GoodLife Fitness Toronto Relay Marathon 2015: Race RECAP

We have found our people (!!!) – a group of 6 other individuals who also enjoy running as much as we do.  Thus we have come together to form the Relay Marathon Team known as the HOT POTATOES!  Here is how the story began.

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The P-O-T-A-T-O-E-S! You’ll see their faces soon enough!

A while back, we posted our Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) race recap and hashtagged the post to our hearts’ content.  Lo and behold, the hashtags caught the attention of the STWM Facebook page who then featured our post and blog on their website.  We immediately experienced an exponential increase in viewers who visited our page and had our little taste of fame (hello 135 views in one day!).  Gillian, who happened to be searching for runners to form a Relay Marathon Team for the 2015 GoodLife Fitness Toronto Relay Marathon, stumbled upon our post and learned about Runivores.  What caught her attention was that Emily looked vaguely familiar from university, and so Gillian messaged us about running.  We obviously jumped at the chance of running in a team, especially a relay marathon which we have never tried before.  Next thing we know, we were introduced to a group of friendly people each with their own unique running story.  Some were seasoned runners who have completed a few half-marathons, while others were getting back into running or was new to the scene.  We first met each other over a hot bowl of Korean Soft Tofu Soup (yummm) in late January.  We were quite surprised to find out that we all have some mutual friends, with the majority of us going to the same university at one point in time.  What a small world, honestly that six degree of separation theory is quite true!

Our next team bonding activity took place at an Escape Room where we were locked inside a themed room and had 60 minutes to figure a way out by looking for clues and using them to solve puzzles which will unlock items or doors (these things are becoming quite popular in recent years).  We decided to challenge the most difficult room with our combined brain power, the Mummy’s Curse, but alas we never escaped.  It was a lot of fun nonetheless, trying to problem solve our way out – yay teamwork!  After our Escape Room excursion, we met up with the final few members of the team.  This was the first and ONLY time all 8 of us were together…at least until race day (it’s tough to schedule a free day that works for 8 people, we tried).

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Failed to escape, but still all smiles🙂

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First time we were all together!

Throughout the course of March and April, our team tried to meet up for group runs once a week.  There were always at least 3 people present for the run, but the biggest turnout was only 4 people (which isn’t bad, 50% attendance is a pass)!  Our training ranged in distance (5 – 8K) and locations – from the typical sidewalk running, trail running, going around a scenic pond and surrounding marsh areas, and doing laps around a high school track.  It was definitely motivating to run in a group, especially during the chilly late winter/ early spring days when it’s so easy to say “Oh it’s too (insert harsh weather conditions) to run outside today”, and skip out on the run.  Instead, because we have already made plans to run with people, this held us accountable to show up and actually run.  Besides that benefit of group running, we get to socialize, now who can pass on that.

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Commemorative photo of our largest training run to date.

Our team was named by the ingenious Jeremy who thought it would be fitting to be called HOT POTATOES since the game “Hot Potatoes” consisted of passing a potato around players, much like the concept of a relay team passing on the baton.  Appropriately so, we passed along a tiny potato during the relay as our unofficial baton.  As for team colours, we went with the Tri-Colour theme of red, blue, and yellow because it was our university colours.  (Sidenote: Stephie had to wear white because of her pacer shirt – sorry for not following the team colour!)

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(Left) Our palm-sized potato that we passed between teammates. (Centre) Look at how hot he is ~sizzle, sizzle~ (Right) The order that we ran the relay in: Stephie, Gillian, Betty, Leon, Matt, Emily, Peter, Jeremy.

Before we knew it, race day eve was upon us!  Half of the team were able to attend the Race Expo to pick up race bibs and shirts (thank you!).  Our teammates checked out the competition roster and were quite confident that we could place in the top 10 out of 69 teams.

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Representin’ at the expo!

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Keeping with pre-race traditions, we laid out Flat Emily (left) and Flat Stephie (right) the night before the race!

Next comes a recount from each teammate about their racing/ general running experience in the order that they ran in.  Each runner completed 5km, with Jeremy running 7km at the end to cover the full marathon distance.

STEPHIE

I asked to run the first leg of the race because I was also lucky enough to be a pacer bunny for the half marathon.  Which meant I had a total of 40 minutes between the start of the two races to run my 5km portion, and go back to the start line for the beginning of the half.  Talk about time crunch, there was no way I could cover that distance even if I sprinted like my life depended on it.  I managed to work out some changes to where I started my pacing, so all I had to do was walk back after my leg of the race (whew! sprinting averted).

Being at the start line, I was able to check out my competition carefully: okay so I’m running against a couple of elementary school-aged kids, some older gentlemen with a head of white hair, and the real sporty looking ones.  Most of them didn’t look like a threat to our top-10-finisher goal, but boy was I wrong.  As soon as the gun went off to signal the beginning of the race, BAM the little kids sped off into the distance.  I was running at a relatively faster pace than usual (watch read 4:30min/km), but these kids always had their 10-meter lead over me…I was speechless at how fast they were.  Actually I was breathless, literally.  I eventually shifted my focus back to my own run and maintained my pace, this was all about the speed game.  Soon the big hill came into view signifying the end of my part.  I spotted Gillian right at the beginning of the checkpoint eagerly bouncing up and down.  I threw the potato into her hands and sent her off with a “GO GO GO!” (in retrospect I should’ve shouted something more encouraging like “Go Gillian Go, Rock that hill!”, my bad – competitive Stephie kicked in).

GILLIAN

Race Day thoughts:

  • Finally spotting one of the Runivores running at me and handing me the small potato so I could conquer the only big hill on the course.
  • Seeing my friend’s face and shouting his name as I passed him the potato. So glad he was there so I didn’t have to keep running. >_<
  • Hugging my teammate (whom I missed at the checkpoint!) as she was nearly the end of her first 5K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO PROUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • The countless group jumping photos.
  • The death of our team mascot, the little potato that we passed from runner to runner, that I did not witness but became aware of only when it was too late. =(

I feel blessed to have met these fun loving people who share my enthusiasm for running! Thank you to every one of the Hot Potatoes for helping me make this idea of running a relay marathon come to life!! I hope we have run more relays together in the future, whether it be the Goodlife Toronto Marathon next year or another race! =)

BETTY

I was not much of a runner in the past. It began as a goal to stay fit, then it was a way for me to get re-energized to study into the evening when I needed the extra adrenaline. When I moved abroad, it was a fun way to sightsee and enjoy the company of friends. But by far, joining the Hot Potatoes relay team has been best motivator to run. It gave me a goal, a distance a time to work towards every time I step onto the treadmill or the road. There’s also the added bonus of meeting such great and positives people including the Runivores. I’m sure this is going to be the first of many many races I’ll participate in the future.🙂

LEON

I was bouncing around my checkpoint uncontrollably, full of anticipation and energy. The nerves at my first race, the excitement of the event, the pride of supporting the team; I could hardly contain myself. When I saw my teammate running down the road I felt my little bundle of emotions intensify with every step. Then I made contact with the potato. A couple words exchanged, a couple steps taken…Zen.
The pace came naturally. Focus was on the run. Everything else went quiet.
“Let’s pass this girl.”
“On your left.”
“Breathe.”
The weather was gorgeous and I took in every bit of the experience. My route was scenic and it felt like a jog in the park alongside comrades. To my surprise I found myself at the fourth kilometer still feeling great! So when my partner rolls into view I sprinted to meet him, potato in hand.

MATT

This was my first time running a marathon relay and it had truly been a wonderful experience.

Special thanks to Gillian for taking care of all the logistical aspects to make the Hot Potatoes Relay Team happen!  It definitely wasn’t easy to form a team of 8 especially when you don’t really know some people at the beginning.  Having done 4 half-marathons in the past, my stretch of 5 km in this relay seemed a lot shorter and quicker, but the rewards were countless.  It’s way more exciting and fun running as a team since I’m not doing it alone and besides, it’s all about the journey we embark on together that goes beyond the race.  I’m glad that I’ve made new friends who share similar values and goals throughout this experience – we see running as an important part of our lives and want to improve our overall fitness. They are also my running buddies who train with me for my future races and help me stay motivated, which is very crucial.   All in all, I’m proud of my teammates for putting in their best effort and placing in 13th overall in the Goodlife Marathon relay!

EMILY

Running on the relay team in elementary school was one of my favourite memories, so I was definitely excited for the chance to race as a team again. With the directions to get to my start point scrawled all over my arm, I left Stephie on the shuttle bus and walked to the 25K marker. I was almost 3 hours too early, so I walked to the finish line and got to see my supervisor race his 5K! I was  nervous I would miss Matt as he came past because there were so many people standing around on the street – it was definitely an adrenaline pumped moment when I saw him speeding towards the 25K sign. I was running at a pace I only dreamed to be able to maintain this far into a marathon race, which felt so strange (there was actually an individual marathon racer running alongside me – incredible, I tell you!). It was a feeling of exhilaration when I finally saw Peter at the 30K mark and passed him the potato.

I’ve always believed that as much as running seems an individual sport, it really isn’t. There’s a unique bond amongst runners because of the mutual understanding of what it feels like to challenge personal fears and embrace struggles. I’m so thankful to have met this group of runners and gotten the chance to race with them as a team! GO POTATOES!

PETER

Running as a team in this relay was a really neat experience!  For me, it fully embodied a very important study tip I received in university: Make molehills out of a mountain!  Which, in other words, equates to taking a horrifyingly large task and breaking it into manageable bite-size pieces…  In this case, we took a 42.2 km race, and broke it into 8 manageable legs.

Additionally, I always saw running as an independent sport – a chance to exercise my body and cleanse my mind.  I never thought it could be such a social activity!  I’m happy to say that I am now a comfortable “talking runner” (if that makes any sense at all), and I have made great friends through this experience.  I hope to continue running and laughing with them for many years to come.

JEREMY

***Jeremy’s section will be updated when his blurb arrives***

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We love to jump…a lot.

One final jumping picture capturing our potato mascot in all his flying glory (he covered 42.2Km after all)!

One final jumping picture capturing our potato mascot in all his flying glory (he covered 42.2Km after all)!

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So much love for our potato mascot

Obligatory bite-your-medal picture!

Obligatory bite-your-medal picture!

After taking a bijillion team photos of the jumping and selfie sort, and eating our share of bananas and oranges, we headed off for a big post-race celebratory meal at Salad King!  And who can forget about dessert, which we checked off with bubble tea at Chatime (that roasted milk tea with grass jelly is a must-have)!  We were later pleasantly surprised to discover we placed 13th overall with a final time of 03:38:11, what a perfect way to end the day!

IMG_9007     Hot Potatoes A (Stephie) and Hot Potatoes F (Emily). The medals aren't too shabby either, we thought they were going be 1/8th the size of the full marathon medal since 8 people ran the distance.

Hot Potatoes A (Stephie) and Hot Potatoes F (Emily). The medals aren’t too shabby either, we thought they were going be 1/8th the size of the full marathon medal since 8 people ran the distance.

It has been a blast training and running with this group and we can’t wait until we race together again (half-marathon anyone?…or how about a full marathon?).  Thank you Gillian for recruiting us to be on your team and being the most enthusiastic and organized captain!  And thank you HOT POTATOES for being such fun and supportive running friends.  With that, we’ll leave you with a quote about running and friendship (yep we’re cheesy like that).

“Friendships forged through running are as beautiful as they are strong.  Strengthened by each shared stride, and tempered by exhaustion, they are bonds difficult to break.” – Anonymous

Little Rock Marathon 2015: Race RECAP

Arrrrrrr me matey! Tis finally time for the Little Rock Marathon race recap! It’s been 3 months since we returned from Little Rock, Arrrrrrkansas, and we recently received our big-as-your-face medals in the mail – EXCITING – so we thought, better start working on this recap asap. (pardon the rhyme) In the wee morning hours of February 27, we set off on our adventure. Stephie’s dad drove us to the bus terminal where we caught the GO bus for Pearson International Airport. We got through customs and security check with only a few mishaps (machines are difficult, okay). Just a note for all those going from Canada to USA, it’s a lot easier to leave any snack bananas behind so you don’t suffer the shock of receiving your security slip back with a huge X on it.

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Goodbye Canada!

About four hours and a layover in Chicago later, we arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas! A welcome sign for runners in the airport made us feel instantly more welcome as we ventured to find a taxi to take us into the city. For some reason there were no taxis at the pick-up location; thankfully another runner needing a taxi had a USA compatible phone and helped us call for a taxi (thank you, sir!). Welcome(Side note: can we please take a moment to reflect on how amazingly huge and BEAUTIFUL Chicago O’Hare International Airport is) IMG_8779 When we eventually made it into the city with the help of some very kind strangers, we headed to Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken as recommended by a lovely woman at the airport information desk. gus'sThe chicken was indeed delicious, and we were equally (if not more) excited about the “beans and ‘slaw.” After lunch, we wandered the streets and found the coolest park we’ve ever seen. EVER. It had a huge climbing rope structure, lots of tunnels, and a beautiful view of the Arkansas River.

Being tourists at the Junction Bridge and the H.U. Lee International Gate and Garden

Being tourists at the Junction Bridge and the H.U. Lee International Gate and Garden

After some more exploration around the River Market area and a little bit of Taekwondo, we headed to the marathon expo to pick up our race kits. The expo was really well organized, and we enjoyed our chocolate milk taste test very much! That evening, we met up with the third member of our little runcation troop: Jack! Of course we had to show him the fantastic playground we discovered before enjoying a lovely Italian dinner of ravioli, lasagna, and pizza (let the carb loading begin!) at Bruno’s Little Italy.

#LRMarathon

#LRMarathon

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Exploring tunnels at the park

The next day, we went back to the race expo with Jack to get his race kit (but not before playing in the park again, HA). One great thing to pick up at the expo is a garbage bag (seems a little strange, but hear me out) – the garbage bags they hand out are quite heavy duty and great for keeping warm for the first parts of the race!

Lots of vendors and groups to see at the marathon expo!

Lots of vendors and groups to see at the marathon expo!

IMG_8856 In the afternoon, we decided to take a trip around Little Rock on the River Rail Streetcar, which was only $1 to ride! The entirety of the interior was a golden wood that made everything feel warm and wonderful; every seat was also individually heated from beneath which was another bonus. railThe River Rail Streetcar took us to the William J. Clinton Presidential Centre where we toured a replica of the Oval Office and learned about the changes that President Clinton strived for during his time in office. (FUN FACT: one of the rooms had log books of President Clinton’s schedule for every single day in the year, and there was a period of many years where he had a morning run penned in every day!)

Having a serious meeting in a replica room

Having a serious meeting in a replica room

*Travel note: discounted entry fee for any students traveling with their student card! After doing all the touristy things (including attempt a selfie with Charlie Brown – see below), we went for a scenic stroll around the pond beside the Presidential Centre before heading off to dinner. When we registered for the race, we also bought tickets for the buffet style pasta party located at the Marriott Hotel downtown.  Needless to say, we spent the rest of the evening carb-loading to our hearts’ content, pasta on pasta!!!touristytings On the morning of the race, we got up bright and early, went down for breakfast, then put on all of the gear that we had laid out the night before. After taking some photos in the lobby, we walked over to the starting line. With our garbage bags over our bodies, we said our goodbyes and merged into the crowd. IMG_8969IMG_8966The course itself was really nice – there were a couple of mile markers that had special themes. For instance, a couch potato mile with lots of sofas lining the streets calling out for the runners to take a tempting nap. Running through some of the winding roads through forests with rivers was great! There were several uphill climbs, but they were good challenges during the race. The weather was a little variable, and it began to rain towards the end, but only for a little while. Here are some of our individual thoughts from the race:

EMILY

The day before we left Toronto, I asked my supervisor, housemates and other friends & family to write something on my arm that they wanted me to remember during the race, so I didn’t have to run the race alone. Armed (no pun intended) with the encouraging messages, including a reminder that vomiting and pooping in pants were allowed as long as I stayed on pace, I felt less nervous. On race day, I decided to try something else I’ve never done for a race – follow a pacer. I know the common rule of never trying anything new on race day, but I had been down with varying bouts of illness the weeks leading up to the race and felt not prepared at all to run this distance on my own. A HUGE thank you to my pacers, Lacey and Elaine – your guidance allowed me to eliminate pacing as a worry on race day, and I enjoyed the first 32km a lot more than I did in my first marathon race. With more training, I would love to be a pacer someday.

STEPHIE

I believe each marathon (and each race for that matter) tells its own story; the struggles a runner faces, and the accomplishments he or she achieves during the period of training until race day. These could be running related or aspects of their personal life. For me, this was the story of my intermittent running throughout the cold winter season during an especially stressful few months of my graduate degree. Looking back, I should’ve been more serious about training. But since I had one marathon already under my belt, I thought that I could be more lenient with this one (wrong). With the added roadblocks I was experiencing with my thesis (ex. failed experiments, lab conflicts, first committee meeting preparations) I simply didn’t have the time or focus to follow my training schedule.  I cut back on all cross training, and only ran 3 times every week. The farthest long run I completed was 23K (it’s recommended that runners at least have three 29K and two 32K long runs when preparing for marathons). No longer did I have a goal time to finish sub X-hours, my goal was to cross the finish line. Knowing this race will be particularly challenging because of my under-training, I decided to make a playlist to get me through the race. Normally I don’t run with music because I enjoy living in the moment and taking in all the race excitement as much as I can. That can’t be done if I’m plugged in to my iPod, and so I’ve learned to run without music except when I’m on solo training runs. But this time there was a big question of whether I could even complete the distance, so I needed some form of motivator to remind me “I can do this!” I asked my family, friends, and co-workers to give me one song; this could be their go-to work out tune that gets them pumped up, or even their favourite song. The point was, when their song came up, I would think about that person for that duration and imagined them running beside me and cheering me on. This trick worked and I found myself going through memory lane as I thought about the time I spent with said individual. It made the distance shorter and the time go by faster. At the start of the race, I followed the 4:25 (finish time) pace bunny, but my playlist was so effective that I eventually passed him and just followed the beat of my songs. There were a few distinctive moments from this race which I’ll always remember: the constant drizzle and rain throughout the entire run, the couch potato mile, the 2-mile long hill, the beautiful downhill section cutting through the green leafy forest, seeing Emily and Jack during the long stretch of out and back and yelling out their names, being given lip gloss at mile 26, and finally sprinting towards the finish line (that feeling never gets old).  To my surprise, I finished 19 minutes faster than my first marathon time – that switch from 10:1 (run/walk) to continuous made a world of difference.

Now onto my list of thank-yous. Because as much as running a marathon is an individual sport, I would not be able to finish this race without the support and encouragement from others. To my playlist providers, (Alice, Amanda, Angela, Angie, Anna, Ashley, Aunt Winnie, Beini, Betty L, Betty X, Brittany, Carmen, Carly, Celia, Chloe, Dorothy, Emily, Farhad, Florence, Gillian, Izzy, Jack, Janice, Jenn, Kay, Kiefer, Linda, Louisa, Maggie, Man, Matt, May, Megan, Michelle, Nat, Patrick, Patryk, Patty, Peter, Piriya, Polly, Rachel, Rob, Rohit, Sanja, Sapna, Scott, Taylor, Tyler, Victoria, Yang, Yannis, Yev, Zoe, Mom, Dad) thank you for giving me your song or taking the time to think of the perfect song for me. You have no idea how helpful it was in getting me to stay on pace and getting me to the finish line. And now I have a few more extra tunes to listen to at the gym. To my Markham and Queen’s Park Running Room friends (Ray, Brian, Ric), thank you for your running knowledge and giving some great advice. I appreciate you asking me how my training is going every time I attend Wednesday/ Sunday Group Runs. To the parental unit (Emily’s mom and dad, my mom and dad), thank you for continuously being our cheerleaders in this marathon journey. For being excited for something that is so important to us. And for driving us to, and picking us up from the bus station in the early hours of the morning. To Jack, thank you for giving in to my insistent persuasion of “you should run a marathon” and not getting annoyed of me. I’m so proud of you and your speedy speedy time, especially when this is your first marathon! I expect great things from you on the running scene in the future. I called it if you qualify for Boston in the next 2 years. Oh, and to YOLO. To Emily, thank you for going on yet another crazy adventure with me, who knows how many we’ve been on already. I feel like 75% of the time I come up with the crazy activity part and you just go along with it because I’m so excited about the idea. I mean, we signed up for this even before we finished our first marathon. I’m so grateful that you’re my fellow Runivore, may we have many more runcations and marathons together for years and years to come!

JACK

Ahhhhh March 1st, 2015, the day I crossed an item off of my bucket list. One small step for Jack. One small step that took a multitude of steps to achieve. The night before the race, we went to the “pasta party” organized by the race to carb load. This would prove to be critical for race day. Thanks Stephie and Emily for coming up with the idea! On race day morning, we had breakfast with a friendly dude from Kansas and then we were off to the start line! The main thing that I remember from waiting at the start line was that people were throwing around some beach balls. I was a bit nervous since it was my first marathon so I kept on thinking “Focus on the balls. Focus on the balls. Focus on the balls.” Yes, the balls. Not those balls though… Soon enough, the countdown clock was at 3…2…1…and we were off! The first part of the race was situated in downtown Little Rock. The beginning of the course took us through the business district and in front of the Arkansas State Capitol Building. Around 10 km (~6.2 miles), there was the “couch mile”. Basically an epic act of trolling where a bunch of couches were lined up on both sides of an entire street. There were also some people handing out beer samples as well and I ended up drinking one.

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Because YOLO. Now shutup.

Some kilometers/miles (take your pick of measurement system) later, I don’t think I was nervous about the whole marathon thing anymore. Why? Because when I passed the halfway mark (21.1 km, ~13 miles), I remember myself thinking something along the lines of “HA! This marathon is a JOKE! I’m not even tired yet!” I guess thinking about the balls at the start line worked.

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Somewhere before “halfway there”.

Around 30 km (~18.6 miles), I started feeling tired. From 35 km (~21.75 miles) onwards was pure hell. The joke was completely on me from there on and all I wanted to do was to stop running. The few things that kept me going were:

– The prospect of food at the finish line

– The fact that I had flown to Little Rock all the way from Canada for this marathon

– The fact that the above had cost many $$$dolla billz$$$

– Keeping my goal of finishing in under 3 hours 30 min in sight (reinforced by the fact that I had flown all the way from Canada and that it had cost $$$dolla billz$$$ to do so)

– Jonathan

Ah Jonathan, what a great guy. Jonathan was the pace bunny for finishing in 3 hours and 30 minutes. I barely kept up with him for the last couple of kilometers. When there were about 2-3 kilometers left, he suddenly said “I’m going a bit faster than 3:30 so I’m going to slow down a bit. But I want you to finish in under 3:30!” Upon hearing that I was like:

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Be kool and don’t sue me.

To guarantee that I would finish below my target time, I started speeding up. After a while, there was a turn in the course and I could see the finish line at the end of what seemed like a long freaking road. I literally felt like a running zombie for the last stretch. After what seemed like an eternity, the finish line was right in front of me. I saw, and I conquered. Just kidding, more like I was conquered. One of the most taxing activities I have ever done was over! Bucket list item complete! I finished with a time of 3:29:10, which beat my finish time goal! I looked at my running watch and it said that I had burned over 3000 calories. Needless to say, the finish line food was great. The chicken rice soup that they served was the best thing I’ve ever tasted. Before I conclude, I would like to say that the Little Rock Marathon is awesome! Highly recommended for the friendly locals, great course that takes you past several historic sights and the huge medal you get! Special shoutout to Jonathan for helping me to achieve my finish time. You’re the best! If it weren’t for you, I would not have finished in under 3:30! Thank you Stephie for convincing me to go and thanks to both of my running buddies, Stephie and Emily for making Little Rock an awesome experience! For anyone who has not run a marathon before, it’s extremely hard but worth it. It’s one of greatest feats that the human body can accomplish and very rewarding when you get to shove that chicken rice soup in your mouth after the finish line. Rewinding back to the finish line, the first thought in my mind right after I crossed was “I’m never going to run a marathon again”. 4But I already know that there will be many more to come…

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*********************************End of individual thoughts**********************************

Since we were all finishing at different times, we agreed to meet at the Market Square afterwards (also because we wanted to try the food there). A couple of weeks before the race, the coordinators sent out an email saying that the medals had not arrived in time to be given out at the finish line. Instead, they would be handing out smaller medals at the race, and mailing the large medal later on. At first it was a little disappointing because we were looking forward to holding the face sized medal that is so characteristic of the Little Rock Marathon at the finish line, but we were ecstatic nonetheless to simply finish the race. The little acetate medal they gave us (a small replica) was really cute too! IMG_8992 IMG_8971Fast forward almost 2 months, a really heavy package came in the mail! Needless to say, it was excitement all over again. From the beautiful colours and design to the spinning compass disk in the corner, this is one beautiful medal indeed. DSC_0667Training has already begun for Marathon number 3! Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon 2015, we’re coming for you!

Runivores Turns 2!

happy-first-birthdayHas it been 2 years already?!  Wow time sure flies, but Runivores is another year older! It’s hard to imagine that much time has passed since we started running together, then racing together.  And there’s TONS more to celebrate over this past year.  Most importantly, we achieved the one goal we set out to do at the time of Runivores’ first birthday last year – (in exact words from our post) RUN A MARATHON!!!  We not only ran one marathon, but we ran TWO marathons!!! As another racer, whom we met at one of our races, puts it: “You’ve officially joined the loony bin of marathoners”.  But who can deny the addiction that is marathon running, as soon as we’re done one we immediately wanted to sign up for another, and so the cycle continues.  Other events worth noting include our first out-of-country race in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, and having a good friend join us on this runcation (run + vacation)!  We were also part of a Relay Marathon Team, completing the distance of a marathon split between 8 runners.  It was so much fun meeting new runners who all share the love for the sport!  Lastly, one of us became a pace bunny for a half-marathon for the first time!  We know we’ve been terrible at updating our blog (life happens), but stay tune for our recap on Little Rock Marathon, GoodLife Toronto Relay Marathon, and Stephie’s experience as a pace bunny.  Stay tuned!!

YEAR END RECAP:

Followers: 42

All Time Views: 2119 from 45 countries

Best ever from one day: 135 views

Races Completed: 6 (LIKE WHAT?!?)

Race Cities: 3

Favourite Memory…wait we have two!:

-Hugging and crying it out at the finish line of our very first marathon (STWM) together (the tears just flowed without warning)

-Traveling to Arkansas and getting all our flight connections on time!

Worst Memory:

Walking in a very empty city and feeling like it was a scene straight out of The Walking Dead…thing is, this was at 7PM and in the heart of downtown Little Rock, where were the people?!  We later passed by a park at 10PM and wanted to explore the beautiful glowing lights, but stopped in our tracks when we saw 3 hooded black figures huddled in the middle.  As Jack put it – Sketchville is sketch!

Funniest Moment:

Who knew getting through airport security stations was so difficult?! Especially with those machines that take your photo (worse when you don’t know where to look) – also if you plan on getting through quickly, don’t bring any bananas. Here’s a replica photo:

Airport security struggles

Airport security struggles

One goal for next year:

Take training seriously, incorporating different types of workouts, no more going into races feeling super unprepared!!

Here’s to another year of running, growth, challenge, and laughter – much excitement for the days ahead!

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Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2014: Race RECAP

On October 19, 2014, we turned impossible into possible, and made our big dream a reality. This was the day we completed our first marathon.

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On Saturday we went to the Direct Energy Centre to pick up our race kits and to experience our first Race Expo. There were school bus shuttles running from a downtown pickup location to transport people to and from the expo, and neon orange volunteers were stationed everywhere to help direct people.

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Entrance to the expo – so many stalls, so little time!

There were a ton of booths selling a range of running related products: gear, fuel, gadgets – everything!  We spotted a great gel deal (3 for $5) and stocked up on our fair share.  The salesman left us overwhelmed and make us feeling like we did not have enough gels – “You have to have at least 6 gels to run a marathon!”  (But we couldn’t even fit 6 gels into our fuel belt).  We also got our gait analyzed by the Brooks shoe specialist.  They had us run barefoot on the treadmill while recording our leg movements.  The analysis gave us a list of shoe types that would best fit our running style.

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Of course we had to leave our little mark in anticipation for the day ahead.

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Signing off on Runivores’ first marathon! Gotta have rice.

With the parting advice to go home and make pasta dinner from the gel salesman, we wandered around to browse at all the running gear. Everything from jackets to socks and headbands – sales galore! Stephie picked up a pair of hot pink RRX Running Room compression sleeves for her calves, a perfect match to her pink running shoes.  And with that, our race expo trek came to an end.

We returned back to Stephie’s apartment to carb load and prepare for race day.  We had pasta upon pasta and proceeded to lay out Flat Stephie and Flat Emily as per big race traditions.

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Flat Stephie & Flat Emily is ready! (Composition inspired by Nike)

The pre-race jitters kept us awake even as the morning drew nearer. Sleep was intermittent, as we anticipated what the big day would really be like. We woke up at 7:45 AM to get ready and eat our toast and banana breakfast as we watched the live feed highlighting the start of the race. Despite our very close location to the start line (3 min walk away), we still managed to miss the official start of the race. In our defence, our corral didn’t start until 9:05, a good 25 minutes after the official start. However, because we missed the start, we made it to the intersection just in time to watch the speedy Kenyan runners lead the pack ahead.

Them Kenyan runners are fast potatoes.

Them Kenyan runners are fast potatoes. TERER (photographed here) placed 4th overall.

We tried to sneak into an earlier corral, but security was really tight this year.  We started the race in the Purple Corral (expected finish time of over 04:30:00, which is also the second last corral before the Open Corral for the walkers…yes we’re that slow) and maintained our pace.  We have been training at a 10:1 pace (10 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking), with the average pace to be at around 6:30 minutes/kilometre.  It was difficult to keep at this pace during the beginning with all the pre-race excitement still in the air, we were constantly reminding ourselves to slow down and not get carried away from wanting to pass the other racers.  We spent the first 8km or so running between skyscrapers in the heart of downtown Toronto.  We passed by some major landmarks – University Avenue flanked by hospitals on both sides of the road, Queen’s Park, Royal Ontario Museum, University of Toronto campus, Bloor street with all the fancy shops, and Honest Ed’s (which is also selected as the landmark to be showcased on this year’s special 25th anniversary medal).  The fuel stations where water and gatorade was given out were placed every 2km apart, some were even “Cheering Neighbourhoods” which meant there was live music and a larger crowd because of the prime location.

Cheering neighbourhoods in all their spirited glory!

Cheering neighbourhoods in all their spirited glory!

We decided to run with our fuel belt, but only keep one bottle on us since having all three holders would’ve been too heavy for such a far distance.  We filled this bottle with water to wash down our gels – Gatorade would have been too sweet.  This meant we took gatorade from the stations every chance we got.  We each carried 4 gels – Emily was eating the Hammer gels (half a gel at each half hour mark), while Stephie was eating the GU gels (1 gel at each hour mark).  We stuck to our fueling and hydration plan with no digestive problems, and kept going.

Seeing each kilometre marker was quite the cause for celebration, as it meant we were nearing the finish. The skyscraper view slowly turned into that of Lake Ontario as the route snaked along the waterfront.  Soon, we had reached the point where we separated from the half marathon racers. Knowing that they had reached their destination while we were only halfway was a little overwhelming, but it was reassuring to see that we weren’t running alone. In fact, isolation was not a stage that we experienced during the race, despite panicking about it the night before. The incredible support from the spectators, volunteers, and other runners was never ending.  Shortly after passing the halfway point, we separated: Emily needed to slow down while Stephie still felt comfortable at the 6:30 pace.

Selfie at the split-away!  Half-marathoners to the left, full-marathoners to the right.

Selfie at the split-away! Half-marathoners to the left, full-marathoners to the right.

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Mommy running by her side, awwwww.

Em: With the promise that I would make it across the finish line, I urged Stephie to keep going. I anticipated the last part of the race to be a huge challenge, but I was not prepared for the muscle fatigue I was feeling. It was getting to the point where I would get rather emotional whenever other people encouraged me to keep going (calm yourself, em). Just the feeling that they believed I would make it when I felt like the finish was so far away helped me find the little bit of courage to keep moving. Seeing my parents on the course was another teary part of the race, but it also meant I was nearing the end (this looks more dramatic than it actually was). Seeing the beautiful (and large) sign that Stephie’s dad made was something I was anticipating – was so excited to finally see it! They posted signs every 100 metres for the last 500 metres, and I really (REALLY) wanted to just walk the rest of the way. I was a little shocked to hear someone yell my name, and turned to see two people I hadn’t seen in two years from the organization I will be interning with this coming year. They smiled at me and kept running beside me on the sidewalk (tears in, tears in) so that every time I wanted to stop, I would just look over and see them smiling and running. At the 100m sign, the crowd was so dense that I could no longer see them – but the finish line was right there. I feel like I have a reflex reaction to seeing finish lines – my face muscles just pull my mouth into the biggest smile (crazed expression, I’m sure). No sooner had I crossed the finish line and got my space blanket (childhood astronaut dream fulfilled) – there she was: Stephie. I cannot believe she waited an hour in the frigid temps for me to cross that finish line (tears IN, I said). Needless to say we had to celebrate with a big hug – okay, tears out. I hope someday we can cross the finish together (I promise to train more), but when we do I’m sure there will be a lot of crying. Happy tears.

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Reaction to seeing the parentals at the 41K mark – some much needed encouragement to finish with a bang!

Stephie: It was wonderful to run the first half of the marathon with my running buddy – we motivated and paced each other as we completed each kilometer side by side.  I was torn between running with Em for the last half or maintaining speed and running solo.  I feel really bad every time I leave her behind when we do races together, but she’s always been super supportive of me running it at my best pace possible and not to worry about her.  (I know, what kind of runner am I to leave my buddy behind while I run off into the distance.  I’m a bad person.  I promise we will train hard together, run the full race together, and finish together for our next marathon!!)  I could feel that my training throughout this summer really paid off, especially those Sunday Long Run mornings when we went as far as 32Km for a couple of weeks.  I was comfortable maintaining my pace until the 37Km mark when everything just started falling apart.  My Garmin decided to shut off randomly (noooo it didn’t save my run!), and every part of my body began to ache – neck, shoulders, arms, fingers (swollen), back, hips, thighs, calves, feet, soles.  Physically, I was drained, too tired to even bother taking out and eating my last gel.  At one point, my legs were just on automatic pilot – I wasn’t controlling them anymore, they were moving by themselves one step at a time as if they knew they needed to bring me to the finish line.  Mentally, I was going insane.  I was doing mental math every few minutes, calculating how many more kilometers and minutes I still need to run.  (An excerpt of my thought process: Okay, I have 5Km left, which is really five 1Km runs and I can do those under 30 minutes.  This is just half an hour or the equivalent of me playing my favourite song on repeat for roughly 7 times.  Time to start singing my favourite song over and over again in my head (insert lyrics)…wait I don’t know all the words, it’s fine I’ll just start humming the tune.  Oh look – the lady I just passed a few minutes ago is running pass me, time to catch up to her even though I have zero energy left.)  Yup, I was going crazy.  I knew our parents were waiting at the 41K mark, so I was anticipating when I will finally see them.  As they came into view, I could see the dads were busily snapping photos behind their gigantic cameras, Em’s mom was jumping up and down with the sign, and my mom was happily clapping along.  I ran up to my mom, and as we clasped our hands together, the tears I’ve been holding back came out.  My level of mental exhaustion and physical fatigue at that moment in combination with seeing a familiar face has turned me into an irrationally emotional individual.  With 500 meters left of the marathon and crowds of strangers cheering my name (literally they were yelling “Go Stephie Go!” since my name was on the race bib I was wearing), I crossed the finish line with arms triumphantly up in the air and a smile that captured my happiness and astonishment of finishing.  I was tired, hungry, and cold, but I wanted to be there for Em during her finish line moment.  When we finally reunited with our race medals around our neck, we looked at each other and said “We FINALLY did it!” and allowed the waterworks to start flowing as we hugged it out.  I can’t imagine finishing my first marathon with anyone else but her❤.  Special thank-you goes to: Kingston Running Room friends – Michelle, Zoe, Emmaline, Delores, Eric (for being my weekly Wednesday and Sunday running buddies during the hot summer months), Markham Running Room friends – Irene, James, Michael, Ray, Sandra (for accompanying me on those 29K+ runs, and bestowing me with your knowledge on distance running), Queen’s Park Running Room friends – Brian, Jason, and Victoria (for being such lightning fast runners, pushing me to reach the upper limits of my speed), Maggie (for diagnosing my bijillion running injuries and teaching me how to fix them), my parents (for accepting my crazy running dreams and supporting me on race day), and Emily (for being there from the very beginnning of this 2-year journey).

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Race bling makes us act weird. Or we just might be weird to begin with. Probably the latter.

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The sign behind us got it spot on! And where did we get the strength to even jump?!

3 parents, 2 space burritos, and 1 large sign

3 parents, 2 space burritos, and 1 large sign (Photocreds to Em’s dad).

It seemed like we had an insatiable hunger for the rest of the day, and we were hungry despite eating the banana and Happy People Baking pita bread provided post-race. Our parents decided to walk to a restaurant in China town (10 minute walk maybe?), and it was quite hilarious to see them just powering ahead while we trailed several metres behind (what. is. walking.) – especially because they did not even notice we were so far away. We both ran mild fevers that night, but luckily felt better the next morning with sleep and Tylenol (has this ever happened to anyone?)

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Sneaky peek at the finish line curtesy of Stephie’s dad!

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Obligatory bib & medal picture.

STWM mapSTWM Elevation ChartFor more information on this marathon, here’s the website! http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/en/details.htm

Much, much excitement for our next race: the Little Rock Marathon in Arkansas, USA the coming March! Our second runcation – and kind of our graduation trip.

Island Girl Half Marathon 2014 Recap

Waking up at the crack of dawn to run 21.1km in the rain? Well worth it.

It has been a little more than a year since we ran our first half marathon last May. We had been looking forward to running this race since signing up in July, and not being able to sleep the night before confirmed our excitement. Despite hearing from the weather experts that it would be raining with a chance of thunderstorms the day of the race (noooooo), there was no denying the adrenaline rush of racing.

The fact that we would be riding the ferry to an island to run a race was another exciting bonus – it’s our first time racing on an island!

7AM: Riding the ferry on the 2nd floor with the rain blowing in - got that wakeup shower!

7AM: Riding the ferry on the 2nd floor with the rain blowing in – got that wakeup shower!

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The Island Girl races consisted of a 5K walk/run, and a half marathon (individual/relay) on Toronto Island. The half marathon was made up of two laps of a course that spanned almost the entire length of the island while the 5K was an out-and-back course. It was a women-only race, described as being a “celebration of women!”

We arrived on Toronto Centre Island on separate ferries, but were easily able to find each other near the starting line. Seeing the other runners in colourful workout gear, some even with rainbow tutus and brightly coloured accessories brought a good sense of energy in the dreary weather.  We did not lack in the spirit department either, donning our purple and white leis which were given to every Island Girl at registration.  Might we proudly add that we ran the entire race with the leis around our necks (which eventually migrated to loop around our arm because it was getting in the way).

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This race was extra special because we had a new walker joining us – Emily’s mom!!!  This was her first 5K Walk ever, and this was the first time one of our parents decided to participate in an official event with us.  It’s so exciting to see our family members going on more walks/runs because of our obsession with the sport.  She has been eagerly training for her walk since the summer with Emily, and was more than ready to tackle the 5K course with ease.

Em and her mom - perfect mother & daughter race duo!

Em and her mom – perfect mother & daughter race duo!

Abiding to the “Island Girl” concept, the race organizers prepared a live band at the start line who played jazzy tropical tunes to hype up the runners.  A group of girls with grass skirts and flowers in their hair led an island-themed warm-up with some iconic Hawaiian hula girl moves thrown in.  It was lots of fun to get our groove and dance on with other fellow racers!

Hawaii inspired warm-ups in which we attempt to dance like the pros

Hawaii inspired warm-ups in which we attempt to dance like the pros

Before we knew it, it was time for the 5K group to take off since they have an earlier start time than the half-marathon group.  It started REALLY raining as soon as they left the Start area.  All the half-marathoners could only take shelter under a big tree for a short while before we were ushered to wait at the Start line.  The organizers even made an announcement that “it is in the runner’s discretion to continue the race should there be a thunder storm as volunteers and performers will be advised to take shelter”.  Gigantic droplets of rain greeted us as we began the race, forming large pools of water throughout the course that was difficult to run around.  Needless to say, we were soaked from head to toe after the first 10 minutes.  For the next 1.5 hours, the weather would alternate between cloudy skies, to light drizzle, and full-on torrential rain and wind.  Although this racing condition was slightly uncomfortable, we were veterans at running in extreme wet (see Run for the Cure 5K Recap) and extreme cold (see Winterman 10K Recap).  Regardless, we could not help but laugh at the coincidence of having to race in such heavy rain AGAIN.

WOOHOO!

WOOHOO!

But aside from the less ideal weather, it was wonderful to run with each other again after spending a good half of the summer apart.  We chatted, we raced, and we eavesdropped on other racers’ conversations (unintentionally)!  We couldn’t help but overhear an experienced marathoner bestow her running wisdom to her friend – “Oh no, your body can’t run a marathon without consuming gels – you HAVE TO take those gels”. Ummmm…well that was certainly a good tip because we haven’t been doing that.  From that moment on, we named those two the “Marathon Lady” and “Marathon Lady’s Buddy”, and we used them as indirect pacers whom we tried to keep up with/beat (funny because after the race was done, Marathon Lady’s Buddy came up to us and said she used us as pacers)!  Next is a small recap from our own point of views:

With one of the colourful volunteers!

With one of the colourful volunteers!

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Stephie:  This was a cute little race to do – it’s all-girls, on an island, themed, has live music, and with a flat course to boost.  The half-marathon was also the perfect distance for a Sunday Long Run, especially at this stage of marathon training where a minimum of 21K is covered every Sunday.  I really like the whole concept of racing a half-marathon as a tune-up to the full thing because it makes that day of training so much fun, and there’s a medal at the end (who can deny those race blings).  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do 10:1 (which is routine for my long run) because a small part of me wanted to PB.  In the end, I decided to just go with the flow and walk whenever my body and legs needed the break.  Chatting with Em was definitely a bonus, we exchanged stories and laughs throughout the first 3/4 of the race.

Blazing to the finish!

Blazing to the finish!

With 5K left in the route and the sun finally shining, I noticed that I might have a chance at PBing, and decided to go for it (Sorry Em, I left you to run on your own for that last bit)!  I tried my best at sprinting towards the finish with a pace just under 5:05 min/km.  I realized that all the training I did up until this point really made a a difference to my speed, pace maintenance, and how I view the half-marathon.  I used to be so afraid of 21K, the thought of having to run that distance scared me (like how are my legs able to carry me that far?!)  But having covered that distance for 6 times so far into training, it is quickly becoming one of my favourite race distances to complete.  Overall I recommend the Island Girl race series to every girl out there who seeks the serenity of the island, but also love to catch a glimpse of the beautiful Toronto skyline!

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Emily: I was really excited for this race for several reasons – firstly because it was my first time on the Island (though was a little bummed that the weather wasn’t going to play nice), and secondly because my mom was racing this time! My parents usual response to my love of running is “you’re weird, hun” – so for my mom to now want to experience this for herself is so “ahsjdflak” exciting. As for running the half-marathon, I was nervous because I knew I was under-trained (this seems to be a recurrence with each run – it needs to change!). The first half of the race went by pretty quickly because I was chatting with Stephie, but by the 3/4 mark I didn’t feel comfortable enough to keep up with Stephie’s pace (she’s a strong girl, she is!) – so I told her to keep powering forth while I paced myself a little bit.

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One problem I encountered several times during the course was, how to say — stomach discomfort (?). I felt as though my intestines were tangling themselves together and freaking out. The distance between the kilometre marks felt like they were getting longer, and I was getting increasingly tired both physically and mentally. BUT THEN! In the distance I saw Stephie running towards me in the grassy field. She had come back to run the last bit with me after finishing her race! Seeing my running buddy gave me a surge of energy, and I crossed the finish line with the biggest smile on my face. But after that I spent the rest of the week bandaging some terrifying blisters, while learning that proper socks are critical in racing injury free. Nonetheless, I enjoyed running on the island and am loving longer distance running more and more!

"And they tell me I'm the weird one" -Em

“And they tell me I’m the weird one” -Em

Emily’s Mom (Transcribed by Em): “Unbelievable –> believable!” “Impossible –> possible” “Hahahahaha” “I wonder but it’s wonderful” “Sorry sorry, I run actually walk and finish!!” “Sorry sorry!” “I’m not the last one in my age group!” “Hehehehe” “Actually I’m not the last one.”

Luckily, no thunderstorm precautions were needed. The sun came out and we had a picnic by the waterside before drying ourselves in the washroom and heading home. We took loads more photos before boarding the ferry with our fellow runners. The Island Girl Half Marathon has a pretty flat course with gorgeous views of the Toronto city skyline, the theme is perfect for summertime, and racing with all of the other women who share this love of running is the cherry on top! (The long sleeve tech shirt was a REALLY nice feature, too)

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Race package goodies! Even a whole box of vitamin gummies for women!

Race package goodies! (Lovin’ the long sleeve) Even a whole box of multivitamin gummies for women!

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Training Week 11 and 12

Week 11

STEPHIE’S TRAINING

Day 1 – Tuesday August 5, 2014: Tempo Run 6.2K (~32:00) – Ran half of this with my dad and the other half on my own.  I’m so impressed with his progress, this was the first time he ran a 3K course!  Hopefully he can run a 5K race soon🙂

Day 2 – Wednesday August 6, 2014: Hills 9.54K (56:19 ) – Running Room Day!  Hills Day (x 5)!  First time running together with Em again after a couple of long weeks apart.  We quickly fell into our routine of chatting and running, and quickly caught up with each other’s lives in no time.  2 of our friends also joined us for Run Club, which is super exciting since they’re all slowly hopping onto the running bandwagon.

Day 3 – Friday August 8, 2014:  Easy 5K (28:27 ) – A light evening jog around the neighbourhood.

Day 4 – Saturday August 9, 2014: Arms & Abs + Core (~40:00) – The same set of core and abs workout from last week, followed with weights exercise.

Day 5 – Sunday August 10, 2014: LSD 26K with 1:10 (2:45:36) – Running Room Day!  My farthest run to date (my legs nearly gave way during the last 2K!), completed while running with my highschool friend’s mom.  She was one of the pacers that morning.  It was definitely a pleasure chatting with her – she recently qualified for the upcoming Boston Marathon, and has completed 12 marathons to date!  I learned so much from her as she shared her marathon training tips and insights.

Total: 46.74K

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Week 12

STEPHIE’S TRAINING

Day 1 – Wednesday August 13, 2014:  Hills 10.59K (1:03:44 ) – Running Room Day!  Hills Day (x6) completed with Em and Keeks (he disappeared after the first hill though).  I think I can get used to these hills training…I think I might even like it!  I really enjoy the incline because I know that things will always get easier as soon as I reach the top.  I have this great sense of achievement every time I round out at the top of the hill and begin my descent downwards.

Day 2 – Thursday August 14, 2014:  Tempo Run 6.3K (33:43 ) – 3K completed with dad, 3K on my own again.  This time, he sped ahead of me and maintained a faster pace for the first bit.  He slowed down when we ascended the hill, but then sped off again near the end.  Needless to say, I’m a proud coach watching him speed off into the not-so-far distant.

Day 3 – Friday August 15, 2014: Tempo Run 5.35K (29:12 ) – Another run with dad, he hung around for 2.5K this time!  We don’t really talk on our runs because he needs to “save his breath”, as he puts it.  But it’s always nice to have him come along!

Total: 22.24K (Down week, mainly because I skipped my Sunday Long Run.  I volunteered at Tough Mudder on Saturday and was completely exhausted by the time I got home…I think I can give myself a break this week right?)😛

 

45 more training days (9 weeks) until race day!

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Training Week 9 and 10

Week 9

STEPHIE’S TRAINING

Day 1 – Tuesday July 22, 2014: Tempo Run 5K (26:38) – A routine run along a familiar route with an average 5:20 pace.  This was an enjoyable pace – although I was pushing my body to go faster than race pace, I wasn’t gasping for air at the end nor did I have the urge to stop running.

Day 2 – Wednesday July 23, 2014: Read about my 5K race here! – https://runivores.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/i-didnt-know-i-was-doing-a-race-today-run-4-the-kids-5k-recap/

Day 3 – Friday July 25, 2014:  Tempo Run 9.9K (about 60:00) – So this was the run where I decided to take a shortcut down a pebbled hill and got thrown over a wired fence at the bottom.  I don’t know why I decided to run down a hill of rocks to begin with, maybe I was too hungry and wasn’t thinking properly.  Since the wires were so thin, it camouflaged into the pebbles and I didn’t see it until the very last minute.  The only thing I could do at that point was attempt to jump over it.  But my height put me at a disadvantage (short people problems), my legs got caught, and I found myself superman-style flying over the fence.  The crash knocked my watch and ipod unconscious, and rewarded me with a couple of scraps and bruises. Ouch.

The battle scar on my elbow.

The battle scar on my elbow.

The bruise on my thigh that got bigger each day.

The bruise on my thigh that got bigger each day.

Day 4 – Saturday July 26, 2014: Arms & Abs (30:00) I found a set of exercises online from the Runner’s World Magazine that is supposed to target core muscle groups to help increase running efficiency.  I did about 4 minutes repeats of superman, side planks with arm tucks, planks with leg raises, bridge with leg raises, and just plain leg raises lying on my back…yup, lots of leg raises.

Day 5 – Sunday July 27, 2014: LSD 23.14K with 1:10 (2:25:53) – Running Room Day!  First time I broke the half-marathon distance in my running career and boy did it feel awesome!  The weather was also on our side, we finished the entire run under a cloudy sky with non-humid conditions.  I need to buy new socks because the ones I have currently started giving me blisters under the arch of my feet after the 16K mark.  But with my injuries from Friday, I couldn’t tell if my bruises hurt more, or if my newly formed blisters were giving me more pain.

Total: 42.98K

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Week 10

STEPHIE’S TRAINING

Day 1 – Wednesday July 30, 2014:  Kayaking (30:00), Frisbee + Football passes (45:00), Light Run 2.5K (14:55) – My professor took the whole lab out for a day of summer fun!  This was my first time kayaking, so I really got an arm workout (they were tired after about 10 minutes of paddling).  Nevertheless it was very exciting to be out in the open water paddling away.  And my kayak didn’t flip over – an added bonus!

Day 2 – Thursday July 31, 2014:  Hills 10K (58:12) – 4 laps up and down the big hill at Fort Henry.  Working those quads uphill, and reminding myself not to speedup downhill.  It’s so satisfying to reach the top knowing that I maintained the effort.

Day 3 – Friday August 1, 2014: Moderate Run 6K (34:21) – Last run around my favourite waterfront path😦 I tried my best to take in all the sights and sounds of the lake and commit them to memory.  I don’t know when the next time I’ll be able to run the same route again, but Kingston you’ve been nice to me!

Day 4 – Saturday August 2, 2014: Arms & Stairs – Moving Day!  A total arm, upper body, and legs workout in terms of carrying boxes, bags, and other miscellaneous items from the apartment and down the stairs.  The hot and humid day amplified the amount of sweating that occurred.

Day 5 – Sunday August 3, 2014: LSD 18.4K with 1:10 (1:50:53) – Running Room Day!  Being in a new city means going to a new Running Room.  The people there are equally friendly and welcoming.  However, I didn’t get the memo that the marathon groups were leaving at 6:30am and 7:30am to beat the hot temperature.  Luckily, there was a regular runner who showed up at 8:30am and volunteered to guide us newbie runners.  Despite it being an LSD run, he incorporated a hill workout where he pushed us to give 90% effort, and a couple of interval training.  He was fast – our pace averaged out to about 6:00/km (20 seconds faster than my LSD pace).  But I’m not complaining, I read that it’s actually beneficial to run with faster people because it will turn yourself into a faster runner!

Total: 36.9K – Down week pour moi

55 more training days (11 weeks) until race day!