Negative Split

December 17, 2007

I’ve done it folks.  A new personal record.  The 44-minute mile.  This has got to be a world record for the slowest running mile ever completed by an able-bodied, self-ambulatory individual who is not participating in an ultra marathon.  Yesterday when I ventured out into the 3-foot deep snow I was grateful that the rules of the 30/30 were set in terms of time, not of distance.  3 miles would have taken me most of the day.

The good news?  I achieved a negative split run: first 1/2 mile, 23 minutes; second 1/2 mile, 21 minutes.  I was pleased.  I was also grateful for my snowshoes.  I’d still be out there if it weren’t for them.  I’m also grateful that I live close to no-one so there were no witnesses to my “running” in such deep snow or to my repeated tumbles caused by my snowshoes getting stuck at the bottom of knee-deep post holes.

Actually there’s more good news.  On Saturday I went into town for a group run.  I ended up running 8.5 miles and then limping back to the car dejected as I realized my knee had probably not been up for such a long run (this is not the good news part).  I was bumming on Saturday night and thinking I might be at a cross-roads with the 30/30 thing if my knee was going to start acting up.  I was delighted to discover (this is the good news part) on Sunday that snowshoeing doesn’t bother my knee at all.  This means that I can snowshoe on days when my knee feels questionable and still stay on track with my 30 runs.  Win, win.

Our pre-Christmas weekend was everything we had hoped it would be.  The four of us had a blast gaming and laughing for most of the weekend.  It turns out that I am the weak link in the game of Catch Phrase.  I blamed this on my sheltered island upbringing like I do with most of my shortcomings.  We knew things were bad and looks were exchanged when I repeatedly shouted out “BRAN OATS! BRAN OATS!” instead of the correct answer which was oat bran.  We played the game with every possible permutation of partners and my team lost every time so there can be no question about who the weakest link was.  But I can run a 44-minute mile, so I feel good about myself.

We also went and chopped down our very own tree from our friends’ farm.  This started out as an innocent family activity and spiralled quickly downhill when D pushed me, mouth open and face first, into a manure pile covered in snow.  All hell broke loose after that and the only safe one was GB who insisted on holding onto the saw for immunity.

Sunday morning was spent shovelling the driveway so that A and D could make their escape back to the city.  We were reluctant to let them leave but we kept their dog as collateral so we know they’ll return.  She’ll be staying at Camp Hundred Acres for two weeks.  Two days with our dogs and she is already exhausted.

Today is day 16 of my 30 runs.  I’m halfway.  Given the blustery winds, I choose the dreadmill. 



December 14, 2007

snowrunning1.jpgOver a foot of it.  The soft, white, fluffy stuff.  And my knees are thankful because it meant that run #12 was on snowshoes and it is likely that runs 13, 14, and 15 will be also.  The dogs are beside themselves with excitement and I’m not far behind. 

 GB’s sister and brother-in-law are coming into town so we can do our Christmas this weekend.  They are amazing people (I have to say that because I know they read this) and we are almost as excited about their arrival as we are about the snow. 


December 12, 2007

porcupine1.jpgI’ve been meaning to post this one for a few days.  Finn met his first porcupine last week.  It was not pretty.  I missed the actual event, which is probably just as well.  We were out running in the 100-acre woods with Jackthedog and suddenly Finn was missing.  Annoyed by his recent tendency to venture off during our runs, I kept going.  Eventually I started to think that something must be amiss and we turned around to go and find him.  Boy, what a site.  Littleman had about 50 quills in his mouth (some in the roof of his mouth!) and about 50 in his leg.  There was no way I could pick him up without making things worse, so I put on my best “everything is okay” voice and kept him moving in the direction of home which was about a mile from there.  Periodically he would bury his muzzle in the snow and paw frantically at his face, but of course it didn’t do much.  I pulled one quill out and that was about all either of us could handle.  I have always hoped I would be the kind of parent who could encounter such incidents without panic, so I chalked this one up to parenting practice and kept running.  When we got close to home, however, it got to be too much for Finn and bleeding in the snow he refused to go any further.  Panic rearing its ugly head (the vet was due to close in less than 30 minutes!) I glanced over to the driveway and saw GB had miraculously come home early from work and was standing outside the house.  Instantly I was transformed from a state of trying-to-be-calm into one of complete and utter uselessness.  I yelled to GB to call the vet and somehow got the bleeding dog into the car and the non-bleeding but extremely confused dog into the house and off we went.  We ended up having to drive 45 minutes to the emergency room of vet clinics because they were open 24/7.  Thank goodness for doggie health insurance.

I commented while we were in the waiting room that I felt pretty foolish in my running tights at the vet.  GB pointed out that I am probably not the first to get their dog porcupined while out running and likely not the first to sit in the waiting room in running tights.

Anyway, 2 hours and 7 staples later, the vet had removed all of the quills and Finn was released.  They say there are two kinds of dogs.  Dogs who learn from this experience and dogs who don’t.  Here’s hoping that Finn is the first kind.


December 12, 2007

Earlier this month I jumped on the bandwagon of those blogosphere triathletes challenging themselves to do 30 runs in 30 days.  I started on the 2nd which means my last run will be on the last day of the year.  The rules in my case are:

1. A run counts as 30 minutes minimum, with a min HR of 130 and less then average of 160.

2. I can “bank” runs for days that I know I will not be able to run, so I will run 2 times on some days.

As much as possible, I am trying not to put myself in a situation where I have to do 2 runs in one day because experience has shown me that my knees don’t love that kind of treatment.  Since part of the goal of this is to increase my leg and knee strength, it would be counter-productive to injure myself in the process.

Last night was my 10th run.  I went out (thankfully with my headlamp on) at dusk, happy to be able to run on the roads since much of the ice was gone.  The trails were out of the question without ice skates.  By the time I turned around, it was pitch black out – with no street lights and no moon.  Of course, it started to rain and the roads started to ice up, so it was a little trecherous getting home in one piece and I was chastizing myself the whole time for leaving it so late.  But it’s done.  10 days, 10 runs.  20 left and feeling great.

New Space

December 12, 2007

 fi·nesse      [fi-ness] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, -nessed, -ness·ing.


1. extreme delicacy or subtlety in action, performance, skill, discrimination, taste, etc.
2. skill in handling a difficult or highly sensitive situation; adroit and artful management: exceptional diplomatic finesse.

After much deliberation, I have decided on Finness as a place to hang my blogging hat.  It works for me for a few reasons:

1) My dog’s name is Finn and mine is Ness

2) It challenges me to mess with the English language in ways that usually make me squirm (ie. incorrect spelling)

3) It is ironic because neither I nor my dog have much if any finesse.  In combination, we are possibly the anti-finesse.

 Since I have this fabulous new space, I will no longer be updating my old blog site at Sponsorhouse.