Monday, 21 July 2014

A Word From Our Sponsors

Less then two weeks until our pancake breakfast!  At this point we  have not sold as many tickets as we were hoping for.  If you have not yet reserved your spot please, PLEASE, consider coming out and joining us.

Not only will you be supporting an amazing cause, you will also get an awesome breakfast served to you by Cooper's Troopers, and the opportunity to win some fantastic prizes!

We have had some incredibly generous people donate prizes for the raffle that will take place at the breakfast.  

McDonald's Restaurants of St. John and Quispamsis have donated a $50 gift card ANNNNND a complete set of current Ty Beanie Babies

Ronnie McDee getting his run on.


Cineplex Odeon has donated movie passes.



My talented cake decorating mom has donated a cake for your next special event.






An artist at Acme Animal has donated a piece.

David from Etsy Store PurpleCabooseArt is donating a personalized print of the winner's choosing.
And last but not least the amazing and talented Emily from Emily Maureen Photography donated a photography package valued at $200!!  We are big fans of her work...


We are so incredibly grateful to all those who have stepped up and been kind and generous enough to contribute towards our raffle prizes.  If you are super talented, or have gift cards laying around that you aren't using, or own a business, or your boss likes you, or you want your boss to see what a kind and generous soul you are so that he/she will like you, and would like to donate a prize for our raffle please contact us.  

And help us out!  Buy your pancake breakfast tickets now!!!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Back to the Scene of the Crime

Every time I hear Blue Mountain mentioned I say to Leigh, "Hey remember the time we ran there?!"  It is probably getting old, but I am pretty sure that I will do that for the rest of our lives.  This weekend we are heading back to Blue Mountain for the first time since we ran there.  Never fear, this time we are taking the van.  As you would expect we will be running when we get there, because every weekend without the boys must involve a race.

We will be running the 1/2 marathon at The Ontario North Face Endurance Challenge.  About six weeks ago I started seeing ads for this race series on Facebook.  It was all up in my head, I just couldn't stop thinking about it.  And then fate stepped in and sent me an email from WagJag.  Fifty percent off race entry, and we just couldn't resist.  At that point we sort of wanted to ramp up our training again so we could run the full marathon, but I have started marathon training for Hamilton and realized that being jealous of all the full marathoners is better then needing to take recovery time just as I am starting a heavy training cycle.  The half fits itself perfectly into my training plan though.


From the Blue Mountain website:

Can you endure? Featuring the most pronounced elevation gain trail race in Ontario, this challenge cruises along the Niagara Escarpment on the western shores of Georgian Bay and through the ski trails of the Blue Mountains. 


So it looks like we are in for a beautiful but uphill challenging race.  Gonna wear my Bluenose shirt for the occasion!

We are also excited to be race volunteers for the first time.  We will be volunteering at an on course aid station for the marathon, 50K, and 50 miler.  We are always so grateful for race volunteers when we are running.  The weekend race schedule gives us the perfect opportunity to volunteer ourselves.  We are going to try our best to follow all the rules...Except the costume one..
Maybe we can just provide a spread like this.  Then no one would care if we were following the rules or not...

Monday, 30 June 2014

Summer!

After a long first year of school we finally made it!  Friday was the last day of school.

 Summer has always been my favourite season, but now that we have a kid in school there are even more reasons then normal to get excited.

1)  I get to have my kid all day every day.  By the time we get home from school, have a snack, do reading homework, make dinner, and (most nights) go to one of their various activities we get about 30 minutes of time to spend with him.  I am excited to flashback to having long days stretched out before us with lots of time and few commitments.

2)  No morning rush.  Getting ready for school in the morning is perhaps my least favourite task ever.  He may be five, but he behaves like a 15 year old when it is time to get him up in the morning.  He has already started with the "I'm too tired's," and the blankets pulled over his head.   Relaxed mornings with no lunch packing will be a great break for all of us.

3)  Camping!

4)  The boys have recently started playing together more cooperatively.  Cooper loves having Lucas at home to play with.  We have had many "Master Builder" lego creations built lately.

5)  Fun family outings are way more fun in the summer.  In the winter we don't get out much, and we all get pretty antsy.  In the summer we run out of time to do all the things we want to do.

6)  PANCAKES!!!  More time in the morning means there's time for better breakfasts.  Love pancakes like we do?  Here's some great recipes...

http://www.annies-eats.com/category/breakfast/waffles-pancakes/

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/zephyr-pancakes/

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/ems-famous-overnight-oatmeal-cinnamon-pancakes/

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/welsh-breakfast-cakes/

Don't want to make your own pancakes??  Never fear!!!  We will gladly make them for you.  We would LOVE it if you would make Cooper's Troopers Pancake Breakfast a part of your exciting summer.

When:  August 2, 2014
Where:  Applebee's Restaurant Mississauga, 5700 Mavis Rd.
What do you get:  Pancakes, bacon, OJ, Tea, Coffee, served to you by our team!  We will also be holding a raffle for some great prizes.
How much of your money do we want:  Only $15!!

Contact us for tickets by blog comment, by sending a message to our team facebook page, or email cooperstroopers.searsrun@gmail.ca

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The 5K

A couple of months ago Leigh and I had a conversation that went something like this...
 
Leigh: "Matt is helping organize a 5K in Orangeville."
Me: "So you're gonna run it, that's great!"
Leigh:  "We are both gonna run it."
Me: whimpering in corner
Leigh:  "Stop crying, it's for the foodbank!"
 
That may be a very loose interpretation of what actually happened, but you get the point.  My very first race, in the fall of 2011 was the Toronto Zoo 5K.  Since that time I have increased dramatically in distance.  In that process I have learned a number of things about myself, one of them being that I am built for distance, not speed.  I would much rather run for hours at a moderate pace then at a lung busting, puke inducing pace for 25 minutes.  But like Leigh said, it was for the foodbank (so stop crying), so he went ahead and registered us for the Compass 5K4Food 
 
The kid's race was first.  Lucas is well trained from his recent participation in the Xtreme Team running club with Speed River Track and Field, so he took off ahead with Leigh.  This was Cooper's very first race, and like any good runner he went out slow (and holding his mom's hand).  He got comfortable after 100m or so and informed me that he didn't need to hold my hand anymore.  He ran the almost the whole thing, slowing to walk for a few steps, and then speeding to a run again, with a huge smile on his face.  Nothing better in the world to Cooper then running surrounded by a whole bunch of kids.  At the end they were awarded with a Cookie Medal (prepared by local highschool students), a water bottle, and a coupon for a visit at a local indoor playground. 



 
Next up was the 5K.  Our race plan was as follows:  RUN.OUR.GUTS.OUT.  We decided that we would stick together and aim for 7:30ish per mile, and see what happened.  I had not raced a 5K in close to 3 years, and was not at all confident, but was certainly eager to see how much improvement all the long distance traning of late would bring to my 5K game. The couse took us out of the church parking lot, into a trail that eventually skirted around Island Lake, back out of the trail and onto a quick out and back stretch, and back to the church. 
 
Mile 1-7:20/mile-"This is fast, but it's sort of fun to go fast." 
Mile 2-7:25/mile-"This is fast, fast hurts a bit."
Mile 3-7:28/mile-"This is hard...I hate this!!!"
Mile 3.1-6:something/mile-DEAD..."I'll just be over here kneeling by the flower bed so I don't puke where people need to walk."
 
We came in at 23:00, which was good enough for both of us to be 1st in our age group (30-39), and for me to take Second Overall Female! 
 
So here's the lowdown, the good, the bad, and the ugly...
 
The Good
-The event was amazing!  Leigh has participated in a few small 5 and 10K events.  He says that this was the best he has seen.  Everything from the parking, to the start and finish lines, to food and food distribution, to the kid's race were extremely well organized.  They were able to bring many local sponsors on board, and had a great turnout (over 250 5K runners and 75 kids).
-Cookie.Medals.
-We both came in first in our age groups, and now share a shiny new 5K PR.
-It was fun to test my limits in a different way.  My mind and body have become pretty calloused to the effort, and discomfort of long distance running.  Don't get me wrong, a marathon will ALWAYS be challenging, but it is a hurts so good kind of hurt.  The fast pace of a 5K is a whole different kind of hurt, which quite frankly freaked me out a bit before this race.  Now I know that I have improved dramatically from my first (and only) 5K race, and have potential to continue improving.
-Unlike a marathon, as soon as the running stops the pain stops.  No hobbling around and no sleepless night post race from sore muscles.  
-I won a prize! ;) 
-The 12 year old who turned to Leigh and instructed him the "just regulate his breathing." 
-The course was beautiful
 
The Bad
-We ran this race 27 days post marathon.  If you recall, i promised myself that I would take my recovery conservatively.  So I have been following the 1 easy day for each mile you race recovery plan.  I have been back to running since the end of our zero week, but without speed work, or challenging workouts.  That said we did not train specifically for this race.  Now I wonder what I could do if I trained hard, specifically for the 5K.
-The boys ate my cookie medal

The Ugly
-Welllllll...The last Km of this race was UGLY. just plain ugly.  Complete with heaving and gagging.

As you can see the good far outweighed both the bad and the ugly.  Not sure what that means for my future in the 5K.  Leigh on the other hand already has one lined up.  Clearly he doesn't want to keep sharing that PR :)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

So I Guess I'm Putting This Out There....

So I have mentioned in a few posts recently that I have this crazy ambitious running goal that I am poised to attack over the course of the next several months.  You see, there is this little race, that I really want to run.
source
 
That would be The Boston Marathon!  For those who don't know, the Boston Marathon is the Granddaddy of all marathons.  Likely the best known road race in the world, it is the world's oldest marathon (although the Around the Bay 30K Road Race in Hamilton is in fact older, but is not a marathon).  Now I suppose that many of you are wondering why the heck this is such an ambitious goal.  Well that's the thing about the Boston Marathon.  You don't just enter your name, and age,  t-shirt size, and credit card number onto a registration page. take a breath, and hit submit.  You must qualify to earn the ability to register.  How do you qualify?  Well, you run your guts out, that's how.  Being the spring chick that I am, I still fall in the youngest age category, but being among the oldest of the youngest means that I have to run a sub-3:35 marathon in order to qualify.  So that my friends is why this is a hugescarycrazyoverwhelming goal.
 
My best marathon time is 3:48:17.  For you math lovers, that means I have to cut 13:18 off my time to satistfy the qualification standard.  In reality, it would be best to cut closer to 15 minutes, as squeaking in seconds under your qualifier still does not guarantee entry depending on how many people register in a given year.  In some ways 15 minutes seems like no time at all, just a bit over 30 seconds per mile faster then my best time...30 seconds faster seems like nothing, until you have to do it for 26.2 miles.  In some ways 15 minutes seems like a long time...Enough time to walk Lucas to school, or give 2 boys a bath, or make dinner on soccer night. 
 
So I've armed myself with a new training plan.  The Marathon:  Own It plan from Train Like a Mother.  It will be bible for 18 weeks.  I will eat well, and hydrate well, and remember to take my iron supplements.  I will hit the gym twice a week to cross train, and strengthen to prevent injury and become a more efficient runner, I will get up early enough to run that I have time for planks and other torture core strengthening before the boys are up and the "mommys" begin. I will run slow when I'm supposed to run slow, and fast when I'm supposed to run fast, and rest when I'm supposed to rest, and sleep enough to let my body soak in all the improvement instead of checking my email one more time. 
See that?  It says right there that it's a "plan that can get you a BQ."
 
Why?  Why all the effort, when I could clearly just choose another race?  A race where I could just enter my name, and age, and shirt size, and credit card number on the registration page.  Well, I don't know if I'm quite sure why, I suppose there's a few reasons.  In 1967 Kathrine Switzer (registered as K.V. Switzer) was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a registered participant.  The race director attempted to physically remove her from the course.  She then went on to lobby for women's athletics.  Her drive, determination, and tenacity are the reason that girls like me got to grow up playing sports.  Women like her made it possible to us to experience the joy, and satisfaction, and empowerment of sports.  Growing up playing sports made me the person I am today.

The Boston Marathon is kind of a big deal in the running world.  The ability to check that off, to know that I did that, is a big deal to me.  To have a requirement in front of me, something that seems just a touch out of reach, but knowing that if I work hard enough, if I strive enough that I just might be able to touch it drives me.  So I'll  borrow a mantra from my man Yoda.
 

 
I will not try, I will do.  It may take some time to get there, I may jump an age group and gain 5 minutes before it happens, but I am going to show myself what I can do.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Some Very Exciting Sears Run News!

I am not a pack rat.  On the hoarder spectrum, I am about as far away from the people on TLC as one can get.  I just am not attached to things, sometimes to a fault.

I am however, very attached to experiences, events, and memories.  I almost always feel weepy at the end of a vacation, or after Christmas.  I always feel nostalgic and sometimes a bit blue after a big race.  I get attached to the process, to the preparation, I get attached to the big event, and then I am attached to the memory and the feelings I associate with it, I miss it when it is over. The 2013 Sears Great Canadian Run is one of those experiences that I am extraordinarily attached to.  I frequently find myself reminiscing about the training, fundraising, and race day itself.  I often think of the people we met, and were inspired by.   I think a lot about the cause, and how much it has come to mean to us.

A little while age we received an unexpected email from the folks over the The Sears Great Canadian Run.  From the email:

"This year we have created an Ambassador program.  The program will be used to highlight past participants whose involvement made the event the success it was.  These people are out in their communities speaking about the event, generating social buzz and influencing individuals to participate."

We were, and are, absolutely honoured to have been selected as Ambassadors for The Sears Great Canadian Run.  It is a cause and event that has become very dear to our hearts, and is a very important part of our family, and something that we are very VERY attached to!

We started off by expanding our 2 person team to a team of 10!  I am currently leaning on a couple more people to join us.  If you would like to join in the fun, there is still plenty of time to train.  Contact us via the comments section here on the blog, facebook, e-mail, or in person to join our team.  If you fancy, head over to The Sears Great Canadian Run website and register a whole team of your own.

I have also just created a facebook page for our team.  We would love it if you would head over here to like our page.  We will share all sorts of things there.  Inspiration, training updates, news from The Run, and information about the fundraising events we have planned.

What fundraising events you ask?!?  

I'm so glad you asked.  The first event that we are ready to announce is the Inaugural Cooper's Troopers Pancake Breakfast.  

When:  August 2, 2014
Where:  Applebee's Restaurant Mississauga, 5700 Mavis Rd.
What do you get:  Pancakes, bacon, OJ, Tea, Coffee, served to you by our team!  We will also be holding a raffle for some great prizes.
How much of your money do we want:  Only $15!!

The restaurant can accommodate 150 people.  We would LOOOOVE to bring it to capacity.  

So here's what you can do for us.  Invite family, friends, coworkers, people who look like they like pancakes, people who look like they like bacon...Really, just invite anyone!

Please contact us at cooperstroopers.searsrun@gmail.com
to purchase tickets


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Zero Week

Woke up yesterday morning and found this on my Garmin.

 
That means we did it!  We held out the entire week without running.  They call it a zero week, and it is one of the recommended methods of marathon recovery.  I have never before completed a successful zero week.  It usually starts out something like this...
 
200 metres to the finish line-"What is happening, my everything hurts, WHY DOES THE FINISH LINE KEEP MOVING!!"
 
As I finally catch the moving finish line and my foot strikes the timing mat-"I LOVE RUNNING SO MUCH, THAT WAS AMAZING, LET'S DO IT AGAAAAIIIIINNNNNN!!"
 
Precisely one step over the finish line-"Oh crap...I can't walk."
 
In the car on the way home-"I'm gonna take the week off of running and the gym, I want to make sure I recover properly."
 
Day 1-"Who's dumb idea was it to put stairs in houses, and who made our toilets shorter?"
 
Day 2-"I feel pretty good, I'm just going to roll my legs really well today."
 
Day 3-"Hey!!  I can walk like a normal person
 
Day 4-"The gym is easier then running, I'm just going to go to the gym...Active recovery is good for you.  Oh look...There's a spin class right now...Spinning is easier then running...Low impact right?  You know, active recovery..."
 
Day 5- "My legs didn't fall off at the gym, I'm just going to try a little run.  Just a little, easy, slow 5K. 
 
And thus the demise of the zero week. 
 
After our 50K last September I did a spin class on the Wednesday, and then ran Thursday and Saturday, and then was back to 5 day/week running and 2 day/week strength training the next week.  It took me a very long time to feel fully recovered, and it was my own fault.  As of last week, I had exactly 6 weeks before the start of my next marathon training cycle.  My next marathon is a hugescaryoverwhelmingterrifying goal (which I will tell you about soon), so I thought it would be wise to be very conservative with my recovery but not with my voting.  I want to be ready to train very hard 5 weeks from now.  It's just the motivation that I needed to actually abide by the zero week. 
 
That's not to say that there were not moments of temptation.  I thought that working nights at the end of the week would be a great deterrent.  I never really feel like running after night shifts.  In fact I never really feel like being alive after working night shifts  Unexpectedly when I got up around 11 on Saturday morning I really wanted to run.  The weather was beautiful, and Lucas was going to hang out with my mom for a bit, so I thought it would be the perfect time for Leigh and I to stick Cooper in the stroller and go for an easy run (we recently realized that Lucas has outgrown his stroller running days).  I even managed to influence Leigh and convince him that this was a good idea (he is much wiser with his recovery then I).  After a couple of hours and a trip to the garden centre I came to my senses and realized that I needed to stick to the plan.  Then I started really thinking about how Lesley was running a half marathon on Sunday, a half marathon that I had sorta kinda planned on registering for so I could run with Lesley (early in my marathon traning). I started thinking about maybe just wearing some running clothes, and just jumping in for a few couple uhhh...some miles...You know, just if she looked like she needed some encouragement.  I ran that thought by Leigh, and he very seriously (which is very unusual) said, I really don't think you should run your first run back at that pace.  I wore a maxi dress and flip flops, the least running friendly attire I could conceive.
 
So after a week off I set out for an easy 5K in beautiful weather yesterday morning.  My legs are still a bit fatigued, my IT band still a bit whiney, but running was still there, nothing bad happened, and I still knew how to run after a whole week off.  Planning an easy increase in mileage through the rest of the week, and we'll see how it goes.