First Time Pace Bunny – Toronto Waterfront 10k

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The inaugural Toronto #Waterfront10 was so much fun! The energy was live and it was great to see all my fellow Toronto runners.

I was honoured to be a pace bunny for this race for the 70 min continuous group. I have paced friends in races before but never an official bunny. I did feel pressure knowing I had a group of runners relying on me to complete the 10k in 70 mins. I’m so proud of everyone that ran the race. It was HOT that day! I had a runner who ran with me all the way and it was his first time running 10k continuously. It felt great to have so many runners come up to you after the race to thank you for pacing them. I love seeing people accomplish something, whether it was their first 10k or if they beat their previous, it feels amazing to have been a part of their journey to success. Official time for this pace bunny was 1:09:50! 😀

Here’s my race recap.

Race Registration:

Registration was pretty reasonable for this race and there were early bird specials as well. As with other 10k’s, it was fair betwen the $40 – $60 (depending when you register) price range.

Race Expo:

The race kit pick up was at the St. Lawrence market in Toronto. The fun thing about the race expo was that there was free yoga offered by Tribe Fitness. Two 45 minute yoga sessions were offered on both kit pick-up days. It was a good way to stretch out before the race. We were even given free Powerbars after the yoga too! There was also a Canadian flag that we had the chance to sign to write our wishes to our Canadian marathoners heading to the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics: Reid Coolsaet, Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene. IMG_20160623_202658

Race Kit:

We were given a bib with timing chip and a race specific short sleeve t-shirt. Along with some magazines, there was an Oasis juicebox along with some Neutrogena women’s sunscreen and wrinkle cream (which I need!) lol :p

Transportation:

The good thing about early morning Saturday races in Toronto is that the subway is running! Sunday races are always a must-drive or carpool situation. I was able to drive my car to the subway station and take the subway down for the race. I probably looked weird carrying my pacer sign on the subway. 🙂 There were quite a few people commuting by subway as well and the stop was right at the start line of the race so that was great.

Pre-Race:

It was well organized with visible signs for on site race kit pick-up, bag check and your coloured corrals. The line up for the porta potty was super long! I was waiting in line to use it before heading to my corral and this made me late for my team pacer photo. 😥 I’m sad I missed the photo but I had to go and I needed to be in my spot in the corral so that runners were able to see my sign.

Race Course:

The course went south on University and then along the Lakeshore. It was a nice scenic course and reminded me of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. It was fun to see the runners coming back to the finish and giving high fives along the way.IMG_20160625_230711

Water/Aid Stations:

There were water/Gatorade stations at around 3k, 5k and 9k. It was good to have the three stations (5k and 9k were the same stations out and back). It was super hot and there were two areas with cooling fans as well. Those were definitely needed. Tribe Fitness also hosted a cheer station that sprayed water guns as well so it was fun to get soaked in the heat.

Volunteers:

There were a lot of volunteers at the water stations along the course, at the beginning and at the party site. They were all very friendly and was cheering everyone on.

Spectators:

There were a lot of spectators and Toronto run crews out for this inaugural 10k race. The energy was great and it was really nice to run and see familiar faces cheering you on. Tribe Fitness and Pace and Mind hosted two cheer stations along the route filled with music and Tribe even had a kiddie pool and spectators shooting water at you from their water guns. Since this was a race in the summer, the water gun cheer station was an amazing idea! I loved it and it felt so refreshing on a hot day. 20160625_090100

Post-Race:

The post race party was so fun! There were three photographers after you finish the race to take professional finisher photos for you. There were bananas, muffins from Panera Bread (cinnamon and cheese), cookies and Oasis juices and protein shakes. One unique and fun thing about this post race party is that it was also a Carnival “Rio Send-Off” for Reid Coolsaet, Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene as they head to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics. There were Brazilian drummers and samba dancers. The carnival concluded with the three Rio-qualified athletes being presented with a Canadian flag that we had the chance to sign during the packet pick-up. The athletes were also available post-race for photos and autographs at the Canadian Olympic Foundation booth.

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Would I Run It Again:

Absolutely! I would love to pace the #Waterfront10 again if I was presented with the opportunity next year. It was a fun race and a great day. I’m proud of all the runners in my 70 min group and everyone that finished. There will be other races that I would like to challenge myself in, ie. longer distances etc. but I always love to help others to achieve their own personal goals. I’m just happy to see how far others have come because I know that I too was once like them. Thank you to the Toronto running community and the social media community for inspiring and motivating me to become a better runner. Now it’s my turn to give back and do the same. Congratulations to everyone that ran #Waterfront10 and see you next year! ❤

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Join Me at the New Toronto #Waterfront10 Race

Toronto Waterfront 10k — Toronto, Canada

I am excited to announce I will be a pacer for this new 10k race happening in Toronto on Saturday, June 25th, 2016!

I have ran and paced with my friends before, but I have never been an official “pacer/pace bunny”. I’m super thrilled to be given the opportunity and also a little bit nervous because now I will have other runners who I don’t know following me in my pace group and depending on me to take them across the finish line in 65 minutes. I can’t screw up or disappoint them. The pressure is real here. :/ I know it’s just a 10k race and I normally finish in average of 55 minutes but it’s something else when you have runners, some probably new runners, depending on you.

So if you’re in Toronto on June 25th, sign up for the #Waterfront10 and join me and my pace team at this exciting new race. I promise this will be fun and we will take you across the finish line with a smile and maybe a few laughs too. 😉

2015 Medal Collection

That’s a wrap 2015! 👊💥 I finished 2015 with a total of 25 races [12 road, 3 trail, 10 obstacle course races], some multiple lap races and 1 CN Tower Stair Climb.

Looking back, 2015 was a memorable year. I became a ‘Marathoner’ in one of my favourite cities and I had a wonderful, amazing time on my RACEcation in Europe. I planned my Europe trip around my Paris Marathon and was able to run two Spartan Races in two different countries. The stars aligned for me during my trip. I could not have asked for a better vacation and RACEcation.

Some notable accomplishments:

  • I completed my first marathon [Paris Marathon]
  • I completed my first trail race [Sulphur Springs 25k]
  • I completed my first winter obstacle race [Polar Rush 5k]
  • I ran both races of the Harry Rosen Spring Run-Off 8k and 5k
  • I completed two laps of the Spartan Super in Toronto [I did multiple laps of short distances and sprint but it was my first double long distance lap 12k x2]
  • First RACEcation in Europe [Paris – Paris Marathon, Munich – Spartan Sprint, Rome – Spartan Super]

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 2016! 🙂

2015 – Thank you for the wonderful memories! ❤ L.N


See my Race Calendar for a list of my 2015 races and results.

2015 Total Kilometers & #2015bestnine

My total kilometers for 2015 was 1,053!

I didn’t run as many kilometers as in 2014, but it’s still pretty good considering I didn’t run much at all from July to December. I had a hamstring injury which prevented me from running my last Spartan Race of 2016 at the Spartan Ultra Beast in Ottawa. I wasn’t too upset; I was probably not meant to run the race anyway. Hearing from some friends after the race; it sounded pretty tough and I’m kinda glad I didn’t run it as I was not ready for it.

I am not going to be setting a distance goal for 2016. I find that whenever I set a distance goal, I never meet it. I would get injured during my training and have to sit out a few months. Injury is a big sign of over training so I definitely do not want to over train anymore. I would rather just run for the love of running and to support and motivate others.

Here’s a look back on my 2015 with the Instagram #2015bestnine🌟. I did not create this nor do I know where people are getting it from but I have been seeing it everywhere on Instagram. Luckily, I have an awesome sister who sent me my bestnine collage and all I have to do is post it! Isn’t she the best!?! ❤

Looking back, 2015 was a memorable year. I became a ‘Marathoner’ in one of my favourite cities and I had a wonderful, amazing time on my RACEcation in Europe. I planned my Europe trip around my Paris Marathon and was able to get in two races in two different countries. I completed a marathon and I ran in two Spartan Races. The stars aligned for me during my trip. I could not have asked for a better vacation and RACEcation.

2015 – It was a slice. You will always be remembered. ❤ L.N

 

#TrainWithGrains

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This year Canada Running Series is teaming up with the Grain Farmers of Ontario to bring you the best pre and post-run recipes to fuel your marathon training for #STWM! Each week features a new and unique recipe from one of the CRS Community Leader Ambassadors. This week features yours truly! 🙂

Clink on the recipe link below to check out my refreshing Barley, Farro and Couscous Salad which is perfect for refueling after a long run.

RECIPE!   RECIPE!   RECIPE!

Do you have a recipe you’d like to share? Share a photo to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #TrainWithGrains for your chance to win a “Good in Every Grain” Prize Pack valued at $50!

Happy Training and Healthy Eating! ❤

August Total Mileage

Well August sucked. 😦 It was not the month for me. I was going into August hoping to challenge myself and run the Spartan Race Ultra Beast. It would be my first 50k and my longest obstacle/trail/any type of race. Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to challenge myself. It’s okay though. One valuable lesson I’ve learned for the month of August is that there will always be another race. Take your time to rest properly, take care of your body and spend with family and friends.

I didn’t really post anything all month either. There wasn’t much to post. I had pulled my hamstring during a water skiing session back in July (see last post). Since then, I have been foam rolling, icing, stretching and resting. I went for a massage a few times and my Massage Therapist said I should slow down and really take care of my body if I want to be racing well into old age. Yes, I know I should take care of myself….it’s just so hard when there is a race just about every weekend in the Spring and Summer months.

My total mileage for August was only 44.53 km’s with 5 days of running. This is the first time since December 2014 that I did not run over 100 km per month. It’s a bit depressing but I know that I needed a break. I had been racing for 10 weekends straight. That is a record for me! 10 weekends in a row of collecting medals and even multiple lap races; with my last race being 2 laps of the Spartan Super in Toronto. The Super was about 12 km of hill/mountain climbing and 10+ obstacles. It was the first time I ran 2 laps of a Super. I ran with friends on the second ‘fun’ lap and we took it easy; it was still hard and the weather was hot. At the end of my second lap, I could feel my quads starting to cramp up. I felt great to finish with my friends and know that we just ran 24 km!

The weekend after the Toronto Super, I was up at the cottage and that’s when I pulled my hamstring. I guess injuries are a way of our body telling us we need to slow down. This has happened to me at least once a year since I started running in 2012 and usually at the end of Summer, beginning of Fall. I guess I should have learned the lesson by now huh. Every time I train hard and do a lot of races, I end up getting injured after and end my race season early.

OKAY! I get it now. Something needs to change. So for next year, I will focus on training smarter and injury prevention. That means not racing every weekend and choosing only a few major races to focus my training on. That also means more cross training and yoga for injury prevention. Quality of races over quantity. 😉

I still have 2 more big races for October. Run for the Toad 50k and STWM full marathon. Depending on how my training goes and how my body feels ( I still get a bit of tightness in the hamstring when I run); I will decide closer to the date if I need to downgrade my distance for them. I have no time goal for either races, the goal is to just finish the race without injury.

Fall is my favourite time of the year to run so hopefully I can get more runs in and run at least 100 km this month. Good luck to everyone training for your upcoming Fall races! 🙂

 

July Total Mileage & 3 Days To Go!

I started the month off pretty strong. I thought I would hit over 200km for July for sure. I had been racing every weekend for 10 weekends straight. I was feeling good and my weekly mileage goals were on target. Another lesson learned: sometimes you may feel great, but underneath the endorphin’s, your body is slowly wearing down. I pulled my right hamstring during a water skiing session at the cottage. Go figure – I don’t get injured during races or training but doing something fun on the side. 😦 Be good to your body, give it the rest it deserves. Rest days are part of the training process and you will see the benefits and rewards from taking care of yourself. Yep – hindsight is always 20/20. :/

My total mileage was 129.72km’s for the month of July. This is pretty bad considering I should be ramping up my training for the Run for the Toad and STWM in October. Okay, I will recover from my hamstring injury and train smarter so I am ready for my upcoming races.

Speaking of upcoming races… 3 more days until the Spartan Race Ultra Beast!!! OMG!!! The is the first year Spartan Race is having an Ultra Beast distance in Eastern Canada. Ultra Beast is a disgustingly difficult 42k+ course from the Spartan Race series and there are not many of them. The famous original Ultra Beast is the Vermont location. Vermont is in September and it’s held at Killington Resort. If you’ve never been there, google Killington and check it’s elevation stats. 😉 Crazy elevation (you’re climbing the hill several times) mixed in with Vermont September weather and you’ve got yourself a crazy challenge. Finishing rates are usually around 20-30% and average completion times vary around the 12+ hour mark. Oh.em.gee.

So of course, I wanted to challenge myself this year and register for the Ottawa Ultra Beast. Last year I ran the Ottawa Super Saturday and the Beast Sunday and it was a great challenge. Having done that already, I decided to go big this year. This will be the biggest challenge ever for me. I may have been more ready for it two week ago, but since I pulled my hamstring over a week ago; I am getting super nervous. I don’t want to back out and still up for the challenge. I even went for a 17k last long trail run on Monday. It wasn’t bad but I have definitely have to adjust my running to smaller strides and can’t race down the mountain/hills like I normally do. Stretch breaks will also be a key part of my game plan for Sunday.

I read the race preview and it’s definitely going to be a tough one on Sunday; maybe even tougher than Vermont. 50k, 70 obstacles, some never seen before and the organizers estimate the completion rate will be 25%. Again..oh.em.gee! I am going to try my hardest, give it everything I’ve got and push myself physically and mentally. If I DNF after all that, then I am okay with it. But I really hope to be in that 25% bracket! Wish me luck! 🙂

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June Total Mileage & My Next Challenge

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I didn’t quite hit 200 km’s this month 😦 I know I should be increasing my mileage and endurance since I am training for the Spartan Ultra Beast in August and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October. But sometimes, we have to listen to our bodies and take the rest that it is asking for. I have learned this lesson many times in the past when I would push my body and over train to the point of injury. :/

My total mileage for June is 155.59 km. Not 200 km but still happy with my finish this month. I will need to step it up in July if I want to take this next challenge in my life.

So my next challenge…!?!? 😀

I have officially registered for my first ultramarathon! Yep, posting this for all to see; so there’s no turning back now. That’s going to be 50 km of trail running at the Run for the Toad in October. This is also two weeks before my STWM marathon! It’s definitely going to be a challenge alright; but my goal for the 50 km race is to take it nice and easy and just finish. I’ve learned that in trail running, the goal is just finishing and not necessarily the time. Well, for me it is anyway. Each trail is different and even if it’s the same route as previous years, other conditions play a huge factor in determining how fast you can run. I did my first trail race in May and have completed two trail races to date and I just love it. I have always loved my obstacle races because it always involves trail running. Now I’m taking it to the next level and giving this ‘ultramarathon’ running a try. I’m a bit nervous but I know I can do it. I just need to keep running and training hard and on race day; I will cross that finish line and become an ‘ultramarathoner’.

I may not be the fastest, I may not be the strongest but I’ll be damned if I’m not trying my hardest. ❤

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Last Run of 2014

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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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