#TrainWithGrains

GFO

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! ūüôā

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! ‚̧

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August Total Mileage

Well August sucked. ūüė¶ 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. ūüėČ

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! ūüôā

 

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…? ūüôā

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. ‚̧ 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! ūüôā

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. ūüė• 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) ūüė¶ 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?.. ūüôā

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! ‚̧

2014km

Setbacks Are An Opportunity For A Killer Comeback

comeback

Two weeks ago, I ran my umpteenth obstacle course race this season. I’ve completed about 12 Spartan Races and a Tough Mudder this summer, and those were considered to be the ‘harder’ obstacle races.

It was raining the day of the Badassh Dash in Kitchener and I was running in the Elite heat. The Elite heat was a bit longer than the regular scheduled 7km course and had different options (which are harder) at the obstacles for the Elites. It was raining that morning so it made everything slippery and some obstacles harder than they actually were. As I was climbing up the slippery wall using the rope, I let go of my left hand to grab the top of the wall and then my right hand grabbed the top. As I tried to hoist myself up and over the wall, my foot slipped and I jerked back while still holding on the the top with both hands. At this point I heard a popping sound in my right and knew then and there, that my shoulder had popped. I’ve never dislocated a shoulder before but the popping sound and minor pain made me very aware that it was dislocated. I hung there for a bit not knowing if I should go back down or climb over the wall to the other side and use the rope to get down. I ended up pushing myself over the wall and once I grabbed the rope on the other side, I asked a Medic if he could help ¬†me down because I popped my shoulder. As he put his hands on the base of my feet and lowered me down, I was still holding on to the rope. My arms were extended and I heard another popping sound. This time, it felt like my shoulder popped back in. As I stood on the ground, the Medic asked if my breathing and heart rate was okay. Then he made me raise my hands over my head and squeeze his hand to make sure I was fine. I felt fine and he said it was my decision if I wanted to continue or not. So of course, I decided to continue the race.

I was cautious and was running with my left hand holding onto my shoulder. About 20 minutes after, I got to another climbing obstacle and I ¬†slowly started climbing over the wooden bars and heard another popping sound. I knew this time I had to stop. I tried to climb over the wall and the pain was getting stronger as I was making my way down. I was weak in my right hand and could barely grip the bars anymore that I had to jump down. The volunteer asked if I needed a Medic and I said yes. When the Medic got there, I was hoping they would be able to pop it back in and that I could finish the race. Not the case. ūüė¶ He said he had to take me back down to the Medic tent and get it looked at there. I asked how far I was in the race and the volunteer said more than half way. I asked if I was able to run it and the Medic said no and that it may get worse. Being an athlete and having participated in numerous obstacle course races for the past two years, my pain threshold was pretty high. I’m used to pushing through the pain, the unpredictable weather, the difficulty of obstacles; but having an injury was too serious and as much as I wanted to finish the race and earn that medal, I knew I had to be smart and called it quits. It was my FIRST DNF ever.

As I was being taken down on the ATV, all I could think about was that I didn’t finish the race. I was sad and disappointed in myself. When I found out that I had to immobilize my right shoulder for four weeks, I was totally bummed. I was sad I would no longer be able to compete in the Spartan Race World Championships in Killington, Vermont the week after with athletes from all over the world. That was the race I had been training for. To compete in the hardest obstacle race terrain of all obstacle races. It was the ultimate challenge and I thought I was ready to tackle it. I had also been training for my first marathon and felt good that my training was on track. Now not being able to run for four weeks and my next check up at the hospital being four days before the marathon, I was at a loss of what to do.

Everything happens for a reason. At least I hope they do. Perhaps I was not ready for the World Championships and that I would have gotten injured in Vermont. It’s probably better to get injured on home soil with health care then in another country. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. There is a reason I needed this four week break. I am not able to drive, go to work (I’m right hand dominant), and can not run or even walk with some pain in my shoulder. There is a reason for all of this. I just don’t know what it is yet.

With 19 days left until the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, it’s panic mode. I have not been running or doing¬†anything active in the last two weeks. Even if I was not able to run the marathon, I still wanted to be able to walk it. I decided I needed to start taking action and do what I can with what I have. I decided to make the best out of my situation. I did my first workout in two weeks!

Photo Collage Maker_k4m9Hj

I have not decided if I will still run the full marathon or walk it. If I will downgrade to a half marathon instead of the full. So many decisions to make and so little time remaining. I know this race will no longer be a goal time race for me. It will just be a goal of completion.

I cannot wait until my sling comes off and I can get back to running and training again. Being off for two weeks now, I was able to set some new goals and plan some of my races for 2015. I know I will be back better, faster, and stronger than I was before my injury. There is always room for improvement and I have lots to improve on. I will turn my setback into a killer comeback! ūüôā