Happy Anniversary To My Tribe

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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. ❤

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

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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!

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Tribe Ugly Sweater Run

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

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

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Spot the Olympian! 😉

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Warmer weather is among us

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

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My birthday run! ❤

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

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

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

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Tribe Does Trail

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Tribe Scavenger Run

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

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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

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Can you see our Tribe shirts?

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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.

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Mississauga Half Marathon

AmbitiousGoals

I love challenging and continuously pushing myself. Before 2014 came around, I knew I already had quite ambitious goals to attain. My first fitness goal was to run two back to back half marathons. With only one half marathon under my belt, I knew this goal would not come easy.

I registered for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in D.C. and the Mississauga Half Marathon. These two races were exactly seven days and two countries apart. A few people questioned what my strategy was and what race I was going to run faster in. My strategy was easy and simple. Enjoy the slow, scenic run in D.C. and a slow, steady run in Mississauga. I just wanted to be able to finish them both and not try to PR either.

Race Registration:

I registered for the Mississauga Half Marathon back in December and the cost was $80 CAD. I like to plan my full race calendar for the following year in December because not only are the prices significantly cheaper, but it holds me accountable and forces me to train for the races.

The same weekend as the Mississauga Marathon is the Toronto Marathon. Although I live in Toronto, I chose Mississauga because I have heard more positive feedback regarding the Mississauga race than the Toronto race. Most races tend to improve from the constructive criticism provided, but I did not want to take chances and decided to sign up for the Mississauga race.

Race Expo:

I did not attend the race expo, as my friend had picked up my kit for me. Our training group was originally scheduled to head to Mississauga to do a shake out run and then pick up our race kits. However, that did not happen as a friend told us that there was no point driving all the way there. The parking took forever and the expo was small with minimal vendors.

Race Kit:

The kit was a drawstring bag and included a chip timed race bib and a technical T-Shirt. It also came with other goodies including two race magazines, some race flyers, a bag of kettle chips, a small bottle of chocolate milk, a creme filled Easter egg, two packs of Starbucks coffee beans, some samples of Cetaphil face wash and hand cream, sample size bottle of Cold FX, and a few other random goodies. I failed to take a picture of the kit and only remembered after I had used/dispersed the contents. 😦

Parking:

Parking was free and located at a Community Centre. There were free shuttle buses that would take us to the starting line of the race and back to the Community Centre from the finish line.

Pre-Race:

It was actually quite cold on race day. Not expected for a race at the beginning of May. We waited inside the Community Centre for the shuttle buses and once the shuttle buses dropped us off, my friends and I headed to the nearby Running Room to stay warm. It was packed inside the store. There was hardly any room to move as everyone wanted to seek some warm shelter before the race.

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Race Course:

The course was nice and fairly flat with a few minor hills. We ran through the streets of Mississauga and along Mississauga Road to the Lakeshore. If you’ve ever heard of Mississauga Road, you would know that this is THE posh area of Mississauga. I enjoyed running through there and just admiring all the huge mansions along the way and hoping that one day I could live in a mansion of that capacity. We ran to the Lakeshore and through the waterfront and park. It got much colder as we got to the waterfront but it was still a nice breeze.

Water/Aid Stations:

What I really liked about this race was that there was a water station every 2 kms. It actually almost got overwhelming because there were so many of them. I skipped the first two and started to stop by every water station after that. I had learned my lesson from my first half marathon experience, and did not want to run out of my own fuel at the end. I also wanted to test if I could run a half marathon distance without a water belt and just using the water stations. I’ve seen lots of people without belts and always wondered how they were able to do so. I tend to sweat a lot and get thirsty so I like to keep hydrated to make sure I don’t cramp up too.

Volunteers:

There were a few volunteers throughout the course. Not an overwhelming abundance of them, but just enough at each water stations and at the finish line.

Spectators:

The only negative to this race was that there were hardly any spectators along the route. Other than the runners and the cars going by, the streets were pretty quiet. There were some along Mississauga Road; but for a residential area, the residents were nowhere to be seen. Perhaps they were still sleeping or it was too cold to stand outside and cheer on random strangers.

Post-Race:

The finish line was small but it was nice along the waterfront. It got so cold that they were giving out heated sheets to all the runners. There were some bananas and yummy bagels to choose from. There was a booth that you could win little prizes for answering some facts about chocolate milk. I chose a skipping rope. There were not many vendors there and because it was so cold and windy, most people left right after the race. I didn’t stay around for too long either. My friends and I headed back to the shuttle bus to get a ride back to our cars. What a different experience this race was compared to a week earlier when I was in Washington D.C. The weather, the people and the atmosphere was definitely more lively in D.C.

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Would I Run It Again:

If I had some friends interested in running this race, then I would run it again. I would not want to run it by myself as it got pretty boring along the route with hardly many spectators. If I run this again, it would be the half or even the full since the course was fairly flat. When comparing this race to the Toronto Marathon, which I had a few friends running in, this race was more organized overall. They didn’t get any heat sheets in Toronto! They didn’t get a packed race kit bag, had to find their own parking at the start or finish (no free shuttle), and it was overly crowded. I enjoyed my time at the Mississauga Half Marthon. Overall, it was a well executed event. Perhaps if the weather was warmer, the post race party site would have been great as well; but sometimes you have to expect the unexpected from Mother Nature.

So I completed two back to back half marathons!! Yay! 🙂 The feeling having crossed the finish line of my second half was indescribable. I felt proud of my achievements. The finshing times for both races were not a PB for me, but it didn’t matter. My only goal was to be able to finish both of them and that I did. I was hungry, tired, overwhelmed and proud. I went for a big brunch after the race and came home to nap. I ‘napped’  until dinner time. Lol. I deserved it. 🙂

One fitness goal checked off and many more to go. I may not know what they all are yet; but I know that I will continually set goals for myself. Each goal will be bigger than the previous, until I can become the best that I can be. ❤ Xo

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That’s me holding wearing and holding my Mississauga Half Marathon finisher’s medal in my right hand and my Nike Women’s Half Marathon Tiffany finisher’s necklace in my left hand.

You’re Tougher Than You Think

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This run was a tough run for me and it was the most challenging. I pushed myself but I also knew my body and when I’ve exerted my efforts. With every run or workout, I always push myself a little harder. Otherwise, you won’t get the results you want if you don’t consistently put in that extra effort every time.

It was a slow and steady 5k. I barely talked during the run, which for me is unusual especially if I’m running with someone. I wanted to concentrate on my breathing, on avoiding snowbanks and most importantly, on making sure I was able to finish the run standing upright and not feeling like I was going to pass out. During the run, I felt my breathing start to get heavy, my energy diminishing and I felt dehydrated. I barely even drink water for anything less than 10k. My calves were starting to hurt from running through all the unplowed snowed sidewalks. I ran at a slower than normal turtle pace and kept it consistent. I remember thinking and encouraging myself mid run “Finish strong”, “You’re tougher than you think”, “When did I become so tough?” By the end of the run, I felt so exhausted and dehydrated but super proud that I had finished my most challenging 5k run ever.

Some factors that could have contributed to my performance were:

TOWeather1. There was a snowstorm all day and the sidewalks were not shovelled, making it a difficult run in the snow.

2. Because of the snowstorm and wind chill warning, I was dressed the same as during my coldest run ever. I felt 10 lbs heavier during the run.

 

 

 

3. I was still sore from my intense bootcamp workout two days before

15secs pushup, 15secs shoulder press @ 16lbs x 10 reps.
15secs burpees, 400m run.
15secs boxjumps, 15secs squats @ 40lbs x 10 reps.
15secs jumping jacks, 400m run.
15secs wallballs @ 12lbs, 15secs bicep curls @ 16lbs x 10 reps.
15secs burpees, 400m run.
15secs tricep dips, 15 seconds tricep extensions @ 16lbs x 10 reps.
15secs jumping jacks, 400m run.

BloodDonation4. I donated blood in the morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coldest Run Ever

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Let me clarify. This run was not just MY coldest run ever – because I’m sure everyone’s definition of COLD varies, depending on your geographic location. But this run was also THE coldest run ever! Okay, I know those of you who live in colder climates will disagree, but this was the coldest day in Toronto thus far.

I love setting goals and challenging myself so I thought “Hey, let’s go for a run in the coldest day of the year.” 🙂 I wore all my baselayers and found some old windbreaker pants from the 1990’s ‘windbreaker tracksuit collection’. I couldn’t find the matching jackets but was thankful that I had saved the pants. I guess it helps to hoard your old clothes; you never know when you might need it or when it will come back in fashion again (if ever). I made sure all my skin was well covered. I thought about wearing my snowboarding goggles as well but since it was nighttime and my goggles were pink, I would not be able to see if I had worn them. I did however, wear my snowboarding mitts over top my running gloves. At this point, I would probably have been issued a ticket from the Fashion Police. Oh well, fashion had to take a back seat for this run and warmth would take the front. photo

After 20 minutes of getting ready and feeling 10 pounds heavier, I finally braved it out the door. It was a very slow run. I wasn’t feeling cold at all, I even started sweating. The snow mixed with the cold actually made my eyelashes freeze. About 10 minutes into my run, it was getting harder to blink and when I did blink, I could feel the icicles on my lashes. Guess I should have worn the goggles. 😦 It was a tough 7km during a wind chill warning. 

Recap of what I wore:

Bottom: 
Asics GT-2170
Smartwool socks 
Under Armour 3.0 baselayer pants
Lululemon winter running tights
Legwarmers (I forgot where I got them from)
Adidas trackpants

Top: 
Under Armour 3.0 baselayer top
Nike Hyperwarm hooded sweater
Nike Element winter running jacket

Accessories:
Lululemon brisk run neckscarf 
The Ugly Sweater Run toque
Lululemon brisk run mitts
Burton snowboarding mitts 

Oh and that white object I am holding in the picture is actually a block of ice. I found it towards the end of my run and decided to run home with it. It was good cross training! 🙂

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What was the coldest/hottest run you’ve ever ran?

Do you prefer running in the cold or heat?