Friday, 30 May 2014

Sporting Life 10K for Mother's Day

The Sporting Life 10k has become a yearly tradition for my friends and I. It is one of the largest 10k races in the city and sold out this year at 27,000 participants. The race is presented by Nike which provides are pretty nice tech shirt and the race raises money for Camp Oochigeas, a camp for kids affected by childhood cancer.

Many people were disappointed after last year's race as there were a number of things that went wrong. They appointed a new race director, Cory Freeman and under her leadership, the race went off seamlessly this year. The biggest blunder last year for me was the bottle neck at the finish. I was unable to cross the finish line last year because people had stopped just as the finished and stood around waiting for their friends.

My hubby and I along with our friends were signed up as a team under my running buddy's Chiropractic Clinic - Team Active Body Chiropractic. We were all provided with lovely tech shirts and wore them proudly on race day. 

Group Shot

This race is known to many runners as the fastest 10k you will ever run as it is completely downhill. I had raced a 10k the week before and was hoping to finish this race in the 50 minutes give or take. 

I had a terrible experience with the bag check last year as it was located pretty far up from the start line and was completely unorganized. People were throwing their bags at the volunteers because the lines were so long and the race was about to start. 

This year, the baggage check was organized into your bib numbers/corral colours. Each truck was clearly marked and volunteers were plenty. It took barely a minute for me to drop off my bag. 

The weather was perfect this year, the sun was shining, there wasn't a lot of wind and we were not freezing like the previous year. It was going to be a great day for racing.


Good luck kiss

I kissed hubby as the start time was quickly approaching. With 27,000 runners, you have to make sure you're in the corrals in time for your start. I got into my corral with two others from our group and wished them all well.

Look at all those people in my coral 
It's overwhelming to see so many runners in front and behind you. I gave my buddies a high five and away we went. I tried to keep up with my speedy friend, but lost him about 1km into the race. People were flying by. I just tried to stick with a nice steady pace.

LOTS of water 
The sun was shining, the runners were speedy and the water stations were plentiful. Each water station I passed was well equipped with water and volunteers. I was trying to hold onto my pace of 5:00 minutes per kilometre but was quickly losing steam. I still have a lot more to learn about pacing for a 10 km race. I checked my watch at the 5km mark and I was at 25:27. I knew I would have to pick it up if I wanted to finish in 50 minutes. I really tried, but my legs just didn't have it.

Just after crossing the finish
I finally came to the last kilometre and saw the finish line ahead. There was no crowd except for the friends and family cheering along with barricades. No bottleneck like the year before. I ran across the finish line and looked at my watch - 51:59.7. I know I should be happy as I did get a personal best, but deep down, I wanted a sub 50 finish. I will keep plugging away with my speed work and try again next year.

The finish area is quite large for this race. As you cross the finish line, you continue walking across a large intersection to get to the finishers area where you are given your medal and family and friends can congratulate you. There was a lot more water,  eLoad samples, food and tons of porta potties. 

Overall, I think the race was much better organized this year. There were a lot more volunteers and they were all very cheery and helpful whenever  I asked any of them a question. The lineup for the shuttle buses to take us to public transit was fairly long, but moved quickly. Hubby and I were rushing to meet up with my parents to pick up the kids and then meeting up with my in laws for Mother's Day lunch. I highly recommend buying shuttle tickets when you register so that you will have your car waiting for you at the finish line. It would have saved us quite a bit of time. Register early for this race as there is a gift certificate incentive depending on when you register. 

Race Swag

Results 

Time - 51:59:7
Pace - 5:12
First 5km - 25:27
Second 5km - 26:34





Monday, 19 May 2014

Fuel Your Better - Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator Review

I seem to be constantly on the go. With two young kids and trying to train for a marathon with my crazy flying schedule, I am always trying to stay healthy and strong for my family. I was thrilled when I was selected to review Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator through my ambassadorship with Sweat Pink for the Fuel Your Better Campaign.


I have been running races every weekend since the end of April and maintaining my marathon training schedule along with the races. I received the Vega Recovery Accelerator right as I was going into the thick of racing. Last year, when I was training for my marathon, I was a on maternity leave so I had all the time I wanted to slot in my training. Now, I am back to a full flying schedule and still watching the kiddos when I'm not flying. I have to train smarter and maximize my recovery so that I can get back into training.


Vega Sport products are plant-based, dairy, gluten and soy free and contain no artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners. It was specifically developed to help athletes perform at their best-before, during and after training and competition. The ingredients are specifically selected to "replenish energy and electrolytes, reduce inflammation, muscle and joint pain, support immune system and protein synthesis and reduce recovery time between training". It could not have arrived at  a better time for me.


The box comes with 12 single packet servings which are super convenient if you are on the go and want to used them after a workout at the gym. For me, I pack them into my suitcase for me to consume after workouts on layovers. As per the packet, you add 1.5 cups of cold water to on packet of Recovery Accelerator and drink immediately after exercise. 


It comes in two flavours - Tropical and AppleBerry. I was sent Tropical to test and was eager to try it out immediately. I mixed it up as per the instructions after a long run and chugged it down. It tasted great. Recovery is an important part to training. If you cannot recover, you cannot train. They go hand in hand. I am not one for gimmicks or quick fixes. I still believe that rest and listening to your body is key, but after trying out this product, I will be adding it to my bag of goodies I incorporate into my training and recovery. 


I have taken the Recovery Accelerator after all my hard workouts. I have had them pre-made in my water bottle and packed it into my race bag so that I can consume it right after all my races.  I raced two half marathons and two 10km races for four consecutive weekends and continued training in between all those races. I do think the Recovery Accelerator helped with getting me recovered faster. I was able to train injury and pain free. 

Are you ready to #FuelYourBetter ? Head on over to the Vega Sport website and see their great selection of products. You can follow them on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram

Have you tried any of the Vega Sport products? 

Do you take anything to aid in your recovery? What was your experience?

How do you Fuel Your Better?

Disclosure : I received Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the Fuel Your Better Campaign by Vega Sport and Sweat Pink. All opinions are my own




Thursday, 8 May 2014

Toronto Goodlife Half Marathon

My husband and his buddies started running a few years ago. They had registered to run this race as their first half marathon. I was super excited for all three of them. Fast forward to the night before the race. The kids had been sick for weeks and now hubby had caught whatever they had. He had picked up their race kits and was going to try to run, walk or crawl to the finish. I kindly asked him if that what how he wanted to remember his "first" half marathon.  He took a nap and when he woke up, decided that there was no way he was going to be able to run. He was hacking up a lung and dizzy from being so congested. It was too late for a bib transfer and I didn't want the bib to go to waste, so I decided to run for him.

I ran this race last year so I knew what to expect for the course. I decided that I was going for a sub 2:00 time and hoped to PB. 

My splits taped to my Garmin
I packed up quickly the night before and set up my gear. I had eaten terribly that day and for most of the week as I had not planned on racing a half marathon. I got up nice and early before the kids and headed out to meet up with hubby's friends and aim for a PB. It was going to be the guy's FIRST half marathon. I was super excited of them and wished them a great race.

I'm just one of the guys
The course is know to be fast and downhill, but they don't mention on pretty big hill you need to tackle at the 3km mark heading up to 4km. I walked it last year, but decided early on that I would try my best to stay on pace and run up the hill. Once I reached the top, my legs felt O.K, but not great. I continued on. I was glad that I taped my pace on to my watch because it really helped me stay on track. I can't say the rest of the course was downhill, but it was definitely scenic. I was trying to stay on pace, so I couldn't really grab my phone out for any selfies during this race. 

Coming into the finish line
It was another great day for a race. I stayed on mark with my splits and squeaked in right under 2 hours. It's a course PB for me, but not a half marathon PB. This is a great spring race with all different distances. I would like the run the full marathon one day as the medals are HUGE. As one of the guys put it, our half marathon medal is a coaster, the full one is a side plate.

Results 

5K - 28:36
10K - 56:60
15K - 1:25
FINISH -1:59:46.5

Pace - 5:41



The 'after' shot with our medals

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Training for Marathon #2 - San Francisco Marathon

After finishing my first marathon last fall, I was already looking for another one to run. Yes, call me crazy, but I would rather use the word "passionate". I knew that I would be running another marathon in 2014 as my best bud and running buddy is turning the big 4-0 this year. We had decided on Athens, Greece which is in November.

My parents told me that they were planning a trip down to San Francisco to visit some old friends in the summer. I decided to look up races and it turns out that they were going to be there during the weekend of the San Francisco Marathon.  It didn't take me long to convince them that I would love tag along with my youngest and say hello to their friends. It was a win-win situation. They will be able to show off their grandchild and I would be able to run an awesome race along with free childcare.

San Francisco is one of my favourite cities in the USA. I had tried a few years with friends to get into the Nike SF race, but never got in, so I just figured I would run the actual San Francisco Marathon and get it out of my system. It looks like a gorgeous course that will take me through all of San Francisco and I will also get to run over the Golden Gate Bridge.


So, here I am sitting at my desk with my marathon plan. I will be using the plan that I used for my last marathon and hoping to improve. The SF race will be hilly, so I don't think I will be making a personal best on this course. I train on very flat suburban sidewalks. I will try to find some hills in my area to help me prepare for what is ahead of me. I am now 12 weeks away from race day and into week 3 of my training schedule. I am excited to train again. It has been a tough winter for training and I've already completed a few races up to now. I am curious to find out if having run these races will help me with the training or will tire me out as I am suppose to recover, but instead I am continuing on with the training plan.  It is one of the many things I am still learning on my running journey.

How do you decide on the races that you will participate in?

Do course elevations effect your decisions?

What is your dream race to run?

Friday, 2 May 2014

Mercedes-Benz Oakville 10km

This race was one of the many races that I had heard about through the running community. It takes place in the lovely Town of Oakville and is known for the one of a kind Mercedes-Benz medal and a chance to win a Mercedes-Benz.

It didn't take much for me to convince my hubby and fellow running friends to register for this race after I told them about the swag that they would receive for completing the race.  It also had races for children and a "Family Fun Zone" which would keep the kids busy while waiting for the parents to finish their races. I got a group of 6 runners and 3 kids (2 of them were mine) signed up for the early bird registration. I was going to sit this one out so that I could cheer on hubby and watch the kids while he ran. I was thrilled when I was contacted by the race organization and was generously given a bib. Racing gets expensive, especially when the whole family runs. I was so excited because I had always wanted all four of us to participate in a race as a family.

Group shot before the race
This was my first race with the whole family participating. I had to start planning a few days earlier as my kids are still little, my little guy is just 18 months and still a bit wobbly. The race was a bit of a trek for us, so kids meals and snacks were packed the night before and loaded into the car. I got up at 4 am to make some warm meals for the car ride and breakfast for hubby and I and do a last check on all the gear that was needed for the day. Thank goodness, grandma and grandpa agreed  to come watch the kids while hubby and I ran. We woke up the kiddies, threw them in the car half asleep and went to pick up the grandparents.

We parked in the designated lots and were shuttled into the race area. The race was starting and ending on the beautiful campus of Appleby College right along Lake Ontario. Our friend who owns a Mercedes-Benz got to park in the VIP lot and received extra goodie bag. There was race day pick up, which was a bonus as all of us live quite a distance away. The sun was shining and not a rain cloud in the sky. The kids were finally awake and ready to attack the "Family Fun Zone" which was hosted by the Appleby College Camp staff. I kissed the kids goodbye and hubby and I were off to run our 10K.

The happy couple

The emcee had a great sense of humour and got the crowd organized into our corrals. The gun went off and we were off. I tried to keep up with a speedy friend who was right in front of me but eventually lost him in the crowds. The 10K course was and out and back course which took us into some beautiful neighbourhoods with stunning views of Lake Ontario and through downtown Oakville. There were a number of people cheering along the way which helped motivate the runners. Some of the homes that I ran by were incredible and the view of the Lake was to die for.

Some fun selfies and seeing hubby on a turnaround

There are a few small hills which were reasonable to tackle and running into the college was a great way to finish. I collected my beautiful medal and went on to find my kids and get them ready for the Toddler Trot. The kids were excited to see us, but more excited to run their race. Their race was on a nice grassy field lined with loads of cheering family members and friends. Moms and dads lined up with their little ones to give them a little boost and get them to the finish line. They were greeted with mascots at the finish lines with their slap-on bracelet medals and fun loot bags.


It was the first time for my group to take part in the race and they all had a great time.  Thank you to all the volunteers and the great Appleby College Camp staff that kept the kids busy with fun activities.  We all plan on doing it again.  My daughter had a blast and shows off her "medal" to everyone she sees and is looking forward to another race. My little 18-month old was just happy to have had a chance to run with a crowd of other kids.  A special thanks for my in-laws for coming out to help watch the kids. We could not have run this race without their help. 

Race swag for Big and Little kids

Results

Category Place - 28/147
Gender Place - 74/437
Overall Place - 274/841

Gun time - 54:27.3
Chip time  - 53:50.2 a new PB

My Running Family Portrait

Have a Great Weekend ! 

Are you running any races this weekend? 

Do your kids run? Do you enter them into races?

How do you manage race day with the whole family?