Sunday, 28 December 2014

Bang and Olufsen Yorkville 5K Race Recap

One of my best friends decided to start running at the beginning of 2014 and I was on a mission to get her started.  I told her the only way to really get committed to training is to register for a race. I promised I would find a race the perfect race and run it with her. As a first time runner, she agreed that a 5km distance was just right for her.

I had heard about the Yorkville 5K Race the first year I started running, but had never run it myself.  This year they was they were happy to announce that  the Canadian Masters Athletics was adding a masters championship component to their inaugural Canadian 5K Road Race Championship 

We were able to find some early registration codes and signed up the minute registration opened up in March.  It was one of the more expensive races I had ever signed up for, but the swag seemed to be very promising. 

The race was on Saturday September 7, 2014. Yes, I know, this race report is late, but it's been a hectic year. My girlfriend flew in from Montreal with her boyfriend just for this race. So, we made it into a fun weekend. I picked them up from the airport and whisked them right down to packet pickup. As it was her first race, I told her that there was no big expo that we would be attending, but a more intimate and personalized experience.

Packet pickup was at a New Balance store not too far from where the race was going to be taking place. We were greeted by volunteers with t-shirts with tuxedo prints and white gloves. We were asked our names which they wrote down on post-it-notes along with what we were wearing and asked to go into the store to look around while they retrieved our race kits.
Gen with her race kit
We walked around the store and soon after the volunteers found us and hand delivered each of our kits to us.  Gen's first reaction was "Awesome race kit, you can take us back to the airport now". I was not going to let her get away that quickly.

When we got home we were able to dissect out race kit. As you an see from the photos, it was worth the $100 registration fee. We were not disappointed.

All our goodies were neatly packaged in a pretty black box with all the stuff you see in the photos. The personalized bibs were a nice touch and lined up perfectly with or race shirts. 

I know that it is faux pas to wear the race shirt before you've completed the race, there was mention of prizes for those who decided to don their race shirts.  So I broke the rule just once as we are all about winning prizes. 

After a good nights rest, I headed down to the race with my run buddies. It was a nice small race and we would be able to watch the masters runners race first before we were to race. It's the nice thing about a 5km race, most masters runners would finished in 25minutes.

The Master's runners were running first at 9 am and the rest of us runners would follow. It was a gorgeous day for a race. I couldn't believe how nice it was.

Masters runners ready to go
The first runner came in at 14:34 which totally blew us all away. It was amazing to see all of the runners come it at lightening speeds.  I am more in awe of the last person who crossed the finish line at 25:13!!! and she's in the Female 65-69 age group. Needless to say, I was truly humbled.

When it was our time to go, we leisurely walked to the start line. It was a fairly small race with 738 participants in the race. We stayed near that back as this was where my friend felt most comfortable. We were there to support her and get her to the finish line.

As you can see from the race photos, we were just having a great time. She was able to run the first kilometre without stopping. I didn't know how she had been training, but she did tell us when we started the race that she wasn't sure how long she would be able to run without stopping. She was over the moon excited about getting this far. I think for her next race, we will have to come up with a definite race strategy.

Free Race photos, always a nice perk
We ended up slowing down our pace and settled with a walk and run pace. She actually walks super fast, my run buddy had to trot along to keep up.  I was not going to race this one as I had promised that I could stay with her the entire way.  The course took us through the core of downtown Toronto. It was a loop that took us around Queen's Park, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and back to where we had started.  There were a few cars on the road that were not happy with us as we heard some complaints from drivers. I knew the finish was near and told my friend to suck it up and give it all she had. We cheered and yelled and hollered at her right up to the finish line.

Crossing the finish line
I was so proud of her and a that I was able to share her first race with her. 
Showing off our medals
The post race party was held on the grounds of a beautiful school. We were treated with fried Nutella balls and many other goodies. The sun was shining and we just relaxed on the field and soaked it all up.

This was a perfect race for my girlfriend. It was a great distance for her as she was using the couch to 5k app and the number of participants were small. The swag was fantastic, but the price was steep at $100. With that being said, my girlfriend has signed up for this race next year. I will have to see how much I have left in my race budget. I just may cheer her from the sidelines.

Where was your first race? 
Did you run it with anyone?

What is your limit on race registration fees?

Have a great week 



Monday, 22 December 2014

My New Garmin 620 - Marathon Motivation

I was so so happy to get my Christmas gift early this year. I had bought my first Garmin 305 when I started running 5 years ago. It started to give me a low battery indicator during my runs this summer when I was only 5 minutes into my run. It almost gave out on me during my San Francisco Marathon. I had hoped that it would last a bit longer, but sadly it didn't. I had to borrow my hubby's for most of my Athens Marathon training and the race itself. Deep down inside I was kind of  happy as I knew I could shop around for a new one.

I bought my first Garmin after asking around some of my fellow runners in my run club as I was brand new to running and not sure what I was looking for. I was very please with my 305 and slowly learned to use most of the features on the watch. This time around I had an idea of what I was looking for and went back online to do some more research.

I ended up with the the Garmin 620 after much research. I had contemplated switching to another company but after reading this review, I was convinced. I had read up on the 305 model on his website before and found it very useful. I highly recommend checking out his website.

I love my gadgets and this one is pretty awesome. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. It is super light compared to my 305 and has some great new functions. The watch also came right as I am starting my Paris Marathon training. I was super pumped and took it out for a run as soon as I could.

On my first run with my new toy
I just finished up week 2 of my training plan and excited to get out for another run just so I can use the watch. There is a new heart rate strap with a transmitter pod with an accelerometer that measures torso movement to measure 3 running metrics:

1. Cadence - the number of steps per minute
2. Vertical Oscillation - the bounce in your running motion
3. Ground contact time - the amount of time in each step that your food spends on the ground while running. 

Yes, I'm a bit of a run nerd as this information is pretty interesting to me, I just need to know how I can take all the information to help me become a better runner.

My week 2 totals - 44 km and 2 strength training workouts.

Rest day today and right back at it tomorrow. This will be a tough week with Christmas in a few days, I'm not sure how much running I'll be able to squeeze in. I think I'll be doing a lot my eating than running. Tis the season.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

What are your plans for the holidays? 

What motivates you to run?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Heartache and the journey ahead

I haven't had a chance to blog lately as I have been very overwhelmed with a terrible event. Twelve days after returning from Athens, my best friend and running buddy fell in the shower. At first we all thought that it was just a fall, but within 24 hours the hospital realized that it was worse than their initial diagnosis. She was rushed into emergency surgery for a block in the bilateral artery. I was devastated when I found out. We had just gotten back from her 40th birthday trip. She was young, fit and lead a healthy lifestyle. She is a chiropractor and has always lead by example; to her patients and everyone she knew. I have known her my whole life. We have gone through thick and thin together. She is like the sister that I never had. It turns out she had a stroke. I wanted to scream. I was completely lost. She had called me that day to see how I was as I had just returned from a flight and we were going to try to plan a get together. 

I was able to see her post surgery and sat the night with her and her brother in the Critical Care ward. She was able to look up at me when I got here and spoke her name.  But she was not the same person I had seen just days earlier. I could barely recognize her. I was a complete mess. I felt terrible that she was lying there so helpless. I knew that people were probably going to blame the running to have caused her stroke. I am not a doctor, but I believe that the running probably saved her and kept it at bay and I'm sure she would say the same thing.

The surgery to unclog the artery took place 3 weeks ago and she has since come a long way, but still has a long journey ahead of her. The doctors have checked her heart and it is in great shape and did not cause the original stroke. They are still trying to find out what caused her stroke so that preventative steps may be taken. We have been cautioned that they may not be able to pin point exactly how it occurred.  I have been pouring over websites trying to learn as much as I can. I feel so lost without her. We chatted daily about life, she was our family chiropractor, my running buddy and my best friend. I miss our daily chats whether it was a phone call or a quick text message. She always made time for me and my family. She was always so selfless. We were brought together by God when we met at Sunday School as pre-schoolers and continued onto be friends to this day. I believe that she will be healed. Doctors still say that it's a miracle that she's come this far. I know that it is by God's hand that she has come this far in such a short period of time. I know and believe with all my heart that she will overcome this and fight for a full recovery. She is now in a rehabilitation hospital where she will living for the next little while. I will continue to visit her and be her biggest cheerleader to help her with whatever she needs.

I am starting my training this week for the Paris Marathon. It has been a very emotionally draining year. I lost my uncle and grandfather this year and now this. I know that she would want me to continue on. I am dedicating this run to her and the people I lost this year.

Life is so very precious. Appreciate every moment with the people you love. Tell them you love them daily because you never know if it will be the last time you see them.

Please keep my buddy in your prayers and thoughts.

Thank you for reading.

At the Acropolis together 2 weeks before her stroke

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