Happy Anniversary To My Tribe

tribe

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. ūüôā

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 ūüėČ ] 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

tribefirstrun

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!

winter3 tribewinter3 tribehillstribe4winter1

Tribe Ugly Sweater Run

tribeuglysweater5 tribeuglysweater4 tribeuglysweater3 tribeuglysweater2 tribeuglysweater1tribeuglysweater6

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

tribeatb2 tribeatb

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

tribegoal

Spot the Olympian! ūüėČ

tribeolympian

Warmer weather is among us

tribetys10ktribe1tribe2

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

tribeselfie

 

My birthday run! ‚̧

IMG_20140419_142506

 

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

tribesauga

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

tribesocks

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

tribecmr

Tribe Does Trail

tribetrail

Tribe Scavenger Run

tribescavengerrun

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

tribeivivva

 

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

tribeq&a1tribeq&a2tribeq&a3tribeq&a4tribeq&a5tribeq&a6

Can you see our Tribe shirts?

tribeanniversary2

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.

tribe1year

 

Training For My First Marathon: 6 Week Countdown

GetStronger

With the prospect of completing my first marathon looming around the corner; ¬†I decided to write a weekly recap of my training and my road to STWM. Not for others to follow, but for myself. So that I can look back and see how far I’ve gotten, how much I’ve grown and how strong I’ve become, both as a runner and person.

Six weeks to go¬†and I am getting excited and nervous. I’ve had so many positive encouragement and feedback ever since I wrote about my¬†confessions¬†of running my first marathon. From family to friends and¬†other runners that¬†I don’t know or will ever have the pleasure of knowing or meeting other than on social media. I just wanted to say THANK YOU! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and thank you for following me along on this new quest of mine.

With a lot of hard work, commitment and dedication, I cannot wait to finally be able to change my title to MARATHONER.

Weekly Training Recap: Monday, September 1st РSunday, September 7th, 2014. 

MoIMG_20140902_154217nday, September 1st

Thankfully it was a long weekend because I did not have time to do a long run on the weekend. I spent my Labour Day running the Culham Trail of Mississauga. It included hills, trails, gravel and some road. It was nice to explore new trails and push myself to achieve those extra kilometers in my training. I knew that if I did not run more than 30km, I would be behind in my training. This run was a difficult one. Especially since it was a sunny and humid day and running for a few hours in the heat was not how I would normally spend my holiday day off. I guess priorities change as my focus and goals change.

Tuesday, September 2nd

REST DAY (31km was the longest I’ve ever ran, so I figured I needed a rest day to recover)

Wednesday, September 3rd

Cross training and obstacle training day.IMG_20140903_214151

Not only am I training for my first marathon; but I am also training for the Spartan Race World Championship in Killington, Vermont on Saturday, September 20th! It will be my first time participating in a U.S. Spartan Race and it will be alongside some of the Elites from all over the world. I can’t wait!! More to come on the World Championship in a separate blog.

 I do my obstacle training at Alpha Obstacle Training in Toronto.

Thursday, September 4th

IMG_20140905_070502I¬†run with the¬†Night Terrors¬†Run Crew (NTRC) on Thursdays for a #doubledigitsthursday long run. A few of us did a pre run before the official run with the rest of the crew.¬†It was a special run as it was the Night Terrors Run Crew LA’s 1 year anniversary. We had a surprise route that mapped out¬†the shape of the word LA. It was pretty neat. After the run, I ran a little over 2km back to the subway station to go home. Running a half marathon and then some on a weeknight feels amazing. I can already tell I’m becoming a stronger runner. Training for a half marathon before¬†seemed really hard; now I am doing them on weeknights!

Friday, September 5th

REST DAY

Saturday, September 6th

IMG_20140906_162337Alpha Obstacle Training organizes an in house race once a month and Saturday was the Alpha OCR Series #7. I ran the¬†race with my OCR team P4ID. It was a lot of fun and a good OCR fix since the Spartan Race Eastern Canada season ended in July. It’s not hilly compared to a Spartan Race, but it was a good challenge and my ideal way¬†to spend a Saturday morning; climbing monkey bars, flipping over cargo nets, climbing ropes and walls, flipping tires and lots more fun obstacles.

Sunday, September 7th

I try to get one long run in on the weekend and it’s usually on Saturday with my Tribe Fitness; but when I have a race, I run on Sunday with NTRC. Our goal for Sunday was 36km. We ended up beasting 38km and it was my longest run ever!¬†Since training for STWM, every week has been my longest run ever. We ran through trails, road and along the Lakeshore. It was an awesome route and a hot day. By the end of the run, I was feeling the humidity. We picked up the pace the last 2km because at that point, I just wanted the run to be over with. I was hot, tired and hungry. Surprisingly when the run was over, other than feeling hungry, tired and a little sore; my legs felt okay. I was not in pain like during the early days of my long runs and training. With every run, I get stronger. Both physically and mentally.

This week capped of my highest mileage week EVER for me! 105km in 6 days and I feel fantastic!! I won one of my Nike Running challenges of 100km in a month. I have been running over 100km every month since January 2014; but never would I imagine I would run over 100km in a week! This was definitely a milestone week for me. I don’t know if I can run over 100km in a week regularly, or even again; but I do know that I am becoming a stronger runner and that I am ready to crush my first full marathon! ūüôā

IMG_20140907_171711

This was one of our picture¬†points and our view on Sunday’s long run. Toronto! My city! What a beautiful view. ūüôā

20140907_125219

Color Me Rad 5k

CMRLOGO

It always hurts me just a little when I write about this run. I am Canadian and we spell ‘colour’ instead of ‘color. I want to write our Canadian spelling but then that wouldn’t be the correct name of the event. So I just want to make it clear that I am not conforming to American grammar, I am just writing the name as per the race¬†title.¬†¬†

This was my second time participating in¬†Color Me Rad.¬†It’s not timed and more of a ‘fun run’ as opposed to a race. It’s one of those races you just want to do once for fun with friends and say you’ve done it. Well, that was originally¬†my plan, but then Color Me Rad had a huge promotional sale (which included free knee high socks) early in the year and registration price was cheap. Who could resist such an offer!? So I obviously convinced a few friends to do it with me. The good thing was most of them that signed up were first timers and they really enjoyed it.

Race Registration:

I registered early in the year with the promotional price. The total came up to roughly $43.00 CAD after fees and taxes. It also came with some RAD knee high socks.

Race Expo:

The day before the race, I picked up the race kits for my Team after work. I got there one hour before it closed so there was a bit of a line up. The race kit pick up site was smaller this year than last year. There were also RAD merchandise for sale and extra colour bombs to purchase.

Race Kit:

I first picked up everyone’s bibs from my Team. On the back of the bib, the volunteers would write if your kit included socks or not. The socks were only a limited quantity and was included with early registration. Once I got the bibs, I moved over to the merchandise table to pick up the free socks. We actually had the choice of the socks or a free headband but I stuck to the socks. I have way too many headbands and socks are good to reuse for obstacle races! I then proceeded to pick up the t-shirts and sunglasses that were included as part of all registration. The shirts were cotton so I wouldn’t wear it again but I love wearing the sunglasses during my training runs/races.

Parking:

Luckily, the race location was Downsview Park and that is pretty close to where I live. I could have walked there but I had a friend who was nice enough to drop us all off and pick us up after the race. This year they didn’t charge for parking but I believe last year the parking fee was $5.00 per car. ¬†

Pre-Race:

As soon as we got to the race site, I met up with some of my Tribe Fitness friends. We hung out for a bit, had some free juice, and then decided to join the waves. It was the scene of an all white themed party. Lots of people of all ages were participating. There were some wearing their old white shirts from the previous year. You could tell because of the colour stains. The DJ was playing music on a stage that was closer to the finish area.

CMR1

CMR3

Race Course:

The 5k course was the exact same as it was the year before. It was a nice route through Downsview Park and the man made lake. There were colour stations every kilometer. I went with some non-runner friends so we walked the entire course, took our time walking through the colour stations and took pictures along the way.

New this year: they had a station that volunteers had water guns filled with blue colour instead of the usual corn starch powder colour. This was actually harder to clean off after the race.

Water/Aid Stations:

There was one water station. Water bottles were handed out mid race and I walked the rest of the course with mine.  

 

Volunteers:

There were quite a few volunteers at every colour station. They got to throw the colour at runners passing. It was mostly high school students, but it would have been fun to volunteer to throw things at people, even if it was just corn starch. There were volunteers at the water station and more at the finish line. They handed every finisher a colour packet to be used for the ‘big throw’ near the stage.

Spectators:

This was a family friendly race so there were lots of spectators and families in the post race party site. A few of them did not want to get dirty from the colour bombs but most did not seem to mind.

Post-Race:

Instead of gathering near the stage and waiting for the big colour throw, my friends and I decided to line up to take a professional photo and use our colour packets there. There were three lines of professional photographers to take photos of your group in front of the Color Me Rad backdrop. After taking the photo, we drank some free coconut water and took some more photos by the Color Me Rad signs. We did not stay long after the race and photos.

CMR6 CMR2

Would I Run It Again:

Having participated in this race twice now ; I don’t think I would do this race again. I would rather spend my money on a race where it is timed and I can get a medal for my achievements. You don’t get a medal at Color Me Rad. You get a cotton shirt (which I will not¬†wear again), sunglasses and if there is a promotion, you may get additional freebies such as socks. Not bad, but I’m a medal collector. If you’re looking for a fun race to do with the family or a group of friends, and don’t mind getting colour corn starch all over you; then you should¬†definitely try¬†this race. In fact, I think everyone should try a fun run¬†or colour run at least once. I’ve done it twice now¬†and both times I¬†had a lot of fun with my friends. Runs like these are perfect for bonding and creating memories. Don’t forget the camera!

CMR4CMR7

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. ūüė¶

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.

IMG_20140504_052236IMG_20140504_162450

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.

IMG_27855736340337

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! ūüôā 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. ūüôā

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

20140504_141525

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.