Travel Diaries – Lisbon, Portugal

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A rooftop view of the Alfama district complete with a view of mouth of the Tagus River.

Sometimes I travel and not just to run races but to explore and to experience new cultures. I recently travelled to Lisbon, Portugal with friends for a much needed break. Even though it was a short trip, we still managed to take in quite a few of the sights. A few quick facts about Lisbon:

• Lisbon is the capital and the largest city in Portugal and one of the oldest cities in Europe.

• Alfama is the oldest district in Lisbon and the only to survive the earthquake of 1775 which destroyed most of the city.

• Lisbon is nicknamed “The City of Seven Hills”; the city streets often traverse steep inclines and many are paved with cobblestones.

• Many in Lisbon speak both English and Portugese, tourists who don’t speak Portugese should be able to get by. Continue reading “Travel Diaries – Lisbon, Portugal”

Have you ever heard of the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend?

This is a guest post contribution written by Alice Pritchard.

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Photo credit: runDisney

Runners, foodies and fans of Disney are going to want to take note of runDisney’s annual Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend.

The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon is a 13.1-mile run through the beautiful Walt Disney World Resort. It will be held on Sunday November 6th, at 5:30 AM at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.  Continue reading “Have you ever heard of the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend?”

Race Report – Sporting Life 10K 2016

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Photo credit: SportingLife10K.ca

The Sporting Life 10K is a race I try to do every year – the money raised goes to a wonderful charity Camp Ooch, which sends kids with cancer to camp. The race itself is a lot of fun as it goes through downtown Toronto making it a fast 10K. Even though the race took place a week after the Toronto Goodlife Half Marathon, I was still looking forward to running it.

Pre-Race: Packet pick up was at the Sporting Life Store on Yonge Street in North Toronto. It opened the Tuesday before the run and went all week to Saturday evening. Out of town runners were allowed to pick up their kits on race morning but only until 7:00AM. I liked the idea of having packet pick up open for several days. It made it very convenient for everyone to pick up their shirts and bibs.

Race day: Bag check opened at 6:00AM race morning and was divided by corrals. Each bag check station closed at different times to ensure the trucks would reach the finish area by the time the runners did. Everything was well marked and the volunteers were clear in letting runners know when the stations would be shutting down.

The view of the start line from the yellow corral at the Sporting Life 10K

The race was divided by several corrals, each with their own start time. The first corral started at 7:30AM, with the last corral leaving at 9:00AM. With more than 20,000 runners registered, the corrals took up several city blocks.

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2016 Sporting Life 10K route (Photo credit: Strava.com)

The race started on Yonge Street, north of Eglinton Avenue, headed south through the downtown core and finished on Fort York Boulevard. Runners then had a quick walk to the finish area in Coronation Park.

Because I was still recovering from the GoodLife Half Marathon the previous weekend, I was given instructions not to race. My coach explained that a week in between races was not sufficient for recovery and even though I felt great, my body was still recuperating. Racing that morning increased the possibility of a running related injury. No thank-you. So instead, I was told to run 8K at a slightly faster pace of 6:00-6:15 min/km and then to run at 5K pace for the final 2K. It sounded like a good plan to me!

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Running down Yonge Street at the Sporting Life 10K

Not racing is easier said than done, especially on a downhill course with runners zipping by. It was hard to resist the temptation of running faster. So I worked on maintaining good running form, practiced drinking water while running through water stops and even stopped for a picture or two.

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Just cruisin’ along for the Sporting Life 10K 🙂

Post-Race: Finishers’ medals were handed out shortly after the finish line while water and food were located a short walk away in Coronation Park – the finish area. I picked up my bag from the bag check area. I was a little surprised to see it was basically self-serve, runners walked in and picked up their belongings and then had a volunteer check that their bib matched the number on their bag. After that, I headed off in search of brunch with my friends.

Overall, it had been a great morning for a run! The weather was perfect and I was on target with my pacing for both segments of my run. And for a race of that size, I would have to say Sporting Life did an awesome job of organizing and executing the race!

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2016 Sporting Life 10K medal

MEC Race #2 – Toronto Waterfront Flyer

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Photo credit: MEC.ca

As training for my half marathon continued, I needed a 10K race to run; a tune-up race of sorts. The Toronto Waterfront Flyer, the second in MEC’s race series was a perfect fit with my schedule. What’s a tune-up race you might ask? It’s a test run (pun intended) of what might happen on race day. The Waterfront Flyer would let me sort out any nutrition/hydration issues and allow me to see how I felt running at race pace.

Leading up to the 10K, I was more than ready to go and excited to see what I could do. But the week right before the race, I tweaked my back. I’m not sure how or why it happened but I was in a lot of pain and barely able to stand up straight. The timing could not have been worse.

Continue reading “MEC Race #2 – Toronto Waterfront Flyer”

Vega Community Influencer event

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Vega’s “Tiramisu” protein smoothie

Last Thursday, I was invited to attend an event hosted by Vega called a Community Influencer event. It was described as a night filled with ideas, insights and community connection. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was intrigued and excited for the invitation! The group that evening was small but filled with interesting individuals. There were yoga instructors, a triathlon coach, nutritionists and then me – a runner and blogger. It was an impressive group to be a part of!  Continue reading “Vega Community Influencer event”

2015 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Logo
Photo credit: Canada Running Series
Races don’t always go as planned, and this was one of those races. So, this race report recaps the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon and not the Full. I planned to run the full marathon and was doing well until an issue with my Achilles in August forced me to take time off and keep my mileage low. I never made it past the 25-kilometer mark while training. I thought of trying to cram in a few long runs before race day and worked out a couple of different scenarios in my mind. I knew it wasn’t the best idea, but if you’re a runner who’s ever been injured, I’m sure you can relate. Continue reading “2015 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon”

Running, shopping and yoga … Oh my!

Photo credit: Lululemon
Photo credit: Lululemon

Last week, I had a chance to attend a private shopping event hosted by Canada Running Series and Lululemon. The Yorkdale Lululemon store was closed to the public at 7PM and the STWM Digital Champions and Community Leaders had the store to ourselves. A night of shopping and socializing was just what I needed! Continue reading “Running, shopping and yoga … Oh my!”