MEC Toronto Race FOUR – Race Report (5K)

Since the accident, I’ve only gone running three times and they were all between 2km and 3km distances. I didn’t want to rush into anything, but I’ll admit that the lack of running was driving me absolutely nutty until I laced up again!

Luckily, the short runs went as well as they could (hey, it was about 12°C outside when I last ran, not 25°C!).

I realized on Thursday through Instagram that MEC Toronto’s Race FOUR was happening this weekend and decided that this would be the best opportunity to really gauge my recovery progress.

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Event: MEC Toronto Race FOUR – 5K
Date: June 19, 2016
Time: 9:20am
Fees: $15CAD online, $25CAD at the race
Personal Goal: Finish the race without injury

The race also offered 10K and Half Marathon distances and took place at the Tommy Thompson area. The Annual Runner’s Expo also took place with many brand partners like Brooks Canada, Hoka One One, Nuun, Spider Tech, Vita Coco and more!

Training

Like I mentioned, this race would be the first time attempting 5km after the accident.

I ran a few times at 2km and 3km within the last couple weeks just to gauge how I was feeling and just decided to give it a shot!

Race Day Prep

The weather forecast called for clear skies and highs of 30C, so it was going to be mighty hot and bright at 9am!

Breakfast was pretty simple: 2 slices of toast with peanut butter and Nutella, and a cup of coffee. It’s only a 5K, but I knew I’d hang around for a while after the race to check out the vendors, too.

I prepped my hand-held water bottle, white hat, light singlet and loose shorts in preparation of the race. The worst situation in my mind would be overheating during and after the race.

The TTC doesn’t operate very frequently down to Tommy Thompson on Sunday mornings so I drove down there and I was pleasantly surprised to see it fairly packed at 8:30am! I ended up parking in a plaza about a 5 minute walk away, but I always like seeing high participation rates even if it ends up being super crowded.

I actually jogged half the way to the registration tent to kind of test how my legs were feeling. Good thing I did because my hamstrings were screaming for some intense stretching!

Once I registered, I did some intense lunges and had some Spider Tech k-tape put onto my shoulders to help prevent further whiplash aggravation.

Unlike the other races I’ve been to, there’s absolutely no chance of rain! Woo hoo!

Start line – Nice hot day, light breeze, and the crowd was pretty chill for a race.

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Good general rules for most races, as well as conservation areas

I noticed a few runners all decked in in hydration gear for the 5K, which is normally a bit silly, but I was also carrying my own little water bottle because it was so damn hot!

I also noticed a few younger runners in high-collared tshirts and longer tights who also looked a bit nervous. Uhh… I hope they’ll be okay if this is their first outdoor run. Good thing there’s marshalls all over the place!

There was also a pair of ladies in hiking shorts and sling bags. I vaguely wondered if they knew this was the MEC race, not the run/walk race for cancer that was happening the same day…

1km – The running cap helps keep the sunlight off. Very happy for the cap. Should consider getting some sunglasses but I’d need prescription ones and that’s just not happening right now…

This trail is looking pretty nice! I should come down here more often… Dave would like this area.

OH, LOOK A BIRD!

[Random running thoughts continue.]

2km – The sun’s starting to feel really hot now. At this point, I’ve really found my groove and I’m using driving rules to move ahead of the slower runners on their left.

I also noticed that there seems to be a slight issue with my left plantar fascia is starting to get a little irritated. Maybe a slight change of pace and form would do the trick…

2.5km – Hydration station and turnaround point.

I didn’t feel like I should be changing my pace and form just yet because of my foot, which was feeling much better, so I chose not to grab a cup from the volunteer and took a swig from my water bottle as I swung around the turnaround pylon.

2.75km – Oh, there’s one of those runners in high-collared tshirts. Poor thing looks absolutely miserable…

Better chug a bit more water to make it through safely.

4km – At this point, I’m wondering if it’s wise for me to be drinking so much warm water instead of cool since I’m fairly sure all the water I’m drinking seems to be dripping down my face.

A quick glance to the watch also tells me that I’m running faster than I set myself to do. Slowing it down would be a good idea, huh?

4.9km – There’s an older gentleman just ahead of me. I can beat him to the finish line.

Is he speeding up…? Oh, NO, he so did NOT just speed up! HOW DARE YOU.

KICKING IT NOW.

5K FINISH – I made it across at full sprint! I haven’t done that in a long, long time and it feels AMAZING.

I check my watch and it says 32:42. Not too shabby, all things considered!

Post-Race

MEC doesn’t hand out participation medals, so I just went straight back into the vendor’s area to check out the sponsors and what they were offering.

I don’t think they were allowed to sell anything (any money exchange here would’ve been a nightmare), but they gave out plenty of samples!

The folks at Eload Sports Drink has a pretty good electrolyte formula for better hydration after a hard run. Even though I drank all of my own water, the Eload drink really helped me recover a lot faster.

Although, I will say that it was the first recovery drink that I had right after the race, so I can’t tell if it’s superior to Nuun or coconut water!

I’ll also be looking out for Endurance Tap, which is an all natural energy “gel” that’s mostly maple syrup! They’re selling it online for about $3.25 per shot, so it’s not a terrible price for a start-up product.

Here’s my official results:

 

Overall 5K placement: 187

Chip time: 32:22.1

As usual, MEC did a great job organizing and marshalling the race!

I love MEC races because they’re much smaller than ones organized by Canada Running Series and, even though they don’t have as much swag or tech like finisher’s medals and multiple timing mats, they’re extremely professional and organized at all fronts.

Until next time!

B.elle

Weekly Fitness Update #13 – Results!

It’s been a bit quiet over in this little corner of the blogging world because I went away to Québec City for about 2 weeks with the Monsieur! Even though I speak very, very little French, they were so friendly and hospitable, but I definitely ended up indulging in more than a few delicious Québecois delicacies. (Tarte au sucre, anyone?)

But, I managed to get some running in before and once during my vacation!

Dec 15 – 5km @ 5’42” avg pace, 28:39*
Dec 22 – 7km @6’19” avg pace, 44:28*
Dec 28 – 5km @6’08” avg pace, 31:13

The stars mean than I was running indoors and I’m still not 100% sure how accurate the Nike+ watch is indoors, so it could be a little faster than I’m actually running.

On December 28, I ran through the countryside in -15C weather and it was a bit hillier than I expected! I was surprised at how much I loved it!

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Running in the Quèbecois farmland in winter

BUT! Did I actually achieve my running goals for Fall 2015 even though it’s already Winter 2016 while I’m writing this?!

Fall 2015 Running Goals (3X a week)

  • Weekly mileage of 20-25km with a 5-7-10 pattern
  • Dream pace goal of 6’00″/km for 5K distance
    1. Realistic pace goal of 6’15″/km for 5K distance
  • Dream pace goal of 6’20″/km for 7-10K distances

Fall 2015 Running Results (mostly 3X a week)

  • I tried my best to stick to the 5-7-10 pattern, but quickly learned that the general weekly run distances were more effective than forcing myself to do 5-7-10 throughout the week.I dropped down to about 10-12km per week in December, which was really not good but I did a pretty terrible job at balancing all my hobbies with the holidays!Otherwise, I think I came up just a bit short on consistently reaching that 20-25kpw goal.
  • I’ve been running at less than 6’00″/km on 5K runs for about 3 weeks now, so I’ll say that’s in the bag!
    SUCCESS!
  • I run as many 7K routes, but it seems to be at around 6’05″/km to 6’10″/km so I’m really happy about this speed!
    SUCCESS!
  • I don’t have enough data on 10K runs because I really haven’t run 10K since the adidas race, where I cinched a PR at 6’16″/km, so I would highly doubt that I can do 6’20” for 10K comfortably.
    FAIL!

Rock Climbing – Dec 20th

We were both feeling sick! My belay buddy lost her voice and I was beginning to feel the beginnings of a cold so I knew our game wouldn’t be as strong as normal.

Top Rope – Not gonna lie… I did really badly. The 5.9s that were relatively easy felt almost impossible that day and I even struggled on a couple of new 5.8s!

But, we both knew that we’d be doing pretty terribly!

Bouldering – I tried out a couple of V0s that were okay but the V1s were pretty much a giant NOPE.

Dec 26th

Bouldering – The Monsieur and I went to a smaller rock climbing gym in Lévis and I was surprised to see that this particular gym had a different grading system. Instead of the traditional V-scale, they simply used ascending numbers to gauge the difficulty of the route.

For example, 7 would be easier than 12, but harder than a 4. I even saw one that was graded with 18 and even the Monsieur didn’t go near that one!

I managed to get up to about 9 on a traverse route, but I couldn’t really go past half of a 12 traverse. It was super fun, though!

So, did I manage to achieve my Fall 2015 Rock Climbing Goals?

Rock Climbing (1X every other week)

  • Work on 5.8 and 5.9 belay routes
  • Work on V.1 bouldering routes
  • Increase grip strength and more confident footwork

Rock Climbing Results (1X every week)

  • I’m comfortable with tackling most 5.9s, so I’d say that this is…
    SUCCESS!
  • I did work on the V1 bouldering routes and I still can’t usually complete a route… But, I didn’t say I’d try to complete one so…
    HALF SUCCESS!
  • Since I saved myself in parkour several times recently, I’d say that…
    SUCCESS!

I’m pretty sure I did horribly for my Fall 2015 Parkour Goals.

Parkour (1X every other week)

  • Work on climb-ups with vertical wall (at least 1 good climb-up per session)
  • Regain balance on rails

Parkour (Very rarely)

  • Didn’t even try climb-ups yet.
    FAIL!
  • At least my foot is completely healed and I’m able to balance and walk along a rail like normal again!
    SUCCESS!

I’ll be making a post of my Winter 2016 Fitness Goals soon, so keep an eye out for it!

xoxo,

B.elle

Weekly Fitness Update #12

It’s the 22nd next week, which is the deadline for my running goals! This is going to be exciting!

But FIRST! Here’s my results from last week:

Dec 9/10 – 7km
Dec 12 – 7km
Dec 13 – 3.5km @ 5’50” avg pace, 20:31

YUP. I totally didn’t run on the days I was supposed to run because life caught up with me!

I mentioned it last week, but the Monsieur was back only for a couple of days, so I wanted to spend a bit more time with him before he left for San Francisco for another business trip.

Then, an art project with my mom went wayyyyyyyyy longer than I anticipated on Saturday, so that was it!

But, I did manage to squeeze in a quick 3.5km on Sunday December 13th after rock climbing, so at least that. I even ran pretty fast!

Rock Climbing – Dec 13th

The monthly issue started on the 13th so having a harness on was clearly not the best idea ever.

Top Rope – I managed to get past the huge challenge on that 5.9 that’s been really bugging me! But, I was already quite tired when I got to it and I’m not that great with inclines, so I stopped 3/4 of the way up.

That specific route most likely won’t be there the next time, but I’m happy knowing that I managed to get past the most challenging part!

I tried going up a 5.10a that looked relatively friendly, but it was a lot harder than it looked! I also made the mistake of tackling this one right before the 5.9, so that’s what really wiped me out.

Otherwise, I went up the other routes pretty well! I’m looking forward to seeing what new routes are gonna be there next week.

Bouldering – Just no. I was way too tired and crampy.

Parkour – Dec 14th

Yeah, you read that right! I WENT PARKOURING!

After a long, long time, I finally went back to the Monkey Vault because I just had an itch to do some jumps and fly a bit.

Luckily, there was an Adult Class scheduled on Monday nights at 7pm that I managed to get on time even though I didn’t know about it. The owner, Dan, and Will, one of the coaches, still remembered me and were more than willing to put me through those drills.

It felt really good to be back at the gym and swinging around, so I may plan on more weekday sessions in the new year!

I’m quite sore today, but I do intend on running later tonight. Am I a glutton for punishment? Probably, but I’m going out every night after work, so I gotta get some mileage in!

Dec 15 – 5km @ 6’00” avg pace, 30:00
Dec 19 – 10km @6’15” avg pace, 1:02:30
Dec 22 – 7km @6’10” avg pace, 43:10

I’m pretty sure it’s a bit faster than what I was intending on doing, but we’ll see if I actually achieve this before reviewing if I reached my Fall goals!

Dec 20 – Rock Climbing

It’s the last day for my belay buddy to be in Canada! 😦

Top Rope – I think I’m going to focus more on 5.9s just to get my confidence back up and then maybe tackle a couple of 5.10a’s just to get the feel of them.

Little to no inclines. My shoulders are screaming at me right now.

Bouldering – Since I’m avoiding inclines, I might go and attempt some routes, but I’m not going to promise anything. I’ll be surprised if I conquer more than one V1!

xoxo,

B.elle

Weekly Fitness Update #11

 

I’m not a very good learner sometimes…

Here’s my results from last week:

Dec 1 – 7km @ 6’19” avg pace, 44:16
Dec 3 – 5.5km @ 5’39” avg pace, 31:20
Dec 5 – 1.85km

It was dark and wet on Dec 1, so my time definitely suffered since I was slipping on the sidewalks a little and I couldn’t really see very well due to my glasses being covered in mist!

I ran with the adidas Run Kru on Dec 3, thinking it was going to be a 10km run. Thank goodness it wasn’t a 10km because they run WAY faster than my usual pace! But, I did manage to break a really good time for 5km, so that’s great!

Bad news is that I suspect I sustained a micro-tear in my right leg from not stretching after that 5km and didn’t notice until Dec 5, when I started on my actual 10km run and barely made it past 1km.

I’m usually pretty in tune with my body and how it feels. Most of the the time, my brain goes, “This pain is normal, keep going,” or “You should slow down for a few minutes to readjust,” or even “Best course of action right now is to stop and stretch it out, then you should be fine.”

This time, my brain told me, “You really, REALLY should stop and go home because you are seriously going to destroy yourself if you keep going!” So, I actually listened, stopped and walked back home.

Turns out that one of my calf muscles has a micro-tear of some sort, which I found out through roll massages. It wasn’t fun, but at least my instincts were spot-on!

Rock Climbing – Dec 6

I wasn’t feeling the greatest on Dec 6th because of a party the night before and because of a suspected hops sensitivity in my lower GI. (Yes, that means I was pooping a lot.)

Top Rope – Most of the 5.9s in the gym are completely doable now, but they’re still hard to do comfortably. I even managed to get up halfway a 5.10a before calling it quits! I quickly learned that it’s more of a mental challenge after 5.9 than just a physical challenge.

At the same time, there’s a 5.9 that involves 2 walls, a directional clip and a pretty sharp incline that I just couldn’t solve. It’s really, really starting to annoy me that I can’t get through it, so I’m hoping that it won’t be replaced anytime soon!

Bouldering – Too tired/hungover to try after that difficult 5.9. Bah.

So, between the mostly-painless, slightly inflamed micro-tear in my right leg and the holiday season, I’m not gonna be running until maybe Wednesday. Even then, the Monsieur is only back for a couple days before going off on another business trip around that time, so I might only be able to squeeze in one or two runs!

Dec 9/10 – 7km @ 6’05” avg pace, 42:35
Dec 12 – 7km @6’05” avg pace, 42:35

Might as well make them count, right?

Dec 13 – Rock Climbing

My belay buddy’s leaving on the 21st, so we’re definitely climbing even if we’re hungover! (Again!)

Top Rope – I am absolutely aiming to get further up that inclining 5.9 and complete that route this time!

There’s a high chance it won’t happen, but that’s okay! I’ll have other routes to play with!

Bouldering – It’s very likely that I’ll just be focusing on top rope this time around. But if I make it to that side of the gym, I’ll be challenging the v1’s although I won’t be expecting to get anywhere beyond the more difficult v0’s.

xoxo,

B.elle

Weekly Fitness Update #10

It’s already my 10th fitness update! Woo hoo!

But, this just means that I’m getting closer to my end goal date and I’m not sure where exactly I stand anymore… I’ll take a look next week, probably.

Here’s my results from last week:

Nov 25 – 5km @ 5’56” avg pace, 29:44
Nov 27 – 6km @ 5’37” avg pace, 34:08*
Nov 28 – 10km

 

I ran 6km indoors at the track, so I’m still not sure if that’s the most accurate timing I have. It still seems a bit too fast for me, but it’s not as drastic as before!

I only did 6km because I realized earlier this week that I was starting to develop plantar fasciitis in my left foot. I’m guessing it’s due to the fact that I like to run in minimal shoes and I also like to go around everyday life in Keds, which have almost no support whatsoever.

It was getting a little annoying and risky to go further than 6km, so I cut it short and decided to wait until I got some shoes that have more of a support.

Like these that I got on Saturday!

They’re so comfortable and the pain has virtually disappeared! Yay!

Rock Climbing – Nov 29

I had 2 belay buddies this time, so it took a lot longer than usual since we had to take turns. Luckily, the auto belays were usually available!

Top Rope – Surprisingly, I didn’t touch any of the auto belays and did a LOT of 5.9 routes when I was there. It became really obvious that I still really suck at overhang routes because, as one of my belay buddies said, “it looked like [I was] walking up” a vertical 5.9 but barely got halfway up an overhanging 5.9.

I need more back and core strength!

Bouldering – Like last time, I was pretty tired once we headed into the bouldering section. It’s good to see that the new walls at the gym are well on their way!

My “new” belay buddy, who’s a friend I haven’t seen in a while, noticed that the ranking system is a LOT harder than the ones in a campus gym. It was really cool to see how he tackled the routes, though!

I’m not too busy and relatively pain-free this week, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to hit my mileage goal.

Dec 1 – 7km @ 6’05” avg pace, 42:35
Dec 3 – 10km @ 6’20” avg pace, 1:03:20
Dec 5 – 5km @ 5’55” avg pace, 29:35

Dec 6 – Rock Climbing?

I hope I’ll be sober enough…

Top Rope – I’ve already completed a bunch of the new 5.9 routes, but there were a couple that were really, REALLY challenging, so I’ll be doing my best to revisit them!

Depending on how I feel, I may want to challenge the 5.10a grade, too!

Bouldering – I noticed that Rock Oasis’ bouldering scale has v0’s as the equivalent to 5.8-5.10 on top rope, so that might be why I couldn’t really break the v1 barrier. Hopefully, I can get past that this time!

xoxo,

B.elle

Weekly Fitness Update #9

It dropped a few degrees over the last week and I was so not prepared! I had to make some last minute adjustments to my schedule so my mileage really suffered.

Here’s my results from last week:

Nov 16 – 5km @ 6’08” avg pace, 30:53
Nov 20 – 5km @ 5’42” avg pace, 29:20
Nov 23 – 7km @ 6’01” avg pace, 42:21

Woo hoo, I’m getting faster! But, I seriously underestimated the temperatures and winds on that first run on Nov 16… I was stupidly thinking that I could still get away with shorts in 6C weather without gloves or a hat. That’s definitely tights weather here in Toronto!

I took a little break to make sure I wasn’t getting sick. I dressed up a bit warmer for the run on Nov 20, went back for 5km and absolutely CRUSHED IT. I also made sure that I had a large (but full of complex carbs and nutrients!) lunch to get enough fuel in me.

I wanted to squeeze in another run before I updated but I was running around getting things for a party on Nov 21 and then went rock climbing on Nov 22, so I ran yesterday.

It gave me plenty of inspiration for new posts, though!

Rock Climbing – Nov 22

My belay buddy developed a bad migraine during the day so I went solo this time.

Top Rope – I had to stick with the auto belay routes this time, but I was happy to see that there were a few new routes in the 5.8 to 5.10b range!

The 5.8s were definitely too comfortable so I forced myself to stick with the 5.9s and managed to complete 2 routes and ALMOST finish a few other ones.

I don’t have a huge reach, but I’ve seen kids and other people my size easily scale 5.9s so I’m going to have to figure out what kind of technique they use!

Bouldering – I was so tired by the time I got to the bouldering wall that I could only do V0s. I tried a couple of V1s, but I could barely get past the third hold before falling.

I had to stop since I could feel some muscles in both of my shoulders starting to get super strained.

What will my goals be this week? I’m still trying to figure out when to go running since Christmas is ominously creeping up on us and I still have to finish gift shopping and those cards before the rush.

Nov 25/26 – 5km @ 5’55” avg pace, 29:35
Nov 27 – 7km @ 6’05” avg pace, 42:35
Nov 28 – 10km @ 6’20” avg pace, 1:03:20

Nov 29 – Rock Climbing

I still haven’t really gotten comfortable with the 5.9 grade, so I’ll definitely be focusing on that. In turn, bouldering should naturally get easier, too!

Top Rope – Hopefully, I’ll be able to try some of the new 5.9s I saw in the top rope section if I can find a belay buddy in time.

Bouldering – I’d like to try more V1s, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to.

xoxo,

B.elle

Weekly Fitness Update – #8

It was the perfect week to rest! I could tell that I was getting a bit too burnt out since all the tendons and muscles around my knees were feeling really tense and not in the best shape. I realized mid-week that I didn’t rest much when I got sick a while ago, so that was probably a huge contributing factor!

Not to mention, the whole area was super windy and rainy last week, so it was probably the best time for me to take some rest.

Luckily, I’m feeling much better now and I’m totally ready to move around again!

Here’s my results from last week:

None! Didn’t run at all!

Rock Climbing – Nov 15

I was more than ready to get moving by Sunday but I had a pretty heavy brunch with some friends, so I wasn’t feeling as mobile as usual.

Top Rope – I was focusing more on the 5.9s this time around and, while I was comfortable tackling this grade more often, I quickly realized that I need more strength and endurance to get better!

I actually didn’t realize how quickly I got comfortable with 5.9s until I tried a 5.8 and felt how easy it was to scale.

Bouldering – I totally destroyed myself trying some ungraded top-rope routes, so I could barely do two V0s… Oops?

There were quite a few routes that weren’t graded yet, so I pretty much went all-out trying to figure out a couple of the routes that I was more or less sure what grade they were. More than likely, I tried a couple routes that were too hard for me because I got tired pretty damn quickly.

A good chunk of the bouldering walls was naked too, so I think the gym was doing a pretty big overhaul of its older routes. I’m pretty excited to see what sort of challenges will be there next week!

I’ve been itching to get back into my runners, so here’s what I’m aiming for this week:

Nov 16 – 5km @ 6’05” avg pace, 30:30
Nov 17 – 7km @ 6’05” avg pace, 42:35
Nov 19 – 10km @ 6’20” avg pace, 1:03:20

Nov 22 – Rock Climbing

This time, it might all depend on my belay buddy… I’m thinking that I’d like to do some more bouldering, so we’ll see.

Top Rope – I’m going to do my best to only tackle 5.9 routes! (Except for warm up or cool down climbing.)

Bouldering – I’m going to aim for 30% V0s and 70% V1s this time. I have no idea if I’ll be able to complete any of them, but I’ll try!

What did I do on my rest week? I started knitting a scarf for the Secret Santa on reddit and basically lounged around. It’s quite therapeutic!

xoxo,

B.elle