Polar Rush

 

I completed my first obstacle course race of 2015 and my first obstacle race in the snow on Saturday, March 21st at the inaugural Polar Rush. Polar rush is a winter obstacle challenge consisting of 5km and 12+ obstacles at Horseshoe Resort in support of the SickKids Foundation.

Even though it is a winter obstacle race, the race happened on the first day of Spring. The weather wasn’t as cold and there were still a lot of snow on the ground. During the race, it started to rain and snowed a bit but it made the race super fun. I kept running to stay warm and my toes didn’t start to feel cold until the end of the race.

Race Registration:

I had been wanting to register for this race since I first read about it in early January. However, it is a bit steep for an inaugural 5k obstacle race. Good thing I held off and ended up getting a free race entry from a friend who could no longer make it. Registration cost was $50+ depending on when you sign up for it. The cost includes a finisher’s medal, a t-shirt and a winter toque.

Race Expo:

There was no race expo for this race. We picked up our race kits a few hours before the actual race at Horseshoe Resort.

Race Kit:

Our kit was a plastic bag full of race flyers, Impact Magazine, Centrum multivitamin sample, a bib, t-shirt and toque for the race. Obstacle course races don’t usually hand out anything at the start of a race other than a timing chip and a bib or headband. You usually get the finisher’s t-shirt at the end, when you actually cross the finish line. You are usually muddy and dirty by the time you finish, and therefore your finisher’s shirt will get dirty; so I didn’t mind getting the finisher’s shirt beforehand.

Parking:

Parking was free at Horeshoe Resort and there were lots of parking available. The parking was on site, so that was a good thing. We left our change of clothes in the car nearby so we can change into. Thank goodness there were no shuttle buses to wait for because you are cold by the end of the race. There were lockers available for a fee but it was easier and more budget friendly to leave things in the car.

Pre-Race:

There was a bonfire at the start/finish area to keep you warm. The weather was a bit chilly at the start but once you got warmed up and moving, it was perfect. My good friend Jesse Bruce from Alpha Obstacle Training led the pre-race warm up for the Elite Heat which started at 10:00 am. I was registered for the Elite Heat, but I saw my friend Johanna and she was running by herself (her friend wanted to catch the 10:00 elite wave), so Cliff and I decided to join her at 10:30 and do a slow fun run.

PR1 PR2

Race Course:

The 5km course was a beautiful trail run through Horseshoe Resort. It was fairly flat with a few inclines and a couple of steep areas where I had to sit on my butt and slide down to avoid falling. The obstacles were fairly easy, the walls weren’t too high and the terrain made for a great challenge as well. My favourite obstacles were the Crazy Carpet (actually magic carpets to slide down the hill) and the Tube Run. My friends and I had so much fun at the Crazy Carpet that we decided to walk back up the mountain [good hill train ;)] with our carpets and slide back down again. The first time we slid down on our tummy, face first, the second time we sat upright. The tubing was also fun as well. I have never gone tubing before so that was my first experience. My friends and I held onto each other’s tubes and slide down together. SO FUN! The two obstacles brought me back to my childhood days, just enjoying the snow. Now I really want to go tubing and get a magic carpet to slide down some hills next winter!

Water/Aid Stations:

There was one water station on the course midway which had water and electrylotes.

PR5

Volunteers:

There was one volunteer at the Spiral of Death, one at the water station, a couple at the Rope Rush (climbing up a hill using a rope – probably the hardest of all the obstacles and it had an easy or hard route), a couple volunteers at the Crazy Carpet and some more at the Tube Run. It was a small race so the amount of volunteers were adequate and nicely spaced out at the obstacles which required instructions and assistance.

Spectators:

There were spectators by the festival area (start/finish) of the race. The finish area was quite small and off to the side so there wasn’t room for many spectators.

Post-Race:

As soon as my friends and I crossed the finish line, we were greeted with medals by our good friend, Becky. It was so good to see her at the end! We received our medals and got our photo taken by the professional photographer. There was hot chocolate and maple taffy at the finish. I have never had maple taffy before, it was quite good. We started in a later heat and it took us about one hour to finish; so by the end we finished the race, we were just in time to catch the Elite awards ceremony. I stayed for a couple of the age category awards, but I got so cold that I had to go to the car and get some warm clothes to change into.

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PR3

Would I Run It Again:

Absolutely! It was so much fun running through the trails at Horseshoe Resort in the winter. The natural terrain and snow made for great cross training. I had a blast with all my friends and fellow Alpha Obstacle Training crew. The weather was perfect, even though it was cold when you finished the race. Our winter weather can be so unpredictable though, so next year’s race could be either freezing cold or mild like this one. The obstacle were easy and so much fun. This is a great obstacle race for beginners, families and groups. I can’t wait to do it again next year and hopefully get some more friends to join me.

 

 PR6

 

Harry’s Spring Run-Off and Spartan Race Discount Code

Discount

 

Love race discounts? Well I’ve got two discount codes for you today! Well.. one should have been posted yesterday, but life gets hectic sometimes. :)

 

1. Canada Running Series Harry’s Spring Run-Off 5k or 8k

Discount code: ‘NGUYEN‘  to register for $40 registration ($10 off the current registration price).

Enter the code in the “Discount Code” box when you sign up at: https://secure.eventsonline.ca/reg/crs/

Until midnight tonight only. Was extended from initial 24 hours due to registration problems. (I know, I should have posted this yesterday, but no time, I swear) :(

Harrys

 

2. Spartan Race Eastern Canada 

Discount code: ‘winter68‘ for 20% off any Eastern Canada Spartan Race

From now until March 24th at 23:59 EST. (You have two weeks for this one) :)

SR

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!

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