Posts Tagged ‘trail running’

Wow! My blog certainly has been idle for a long while. I took a hiatus for several months to do other things including to spend more time with my family. I’ve been staying active and trying my hand at gardening (again). I’ve been knitting and reading as time allows… sometimes I like to be a bit of an introvert and that seemed to be a theme this year as I worked through the frustrating feelings the health battles of last year left me with. Here is a synopsis of what has been happening in my life.

The Centre of My World

My children are doing well. I’m happy for summer break and a reduction in the amount of school-borne illnesses. It was a rough Spring with cold after cold that would spread to everyone in the house. I nicknamed it the “kindergarten crud”. My daughter is really excited about being a big girl going into the first grade. She’s working on reading by herself and learning to ride a two-wheeler without training wheels. I’m keeping the first aid kit well stocked for knee scrapes. Miss K. is somewhat competitive with her big brother so she shows great determination but the balance of riding the bike is a work in progress. Speaking of her brother, my son is turning out to be such an amazing young man. This is the Mom Brag warning. Now where was I? Oh yes, TC  is on the Minister’s Student Advisory Council for 2016/2017 and will attend the Ontario Leadership Education Centre this summer. This is his second term. He has also landed his first full time summer job and it’s a fun one. He is working for the school board as a day-camp counsellor. Seeing him leave for his first day last week was akin to putting him on the school bus that first morning 11 years ago. There may have been a few tears. I’m so proud of how he has taken such initiative. There are times though, that I miss my chubby-cheeked little boy.

A Slow Progression Into a New Career – Maybe

My last post was about my training to be a Physical Activity Community Educator (PACE) with the Grand River Community Health Centre. Training went well and I am into my fourth month of leading fitness walks each week. I’m also doing some one-on-one mentoring which I feel is an important support for people. I’m finding that I am getting as much out of this experience as the people I am working with. It’s very inspiring seeing the enthusiasm at the start of someone’s journey. This is also a great way to get me out of my office and into the community in a meaningful way. Sadly I have to step back for the month of August but I hope to be back at it in September.

Outside of the initial training for PACE I’ve taken a few courses on my own such as fundamental movement skills, physical activity in the heat, and concussion awareness. Currently I’m studying a 4-week course called Physiotherapy, Exercise & Physical Activity. I’m tossing around the idea of taking college courses to become a personal trainer or fitness coach – maybe. Or perhaps there is another book in my future? I’m still not entirely sure which direction I want to take with this. I feel that with my own journey I have much that I could bring to whatever I eventually decide to do… after all, I know how much dedication it takes to change your life.

Tent Time

Camping is on the summer agenda of course and I’m excited about that. We had to adjust plans to suit the boy having a job but it is all working out well. I’ve decided to pitch my tent at the same place where my heart problems started last August… Bruce Peninsula National Park. I’m considering the trip a bit of a restart. I promise to post some photos and a trip summary when we return. I bought a new camera as I broke mine at the same spot last year so I’m going to play around with that a little. And a dear friend and her family will be coming from Ottawa to camp with us. We met through running and get along quite well. I haven’t seen her in person since September and it is going to be a great adventure.

My Running Life

I ran two events this year. The first was the Oakville Mercedes 10K at the end of April. I chose to drop down to the 5K distance and walked more of the course than I expected to. It was great to be back at a start line though. There is just something wonderful about the race day vibe. The second was the 5K run at the Ride for Heart in Toronto. I was an ambassador for the Heart & Stroke Foundation so I got the VIP treatment. Here are the details.

I ran in memory of Chuck Orosz and Bill Langman.  Chuck was a friend of ours who passed away suddenly from a heart attack last summer. I missed his memorial service because of my own heart issues so I wanted to do this as a way to honor him. Bill was my Daddy. He died of a heart attack when I was a teenager and I miss him terribly.

Thankfully the rain held off and it was muggy but with a nice breeze. I ran some of the course and I went out really strong but I also walked a lot more than I had anticipated. I’d been dealing with all sorts of issues as I tried to rebuild my base so I knew that I wasn’t going with any sort of a running base. A few weeks before the event a lovely friend said to me that the victory lies in being alive to enjoy the start line, so I carried that thought throughout the race. During my extended walk breaks I took the time to talk to others walking about why they were running or walking this event. Some of the stories were incredible. One lady had emigrated from Israel and her family history of heart disease was so bad that two of her brothers became cardiologists. Another group was doing the event under the name Team Carol because their friend passed away from a sudden heart attack last year. With each story I realized what a gift it was that I could participate in the event and how being an ambassador for the race helped me through a very difficult time in my life. I ran most during the last kilometre where I encouraged a woman who was struggling so that she could cross the finish line as strong as possible. A few hundred metres before I parted ways with her and ran to the finish line.

Even though there were some things about this event that could be improved, this race reminded me about one of the things I love most about the running community and that is the way we support one another. Oh and being in the first group of runners to ever do a race on Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway was cool too.

Speaking of running, Bryan, the kids and I are participating in Chase the Coyote this coming Fall. It’s a trail race that has three distances. Bryan is running the 14.4K and the rest of us are running the short course which is 5.7K. Miss K is merely six years old so this will be a good distance for her. She’s quite exuberant about running so it will be fun to train with her. We are still undecided about which of us she’ll run with at the event but she seems to be leaning towards getting her brother to be her sidekick.

Well that’s all for now. I’ll be posting some gear reviews and other ramblings over the coming weeks as I start my return to regular writing.

Life is short… go out and embrace it! B(e) Positive!

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Yes, this is a race report. It has been a long time coming, hasn’t it? Now that you’ve picked your jaw up off the keyboard… grab your beverage of choice (I’m having Hibiscus tea) and get comfortable because this is going to be a bit of a read. Before I get into the summation of the event I will give a bit of a preamble for those who haven’t followed this journey of mine.

Where to start? Well, I suppose the last races are as good a place as any.

In October 2013 I participated in three events. The first two were on the first weekend of the month. Run for the Toad was a 12.5K leg of a trail relay on a very hilly course at Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area. The next day I completed a 5K Colour Run on the trails in Christie Lake Conservation Area. I felt unwell that weekend. The third race, later in October, was my first and only one that started but didn’t finish. I panicked halfway through the course. I was consciously worried about breaking my ankle but there was also a deeper level of anxiety. Ironically a few weeks later I broke my toes. The deeper anxiety, in hindsight, was that I was a running time bomb with an artery that was almost 80% blocked.

the hospital stay

the hospital stay

As you may have read, I had a procedure to fix that in March of 2014. Luckily I didn’t have a heart attack nor did I cause heart damage. Running had saved my life and I was determined to pick up where I left off in late 2013.

Recovery was tough. I ran but not the way I used to. Physically there was nothing holding me back. I had the all-clear from the doctors to run, train on hills, weight lift and whatever else I wanted to tackle. To be honest, I was terrified. I signed up for races and bailed over and over again. A full marathon, half marathons, 5Ks, 10Ks, all came and went. Race day would arrive and I would lose my nerve. Training suffered over the year and anxiety became the norm. I’d hop off the treadmill every 10 minutes during a run to check my blood pressure. I’d run a handful of times each month but training had gone to the wayside. I could bike 10 to 20K at an all-out pace at the gym but to run for even a few kilometers was stressful. Sure there were a thousand reasons why it was so hard, after all I had lost my base, but the bottom line is that I was scared. It takes a lot for me to admit that the thought of running at a race was so crippling to me. Fear and anxiety took over.

There was a breaking point. A month ago I dropped out of the Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon. I wasn’t trained but I had agreed to run part of it. My friend Carla had signed up just after I had and I wanted to be there to support her like she has done for me over and over. A family issue arose and I had to cancel. In doing so, I felt that I had really let my friend down and I felt horrible about it. That said, I was relieved that I wasn’t running despite what was going on here. Fear had reared its’ ugly head yet again and regret crept into the mix. Letting myself down is one thing but letting a close friend down was really upsetting. I don’t have words for how bad I felt.

About a week before the Niagara event I signed up for Long Point Eco-Adventures’ Smugglers Run Trail Race near Turkey Point, Ontario. There were three distances but because it was trail run and my running base was shot, I chose the smallest of the three which was 6K. For weeks before the event I wrestled with whether I should run it. What if I had more heart problems? I could injure myself, after all I hadn’t worked on a solid running base. What if I was last? What would people think? What if the cardiologist was wrong and I had a heart attack on the course? What if something happened with the kids while I was out running? What if? What if? I was overthinking everything and being a little dramatic.

I resolved that I was not going to back out of this race. I was going to brave the start line and that even if I had to walk the entire race, I would cross the finish line. It had been 21 months since I had completed an event. 21 months! Time to suck it up and move forward. With the support of a great circle of friends I prepared for race day.

And… finally the race report.

pre-race selfie

pre-race selfie

I arose at 5:20 am and groggily got ready to leave. Bryan and I had an hour drive and wanted to meet our friend Mandi, around 7:30. The morning was gorgeous and the drive out was a little foggy but nice. We drove through the countryside and made our way to Turkey Point arriving at Long Point Eco-Adventures around the time that we had planned. Long Point Eco-Adventures is a wonderful facility. There was an observation tower, zip lining and all sorts of other things. The property was directly across from the Burning Kiln Winery.

We explored for a bit and had a snack. I was in capris but at the last moment decided to change into my running shorts because it was warming up considerably. Mandi was kind enough to share some homemade bug repellant that she had created and then we headed to the start line so we could cheer the 18K and 12K runners as they took off on the trails. In all there was about a hundred runners. I was mentally prepared that the worst case scenario would be a lovely walk in the woods. My mantra was that “forward is a pace”.

the cool race bib

the cool race bib

The race officials sent us out 10 minutes early which was great because I was raring to go. The course wound around and down a bit of an incline. So far so good. Then we got to a boardwalk and there was a right turn in the middle of it. No big deal, right? Well, it was quite a step down into eroded and uneven ground and it faced the steepest hill I’ve ever seen. Yes, steeper and longer than Skeleton Hill at Run for the Toad. Goodness gracious. Mandi and Bryan had run ahead so I was quite happily running on my own. I was dead last but I had the second and third last people in my sights. As I crested the hill and came around the corner into the fields, there was Bryan. He was waiting to run with me and he had picked a wild Brown-eyed Susan which he handed to me when I ran to him. I tucked it into my Bondi Band and off we ran.

© Wilson Photography

© Wilson Photography

He was determined to run the rest of the course with me. We spent quite a bit of time walking as the hills were brutal. Did I mention it was really hilly? Parts of the course had two-way traffic and it was quite narrow so there were pauses to let the runners doing the 18K pass by. Every once in a while he’d swat a mosquito on my back. I suppose I should have worn a light coloured shirt and used bug repellant on my torso. Oops.

Just around the 5K mark Bryan had an epic wipeout. He tripped on a root and his shoe went flying down a steep embankment and his iPod went in the other direction. Bryan landed right in the damp dirt. We were only a few meters from the paramedics when they heard me yell to see if he was all right. Bryan was a bit embarrassed and his toe is very badly bruised. We lost a few minutes while he retrieved his gear but this race wasn’t about time for us and the wee break gave me a little umph for a stronger finish. I was determined to finish even if I was dead last, but my chivalrous husband made me go ahead of him. I crossed the finish line with the flower still in my headband.

The best way I can describe this course is that if you were to take a 12.5K loop from Run for the Toad and condense the elevations there into 6K, you have the Smugglers Run. Holy technical and hilly—the kind of hills that chew you up and spit you out. My lack of training was evident and I had to walk more than I wanted to. The time on my Garmin time read 01:10:34 and my official chip time was 01:12:19.

the casks

the casks

After we crossed the finish line we collected our commemorative glass mugs that were given instead of finishers medals and headed over to Burning Kiln Winery for our complimentary glass of wine. I enjoyed a most delicious Cab-Franc as the awards were given out.

Would I run this again?

You bet, but I’d actually train for it next time. Long Point Eco-Adventures hosted a fabulous event. There was great volunteer support on the trail with water stations every few kilometers. The route was stunningly beautiful.

I am so happy that I went out and braved the start line. Of course, I had the typical post-race high and during that booked to run the same distance in another trail race named Chase the Coyote in Mono Cliffs Provincial Park. The race is at the end of September and that gives me time to get some decent hill training in. I’m running the Oasis ZooRun 10K in Toronto a few weeks before and that course isn’t exactly flat either.

I sure do things the hard way as this wasn’t exactly a moderate course for my first race after such a long sabbatical, but adversity met perseverance on Sunday and it feels great to be back! The crippling fear has been conquered and laid to rest.

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As I embark on some serious training for the 2014 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, I realize that many of the people who read this blog or follow me on twitter may not realize why I chose such a name.

So often in my life I have felt or been made to feel that things are impossible and had people encourage me to give up. In 2012 I first mentioned my want to run a half marathon and was greeted with “why would you bother?” and “you are just setting yourself up for failure” from someone I was close to. After my heart issue that same person said “we were just waiting for you to have to give up this silly running business” and ” I hope you realize now that you can’t do this”. It is a lack of support that I had grown accustomed to but the difference is that I am a runner now. Running has made me realize that the only limits I have are the ones I place upon myself.

Why the name Finding My Inner Possible?

This is a phrase that reflects my getting in touch with that part inside of me that makes what I strive for… well… possible. My Mom always called this “intestinal fortitude”. From the outside my dreams, goals, and aspirations may seem, to some people, way beyond my limits but I have the belief and inner strength that I can do anything as long as I put my mind to it.  Inner possible is about how having a positive mindset and drawing on inner strength can help me to believe in myself when others don’t and to realize my full potential.

We all have an inner possible. I encourage you to find yours and embrace it. If you are training for your first race, whether it is a 5K or 100 miler, please feel free to train virtually alongside of me via twitter and use #innerpossible so we can encourage each other. I’d love to see how you use your inner possible to do things you once thought you never could.

If you want to connect on twitter just follow me @innerpossible.

Life is short… go out and embrace it!

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This time off with my tender broken toes has given me a bit of time to think about how I’ve progressed in my journey as a runner and a healthier, fitter, me. While embarking on this lifestyle change was always about finding myself and being the healthiest and strongest person I can, I do love to inspire others. I try to do that as much as I can. After all, we have the ability to do anything we put our minds to. We just have to get over that fear of failure and there is NO failure in trying. It is my hope that people are inspired when I so openly share my own story and that perhaps they pay that forward.

The other day I was approached with a wonderful opportunity that would allow me to take that love of motivating others to a different level. Of course, I have said “yes” but I am sure there is a little more to it than that and I will find out more over the next few weeks. However, I am completely honored to have even been asked and this new possibility entices me. It is also an amazing way for me to give back for all the support and encouragement that has been bestowed upon me. Sorry to be somewhat vague but I promise I will fill you in on the details as this all unfolds. Exciting!

Running, as you know, has given me so much. Lately I’ve had some disappointments and I took those pretty hard but when I stumble I get right back up and move forward. I’m of the mind that the tough runs help me grow and the awesome ones remind me why I love to run. I’ve come so far from those first runs on the treadmill where I thought 3 minutes was going to result in collapse or even worse, my certain demise. I remember when 5K seemed like the longest distance in the world. I said that about 21.1K too. Now I am considering new goals and milestones.

I’ve already started booking events for 2014. My goal for all of these events is to cross the finish line stronger than I have in the past. I also want to try to improve my pace and increase my distances. It looks like my next year is shaping up to be quite the adventure.

This is what I have registered for so far…

Robbie Burns 8K
Burlington, Ontario
January 26, 2014

Chilly Half Marathon
Burlington, Ontario
March 2, 2014

Mississauga Marathon (Half)
Mississauga, Ontario
May 4, 2014

Sulphur Springs Trail Run 25K
Ancaster, Ontario
May 24, 2014

I’ll likely be adding the Toronto Yonge Street 10K and possibly the Mercedes 10K to the list as well as a few 5Ks, Run for the Toad and the Oasis ZooRun. I’m also seriously considering running the half or maybe even the full marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in Fall 2014.

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the dnf



This is a tough post for me to write—my first DNF. For the non-runners among my readers, that means Did Not Finish and today that happened to me for the first time.

I woke up to rain and lots of it. Bryan and I dropped the kids of at the Grandparents and headed to Heidleberg, Ontario for the Horror Hill Trail Run. I had signed up for the 5K as had my dear friend Mandi. Bryan was along as my chauffeur and to cheer us on. When we got to Waterloo the snow was falling. It was the first snowfall of the year and the flakes were huge.

Despite the weather everything was great. I felt good. My blood sugar was near perfect. I was properly layered and comfortable. I had determination. The gun went off. In the first 500m I went over on my left ankle and twisted it. It was just a twinge so I kept on going. I stumbled-fell-clambered-slid up the first little hill which was small but steep. The mud and leaves and snow made conditions a little treacherous. I was having a hard time. I fell behind quickly and ended up walking quite a bit.

By the end of the first 2.5K loop I made a tough decision to pull myself from the course because I didn’t want to risk further injury. Finishing that 2.5K wasn’t worth the chance of something more serious. I was disappointed. I always thought my first DNF would be some big ultra or some sort of hardcore injury rather than my fear taking over. Part of the issue was my shoe choice. I should have been in proper trail runners and not my good old Asics Cumulus. I believe that would have made all the difference.

The fact is that some runs just don’t work out. I still had fun and I was able to see Mandi cross the finish line. I feel pretty hardcore for even showing up in the blustery weather. I will return to this venue next year and I will be sporting the proper footwear. It was a very pretty course and the event supports a great cause… a camp for children with cancer. That is what is important; giving back. 

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running my heart out

running my heart out

Run for the Toad is a wonderful event at Pinehurst Conservation Area near Paris, Ontario and it now is in the running for being my absolute favorite trail venue.  The event, organized by George and Peggy Sarson, had the best opening ceremonies which even included a Pipe and Drum Core. There was a catered lunch for the runners and a small expo. A tent of activities had been set up for the kids which was an amazing idea. Run for the Toad was a great race but a tough one for me.  My time was far from stellar and this was a walk rather than a run for the most part. Get comfy, because this is going to be a long one. I say that a lot around here don’t I?

Here’s what happened…

Before I share the story of how I messed up, I want to mention Mandi because she deserves recognition. Like the awesome friend she is, she stuck by my side for the entire race, sacrificing her own finish time.

All week I was getting up really early with Bryan and then staying up past when he went to bed to work on a project for one of my clients. Thursday he pulled a 23-hour day and didn’t arrive home until 4:40 am and worry-wart that I am, I stayed up until exhaustion overcame me at 4:00 am. Then I had my typical lack of sleep the night before the race. So, there you have my first mistake… I was exhausted before I even put my shoes on. Some people have bags under their eyes but I was carrying the whole set of luggage.

The second issue was a bit of a bigger one and I am really upset with myself for not being more proactive and careful. Earlier this year I had sodium deficiency problems when training for my first half and I had a real handle on it for a good month before race day. I ran a similar relay the week after the half marathon. No problems. My last blood work showed that my sodium was still below the reference range. I knew I hadn’t been getting enough in my diet and I should have really paid better attention. Why? Well about 8K in I had debilitating calf cramps. Like Charley-horse pain. The pain was awful but I could have pushed through, except it seemed like the muscles in the meatiest part of my calves just locked right up. It almost brought me to my knees.

As I neared the finish I heard Mari S. and company shout out some words of encouragement. It was so wonderful to have such support. Just then the calves seized up again and I almost went down. Everything seemed to be okay running down or uphill because I think the muscles were getting stretched but on the flatter areas they would cramp up and cease to move. I stopped several times to stretch and I had been holding back tears for a few kilometers but by the time I got to cross the timing mat, the tears were flowing.

the ice queen

the ice queen

As soon as Bryan took the strap from my ankle I headed directly to the medical tent where they iced my calves for me. Carla took a photo of it – too funny. Speaking of funny, I guess when Bryan took the timing strap from my ankle and headed out running, some guy who had been behind us made a comment about him being very insensitive to take off without seeing to his teammate. I believe my friend Kristin said to the guy, “that’s his wife!” Hysterically funny. I would have actually been very upset if Bryan hadn’t taken off to at least try and make up some of the time I cost both our teams.

I headed to the medical tent where staff wrapped ice bags on my calves with cling wrap. If you could have seen the look on my face when they pulled out the wrap. I seriously thought it was tape at first. I sighed relief upon realizing it was just narrow plastic wrap. Carla took a photo just for fun. After all, it’s not every day I can be the Ice Queen. The ice felt really good. I followed up with some Nuun and salty pistachios. Then after awhile the legs started to feel better. It was a tough thing for me to swallow but I still felt pretty hardcore for persevering and crossing that finish line even if there were tears streaming down my cheeks. I hung out and enjoyed the rest of the event with my friends.

I’m all about being positive, as you know, and I can usually find the good in everything including Run for the Toad. It was a lesson and a good one at that. I need sodium in my diet or this is what happens. I need to be as careful with that side of my nutrition as I am with everything else. I had fun despite the painful parts. I spent Run for the Toad with seven good friends plus I ran into some great folks that I am connected with on DailyMile.com. I finally met Phil and gave him a great big hug even though he was a total sweaty beast. The weather held although at 5:00 am that morning I wondered if we’d be running in. The rain held off but the temperature dropped a bit. I was chilled after the run so I especially enjoyed a hot chocolate as my “recovery” drink.

And… I finished. I finished Run for the Toad. This is one of the most well organized and fun events I have ever been to. The only negative thing I could say about the event itself is that several of my teammates could not partake in the post-race meal because there weren’t gluten-free options made available even though a request had been emailed a few weeks before.

I will be signing up for this race next year. It was a well organized and very fun event!! Sheryl, Carla, Mandi, Ken, Eric, Kim, and Bryan… you all rock! And I can’t forget about Kristin and her two lovely girls who came out to support Ken and the rest of us.

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It seems like I haven’t posted in quite some time, much to my surprise. I didn’t realize that it had been so long but I have had an adventurous summer and time to blog has been scarce. So many things have happened since July 16th and here is a little bit about what I’ve been doing with myself…

The Family Adventure

chutes aux iroquois - Labelle, QC

chutes aux iroquois – Labelle, QC

In mid-August, my husband Bryan, the kids, and I embarked on a cycling adventure in the Laurentiens with our dear friend Mandi. We biked with gear trailers from campground to campground. Well, I had my daughter in a child trailer behind me but everyone else towed gear. Around the 120K mark, after two days of cycling in a lot of rain, we decided to switch things up and we camped next to a gorgeous waterfall for the remainder of the trip. Mandi left on schedule via a shuttle back to the start of the trail. Bryan went back to the start with her and then returned to the campground with our Jeep.  We even played on the beach at Chutes aux Iroquois.

The trip was beautiful, despite the rain and we will return to explore the region a little more next year.  I have fond memories of peddling past Mont Tremblant in the downpour and riding along Lac Mercier.  There was one spot, past Tremblant, where there were horses in a field which was dotted with big hay bales. The hills were in the background and the mist was dancing near their rounded tops. It was almost magical in some strange way. If it hadn’t been so rainy I would have loved to have taken some photos. We had some delicious meals at little bistros along the trail. In all, our Quebec adventure was a wonderful one and although it didn’t turn out quite the we had anticipated, we learned a few lessons that will be applied to future bike-packing excursions.

Giving Back

Team Tyrel

Team Tyrel

Bryan and I have friends, Sandi and Phil, who have helped us through so many difficult times including our house fire. I’ve been friends with Sandi for a very long time—since my days at university and before I even met Bryan. Sandi and I have been there for each other over the years but this has been the toughest thing Phil and her have had to deal with. You see, their 13-year old little boy, Tyrel, was in renal failure. This required hemodialysis 3 times a week and being put on a transplant list. He wasn’t on that list long and the transplant happened shortly after we returned from camping in Quebec.  Everything transpired very quickly. Sadly, even though much of the expense is covered in Ontario, there are some things that aren’t and it is starting to mount for the family. These include loss of work, transportation, fuel, modifications to the home and such. Once he is home there are medications that aren’t covered by the family’s prescription benefits. I don’t have the means to help as much as I is needed and I felt helpless. However…

There were a few things I could do. I could be a friend and offer emotional support but I wanted to do more than that. I thought about how I could raise money in a way that people could afford and that would make it interesting for Tyrel—something that could make him smile. Thanks to some inspiration from a fellow runner named Laura Ingalls, who is founder of the Happy Races, I came up with a great idea to host a virtual 5K run/walk!! With Laura’s help I made our event a reality and now runners and walkers all over the globe are helping out. You can find out more at www.racemenu.com/teamtyrel and if you could sign up, that would be great! It’s fun for Tyrel and his family to see runners, from countries around the world, sending in their photos.


In August I went back to the cardiologist, Dr. J., for another set of tests including an echocardiogram. In February 2012 I was diagnosed with LVH or Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (enlargement of the left side of the heart). That has been reversed and the mild aortic stenosis I’ve been dealing with is vastly improved. This just shows the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle. In the words of Dr. J., “Laurie, I’m pleased to tell you that your heart is very happy!” He gave me the go ahead to train for a full-marathon or any other distance as long as I keep it under 50K. Yay!

Training & Fitness

While I’ve kept my fitness up, I haven’t been training as hard as I probably needed to. That’s okay; I’m on track for my next race that takes place later this month. It’s the 10K ZooRun in Toronto and I’m participating with friends so it will be great fun. In October I’m also running in a 50K relay named Run for the Toad, the 5K Colours of Hope, and finally 5K at Horror Hill. That will be it for races until the New Year. I think.

Last year at this time I was extremely excited because I was anticipating training for my first half marathon. I’m going to run the same half marathon in 2014 but my big goal race for next year is the Sulphur Springs 25K trail run. I loved running in that area during training for the TREAD relay in 2012 so it will be a beautiful place to participate in an event.

I’m tossing around the idea of taking my first climbing lesson and becoming certified to belay at the Guelph Grotto. Bryan and I have also been discussing the possibility of joining a local boxing gym. Both would be quite fun although I might have to get over my extreme and irrational fear of gravity if I am to even consider climbing.


I finally ditched the business name GJ Studios. I’ve never been keen on the name since it was first registered in the nineties. It was time for a change and one that suited the direction in which I’ve been working. My company is now named Outdoor Adventure Press and I couldn’t be happier with this new business identity. The new brand will better reflect the adventure related publications, camping cookbooks, and my other freelance writing projects. It’s exciting and there are a few new things in the works.

I’m still working on that third manuscript and having great fun with it. The book should be complete by the New Year and then I’ll embark on the tedious task of the final round of editing. I’ve been having issues getting great photos for the work because it always seems to rain when I am cooking at camp.

The Big Basket of Peaches

Remind me next time my darling friend, Kristin, sends out an open invitation to come over with a basket and take home some peaches, that it will be a crap-load of peaches! I had expected the typical quart basket worth of yummy deliciousness. It was practically a bushel! I happily took her up on the offer and spent an enjoyable morning in her kitchen before I went home to embark on the process of preserving what she had given me. I ended up with several large Ziplocs of frozen peach slices, three 1L jars of canned peach slices, four 500ml jars of freezer jam, and days of heavenly fresh peach eating. I had never canned peaches before so it was a learning experience. It was also the first time I had ever made freezer jam. Kristin canned a considerable amount and I was quite inspired by her dedication to the project. Thanks Kristin!!

So, that is where life has taken me since I last wrote on my little blog.

Have a Happy Tuesday!

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It certainly has been a busy few weeks. On April 27th I ran the 5K Ford Race to End Diabetes in Oakville. That was followed by the Mississauga Marathon (Half) the next weekend. May 12th brought the TREAD 6-Hour Relay in Mansfield, Ontario and last weekend was Outdoor Adventure Canada’s Annual Spring Outdoor Gathering. In the midst of all of this I am trying to finish the manuscript for my third book. Life has been hectic but, finally, I have a few minutes to write about my experience at TREAD.

all bundled up

all bundled up

Although it was a significant challenge for me, I had such a blast last year that I decided to run it again this year and what an adventure it was!

We had two teams. Kristin was the team captain of the first team, Soles of Anarchy, which also included Mandi, Kim, and Jenn. Bryan was our team captain and he ran with Mary, Tobias, and I. Our team name was Between a Walk and a Hard Pace.

Our plan was to arrive Friday and camp for the weekend as we did last year. The rest of the group would arrive at various times throughout the weekend. The forecast wasn’t great so we packed accordingly. We arrived in Mansfield in the fog and drizzle. There were some gusty winds and it was cold enough that I put on my winter jacket. The gusts were so strong on Saturday night that Kim’s vestibule blew in and Bryan had to go out an put the big stakes in the dining shelter. The weather was in complete contrast to the heat and humidity of the previous year. Miserable would be an understatement here.

mother nature's hissy fit

mother nature’s hissy fit

Sunday morning arrived as did the rest of the runners. There were about 80 people running TREAD this year—way down from the previous year. We were disappointed that the vendors and live music were not there. Also, there were no t-shirts for the participants and the race kit was merely the race bib and a package of coffee beans. That was quite a let-down especially since many were running this as their first race and it would have been nice for them to have some sort of memento.

Let’s get to the race, shall we. Mary ran for our team first and did an amazing job. I ran next followed by Bryan and finally Tobias. Mary completed two laps as did I. Bryan ran three laps and Tobias ran one. We were running in sun, wind, hail, ice pellets, snow, rain, and drizzle. Mother Nature was definitely having a hissy-fit.

My first lap went well and I was enjoying the run because, frankly, it was the only way I could stay warm. The second lap proved a little more eventful. The snow and ice-pellets were coming down like crazy and there was a good headwind on that first and very long hill. Apparently I can’t tell a simple left arrow from a right arrow and my error lead me down the wrong hill. When I got to the bottom I was thinking “I remember it being much more steep than that” and I as I looked back from where I came I saw another runner going the right way. Oops.

Kim’s friend, Erik, ran the solo course. That man is totally hardcore.  Richard, Mary’s Dad, came out as well and dedicated Dad that he is, he took photos of his daughter and the rest of us. Thanks to Richared for braving the elements and keeping our spirits up.

finishing one of my laps

finishing one of my laps

So how did we do?

Soles of Anarachy placed 1st in the all-female category and made it to the “podium”. They were awesome! Between a Walk and a Hard Pace didn’t fare as well and we came in 11th but we were totally okay with that because the goal was to have fun.

Last year my lap times were 44:03 and 48:51. This year my times were 42:32 and 45:48. I lost a little time on the first lap because of the chip handover—Mary had a hard time getting the loop off her wrist because I made it too small. Getting lost on the second lap didn’t help my time much. However, even with the hiccups, my total time improved by 4:30 which is great considering I hadn’t done the extent of hilly trail training that I did before last years event, the wind kept me up all night, and I had run a half marathon a mere week before.

Mary’s laps were 30:06 and 30:36. Bryan ran each of his three laps between 26:00 and 26:55 and Tobias’ lap was 38:00. I was very happy for Mary as this was her first event and she rocked it. I was proud of Tobias too. He had been having a rough time with his allergies and it was a tough run for him. The weather certainly didn’t help. Bryan, as always, held a consistent pace and ran strong.

Despite the weather this was still great fun and I’d love to do it again next year, maybe even solo. However, rumor has it that this was the last year for TREAD. I hope that isn’t true because it is one of my favorite events.

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I have a friend who is fairly new to running and lately she and I have been chatting about what music is on our iPods. I thought it might be neat to post some of what I listen to when I am running, especially given that my musical tastes are all over the map. I’ll try to do this every few weeks as time permits.

As you’ve likely read, I’m training for a half marathon. The event is a mere 38 days off and I’m up to 17 K for my Saturday runs. I’ll be scaling back to 15K this week to give my body a rest. Here are three of the songs that will be on my playlist as I run along the Grand River.

Kamikaze – Tenpenny Joke

This one is a definite favorite. I first heard it when I was looking up videos on Canadian Trail Running. It gets me in the right rhythm to pick up the pace and I love this part of the lyrics…

“don’t look behind you; gotta keep on running, run ‘til your lungs burn”

Because We Can – Bon Jovi

I loved this song from the second it came out. I find it a great tune when I’m running a long distance and the title reminds me that I can do this training. The words that stand out most for me are…

“I don’t wanna be another wave in the ocean; I am a rock, not just another grain of sand”

Inner Ninja – Classified feat. David Myles

I love to chat with my 11-year old son and see what cool things he’s listening to. He shared this one and I find it fun to run to. That said, there have been a few times I’ve had to restrain myself from dancing while I run. It’s not good for my form…lol. I love this part…

“no matter how hard they tryin’; nobody’s gonna bring me down”

I could always use a little inspiration when it comes to expanding my playlist, so feel free to share some of your favourites by posting a comment.

Have a great long weekend.

(B)e positive!

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it wasn't a finish line

it wasn’t a finish line after all

With all that was going on in my life I needed to take some time for myself especially after losing my Mom. I tend to retreat a little when grief strikes but life moves forward whether we want it to or not. And it is moving forward around here. With that I figured it was time to return to blogging.

Of course, this time of year always brings about lots of planning. There was a time when the only planning was for wilderness camping trips but now there is so much more. I’ll be doing my usual camping, canoeing and hiking but this year we are venturing out on a 9-day bike-packing adventure in Quebec that will cover almost 460K. There are also lots of running events in my future and three of those cover consecutive weekends. Part of me wonders what I was thinking but I am committed enough to conquer these goals and have fun at the same time.

Here is this year’s race schedule…

Happy 5K (5K Run)
Brantford, Ontario
March 17, 2103
Status: Registered

The Ford Race to End Diabetes (5K Run)
Oakville, Ontario
April 27, 2103
Status: Registered

Mississauga Marathon (Half Marathon)
Mississauga, Ontario
May 5, 2013
Status: Registered

TREAD 6 Hour Trail Run Relay (4.2K per loop)
Mansfield, Ontario
May 12, 2013
Status: Registered

Brantford Grand Trail Run (10K Run)
Brantford, Ontario
July 27, 2013
Status: Leaning towards registration

Oasis ZooRun (10K Run)
Scarborough, Ontario
September 21, 2013
Status: Registered

Run for the Toad 50K Relay (12.5K loop)
Paris, Ontario
October 5, 2013
Status: Registered

Colours of Hope (5K Fun)
Hamilton, Ontario
October 6, 2013
Status: Waiting for Registration to Open

Some of these events are about fun and others are about achieving new milestones.

It’s going to be a year full of adventure… so bring it on!

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