Sunday, 22 December 2013

Coffee, Tea or Me

The holidays are quickly approaching and the year is coming to a close. 2013 has been a wonderful year for my family and I. We are currently in Hong Kong on a family vacation and will be spending Christmas and New Years here.

I was bitten by the travel bug many years ago when my parents took my brother and I to Hong Kong to visit my family. At the time, most of my relatives were still living in Hong Kong.It was the first time I met my grandparents and many aunts and uncles. I remember being in awe of the stewardesses and of being in an airplane so large. The flight was a dream come true except getting sick during a stop in Narita. When I got home from that trip, I remembered that I wanted to go back and ride an airplane again. My parents have a framed picture that I drew for a cover page for a class with the jobs we wanted when we grew up and the three professions I drew were 1.Nurse 2. Teacher 3. Stewardess. I laughed when my parents showed this to me as I had completely forgotten about this assignment.

I had not intended on joining the airlines, it kind of found me. It has been great and has allowed my family and I to travel the world.

I knew that when I had a family, it wouldn't stop me from traveling. I felt like a hypocrite if I didn't travel with my kids. I work in the travel industry.... how could I leave them at home? I would see people do it all the time and knew that I would do the same. I must say that it is a lot more work with kids but it's worth every bit.

We started traveling with our first child when she was 3 months old and haven't stopped. We have been fortunate to take our kids to many different places. My wish is that they will grow up to appreciate all that they have and appreciate the diversity of the world.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Do you travel with your kids?

What are your tips?

Monday, 9 December 2013

My Running Funk - Off Season

It's been almost 2 months since I ran my marathon and I feel like I've been in running limbo. At first, I had the pain in my foot that I thought may have been a stress fracture, which I still need to get checked out and then I returned back to work after a year off. I'm not sure what has caused this funk. I guess I will just have to run it out.

15 degrees in December = Happy Running Mommy
Going back to work has been fun but it has also put a kink in my running. I had spent the past 5 months running religiously with a plan that my coach had given me and eating quite healthy to fuel me on all my runs. I have a wonderful job as a flight attendant which allows me to travel the world. I try to fly mostly international routes as it allows me to spend more time at home with my kids. But being on the road means that I am in all sorts of different time zones and eating all sorts of junk. I try to pack some healthy meals when I'm flying, but is tough when most hotels do not have fridges or means for me to cook my meals. I have gotten quite creative with the coffee pots and iron. I am a huge foodie and love to try new foods wherever my travels will take me. Being at home while I was training was great because I didn't have the temptations that I have every time I am on a layover.

Needless to say, I have spent the last 2 months getting adjusted to my old life, but with the new addition to our family and the heavier work load at home. I am fortunate that most of the places I go have gyms, if not running routes close to the hotel. I have been thinking about the running year ahead and training plans.

I am currently blogging from Hong Kong at 4 am local time. It is one of my favourite cities. This city is like the Asian New York, there is always something going on and it seems like the city never sleeps. It is bright, loud and jam packed with people. The hotel that I am currently staying at has a 24 hour gym which allows me to run whenever I want... BONUS!!! Did I mention that I have terrible insomnia when I'm flying. I guess you could call it jet lag, but I'm never in a city long enough to adjust, so I try to stay on "home" time. Like I had said earlier, I'm getting back into not sleeping in my bed and living out of a suitcase for days at a time. 

This is what I do at 1am in Hong Kong when I can't sleep
I have been trying to keep up my mileage but seem quite unmotivated. I will consider this my off season and enjoy the time off to let me body rest up before I amp up the training for the 2014 season.

Do you have an off season?

Any suggestions to get out of my running funk?

Monday, 11 November 2013

Waiting game

The month of October seemed to have blown right by. I returned to work after my year off and ran my first marathon. Now what am I supposed to do??

After the race I had some pain on the top of my right foot. After consulting my run buddy/chiropractor, I think I may have a slight stress fracture. I am waiting for my doctor to return from his month long vacation to see if I can get it checked out. 

I have not run much because of this pain as I am terrified of making worse, but not being able to run has also been tough. I had hoped to finish off the race season with a half marathon a few weeks ago, but decided not to just in case it is a stress fracture. It was a tough decision for me as I love to race and was hoping to go for another PB, but I think it was the right decision. 

I have learned to not be so stubborn and just let it go and listen to my body. There are so more races that I would like to run one day. Running injured is not pleasant and you could make your injury worse. 

Have you had to take time off from running due to an injury?

What did you do to keep yourself active while injured?

Friday, 1 November 2013

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon - Race Recap

My Garmin was charged, my playlist was set, the outfit had been picked out, hydration and fueling needs were packed and I was ready to go. 

I had spent the last five and a half months training for this day. My first marathon was only a few hours away. The alarm went off at 5 am which would give me plenty of time to pack up, do my 'business' and eat before I headed over to my friends place to head down for an 8:45am start. 

I was going to be meeting my coach and fellow iRun 42.3 runners at 8 am for a photo and then head on out to our corrals. There were many volunteers placed throughout the race area. There were approximately 25,000 people running that day between the 5K, half marathon, and full marathon distances. It was very busy with people when we arrived and thank goodness for the volunteers, we were able to drop our bags and make our way to the LONG potty lines. By the time I got into a potty, the first coral had already gone. I quickly dragged my run buddy and ran towards the start line. With the starting area and finish line in the heart of Toronto, a lot of the roads were barricaded. We had to squeeze our way to the starting area and wiggle out way through the crowds to get to our corrals. We eventually made it to the 4:20 pace bunny when the gun went off and so were we. 

At the start line

I had hoped for a 4:15 finish, but decided to slap a 4:05 pace band on my wrist just to push me a little and give me some leeway in case I had to make any pit stops. I took a quick photo with my running buddy and off we went. I was going to use the first 5 km to warm up the body as it was freezing and kept a 5:45-6:00 pace. I eventually caught up to the 4:10 pace bunny and stuck with his group for the next few kilometres. The sun eventually came up and I started to feel my fingers again. The course started in the heart of Toronto and took you north of the downtown core for a quick loop before we headed back towards to the waterfront. There were a number of spectators out cheering. I peaked down at my pace band every so often and realized that I was on pace with my 4:05 band. I was thrilled but I was only a third into the race.

When we made it down to the waterfront, I saw the elites coming towards me. It was amazing to see the first winner fly right by me. I was also able to see the two top female Canadian runners run right by. It is truly incredible to see how fast they are going. I took my first gel around 10km and happily trudged on. 

I have run the half marathon of this race before, so I was familiar with the first half which seemed to have gone by pretty quickly.

Then the split came, I knew there was no turning back. Most runners went left towards the half and a few of us went right towards the next 22 km's ahead. I hit the 21 km pad at 2:02 which meant I was 5:51 pace. There were a lot less runners at this point which meant there was more space for me run, but being a rookie marathoner, I wasn't quite sure if I was to push or save my legs for the later parts of the race. I decided to keep on with the pace that was comfortable. There were fewer people cheering until I entered the Beaches area where the crowds were awesome. There were people standing outside their homes and shops handing out water and fruit. I was so happy to get a banana from a little boy who was handing them out. This gave me an extra boost, but at this point I also realized I was in need of a potty right after I ran past one at 26km. I will in all future races take notes of where the toilets will be placed. I spent the next 4 kilometres looking for one and ended up using the one I had seen at kilometre 26 when I was looping around. I had not trained with a pit stop in mind, so this threw me for a bit of a loop.  I had been on pace with my 4:05 finish, but after the pit stop at 30km, I couldn't' seem to catch up. 

Around 39 km

I finally saw a friend cheering us on at at 36 km as I was entering a twisty, in and out, loop that looked like squiggly lines on the course map. It took us up and over the Don River and by the Don Valley off ramp where cars were backed up but cheerfully honking us runners. I saw my friend again around the 39 km mark where she was able to snap the picture. At this last loop where, we got to leave that crazy maze of running, I saw my run buddy. I had been looking for her throughout the course and was finally able to give her a high five and run on. I got to 40km at 3:57, I knew I wasn't going to get my 4:05 finish, but knew that my hubby and DD were going to be waiting near the finish line. I dug deep and pushed on.

My baby waiting
Seeing my family

Finish line

I finally saw my husband and daughter 400m from the finish. As you can see from the photo my husband took, I was SO relieved to see them there as well as see the finish line right ahead of me. I stopped for a quick kiss and hug and pushed as hard as I could for a strong finish. I crossed the finish line at 4:10:29. I was thrilled to see a good friend who had come down to see me finish just as I crossed the finish line. She snapped the photo below.

My "gold" medal

I had done it, I had just finished my first marathon. I was over the moon excited. We were give heat sheets and our medals, then entered a large exit area where we were given water, bagels, and yogurt. It was a bit difficult to get out of the finishing chute as you and to follow the crowd that filtered in Nathan's Phillips Square, where they had a large meeting area, bands and a few vendors. I quickly went to retrieve my bags and find my family. It was an amazing experience. I had a blast running this distance. This was a wonderful race and the course was beautiful. I highly recommend this race to anyone who is looking for a fun and flat course through Toronto.  

Celebrating with my family

Have you run a marathon ?

What gets you through the entire distance?

What are you post race rituals?

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

I am a Marathoner

I did it!!! I made it!! I am over the moon and full of all sorts of emotions after crossing the finish line of my first marathon. I had dreamed about it and trained for it over the last year. My journey started many years ago when I started running and toying with the idea of running a marathon. I remember meeting up with my 10K run clinic and always admiring all the people in the marathon clinic. When they would call out the high distances they were running on their long runs, I would laugh at how crazy and impossible it seemed, no I am one of those crazy people.

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is one of the city's major races. The course is flat and takes you along the Toronto waterfront and into some beautiful pockets in Toronto. There are great bands and entertainment and awesome spectators. I chose the I headed down to the expo with my daughter in miserable overcast and rainy weather. Rain on race day is probably one of my biggest concerns.

Leaving our mark on the signing wall

Being one of the major races in Toronto, the expo was well organized with lots of exhibits and great speakers on the main stage. I was able to pick up my gels for the race and get taped by KT tape, however the guy that taped me did an awful job. I'm not sure if it was him or the tape. I have used the product before and it worked fine under the same circumstances. He even used a spray that he sells to help the adhesive of the tape and it still fell off. I must admit that I was pretty disappointed, having the owner of the booth/distributing company in Ontario tape me and the KT Tape falling right off.

Being taped at KT tape booth, tape falling off before I exited expo

I did my best to try to get a good nights rest as I prepared for the race. The weather had changed from what I had planned, so I had to rethink a new race outfit as well has pack up my essentials.

My Gear for the race

Have a great week 

Are there any other brands of kinesiotape that you swear by or use?

What are you pre race rituals?

What do you bring or use for your races?

Friday, 18 October 2013

"Twas the night before Race day

It's finally come down to the big day. I am 2 sleeps away from running my first marathon. I spent most of this week working, which meant I was flying. I was lucky enough to be able to stay within Canada and only had 2 different time zones to deal with. I was able to get all the runs in that the coach had laid out for me. I am a ball of nerves at this moment. I am terrified, yet excited to have finally made it to this point. In some ways, I can't wait to get this run over with. I feel like I have been training for what seems like a lifetime.

My run in St. John's, Newfoundland
I ran my last run tonight, a quick 30 minutes easy run on the treadmill and will now start to lay out my gear and mentally try to prepare myself for the race ahead. I have spent the last few weeks trying to keep a clean diet and load up on carbs. I have put in the miles and now I will see if all the training has paid off. This race will definitely be very mental as much as physical. I have spent most of this week thinking about the race. I am happy to be running my first marathon in my hometown, where my friends and family will be waiting for me at the finish line.  If anyone would like to follow the race on race day, Sunday October 20th, here's the link

What are your pre race rituals?

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Back to Work - Tips for Running while Travelling

My maternity leave has finally come to and end and I am officially back at work. It has been an amazing year off for me. I had an awesome time this year with both kids at home and having the chance to train for my first marathon. I'm not sure if I would have been able to train properly if I was working. It was a tough in the beginning trying to juggle nursing my baby and fitting all the running required, but I had a supportive family backing me up which made it a bit easier. I returned to work in the beginning of October and started flying right away. I made sure to try to fit in my runs while away.

First stop was London to visit my cousin. London is a great running city. There are always plenty of runners out and about. It's easy to get distracted with all the beautiful architecture and the surroundings. My first run here was through one of the many Royal Parks of London.

Regents Park and my new favourite drink
I am very fortunate with my job to be able to travel the world and run in many different cities. Here are some tips for running while travelling. If travelling into different time zones, I suggest switching over to the time zone of the city you are in as soon as possible, this will help with the jet lag.

- Do some research on the city/place you are visiting. You can use sites like Map My Run 
and Run the Planet
- Always pack your running gear, I highly recommend compression socks for the flight.
- Check the local weather 
- Ask the hotel concierge for running routes around the hotel, many hotels have planned running routes
- Check to see if the hotel has a gym and the equipment available. I also check the hours of the gym to help me plan my workouts accordingly. 24 hours are my favourite especially when I'm on the other side of the planet.
- Get lots of rest

Have a GREAT day !

Do you have any tips to add?

How to you stay on course when travelling?

Monday, 7 October 2013

Oral I.V Review

Since starting marathon training, I've been looking for products that would benefit me for the longer distances. As an ambassador for Fit Approach/Sweat Pink, I was given the opportunity to review Oral I.V. 

So, What is Oral I.V?

"ORAL I.V. is a revolutionary hydration aid product based on a proprietary formula of crystalloid electrolytes and purified water. ORAL I.V. does not contain any sugars, caffeine or stimulants, additives, preservatives or artificial ingredients. It can be consumed directly or added to water. Individuals can use ORAL I.V. as an addition to their existing hydration methods and to support dehydration prevention." 

According to their website it "can be used in any environment, condition, or situation where physical exertion or possibility of exertion or the possibility of dehydration exists". It is not a water substitute, but a hydration aid.  I decided to give it a try on my long run.  The package says that you can take the vial as is or add it with water. I put two into my water bottles with water and carried 2 vials with me for my 35km run.

I drank a few sips as I started my run and continued to drink throughout my run. My strategy was to drink the 2 that I had diluted first than drink the vials for the last portion of my run. There was no funky taste. It is tasteless just like water and looks just like water.  I like that the vials were small and fit in my running belt. I felt pretty good after the long distance think that these vials would work great for race day.

You can purchase them off their website. But at $12 for a package and shipping costs to Canada are pretty high, I think I may stick with other hydration methods .  For all my American friends, the shipping is much more reasonable. 

*Disclaimer : I was given this product to sample and all opinions on this blog post are my own and I was not paid or required to give a particular opinion

Have you tried Oral I.V?

What do you use for hydration?

Have a Great Day 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Where was I a year ago today?

A year ago today, I gave birth to our second child. It was a very quick and painful delivery and I did it all naturally. Yup, NO DRUGS. I was thrilled to have had a pretty easy pregnancy and survived childbirth a second time. I was also thinking about getting back into my runners and hitting the pavement. Yes, I'll admit it, I have a bit of a problem.

Happy Birthday !!
I am lucky enough to live in Canada where I was able to have a full year of maternity leave. I've spent the past year enjoying every moment as I know that this will probably be my last baby. So what I have learnt this year.

Take everything in stride. Things will happen whether you like it or not. My life went from a fairly routine life with one child to a crazy gong show overnight. I was thrown back into the world of sleepless nights and dirty diapers. I was now stuck at home with a pre-schooler and a newborn. I learned to relax a lot more with the second one, maybe because I learned from the mistakes I made the first time round. I laughed a lot more and didn't sweat the small stuff.

Take a moment each day to count your blessings. Amongst the chaos of daily life we often forget how lucky we are. We are bombarded daily with all the "noise". I am always amazed when my daughter says her prayers at night and thanks God for all the things that she is grateful for.  I am always humbled by her innocence. Be thankful for all that you have because there is always someone out there is is worse off than you.

Set goals for yourself whether it be fitness related or not. I had decided that I would spend part of my maternity leave training for my first marathon. It has been quite the journey. I was able to train as soon as my doctor gave me to o.k. I have learnt to juggle my time around training and being mommy and wife. It takes some work, but it's possible.  There have been some setbacks along the way but, I am fortunate to have a supportive hubby and family. I feel great and I am so excited to be running my first marathon in 23 days.

After one of our many runs together
Have a GREAT weekend.

Are you racing this weekend? 

Are you training for any races?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Rest is not a bad thing

I just got back from a lovely week away with my family in hot and sunny Florida. I was concerned at first about how I would be able to accommodate my training with the vacation, but I decided to use the week as a "rest" week.

My weekly mileage has been quickly adding up and long runs are getting longer. I am running distances that I have never run before. I never thought that I would be running a half marathon distance for a regular training run, but I am.

It has been a somewhat lonely journey. I have had a lot of support from my family and friends, but in the end it's really just me and the pavement. I was starting to get some aches and pains, so the last minute vacation was just what I needed, mentally and physically.

I squeezed in my long run before we left as I knew there was no way I would be able to run 28 kilometres in the Florida heat and the treadmill was NOT an option. But since I am in training mode, I did follow my coach's Tuesday tempo workout and squeezed in a quick 5km run. The average daily temperature in Orlando was in the 40's which is about 100 Fahrenheit. I don't know how runners who live in these awesome places train for races. It was SO hot ! The best part was jumping into the pool after each run.

After an awesome week relaxing with the family, we returned home to what felt like FREEZING temperatures. It took some time to adjust, but it's actually gorgeous fall weather. Autumn is my favourite season. It's not too hot and not too cold, perfect for running. I got back just in time for my long run. The week off was nice, but it is now crunch time. I have 25 more days until the marathon
My last long run was 30 kilometres (18.6miles). I can't say it flew by, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was hoping that I would be able to pick up my speed, but alas my legs just wouldn't do it. I also developed some painful side stitches during the run and made me stop dead in my tracks. I'm hoping to figure out why this happened and how to prevent it.

Cool long run

I am excited to be starting week 19 of my 22 week training plan. Today's tempo run was nice and easy, I'm hoping I can say the same thing after the 32 kilometre run planned for this Sunday's long run.

Have a Great Week

Please feel free to leave a comment and say hello.

Have you ever experienced and cramps of side stitches, if so, how did you remedy them?

Do you like to run alone or with someone?

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Summer Wrap Up

It is the Labour Day weekend, which traditionally marks the end of the summer holiday season and back to school for many kids. It is bittersweet for me as I am thrilled to have my daughter back in school, but will also miss her being at home with me. With her back in school, I'll be able to head out for some stroller runs instead of running late at night after hubs gets home.

It has been a crazy summer. It has been 15 weeks since I started marathon training. Looking back over my training log, I realised that I started my marathon training the week of my birthday. I started training with my coach Rick from Zone3Sports 7 weeks ago after being chosen by iRun and I think it has helped me with all aspects of my running.

I come back to this often
I have spent most of my summer enjoying the remainder of maternity leave and doing a lot of running. I didn't think that I would be logging this many miles/kilometres when I decided to run a marathon. I don't think I put much thought into it at all except that I wanted to run a marathon.  I have learned that I am not a morning running as  I have spent many nights pounding the pavement.

For the month of August, I logged 196.26 km/121.95 miles. I think this is totally crazy!!! I have learned to stick to a training plan and do my best not to deviate. Training for a marathon is almost like a part time job. I am very fortunate to have been able to train while on maternity leave.  I have learned to juggle and balance my duties as mom, wife, daughter and friend. I can't say that it's been easy, but I have gotten used to very little sleep. I will see how training goes as I return to work in a month. I think having a coach has helped me tremendously. Being the Type A person that I am, I needed to follow a strict plan and this is what coach Rick has done for me. He has designed a plan just for me.

This summer I was able to complete two obstacle type events,  The O Course and Tough Mudder. I ran two races in August and PR'd in one of them and raced a distance that I had never run before for the other. I am very pleased with both the results and I think this is due to my training. I have incorporated tempo runs and strength work into my training as well as taking rest seriously. Running a half marathon distance for the long runs has become a norm for me now, but I still have to psyche myself up for it the day before. I have learned to respect the distance, whether it be 5 kilometres or 42, I will never take any distance for granted.

One of my sunset Long runs
I was fortunate to be able to spend the entire summer with my kids. My daughter has been an amazing help with a newborn at home with me.  She has been a blessing in every way. I am truly lucky to be her mommy.

I look forward to the next 7 weeks of training. My distances are getting longer for my long runs and the days are getting shorter. I am sad to see summer coming to and end, but ready for some gorgeous fall weather.

How was your summer?

Are you a day or night runner?

Have you learned anything about yourself from running?

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Midsummer Night's 30K Race

I had signed up for the Midsummer Night's Run in January knowing that this distance would help me prepare for the full marathon in the October. Up until the race, I had never run more than 22 kilometres.

I had registered for this race a few years ago but downgraded to walking the 15K because of injuries. This year I was pumped and excited to tackle the 30 kilometre distance.

My commemorative "Mortal Pin" for the total
distance I've completed
I had started carb loading mid week as I wanted to make sure I had enough fuel to get me through the race. My run buddy came over the night before to pick up her bib and have a few drinks with me. We figured the race was the next evening, so a few glasses of wine would be fine. Plus, it helped with our nerves as we planed our outfits and game plan for the race.

This race was an evening race, so I wasn't quite sure what to do. I decided to try to eat clean throughout the day and not eat anything greasy as it would probably upset my stomach. I was also trying to detox from the wine from the night before.

The race was moved to Toronto Island this  year due to construction on the originally planned course. We set out early to head downtown to park the car and over to catch the ferry to the Island. It's a good thing we got there early as it was PACKED with people who were going over to run the race as well as people who were just heading to the island for the day. 

It was a gorgeous evening for the race. As soon as we docked, we dashed for the closest washrooms and got changed for the race.  After asking a few volunteers, we found the start line and placed ourselves in the pace groups that we were hoping to finish in. I was a ball of nerves. I had never run this distance before and was so afraid that my legs would give out. My stomach was in knots, but it was too late. I decided that I was going to finish no matter what it took out of me.

Our Before shot
I placed myself with in the 3:15 pace group and hoped for the best. I was not sure how long it would take me to finish the 30K, but I was really hoping for a 3 hour finish. When the gun went off, I took off with a good steady pace, but also knowing that I had to really pace myself to last the entire distance. I had also decided to only carry gels and depend on the water stations for water. I caught up with the 3:00 pace group in the first 5 kilometres and stuck with them for a little while, but the group was rather large, so I picked it up a bit and found 2 lovely ladies that were running at a good steady pace and stuck with them for most of the race.

Gorgeous view of the lake
"Toronto Seawall"
The race info had said that we would be running on several different surfaces and to "BE PREPARED!" As you can see from my photo above, we ended up running on a wooden boardwalk along the beautiful waterfront. The view was great but I can't say the same about the wooden planks. Every time another runner stepped on a plank it would bounce. We also ran on pavement, grass and some sand. I guess I can't say I wasn't forewarned. 

The layout of the race was basically a few loops of the island. I actually ran on that wooden boardwalk 3 times. Thank goodness with each loop, there were fewer runners. I kept a steady pace between 5:30 and 6:00 km/hour.  Somehow around the 15 km mark, I lost both my elastics holding my pigtails together. I spent the most part of the next few kilometres asking every female volunteer for and elastic. Finally my "elastic" fairy came to my rescue, a course marshal at the 25km mark tossed me her elastic as I ran by her. She definitely made my race. I would almost consider that a wardrobe malfunction. I have learned that I will always run with extra elastics on my wrists.

Caught checking my pace

After the second loop of the island, I ran up to a split where the race marshals asked if we were at the 22 or 29 kilometre mark. I sadly was only at the 22 mark and knew that I had to do 1 more final loop. ARGH!!!  My Garmin said 2:09, so I knew that if I picked up my feet, I could get my sub 3:00 finish. So, I dug deep for the last few kilometres. Grabbed my last gel, sucked it back and gave it all I had.

My Huge Medal
2:52 Finish
My Splits from my Garmin

5.03 km   - 29:32
10.09 km - 1:00
15 km      - 1:28
20.16km  - 1:58
25.06 km - 2:25
30 km      - 2:52
Gunning for the finish

Have a great weekend.

Thanks for reading... feel free to say hello and leave a comment.

How do you prepare nutritionally for a night race?

Do you carry water for your races?

What do you like to use for fuel during races or long runs?

I love their Race Shirt and the back said
"Mind over Matter"

Friday, 16 August 2013

Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon

The Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon is a fairly new race, but very popular as it sold out in a few weeks of registration opening up.  This was the second year for the event which takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

I headed out early Thursday with my kids, cousin and mom in tow to the airport as we were flying standby to Vancouver. I will have to write another post on the adventures of travelling standby another day. We eventually made it to Vancouver after almost 24 hours of being up.

The package pickup/expo was on Friday  and features a "showcase store". Lululemon sets up a store with limited edition SeaWheeze themed clothing. I had hoped to head out to the SeaWheeze expo/showcase bright and early, but since the kids went to bed at 3am PST, there was no was I was going to try to wake them up at 7 to head out. My little guy was also burning hot with a fever.  It turns out he had Roseola. 

Thank goodness for social media as I found out an old friend from high school had also flown in to run the race as well and was able to connect with her. We kept in touch as she was on her way to packet pickup and was able to give me the details of the ridiculous line to get into the Vancouver Convention Centre to pick up her bib and the "showcase store". She told me that the line was around the building and that there was no separate line for the runners. I was rather disappointed to hear this as I had hoped that they would have a special line for runners. I heard that people had started lining up at 4 am to get first dibs on the limited edition clothing and many of these people were not even running the race. I'm sure I will see many of the clothes on eBay. I decided to wait until later in the day to go pick up my packet in hopes that the lines would die down. She told me that it took her 1 hour from start to finish to get her bib. I think this was appalling!! I was not going to drag my kids to wait an hour to pick up my bib. I hope Lululemon will resolve this matter for future races.

I decided to take my kids to the Vancouver Aquarium instead and wait out the lines for package pickup. It was a huge hit with my daughter. I highly recommend visiting the aquarium as it it right inside Stanley Park and is easy to get around and see all the animals and exhibits. I went to pick up my packet after the aquarium and there were no lines, but the showcase store was pretty depleted. They had sold out most items in my size, so I left empty handed.

Instead of bibs, all the runners got an all access wristband to the events that they had planned for us. They had yoga on the beach and an awesome concert the evening after the race.

I woke up bright and early race day to overcast skies and a very sick baby. I felt guilty for leaving him with my mom, but I had decided that I was going to aim for my sub 2:00 half marathon. Thank goodness for moms and baby Advil.

Ready to go, Olympic cauldron behind me

I tried to work my way up to the 2:00 pacers, but was met by walls of people. There were over 10,000 people running the race.  I finally wedged myself right in front of the 2:10 pace group.  In the midst of me rushing out of the hotel and worrying about my sick baby, I had forgotten to grab the pace band that I had made for the race. Luckily, I had my iPhone and was able to pull up the split times that I would need to get my 2:00 hour finish. I quickly memorized the splits and waited to start.

Heading into Stanley Park

I didn't take many pictures during this run as I was aiming for my sub 2:00 finish. I don't think I took my phone out until after 13km. I had been told by one or the staff (Thanks Tara) at my local Lululemon store who had run this race last year to enjoy the view and that the cheering squads were going to be amazing and she was right. I was quite surprised to see all the people out cheering the runners on. There were some awesome drag queens at a top of a pretty steep hill yelling at us to make it to the top. Musical acts, acrobats, a young girls cheer squad, lots of Lululemon staff, BMO Vancouver Marathon people cheering, people on boats in the water yelling from megaphones to motivate us, and even people on paddle boards. I was rather overwhelmed by all the positive energy.

The fuel stations were amazing. There was water, Vega energizer drinks and endurance gels, as well as bananas and oranges. This race had the best fuelling stations I have ever had in all the races I have run.

The nice KM markers on the road
The race course was absolutely stunning. We started by running through parts of downtown Vancouver and eventually onto the Seawall. The weather was perfect as it was not too hot or cold and a bit overcast. A few raindrops fell during the early parts of the race but stopped. I was never able to find the 2:00 pacer, but kept to the times that I had memorized while standing in the start coral. I felt that I was pretty strong and with the new marathon plan I had from my coach, I was going to give it my all.  I finished under my 2:00 goal.

My Splits from my Garmin

5.05 km - 28:40
10.04km -  57:30
15.03 km- 1:25
20.04 km - 1:52
21.25 km - 1:58

My sweet Swag

I must say Lululemon put on a FANTASTIC race weekend. It was not just a race, but a fun filled weekend. I wish I had dragged some girlfriends with me as this would have been the perfect event.  Even though the line up was long at the expo, they handed out Popsicles and goodies to those waiting in line. Lululemon had scheduled yoga on the beach and a huge party afterwards in the park with a concert and more yoga. There were manicures and pedicures and tattoo booths.  The swag was great as you get a pair of Lululemon running shorts and a nice canvas bag that was used for bag check. Vega was sponsor for all the fuelling throughout the race, which was a bonus for me as I love their products. The medal is one of a kind as you can see from my photos. They set up photo booths afterwards for all runners to take photos to put into their "medals".

There were free massages and an awesome brunch after the race.  All finishers were given a Saje runners reward package with their Peppermint Halo and Pain Release oils AND Skullcandy earbuds.

Surprise! It's a locket 
The Medal 

Post Race shot taken by my daughter, rocking
my Lululemon Outfit
I highly recommend this race to everyone. Vancouver is a beautiful city and the SeaWheeze is definitely one of the best races I have ever ran. I was not able to take part in any of the things/events that were set up as my little one was sick, but I hope to go back next year with some friends and rock this race again.

What is your favourite race that you have run?

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 1 August 2013


Well, this past Friday I packed the family up and we drove down to Rochester to stay with our friends who had convinced me to partake in Tough Mudder. I couldn't believe that July 27 was finally here. We had signed up nearly 8 months ago and it seemed like we had a lifetime to prepare.  When I signed up, I thought that I would be able to strength train and prepare but it just never happened. I figured that I was on maternity leave and would have oodles of time. Duh, what was I thinking.

My other concern was that I am still nursing my son and have not completely weaned him. He just turned 10 months and I cannot believe how fast the time is flying by. I had calculated that I would be away from him for at least 7-8 hours. I decided to try to get him onto a bottle a week before and luckily for me he took the bottle. This also makes me happy because now I can actually do the long runs that are planned in my training plan without fearing that he will starve at home waiting for me to run home and nurse him.

Tough Mudder Buffalo was located in Andover, NY. It was a gorgeous scenic drive to the ATV park where the event was to take place. It is billed the be 'Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet'. With this in mind, I was nervous and anxious to see what was ahead. My 5 friends and I had gone over the course map briefly the night before. All I knew was that there was 11+ miles that we had to cover with 15 muddy obstacles in between.

To start of the event, we had to scale a 6 foot wall just to get into the starting bay which they waited to be filled up with all the participants that were starting in our wave. Once we got all in, we were given a very motivational speech and reminded the its "not a race. It is about camaraderie and helping your fellow team members complete the race and get to the finish line".

It was an overcast day with rain clouds hovering. As soon as the horn went off, we were off.

My team and I taking off, we were so eager and CLEAN!

Obstacle 1 - Blades of Glory
After running for 1.5 miles we came up to our first obstacle.  We had to get over 2 sets of 8 foot walls that are angled towards you. Thank goodness we had the guys to help give the girls a boost. I really should have worked on doing more chin ups 

Obstacle 2- Kiss of Mud
Our first mud obstacle got us down right dirty. We had to crawl commando-style in the mud under barbed wire that was set 8 inches from the ground. This one made me think of my little guy because he will only crawl in this position. Other than getting muddy, I didn't mind this one so much.

Obstacle 3 - Funky Monkey
Just before mile 3 we came up to the monkey bars. But, these are no ordinary monkey bars. You need to do them over pool of muddy water. I loved monkey bars as a kid, but that was many eons ago. I tried to wipe off a much mud off my hands as possible and surprisingly, I made it all the way across.

Obstacle 4 - Walk the Plank
This one was a tough one for me. You are required to jump off a 15 foot platform into dark muddy water. I had never been afraid of heights until I had kids. It took me a few attempts before I actually took the plunge. I had thought that I would touch the bottom of the mud pool, but never did. It seemed like forever before I came up for air.  Even our friend who couldn't swim jumped. Thank goodness, he brought a life vest.  But now my shoes were soaked and we still had 7 more miles of running to do.

Obstacle 5 - Electric Eel
This obstacle came up shortly after mile 5 where once again we had to get onto our bellies and crawl and slide our way through more muddy water with electric shock wires dangling about you similar to the kiss of mud. I tried to go slowly avoid the live wires which carry as much as 10,000 volts of electric shock. However, it was unavoidable. I was shocked on my arms and legs as I was trying to climb out of the mud. OUCH, it was not pleasant.

Obstacle 6 - Mud Mile
Dirty, dirty, dirty. It is exactly as it sounds. We had to climb over 5 mounds of mud to land into waste deep pools of mud. I ripped a pretty large hole in my bottom area of my pants on mud hill #2 and scraped my leg on hill #3 and then decided to skip the last 2 hills. After the mud hills, we continued running for a mile through the muddy woods. It was muddy trail running with lots of up and down hills.

My awesome team mates, Love her goggles.
 I'm wearing pink in the back
Obstacle 7 - Warrior Carry
This was one of the easier ones. Our group of 6 split into 2 teams of 3 and carried 1 person each. It's nice that we had a team so that we could pair up.

Obstacle 8 - Arctic Enema
This was a deep plunge into a FREEZING pool of ice water. Once you are in the water, you have to submerge yourself under a wooden plank before you can jump out on the other side. The water was SO SO SO cold. I could barely get out and felt my legs tingle as I was finally out.

My team and I after climbing out of Arctic Enema
As you can see from my face. I am NOT a happy camper

Obstacle 9 - Hold your Wood
This is pretty much what is sounds like. We had the choice of carrying a large stump of wood or a heavy log on the course for about 1/2 a mile. I paired up with a teammate and picked large heavy log and hoisted it onto our shoulders and marched on. It sounds and looked easy, but I was ready to drop that log when I saw the drop off point. 

Obstacle 10 -  Cage Crawl
This was another water obstacle and not for ones fear confined spaces. I had to flip onto my back and pull myself across 60 feet of cage with only 6 inches of breathing room. It wasn't so bad as the bottom of the mud water was lined with plastic, I just held on as tight as I could to the cage and dragged myself to the end.

Obstacle 11 - Boa Constrictor
This is another one that is not for those who are claustrophobic as you are required to crawl through a plastic tube on your stomach into a more muddy water and then crawl back into another dark tube and crawl your way out to the light. The guy behind me must have been in a rush because I could feel his head bumping into my feet every time I made a move to crawl out.

Obstacle 12 - Mystery Obstacle
This one was unexpected and we had no idea what we were going to face. As we got closer to the obstacle, I could hear banging noises. We were directed to run through 2 freight containers (the ones you see on 18 wheeler trucks) as we were running through them all  we could hear was the loud banging noises and was not sure what it was coming from until we exited the last container and saw our obstacle. We had to jump over a series of 5 plastic barricades while tennis balls machines were being fired at us. It was the tennis balls hitting the side of the container that was making all the noise. I ran as fast as I could to each barricade and hurdled myself over trying not to get hit with the tennis balls.  I lucked out and made it through without getting hit, but a little bit bruised up from banging into the barricades.

Obstacle 13 - Berlin Walls
This one was another team effort obstacle. With the help of our teammates, we had to get over a two 12 foot wooden walls. Thank goodness we had guys on our team. I'm not sure if we would have made it over without the extra boost.

Obstacle 14 - Everest
This obstacle is near the end of the course and it was starting to rain as we approached. Everest looks like a skateboarders half-pipe wall. You have to run up the slippery, muddy wall and try to make it to the top with the help of your team mates and the volunteers at the top to pull you up. I was very undecided about this obstacle as I have to run a half marathon in 2 weeks and did not want to injure my knees, so I decided to walk around. Maybe next time I will try it out. I am so proud that all my teammates made it to the top

Obstacle 15 - Electroshock Therapy
This was the last obstacle before the finish line and is it what it sounds like. You have to run through a muddy, hilly field of live wires, some carrying as much as 10,000 volts of electric shock. I opted out of this one as well. I didn't like being shocked in electric eel and this one was going to be bad. 

Our husband and wife teammates are so sweet,
they held hands through it all

As we crossed the finish line, we were rewarded with the Tough Mudder signature orange headband, a finisher shirt, a cold beer and most of all the overwhelming pride of having finished "Probably the Toughest Event of the Planet".

Overall, it was a great day. The rain held off until the very end which made trying to clean all the mud off a little difficult. The course was VERY muddy and quite hilly in parts. I did see a few people get taken off the course in stretchers for various injuries. I saw many people off the the side stretching their legs and dealing with leg cramps. The Tough Mudder event is definitely a hard event. Many of the obstacles are mentally and physically challenging.  I would recommend it to anyone who was looking for something fun and challenging, but please do train for it. My running helped me get through the course quite easily, but a bit more upper body strength training would have helped more. I would suggest wearing clothes that you don't mind throwing out as you will be completely submerged in mud and your clothes may tear or rip on the obstacles. Covering your knees and elbows will help with the crawling obstacles and for my friends that can't swim, a life jacket will come in handy. Some of my team mates had gloves and goggles. Expect to get a few bumps and bruises along the way.

A huge thank you to my friends for sticking with me to the very end. A big thank you to the Ng's for hosting us and for buying all these awesome photos. Way to go team CanAm Mudders. Looking forward to another Tough Mudder.

Team CanAm Mudders
Have you ever completed a Tough Mudder event? Would you?

Have you done any other "muddy" type of obstacle events?

Have a great day !

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