“Go to” salad

In my efforts of healthy living, I came across a bean salad recipe on Pinterest.  Well back up from there, a friend had a bean salad recipe on her blog that I wanted to make.  I had everything except for the lime and cilantro for the dressing so I had to search for a new dressing to use which brings me back to Pinterest.  I scanned a few and came across this one that I thought I would try.  As I do with all recipes the first time, I made this dressing exactly as written and while it was good, it was too much and I was left with a lot of dressing pooling at the bottom.  This salad was so good though, and so easy that it is now my “go to” salad.  The only thing I really changed was I use apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic and I pour the dressing to coat the salad instead of adding it all.  It is definitely best to let this marinate in the dressing at least for a few hours.  I usually make it the night before I need it.  Definitely try it and your friends will all be asking for the recipe

For the bean salad I use:

1 can red kidney beans

1 can romano beans

1 can black beans

1 can chick peas

1 can of corn

1 purple onion, diced

1 sweet pepper (orange, red or yellow), diced

1/2 large green pepper, diced

Rinse all beans off and add into a large bowl with the corn, peppers and onion.

beansalad

 

Dressing taken from Twin Tough

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients and whisk together.

Pour dressing over salad to coat and marinate in the fridge for a few hours.  Reserve any left over dressing and determine if you need to add more later.  Enjoy!

beansalad1

Did I mention I am running a marathon?

So I have done several races this year so far, 2 half marathons, a 30K, a 10K and a 5K, all very close together with the half being last.  After having not too great of a run at the race I thought I did too many too close for me.  I took some time off but got right back into it again. My new goal race?  The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.  That is right, I am running a FULL marathon!!!  Who would have thought I would be here after starting that Couch to 5K program.  I still can’t believe it myself.

changes copy

My marathon plan – I have decided to follow the Running Room’s full marathon plan using the schedule for a 4:15 finish as a guide for my training paces.  I am not saying I am going to run a marathon in 4:15 but as for training, I feel all these paces are quite comfortable for me.  I have also decided to go with 10′s and 1′s for the marathon and thus will be doing all my long runs with 10′s and 1′s.  While I usually run steady, I feel, for me, the marathon will seem less daunting knowing that I only have to run 10 minutes at a time before I can walk again.  I have already started training for this race and am now on week 2.  On top of this race I have also registered for the Midsummer Night’s Run in August.  Another 30K.  Wow that gives me a lot of mileage in races this year :)

I have seen such change and improvement in how I run and my pace from day 1 until now. Naturally.  I am, though, looking for ways to step up my game and help me get quicker.  I have decided that cross training is key.  Even though I always say I need to cross train, I actually need to kick it into place!  My husband has gotten into cycling and friends of ours have gotten into it as well.  I always stood back and said, no, cycling is not for me.  I was starting to feel left out.  Until I bought a road bike of my own.  I picked it up on Friday.  A Trek Lexa S.  I had them put green tape on the handle bars to add a little oomph.

The stock photo

The stock photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My bike

My bike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The marathon plan had me running 5 days a week.  Right away I knocked one day off because with work, 2 toddlers, a husband and life…I don’t have time to run 5 days a week.  So now I am down to 4 days.  The bike is going to add some great cross training I feel and my goal there is to add 2 days of cycling.  I am thinking the first will be an active recovery day of cycling following my long run and the second can be on my easy 6K days with the run being a brick run after cycling.  On top of this I will be doing Pilates at work.  I feel pretty good with how this training looks as I think I will be able to manage this (also doing one of my runs at work as well).  Now if I can just get used to breathing in this humidity again.

MEC Race 2: Half Marathon

Bib #6549

Chip time – 2:02:17

Pace – 5:48

Gender place - 12/25

Overall place – 49/72

The MEC Burlington race 2 took place on May 17, 2014.  This was just 6 days after the Sporting Life 10K race.  The route was in Hamilton at Confederation park and along the beach strip into Burlington. The route was actually quite nice.  When I first signed up for this race my goal was to PB it.  As we got closer though realizing I had 3 races very close together with my longest distance being the last one, I started to think maybe I would just finish it.  That is what happened.  In fact this is the first race, since I started racing, that I did not PB.  That was inevitable though.

I don’t really have too much to say about this race.  I drove in with some friends.  2 were doing the 5K and 1 was doing the half.  I was wearing my Lulu skirt and my tee from the Sporting Life race.  I worried I would be too cold as it was cool and we were along the water.  Of course once we got going I felt quite comfortable and was happy with my choice in clothing.

The first 10K I felt pretty good, strong. I started walking at this point to take my first gel (I can not run and gel at the same time).  I guess the stop threw me off because it was all downhill from there.  I walked a lot more in the second half of the race than I ever have before.  Even on training runs.  I was not doing 10′s and 1′s either – maybe I should have switched to that as I probably would have finished with a better time.  I started to think that I just wanted to quit and then my mind started messing around.  I would think if I could just find a skate board (what?) then I would skate back, lol.  I was thinking about how hungry I was getting, maybe if I had a bike.  These thoughts racing through my head did not help my cause, lol.  So I ran/walked the rest of the race and finished with a 2:02:17.  Not the PB I was after but still not a bad time at all.  Considering how much I walked, I am quite happy with this.

I walked over to meet my friends and have some water and bananas.  After talking to my friend who ran the half  (in a speedy 1:31:03)  and telling him about all the things going through my mind, I was happy to hear him say he has simialr thoughts while racing.  I am not alone!  Then a funny thing happened, as I was walking I got this cramp in my right calf which almost took me to the ground and then it went away.  Weird. We got in the car and headed home.  On the drive back that cramp came back with a vengeance.  I have never experienced these cramps before but it almost had me in tears.  So painful.  My friend gave me a few of his electrolyte tablets to mix with water thinking that might help.  It sucked.  It did finally stop and I was able to get in for a massage on the Tuesday following the race.  My calf still felt tender so I was happy to go get it worked.  I hope to not have to experience that again.

So the MEC races are always great races to do.  These are $15 and are chipped timed.  They have aid stations along the course along with course marshals and bananas at the end. Oh and if you are speedy and manage to finish in the top 3 you will also get a medal.  You just can’t beat that.

Sporting Life

I have been such a slacker lately that I have to do 2 race reports at the same time for my last 2 races – the Toronto Sporting Life 10K and the MEC Burlington Race 2 half marathon.  These 2 races were just 6 days apart with the 10K being first.  Maybe not one of my smarter ideas.

Bib #4799

Chip time – 53:20:3

Pace – 5:21

Category place – 234/1,495

Gender place - 1,863/12,734

Overall place – 5523/21,750

So this race was great.  A lot of fun.  For me it started the day before when I met up with a group of running friends all doing this race.  We went to Joe Badali’s in Toronto (a first for me) and it was absolutely delicious.  We kept it somewhat early as we had to get up for the race the next day.

I got up, ate my usual english muffin with peanut butter and banana and had a coffee.  I got dressed and everyone else was up and getting ready.  Hubby was going to drop me at the start line (where I would try to meet up with some friends) and then drive and meet me at the finish.  I saw my friend but she was still waiting for someone else so I headed in to my corral (yellow corral). The race started and we were off.  Downhill to start as we ran down Yonge St.  0-5km was pretty good.  I did take off a bit quick but got comfortable.  Approaching 6km I started to feel it though and thought maybe I started out too quick.  The last 4km was a bit of a mental game at times. By 9km I started to walk.  Then some random guy came up behind me and said “come on we are almost done” so  I picked it up and started running again.  At that time my friend (that I had met up with at the beginning) ran passed me so I thought I had to get going and keep her in site.  Just as I was approaching the finish line I looked over and saw my husband and 2 boys cheering for me and that gave me the extra boost that is always so welcome at the end.

Splits  1-4:47  2-5:05  3-5:03  4-4:59  5-5:20  6-5:11  7-5:39  8-5:42  9-5:23  10-5:25

A slight complaint about this race though is that when we finished we had to walk for what seemed like forever to get to where they were handing out the medals and water.  It would have been nice to have water closer to the finish because I really needed it.  A mistake I made – I did not bring my own water.  I always bring my own water but for some reason I decided to rely on the water stations (which I walked each water station at this race).  I didn’t want to wear my belt and the hand held I have is too big.  Note to self, buy a smaller hand held for 5-10km races.  The post race festivities were great, a lot of fun.  There were bongo players and they were fantastic.  The crowd all sat in chairs and played bongos along with the band.  My kids loved it.  I would totally do this race again.  Registration was $40 and with that we got a $35 gift card to Sporting Life store and a really nice Nike tech top.

After that we went with the kids to Kensington market and then out for brunch.  We walked around China Town for a bit before heading back home.  This race took place on Mother’s Day and it was a fantastic Mother’s Day.  On top of the great day I had, my husband and kids gave me 2 new Lululemon pace setter skirts and 2 headbands.  Love them.  Like I said, a great day!

I bought all my race photos and rights to them from Zoomphoto.ca.

Run 4 Hope Race Report

Bib #239

Gun time – 26:17

Chip time – 26:10

Pace – 5:16

Category place – 2/33

Gender place - 3/124

Overall place – 32/206


Last Sunday I did the Run 4 Hope.  There are 2 distances,  5K and 10K.  I chose the 5K with the goal of getting a new personal best.  My current PB at this point was obtained at the Toronto Women’s Race where I ran 26:16.  That was almost a year ago.  This was a local race and a small race at that 223 entrants and 206 finishers (for the 5K only).

The morning of the race was cool, no it was kind of cold. I had on capris and a long sleeve quarter zip.  I wish I had a jacket.  Once we got running though things warmed up as they usually do.  Along with the 5K and 10K  this race also had a high school challenge.  So there were quite a few students there as well.  The 10K started first and then 5 minutes later the 5K started.  I kept my steady pace for the first few kilometres and then I slowed down a bit as I felt like I was going too fast.  There was one small (but not small) hill that I sadly walked up (I think I was just being lazy really, I could have ran it).  I felt a little off about this race. I felt that it was feeling a little harder for me than it really should have.   I crossed the finish with a gun time of 26:17 and a chip time of 26:10.  A PB by 6 seconds!

It turns out that this is a race I will forever remember.  That 26:17  gun time was enough to get me 3rd overall female in the race!!!!  What???  Ya 3rd overall female in the 5K and 2nd in my age group. It was my first ever time making it to the podium.  Love small races! What a great feeling!!  I won a trophy :)  We had to wait a while for the awards (brr so cool outside).  So I went in to talk to friends and grab a post race banana.  This was a small race but they had a good post race selection of food – bananas, bagels (with cream cheese), varieties of cookies and hot soup! Oh and the tech shirt was nice too.  I did not take a pic of mine for some reason but I got a shot of the back of the shirt from the photographer in the little gallery below.

All in all I think this was a great local race.  I think the registration was like $35, maybe even less.  A nice race tech top, good food, nice and easy course and good friends.  I would absolutely recommend this race and do it again.

 

All photos generously provided by Sue Sitki Photography.

Boston Strong

The Boston Marathon is upon us once again. It seems like just yesterday that the terrible tragedy of the Boston bombing occurred. I have seen some beautiful photos from Dear World sharing the stories of the survivors and at this time we remember those that were injured and those that passed, Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu and Sean Collier.  These people lost their lives way too soon and for what?  My heart goes out to all those that were impacted by this terrible tragedy as we approach the one year anniversary.  I also want to wish luck to all those returning to Boston to participate in the race again, a feeling that must be bittersweet.

Around the Bay 30K Race report

Bib #6132

Chip time – 3:09:11

Pace – 6:19

Category place – 269/491

Gender place - 1725/3307

Overall place – 4254/6646

I DID IT!  The ever so challenging Around the Bay 30km road race.  It is no joke when I tell you that this is a tough course.  This is, in fact, the toughest course I have ever run.  If you asked anyone what the Around the Bay road race was known for, anyone who knows this race would tell you it is the hills.  Maybe even THE hill.  The last hill of this course is killer, worse than the heartbreak hill in Boston, but more on that later.

I decided to do this race last year when I finished the 5K race they offer along with the 30.  I was reading all the posts on their Facebook page and I felt so inspired. I signed up as soon as the race opened.  At that time I was in the 10K clinic at the Running Room but figured I would have enough time to build up to the 30K distance.  I also knew that I was planning to do the Chilly Half Marathon 3 weeks prior to this race so planned to just run it with my husband, no racing.

About a week before the race, a mom friend of mine who happens to work for the Hamilton Spectator messaged me and asked if I would mind being interviewed for an article they were writing.  They were looking for a newbie to the race and she said she thought of me.  Of course I said yes.   I was pretty excited to see my little story in print.

We went to the race expo to pick up our race kits the day before the race.  I do enjoy this expo.  It is a good size with some great vendors.  This year we received a purple New Balance long sleeve tech top and a black hat.  Both are quite nice.  The shirt is so soft and the hat, well I had been keeping my eye open for a black hat and this one is quite nice.

This race started at 9:30 which was a great start time.  The weather for the day ended up being perfect but not before so many were fooled by the weather network.  That morning the forecast said temperatures would be in the minus with it being windy.  I was bummed that I would have to wear a jacket.  As we got into town though, the temperature was reading 4 degrees so I left the coat behind and went with my original plan of tights, a thin long sleeve with a tech tee over top and arm warmers for the start (to throw away).  It was a beautiful day!

The route itself changed this year. Last year there was an incident of a train passing and people getting (understandably) upset for getting stuck at the train.  This year they changed the route to bypass any train tracks.  The result of this was an extra set of hills (boo) to an already hilly course.  Previously the course was flat up until about 21K where the hills along North Shore begin.  This new course starts off flat but quickly comes to a bunch of hills as we run over the overpasses along Burlington St. It was probably a good 10km of rolling hills with stretches of flat road between.  That was not too bad.  We passed the first relay hand off point and the new runners all jumped on course.  The next 10K was relatively flat.  My husband and I were running easy and keeping a 6:00 pace up until about 21K.  I knew when we got to the rolling hills the pace would slow down.  I hadn’t done any hill training for this race but I did run the route a few weeks prior to this race so I knew what to expect.  The rolling hills sucked!  Haha, I am not a fan of hills.  I did manage to run them all though, not that fast but I ran.  There was a good amount of spectators along North Shore in Burlington so that was nice to keep you going.  On the last rolling hill I felt like I was starting to fade.  My husband actually held my hand to help pull me up the hill.  I was tired.  We carried on some flat road a bit before coming to our own “Heartbreak Hill”, steeper than Boston’s.  I knew before even starting this race that I would walk this hill and walk this hill I did.  When you get to the top and head back toward Copps Coliseum, which is about 3km more from that point – the longest 3km ever, you pass a cemetery on the right.  There is a man dressed as the Grim Reaper standing there, fittingly as I felt like I could just lay down and die after those hills.  My husband took my hand and helped me to continue running for the next 2K.  Honestly if it wasn’t for him I would have walked for sure.  At this point you can see the finish and my usual mantra began “no stopping at the end, you don’t walk to the finish”.  We came into the chute which was lined with spectators and into what I think is the best finish line ever – running into Copps Coliseum.  Feeling like a rock star!

This was a tough one for sure.  I quickly headed upstairs to a much deserved massage being offered for free from the students at Everest College.  It was just what my tired legs needed.  My husband and I then headed over to meet up with our friends from our running group the Brampton Benders where we indulged in some well earned burgers and fries.

I was quite happy with our time in this race.  We went out looking to run this race for fun and that is what we did.  It was a great experience and I would definitely do this race again.  It is a popular race and sells out so if you want to do it, I recommend signing up as soon as it opens.  Why wait? You will save your money by getting the best price anyway.

Race day photos all courtesy Marathon Foto. We purchased all of our photos. I thought it would be easier to just add a gallery of photos at the end rather than inserting them through out the post.

Chilly Half Marathon

Bib # 1740
Chip time1:59:07
Pace5:43
Category place59
Overall place1,012/2,199

My second half marathon and I shaved 9:25 off of my time.  A new personal best.  It was a good day!
chillyfinish1

Saturday was somewhat mild but when we woke up Sunday morning we had been hit with another polar vortex which brought with it more snow (like we need MORE snow!)  My first thought was my race just got turned in to a fun run.  Not going to lie, I was a little disappointed.

IMG_1707

We had anticipated the weather and had our gear all set out.  I got dressed and it was the right amount of layers.  I was unsure of the shoes I would wear though, given the fresh snow.  I planned to wear my Nike Pegasus but with the snow I was considering going back to my Nike Free Run (they have the shield and keep my feet warm and dry).  I put on the Pegasus and brought the Free Run with me.
We dropped the kids off with my in-laws and headed to Burlington where the race is held.  We scored some free under ground parking so that was nice but it was a bit of a walk to the start line.  It would have been ideal to use that distance to run but the sidewalks were a mess and crowded and we had bags to check anyway.  We got to the bag check and warmed up inside before making our way to the start to do some warm up runs.

Me pre race

Me pre race

Hubby pre race

Hubby pre race

Warming up

Warming up

Pre race photo op

Pre race photo op

We found our place behind the start and amongst all the people there we were able to find some of our local running friends.  We joined them and waited for the start.  Just as the gun went off and we started moving is when I realized that I did not tie my shoes properly (remember I said I was unsure which shoes I was going to wear?  I threw the Pegasus on and decided to wear them, just didn’t do them up properly).  Oh well I guess we will see how far I can get before I need to retie my shoes.

This race heads down Brant toward the lake and turns right for a quick out and back along the lakeshore before coming back and heading east on Lakeshore.  I headed out at pretty much my anticipated race pace.  When I first saw the schedule I would be following through Runners World Smart Coach training plan and saw my anticipated race pace of 5:36 I thought ya right, hold that for 21.1km??  5, 10 km and I was feeling pretty good at this pace.

Splits – 5:38, 5:34, 5:28, 5:30, 5:39, 5:31, 5:34, 5:29, 5:35, 5:41

Staying somewhat steady and coming up on km 11 it happened.  My shoe got too loose and I had to stop to tie them up.  I did that and took the opportunity to pop some Clif Shot Bloks (my fuel of choice), drink some water and off I went.  I had 2 people that I was keeping pace with so I felt pretty good keeping with them.  The turn around was at 13km.  It was nice approaching the turn around and seeing everyone coming back (including my hubby).  Ahhh more than half way done.  Heading back toward Brant I am happy that I am having no aches and pains and I am thankful that my bum toe is not giving me any trouble (I had taped it up for the race). 15km approaching, this is where it starts to get a little tough.

Splits – 5:38, 5:33, 5:42, 5:40, 5:37

15km I start to tell myself how close I am based on time.  A little math and I am telling myself just over 30 minutes to go.  Somewhere along this stretch there is a man (a priest I think) and some kids giving out bananas and oranges.  I thankfully grab a banana and try to eat it while still running.  17, 18km I think I should start trying to “catch” people.  This is the part where I should be able to pick it up a bit and catch up with people.  Try as I might though I just couldn’t go any faster.  I felt like I was giving my all but standing still at the same time (obviously not but you get what I mean).  I wasn’t really looking at my watch, nothing beyond pace and heart rate but I thought I might be able to make it under 2 hours.  I stayed pretty steady right to the end, 21.1km and I crossed the finish line.  It took a while for the results to be posted but my time ended up being 1:59:07.  I am so happy to have broke 2 hours on my second half marathon.

Splits – 5:34, 5:43, 5:35, 5:40, 5:44, 5:35

Me and hubby with our medals

Me and hubby with our medals

Cool medal

Cool medal

Funny story, my watch said I finished at 1:58:33 so I thought my chip time would be a little less so I was a bit perplexed when I saw my time was actually more.  It took a while but my husband actually figured out the mystery.  I had my watch set to auto pause when I stopped and forgetting that I stopped to tie my shoes it explains the time difference.  Lesson learned here, make sure to turn auto pause off for races.

I enjoyed this race.  The course was relatively flat.  The jacket provided (seen in my race day post) is really nice.  There were free massages (which we took advantage of) and of course chili and beer.  We met up with friends afterwards before heading back to pick up our kids.  I will definitely do this race again.

Now that I write this out I can also tell you that my legs (quads) were quite sore for a good 3 days after the race.  I should be running tonight but I decided to do this instead and will get back at it tomorrow.  Next up is Around the Bay.  I did sign up for another half though because after my time mix up I feel I need to do another race where I don’t have to stop and tie my shoes so I am aiming for a slightly faster time at the MEC Race Series race 2 in May.

For all my American friends :)

For all my American friends :)

 

Some of the photos are from the race photographers Marathon-Photos. At the time of writing this I had not decided on which pictures to purchase (I have several good ones) so I am thinking of just purchasing them all – it seems to be the best deal (I will switch out the photos).

Tomorrow is race day

Tomorrow is the Chilly Half Marathon that I have been spending the winter training for.  Most of this has been on my treadmill as we have had an unusually frigidly cold and very long and snowy winter. snow

My goal was just to beat my time from the Scotia Half Marathon and it still is but as my luck would have it I got injured 2 weeks ago.  Just as I did 3 weeks prior to Scotia.  This is different though as it is not my IT band but my second toe.  Who knew a little toe could give you so much grief.  After seeing the doctor and having x rays we ruled out a fracture and went with injury to the tendon.  I have some tape to buddy it up to my third toe and I don’t anticipate any problems running the race tomorrow but I did have to take a lot of extra rest these past 2 weeks to allow the swelling to come down.  Hopefully that extra rest didn’t hurt my training in any way.  My husband is also doing this race as well and yesterday we went to pick up our race kits.  This race kit included a pretty nice spring jacket in it.  Great swag :) After the race we get a free beer and chili.  I am looking forward to this race as it is apparently flat and fast.  Let’s just hope Mother Nature cooperates as we do have to run along the lakeshore and could really do without the wind.  Fingers crossed.  I can’t wait to come back with my race report.

jacket

Coming Along

I am currently training for the Chilly Half Marathon.  I am following a training plan using the smart coach plan from Runner’s World which has based all the paces of my runs on my 10K race.  For about 6 weeks toward the end of the plan it has my long runs scheduled at 21km.  Each week.  There are a few fall back weeks in there too.  So I am going with it.  I love to see each long run faster than the last.  My last 21K was 2:08:31 and today was 2:07:06.

IMG_1634This makes me pretty confident that I will get a new personal best since my first half was 2:08:32.  I am counting my blessings so far as my IT band has been cooperating.  I just have to remember to keep up with my phsyio exercises.  Oh and foam roll and ice!!!  Every runners fave combination :)

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