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ENDURrun Marathon Race Report

There is nothing I love more than spontaneous trips, so I am excited to be packed up and headed to Quebec this weekend to run the Impossible 2 Possible event in Gatineau with some of my fellow 5 Peaks ambassadors and friends! (Especially since everyone I know is headed to Vancouver to make me jealous!)

Travelling aside, let’s talk MARATHON. (Warning, another long post. Which is ok. This was a long race.)

This was my second marathon ever. I had NO CLUE how predict my times because I have been steadily gaining speed over the season, but you truly have no idea how that will hold up in a marathon until you run it. I had only found out I was racing for the women’s team 7 weeks out and was only in half marathon racing shape at that point. My coach and I put together an aggressive build and I followed it as closely as I could. Seriously. I threw myself into it and didn’t focus on much else.

The day before the race, I went to Stage 6 of the Endurrun to cheer on Kailey who was racing the 10 KM time trial for our team. I then went home and drank Gatorade and ate pancakes and maple syrup while propped up on pillows (because sitting would be too much energy) while watching Netflix. Carb loading heaven.

The next morning, I arrived with an hour to spare before the marathon and chatted with my four other team mates who were racing it as well. Lots of well wishes and high fives.

high five

I was not nervous for this race. For the first time in a long time, I arrived at the start line knowing I couldn’t have done anything differently. At 7:30, we were off!

I settled in beside Holger, a bad ass German runner on our team who was doing the whole 160 km week and had promised to pace me.
holger

He was on 120 KM and I was on fresh legs and we were going for the same time. Go figure. We didn’t talk much, but he occasionally told me a story or instructed me to adjust my pace. He has run quite a few marathons, so it was awesome to have a veteran baby sit me in my second one to help show me the ins and outs of proper pacing.

holger and i

The first half was uneventful. We were holding the average pace around 4:40 – 4:45 min/km (approx. 7 min/mile for my American friends) and I began feeling my IT band at around km 22. It quickly faded when I saw my blog buddy Ange who surprised me on the side line, cheering and holding this sign:

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 6.40.46 PM

She inspired me to pick up the pace and Holger told me to slow down or I would wear myself out. He said that by half way, I should be in pain (check) and by the last quarter, I should want to stop. (check).

Why yes, I do dump water on myself at aid stations.

Why yes, I do dump water on myself at aid stations.

We hit a water station at 33 km and I stopped to wash down a gel. I was taking one every 30 minutes per my coach’s directions for 60 g of carbs an hour. Holger ran right through and there was no chance of catching him. I got going and my pace dropped to 5 min/km. I never hit “the wall” (thankfully, I am informed it doesn’t exist if you fuel properly), but I just became majorly fatigued because the last 7 km were hilly and windy! When I hit the last aid station at km 39, Ange was waiting with this sign.

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 6.40.57 PM

At this point, I had some gut issues (because I don’t normally slam 6 gels in 3 hours) but my coach told me to put some Gatorade in my mouth and let it sit there for the rest of the race. I had also taken to making grunting/child labour noises when people were talking to me (I THOUGHT I was saying words) and drooling Gatorade. Ange paced me for about 200 metres (the lovely hot mess that I was) and I burrowed deep into the pain cave for the last 3 km.

My IT band was stabbing and I was just tired. I was racing the marathon in such a way that if it was 43 km, I would blow up. My coach was biking alongside me and talking me through the pace. He wasn’t pushing me, but saying things like “OK, you are at 4:40. That’s ok, just try and keep that pace going up the hill”.

“STOP LOOKING AT YOUR WATCH!”

coach

As I hit the last 500 metres, my team mate Brendan took over and cycled me into the finish line, telling me stories to keep my mind off the final run.

brendan

And suddenly, I was done.


finish

Angela kept her promise and had Nutella waiting for me at the finish line. (Which is just in time for my next marathon training build!)

I finished with a time of 3:21:36 which was 13 minutes faster than my first marathon and I am pleased with the time because this was a challenging course. It is good enough for second female to cross the finish line and to quality for Boston. Not only that, but our girls team set the course record for fastest female team which was our goal!  I love this team.

Spending some time discussing the week of racing with my team after the marathon.

Spending some time discussing the week of racing with some members of my team after the marathon. You can read our team recap here. 

I am so fortunate to have the support and love from my family as well, which means I get adorable notes like this waiting for me:

note

I also had amazing battle wound blood blisters. I knew it would happen because I felt my socks scrunching at 5 KM because I put them on improperly. Holger asked if I wanted to stop and fix them and I asked him if he was joking?! Instead, I wound up with these beauties:

Sorry. You probably didn't need to see that.

Sorry. You probably didn’t need to see that.

What I wore: CEP Compression Socks, Under Armour racing shorts, Health and Performance Singlet, Zeal Rival frames, Saucony Triumph

What I ate:
Before: Nuun Energy lemon lime (HELLLOO caffeine), banana
During: 6 GU gels.
After: The biggest plate of vegetables ever and Genuine Health chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

I have taken this past week off training completely to recover and the funny thing is, I felt better this week post-marathon than I did in my peak weeks of training. I was able to see my friends, I only showered ONCE a day, I was bouncing down stairs two at a time and I showed up to most things in a skirt instead of spandex. This is what normal people feel like!
Because I actively reject normal, I am starting my marathon build for Toronto Scotiabank Marathon on Monday morning and introducing a new feature that will share my training. I have instigated a few changes in training to do even better at my next one, including the highest mileage week I have ever run! All the marathons, all the time. Back to spandex!

Quickly before I head out, New Balance Canada is hosting an instagram contest, so head over to their account and high five their mascot to win a back pack. (Because summer is almost over and you should probably win something to deal with the depression of it all.)

What marathon are you training for?
If you win the backpack, would you pick blue or red?
Nutella is my training vice. What is yours?

SHOP-2

Recovery Post-Marathon

It is depressing to me that this is the second last week of August. Where did my summer go?

What is NOT depressing to me is how fast I was back on my feet after the marathon. I had some sharp IT band pain the day of after I was done but I was doing stairs normally the day after and by Tuesday, I was able to run up and down the stairs without a problem.

I have never ran a marathon faster or harder and I have never recovered more quickly. I will be doing a recap of the race on Friday, but I wanted to talk about what I did to recover so quickly and why it worked.

Before the marathon:

  •  Quite simply, I trained. I aimed for 12 hours of cardio a week and when I couldn’t safely reach that in running, I filled in the gaps with swimming and biking. I also did that adventure race that gave me practice with 8 hours on my feet.

adventure race

  • I tapered. I slowly drew back my milage and the final week, I focused only on a few quality sessions with one practicing my marathon pace. It was only in this week when things stopped hurting everywhere and began to isolate only in certain places. By race morning, I almost felt perfect.
  • I ate right. By right, I mean for a marathon. I cut caffeine the entire week before the race and went carb free for 4 days, switching to 80-90% carbs 3 days leading up. The final day before, I laid in bed all day and ate like 25 pancakes with my Creemore maple syrup while watching TV. I wish I was lying about this.

During the marathon:

  • I fuelled properly. I drank at every aid station and I took SIX gels. (65 g of carbohydrates an hour and I never bonked).
  • I paced properly. More later, but I kept it more or less consistent and it didn’t destroy me in the end.

After the marathon:

IMG_4447

The company calls them the little black dress of compression tights and I am not going to argue. I have never had such a specific sizing regime when ordering tights before and honestly, they fit like a glove. I found myself trying on different tops on Monday morning to see if I could wear them to a business meeting. (Turns out, I can’t but they still look rad).

  1. They feature something called Dynamic Gradient Compression which is just a fancy way of saying that is increases oxygen to muscles if you wear them while exercising and reduces lactic acid to speed up recovery.
  2. They have specific muscle focus which wraps and supports key muscle groups, reducing movement, soft tissue damage and getting rid of soreness.
  3. The fabric itself is wicking and has Memory MX fabric which means the tights will never stretch out.
  4. They feature 50 + UV Protection which means for all of those long runs where I naturally forget to put sunscreen on, they have me covered.
  5. They retail for $139.99 and are available online with free shipping. 
  •  No exercise. I’m taking the week off of running entirely. I am doing light spinning and starting a new to me exercise class, but other than that, I am doing lots of reading, relaxing and watching TV this week before my training plan for Scotiabank Marathon in October begins.
  • I didn’t wear heels. In fact, all I have been wearing since the marathon are my SKECHERS GoWalks.
    IMG_3799
    I was recently at a race and at the finish line, I was chatting with two other females who finished in the top three and we all reached in our bags and pulled out our GoWalks. They are probably the most comfortable post –race shoe I have ever worn and I use them to run errands but I am loving the new line that is stylish enough to wear to the office.
  • Hot and cold therapy. The day of the marathon, I spent about half an hour in the hot tub chatting with my sisters and the following day, I was icing my IT bands to speed up healing.
  • ART and massage. My coach specializes in Active Release Therapy so I went and saw him the day after the race while we chatting specifics for my Scotiabank marathon training plan. The following day, I went to Waterloo Sports Medicine for a massage. Both things flush out my muscles and speed up healing.

IMG_4459What are your tricks for post race recovery?

SHOP (3)

Core Exercises for Runners

Hey hey!

How was your weekend? Mine was fine, you know…just ran a marathon.

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I will be writing a recap on Friday but just know that the carb load was ridiculous. I have never done such an exaggerated preparation before. It is hard to feel like you are doing the right thing when you are doing the text book WRONG thing for any normal human (read: stuffing pancakes and cheerios and granola bars into your face like you haven’t eaten in weeks, never mind that you just finished eating an hour ago…)

Just know it paid off and I will be following the same procedure again!

I thought I would tackle a question that has been sitting in my inbox for an EMBARRASSINGLY long time. I received a reader question on what to do to prime your core for running.

Runners need a strong core because, beyond having a beautiful six pack, you want to ensure you have quality posture and speed. A strong core establishes strength for the rest of the body. 

  • A strong core means increased stabilization in the torso. Your core muscles keep your torso upright which allows the pelvis, hips, and lower back to work together more smoothly, with less rocking and as a result, less excess energy is expended.
  • Core strength significantly improves balance, meaning that you recover quickly any running missteps. 
  • Core strength for distance runners is especially important. Towards the end of long runs or races, when you are extremely fatigued, your form begins to suffer. Poor form not only slows you down, it also opens you up to potential injuries. Building up core strength will help to maintain good posture, and reduce the pains that result from poor posture.

Core Exercises for Runners

Plank - Planks are especially great for runners because they really emphasize the dependant relationship between your core & your limbs. Planks will strengthen your abs, eretor spinae (the muscles that run up & down your spine), chest, shoulders, quads, and hamstrings. I like to do side planks as well. You can hold for a minute or do tabata style (hold for 20 seconds, rest for 10 x 8)

plank

 

pallof

 Pallof Press - 

Attach a D-handle to a cable pulley, hold it at your sternum, and stand with your left shoulder pointed toward the machine—far enough away that you feel tension on the cable. (You can also use a medium-weight resistance band wrapped around a pole.) Keeping your shoulders and hips square, press the cable straight out in front of your body, resisting the tendency to rotate toward the machine. Hold the position for two seconds, then slowly return your hands to your sternum. Do three sets of 12 reps, and then repeat the press facing in the opposite direction. 

 

Ab Wheel Roll Out - Kneel on floor or mat. Grasp handles on wheel to each side with overhand grip. Position wheel near front of knees and lean over wheel with arms extended downward, supporting upper body.

With arms straight, roll wheel out as far as possible. Lower body gently to floor extending arms forward. Raise body back up by flexing hips and pulling arms back to original position. Return until hips are extended. Repeat.

abrollout

 

Reverse Crunch: To strengthen the entire ab area, lie on your back and extend your arms out to the side, or keep your hands behind your head if that’s more comfortable (top illustration). Raise your knees and feet so they create a 90-degree angle. Contract your abdominals and exhale as you lift your hips off the floor with control; your knees will move toward your head (bottom illustration). Try to keep your knees at a right angle. Inhale and slowly lower. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

reverse

What are your favourite core exercises for runners?

 

 

SHOP (3)

Albion Hills 5 Peaks Race Report/ New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Review

Happy Friday! I am in the midst of a delicious carb-load in prep for my marathon this weekend. It has been so much fun to be out at the other stages this week, cheering on my other team mates as they race their stages.

I am looking forward to leaving everything out on the course this weekend, but first, I wanted to do a race recap of the Albion Hills 5 Peaks race that I ran last weekend.

First of all, this is my new favourite course in the series. I was not familiar with the elevation profile and had no idea what to expect. I arrived in good time and went through my normal pre-race routine, including a light warm up and headed to the start line at 10 am. I was not intending to race the course hard because I had already begun a taper for the marathon this weekend, but I was looking forward to checking out the course!

shoes

 

5 Peaks always has the best swag and this race was no exception. Super cool heat and cooling pad which I am sure will be put to good use after this weekend.

I ran the Enduro course so I ran two loops of 5.7 km. I began in the first wave and headed quickly to the trail head because I knew there was a lot of single track and I wanted to make sure I was able to run the pace I was hoping for. I tucked behind my running buddy, Peter Lawless because we always end up running similar paces at these races and we chatted through the rest of the race.

The course itself was described as a roller coaster and it really was. So many twists and turns which is my favourite type of course. This was flatter than some of the courses and although there were some hills, it felt like the fastest course yet.

5PeaksAlbionHills

The last km was nice and speedy and I crossed the finish line feeling great!

finishline

I stayed for the awards ceremony and to spend some time catching up with my fellow ambassadors and trail friends. I placed second in my age group and I now have a medal in every colour from 5 Peaks. LOVE it. :)

awards_albionhills

 

Awesome race and I am looking forward to racing it again next year!

What I ate pre-race: banana, toast with nutella and coconut oil, nuun water.

What I wore: Saloman trail top, PUMA shorts, CEP compression socks, New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail

Let’s talk about that swag little pair of shoes for a second, shall we? New Balance gave me a pair to test out and ever since they have introduced their fresh foam technology, I have been increasingly excited about the shoes.

freshfoam980

Firstly, how fabulous are the colours? I got mine in Orange with Black and Apple Green. Here is what they look like in iPhone quality.

IMG_4300

 

This is completely a “do what I say and not what I do” thing, but I actually ripped the tissue paper out of them the morning of the race and headed out. I had ZERO issues and they were beyond comfortable with that “already worn in” feel.

One of the most helpful features of the shoe considering the steep, gravel inclines I was tackling was the bottom of the shoe which has a sweet design.

freshfoam980bottom

Looks like a reptile of sorts, but what it really does is claw you up hills.

I have had some concerns from readers when they saw my instagram photo of the race and shoes that they may be bulky. I will admit, that looks like a whole lot of heel for a trail shoe, but because of the light foam technology, they felt as light as some of my minimalist shoes.

I was impressed by how stable they were, considering the amount of cushioning but there were overlays in the fabric in the forefoot, allowing for extra stability. There is closed mesh in the shoe upper so there is no way that there will be sticks, stones or mud get through the shoe.

I love ‘em! I will be wearing them to race the rest of the 5 Peaks series and they will most likely sneak into my bag for Transrockies next year. I’d be happy to run 120 miles at elevation with these guys, and that is saying something.

How about you? Have a race last weekend or one on tap for this weekend? Let me know in the comments!

What is your favourite trail shoe?

 

SHOP (2)

Chase the Coyote

I have managed to make it to Wednesday. Not to be dramatic or anything, but this is the first time I have ever attempted to go caffeine-free. I will be honest, I am addicted and the headaches are not fun but I have been getting some SOLID nights of sleep because I am not fuelling with “liquid sleep” to get through busy evenings. If you just tuned in now, you can read this post to see what this no-coffee madness means.

Caffeinated days

Caffeinated days

To get my mind off caffeine deprivation, let’s talk races. Specifically the type of races that I like. Although I love the hype of big races, I am a huge fan of the small, independent races. I like the community feel and the unique prizes. I like the fact that they are often hidden gems in the running community and I often feel like a running hipster, trying to protect them before they go mainstream.

The Endurrun is one of those races. (Don’t run the whole thing yet! I want to in 2016…) I am racing stage 7 this weekend and I love the food, the family feel and the people at the races.

Another race that I have stumbled upon that I really don’t want to tell you about called Chase the Coyote. Probably one of the coolest race concepts I have ever seen, it has layers of fun for your enjoyment.

The race: Held in Orangeville, ON, it is a gorgeous trail race offering two different distances depending on your level of comfort on trails.

short-start
The Sprint: An easy, non-technical 5.7 km course to test out this whole trail running thing or to get your FASTEST trail race ever.

The Challenge: As challenging as the race directors could possibly make it full of cliff sides, roller coaster single track, slopes and stairs and the occasional vista (but you won’t be stopping for it anyways.)

Here is where things get crazy and they start speaking my language. Sign up for the Time Challenge and any male that can complete the 14.4 km loop in under an hour and any female who can do it in less than 70 minutes will receive a special “I Beat the Coyote” prize to be revealed on race day. Also, they introduced some shiny new medals this year and I don’t know about you, but I am excited to have this one join my collection:

photo

When: Saturday, September 27, 2014

Where: Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

Details: Early bird pricing ($40 for Challenge, $35 for sprint) ends on August 31. Next level pricing is $45/$40)

Whether you are there to chase the coyote or to beat the coyote, this race is stark, raving awesome. I am planning on heading up to the course before the race to test it out and I would be happy to have you join me. Email me at lacesandlattes[a]gmail.com if you have any questions.

What is your favourite race and why?
Ever given up caffeine for an extended period of time? How did you cope?!

SHOP (2)

The Week Before The Marathon

Well hello friends. Now THIS was a beautiful weekend! The weather was perfect for racing which is exactly what I did! I was at the Albion Hills Conservation area for the 5 Peaks race. I will do a full recap on Friday along with a shoe review of the new New Balance trail shoe!

shoes

 

Right now, I am coasting into the last week before my marathon and the goal is to do as little as possible, aside from a few runs to keep fresh and keep my legs spinning at a good cadence. I am racing Stage 7 at the Endurrun for the H+P Girls team. I have worked hard to build my milage, incorporate tempo and interval workouts and take a weekly rest day. Now that I am one week away from the marathon, here is what I am planning on doing.

Golfing: I know it sounds ridiculous, but I am doing light exercise and stretches that keep my limber. I have a golf tournament with work this week and I am planning on riding in the golf cart instead of walking the holes which is what I normally do.

Light running: Emphasis on the light. I tend to over train so I am trying to go for short runs and nothing more. I have done the work, the most important thing I can do at this point is rest. I am running the same amount of days in training, I just am decreasing the distance and focusing on quality over quantity.

Sleep: I am planning on spending the time that I would have spent training in bed sleeping instead. Fingers crossed that it will actually happen.

One session with a tempo pace: It is important to get your legs ready to punch out that high gear. I am planning to do an easier run on Thursday with 1-2 KM at race pace.

RUN

Playing with my food: Until Thursday, I will focusing on eating low carb to optimize fat burning for the race and I will also be cutting out caffeine so I have a super natural jolt the morning of the race. So basically, life will be bleak until Thursday when I start upping carbs. Glycogen stores are something that are built up over time so 3 days out, I will be adding more rice, sweet potatoes and healthy carbs to my diet. I will be focusing on making carbs 80-90% of my intake with the last couple days being low in fibre. The day before the race, it will be simple carbs to make sure my glycogen stores are topped up.

Water: I will be making sure to stay hydrated as I sloth around this week. I want to make sure that I make it to race day with a full tank and feeling well. This is NOT a fast or easy marathon course and I want to do as well as I can.

Skipping strength training. There will be no muscular gains for me this week. Focusing on a full rest for muscles. 

What did you do this weekend?

Have you run a marathon? What are the best and worst things you did one week out?

SHOP (1)

Race Report: Michigan Adventure Race

Three cheers for Friday! It is the last weekend before my marathon (so hard to believe) and to celebrate my taper, I’m doing a race (5 Peaks Albion Hills Enduro distance) and I am looking forward to being reunited with my trail buddies. Other than that, I doing a movie night with friends, a brunch and taking a Jays game. It is so bizarre to have free time to socialize now that my training is easing up a bit. I do not hate it! (For those of you who I told that I would rest instead of socializing, that will be next week. :P)

Ok, I was getting a lot of requests for this recap (warning…it’s a lengthy one!). Last weekend, I travelled to stay with my dear friend, Kim in Michigan for an adventure race.

I LOVE this lady. Looking forward to trekking the Rockies with her next summer!

I LOVE this lady. Looking forward to trekking the Rockies with her next summer!

I love to get down to Grand Rapids area whenever I can because I adore the trails in the area. Switchback Endurance does an amazing race series and you can see some of the races I have done here and here. The last time I was down for a race, we all were out for dinner afterwards and Michelle, my team mate, joined us and said “All I want is an endurance athlete who can keep up with me so I can practice my orienteering.”

She gave me a side glance and I didn’t even hesitate. I signed up that week and began doing a bit of training on the water and mountain bike to prep myself. I have been known to just launch myself into things before and this was no difference. I think I have a bit of overconfidence in my abilities. What do I mean? The first two times I went golfing, I played a tournaments. The first two times I went mountain biking, I was in races. I went from running 7 miles to my first ultramarathon. I just have a bit of an overconfidence in my abilities combined with a risk seeking personality. It is a bit of a lethal combination but it keeps my life full of adventure.

What is an Adventure Race?

Adventure Racing is a combination of two or more endurance disciplines, including orienteering, trail running, mountain biking, paddling and climbing. An expedition event can span ten days or more while sprints can be completed in a matter of hours. There is no suspension of the clock in races, irrespective of length; elapsed competition time runs concurrently to real time and competitors chose if and when to rest.

Basic Gear: (I am keeping this basic because the actual list of gear is extensive!)

ARnutrition
You are given a waterproof passport that has numbers corresponding to check points that are punched with stamps.
Mountain Bike and associated gear
Canoe and associated gear
Orienteering Maps
Compass
Hydration pack
Nutrition

Key Rules:
The cut off time is final. If you are late, you are disqualified.
If you lose your passport, you are disqualified.


instructions

Adventure Racing Lengths
Sprint: 2- 6 hours
12 HR – 6 – 12 HR
24 HR – 18 – 30 hours
Multi Day – 26 – 48+ hr
Expedition – 2 – 11 day

The race I participated in, the Michigan EPIC edition was technically considered a 12 hr, although it was only 8 hrs. We arrived at the race location at 6 am and dropped off our bikes and canoes.

Grainy, dark early morning picture of the transition area

Grainy, dark early morning picture of the transition area

The way an adventure race works is that you do not know where the check points are ahead of time. At the race briefing, they hand out the race maps and check point hints and the teams get to work on strategizing and water proofing the maps.

Kim and her team mate strategizing the course.

Kim and her team mate strategizing the course.

At 8:40, we were off. Well, everyone else was. My team mate and I needed to run a few items back to the vehicle and had a late start. We ran a mile or so to the water and grabbed the canoe for the first portion of the race: the 6 mile paddle. There may have been a canoe accident and Michelle broke her carbon paddle. This was quickly rectified by a helpful racer who offered us his extra paddle.

There were 3 check points on the river and this portion took us about 1.5 hours. I am not a strong water athlete so this was a good challenge for me.

adventure race
We transitioned to mountain bikes at around 10:10 and headed to the trails. I am not going to lie, there were some very scary portions of this for me. I am not an avid mountain biker and although I have the physical fitness, I do not have the technical skills that made the steep terrain and sand easy to manoeuvre. Every time we hit gravel or paved road, I would take off like a shot to get the next check point, but it was less comfortable on the trails. Certainly something to work on for the future. I only took one nasty fall after flying down a steep hill and hitting a rock and sand patch which pitched me over the edge. I was able to scramble back up on my bike, but my confidence was shaken a bit.

Throughout the day, we travelled by mountain bike or on foot, gathering check points from 4 of 5 local wild areas. About 2 hours into the ride, Michelle’s back tire went flat and we lost about 30 minutes changing that. We were clear in communicating and reminding each other to eat. There were some super fun areas where I needed to do intense river crossings to get the check points, which looked like this:

Example of a checkpoint. The red thing hanging down was the stamp for the passport.

Example of a checkpoint. The red thing hanging down was the stamp for the passport.

Around 7 hours, I was starting to fade. I missed a check point and needed to scramble back up the hill. I split open my big toe nail and was in a lot of pain. Michelle was getting tired as well, but we managed to keep moral and kept chasing check points hard. We arrived back to the race location with barely a moment to spare and dropped the bikes and shared our stories with fellow racers.

What I learned about adventure racing:

  • The people are incredibly generous and kind. Like most of the endurance community, they would give you the shirt off their backs to help you.
  • It is absolutely necessary to remain calm and collected. Things WILL go wrong but if it is out of your control, you need to let them slide off your back and be kind to your team mate if you are doing a team race.
  • It is important to clearly communicate. After every checkpoint, I went through a check list of items with Michelle to make sure we were on track. It saved us from missing anything.
  • Eat and drink whenever you can. You are burning more calories than you realize and as the day wears on, it is easy to bonk.

zeal

Speaking of food, it is important to chat about nutrition on a race like this. You want a nice mixture of sweet and salty and a number of adventure racing veterans suggested eating every hour.

pack

I tried my best to keep up with this and this is a run down of the fuel that I used in my race:

Genuine Health – I do most of my sports supplements with Genuine Health. I drank a pre-race ActivFuel to prepare me for the race and had my favourite protein bar in the bag for mid-day. I also finish every endurance race or training session with almond milk and their chocolate protein powder.
Nuun – I train and race with Nuun Hydration. They have no sugar and a nice mixture of electrolytes and sodium. I had two tablets of tropical flavour in my bag mixed with a Nuun Energy tablet for some caffeine.
Skout Organic – Skout is a new-to-me company that was perfect for this race. It is perfect food for adventure racing and exploring. I had the trail bar which is certified organic, gluten free and few ingredients including oats and dates. I also had a package of their organic pumpkin seeds with sea salt. I will be using these in my ultra marathons in the future, including my Transrockies 120 miler next summer.

skout
Snickers – Person after person touted Snickers as a fun snack to have in case you couldn’t eat anything else. I had no problem with my other nuts, fruit and bars so I stuck to that, but I am sure this is an awesome energy surge!
Justins Almond Butter Packs – these guys were perfect little “gel packs”. It was a substantial enough fuel to fill me up but small enough that I could take it while mountain biking on the trail.
Apples – Nothing is better than crunching on a good apple while strategizing your next check point.

I was happy to have a steady source of energy and was happy with the fuel sources I chose.
I was absolutely shocked when we were announced as the female winners! I knew we tried our utmost, but there was a strong field of female adventure racers out and it was an honour to win.

trophy
I think it was a great balance of a fantastic team mate, being in good shape and having beginners luck! I have been asked to crew a couple adventure races coming up this fall so I am excited to learn the ins and outs of this sport.

winners

Have you ever done an adventure race? Which one and how did it go?

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Janji – Run for Another

This week feels crazy short thanks to a Canadian holiday on Monday. I hit the ground running at the office this week and am playing catch up after about 6 days off. An hour into getting back into the office, I was making a presentation to senior management. I still feel as if I am doing a “fake it till you make it” in my new position, but I am seriously loving every second.

Especially because the occasional day at work looks like this:

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Or this:

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Speaking of finding things that just FIT you, I wanted to talk a little bit about a gem of a company that I stumbled upon and fell in love with.

Janji is a socially conscious running clothing company dedicated to fighting the global food and water crisis. Based in Boston, Janji sells running shirts and shorts designed based on the flags of developing countries.

For me, running is based on so much more than just me, which is why I train with a team. My team mates are not just my running partners, they are my friends, which is why you are just as likely to find me cliff jumping or tearing up a dance floor with them as running alongside them on the trails. Running is about friendship.

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Spending the afternoon at the water with team mates.

Running is also about inspiration and making a difference. When I ran my first ultramarathon in 2010, I dedicated it to my sister and her decade long struggle with anorexia. I think at the time, I thought that if I ran it, then she could beat the disorder. Although the act of running didn’t heal her, I think it healed me in a way because it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I run because even though it doesn’t make a difference, it brings hope.

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I wore a bib attached to my shirt that read “For Jolene: You are STRONGER than you think.”

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Highly emotional photo for me. My other sister and father surprised me at the finish line to support me in my race and my statement for our family.

And Janji gives me a way to actually give back to people just by running. The latest shirt I ordered gave one year of drinking water to a person in Tanzania. Not only is it a quality running shirt with a rocking style, but it is making a difference in the lives of other people, which is at the heart of why I run.

Proceeds fund MSABI’s deep-water well projects throughout Tanzania, that help make drinking water safer and more accessible for Tanzanians. By supporting MSABI’s efforts to build sustainable and durable water wells, we can give the people of Tanzania the clean water they need.

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Want one too? Janji is offering a 20% discount to readers. Just enter the discount code: laces&lattes. Make me jealous and let me know what you order!

I would love for you to join me in my next run with another company that values community and sustainability. I am racing the Albion Hills 5 Peaks race this weekend and I have a discount code to share with you if you are interested in racing it with me.

Who or what do you run for?

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Goal Setting for August

Hi friends! Happy holiday Monday to my Canadian readers! I got in late last night from Michigan – I spent a sun-soaked day running trails and lounging by the lake before heading home in the evening so I am posting this a little later than normal.

I did my first adventure race this weekend in Ada, Michigan and it was quite the wild ride. I will be posting a full recap on Friday because today I am tackling my goals for the next month and taking a look at how I did in July. 

1. Prepare for my marathon in 7 weeks. A++

Honestly, I feel like I have done little else other than working and a few side projects over the past 4 weeks. I am crossing my fingers that I will do well. I feel strong, trained and fully confident that although it will hurt, I will be able to hold things together. I am 2 weeks out and the taper portion has begun.

2. See my friends and family more. A++

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Family vacation in New York

Making bad anorexia jokes with my sisters. (Disclaimer: My youngest sisters does have severe anorexia and has for over a decade. Although it is a very serious issue, sometimes laughter is as much a part of the process as mourning.

Making bad anorexia jokes with my sisters. (Disclaimer: My youngest sister does have severe anorexia and has for over a decade. Although it is a very serious issue, sometimes laughter is as much a part of the process as mourning.)

You can see a series I did on our family’s journey with the disorder here.

Post adventure race with one of my endurance athlete heroes.

Post adventure race with one of my endurance athlete heroes.

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Catching up with some of my best friends from university.

3. Settle into my new volunteering role. A+

I met with the director of the program and I have my first board meeting in September. I am on the PR Board of a local organization that provides housing and addiction services to those in my local community.

4. Take mini-vacations. A++

I was so good at this as well! I just came back from spending a few days in New York and Michigan. Over the past month, I spent some weekends in Toronto, Hamilton and London. It’s been such a solid month of summer awesome.

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5. Take to the lakes and trails to prep for my adventure race. A

No plus on this one. I went into the adventure race feeling a bit unprepared, especially with the mountain bike portion. But my hard month of physical training kicked it and I did well, despite not being as technically prepared as I hoped. I did get to have some practice on the water though.

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I don’t know if I will be able to meet my goal smashing success of July this month, but I will give it my best shot.

In August, I want to:

1. PR (Personal record) and BQ (Boston Qualify) my marathon. 

I am running stage 7 of the Endurrun on the Health and Performance women’s team. I don’t think I have ever trained as hard for a race in my life because I know there is not just me, but an entire team that is counting on my performance.

2. Do some networking for work. 

I have some business meetings and work events this month and I am hoping to settle further into my new position because the fall is the busiest time for me.

3. Rest. 

The next couple weeks are taper time. I am hoping to drink lots of water, eat healthy food and get lots of sleep to be refreshed and ready to rock the race.

4. Get organized!

This summer has been moving a warp speed which means that there are things that have dropped by the wayside for me both on the blog and in my personal living space. I am hoping to attack some projects and get a little bit more organized.

5. Dive into a big project. 

I have joined up with a big, exciting project with a company and team that I think the world of. The next 4 months will be filled with a lot of behind the scenes grunt work, but I am looking forward to tackling it and sharing more soon!

What are your goals for August?

 

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Time Trialling

Hey guys!

I am making this a quick check in because I am currently on vacation with the family in New York. Taking a couple days to ride some roller coasters, get in some quality training sessions and spend some down time before heading to Michigan this weekend for my first adventure race.

The adventure race is 60-80 miles (we find everything out only the morning of the race) and is canoeing, mountain biking and trekking. I am looking forward to doing some bush whacking and learning some solid orienteering skills from my team mate who is a master orienteerer who has been adventure racing for 10 years. And of course, reconnecting with one of my favourite endurance athletes from Michigan.

Kim - my partner in crime and team mate for Transrockies 120 Miler next year!

Kim – my partner in crime and team mate for Transrockies 120 Miler next year!

I will be giving a full race report but for now, I wanted to do a quick recap on my first time trial with my Health and Performance team. It was a fabulous event with some fabulous sponsors including RunWaterloo and New Balance.

I often race longer events and I was a bit nervous about this one, especially because THE DAY I published this post, I woke up with a bit of pain in my Achilles. I freaked out, of course, and I instantly booked an appointment with my coach.

I posted this to my facebook page this week:

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I love having a coach because of the incredible gains I have made in my performance and to have someone who can assess injuries and tell me how I am doing or not doing. He examined my Achilles, did some active release and told me to race the time trial.
Heading to start of the time trial, I was nervous because my legs were sore from my weekend of long runs and track events and the elite girls team was stacked.
I did some warm ups and spent some time hanging out with the girls in my wave.
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I am good friends with each of these girls, either having raced varsity with them or met them through training on the team. They are all fast and impossibly fit and it is a pleasure to race with them.
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The first two waves went and I wasn’t able to watch as closely as I hoped because I was busy warming up and trying to get the hurt to go from my legs. I knew it was only 2.2 km but I knew it would be full of hurt.
Before I was ready, it was time for the elite wave to go and I lined up, feeling strong but ready to just get it over with.
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I honestly don’t remember much of the race, especially because it was such a short one. I have never done a race this distance before and it was fun to push full speed and be pushed by runners around me.
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Not the best race picture, but I was pushing hard.

We did two loops of the park and I finished 2.2 KM in 7:37. You can see my Strava report here.

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It was such a blast to race with my team at my first time trial. Here are the official results of the event. So many huge records set and I look forward to coming back next year and challenging my time!

Do you train with a team? If so, what is a unique event that you do?

Adventure racers: Leave advice for me this weekend. I need all the help I can get!