Bibrave Product Review – OOfos – Feel so OO!

Disclaimer: I received OOfos OOlala Sandals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

I don’t know about you, but every time I run a race or long run all I want to do after is get my running shoes off! I look for the most comfortable shoes around or I bring cheap flip flops to the race with me.

Well, now I have an even better option! As a Bibrave Ambassador, I was lucky to have the opportunity to try a pair of OOfos OOlala sandals. I was quite excited, because I wanted to know what all the hype was about.

OOfos OOlala Sandals

OOfos OOlala Sandals

As soon as I got them, I was in love with the colour which is actually called Blue Jay. I love blue jays – the bird and the baseball team, so of course I was excited. I was also pleased that they matched my Honolulu Marathon shirt, but maybe that’s just a coincidence. 😉

If you missed my Instagram Story videos, I was surprised as soon as I put them on. So comfortable! Especially right after the 16K long run I did last week. I wore them all day and my feet and legs felt great. I was also impressed that I didn’t get any blisters from the straps, which usually happens when I try new sandals.

OOfos OOlala Sandals Review

They match my Honolulu shirt! 🙂

Here’s some more cool specs about these awesome sandals:

  • Great for wearing before and after your workout – precovery AND recovery!
  • OOfos help the feet to move naturally post-workout, cradles your arches
  • Close cell foam – which means you can get them wet and water just drips off and doesn’t stay in the shoe, so no bacteria
  • Absorbs shock with every step, reducing stress on your feet, knees, and back
  • 37% more shock absorbing than traditional footwear foam
  • Durable OOfoam holds its cushion its entire life
  • Machine washable (cold water) – I haven’t tested this yet, but what a convenient option for cleaning the sandals after a full day at the lake/beach

So far, I’ve worn them after long runs, for walking to the grocery store, around the house, and just relaxing in the backyard. They’re actually quite functional and easy to incorporate with outfits, which is great because OOfos also offers MANY different colour options and a couple different styles. I know I’m going to keep wearing them until it gets too cold outside, and then I’ll probably continue to wear them inside because they don’t mark the floors. Going to keep on OOing! 🙂

OOfos product review

Chillin’ on the patio – Love summer days!

Have you tried OOfos before? Or, do you have a favourite way to treat your feet after hard workouts?

Make sure you check them out online, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

 

Summer Update – School, training, and OOfos

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, which I feel slightly bad about, but it was also for a good reason. My Masters program has classes year round and I’ve been feeling a little burnt out the past few weeks. I was working on a major project/paper and when I would stop working on the computer for the day, I didn’t have any ambition to keep staring at the screen to produce a blog post. Seriously, your eyes get tired and brain a little fried after reading so much research and then trying to write about it!

Anyway, I submitted that major paper and got to enjoy 3 whole days not writing or reading or contemplating research and it was nice. But, now I am back at it and on Wednesday I start my 10 day school intensive, which involves full 8-hour days of lectures, presentations, etc., as well as additional projects and papers to complete in our “spare time”. It will be incredibly interesting and helpful, but also a bit overwhelming for this introvert. I am looking forward to it, but also can’t wait for my 3 week summer vacation (from school, not work) to start on August 12!! And it’s nice because I’ll be starting it with SeaWheeze!!! I think that’s an awesome way to close out the first year of my Masters program. 🙂

YogiCrystal Calgary

Having fun at the Glenmore Reservoir 🙂

In between all of this, I have been TRYING to get my running back on track since the Canada Day hiking incident. Last weekend my leg seemed to be doing worse and I got a little worried. So, I’ve been taking it a bit more easy on the running and mixing it up with some cycling and water running. I feel silly in the pool because I can’t really swim, but I know I need to keep moving and I want to keep my strength up as much as I can. Right now I am trying to keep one non-running day in between my training runs to give my leg a break from the impact, because honestly, I am doing SeaWheeze.

Over the past week, my leg seems to be feeling slightly better, and I was even able to complete a 16KM long run on Sunday at a good pace (for me) without much pain. This is exciting!! I think at this point, it’s just important not to overdo it and stay fit for my half marathon on August 12th.

Something else I found helpful after my long run yesterday, was to put on my new OOfos sandals right away! Seriously, these are super comfortable and they felt really good to put on after wearing my running shoes all morning. I have the OOlala sandal and I find them comfy and cute! Another great feature is that they absorb up to 37% more shock than other shoe materials, so that’s a bonus after a long run! I’m really glad to have these in my footwear rotation and I’ll definitely be updating ya’ll with a full blog review in the next week or so (keep an eye out here!).

Oofos Sandals Bibrave Ambassador

Love my OOfos!

Do you have a favourite pair of shoes or sandals that you like to wear right after a long run or hard workout?

ps. Where has the summer gone? Can’t believe it’s August already!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOfos sandals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

5 Peaks Fish Creek Park 2017 Race Recap

So, it took me a solid year or two to finally sign up for a 5 Peaks race after envying my friend’s pics and experiences of running these races in Ontario and Alberta. Since I’m mostly a road runner, I searched through the options for Alberta a couple of months ago and chose a race that was close to home and didn’t seem too technical. Also, I had heard that the Fish Creek course was fun, so it seemed like a no-brainer for me.

Registering online was easy & I used an ambassador’s code for 10% off race registration. There’s plenty of 5 Peaks Ambassadors across the country, so I always see them tweeting or instagramming their codes, which is super convenient. It’s not much, but it’s nice to save a couple bucks here and there!

There were two distance options for this race – the Enduro and the Sport. The odd part about this race is that I signed up for the Sport distance, which was around 6KM at the time of registration. About a week before the race I double checked the map, and the distance had changed to 8.3KM. Ok, no big deal, but after my hiking incident & with my leg still in pain, I wasn’t too sure about how race day was going to go.

5 Peaks Fish Creek Calgary

Waiting for the little ones to come in & getting ready to race!

These races offer packet pick-up the morning of the race, so I opted to do that because the regular pick-up spot was a bit far for me to travel on transit. All I did was show up a little early and it was super easy to grab my bib and race swag (an awesome pair of Swiftwick socks!).

Pre-race there were 1K & 3K kids races going on and watching them was super cute and fun. Everyone was cheering the kids on & the race director was even giving away a growler for the loudest person (adult!) cheering. Growlers as prizes? Definitely different from road racing! 🙂

I did find that showing up early was important for this race, especially if you need to use the washroom before running. There were two outdoor park washrooms available, but the women’s lines were long. It took long enough that I literally had to run out of the washroom and to the start line and take off right away! Not a big deal, just glad I got out in time to make my start wave!

The course was really nice and took us through some different terrains. We started on pavement and then switched to gravel and dirt trails, with a good amount of single track (which was totally new for me). At times I felt bad for the people right on my heels and I let them go by, other times I just kept running and decided they could pass when the trail opened up. I don’t really know trail running etiquette, but I tried my best to be a good runner. There were some good hills that gave me a challenge and certainly some beautiful views through Fish Creek park. My leg did bother me a little bit, but I was glad I wore compression socks just to be safe.

The weather was quite nice for the morning of the race, but a bit humid, which is a funny feeling for Calgary. It felt even more humid in the woods, but it was nice to get some shade. I didn’t really notice a lot of bugs or flies, which was nice as well because I totally forgot bug spray.

5 Peaks Swiftwick Socks

Awesome swag!

Another fun part of trail running that I learned is that the distance posted may not be what you actually run. Around 8KM I was starting to think that we were too far from the finish line. I even started to worry that I got lost, but I still saw the flag markers so I wasn’t sure. I kept following the flags and eventually got back to the finish line, so I’m somewhat sure I ran the actual course. But, the distance I got on my Garmin was 9.44KM. I know these aren’t super accurate, so I asked a few people and they got distance around 9.3KM for the Sport distance. No big deal, not complaining, I just found it funny… I signed up for 6ish KM, noticed it got updated to 8.3KM and ended up running over 9KM. Good times, right?

Post-race the food options were awesome. Watermelon, bananas, oranges, chips, cookies, macaroons, etc. Seriously, the watermelon was so refreshing after the race, it made me so happy. There was plenty of water and electrolyte drink, you just have to remember to bring your own water container because these events are cup/bottle free.

After the races there were some fun contests to win free trail shoes from Altra and another growler. They also presented the medals to the top 3 in male and female age groups and top 3 overall. Lots of people seemed to stick around for the food and fun, so that was nice to see.

5 Peaks Calgary post race food

Yay for watermelon!

Overall, I had a great time at my first 5 Peaks race. Enjoyed the entertainment, loved the course, and found the post-race food to be wicked. Trail runners seem to have a lot of fun and the atmosphere appeared to be more relaxed than a road race. I’ll probably check out another one late this year or maybe next year, as long as the course isn’t too technical. I can acknowledge my road runner self & I’m not ready for scrambling-mountain climbing again!

{Result: 9ish KM Sport Distance ~ 56:05 // 53rd overall (175 runners) // 9th age group (38 females, 30-39)}

Have you run a 5 Peaks Race before? How did your first trail run go?

(Check out my review on Bibrave.com for additional info, pros, & cons about this race!)

Shine Bright, Be Safe with Brilliant Reflective Strips

Disclaimer: I received Brilliant Reflective Strips to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

About a month ago, I received these really cool Brilliant Reflective Strips through Bibrave. I was pretty excited to try them out, but when they came in the mail I quickly realized that I may not be using them outdoors yet. You see, where I live the daylight hours are quite long right now. I’m not complaining, I love it. It’s light out from approximately 4:30 am to 10:30 pm, so it made it difficult to use the Strips while running or biking… because, well, I don’t really go out between 11pm to 4am!

Brilliant Reflective Bibrave

Either way, after taking a few pics with flash I can tell that these Strips are super reflective and will be really helpful in the winter when our daylight hours are extremely short. I’m also trying to think of a cool costume idea for these or some night runs that these would be awesome for! Maybe some kind of Tron costume? Hmmm? 🙂

So far, I’ve placed them on my hydration pack, bike, shoes, and regular backpack. There’s so many places you can put them for added safety or for fun (like a costume or night run!). The strips come in different sizes, but you can also cut them to fit the space you need. There’s also 2 options – stick on or iron on & different colours (obviously, I liked purple).

Brilliant Reflective Bibrave Gear

Putting the strips on my gear!

Cool details about the Strips:

  • Brilliant partners with 3M and 3M Scotchlite Reflective material to create the highest quality colourized reflective on the market
  • Brilliant Reflective Strips come in iron-on and stick-on
  • Four colour options – purple, red, black, blue
  • Stick-on are semi-permanent; iron-on are permanent, so they last through the wash!
  • Brilliant preaches Reflective Biomotion – the ability for a person to recognize a moving human based on the placement of the reflective strips : 360 degrees!
  • Get creative! Cut them, use the different sizes, place them on your gear and go!

You’ll definitely see me with these in the winter, but for now, who’s got some cool ideas on how to use them?

What kind of costume would be fun with these Strips?

Check out Brilliant Reflective online: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Grab your own strips & use discount code BRP35 for 35% off!! 

Brilliant Reflective Bibrave Bike

Putting them on my bike!

Know your limitations, trust your intuition 

Have you ever been invited to something that sounds awesome, but your intuition tells you that maybe this time isn’t for you? 

That was me last Saturday.

A friend of mine invited me out to a hike for Canada Day and part of me really wanted to go, but the other part of me knows how experienced her & her bf are at hiking. She’s an ultra trail runner and he does tons of hiking, so right away everyone has TONS of experience over me. I tried to stress to her how inexperienced I am at hiking, but she assured me that we’d be doing a moderate hike. Ok, cool. I can do moderate. I’m fit (I thought) and I’ve done easy to moderate hikes/trails before. So, I decided to go. I really wanted to get out into the mountains, but I was also a little nervous at the same time. I asked my friend what to take and got my stuff ready.

Saturday morning, they pick me up and drive out to Mount Baldy in Kananaskis Country. The mountains look gorgeous, the weather is perfect.

The ascent was a little challenging, but still fun when we were under the tree line. A mostly visible/patted down trail, so I felt comfortable even though I was getting a bit of a workout. But then we reached a scramble/loose rock section and the difficulty level changed exponentially (for me). Half way up this first scramble I had a bit of a meltdown. I didn’t want to go on. A strange feeling came over me. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I could do it, it was that I knew I wouldn’t be able to get down in those conditions. I’m not experienced enough, and at that point I really knew it. My friends encouraged me to go on, told me it wouldn’t be safe to leave me there. They were right, so, I plugged on. Ascending in the rock/shale was challenging, but I did it with taking a few breaks to catch my breath. But then we reached a mini summit and that’s when I decided I wasn’t going any further up. The last final summit looked extremely difficult and, again, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get down. This second spot was a little safer, so my friends were able to continue on up for the last summit.

At this point I cried. I was a little scared, and looking down I had this terrible feeling inside that the descent was going to be very challenging for me. My inexperience overwhelmed me. But then I pulled myself together so that I could take that time alone to enjoy the beautiful scenery in front of me. The mountain range was stunning. I was staring at absolute beauty on Canada’s 150th Birthday. I made sure to take it all in. During my wait I took some pictures, ate a snack, and texted my bf that I loved him. Shortly after my friends were coming back down and I started to descend.

Mount Baldy Kananaskis

View to my left as I waited for my friends.

The first descent wasn’t too bad. We went down the same way we went up and that went pretty well. At some point another hiker told one of my friends that a different way down the scramble/rocks would be easier. I will say here that it was not. When I had to start rock climbing down the side of a mountain (no experience in this too), I started to get really scared. I managed to keep going, but I was unhappy. This no longer was fun for me. Once we were down from rock climbing, it was time to attempt descending / scrambling down a really long stretch of rocks. I can’t even tell you how long this stretch was. Too long.

The first major scare was when my female trail runner friend was descending, a very large rock somehow got dislodged by other hikers from above and this rock was barreling down a mountain towards her. We watched this in slow motion in terror as she was able to jump out of the way at the last second. At this point, I was really not good. My heart stopped, I swear, and well, my legs were shaking like leaves. We had to go on, so we decided that we would each take turns until one person was out of the way of falling rocks/debris. There was 4 of us and 2 hikers with a small dog behind us. Everyone was shaken watching that rock barrel towards my friend.

Next the other 2 guys I was with went down half way one at a time. This took about 10 mins each because the scramble was quite difficult to navigate. Then it was my turn. Yes, I was scared. I was doing my best until I then started hearing all this screaming. I look up and there’s a large rock coming for me, I freak out and jump to my right away from it. It’s barely flying by me and then I feel another rock smash into my right leg. Fuck. I look down almost immediately and the contact point is blown up to the size of a baseball. There’s blood. It fucking hurts. I panic.

Right away I started screaming to the guys above to stop moving. I can’t see them from where I’m at. But I’m yelling at the top of my lungs. Stop moving. I’m hurt. Don’t go any further. I’m hoping they can hear me. I look down at my friends, and yell that I’m hurt, not sure at that point if I can walk (let alone “scramble”) on my right leg yet. My friend’s bf starts to rush up towards me. I’m panicking. I can’t move. I’m terrified about what’s happened to my leg and worried about the hikers above me all at the same time. I’m shaking like I’ve never shaken before. Full on panic attack mode.

Hike hospital waitroom

Waiting… waiting…

My friend’s bf makes it back up to me and I show him my leg. Doesn’t look good. I scream again to the hikers above to not move. My friend’s bf tries to calm me. Tries to help me walk on it. My leg doesn’t like it, but I can put some pressure on it. We NEED to keep going.

I continue down the steep scramble mostly on my ass. This is difficult as my feet and hands keep slipping under the rocks and I get stuck and have to stand. I was convinced that I wasn’t going to be able to do it, that I was stuck there. Sliding down seems like it takes forever. My hands are getting shredded and I’m sure my pants are ripped and my ass is exposed. My friend’s bf keep coaching me down the scramble and I just can’t wait to get down and out of the way of more possible falling rocks. I don’t know if the guys above kept waiting or if they decided to go another way. Our way wasn’t the right way… for less experienced hikers, anyway. It took everything I had to make it down the scramble on mostly one leg. I was upset, scared, sore, and beyond exhausted. And, I was still shaking. I saw a mountain goat that I’m sure was mocking us. Honestly.

Once we got to the tree line all I could think about what getting back on the trail. My right leg was starting to hurt more and I wanted to put as little pressure on it as possible. Do you think we could find the trail? Nope. We were in the woods and somehow this felt safer, but in reality it’s not. We kept descending through woods, over rocks and branches, and just down down down. My exhaustion reached peak levels. I got a little bitchy. I was DONE with this hike. My friends were good and did their best to coach me on, I’m grateful for their help. At this point I’m not even sure how I got down the rest of the way, but the sight of the highway was beautiful. We did not find the trail again, but we were somewhat close. I couldn’t walk any further so my friend went to get the car.

Once in the car it was time to hurry back into the city because I was going straight to the hospital. The contact point blew up to the size of a baseball, I was bleeding, and the pain got exceedingly worse as my adrenaline wore down. I was very scared that it was broken. I started to worry about my running. My friend distracted me for the ride and we got to the hospital quick. Interestingly, I got through the queue pretty fast in the hospital and had X-rays and found out it wasn’t broken. Sigh of relief. Bone bruise, need to ice, monitor it for other serious issues, and no running. Ugh. But at least it’s not broken. And we’re alive. That’s what it important.

Hike injured bandages

Bandaged up!

Overall, it was one of the scariest events I’ve ever been through. I spent a solid 2 hours scared and shaking and it’s amazing what even that can do to your body. I enjoyed the view, but I won’t be doing that again anytime soon. Nope, not even close. Through this I realized how important running is to me. I rely on it for so many reasons. Maybe that’s bad, maybe that good. I don’t know. I guess that’s for another blog post.

As I reflect on this now I wonder if I over reacted. I wonder if I could have been more calm. It’s hard to say, but I also know that you can’t really control a panic attack. What’s done is done. I’m grateful my friends helped me and I hope they know I feel like crap for all the bitching. But, I did my best and I’m just happy we made it through.

Mount Baldy View Kananaskis

View to my right. Stunning.

Have you ever felt strong intuition about something but ignored it because you felt silly? What did you do?

Meditation Monday Recap

On Monday, I attended my very first meditation class. Yep, even though I have done (and trained in) lots of yoga classes, workshops, and seminars, this was the first time I went to a meditation specific class. And honestly, I was a little nervous.

I received a free class pass from the YYC Run Crew & Lululemon 4th Street for Modern + Mindful, which is a relatively new meditation studio located in the Beltline of Calgary. I only had the pass for a couple of weeks, but I finally decided to go. Coincidentally, I am working on a big project/paper for one of my counselling summer courses that involves mindfulness, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to experience a class from both a personal and professional level.

So yes, I did say I was a little nervous about going. Seems funny to write that down, but that’s the truth. Thoughts that ran through my head… what if I can’t meditate? What if my mind runs wild? What if I experience some anxiety? What if I fall asleep?

Modern Mindful Calgary Meditation

Time to meditate ❤

Seriously, it seems like a crazy amount of questions to ask yourself before a meditation class.

Once I arrived at the studio, the lovely teacher showed me and another newbie around the space and gave us sort of an intro to meditation and the different sitting options. Right away I felt comfortable and at ease in this beautiful space. It’s set up quite nicely to give you moment of relaxation before class starts.

In class, I chose the Alexia Chair and got myself comfortable. The teacher (Sally Powis-Campbell) played some lovely background music and started to guide us through some visualization and breathing tips to help us bring our mind back to the present. I don’t actually remember a lot of what she said during the class, so I am hoping that is a good thing.

Did my mind wander? Of course. Was I able to bring it back to the teacher’s voice and music? Yes. I’ll be honest though, this was difficult. I often choose guided meditation at home and I lay down on my mat, so seated meditation started to get challenging for me. My back hurt a little bit, and I tried not to focus on it. At one point, I felt hot sitting there… so, I went back to breathing to take my mind off that. At another point, I felt slightly anxious and wasn’t sure if I was going to cry or fall asleep. These were truly some interesting sensations that came up during the class.

Ultimately, the 30 minutes seemed to feel long & short at the same time. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I did feel very relaxed and peaceful at the end of the session.

Modern Mindful Calgary

Trying my best… (also, ironic sign placement)

Overall, this was a lovely experience and I look forward to going to the studio again. The teacher was warm and welcoming and the space was inviting and relaxing. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to spend time there… it would be a good space to journal or reflect. My kind of space. Many of us could use a little mindfulness in our lives, so if you’re local, I encourage you to check out Modern + Mindful!

Have you attended a meditation class before? How was your experience?

Sporting Life 10K 2017 Race Recap

For those who don’t know, the Sporting Life 10K is an iconic race that is held in Toronto every year in support of sending kids affected with cancer to camp OOCH. Obviously, this is a worthy cause, so approximately 20,000 people participate every year and get to run down Yonge Street (which I totally love). While living in Toronto, I couldn’t coordinate taking part in the race for some reason (probably work), so I was really excited when they announced hosting the first 10K race here in Calgary once the Sporting Life location opened at South Centre mall. Another bonus was the race date, which was one day before my birthday and I’ve been starting a trend of running a race on (or around) my birthday to add some fun to ageing (which, if you know me, I’m not a fan haha!).

I registered months ago, but it was easily done online and I actually received a Saucony Canada coupon, as well as a coupon to Sporting Life as part of the race registration. They also offer you an opportunity to donate while registering, so I did that easily as well and received a tax receipt in no time.

Over the past few months, I got excited to see how this race would turn out and for the downhill point to point course. The last time I ran a 10KM race was in September 2016, so I was hoping for a solid PB to keep me excited and motivated for Seawheeze training.

Race kit pick up was super easy, there wasn’t even a line when I went to the Sporting Life store. I was also offered another coupon to the store, which was great but I’ve been attempting to be on a budget for my upcoming Seawheeze trip. Plus, I don’t REALLY need more running gear right now, do I???

Sporting Life 10K medal selfie

Medal selfie! 😀

As per usual, I did not sleep well the night before this race. Will that ever happen? But, I got up around 5:15 am so I could calmly do my usual pre-race morning routine and then I took the bus/c-train to the start. Honestly, it’s pretty awesome that this race starts at a c-train station, it made getting there completely stress free. At the start were a good amount of portable toilets and the bag drop volunteers. Both of these processes went smoothly and then I wandered over to the start line. Now, here’s a first for Calgary – this race HAD WAVE STARTS. There were only 2 waves, but still there were waves!! It still amazes me that Calgary Marathon does not have waves or corrals, because this race started much smoother than my half marathon in May. I didn’t feel cramped or bottlenecked in any section. Now, I realize that there were a lot less participants (approx 1,000), but still, the waves were super helpful. I placed myself near the middle of wave 1, took some pics, warmed up and was ready to go.

The start went pretty quick, just a couple of announcements, someone actually sang O Canada, and then we were off! And yep, downhill right away! I had planned to run a 5:05 KM because I was aiming for around a 51:00 minute time (which would have been a PB), but right away I felt good and the downhill had me cruising!

Overall, I quite enjoyed the course. Mostly downhill, but definitely some flat sections and a few inclines. We ran down some pretty open roads in Calgary, which was kind of neat as well. My only issue with the route was that there were 2 spots where we had to run across oncoming ramp/turn-off traffic and there was no marshal or anything there guiding runners. I found this a little odd, especially because cars were coming when a bunch of us were running across, so of course we were waving and trying to make ourselves noticeable to oncoming traffic on a turn-off ramp. Running through downtown was also pretty cool and I really liked the location of the finish line at Olympic Plaza. I like it so much that I cruised across the finish line and then past the volunteers handing out medals! Needed a little more room to slow down and I noticed a few other people did the same thing.

Amazingly, I felt pretty strong the whole race and so I just ran this one by feel. I worried about not following my original plan, but then I also just wanted to go for it. I wanted to see if I could really get a solid PB at this race after all the training I’ve been doing. I also found myself really enjoying the 10KM distance… it sounds weird, but it felt easy. I felt less pressure on myself and even though my pace was faster, I found it funner than my recent half marathon. It felt super fun to just give it my all and then the race was done in under an hour! In the end, I got a wicked PB at 47:54 chip time and I completely shocked myself with this one. I’m not sure I’d get that on a hilly course, but it was nice to feel some progress in my running. Trust me, this was a runners high that I kept with me for my whole birthday weekend! 🙂

Sporting Life 10K Calgary

Awesome Saucony tech shirt & medal!

After the finish there was a PB gong, which I totally took my turn to ring. And then, the post race snacks were awesome and gluten free again – chips, Kind Bars, Bananas, Gluten Free Honey Stinger Waffles. Run Calgary certainly gets the post race food right! (In my opinion, anyway. No bottled water though, so if you were really thirsty you had to keep going back to the snack line). There were also post race massages and both Saucony and the Kids Cancer Care reps were around to answer questions and tell you more about the race and cause.

Sporting Life 10K food

Old Dutch, Honey Stinger, Kind Bards – oh my!

Overall, I had a really good time at this race. It was easy to get to by transit, the course was fast, and post race festivities were nice. Hopefully they are able to keep running this course because it would be nice to see how I progress by next year! Plus, the race is for a great cause (Kids Cancer Care), so that makes it all worth it!

Where’s your favourite 10 KM (6 mile) race?

** If you’d also like to check out how I rate certain aspects of the course, please check out my review on Bibrave.com! **

Brilliant Weekend: Run, Yoga, Bliss

Sitting down at my desk, trying to focus on some school work, and all I can think about is how fast this year has flown by. We’re half way through June! And, because my birthday is only a few days away, I’m feeling slightly anxious and concerned that I haven’t accomplished much this year.

A little irrational, I know. But, still. Maybe it’s because I’ve chosen to train for one marathon this year (as opposed to two or more). Or, maybe I’ve been extremely busy with school that it feels like outside tasks/goals/achievements are not front and centre. Honestly, it feels a little funny to not be overwhelmed (yet) with marathon training… I should be trying to enjoy this more! 🙂

YYC Run Crew Sunday Calgary

I’m in the middle – looking good, right? 😉

Well, I certainly enjoyed my running adventures this past Sunday with the run crew and friends. After a crazy Saturday workday, it was nice to get up and meet the YYC Run Crew for a 10KM run, which was then followed by 30 minutes of outdoor yoga. Seriously, I need to do yoga outdoors more. I felt so relaxed with a light breeze blowing over me and the sounds of nature (and the city!) in the background. I almost considered napping out there too, but then we followed up the yoga with food and mingling at a local restaurant nearby. This bliss-fest was in celebration of the grand opening of the Lululemon incubator located at the new East Village Junction in Calgary. If you’re in the city you have to check the Junction out – so many great local businesses to support, plus they have outdoor music, yoga, and more going on from Thursday – Sunday every week all summer. (Side note: if you’re looking for a beautiful new cell phone case, check out Alto Collective. Great stuff & awesome customer service, so I just like to pass the message along!)

After a fun Sunday morning, I then spent the afternoon with the bf & fam relaxing in the yard enjoying the sunshine. Maybe a little too much… got a little burn on my nose! And, I procrastinated on school work. But, that’s another story. 😉

Saucony Freedom Outdoor Yoga Calgary

Outdoor yoga with the Crew!

As a Bibrave Pro, I received these awesome reflective strips by Brilliant Reflective to try out last week & I need some cool ideas about where to put them. Daylight hours are really long right now, so I don’t see myself running at 4:00 am or 11:00 pm, so I need to get creative!

Also, if you’d like to check them out yourself, you can check out their website, Twitter, or InstagramPLUS, if you use code BRP35, you can get 35% off when you order! How sweet is that?!

Brilliant Reflective Strips Bibrave Pro

Tell me: Where would you use the Brilliant Reflective strips?

ps. Thank you Lululemon, YYC Run Crew, and Charbar for an awesome Sunday morning of running, yoga, food, and community!

Calgary Marathon Half 2017 Recap

My quads hurt.

That’s it… that’s the post.

I’m not sure what it is about the Calgary course, but my quads never hurt this much after any other race. I honestly think that my quads hurt more after yesterday’s half marathon than they did after Honolulu Marathon. OR, maybe it just really helps to put your legs in the ocean after a race. That could be a thing.

Anyway, Calgary Half Marathon. What a day.

Woke up, did my usual pre-race prep of drinking a smoothie and a little bit of coffee while getting dressed. It was a very nice morning, cool air and sun rising, which made for a nice start to the race. I live pretty close to the start line, so I walked over feeling relatively calm and chatted with another gal while walking. She was very excited for the race, which boosted my excitement so it was nice to chat with her. Walking over, I thought about how much I love race morning and getting out there with all the other runners.

Calgary Marathon uses part of the Stampede grounds and the Grandstand for the pre and post race festivities. It’s nice because it’s a pretty open area and then there’s also flush toilets to use if you’re not in the mood for portable toilets. They also have a few booths around where you can buy or check out some stuff and also Jugo Juice there with smoothies at the end. I went and checked my bag right away (yes, I checked a bag. I wanted to exchange my race shirt size) and was able to line up for the washrooms pretty easily.

Calgary Half Marathon 2017

Closing in on the finish!! Thanks for the pic, YYCRunCrew!

After the washrooms, I went straight to the starting chute to get in position. I arrived a little earlier this year after last year’s debacle, which was nice for my nerves. I thought we would hear the national anthem because of the Canada 150 celebrations, but we did not. (Apparently they did play a recording of the anthem that people in the front could hear, but I thought someone would sing it.) They had a few announcements and a moment of silence (which I also couldn’t hear and I wasn’t that far back) and we were off! Again, my biggest pet peeve with this race is that the 50KM, 42.2KM, and 21.1KM all start at the exact same time with no waves. This causes chaos for about the first 5KM of the race at least. People running into each other, having to dodge and weave through people, and bottlenecking in some areas. The start of this race is not really that fun. Also, they lay out pylons to mark the tangents for the elites, but these are hard to see in all the chaos, so I saw so many people running into them and falling because you can’t even see past the person in front of you when making turns, etc.

Once the 21.1KM separates from the 50KM & 42.2KM runners, then the course opens up a bit more (this was around 6KM I think). Then you can start to focus on your pace and getting into a rhythm. It was a gorgeous morning, so I tried to focus on the nice weather and just the general atmosphere of race morning. I had a plan of running with the 2:00 hour pace bunny and then if I was feeling good, I was going to speed up around 15KM or so… well, this didn’t happen. I was sort of in a groove and ran ahead of the pace bunny early on. He was also hard to keep track of in all the crowds, so I just tried to go at a good pace and not run into people.

I felt good and strong for most of the race, but then it started to get hot. The sun was beaming straight on and my body just started to warm up. I did my best to keep a good pace going, while also not trying to get into my head too much.

Overall, the course was pretty good. Straightforward, you knew what direction to go and there were plenty of volunteers and course marshals out letting you know the turns. There was also plenty of crowds and people cheering, which was really nice. Once again, the Calgary Lululemon crew really stepped up their cheering game and presented one of the funnest cheer stations of the race. This was especially nice around 19KM when I was really starting to feel the struggle in the heat.

Honestly, the last 2.1KM were rough for me. I was feeling hot and started to get frustrated. This was also the first race where I felt extremely close to puking. But, I was about 500m away from the finish and I was like “NO, I can’t puke here!!”, so I did my final push and crossed the finish line. I was tired and dehydrated, but also excited that I finished and felt like I gave all I had at the time.

There were also tons of volunteers at the end handing out water and snacks, and I think I thanked each one of them twice. I do like the post race food kit that you get from this race since I am gluten intolerant. I hope they continue to do this because it helps that I can actually eat something at the end. Chips are the best at this time, really.

Calgary Marathon post race food

Post race snack bag is awesome! Even a gluten free Honey Stinger waffle!

I sort of deliriously walked through the finishing area and back inside the Grandstand where Jugo Juice was giving away free smoothies. This is also great, because it was so refreshing after running in the heat. Afterwards, I went and tried to find friends and congratulate them after they crossed the finish line, which is relatively easy to do since the finish line is inside the Grandstand so there are places to stand and sit after the race.

Overall, another fun race at the Calgary Marathon. I wouldn’t say this is the best course to PB or BQ on, especially if the weather is hot. Also, you still have to arrive early to really be settled at the start on time – especially if you like to line up in a certain spot or with a pace bunny. Post race is a good time and I felt like there was plenty of volunteers to help you through your day, which is nice. A HUGE thank you to the volunteers and Calgary Police Service for working hard on a Sunday morning!!

In regards to my time, I didn’t really discuss my goals with anyone before because I was trying not to put too much pressure on myself. Well, that tactic didn’t really work. I was both happy and disappointed with my time after the race, which is an odd feeling. My “A” goal was to be in the 1:52 range, but I achieved my “B” goal of finishing in the 1:54 range – chip time 1:54:17. Yes, I did PB. The last Half Marathon I raced with in 2015 (GoodLife Half) and I achieved a 5 minute PB from that race, but I had hoped better for myself. I thought I was stronger this time around. And yes, the goals are only 2 minutes apart, but I wanted better for myself. This is especially important when I have a #BQby40 goal, which is only five 2ish years away. I don’t want to be too hard on myself, but I also know I can do better. Was it my nerves? Was it the heat? I’m not totally sure, but I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. I’ve got Seawheeze in August and we’ll see how that goes before I make some major decisions on training and racing. Either way, super happy with the day and I had lots of fun – which is the most important after all! 🙂

Calgary Half Marathon 2017 medal

Worked hard for this medal!

Have you ever had a race where you felt both happy and disappointed with yourself at the same time? 

If you’d also like to check out how I rate certain aspects of the course, please check out my review on Bibrave.com

Long Run Bliss – It Can Happen

Have you ever had one of those workouts (running/cycling/yoga/etc) that just makes it all worthwhile? One of those workouts when you think to yourself “yes, this is why I do this!“?

That was me yesterday.

It’s no secret that I have my ups & downs with running. Who doesn’t? But, yesterday I had one of those long runs that just made it feel all worthwhile. Dare I say that it felt, blissful? It wasn’t about the speed or the distance, it was more about the moment. The feelings while running. The scenery. All of that combined for one of the best runs I have had in a long time.

Yesterday, I got up a little earlier than I usually do on a Sunday because the boyfriend had a major brick workout to do for Ironman training. The sun was shining in the window, so this actually wasn’t too difficult – especially since he made the coffee. He took off and I finished up my coffee with a smoothie and got my butt out the door after laying out my gear. I was actually feeling a little nervous about this 20KM because it’s the longest I have ran since the Honolulu Marathon in December 2016. Last week’s 18KM long run was a little difficult, so of course, I was a little worried about how this run would go.

Run Gear Saucony Nuun

Got my gear ready! (Saucony, Clif, Nuun, Yanky, Garmin, 2XU, Gregory Pack)

I got out the door and right away I realized there was a little chill in the air, so my hands were cold but the sun was out so I knew I would warm up quick. Pace started off great and I was a little excited to head out to a different route than I usually do. Funny thing is that I usually get a little lost when I try a new route, but not this long run!

Took my run along the paved Calgary pathways, ran through Sandy Beach Park, over the reservoir dam, and then to the north section of the Glenmore Reservoir. I had been wanting to run around the reservoir for awhile now, so I’m really glad I went this way yesterday.

It’s funny because you could say that the weather was almost perfect for a runner. Sun shining, cool breeze, and crisp air – you seriously couldn’t beat it. The skies were so clear that you could see the view all the way to the mountains from some points during the run. It was beautiful! I actually couldn’t believe some of the gorgeous views I came across during this run and also the friendly people that were out enjoying the day as well! So many friendly runners yesterday, I wish every week was like that. 🙂

Glenmore Reservoir Calgary

Beautiful views at the reservoir! See those mountains?

The settings were so perfect that I started to think to myself that this is why I love running. Of course, I love the challenge and the race atmosphere, but I also love that my feet and legs take me to beautiful places. I felt so grateful in that moment for the ability to run and see these spots around the city – and other places I’ve travelled as well. This run felt meditative and relaxing (is that possible?!) and I almost didn’t want it to end… but, I also knew that I shouldn’t push my training.

I’m not sure I’ve had such a completely enjoyable run before. Is this the runner’s high people talk about? 😉

It’s hard to top moments like this, but that’s not really the point I think. It was special for me to feel relaxed while running and to also feel so completely grateful for the ability to do this running thing right now. Pace didn’t matter, but the ability and the feeling of strength while running did. Enjoying the moment, the scenery, the fresh air. These are the things that matter and then achieving speed/distance/etc goals are the bonus. I realized that although it’s challenging, I really do love running. And, I hope to do this for many years to come.

Running Glenmore Reservoir

Deep in thought. 😉

Have you ever had a run (or workout) like this? Were you training or was it during a race?

{Calgary Marathon Half in just under 2 weeks!! Now I taper!}