Good Pics with Tasha
Last Day, Last Run

March 30th I flew out from Flag to Phoenix and were on the same flight as Steph and Ben Bruce (plus their adorable kids) as they were heading over to Stanford where Steph CRUSHED the US Olympic Trials Standard and snuck in under Olympic Standard only 6 months after having her 2nd baby! HUGE congrats Steph. We talked in the airport about hopefully getting it out of the way so you didn't have to do too many track 10k's. Glad it actually happened. Also got to finally meet the famous Oiselle star Sarah Robinson and her daughter PJ.

Aug 2012 - March 2016 = 5 trips to Flag

I flew Flag > Phoenix > Seattle > Vancouver. The lovely Catherine Watkins picked me up at the airport at 8pm and I spent the night at her place because the 9pm ferry to the island was impossible to make and I really did not want to take the 10:45pm ferry which would have gotten me home at 1am. #islandlifeproblems

I totally travel is style aka Capri tights and compression socks

The next morning I hit up an 8x1k workout at the UBC track and while it felt great to be at sea level and have oxygen, the legs were definitely feeling the travel. From there, it was a quick shower and then off to the 12:30pm ferry home. Very thankful to my friend Jason who was able to pick me up at the ferry and take me home and also thankful to my chiro Dr. Abe Avender who was able to move my appointment from 3pm to 5:15pm as there was no way I was going to be able to make that 3pm time slot!

Sea level!

The day I got home was busy. So much so I was barely home. I walked in the door, found my delivered shoes from Asics, went through my mail oh and of course said hi to my cats even if they were apparently snubbing me for leaving them for a month. I had a proper shower and then was off to my chiro appointment and then to give a quick talk to the Running Room half and full marathon clinic. After the talk I did their 3.5k warm up and then hung around while they did their own workout of km repeats. Some food and then a few groceries on the way home meant I really didn't get home until after 9pm.

I was then home Friday, Saturday and Sunday (filled with errands, running and chiro) and oh right, finding out that I was being laid off from my job as of September 30th once again. April 1st, 2014 my entire work was fired and we were able to re-apply for our own jobs as a reduced rate with reduced benefits and loss of seniority etc. I was hired back and then bam, April 1st, 2016 it happens again. This time they are selling the building and contracting out the workers, so even if I wanted my job back, I'd have to re-apply with another company and have my wages and benefits reduced even more. 8 years there this August, so it's slightly disappointing; however, I am trying not to worry about it until after the race. My Grandma, the layoff and other major stuff going on in my life, this is NOT the time for it. Ugh.

Unpack the bottom 2 and repack the top 1

Anyways I was able to also catch up on Dragons Den and see my sponsor Stoked Oats get a deal! Not surprising as it's a yummy product! Then Sunday night I found myself finally unpacking from Flag and repacking for Rotterdam. I left Nanaimo again at 8:10am on Monday morning (Thanks for the ride to the airport Mom).

Stoked Oats Getting the Deal
Ready to Leave Vancouver

This time travel took me Nanaimo > Vancouver > Toronto > Amsterdam. Travel was pretty uneventful. The nice Air Canada attendant in Nanaimo was able to get me an exit row seat from Toronto to Amsterdam (Glad I never paid the $100 upgrade the night before when checking in). I was hoping to sleep from the Toronto to Amsterdam flight as I left Toronto just before 9pm Eastern but I think maybe I slept only 2-3 hours of broken sleep.

The lovely Air Canada flight attendant was great and she did her best to get me comfortable with bringing me 2 extra AC blankets and then a nice AC duvet but who the heck can sleep sitting up on airplanes. It wreaked havoc on my back after too long. It was great to have the legroom but I would have preferred an empty seat next to me like a few people had a the back of the plane. Oh well, I survived and landed in Amsterdam shortly after 9:30am local time Tuesday. We then had to wait 10-15 minutes for our gate to open and then the slowest customs process ever (clearly chose the wrong lane).

From there I eventually met up with fellow Canadian Leslie Sexton who had landed not long before me from her flights. We were able to figure out how to catch the train to Rotterdam only with a minor error (apparently we sat in First Class instead of regular). How dare we sit in red seats vs blue. We got to our initial hotel shortly after noon and had an hour to kill before we were able to check in so we grabbed some lunch (thankful for English menus). We did a bit of walking around before our eventual run later that afternoon and boy did that feel awful. Plus we got a little lost trying to find a local park which we both found the following day.


My goal was to stay up until bed time which I managed until 10pm and then I crashed (on and off as usual) until 8am when the noise outside the hotel kept waking me up. Wednesday we grabbed our Athlete passes so we could have our food covered and just laid low other than our final workouts at Kralingse Bos. I apparently picked the wrong time of day to go do it, has for my actual workout I was hit with a downpour and crazy winds. The workout went well considering.

Post last workout

Thursday after we changed hotels and checked into the race hotel (Hilton) and celebrated how we finally had a proper flushing toilet, an actual good shower, facecloths and internet that didn't cut out (can you see our first hotel was low budget?) we did some touring around and checked out the Erasmusbrug Bridge and Euromast which gave spectacular views of Rotterdam. You go 100m up where you can then take the Euroscoop to the top which is 185m.

Easy Run
Erasmusbrug Bridge

Friday all we did was check out the race expo and eat carbs, lots of carbs. The race expo took probably 10 minutes to walk to and from and I think we spent about 10 minutes (if that) in the actual expo.

Leslie and I

That brings us to now, Saturday at 10:30am where we have eaten breakfast and are now chilling before we head out on our final short shakeout run. The rest of the day will be spent lying around and resting up (other than meals and the Tech Meeting today at 5pm). In 24 hours I will be 30 minutes into the race (eek).

Goals? Some people know and I'll leave it at that. There are times being posted on social media and I will NOT confirm those times as my goal. Enough said. Alright, time to chill and try to keep the nerves in check.

 Think these will work for the race?



Mark Wallace said...

Your adventures look beautiful! I am so sorry about your grandmother. I recently lost my grandmother as well and know how dementia affects those we love. Continue running for her and the rest of your family as they will give you the inspiration that you need to complete a marathon.

Mark Wallace @ Chiropractic Memphis

Jacqueline Hodges said...

What an eventful time for you. I am so glad you had a great running partner to enjoy for three weeks, but it must have been extremely difficult to adjust to not having a partner that last week. I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother! It sounds like it was her time though, still I wish you luck!

Jacqueline Hodges @ Dr Koziol