Midnite Run Toronto on New Year’s Eve

Happy New Year!

What a hoot we had last night!  What did we do you might ask?  We ran our first 5K 3.5K race of the year at the Midnite Run Toronto by My Next Race and organized by Good Times Running.  (I’ll get to that part a little later on in the post)

The night started off rather early, as we wanted to have a nice dinner at The Keg.  We arrived around 5pm, and the restaurant was already very busy.  They weren’t taking reservations, so it was first come, first served.  Luckily, we didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes for our table.  The service was excellent.  The staff were really prepared for the NYE business.  I’m sure they had a fantastic night.  Here we are as our meal came to the table. Yum!

After dinner we had time to go home and relax for a couple of hours. Kari had a brief nap and I opted to read Facebook postings and blogs. At 9:45pm we got in our car and drove to the race location which was in the west end of the city.  We live in the east end, so we had to allow for driving time.

By the time we found parking and collected our gear, it was close to 10:30pm.  We were one of the first to arrive at the Market Bistro on Liberty street to pick up our race kits. Racers did have the option to pick up their race kit earlier in the afternoon at the same location.  Had we lived closer, we would have gotten it then.

The race kit did not fail to disappoint.  It was packed with various goodies.

After we collected our race kits, we went back to the car to store them away. There was a coat/bag check at the race location but at that particular moment, we didn’t know where it was located. Since our car was so close, this also alleviated any bag check lines later on. By the time we got back to the Bistro, it was getting really busy with several runners picking up their race kits. The Market Bistro isn’t that large, so it was pretty much wall-to-wall runners. I found a little seat by the door and tried to stay warm. Kari was beginning to get overheated, so he went outside a few times. We then found out about the other side of the complex, which is connected to Danceology (after party location). Also where the food was to be served post-race and where the baggage check was located. We opted to move to the other side of the complex, which supplied the necessary warmth.

Shortly before midnight, a race volunteer ushered us out to the -18 C weather of Toronto to corral ourselves for the start of the race. Luckily, it was no more than 10 minutes that we had to stand waiting.

We hopped and we bopped on the spot to keep our warmth going!

There was a short countdown, and then we were off running. Kari and I gave each other a New Year’s kiss (over our scarves), and we began our race. Given the very cold temperatures, icy conditions, and darkness, we opted for a very slow run so we knew where our footing was at all times. The race course had dry areas, but there were many icy patches covered with recent snow. Unfortunately, we did see one racer have a really bad wipe out. She said she was ok, but it sure looked like her fall took the wind out of her.

The race course had various volunteers steering us along the course in the proper direction. As with most races, runner’s follow each other, and you assume you will get to the finish line. I’m just glad we aren’t lemmings and cliffs aren’t involved.  We did get to the finish line, however, many of us, got there a wee bit sooner than we thought we would. Unfortunately, one of the volunteers who was ushering us runners along told us to zig, when we should have zagged. This cut off our distance by about 1.5K. By the time we realized what was going on (as did the runners around us), we were near the end of the race. Crossing the finish line somewhere around 25 minutes. HA! We were starting to run a little faster in the back half so had we actually run a 5K, we would have finished around 35 minutes. Once we crossed the finish line and received our medal, there were several of us talking about the incident. I really don’t know how many this affected overall, but I would suspect a really good portion of the racers. Unless you really knew the course, and where to run, you most likely would have followed the runner in front of you.

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1st running medal of 2014

A few minutes passed after finishing, and we walked into the building to keep warm, received our New Year’s champagne, beer, sandwiches and soup. They had both meat or vegetarian options. I had the buffalo chicken sandwich which was pretty darn good. I didn’t have the soup, but someone beside me had it, and it smelled awesome. Once we got our food, we found a table to eat. There were more runner’s than table/chairs, so some ate standing, or sitting in the long hallway.

After the post race food, the after party was inside Danceology. We stayed for the 50/50 ticket draw, however, we left shortly after. I’m sure many runner’s had a great time as there was a cash bar, and a great DJ on hand to celebrate into the night.

Despite the shortened race course, we had a fun time. Would I do it again? Absolutely! Just wishing Mother Nature would be a little kinder on us next time!

How did you celebrate New Year’s? Did you Run?

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Ringing? No. RUNNING in the New Year!

Last week in my Santa 5K race kit I received this…

Midnite Run TO postcard

Midnite Run TO postcard

Midnite Run TO postcard

It took a bit of convincing, but my other half said “yes” last night.  Woot!

Now, the thought of running at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve is nothing new.  The idea of wanting to do so came to me when I heard about NYC’s midnight run some year’s ago.  (something on my bucket list)  However, since I’m not in NYC, running in my own city is just as fantastic.

Here’s what the running registration gets you :

$145 coupon for Danceology, good for a dance lesson!

$10 winter gloves

Post race food – HOT food – Not a bagel or a banana

Fireworks

Did someone say “Swag?” – A $30 swag bag!

Finisher’s medal

And of course, what New Year’s celebration isn’t complete without a glass of bubbly.  It’s offered too!

Check out 2012’s video highlights :

 Your partner or friend doesn’t run?  No problem.  They can register as a party only guest.  How great is that?

If you are interested in something a little different, check out Midnite Run Toronto

Do you have any New Year’s Plans that involve Running in the New Year?

Happy Running!

 

Santa 5K

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….

and a cold one too, Yikes!

Today’s temperature dropped drastically.  It was -10 degrees celsius, but with the wind chill, it felt more like -18.  We were heading out to Hamilton to run the Santa 5k.  I dreaded running in today’s cold, but the incentive of wearing another layer to my already existing 3 was fuel enough to get me going in the morning.  And to add to that, the extra layer was a Santa suit.  Woot.

When we arrived at the location, we parked our car at the Williams Fresh Cafe where we were able to enter the restaurant to keep warm and use the facilities.  It also was the finish area, so we knew we’d have easy access to our car when we finished the race.  When we were ready to leave and ride the trolley to the start location by the Hamilton Yacht Club, we had just missed it.  Luckily, Kelly from VR Pro was driving over so she kindly offered us a ride so we weren’t standing in the cold.  Minutes later, we entered the Yacht Club and picked up our Santa suits.  It was nice to be indoors for a change before a race to keep warm, and to relax.  Felt so civilized from the regular stand outside routine.  We ended up taking our bag of ‘extras’ from the packet pick up back to our car, which allowed us to take the trolley.  Oh yeah, we got the full Santa experience!

Once we returned to the start location we had about 20 minutes to do any last minute costume adjustments.  Kelly got on the microphone and let us know when we should go outside to corral ourselves for the race.

It was fun being dressed up as Santa for the morning.  The race took us along the Hamilton waterfront/Yacht club area.  There were a few gradual inclines but nothing too extreme.  Of course, I over layered and ended up over heating around the 3km mark.  (will I ever get it right?)  Soon enough we were at the finish, gnoshing on some hot coffee and breakfast sandwiches, compliments of the cafe.

Santa 5K Race - Map

Map of Santa 5k run in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Here’s some pics of our adventure.

Santa Pre Race

Santa Pre Race

Trolley to the start of the race

Trolley to the start of the race

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Leaving our warm, happy place to brave the cold

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Full out Santa club!

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Wait a second…..who’s that? Santa is that you?

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Jingle all the way!

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Ho, Ho, Ho!

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Post run breakfast wrap.

I really enjoyed the morning.  Kelly does a great job at putting together these races.  If you are in the area, check out the VR Pro site.  In fact, I hear there’s still room for the Burlington Santa 5K coming up in a couple of weeks.

Happy Running!

The Ugly Sweater Run Race Recap

Sometimes you just have to have a fun run.  So this week Living Social had a deal on The Ugly Sweater 5K for $22 bucks.  So why not dress in your favourite ugly sweater, and have a little fun while getting outdoors with a friend or two?  Also, while it may be a little early, Christmas is really just around the corner.  So before, I start shopping for gifts, I might as well get my legs in shape for walking the malls.  😉

This morning, we headed up to Downsview Park to participate in The Ugly Sweater Run. This run is a 5k out and back course, and a non-timed event.

Upon arriving, we had to pick up our race kit which included a hat, bib (with two beers on it as drink tickets) and a tattoo moustache.  We opted not to wear the moustache but enjoyed the hat with the groovy primary colours.  Plus it kept us warm. 🙂

Here we are prior to the start of the race donning our ‘Ugly Sweaters’.  Don’t we look stylish!

Pre Race - Ugly Sweater Run

Pre Race – Ugly Sweater Run

The weather was fantastic today with a bit of sun and around 8 degrees celsius. Perfect running weather.

I don’t really have much to report on the race itself, it’s a 5K after all. Downsview is pretty much an open park area; a relatively flat course, with a few gradual inclines along the way. There was a point at around the 3.5k mark where one could climb a hill to take a few scenic pictures, but this was not mandatory for participants. Most just walked around the hill and stayed on the paved path. There was a hot chocolate station and a picture op at one point with big blow up reindeers. Participants were also allowed to take their dogs on the course as well. Some even gave their pup an ugly sweater. Woof-Woof!

Here’s some of our highlights in pictures….

Start of the Race

Start of the Race

Holy Reindeer!

Holy Reindeer!

Hot Chocolate Station - Yum!

Hot Chocolate Station – Yum!

I loved these ladies.  Them there's some ugly sweaters!

I loved these ladies. Them there’s some ugly sweaters!

BEER!

BEER!

Ahhh...we're melting!  Actually no, no runners fell into any fires!  However the wind almost blew this on top of me!

Ahhh…we’re melting! Actually no, no runners fell into any fires! However the wind almost blew this on top of me!

Again, it was a fun run but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention that it was short by 600 metres from it’s 5K mark.  My Garmin was shut off at the finish (yes, I did remember this time to push the button-winning!) at the 4.44k mark.  All in all though, we did have a good time.  These fun runs in the midst of training for Dopey, help to keep me a little sane when I’m usually attached to my training plan and the seriousness that goes with it.

Happy Running!

Niagara Falls International Marathon Recap

I’ve been meaning to get this blog out for a while now.  Time just flies when one is off doing other things.  So without further ado, here is my half marathon recap of the Niagara Falls Half Marathon.

We arrived in Niagara Falls on Saturday to allow time for us to pick up our race kits, check into our hotel and have a decent dinner at a local restaurant.  We were very skeptical as to the weather conditions of that weekend, as Saturday was a dreadful day.  Here we are making our way to our hotel.  There was no turning back, but we definitely were worried.

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The rain continued on and off that afternoon.  We spent a couple of hours at the race expo where I purchased some Bondi Bands, KT Tape, Cytomax, and signed up for the VR PRO Hamilton Santa 5K.

Picking up our race kit was pretty easy.  We had already gotten our number prior to arriving, so we were able to bypass the first line, and immediately go to the tables which had our race bibs and information.  Once we were through browsing the various vendor tables, the shirt pickup was at the end.  We showed them our info, and received our shirts. Easy peasy.

Signing up for the Santa 5K with VR PRO

Signing up for the Santa 5K with VR PRO

After the expo, we spent some time wandering the main strip of Niagara. I haven’t been there in eons. I enjoyed it, despite the rain. We ended up snapping some pics of our little adventure in the various tourist locations that begged the invitation……

Blue Moose...I saw you standing alone....

Blue Moose…I saw you standing alone….

Look Ma, no hands!

Look Ma, no hands!

Our day ended with a dinner at The Keg.  As I Run on Water would say, “Powered by STEAK”.  Oh yeah, that’s me!  Protein is my friend.

The morning of the half marathon was optimistic.  No rain!  The only question I had was my wardrobe. You’d think with all the races I’ve done, I’d know better by now, but alas, I’m still a wimp when it comes to cold temperatures.  I really despise the cold and even though I knew I should have parked my jacket in baggage check and just ran with my shirt, I didn’t listen to that inner voice that said “Suck it up honey!”.  Nope, I’m a gutless wimp, who needed her jacket.  So it remained with me until I had to take it off.  *cough, cough*, ummm, about halfway into the race.  (it was unbearable at that point)

In any case, the race started off without a hitch.  I was full of energy, and was raring to go! My spouse took off ahead of me as we had discussed.  He was looking for a PR, so I wasn’t about to hold him back.  I kept at my planned pace.  It has been a long time since I’ve raced or trained for a half marathon aside from a Disney race, so I really wanted to push myself to see what I could do.  The last time I ran a half marathon in a non-Disney Race was over two years ago.  I think my time was upwards of 2:45 give or take a few, so I knew I could definitely push for 2:30…maybe even better.

Along the course, I saw the 2:20 pace bunny and I kept up with them for quite a while, however there comes a time when I had to question whether I should push that hard, and I decided against it.  They were running just a tad faster than I liked, and I had to look at the bigger picture.  I’m training for Dopey at WDW in January and I still have my aches and pains I have to deal along the way.  I didn’t feel like risking an injury.  So I trailed back a bit and settled into a more comfortable pace.

As promised, the course was flat and scenic along the parkway.  I enjoyed the atmosphere, being periodically cheered by the crowd.  I always appreciate a good ol’ cheering squad.  They definitely motivate me along.

I struggled a bit in the last few kilometres.  My left pimiforis/glute area starts to nag at me during my long runs, and this was no different.  I’ve been working hard to allieviate this pain through numerous approaches.  It’s getting better, but there’s still work to do.  I changed up my gait a few times, and continued on.  The end was near.

I remember taking an orange slice from someone.  And then wondering, “hmmm, should I be doing that?”  I tried to listen to my parent’s when they said, “Never take candy from a stranger”, but do oranges count too? 😉

Finally, I reached the finish.  I felt accomplished!  I walked into the runner’s line where I thought I’d be receiving my medal, and was delighted to receive a light jacket in place of the standard space blanket.  A good piece I can reuse at a future race.  After the jacket I stood in line for a while as the runners were corralled for the bananas and bagels and then once we were through, we got our medal.  Mission accomplished!

The Finish!

As the norm with my running career, I seem to have a bad habit I just can’t seem to break. TURNING OFF MY GARMIN at the finish line!  Yep, I get 100 metres from the finish line and tell myself, “Remember to turn off that darn Garmin”, but when I actually cross the line, I forget!  I had to rely on Sport Stats online.  Well bravo to me, I finished the race in 2:25:41.  Yay me!  A new PR!

I enjoyed the race very much, and was glad I was able to test my self in the midst of my Dopey training.  I still have a long way to go.  This past weekend, I got up to 25km for my weekly lsd.  There’s still more work to do, but I’m excited as January approaches.

And before I forget, a big shout out to Princess Jodi from 2 Princesses on the Run and her friend Laural.  I saw them wearing an URG shrug on the race course.  Well, thanks girls!

Happy Running!

Run For The Cure

Who did you Run for?

Sunday October 6th, 2013.  Toronto, Ontario.

Run for the Cure 3

Thousands of people made their way to downtown Toronto today to take part in one of the many Run For The Cure events being held across Canada.  It was a rainy day in our parts but nothing was going to stop the courageous runners and walkers of this annual event. Here I am making my way into the start corral.  Aside from the many Disney events I’ve run, this by far was one of the more crowded events I’ve been too.  (or so it seemed).  And for good reason, of course.  Way to go participants!  And thanks to all the volunteers and spectators.  Could not have done it without your support!

Electro Dash 5K

About a week ago, a friend of mine forwarded an email from one of those group buy-in sites that was advertising the Electro Dash 5K at Canada’s Wonderland for half the price.  It was $30!  So we opted in and registered.  We thought it would be fun to run around an amusement park decked out in our Sparkle skirts and Glow necklaces.

The staging area was well organized in front of the parking lot.  They also had packet pickup for those that could not get their kit on Thursday.  I had picked up our kit at the Metro Convention Centre in downtown Toronto.  It also was well organized.

This is what we got : T-Shirt, Light up bracelet, bibs and Glow Glasses

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There were 3 waves advertised for the runners-although, I think they did more.  We had opted to take the first wave.  The organizers were above us at the start line, along with the DJ who played music.  They kept us entertained, even throwing handfuls of glow sticks to the crowd.  The Go-Go dancers standing on a platform just outside the corral were a nice touch to set the ‘dance’ mood.

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Once we were off, we hit the pavement and within minutes we were running through the park. It was fun going through the park at night, however, I felt there were a few dark patches that could have used some lighting or a glowing pylon to indicate ‘danger’.  At this time of year, the park is closed during the week, however, the Electro Dash organizers had a few areas on course that were pretty eye catching by way of lighting and special FX.

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We finished the race by going through large blown up arches, and hearing loud dance music to energize the crowd during the finish.

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We had fun.  It wasn’t a serious race.  I went to support a friend and try something new.  However, hmmm.  I do have one little complaint about the course.  It was only 3.5K long!  To confirm this, as we walked back to the car, we saw a woman who also wore a Garmin.  She was running towards the start line to run the race again in a later wave.  So, I guess, the upside was, if you were up to it, you could run a 7K course!

We didn’t go to the after party, however, I’m sure those that did had a blast.

Happy Running!