Building Community Through Running

Maraboli

Three years ago, Canada Running Series introduced a new ambassador program called the Digital Champions. Their goal was to build an online community of support for runners as they trained for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I am honoured to have been a part of the Digital Champions team. I have witnessed the growth of the running community in Toronto – from Running Room groups to the vast running crews we now have. I used to run by myself around my neighborhood; now I can always find someone to run with. It’s more motivating when you have someone to run with, especially when it’s cold out or when you need to get a long training run in. The Toronto running community is such an inspiring community of runners both online and off and you can always find someone or some crew running on any day of the week.

Through running, I have met so many wonderful runners, who have become some of my closest friends. They have become my run buddies, my role model and my inspiration. I have also grown to be a better runner. I have learned everything from which gels and chews to take to what kind of stretches I should be doing and clothes I should be wearing. Gone are the days of wearing regular Nike’s (not even the running ones) and cotton everything. Much is learned through my personal trial and error; but a lot is learned from my fellow runners.

The running community also challenges me. I am continuously learning and setting new challenges and goals for myself. Seeing, hearing and reading about everyone’s training for their various goal races inspires me to keep training to excel in mine. It motivates me to try new races and new distances. Perhaps a triathlon or an ultramarathon one day…? :)

I am excited and honoured to announce that I am now a Canada Running Series Community Leader! Alongside 11 other ultra inspiring runners and friends of mine, we will be year-round ambassadors of Canada Running Series. We will be out in the community all year long, sharing the CRS mission of “building community through running” and hoping to continue to inspire other runners. Catch us at the CRS races in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver; and connect with us anytime online via social media.

Check out all the Canada Running Series Community Leaders here and a more detailed bio of everyone here.

The running community has inspired me so much and I hope that be living the best version of myself, that I can pay it forward and inspire others to live the best versions of themselves. <3 xo. LN

InspirePeople InspireOthers

 

2014 Medal Collection

Mandela

I forgot to post a picture of my 2014 medal collection. Despite being injured in the last quarter; I had a remarkable 2014 race year. I’m kinda happy I got injured after my obstacle course race season in Eastern Canada ended. Injuries are never fun, but I was still blessed and fortunate to have completed so many races. I finished 2014 with a record breaking 25 races [11 road, 14 obstacle course race’s – not including multiple lap races, 1 CN Tower Stair Climb and 1 DNF].

Some notable accomplishments:

  • I completed 10 Spartan Races (9 in Canada and my first 1 in USA).
  • Earned a Double Trifecta (my goal at the beginning of 2014 was a Double, then I was lucky enough to meet people to travel to all the races with, so that goal increased to a Quintuple Trifecta; and then injury struck but happy I still earned my Double Trifecta).
  • First year running multiple lap races (I ran 2 laps at the Ottawa Spartan Sprint Saturday and Sunday, so 4 laps total and 4 medals! I ran 3 laps at the Toronto Warrior Dash).
  • Back to back half marathon weekends (Apr. 27/14 Nike Women’s Half and May 4/14 Mississauga Half).
  • 3 half marathons and first 30k race.
  • PB in a 5k (26:27).
  • First RACEcation (I’ve also never been to Washington, DC before).

I met so many new friends this year from road races and OCR’s and from various parts of the world. Running definitely brings people together. I am honoured and thankful to be able to run and to have met some amazing people along the way who share the passion for the sport as I do.

Hopefully, through my active lifestyle, I have inspired at least one person to start running or to start living a healthy and active lifestyle. My medals are not for bragging rights, but to show that IT IS POSSIBLE. Thank you all for sharing in my journey to live the best version of myself. I look forward to new races and new adventures in 2015! :)

2014Medals

See my Race Calendar for a list of my 2014 races and results.

2014 Total Kilometers and My Main Goal For 2015

goals

 

They say goals are more achievable when you write them down…right?

writtengoals

Unfortunately, I did not reach my goal of 2014 km’s in 2014. :'( I did not run as much as I should have been and injury also prevented me from running for three months (September – December). It sucks that the injury happened during my running peak of the year; I was running over 100 km’s a week before that! It wasn’t even a running related injury (feet, knees, etc.) but an obstacle racing injury (shoulder) :( Though, I’ve also heard that injuries are your bodies way of telling you to slow down.. :/

Perhaps I was too eager in setting such a high goal of 2014 km’s in 2014. Especially since I am still new to running and I only ran 432 km in 2013. That’s not even 500 km’s and nowhere close to 1,000 km’s so how was I supposed to double that!? Looking back, yeah, that may have been unrealistic. Overachiever much?.. :)

Even though I did not reach my 2014 goal mileage, I am still SUPER happy that I finished the year with 1,166 km’s! That’s almost triple my 2013 km’s. I’m beyond thrilled and thankful that I was able to run that many kilometers. Maybe I wasn’t ready for that huge goal this year; but I am so ready for it next year!

What’s my main goal for 2015!? I have a couple of goals actually. One with me ending the year as an ‘ultramarathoner‘ and my main one: to run 2015 km’s in 2015! AND I also wrote it down this year! So this should keep me focused, dedicated, motivated and on track. So… who’s with me!?

Looking forward to new challenges and goals in 2015! Happy New Year Friends! See you in 2015! <3

2014km

Last Run of 2014

selftimer

First off; I just wanted to say that the above picture is the first self timer action shot I’ve ever taken! Yay! :) So glad that it turned out well on my first try. I decided to test the self timer out again and take another photo. Unfortunately, that one turned out super blurry. :( Beginner’s luck I guess…

I did my last run of 2014 on Sunday in Mississauga. I’ve only been running 5k’s since I started up again in early December. I am trying to slowly regain my cardio and rebuild my kilometers. I definitely don’t want to rush the training and get injured for doing too much too soon. Patience is key!

I ran part of the Culham Trail in Mississauga. The full length of the trail is about 18k one way. I love this trail because it runs aloCulhamTrailng the Credit River and is complete with scenic routes and sufficient hills for some hill training. One of the hills is a crazy killer whichmay possibly give Valley Inn Hill at Around the Bay race a run for its money :/ (pictured in collage below).

I only ran 7.9k out and back, which is the most I’ve ever ran since taking my sling off in October. The windy and cold weather plus the hills made for a difficult run. I had to walk up the hills; which made me sad because I can normally run up them. I realize my cardio was really weak and that I needed to get back into shape. I will be getting back into a routine starting in the New Year!

I ran into a lady on the trails who used to be a runner back in her younger days and was talking to her for a bit. She told me a bit about the Culham Trail and that her knees prevent her from running now. She also told me to be careful and don’t stay on the trails too long because it was getting dark. :)

Culham2

 

I’m excited for 2015 and getting back into running! I know, I’m a #runnerd. :p I cannot wait until I can rack up the kilometers and be able to run the full out and back on the Culham Trail as well as discovering many new trails.

Culham1

Junior Spartan Race

JuniorSR

I am an obstacle course racer and I have been participating in Spartan Races for three years now. I’ve watched the Spartan Race community grow and have witnessed people of all ages and ability complete, for some of them, their hardest challenge yet. It’s amazing to meet everyone and witness their accomplishments.

I’ve also watched the emergence of the Junior Spartan Race. A lot of people still don’t know about the existence of the Junior Races. Obstacle racing has only begun gaining popularity in Eastern Canada within the last two years and most races are incorporating kids races as well. Instead of looking for a babysitter, why not bring your kids to the race. I remember when I was a kid, I loved playing on the monkey bars and jungle gym during recess and lunch. Perhaps, that is why I love doing obstacle races – it allows me to be a kid again. Seeing the expression of the kids when they cross the finish line and receive their medal is so rewarding. All of them are in smiles for the rest of the day. I’ve always congratulated the kids when I see them walking around with their medals and you can tell they are genuinely excited; they are grinning from ear to ear.

Today, I am happy to announce that I am a member of the Junior Spartan Race Street Team. What does that mean? It means that I am provided with posters and flyers as well as a discount promo code to promote the Junior Spartan Race in Eastern Canada. Spartan Race is hoping to significantly expand awareness and sign-ups for the JSR in the 2015 season. Distances range from 0.75km to 2.5km and from ages 4 to 13.

There are two ways to register: in advance online or onsite. Registering online will save you money so I would recommended using that option. :) Enter Promo code: JUNIOR (not case sensitive) and the discount will be applied. Then you’re all set and ready to bring your kids to the race with you. For additional information and if you need to ‘run’ with your child, please visit the Junior Spartan Race site.

2015 Junior Race season begings May 23, 2015. Junior events will be held in conjunction with Spartan Sprints in Montreal, Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto. Look forward to seeing you and your kiddies at a Spartan Race in 2015! AROO!

IMG_20141217_084251

Annual Holiday Toy Collection

Header_Fill-the-Sleigh-2

Season’s Greetings! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

The holidays are here, so time to spread a little holiday cheer. :)
Since 2011 I have been collecting toys from my colleagues and friends during holiday parties. The toys would then be delivered to The Hospital for Sick Children in time for all the lovely kids to enjoy.
This holiday, I am hoping to expand my collection and have partnered up with the Children’s Aid Foundation for their Fill the Sleigh campaign. Children’s Aid Foundation, together with local child welfare agencies across the GTA will provide holiday gifts to children and youth interacting with the child welfare system. I have been blessed to volunteer with CAF during their many events and especially at their Annual Holiday Season Celebration; where I have witnessed firsthand the happiness, joy and excitement of receiving and opening gifts during the holidays. For many of them, it may be the only gifts they receive and the only holiday celebration they may experience.
If you would like to participate and help spread some holiday cheer, you can do so by donating new unwrapped toys or other essentials, please let me know and I will be more than happy to pick them up from you. Don’t like holiday shopping or pressed for time? You can make a cash donation through the Children’s Aid Foundation website or through me and I will be glad to purchase toys on your behalf. Your donation will go towards brightening the lives of those who need it most this holiday season.
I will be delivering the toys to the CAF office on Thursday, December 18th.
For more information on the Fill the Sleigh campaign, please visit: http://www.cafdn.org/fillthesleigh/
Thank You! Wishing everyone a Happy Holidays! <3
Xo.
LN
My first holiday toy collection in 2011
2014-11-17 16.43.03

Happy Anniversary To My Tribe

tribe

My first run coming back from a shoulder injury and without a sling, happened to fall on the Tribe Fitness 1 year anniversary run. I plan to take the rest of the year off to recover and start running and training again in January but for my Tribe, I made an exception. :)

I’ve been running with Tribe for almost a year now. It is the first running group that I joined; other than the paid half marathon clinic program that I did with the Running Room. From my first run with Tribe to 1 year later; I have grown both as a runner and a person. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to meet some amazing runners and athletes from beginners to elites and of all different backgrounds. I have formed close friendships with some of the Tribe and am grateful they are now my #TribeBrothers and #TribeSisters; my #TribeFamily. I’ve learned a lot from the Tribe members and continually do so. The biggest thing I learned was how to run in polar vortex conditions. This was my first year running throughout the winter and I enjoyed it. I hate to admit it, but I am kinda looking forward to running in the winter again.

I trained for my longest race to date: Around The Bay 30k this past March. I am thankful to have found a group of dedicated runners who were also training for ATB and thus helped pushed me to finish that race. It was hard getting up early on a Saturday in the winter when it was still dark out and taking the subway downtown to the Tribe meet up spot. Some days there were only a handful of us, or the weather would be brutally cold; but we showed up and knocked those kilometer’s out. Every Saturday, I knew there would be a group of runners waiting to do a long run, whether I showed up or not. But I knew that to be a better runner, you just have to run more. I am so thankful I did. To that group of runners that motivated me to get out of bed on Saturday mornings, I sincerely thank you!

Thanks to my Tribe, I have grown to become a better and more dedicated runner. I discovered that I’m a winter warrior and really enjoy winter running, I actually prefer it over humid summers any day. I’ve also grown as a person and discovered a new found passion, [although some of my friends might call it obsession ;) ] with running. This year I also participated in the most road races ever. Good thing I had my Tribe along for all of those races, both running or cheering me on.

I am proud to be a member of Tribe Fitness, but I am more proud of the Tribe’s accomplishment. I’ve witnessed new runners completing their longest distance races ever to runners transitioning to and completing Triathlons and Ironmans. Not only am I proud of my Tribe’s accomplishments, but also motivated and inspired to grow and seek new challenges for myself. Who knows, maybe I will want to be an ultra runner or Traithlete as well. Over the year, I’ve learned that whatever goals or challenges I set for myself, I will always have a fabulous group of athletes there to support me, challenge me, motivate me and encourage me. To my Tribe and of course, our fearless leader Heather, I thank you! You will always have a special place in my heart. <3

TribeClanPlenty of run memories were created this year! Let’s take a trip down memory lane with some of my favourite moments with the Tribe. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year. There are so many photos, you can check out Tribe Fitness on Facebook for more.

My first run with Tribe

tribefirstrun

What polar vortex..!? We even train hills in the winter and the last picture in this group is quite possibly the coldest day of the year in 2014!

winter3 tribewinter3 tribehillstribe4winter1

Tribe Ugly Sweater Run

tribeuglysweater5 tribeuglysweater4 tribeuglysweater3 tribeuglysweater2 tribeuglysweater1tribeuglysweater6

Around the Bay simulation run and shake out / race kit pick up run

tribeatb2 tribeatb

Jenna and I had a goal for 2014, but due to our injuries, is pushed to 2015. We will crush it!

tribegoal

Spot the Olympian! ;)

tribeolympian

Warmer weather is among us

tribetys10ktribe1tribe2

The time we crashed Twitter with our famous ‘Ellen’ selfie

tribeselfie

 

My birthday run! <3

IMG_20140419_142506

 

The time a running magazine featured our picture from the Mississauga Marathon

tribesauga

The time we decided to wear our new compression socks during a Saturday long run

tribesocks

The time we decided to dress all in white and get colour bombs thrown at us

tribecmr

Tribe Does Trail

tribetrail

Tribe Scavenger Run

tribescavengerrun

The time we volunteered as pace monsters for the Ivivva kids 3k Monster Mash Dash

tribeivivva

 

What better way to celebrate 1 year of sweating for social good, than to have a run party and run around downtown Toronto to various checkpoints answering Tribe related trivia

tribeq&a1tribeq&a2tribeq&a3tribeq&a4tribeq&a5tribeq&a6

Can you see our Tribe shirts?

tribeanniversary2

Thanks to Vega Toronto and Oakley Canada for supporting Tribe at the RUNiversary and year roundtribeanniversary

Last but not least, check out the amazing statistics Tribe racked up in just 1 year! Thank You Tribe Fitness! We love you and proud to watch you continuously grow.

tribe1year