Friday, July 29, 2016

Beaches Jazz Run- Half Marathon!

Last weekend I completed the half marathon race in the annual Beaches Jazz Run. The Jazz Run has been around for awhile, marking the end of the Toronto Jazz Festival, but this was the first year that they made it an "official" race with medals, hats, chip timing, and free photography! It was actually a pretty decent deal for a half marathon- $55, so I signed up soon after my full marathon back in May as a way to keep up my fitness level.

I will say that I certainly did not train as hard for this half as I did for my first half last fall. In fact, the longest run I did was 16.8km, and it was slow with many stops. I also knew going into this that it was a summer race, and therefore wouldn't be ideal weather, and that I likely wouldn't PR, but I hoped maybe I could hit 2:00 for the finish. I had NO idea how tough it would end up being!!

I got up at 5:20am and was out the door at 6:10ish to catch the streetcar to the start of the race. It started over on the boardwalk in the beaches, which was a good 40 minutes by transit. It was already pretty warm at 7:00am when I got there so I knew I was in for a tough run. At 7:30 we were off! I quickly saw the 2:00 pacer pull ahead and knew I would never catch him. I decided just to stay in front of the 2:05 pacer, but it was hard. The sun was beating down on me and it was heating up fast (I think it was 22 degrees plus 80% humidity so closer to 30! And that was at the start of the race!).

5km in
Soon after the 5K mark I knew I wasn't doing too hot. I was already so tired! So I switched to a run 10 minutes, walk 1 schedule. I actually ran into a girl I knew from RunTOBeer around this part and she was hurting too, so we kind of leapfrogged with our running and walked and encouraged each other on.

Around 10km I think the 2:05 pacer paced me and I didn't have the strength to catch back up. If only I had just started with a slower pace I could have had the energy to go a bit faster! Also, I started to get a horrible headache, a questionable tummy, and was completely repulsed by my Gatorade. I recognized that I was starting to get dehydrated and I started stopping at the aid stations for actual water and forced down an energy gel for the salt- it all seemed to work for me because after another 5K I started to feel normal again- still tired...but not sick at least!

Thankfully it also became overcast and breezy after km 10, which was soooo nice!

Around km 17 (?) the 2:10 pacer passed me and I was furious! I have run a 1:55 and a 2:00 half before dammit!! I didn't want to finish slower than 2:10!! I had a surge of power and felt like Aragorn in Return of the King at this moment. I was like "A DAY MAY COME WHERE THE 2:10 PACER PASSES ME, BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!"

And off I went, like a beautiful gazelle, flying with grace and beauty.

Just kidding. I looked like this:

Anyway, I DID pull ahead and finished strong in 2:09:23! Far away from my personal best, but still the best run I think I could have pulled off on that particular day!! I met up with the RunTOBeer crew for a bit, but declined my beer as my stomach was still a little iffy. Plus it was like 9:30am. They actually all went off for a RunTOBeer run, but I went home for a nap!!

All in all, it was still a good race. I found it well organized and a lot of fun. Though I think there is something seriously wrong with my definition of fun. :). I think next I want to try racing a 5K, because I actually haven't run one before and I want to see if I can go sub 25 minutes! But I think I will take a break from actual races until the heat is gone!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Camping at Balsam Lake!

I had quite a busy weekend with a bridal shower and a half marathon, but first I feel we need to travel back in time to a week ago when I went camping with my girls!! I have been camping with my friend Lisa and Ginny (and a few others some years) annually since 2008...however we hadn't managed to go for the past couple years, which sucked. So one day this spring I picked a random July weekend and messaged the girls to see if they were free and we booked it! We all also ended up taking the Friday off work so we could get up there earlier! :)

Me, Lisa, and Ginny in 2008! Such youngin's we were...
On the Thursday I met up with Ginny, went grocery shopping and I stayed at her place for the night since she lived closer to the campground and no one wants to come downtown to get me during rush hour. Lisa showed up at 8:30am on Friday and we were off! We ended up staying at Balsam Lake. The same place we stayed in 2012. In fact, the exact same campsite!! We set up camp, made a beer, ice, and firewood run, and then got down to the business of relaxing.

I like to tell people we have a 20 person tent. It is just sort of a ridiculous huge thing we bought many a moon ago. We actually found a giant hole in it a couple of years ago so this year I bought a tent repair kit and we patched it up- hopefully she will have many more summers with us! Also, mine was the only air mattress to not deflate while we slept #winning.

Friday involved a lot of trips to the camp store to try and fix one of the air mattresses and to buy more wood because we kept burning all ours (weird how that happens). On one of those trips we bought a cake. It twas a good dinner that night!

Friday night it was FREEZING. I dont know how we managed to go from 40 degrees celsius a couple days prior to THIRTEEN, but it happened. We went to bed with all of our clothes on! I got up around 7am to go for a run and found Lisa sitting in her car with the heat on! Also, while she was sitting there someone maybe tried to steal our beer?? WHO DOES THAT? Anyway, Lisa scared them off.

And yes! I went for a run! I originally had an 8km run and a 19.5km run for Sat/Sun, but since I ended up getting lost on the trails on Saturday morning (lol), I called it even at 10km for the whole weekend. It was such a nice run though! I was pretty slow thanks to rocks, roots, and mud, but it was super enjoyable and I never saw another soul the entire time- just me an nature! I don't get to do much (ie any) trail running downtown. Here are some pictures!

I got back and Ginny was up so we started making some breakfast. We never bring a stove with us, preferring to cook everything over the fire with our cast iron pot and pans. It always turns out so much yummier that way! Though I think the other girls voted we get a little stove for next year (I think the wait for coffee is unacceptable at our age...)

After breakfast we headed to the beach! But it was still SO COLD. We actually lay on the beach in sweats! I even debated not blowing up my giant inflatable flamingo floatie, but thankfully by mid afternoon the sun came out and it ended up being a very enjoyable day and I let my flamingo flag fly! I loved that floatie man...for once I was the one wanting to go in the water and stay there. Usually you find me bathed in sunscreen on the beach (I love to lie in the sun). I wish I had gotten a shot of Gin and I sharing the thing back to back inside the ring. Good times.

Then it was back to the campsite for dinner! Lisa has these hot pocket makers so it is a tradition to eat most of our meals with them. I had a pizza one, a grilled cheese one, and a marshmallow/chocolate/strawberry one. It is a delightful, well-known fact that calories don't count when camping. MMM

Then it was back to bed for a thankfully slightly less cold night! PS- I wake up every night to go to the bathroom at 4am. This was really not fun on a cold night when the nearest washroom is an outhouse. Sigh. Sunday morning we woke up, I made french toast, and then we packed up our site and headed back to the beach for a few hours! It was much hotter and sunnier on Sunday and we had a fun time before heading home.

Overall it was a great mini-vacation with my girls, but I think 2 nights is not nearly long enough!! I hope we can get together for a longer trip next summer!

Also, in case you are interested, there are no Pokemons at Balsam Lake.

The only photo that was not of food/flamingo this weekend...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Weekend Recap!

Hello! I am still plugging away at my half marathon training, but it really isn't that exciting so I can't find much to talk about. I did cut my Thursday run short- it was supposed to be a 13K tempo run (which means go fast), but it was SO hot out that after 4km I started feeling really ill so I called it a day and walked the 4km back home. It was a beautiful night for a long walk, at least!

The weekend got off to a better start. I convinced Cam that we should go out to see Finding Dory Friday night. He got a giftcard for the movies from one of his students and I had a bunch of Scene points, so we only had to pay for our popcorn and it was a great date night! We went to a 10:30pm show to avoid a theatre full of kids and the plan worked perfectly. It did pour rain on our walk over, but I showed Cam the wonders of Toronto's underground PATH system! It is about 2.5km from my place to the theatre and you can walk 90% of it underground. Love this city :) Oh, and we both enjoyed the movie. It was very cute.

Then on Saturday I did a speedy 8km in the morning and then it was off to Body Blitz Spa for the bachelorette party of my good friend Veronica!! I have known Vee for 6 years (?). We met at work when we shared a reception desk and she is the bees knees and I am so excited for her wedding in a few weeks!! We had SUCH a lovely time at the spa (I will 100% be back), and then we all walked over to Mill St BeerHall in the Distillery District for dinner, where service was slow, but beers, food, and company were all wonderful! And then after dinner we went to Bier Markt for dancing and shenanigans. It was bachelorette and bachelor party central there so quite a fun, enthusiastic crowd. It was a good time.

Then Sunday I was up early (what ever happened to sleeping on the weekends??) for another RunTOBeer! I had about 18km scheduled for Sunday so I ran 2km over my friends' Steph and Kevin's condo, picked them up, then we ran about 6-7km to the start of the 10K beer run in High Park. Unfortunately Steph and I got there a tad late so we did our own mini-loop around High Park and met up with the group again when the 5K started! Then we ran off to The Greater Good Bar! It was a hot and sunny day, but all the breaks made this a pretty easy run, especially since I only did 16.5km since we were late #shh. And we got free beers from Side Launch at the bar and we shared a gigantico pizza from North of Brooklyn Pizza (which is independently run from inside the bar).

Oh and PS- My friend Steph has come over to the dark side and started a blog!! You can find it here. Go read it now.

Then it was home for a nap and then off to my Mom's for dinner! I had to go to her place to borrow some camping gear and steal back my giant inflatable flamingo because I am off to the wilderness this weekend! And by wilderness I mean Provincial Park with a cooler of beer, some smores, and some good friends. SO EXCITED!! :D #ilovesummer

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Canada Day in Ottawa!!

Last Friday was Canada Day up here in good ol' Canada- a joyous day of sleeping in, fireworks, and Beavertails! Cam and I decided that it would be a good time to finally visit with my friend Sarah (and her husband Johnny and baby Jack) in the nation's capital of Ottawa! We didn't want to drive due to long weekend traffic (Ottawa is 5 hours away on a good day), and the train tickets were getting unreasonable, so we flew! It is only an hour flight, so it was quick and enjoyable and we got to leave late Thursday night. We took Porter airlines, which I just love. The airport is a 10 minute walk from my condo, there is virtually no lines, and there is unlimited free cookies and pop. And complimentary booze on the flight!

We arrive around 9:30pm and Sarah came to pick us up and took us back to her place, where we were staying for the weekend. We just caught up that night! Sarah and I lived together for 3 years during University, but I hadn't seen much of her since she moved out to Ottawa a few years ago. I blogged about her wedding (which was exactly a year ago- happy anniversary guys!) here!

Friday we headed downtown to take in all the festivities around Parliament Hill. It was crazy busy and hot, but a lot of fun! After some wandering, we headed to a nearby park for a lunch of chicken sandwiches, lemonade, and free cheese curds. We also picked up some free ice cream on the way over :). I love free food!

Fun fact- I actually didn't own a Canada themed shirt, but Sarah apparently has quite the stash and we are around the same size, so that all worked out! After lunch it looked like rain so Sarah and the fam packed up to take baby Jack home for a nap and Cam and I headed over to the Canadian War Museum- all museums in Ottawa were free on Canada Day so we decided to take advantage while the weather looked iffy. I had been to this museum before and it really is fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone. It did indeed pour buckets of rain while we were inside, but it was clear again when we finished so we headed back to the park to get some Beavertails! Beavertails are like fried sugar dough and I love them- I got maple flavoured. After our Beavertails I also convinced Cam to get some Moose Tracks ice cream from Kawartha dairy (the best ice cream). Calories don't count on Canada Day!

After all that food, we took the bus on back "home" to Sarah and Johnny's, though we ended up missing our bus stop and Johnny drove out to rescue us. We had walked about 19,000 steps that day so I was grateful! We had a late dinner and then hung out and caught up. Cam and I had debated coming back downtown for the concert and fireworks, but it started pouring rain again so we stayed in.

Saturday we got up and all of us went to the Museum of Nature! We got there not long after it opened and I am glad we went early because it was crazy busy later in the morning. Darn tourists ;). They had a special exhibit on dinosaurs that I really enjoyed! Cam and I got through about 75% of the museum before saying goodbye to my friends and then going to visit his old roommate from University who also lives in Ottawa! We had a nice lunch and visit with him and his family and then Cam and I drove to the Aviation and Space Museum, which is free from 4-5pm. We toured that for an hour, then home once again for dinner :). Such good friends to keep us so well fed!

Sunday I got up early and did a long run (16-18km), which was beautiful and I am so glad I didn't skip (I skipped Saturday's)! Our friends live near the Greenbelt, and the local road through it closes for bikers and runners on Sunday mornings- so it was such a nice run! At first I got a little lost and frolicked around in some farmers' fields, but then I found the correct direction of the path through the Greenbelt and ended up running all the way to the river! I went a little too far and ended up running over my scheduled 16km- well worth it though!

I got back home and Sarah and Johnny made us delicious crepes for brunch! Then Cam and I headed back downtown to walk around. We had hoped to take a tour of Parliament, but the English tours were sold out by the time we got there. Instead we wandered all over- checked out the Byward market, the river, the locks, and got a late lunch/early supper.

They are restoring the copper roofs and stonework of the Parliament Buildings!

My fit bit app says I went 35,000 steps on Sunday! I was tired!!

We headed back to Sarah and Johnny's for a last little bit of visit before heading home for Toronto. We had such a great time in Ottawa and I can't wait to go back soon! Happy Birthday Canada!!
Pin It button on image hover