TYS10K

TYS10K Recap

Happy long weekend everyone!

I hope you all are treating yourselves to a bit of a sleep in and relaxing morning. I know I am!

Let’s talk about races, in particular, The Yonge Street 10 KM that I raced last weekend.

I always learn something from races, especially the ones that don’t go well. This race was no exception.

I was really excited to do this one. I had partnered with the Canadian Running Series as a digital champion and it was incredible to build such a solid online community of local runners. I was excited to meet up with friends and meet some of the people that I had been encouraged by online for the past number of months.

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Saturday before heading up to Toronto, I did a taper run with a new running group I am with in Waterloo. I’ll be sharing more later, but let’s just say, it involves garbage….

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We headed to eat after the run and I noticed that my wallet was at home, which set Angela and I back on our trip to Toronto, meaning we missed our race kit pick up. We consoled ourselves with an amazing dinner at an adorable little café in Toronto called The Beet.

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We put in a solid 8 hours of sleep and woke up early to get our race kits and meet up with racing buddies. I have a rare gift of being able to sleep hard anywhere, anytime and under any circumstances so I had no difficulty getting a restful night before the race.

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After picking up our race kits, we met up with Krysten, Christina and the crew at Starbucks for some pre-race chatter. After drinking my mandatory pre-race coffee and fuelling up, Angela and I headed out to warm up.

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For pre-race fuel, I ate a Chocolate Performance Energy Power Bar an hour before and had a Powerbar gel packet 20 minutes before heading to the starting line.

I was impressed at well organized this race was. Everything felt intuitive and well put together, you didn’t need to travel far to get to the different locations – I am certainly going to run it again next year. And then there is that amazing course…

I was racing the red corral so we went out first. It was a fun downhill course and Angela and I were pace buddies for the first half of the race. I was so grateful to see one of my best friends, Leanne out cheering for me and she managed to take this blurry photo of us racing at around 2.5 km into the race.

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I hit the half way mark at 20:38 and that is when things began to dissolve for me. A familiar numbness hit my legs and I needed to slow to a walk. I felt myself getting frustrated and mentally losing focus. I dug really deep into training that I have done to keep this from getting too entrenched and pushed forward, but it was hard to find my rhythm again. I saw a chiropractor this week to check out my back and figure out what is causing numbness so I will do a follow up on this, but I was able to keep moving at a decent pace and crossed the mat for an official time of 42:01. (Silly second!)

To be honest, I was feeling a bit frustrated when I finished because of my leg numbness but the support from my friends and later confirming that I PREd by over 5 minutes from my last 10 KM in 2012 helped me to cheer up.

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That and the fact that there was amazing food and conversation to be had at Fresh.

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Honestly, the best part of this race was the people. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by such a solid network of bloggers and social media experts and it is a pleasure to share a race with them. These are some of the most talented and exceptional people you will ever meet and I am so happy to call them friends.

Did you race last weekend? How did it go? 

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DNF and Cornstarch – What I Learned in My First Two Races of 2014

It was a dark, cold night after the Re-frigee-eighter. Our Health + Performance group was standing around our coach to hear what the workout was for the evening. Before we began, he asked who raced that weekend and what their times were.

There was a lull in the conversation and I blurted out “I DIDN’T FINISH!”

After a silence I can only assume was warm sympathy from the group, our coach looked at me and said “You know, you really don’t need to tell people that.”

Oh but I do.

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My first race of the season was the Re-fridgee-eighter 8 Miler in the RunWaterloo series. I love this series and I do most of them throughout the year because they are homey, well organized and known for their delicious food!

Here is the thing – I signed up for the 8 Miler with a few strong workouts under my belt but I was still coming back from an injury and my physiotherapist asked me to do 8 KM instead of the 8 Miler. Being the fabulous and stubborn human that I am, I ignored him and ran the 8 miles.

Well, tried.

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At EXACTLY 8 km, the compression tights that I stupidly wore to race in got the better of me. My legs went completely numb and I couldn’t go any further. Now, I have pushed through races before where I was in pain. I have no problem with that and I will never drop out of a race if I am just tired. This was different. I physically couldn’t run.

As runners past me, I turned back and walked to the starting line feeling useless and angry at myself.

What did I learn?
- Listen to professionals. I do NOT know everything about running.
- Listen to your body in races. Something was wrong and I know I shouldn’t keep running. I have too many important races coming for me to blow it on a training race.
It is awesome to be a part of a running team. It was good to hear about every one else’s past DNF’s at the awards ceremony and get sympathy hugs. Sometimes you just need other people to tell you they have been there too.

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- A DNF is not going to kill you. Just almost.
-The RunWaterloo Series is as fun in the winter as it is in the summer and fall. Fact.

Thankfully, the next weekend brought a sunnier experience in Florida where I did a fun run with my family. We did Run or Dye in Tampa and it was their first race. I ran alongside my dad who was hoping for a sub-30 and he ran it in 26 minutes! Not bad for a first race.

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What I learned from Run or Dye:
I will not run it again. Absolutely not. Although it was a fun race, the organization was not there. The lineups were unreal and they only had one registration station. I also saw runners who were lost on the course as it was poorly marked. It is a fabulous concept with terrible execution.

Let’s not end on a bad note! Speaking of races, my schedule for 2014 is CONSTANTLY changing. I am no longer able to run the Promised Land 50 KM in Virginia in April, but I have added the following races to the line up in 2014. June is looking hectic!

June 1 - Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon – With the lovely Angela of Eat-Spin-Run-Repeat. This race is making for a two race weekend!

June 7 – Yankee Springs Double Marathon – 52.4 Miles – Headed up to Michigan to check in with the race director of Yankee Springs Series and my Transrockies team mate member to dream and scheme, and maybe pile a bit of hurt on my muscles.

June 22 – Guelph Lake Sprint Triathlon – First triathlon ever, following a race on Saturday. Another double race weekend and completed with Angela. I am noticing a trend…

Check out the other races in my 2014 schedule here.

Will I see you at any of them?

 

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January Goal Review

It is hard to believe that we have already headed into February. January has been a bit of a whirl wind, but if it is any indicator of how the rest of 2014 is going to go, I am in for a fabulous year!

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Despite being a busy month, I was able to tackle a few of my goals for January.

1. Sign up and confirm all my races for 2014. A

There are a few that I will need to register for as I go, but I am all registered for my races with the 5 Peak Series, the Transrockies 120 miler and the Canadian Running Series. You can see my list of races here. 

2. Work with my naturopath to clean up my diet. B

Well, let’s put it to you this way. I have went to her. I have been given my plan and I have been doing my best to follow it but I am probably at an 80% success rate, give or take. (See busy January). In February, we will be working on ways to increase my nutrition as my milage continues to climb in my training.

3. Renew my CPR and first aid certification. F

It is shocking to me how quickly a month can come and go. I will be putting this at the top of my list for the coming months and will have it re-certified before the spring. Please, no one have a tragedy around me at the moment as I am more or less useless. It’s hard to remember things from a year ago! :D

4. Spend some time in Toronto with these lovely ladies. A+

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And what a fabulous time it was! We went to Fresh and chatted about training, races and contemplated the best desserts. Basically, the best group of ladies ever.

5. Organize my marketing plans for the upcoming year at work. A+

Done. Not only that, but this is probably the first January where I am actually AHEAD by the time it closes out. It definitely was helpful to create an airtight plan and stick to it. I have a great group of interns working with me this term and I think it will be a fabulous year professionally as well.

It’s always onwards and upwards, so looking towards February, here are a few of my goals for this month. 

1. Learn how to ski. 

I am headed up to Blue Mountain, my winter sponsor, this week and I am determined to learn how to ski. I have a shiny new pair of skis waiting and I bought a beautiful new pair of boots last week. I prepped for success!

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2. Run my first race of 2014. 

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The third weekend of February, I am tacking a chilly 8 mile race in Waterloo. I am looking forward to getting back into racing especially as I have been able to increase my milage pain and injury free!

3. Volunteer with House of Friendship and Ray of Hope. 

This time of year can be hard for people. The sun hasn’t been out for weeks, winter is stretching on and it can be COLD. I am partnering with House of Friendship for their Potato Blitz to stock their food hamper for the year and Ray of Hope to help raise money for those who are hungry and hurting in our community.

4. Do some professional development. 

This month, I am planning on joining a few local business development and social media marketing groups to help increase my knowledge and connect with local professionals in my field. I also am taking a course on effective social media marketing and I am excited – I tend to get a little nutty about that stuff.

5. Drink 8 cups of water a day. 

I have been a bit poor at this over the winter and there has been one thing to blame. COFFEE. I love the taste of it on a cold day and so I have been drinking more coffee and less water. I am going to put out my best effort to turn that around this month and stay hydrated.

Want to hear more about goal setting? Check out my recent interview with the gentlemen of the Lifestyle Accountability Show. 

How about you? What are your goals for February?
Not a goal setter? Brag a little! What have you done lately that you are proud of? 

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October Goal Check in and 5 More for November!

Hi there!

Hope you had a fantastic weekend full of relaxing or in some of your cases, running marathons!!

I had a busy weekend taking some weekend extended learning courses, spending time with family and working at NIGHT\SHIFT, a project that I have helped create at my job.

As we head into a time change and a new month, it is time to review the goals that I set for October and make a few for November!

1. Qualify for Boston in my October 20th marathon. A+

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Wahoo! A hard race with an injury, but I ran my first marathon in 3:28:34. Looking forward to the next one and hoping to race it in 3:20:00 or less. I believe in celebrating success, but I also don’t stay satisfied for long!

2. Spend some quality time with my sister, Jolene. A+

My sister has to be supervised for all of her meals and one of the most memorable moments in the past month was the night I had returned from my 40 km run. I got her snack together upon returning and told her that I needed an ice bath. I prepped the tub, poured in the ice and climbed in fully clothed while she sat opposite me with her little meal. I told her that I wouldn’t get out until she was through. With anorexia, you need to seize little moments to make meals bearable, because so much of it is a struggle.

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3. Do some work on the blog. A

I have been a busy little bee making new changes on the blog. I had a great meeting with a website designer friend of mine and there is even more coming down the pipe, but here are some of the changes that I made this month.

Ramped up my About page and added some new features. 

Curated some of my Top Posts. 

Updated my Race page and sectioned them off into categories. 

With more changes on the way!

4. PR my 5 KM distance. A+

O YES I did! I ran a sub 20 minute 5 Km on 3 hours of sleep!

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5. Take in Octoberfest. A+

I went. :)

Ok. So what am I thinking for November?

1. Learn how to code! I am taking a course on CSS and HTML coding to help improve my web savyness and help me to make my own updates to the blog.

2. Complete my first trail duathlonNext weekend I am headed to Michigan to complete my last race of the season that consists of trail running and mountain biking. Keep your eyes peeled for a recap!

3. Heal my Achilles Injury. I have some therapy booked for after my race to reduce inflammation. I am also focusing on resting to recover from a hard season and using the rest of 2013 as a bit of an off season to start ramping back up in January. I have some huge news coming for 2014 which will require my legs to be speedy and healthy.

4. Get my Christmas shopping done! That’s right! I want to have everything completed by the end of November! December will be busy enough without shopping thrown in and now that I am resting, I should have tons of time!

5. Take a professional development course. I am taking some courses on marketing and sales for my job. I am looking forward to adding a bit to my knowledge base!

How about you? What are your goals for November?

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100 Miles of Wild Recap

A big thank you to all of you were so patient as I pressed a giant reset button and took a few weeks off of blogging to go on the Trek and get organized when I returned. This past Friday night, I spent that majority of the evening unpacking, organizing and going over the financial details of the trip. Can I just say that driving all the way to North Dakota and back cost me a mere $330 in my Prius? LOVE my car!

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I have gotten a lot of people asking me about my trip. How it came about? How the experience was? How I am feeling? I have a lot of caring people in my life and I figured this is the best way to bring everyone up to speed.

How it came to happen:
A couple Wednesdays ago, I was sitting in my regular spot in Starbucks, sipping a latte and trying to hammer out my column for AJ: The Green Athlete. The latest one can be seen here.

I was short on time and I was scrambling to find an organization that connected athletes and environmentalism. I forget exactly how it happened, but I landed on Adventure Science out of the blue and read their information on 100 Miles of Wild Trek in North Dakota this spring. I began furiously typing up my piece, getting more and more excited about the organization.

I thought it was an American company, but I felt a compulsion to email the founder, Simon Donato, and said I wanted to get involved somehow. I was thinking helping with the website, content, copy or promotion, but within 10 minutes, he had emailed me back and said that one of his athletes was hit by a car and potentially could not participate in the trek and would I be interested?

The days before leaving were a blur of requesting time off from bosses, cancelling appointments and a surgery, borrowing gear from friends, getting travel insurance, buying gear from Adventure Guide and figuring out how to tell my mother who had left the country for a short trip and had no idea that I would up and leave for a 100 mile trek while she was gone. (She has known me for over 23 years, I cannot understand why she would be surprised anymore).

My favourite conversation was with my AJ boss before I left. I called him to ask permission to go:

“So, it is going to the badlands of North Dakota and running 100 miles and it would be my vacation time and I will get everything done that I need to when I get back and (Insert other run-on, desperate pleading sentences here)”

He was silent for a moment. “Jessica. I knew you were an unusual human being when I hired you, but I can never get used to the requests you keep throwing my way. But GO!”

So I went. I had a brief conversation with my father as I headed to the border so he could tell my mom and break it gently. He gleefully crowed “THIS is the reason I held you over the banister by your ankles and swung you around when you were young – so you wouldn’t be afraid of anything!” (Do not jump to thoughts of child abuse. We loved it and always asked for more.)

Anyways. So the drive was a LOT longer than I thought. I taught a spin class before heading out and was on the road by 8 am on the last Friday of April. I had loaded up my iPod with new music and an audioversion of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, but the roads blurred into each other and I was almost hallucinating when I reach Minnesota for the evening to stay with one of the trek leader’s houses.

I saw distances like this on my GPS.

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Drive 760 km, then turn left

Soon, I was in the barren world of cactuses, oil trucks and country music. I heard advertisements for liquor stores that were leveraging cattle branding parties as a reason to come in and buy booze.

I arrived on the Saturday to the tiny town of Grassy Butte where I abandoned my car, picked up my huge back pack and headed to the base camp with the leader of the trek, Richard.

From there, I met the team and was briefed on what we were to expect for the week.

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 3.09.13 PMWe were to head out into the badlands and would cover territory that people have never walked on and probably will never walk on again. We were to stop every 2-3 hours for “science” as they called it. We entered an analysis of the surrounding vegetation and wildlife into a book and took film and video footage to back it up.

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Why? Because they are planning on putting in 30 – 50,000 new oil wells in the badlands over the next 5 years. Our team’s goal was to go into the badlands as a completely neutral group of scientists and ultra runners, go to the wildest and most remote bits of the badlands and report back. The research will be taken to the University of North Dakota and the information will be presented to the citizens to help them make informed decisions when it comes down to the decisions surrounding the oil pads. Also, many years ago, it was the Badlands that inspired Theodore Roosevelt to develop the National Parks System and it was our job to see if the Badlands were as life changing now as they were back then.

I can tell you they are. I spent 7 days immersed in them, outside every day. Some days it was so cold that we woke up with frost on our tent and other days I came back with a sunburnt nose. We saw every form of wild life and woke up to sights like this:
Photo cred: Andrew Reinhard

Photo cred: Andrew Reinhard

I had experienced a lot of sad and discouraging things in 2013 – a break up, financial set backs, surgery, fear for Jolene. And even though the Badlands didn’t take any of that away, it was a reset button. I met some of the most incredible people who either love science or ultra running and in many cases both.  I was able to learn so much from the people around me. I learned how to orienteer from a US Army Ranger and discovered native flints in the creek bed with a geologist. The badlands broke me open and then filled me again.

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Getting away from the sappiness, an average day out there would begin with this.

We would put on our running clothes for the day (or in my case, almost every piece of clothing I brought to stay warm) and head to the eating area for Stoked Oats. (Buy them).

By around 7 am, we were ready to hit the Badlands with our maps, detectors and garmins. I was either on team Speed Deer or Mountain Kitty and we covered 20-30 miles with 3000-4500 ft of altitude each day. We would hike, climb and run through rolling buttes, grass lands, cattle feeding pastures and creek beds reporting on the wild life, landscape and oil pads, arriving at the last point at around 5-6:30 pm each night.

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Modelling some petrified wood

Modelling some petrified wood

Taken on the last day. They told us to take fun pictures but after running through miles and miles of cattle grazing, this was as creative as we could get.

Taken on the last day. They told us to take fun pictures but after running through miles and miles of cattle grazing, this was as creative as we could get.

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We were picked up and taken to base camp, which moved about 3 times throughout the course of the Trek. From there, we would “shower” (baby wipes), change into every article of clothing we had and gather around the fire to eat dinner and discuss our day, which was recorded or filmed to provide additional data.

By 10 – 11 pm each night, we would fall exhausted into our tents and the day would start all over again.

Our Team was the following:

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Simon Donato: Geologist, Elite Adventure Racer, Founder of Stoked Oats, Host of the tv show Boundless. (Watch the trailer here) Ultrarunner.

Richard Rothus: Archaeologist, Historian, and Owner of Trefoil Cultural and Environmental and was in charge of Basecamp and Logistics.

Andrew Reinhard: Director of Publications for the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA), Archaeologist. He headed up the control group which walked the trails of the Badlands.

Tim Puetz: Biomedical Research, National Institutes of Health, Army Ranger. Ultrarunner.

Keith Szlater: Technical Service and Basecamp and Logistics coordinator.

Tyler Leblanc: Our paramedic and member of the control team.

Jane Davis: Community Health Educator and Ultrarunner.

and, um. Me.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful experience to get to know all of these amazing and accomplished people over the course of a week. Another cool thing about the trek is that we carried the Explorer Club Flag.

untitledThe Explorers Club is an international multidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research, of which Theodore Roosevelt was an honorary member. The flag represents the impressive history of courage and accomplishment, and has been carried by members to the Moon, the depths of the ocean, and around the globe. I am excited to be able to join the club having been on an approved expedition with the flag.

I will be going on more adventures with this team as I am now an ultrarunner for Adventure Science. I was given a huge boost of confidence by some of the ultra runners who told me they didn’t slow down for me. It instilled a desire in me to train harder, race more  frequently and in more international races and the belief that I am good enough to do it.

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It was sad to say goodbye to everyone on the team, but last Saturday, I dropped Jane off at the airport and began the long trek home. I stayed in Chicago for the night, ate deep dish pizza for the first time in my life (overrated) and slept for a solid 12 hours.

I arrived home on Sunday night and hit the ground running Monday morning.

Needless to say, with 48 hours of driving, I had a lot of time to think, some of which relates to the blog. Keep your eyes peeled for some new changes. Laces and Lattes will be around for a long time, but it will continue to change because I keep changing. Thank you all for being along for the run!

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For more reading on the trek, check out:

Adventure Science Facebook Page

Article in the Dickonson Press

Article in the Bismarck Tribune

100 Miles of Wild Press Conference

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Races in 2013

kbell-setIt’s the [almost] weekend!!!

I am planning to teach a few classes, go to the Total Women’s Show in Waterloo and meet up with some friends for dinner so a busy weekend per usual.

Back to fitness. Recently, I sat down to one of my favourite tasks of the year – plotting out my race calendar for the year. The annual Get Out There Magazine Race Guide had hit my desk so I poured over triathlons, marathons and fun runs until I came up with the best list EVER.

I try to keep it limited to only the very BEST and fill in extra races as they come.

This is what I am planning on doing in 2013:

VICTORIA’S DUATHLON:

Monday, May 20, 2013 – Run 4 km, Bike 30 km, Run 4 km 

If all goes well, this will be my very first duathlon. I teach quite a few spin classes a week and run regularly so this is the race for me! I am pushing back the beginning of my race season a little later than usual because of all the classes I am teaching and I want to be sure I am mentally and physically prepared.

5 PEAKS TRAIL RACE

June 8 – Rattlesnake Point – 12 KM trail race

I admit it. Trail running has my heart. I have done a 5 peaks race before and I absolutely LOVED it. Trail running and it starts off with Kicking Horse Coffee.. Obvious choice.

This is a perfect time for a dig for my beloved environmentalist, trail running wonder of a friend who is always up for an adventure.

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Leanne: the blonde beauty in the centre

Leanne and I met in a geography class in university and I received one of my instant girl crushes.

I only have three – you know who you are!!!

Continuing down this rambling path, I will occasionally announce to Jesse that “I am in LOVE!” and he will look levelly at me and ask “Ok. Who is she?”

I love my girl friends and could not live without them.

I digress.

Leanne and I are planning to do the Meet Your Maker 50 Miler in Alberta in 2014. It is my next foray into the magical and almost untouched world of ultra running for me and I. cannot. wait.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S RUN – 30 KM – AUGUST 17, 2013

Me running it in 2010

I have done this one before. (If you follow the link, for some reason NONE of my pictures work anymore: sorry) I absolutely love it. They have pacing “fairies” instead of rabbits, it is by the beaches in Toronto and they have the best medals at the end. Cannot wait.

SCOTIABANK MARATHON – October 20, 2013 – 42.2 KM

Although I have ran a 30 km before and an ultramarathon, I have never actually ran a marathon distance. I am SO excited for this one and I am leading a number of running clinics in the area to train others for races so I figured I would build milage on top and shoot for a marathon! I did a lot of research and settled on this marathon as it received raving reviews at almost every site I was on. I cannot WAIT!

That’s it!

Now go enjoy your weekend!

What races are you doing this year?

If you aren’t a racer, do you get girl crushes? My celebrity girl crush is totally Blake Lively…

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Race Prep

So last night, I arrived home and the mail fairy had been at my house.

Angela hooked me up with some free stuff from Silver Hills Bakery. I got a cute little t-shirt, stickers and 5 coupons for a free loaf of their bread. I am even more excited because it is sprouted whole grain bread meaning I will be the only one eating it in my house. My family cannot hack eating “bread with seeds in it” and I think my sister actually believes flour is really white.

Anyways. I am excited that it means more for me (and I do have some health conscious friends that will share. :) ). I will give an official review later when I don’t have so many other things to talk about.

I also got the first issue of my Trail Runner magazine. At one of my races this summer, I was asked to review the magazine if they gave me a free years subscription. Well sure, I mean, it’s not like I have anything else to read…

Sarcasm aside, I am really grateful for it and I will let you know what I think.

Alrighty, now to….RACE PREPARATIONS.

I was at the Expo tonight and picked up my racing bib and swag. Check it out…

The Run For the Toad is kinda the Cadillac of trail races…they are known for the amazing gym bag they give out. It even has a place to stash your running shoes. They also gave a whole wheat pita they recommend for breakfast, Hammer Gel, a Running magazine and epson salts for afterwards.

I will tell you more about the actual race set up later, but I can assure you the Expo is huge, there are many attendants and the scenery is BREATHTAKING.

I have spent the evening getting ready:

I am using my new bag and taking:

-my hydration belt

- my Garmin Forerunner 305

-2 pairs of shoes (I am beginning with my Saloman trail runners and switching to my Saucony with my orthodics at 25 KM.)

- Natural Muscle Ez…crazy crazy stuff. Smells awful, works like magic.

- compression socks

- ma bib!

AND

-my running clothes

- my GU and CLIF chomps. (I prefer these when I run because you can let them dissolve in your mouth instead of the work of gu’s.)

-nevertheless…GU’s (Clif and GU brands) I am trying Roctane for the first time. It is supposed to make you fly. It’s the blue one.

-CLIF bar. I love them.

- Starbucks Instant VIA package for some extra caffeine incase bottomless free Tim Hortons coffee on site isn’t enough.

Tonight I have been BBMing with a very very key person in the race tomorrow.

One of my best friends in the whole world. She is coming with me at the crack of dawn to a race to sit in the cold and possibly rain all day with people she doesn’t know and is watching my stuff and handing my shoes off to me at 25 KM.

She has been one of my biggest cheerleaders in running because she actually likes when I talk running endlessly.

It doesn’t get much better then this…

A picture of her, me and my baby sister at a 30 K in Toronto.

That reminds me..I am running tomorrow’s race for Jolene. She is struggling hard in her battle against anorexia and she is always in my thoughts and prayers.

This one is for you, Jolene!!!

Race Recap: A Midsummer Night’s Run

This was the hardest race I have run to date. This one, that is.

2:34 hours of 30 KM of city streets and trails by the lake.  I heard about it from a co-worker and decided to give it a go as a stepping stone before my 50 K. Probably wise, considering my longest race to date before this one was a 7 miler.

My sister was home from the hospital for the weekend and she was able to come observe. My mom came to attend to her and one of my best friends wanted to come as well.  I do so many of my races solo so it was a lot of fun to have people along.

They watched me announce on the drive to Toronto that I was not nervous, and then grow increasingly intense. I was going to DO this. This is the way I approach every race I run; not with anxiety but with a fierce determination.

I was in a rush before I left and made a grave mistake of packing…nothing foodwise. Brilliant, I know. The lovely thing about runners is they are so generous and really are a community. I had a lady overhear my remark of having no gels and she offered me hers as well as a food bar. I was quite grateful.

I drank a cup of gatorade before heading to the starting line.

I was pumped and just enjoying my music and the people. I love feeding off the nervous tension. I just love running.

The starting line.

Ok…GO!!!

I am such a newbie.

I had no clue what pace to run at the start of a race this long. I definitely learn by trial and error and I prefer to wing it rather than analyze it because it helps me to maintain my love for running by not making it a bigger deal than what it is.

I will let you in on a secret. It wasn’t easy.

I began with a 5:00 pace, and made myself slow to about 5:15.  The first few kilometers were quite crowded. About the 10th kilometer I was realising I was not running hard enough, especially when I was passed by the 2:30 pacing fairy. (I don’t normally get to say THAT in a sentence! They had the pacers dress up as fairies because of the Shakesperian theme). I began to give it a little more power.

We hit a long, boring stretch of path around this time and I took half of a GU pack. ( I took GU energy Tri-Berry. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it, as I am definately more drawn to the coffee and chocolate side of things.) I cannot explain how amazing these little things were to my performance. Within 3 Km, I felt like I was sailing. At around 16 Km, just as we were running on a gravel path around a lighthouse, I was feeling really great and I began passing people without feeling like I was overdoing it. So I continued. I ran an average 5:00 min/KM overall for the race.

I knew it wouldn’t last.

And it didn’t.

Around 24 KM, I wanted to stop. O man, did I ever want to stop. My legs turned to rubber and it was a full time job just to put one in front of the other. I inwardly swore when I saw hills and even my music wasn’t pumping me up anymore. I believe this is called The Wall, ladies and gentlemen!

I took the rest of my GU. I had been downing Gatorade the entire time. My body was buzzing with sugar and exhaustion. I rounded 28 KM and forced myself to maintain the pace because at this point, I was focusing more on remaining upright then running well. (All I can say is I will eat dinner before I run next time).  At 29 KM, I was close enough to the end that I just pushed to the end. Although I was not feeling as strong as I wished, I crossed that finish line with pride!

One of the amazing things about this race is they handed you a bottle of water the moment you cross the finish line!

An exhausted me getting a very welcome water bottle at the finish line.

I was totally done. I got my medal, grabbed a banana for later, posed for this photo:

With my best friend Rebecca and sister Jolene, and headed home to bed with my enormous finishers medal. I was tired, but I recovered quickly and felt good. I wasn’t the best runner of this race, but it was my first distance race and I felt like I gave it everything I had. I finished 120th out of 652 runners in 2:34:46.1.

Random comments:

I got my first black toe-nail from this race!

Also, some of the songs that I rocked out to on this race are:

Vous sur ton chemin- Les Choristes (So relaxing while I ran through a nature trail)
Hey- Lil John
Teenagers- My Chemical Romance
We No Speak Americano- Yolanda Be Cool
Remember The Name-Fort Minor

and 2 hrs worth of others, but that would just be ridiculous.

So just a quick moment to sing the praises of this race:

1. I am an English major, so the literary theme was awesome for me.

2. There were so many people at this race and it was so well organized. There were clear markers, many encouraging bystanders, frequent hydration stations, and a fun atmosphere.

3. The swag was unbelievable. I recieved a technical zip-up hoodie that was worth more then my race admission. The water bottle is fantastic and the medal is first rate.

4. The results were posted immediately following the race and there was clear instructions the whole way through.

I definately recommend A Midsummer Night’s Run to anyone living in the GTA.

Run Strong!