Sunday, October 27, 2013

The witching hour is drawing nigh

A few weeks ago, we made a trip to the pumpkin patch to load up on some seasonal gourds. (Are pumpkins officially gourds?)
We had three come off our own vine, but I like to take a few photos at the market where they sell these, and it's only fair to buy something in return. We did not actually need so many pumpkins. Come November 1 we are going to have a hefty garbage/compost contribution.
Part of the reason why we really didn't need to buy many is that there is only one pumpkin-carving fan in this house, and even he gets squicked out by the guts.
 Mallory made it clear what her opinion of the whole situation was.
Still, Liam was diligent about getting the job done.
With the finished product. Those carving kits really do turn out great pumpkins!
We had to test it out on the front porch, just to make sure it'll be ready for Thursday night. Anyone else hear that there is a 100% chance of rain on Thursday accompanied by 45 kph winds? Awesome.
And, the whole porch, decked out and ready to go. I think the orange and purple lights are festive. Chad is not so sure. I did restrain myself from buying the grave stones and giant cobweb though, so we've both done some give and take.
That doesn't mean I won't go back on Friday and pick them up when they are on clearance.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Likely to be the only time in my life that my mug makes a national newspaper

This was in Monday's Globe and Mail as part of the Canada's Top 100 Employers section. Ironically, seeing this picture for the first time a few months ago is what inspired me to go back much closer to my natural hair colour! Yikes. The photo shoot happened with little warning the day before I was scheduled for a long-overdue cut and highlight. Had I known how widely it would be circulated, I would have tried pulling strings to get in sooner.

I did not know the photo would be used here - just started getting emails about it out of the blue today.

(Liam took this photo. He's got mad skillz.)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The 2013 season comes to an end

This weekend, Chad and I spent 24 hours in Detroit for the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon. Following the same agenda we did last year, we drove down on Saturday afternoon after Liam's hockey game, went to packet pick-up (which for this race includes processing of your passport), and settled in for an early evening at the MGM Grand. Well, it was supposed to be early. We stayed up late enough to think the Tigers had a chance of making it to game 7, only to wake up and find out that following a Red Sox grand slam, it was not meant to be.

This was the 7th half marathon I've run and the first time I was really gunning for a goal time. My first race back in 2000 has stood for 13 years as my PR at 2:04:54. I have long held that I'd like to break 2 hours but have never done it. Then again, my half marathon training has never been all that focused. Typically I do one long run a week and wing a few shorter ones the rest of the time. And then, whether I have a great run or a lousy one, I generally finish in the 2:06 timeframe. Keep in mind I was significantly younger and lighter when I set that PR!

This time around I was more invested. I followed a training plan and got to experience all of the joys of tempo runs and intervals. The plan ran for 13 weeks and I missed maybe 3 days. I was as ready as I'd ever be.
I set a hierarchy of goals, because I figured if I had one goal and I missed it, I'd swear off running forever. The hierarchy looked like this:

1 - beat last year's time on this course (2:06:54)
2 - sub-2:05
3 - new PR
4 - sub-2:02
5 - sub-2:00

Whenever my race plan called for a run at race pace, I ran it at 9:10 per mile, which was what I'd need to finish in sub-2. It was hard but I had one glorious long run a few weeks ago where I held that pace for 8 miles and thought perhaps I could eek it out for the whole 13.1 on race day.
But, it wasn't meant to be. I had a good day but not a great day. The hills really got to me. Unlike last year, where I ran really efficiently and negative splitted most of the course, this time around I was less consistent. I thought about trying to stay with a 2:00 pace bunny but I know that I always need a few miles to warm up and can generally run faster toward the end. So I started slow, but this time, I had no gas left in the tank to catch up at the end.

I should be happy, because I finished in 2:02:59, which obviously meets my 3rd level goal and hello, that PR has held for 13 years - it's about time I broke it! What has me bummed though is something stupid. I ran the race using my GPS watch and rather than watching total time, I was watching pace. The watch miscalculated the total length of the course, finishing 0.15 miles longer than it should have. This meant it calculated my pace at 5 seconds per mile faster than I really was. So when I crossed the finish line, I knew I hadn't run under 2:00, but I thought I'd finished in 2:01:46 and met goal #4. It was only when I checked the official results that I realized the error and saw that I'd really run 2:02:59 and only met goal #3. Dagnabbit!!
So, now I have to find a nice flat course to run at a race that occurs when the weather is perfect. (Trot to the Beach is a nice flat course, though dreadfully dull, but being the first weekend in June, it can be awfully hot.) I figure the steep incline on the bridge and tunnel got to me today and that's why that 9:10 pace was so elusive. The last 4 or so miles were a real struggle just to hold on; there was no way I was going to finish strong.

Oh well. I guess that's why runners keep running right? There's always an elusive goal and a "maybe next time".
(The view from our hotel room after the race. The starting line was a few blocks away, the bridge we crossed in the distance, and you can see some late finishers still making their way down Michigan Ave.)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Second Annual Robinson Family Thanksgiving Road Hockey Tournament

It often ends with some tears and shouts of "No goal! No goal!", or perhaps a skinned knee or stick to the shin and more tears... but it's fun right up until then.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thanks a lot

I was admonished at family gatherings this weekend (and again this morning, I see - thanks for your concern!) for my nearly-monthlong absence, which was due not to illness or tragedy but rather laziness. I thought this was going to be the end of the blog, but hey, I'm back. At least temporarily! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is a Thanksgiving song that Mallory wrote. She is one month into piano lessons and she thinks she is all that and a bag of chips when it comes to music now. I say that in jest though. That she would pick up and write a song, even one that's not quite ready for radio, really blew me away.