August Total Mileage

Well August sucked. 😦 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. 😉

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! 🙂

 

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July Total Mileage & 3 Days To Go!

I started the month off pretty strong. I thought I would hit over 200km for July for sure. I had been racing every weekend for 10 weekends straight. I was feeling good and my weekly mileage goals were on target. Another lesson learned: sometimes you may feel great, but underneath the endorphin’s, your body is slowly wearing down. I pulled my right hamstring during a water skiing session at the cottage. Go figure – I don’t get injured during races or training but doing something fun on the side. 😦 Be good to your body, give it the rest it deserves. Rest days are part of the training process and you will see the benefits and rewards from taking care of yourself. Yep – hindsight is always 20/20. :/

My total mileage was 129.72km’s for the month of July. This is pretty bad considering I should be ramping up my training for the Run for the Toad and STWM in October. Okay, I will recover from my hamstring injury and train smarter so I am ready for my upcoming races.

Speaking of upcoming races… 3 more days until the Spartan Race Ultra Beast!!! OMG!!! The is the first year Spartan Race is having an Ultra Beast distance in Eastern Canada. Ultra Beast is a disgustingly difficult 42k+ course from the Spartan Race series and there are not many of them. The famous original Ultra Beast is the Vermont location. Vermont is in September and it’s held at Killington Resort. If you’ve never been there, google Killington and check it’s elevation stats. 😉 Crazy elevation (you’re climbing the hill several times) mixed in with Vermont September weather and you’ve got yourself a crazy challenge. Finishing rates are usually around 20-30% and average completion times vary around the 12+ hour mark. Oh.em.gee.

So of course, I wanted to challenge myself this year and register for the Ottawa Ultra Beast. Last year I ran the Ottawa Super Saturday and the Beast Sunday and it was a great challenge. Having done that already, I decided to go big this year. This will be the biggest challenge ever for me. I may have been more ready for it two week ago, but since I pulled my hamstring over a week ago; I am getting super nervous. I don’t want to back out and still up for the challenge. I even went for a 17k last long trail run on Monday. It wasn’t bad but I have definitely have to adjust my running to smaller strides and can’t race down the mountain/hills like I normally do. Stretch breaks will also be a key part of my game plan for Sunday.

I read the race preview and it’s definitely going to be a tough one on Sunday; maybe even tougher than Vermont. 50k, 70 obstacles, some never seen before and the organizers estimate the completion rate will be 25%. Again..oh.em.gee! I am going to try my hardest, give it everything I’ve got and push myself physically and mentally. If I DNF after all that, then I am okay with it. But I really hope to be in that 25% bracket! Wish me luck! 🙂

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June Total Mileage & My Next Challenge

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I didn’t quite hit 200 km’s this month 😦 I know I should be increasing my mileage and endurance since I am training for the Spartan Ultra Beast in August and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 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 June is 155.59 km. 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…!?!? 😀

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, 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 trying my hardest. ❤

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Polar Rush

 

I completed my first obstacle course race of 2015 and my first obstacle race in the snow on Saturday, March 21st at the inaugural Polar Rush. Polar rush is a winter obstacle challenge consisting of 5km and 12+ obstacles at Horseshoe Resort in support of the SickKids Foundation.

Even though it is a winter obstacle race, the race happened on the first day of Spring. The weather wasn’t as cold and there were still a lot of snow on the ground. During the race, it started to rain and snowed a bit but it made the race super fun. I kept running to stay warm and my toes didn’t start to feel cold until the end of the race.

Race Registration:

I had been wanting to register for this race since I first read about it in early January. However, it is a bit steep for an inaugural 5k obstacle race. Good thing I held off and ended up getting a free race entry from a friend who could no longer make it. Registration cost was $50+ depending on when you sign up for it. The cost includes a finisher’s medal, a t-shirt and a winter toque.

Race Expo:

There was no race expo for this race. We picked up our race kits a few hours before the actual race at Horseshoe Resort.

Race Kit:

Our kit was a plastic bag full of race flyers, Impact Magazine, Centrum multivitamin sample, a bib, t-shirt and toque for the race. Obstacle course races don’t usually hand out anything at the start of a race other than a timing chip and a bib or headband. You usually get the finisher’s t-shirt at the end, when you actually cross the finish line. You are usually muddy and dirty by the time you finish, and therefore your finisher’s shirt will get dirty; so I didn’t mind getting the finisher’s shirt beforehand.

Parking:

Parking was free at Horeshoe Resort and there were lots of parking available. The parking was on site, so that was a good thing. We left our change of clothes in the car nearby so we can change into. Thank goodness there were no shuttle buses to wait for because you are cold by the end of the race. There were lockers available for a fee but it was easier and more budget friendly to leave things in the car.

Pre-Race:

There was a bonfire at the start/finish area to keep you warm. The weather was a bit chilly at the start but once you got warmed up and moving, it was perfect. My good friend Jesse Bruce from Alpha Obstacle Training led the pre-race warm up for the Elite Heat which started at 10:00 am. I was registered for the Elite Heat, but I saw my friend Johanna and she was running by herself (her friend wanted to catch the 10:00 elite wave), so Cliff and I decided to join her at 10:30 and do a slow fun run.

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Race Course:

The 5km course was a beautiful trail run through Horseshoe Resort. It was fairly flat with a few inclines and a couple of steep areas where I had to sit on my butt and slide down to avoid falling. The obstacles were fairly easy, the walls weren’t too high and the terrain made for a great challenge as well. My favourite obstacles were the Crazy Carpet (actually magic carpets to slide down the hill) and the Tube Run. My friends and I had so much fun at the Crazy Carpet that we decided to walk back up the mountain [good hill train ;)] with our carpets and slide back down again. The first time we slid down on our tummy, face first, the second time we sat upright. The tubing was also fun as well. I have never gone tubing before so that was my first experience. My friends and I held onto each other’s tubes and slide down together. SO FUN! The two obstacles brought me back to my childhood days, just enjoying the snow. Now I really want to go tubing and get a magic carpet to slide down some hills next winter!

Water/Aid Stations:

There was one water station on the course midway which had water and electrylotes.

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Volunteers:

There was one volunteer at the Spiral of Death, one at the water station, a couple at the Rope Rush (climbing up a hill using a rope – probably the hardest of all the obstacles and it had an easy or hard route), a couple volunteers at the Crazy Carpet and some more at the Tube Run. It was a small race so the amount of volunteers were adequate and nicely spaced out at the obstacles which required instructions and assistance.

Spectators:

There were spectators by the festival area (start/finish) of the race. The finish area was quite small and off to the side so there wasn’t room for many spectators.

Post-Race:

As soon as my friends and I crossed the finish line, we were greeted with medals by our good friend, Becky. It was so good to see her at the end! We received our medals and got our photo taken by the professional photographer. There was hot chocolate and maple taffy at the finish. I have never had maple taffy before, it was quite good. We started in a later heat and it took us about one hour to finish; so by the end we finished the race, we were just in time to catch the Elite awards ceremony. I stayed for a couple of the age category awards, but I got so cold that I had to go to the car and get some warm clothes to change into.

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Would I Run It Again:

Absolutely! It was so much fun running through the trails at Horseshoe Resort in the winter. The natural terrain and snow made for great cross training. I had a blast with all my friends and fellow Alpha Obstacle Training crew. The weather was perfect, even though it was cold when you finished the race. Our winter weather can be so unpredictable though, so next year’s race could be either freezing cold or mild like this one. The obstacle were easy and so much fun. This is a great obstacle race for beginners, families and groups. I can’t wait to do it again next year and hopefully get some more friends to join me.

 

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2014 Total Kilometers and My Main Goal For 2015

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They say goals are more achievable when you write them down…right?

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Unfortunately, I did not reach my goal of 2014 km’s in 2014. 😥 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) 😦 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?.. 🙂

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! ❤

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Last Run of 2014

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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. 🙂

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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.

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Happy Anniversary To My Tribe

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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. 🙂

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 😉 ] 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

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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!

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Tribe Ugly Sweater Run

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

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

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Spot the Olympian! 😉

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Warmer weather is among us

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

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My birthday run! ❤

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

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

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

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Tribe Does Trail

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Tribe Scavenger Run

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

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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

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Can you see our Tribe shirts?

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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.

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