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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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

June Total Mileage & My Next Challenge

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I didn’t quite hit 200 km’s this month šŸ˜¦ I know I should be increasing my mileage andĀ endurance since I am training for the Spartan Ultra Beast in August and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront MarathonĀ 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 JuneĀ is 155.59 km.Ā 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…!?!? šŸ˜€

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,Ā 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 tryingĀ my hardest. ā¤

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May Total Mileage

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I know I have not made a blog post in a while…but sometimes, life get busy šŸ™‚

Actually, I came back from my amazing European vacation and have been busy with races and catching up with the real world.

I also haven’t trained much since my Paris Marathon. My training was the actual races I run every weekend. lol. Even though I haven’t had many training runs until the last week of May, I still feel great. I did my first trail run (race review to follow) and am slowing increasing my mileage again.

My total mileage for May is 120.29 km. That’s still quite a bit (mainly races), so I am happy with that number. I can’t wait to increase both my mileage and endurance and train for the Spartan Ultra Beast in August and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront MarathonĀ in October!

I’ve got a lot of race reviews to catch you all up on so they’ll be coming soon! Sorry for the delay. My longest race streak so far is seven weeks! šŸ™‚

Harry’s Spring Run-Off and Spartan Race Discount Code

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Love race discounts? Well I’veĀ got two discount codes for you today! Well.. one should have been posted yesterday, but life gets hectic sometimes. šŸ™‚

 

1.Ā Canada Running Series Harry’s Spring Run-OffĀ 5k or 8k

Discount code: ‘NGUYEN‘ Ā to register for $40 registration ($10 off the current registration price).

Enter the code in the ā€œDiscount Codeā€ box when you sign up at: https://secure.eventsonline.ca/reg/crs/

Until midnight tonight only. Was extended from initial 24 hours due to registration problems. (I know, I should have posted this yesterday, but no time, I swear) šŸ˜¦

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2. Spartan Race Eastern CanadaĀ 

Discount code: ‘winter68‘ for 20%Ā off any Eastern Canada Spartan Race

From now until March 24th at 23:59 EST. (You have two weeks for this one) šŸ™‚

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Building Community Through Running

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Three years ago, Canada Running SeriesĀ 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 theĀ Toronto Yonge Street 10kĀ 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 orĀ some crewĀ running on any day of the week.

Through running, IĀ 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 haveĀ 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…? šŸ™‚

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 toĀ 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 hereĀ and a more detailed bio of everyone here.

The running community has inspired me so much and I hopeĀ that be living the best version of myself, that I can pay it forward and inspire others to live the best versions of themselves. ā¤ xo. LN

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