Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Our Beloved Vitamix

I had heard so many wonderful things about juicing and about smoothies. We are a family always on the go and always looking for new and creative ways to eat healthy. Since I started my running adventures, I've also tried to make sure that I have proper nutrition to fuel me through whatever training plan I may be on.

I asked many of my juicing friends for their opinions and read many reviews and we decided on the Vitamix. Since getting it in the spring, we have not stopped using it. My hubby will make us a breakfast smoothie every morning and I've used it to make many post run smoothies as well as soups and baby food for the little one. It is definitely one of the best purchases I have ever made and I highly recommend it. It blends everything so quickly and everything is blended. No more chunks. Ice is crushed in seconds. 

I find that I am always looking for new recipes as I am in marathon training to help me perform my best. 

Here's my current favourite post run smoothie recipe

Do you blend/juice/mix?

Do you have any favourite recipes? Care to share?

Have a great week :)

Monday, 27 May 2013

Marathon Training Week 2

I must say that this year has been pretty good to me so far. I celebrated my birthday last week with friends and family. My belly was full for days from all the feasting and I was also able to get in a quick run that day. Unfortunately, no races on a Thursday.

My good friend who also runs made me my own medal rack for my birthday.  Isn't it pretty? She told me that it holds 31 medals, which means I will have to run a lot more races to fill up all the hooks.  

I had been in recovery mode after running 2 half marathons and a 10K race back to back. My legs were tired and they needed the break, but at the same time, I was going to start training for my first full marathon. The plan I decided on was a 22 week plan which meant I was to start right away.

I have one friend who is going to train with me and hopefully run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon with me October 20. We just have to register :) Yes, I have some commitment issues. I am going to register after I do a few other events.... mainly Tough Mudder as I am afraid I will get severely injured and will not be able to train properly.

I am now into week 2 of my training plan which will have me run a total of 35 kms this week. I'm feeling pretty good after a few runs. I am looking forward to the next few weeks and checking off each run as I go.

I am going to be participating in the O Course this weekend. It is a military obstacle training course with 15+ unique obstacles. I signed up with a few friends that are doing Tough Mudder with me as this is probably an easier version of it. When I first signed up, June 1 seemed so far away but now it's 3 days away. I have done no training for this event, so it will be interesting to see how I do.

Are you training for any races at this time?
Any advice for me as I partake on this marathon training journey?

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Sporting Life 10K Race Recap

The Sporting Life 10K was the first race that hubby and I would be running together. I had always talked about this race to my running friends as it is billed as the one of the fastest 10K races around and is also Canada's Second Largest run. This race runs down Toronto's Yonge Street which was formerly listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest street in the world at 1,896 km (1,178mi). The section we run is almost all downhill. This year it sold out at 27,000.

We had a group of  9 running this year. I had run this race 3 years ago right after I had sprained my ankle and then had a severe cramp at kilometre 7. I was hoping that I would do better this time, however it was going to be my third weekend in a row of racing. I had just run two half marathons the weekends leading up to this race. I spent most of the week resting, but wanting to go out and run. I listened to my body and took it easy with some yoga and weights.

Group shot before and after

We all got up bright and early on a cold Mother's day morning. It had been nice and warm all week leading up to the weekend, but a COLD front decided to move in the night before. It was around 4 degrees Celsius which is 39 F for my American friends. We were FROZEN. We were dropped off at the start line and hubby and friend drove down to the finish line to take the shuttle back up to the START to meet us. Luckily we were able to stay warm at a Tim Hortons and get some pre race food.

Once our drivers made it back up to the Start line we headed out to try to check out bags. With 27,000 people running the corals went up the road for almost a kilometre. When we finally found the bag check trucks the line up was beyond crazy. I don't think they were prepared for so many people. At one point people started throwing their bags into the trucks and almost taking out the volunteers. It was utter chaos. I hope they rectify this issue next year. By the time we checked out bags and started walking back to the corals, the race had already started. We are so far up the road that we couldn't even hear the emcee announce the start, that's how far the bag check was :(

We quickly moved up to find our corals and away we went. Our group had runners of all different levels. We had 2 runners that were running their first ever 10K and others that were seasoned runners and 2 of us were husband and wife teams.  It was my first race with hubby, but I had told him that I was going to try for a personal best this race and he was o.k with it. We ran the first 4 kilometres together and then I took off. I warmed up after the first few kilometres but every so often the wind would pick up and just knock you down. I kept up with my pace and as I approached kilometre 7, I had flashbacks of my cramp which left me walking the last time. I stopped for water and kept on going, thank goodness no cramp. There were drummers and some music along the way which made it quite entertaining. I picked it up as I saw the finish line nearing and gave it all I could. Unfortunately, the finish line was a bottle neck and I had to push my way over the timing pad as people had decided to stop when they finished to wait for friends.... ARGH!!!  Another issue I hope they fix next year as there were not many volunteers helping clear the finish line and it was the runners yelling for people to keep on moving.

I'm still happy that I ran this race. Our group had a blast, the course was fantastic and I got my PB :)

With the Hubs 
Results :      Age/Gender Place411/1546
                   1st 5K -  28:25
                   2nd 5K - 27:42
                   Finish   - 56:06 * Personal Best
                   Pace:  - 5:54

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Goodlife Toronto Half Marathon - A PB for me!

I had not planned on running this half marathon especially since I had just gotten back from running the Nike Womens Half Marathon the week before. When I ran the NWM I had hoped for a better time, but got stuck behind the large crowds of runners and was never really able to break free from the crowds. It just so happened that the Toronto marathon was scheduled for this weekend and I decided to try to better my time.

My hubby and friends had already registered to run the 5K as this was their anniversary run. I double checked with hubby that we would be able to work it out logistically as we would need to meet up for me to take the kids from him and for me to nurse baby. All distances finished at the same place and their 5K started in the same area as the finish. This race was PERFECT for us.

We headed down to the expo on Saturday to pick up all the bibs. The expo had a good number of vendors. We didn't have much time to shop around as the kiddies were getting restless. But, I was happy to get my knees taped at the KT Tape booth.

Beautiful Toronto/Expo/Bibs all picked up

The half marathon is listed as a "downhill, fast and scenic" course. It runs through the heart of Toronto. This was my first time running this race and I was definitely not disappointed. The race started at a reasonable 8:30 which gave me time to nurse baby before I left the house. Hubby's 5k was starting at 12:00 pm which gave me plenty of to finish. It was a beautiful morning with picture perfect weather.

I ran this race with my run buddy Karen, who also ran Nike with me the week before. We started out with a pretty good pace. She has been nursing some injuries and was battling a cold.. she's a trooper. I had told her that I wanted to better my time from the week before and she was pretty understanding. We placed ourselves between the 2:05 and 2:10 pace bunnies. I was hoping for at least a 2:10 finish.

The first few km's were great and then we headed towards the big hill at around 4km. I had meet up with another running friend at the expo who had told me to walk to hill as I would be able to catch up on the downhill afterwards and I'm glad for his advice. We tried to run up most of it but halfway up I was starting to lose steam. We ended up slowing down to a walk and fuelled as we walked. It was around this point that the 2:10 walk/run pace bunny came up behind me and I decided to stick with him for as much as I could. I was reminded by my friend that I would have to finish ahead of him if I wanted my 2:10 finish as we had started before him. I have run my last few races continuous, so having the walk breaks were nice.

At around the 9km mark I must have turned off my Garmin as my strap had broken and I was holding onto it while running and trying to grab water from my fuel belt. I didn't realize this until 3 km's later as I was checking my time with the 12K marker and was thinking how AWESOME I was doing (watch said 50 mins). I was enjoying the scenery as the route went into a lovely tree lined road. This was probably my favourite part of the course. Luckily I ran with my phone so I could keep in touch with hubby and also I had turned on my Nike+ app. I got messages as I was coming up to the end of the race around the 16K mark to tell me that they were parking and would be waiting. All I could think about was running faster to get to my son because I could just picture him screaming for milk. I guess it's good incentive to run faster.

The last few kilometres were flat and through the downtown core of Toronto. The sun was shining and I was feeling pretty good. The crowds were fantastic and I was ready to see my family. So, I pushed it for the end and got my PB!!! WOHOO... Overall it was a great race and I look forward to running it again.

Results : Division Place 157/321
               5K -   30:11
               10K - 1:00:02
               15K - 1:29:56
               20K - 2:05:29
           FINISH - 2:08:58
             Pace 6:07

Family shot. Hubby after his 5K

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Nike Women Half Marathon DC Weekend and Recap

What can I say? I am still over the moon happy from my weekend. I had been looking forward to it for SO LONG!!!

We left Friday morning and made it down to DCA in pretty good time. Baby behaved for most of the flight and only screamed in the beginning. I'm sure the other passengers were getting worried when they first saw me get on the flight with him. We got there in time to meet up with our friend who was flying in from Rochester. 

After a quick ride to our hotel and settling down quickly, we headed straight out to the Expotique to pick up our bibs and race package. The package pickup was very quick as it was Friday afternoon. When we went back on Saturday, the lineup was super long. After we picked up our bibs, we went into the expo tent where we were able to try out some samples and get mini makeovers from their sponsors. I had the baby, so I only tried some Nuun and Luna bars. The line up for Bare Minerals and Paul Mitchell were way too long for me to stand around with the stroller.

On the flight and at the expo and Nike store

We headed up to the Nike Store in Georgetown as they were not selling anything at the expo. The store was packed with runners buying up all the NWM gear and the special edition Tiffany blue shoes Nike had designed just for the race. With the price tag of $125, I did not pick up a pair as I do not run in Nike shoes. Nike had posted all the names of the runners on their side wall and we all found our names. It was a nice touch.

As we headed out of the Nike store and started walking down the street, I saw Michael J. Fox. I told my girlfriends who turned around and chased him down. Luckily, one of my friends was able to snap a photo on him and his wife as she was crossing the street. They were in town for the White House Correspondents' Dinner that Saturday evening. We continued walking in search of other stars, but didn't see anymore.

My friend flew in Saturday morning to hang out with us and to watch baby for me while I raced on Sunday. She was a total life saver. I would not have been able to run this race without her. After a delicious early dinner we hit the sack early since I had to wake up baby to nurse him before the race.

Race Day

We were very fortunate to have our hotel a few blocks from the start line, so we did not have to get up super early. The race start time was 7am. We left out hotel at 615 and still had time to spare. I was able to nurse baby and he came down to watch the start although there were SO MANY people that they missed us when we actually took off. The corals were jam packed and the entrances into them were so full that people started hoping the barricades to get in. The emcee was wonderful at keeping our energy up and the music was very uplifting.  

When the gun finally went off,  we went.... slowly. There were so many people that I felt that we were not moving. We had placed ourselves in the 10 minute mile group, which is where we wanted to be. It was probably good because we were forced to start slow and not burn out too quickly. I did find it a bit frustrating at certain points because there were just walls and walls of women and it was very difficult to pass. I couldn't really break free from the crowd until mile 9.

The weather was perfect about 10 degrees and the course was stunning. It was a pretty flat course and we ran by a lot of the major monuments. This was the first race that I actually carried my iPhone to take pictures. It was a new experience to have to carry something while running. You can see a few of my photos that I took while running and trying to not trip. The atmosphere was incredible. 15,000 women all running together. The crowds were great, there were a few bands along the race route and some really cool drummers in the tunnel that we had to run through. I wish that had a few more volunteers at the water stations as I had to pour my own water at one of the stations. The water stations were plenty and having Nuun electrolyte stations was bonus. The Cliff shot block station was a bonus. They had already been cut open so I didn't have to struggle with opening the packages. They also had a Luna bar station that I skipped over as there were SO MANY people, I almost didn't see it.

I tried to pick up my pace after mile 9 as I knew that I had to get back to nurse my son. When the crowd opened up, I broke free and tried to pick up the pace. I didn't manage to PB, but crossed the finish line with a smile and got my Tiffany "medal" necklace. After four years of trying, I'm so HAPPY I got my necklace. It was a wonderful weekend away with my girlfriends and the race will go down as one of the best races I've ever ran. 

Results -  Division place 671/1789
               5K -    0:35:21
               10K -  1:07:43
               15K -  1:39:28
               20K -  2:10:03
           FINISH - 2:16:11

Pace 10:10

What's your dream race? 
What is your favourite race you've run?

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