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! 🙂

2014Medals

See my Race Calendar for a list of my 2014 races and results.

Last Run of 2014

selftimer

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. 🙂

Culham2

 

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.

Culham1

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 – Sunday, 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! 🙂

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. 🙂

20140907_125219

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.

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! 🙂 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

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.