Friends my website here at mamasewsbest.com is about to cease to exist. I have been working at moving everything to my new site complete with new name at www.runsewfast.com. I have been wanting to change the name and focus for awhile since I have gotten so much into running since beginning this blog. I wanted to change to something that would allow me to expand on my content without a name that suggests just one thing.  I am still working on the change over but I would love if you would all go to the new site and give a follow there.  Your feedback is welcome as always :)

A Midsummer Night’s Run 30K

Bib #411

Chip time – 2:58:23

Pace – 5:57

Category place – 54/108

Gender place – 141/297

Overall place –373/630

Saturday August the 16th was the Mid Summer Night’s Run 30K race in Toronto.  This was my first time running this race.  I wanted to run it last year but after they announced the race would move to the island because of construction, I backed out.  Those logistics just seemed far too chaotic for me (and according to friends, they were).  This year I was happy to see they moved it back to the original route.

The race started at 5:30 and the forecast for the day was not a good one.  There was a good chance of rain and on our way down to Toronto the rain came.  It was also a little on the cool side, which was no problem for me as that is better than running in the heat.  We arrived at the start line a little on the early side as we wanted to leave early in case of any traffic hold ups (accidents, construction).  Luckily we were able to stay dry under a tent until race start and by 5:30 the rain was coming to an end.  Thank you weather gods.

I started out the race in my Lulu skirt, a tee shirt, compression socks, arm warmers and a rain poncho from the dollar store.  I (like many others) ran with the poncho on for about 1-2km.  I saw a garbage can and quickly lost the poncho and carried on.  My “sort of” goal for this race was 3 hours.  I figured that was a reasonable time since I did ATB in  3:09 and ATB was hilly and this race was….not.  At the same time I wanted to use this race as a practice run for my marathon.  For my marathon training I have been doing 10’s and 1’s and this was a great opportunity to practice that.  I found the 3 hour pace bunny that was doing 10’s and 1’s and I kept him in my site.  He was a bit ahead of me for the first 7-8km but not too far.  I will break this race down into thirds.

The first third of the race started a bit..not rough but not great.  During this part I had to get warmed up.  Here my legs felt a bit tight.  Hamstrings, calves, I felt like I was going slow, too slow? It probably wasn’t until about 6-7km that I started to feel stronger.  I got into a groove. I had good music and things started to come together.  The second part of the race I felt great!  I felt strong and looking at my watch I was seeing a lot of 5:40-5:50 pace.  Walk breaks were going over nice and I was maintaining that pace seemingly effortlessly.  I passed the 3 hour pace bunny and decided to just go at my pace and see where that brought me.  The weather was still cooperating, in fact that was it for the rain.  We were dry the whole time.  The last section of the race was the tiring part (right?).  After the 21km check in (the Sportstats mats you cross) I started thinking only 9km to go.  The thing is, 9km is far. Still strong up until about 24km and then I started to feel tired, like I could fade.  This is where the mental game comes in.  I told myself that I was almost there and just maintain my pace because now I wanted to come in under 3 hours.  By about 27-28km I got a little afraid that I was going to cramp up in my calves like I did at the MEC Half.  Praying for that not to happen I kept at it.  Counting down the distance until the finish. I took all my walk breaks except for the last one which fell at 29km. By that time I could see people turning toward the finish line and so I tried to pick it up. I turn the corner and saw some of my fellow Benders cheering at the finish line and I crossed through.  I did it!  Sub 3 hours :)

I went through the chute and got my medal, banana and little pita.  I then parked my butt on the ground and took my shoes off, that felt great.  Still concerned about potential cramping though I did not sit too long.  Stretched it out and walked it off then headed over with my friends to grab a beer and then we went home.  The next morning my legs felt, not bad at all.  I foam rolled a few times (with much pain) but they were really not bad.

I really enjoyed this race.  The shirt we got was nice although it was the same colour for the guys, some guys were not happy about that.  The course was a nice flat route and there were a lot of volunteers on course to make sure you went the right way.  Plenty of water stations which also had gatorade and plenty of people dressed up with fairy wings.  When I finished the race, I didn’t question if I would be able to tack on another 12.2km for the marathon but I did question if I would be able to maintain that pace for another 12.2km.  Just a thought though as that doesn’t really matter.  My only goal for the marathon is to finish – if I had a time of 4:30 or under, that would just be icing on the cake.  42.2km is pretty darn far afterall.

 

 

Superheros

So my children were having “superhero” day at daycare last week.  Bring a superhero outfit she said.  Where does one find a superhero outfit in the middle of summer? The week before that was summer Halloween in the park.  It is hard to find costumes when it is not really Halloween.  A superhero though?  I thought, surely I can at least whip up a few superhero capes in time.  I figured I would be able to make something with the fabric I had left in my stash but upon looking I decided to go out and buy more.  I haven’t sewn in so long (hangs head).  It was all new again.  Luckily it was like riding a bike and I switched the bobbin and thread like an old pro.

Now the cape is a pretty basic design pattern wise.  I already had the visual of what it would look like – red with a yellow circle on the back with a red letter in the centre for the kids initial.  I did want to find some guidance about how big to make the cape for toddler size.  Upon searching Pinterest I settled with this tutorial for guidance on the shape of the cape.  I ended up going with a red flannel material for the outside and the letters and a yellow felt for the circle.  I used a black and white fabric I had leftover for the inside of the capes.  I stitched the letters onto the circles and then the circles on to the cape.  I used a zig zag stretchy stitch and I am sure that is the technical name of it.  It was my first ever attempt at applique and I am quite happy with how it turned out.  I used my Kamsnap snaps to finish them off.  I love these snaps.  They are so easy to use and I usually use them instead of velcro all the time.

I finished the capes pretty quickly and I am so thrilled with how they turned out and my kids loved them too.  Not too shabby for my first project in at least a year and you know what? It really made me realize how much I miss sewing and the feeling of accomplishment when you finish something.  I must get going and get my son’s quilt finished now.

And now…. lots of pictures :)

 

Run for the Toad Training Run

This past Saturday I participated in the Run for the Toad training run.  The Run for the Toad race is a trail race that takes place at Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area on October 4th and the directors put on this training event for those interested.  I can not say enough good things about this event.  I had such a great time.

For starters, the cost is $17.  I signed up for the 25K.  I was just treating this as a training run and was still sticking to my 10’s and 1’s on plan with my marathon training.  I have never done this race before so I had no idea what to expect.  I knew from the website that the course was based on a 12.5km loop and so I figured if I was tired I could stop after the first loop.  25km was a little higher then my weeks goal LSD of 19km but that is ok.  I asked a guy I know who has done this race before if it was a hilly course.  He said that it was the easiest trail race out there, packed dirt, not technical at all, easy.  He lied.

The trail was not technical though so he was right in that regard.  The trail was a mix of packed dirt, a bunch of grassy portions and a bit of road through the park.  Oh and it was hilly, oh how it was hilly!  I don’t think we were even in 1km before the first hill.  I didn’t keep track of the number of hills but there were many.  I felt pretty strong running this first loop.  Knowing this was just a training run though I had no care for time so turned the pace off my watch and just kept the intervals on and enjoyed the scenery. This park is a campground and there were lots of people camping, some cheering, it was nice.   There were volunteers – marshalling the course, handing out gatorade and water at aid stations, stopping traffic for runners to cross the road (in the park).  There was some great scenery, especially at one of the high look outs – the one where everyone stopped to take pics of the surroundings and of course the selfie.  The second loop, well that was harder, naturally because we had to go and do all those hills again.  At this point, I can not even remember the last time I ran a flat route (I know, hills are good for me).

I want to make special note of the last hill (this one is at about 11-11.5km).  This is THE steepest hill I have ever had to “run” up.  My photos probably do not do this hill justice.  It was tough and I didn’t see anyone run up it.  This hill is called “skeleton hill”. I heard another runner telling his friend that at the actual race they put a skeleton at the top of the hill and the friend asked why?  I spoke up that it is like the Grim Reaper at the top of the ATB hill, because you feel like dying when you get to the top and then you do it again.

The $17 also included a free spread of food afterwards.  There was watermelon, chip, nachos and salsa, muesli pitas, lots of sweets (little cinnamon buns, brownies, cookies…), water, pop, and juice.  Even freezies.  Apparently the actual race has a full catered meal afterward and according to friends who have done this race in the past, it is the best post race food out there.

I was looking for a place to post my thoughts about this event (the beauty of having a blog is I can do that right here) but couldn’t find a Facebook page or any other place to leave feedback so instead I left a review on My Next Race.  I had a great time at this event and I would highly recommend this to anyone.  I will be adding this race to my fall line up for sure.

“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.

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