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,Ā 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! šŸ˜€

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 ourĀ wishes to our Canadian marathonersĀ heading toĀ theĀ Rio 2016 Summer Olympics:Ā Reid Coolsaet, Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene.Ā IMG_20160623_202658

Race Kit:

We wereĀ given a bib with timing chip and a race specificĀ 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. šŸ™‚ 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. šŸ˜„ 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 stationsĀ 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.Ā 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.Ā 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! ā¤

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Join Me at the New Toronto #Waterfront10 Race

Toronto Waterfront 10k ā€” Toronto, Canada

I am excited to announce I will be a pacer for this new 10k raceĀ 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 forĀ the #Waterfront10Ā and join me and my pace teamĀ at this exciting new race. IĀ promise this will be fun and we will take you across the finish line with a smile and maybe a few laughs too. šŸ˜‰

2015 Medal Collection

That’s a wrap 2015! šŸ‘ŠšŸ’„ I finished 2015 with a total of 25 races [12 road, 3 trail, 10 obstacle course races], some multiple lap races and 1Ā 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 onĀ 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! šŸ™‚

2015 – Thank you for the wonderful memories!Ā ā¤ L.N


See my Race CalendarĀ 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 #2015bestninešŸŒŸ. 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!?! ā¤

Looking back, 2015 was a memorable year. I became a ‘Marathoner’ in one of my favourite cities and I had a wonderful, amazing time onĀ 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. ā¤ L.N

 

2015 Annual Holiday Toy Collection

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I know I haven’t posted in a while. Life gets busier the older you get. šŸ™‚

I had to make a post about my annual toy drive though. It’s my favourite time of the year and I just love shopping for gifts and toys for kids. Maybe it’s because I secretly wish I was still a kid and was able to play with all the toys.

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 once again partnering upĀ 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. It brings me so much joy to see the faces of all these kids when they open up their Christmas gifts.

Huge THANK YOU to all my amazing and supportive friends for their donations to my toy drive this year. I am blessed to have such amazing friends in my life. ā¤

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IĀ dropped off the toys to the Children’s Aid FoundationĀ office on Monday, December 21st. There were three full bags, one box and two giant stuffed animals.

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For more information on the Fill the Sleigh campaign, please visit:Ā http://www.cafdn.org/fillthesleigh/
My first holiday toy collection in 20112014-11-17 16.43.03

#TrainWithGrains

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This year Canada Running Series is teaming up with the Grain Farmers of OntarioĀ 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! šŸ™‚

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!Ā  Ā RECIPE!Ā  Ā 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! ā¤

August Total Mileage

Well August sucked. šŸ˜¦ It was not the month for me. I was going into August hoping toĀ 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 alwaysĀ 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 hamstringĀ 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.Ā 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.Ā 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. šŸ˜‰

I still have 2 more big races for October. Run for the ToadĀ 50k and STWMĀ full marathon.Ā 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 moreĀ runs in and run at least 100 km this month. Good luck to everyone training for your upcoming Fall races! šŸ™‚