Fun (active) things that are on our vacay agenda

Today Daniel and I leave for Barcelona! It’s my first time leaving the continent (North America), however since Daniel’s dad lived in Czech Republic for a number of years, he’s been to Europe quite a few times. We plan on breaking up our trip as follows:

August 3rd – leave Toronto

August 4th – arrive in Barcelona

August 7th – train to Madrid

August 9th – train to Lisbon

August 15th – leave Lisbon/arrive back in Toronto

While I plan to eat my weight in churrasco and tapas and drink my fair share of Sumol and sangria, we planned a decent amount of activities that are not only active, but ridiculously fun as well.

– City Bike Tour (Madrid): this was all Daniel’s idea, but I’m actually really excited for it. Since we’re in Madrid for only two days, we can cover a lot of ground this way. I’m not really sure what I can expect to see, but I’ll definitely do a review when I get back.

-Surfing (Lisbon…well, beach near Lisbon): this is probably what I’m looking forward to the most! Although I swim, I’m not really familiar with any other watersports despite having waterskiing available to me at my grandparents’ place. Right now, the tide is pretty low near Lisbon which is perfect for beginner’s surfing. Here’s to hoping I can actually stand up!

-Running Tour (Lisbon): this is still up in the air, however it would be a pretty convenient way to get my long run in while on vacation. Apparently, you can run through some really scenic parks, and some runners have said they ran just over 8mi while on one of these tours!

My wifi connection might not be reliable, but I’ll attempt to blog these activities as they happen. Worst case scenario, I’ll do a vacay recap when I get back to Toronto.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

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Race Recap: Toronto Carnival Run (5k)

This past Saturday, I ran the 5k distance at the Toronto Carnival Run in downtown Toronto. As I do with my other race reviews, I’ll break this down into sections: race kit pick-up, the race itself, expo, and expectations that I had for the race.

 Race Kit Pick-Up

The race kit pick-up was located at a speciality running store not too far from the race location called The Runners Shop. Although I have heard of the store, I haven’t been to it and didn’t quite know its location. I got an email from Race Roster saying that race kit pick-up was on the Thursday/Friday before the race from 10:00am to 8:00pm. Since Daniel and I were planning on going downtown for dinner on the Friday, I figured I would just swing by and meet him after. According to Google Maps, the store was only a short walk from the subway station so I was keeping my eyes peeled for any signage. Eventually, I saw a sign in front of an office building that said, “Toronto Carnival Run Race Kit Pick-Up Here” and then store hours beneath it which stated that the store closed at 6:00. By this point, it was 6:25. Panicked, I called Daniel (I’m not even sure why, it’s not like he could’ve done anything about the situation). Race Roster says that you can only pick up your kit on race day if you’re an out-of-town resident and since I’m not, I was kind of screwed. Since Daniel wasn’t at our meet up destination, I decided to grab a latte at a coffee shop next door and start walking over. Once I left the coffee shop, I saw a couple leaving the office building with what seemed to be race kits. I raced in side, (along with my London Fog), and saw that there was a table set up outside the store with race kits. I explained to the person who was manning the station what happened to me and she said that a couple other people have had the same issue. On the upside, they were handing out coupons for their store, so that was a nice bonus. In this section, the suggestion would be to have better signage that doesn’t confuse racers.

The Race Itself

 So much energy!! Because the race was carnival inspired, (in light of Caribana being around the corner), there was plenty of calypso and soca music to get people amped. Dione Mason got the crowd warmed up before the 10k group took off at 8:00am and she did a great job. The 5k group (me) was 15 minutes after that and 1k kids run was 10 minutes after that.

The race started at Inukshuk Park and ran along the Martin Goodman Trail. The nice part about this leg of the trail, is that it runs alongside Ontario Place so it’s pretty scenic. There were dragon boaters out on the water as well as the set up for the Toronto Triathlon Festival. One day. A girl can dream, right?

The 5k course was an out-and-back and had only 22ft of elevation gain so it was relatively flat.

Toronto Carnival Run 5k Route

Literally right on the water!

The only thing I didn’t like about the course was that since it’s a public trail, there were plenty of run clubs, single runners, and bikers in addition to the racers on the trail. More often than not the trails are public and not blocked off during races so there’s other runners on the course, but this time it was really noticeable. At one point in the trail, there’s a fork and it’s difficult to tell which path you’re supposed to take, especially if you’re following people that you think are part of the race but in fact are not.

Expo

There wasn’t much of an expo at the race. There were a few companies there handing out samples, (Vita Coco and Larabar), as well as Triangle Physiotherapy giving out free massages. The line was forever long for that so I didn’t bother sticking around.

Race Expectations

I was hoping to run a negative split with my overall average pace being 9:40/mi. I was able to hold that negative split until the end of mile two where I slowed down a bit. This was ultimately my downfall. I was hoping for a sub 30:00 time, however I came up short with a chip time of 30:30 and an average pace of 30:50…so close! My 5k pr before this was 32:00, so although I beat my pr, I didn’t hit my goal time.

Toronto Carnival Run 5k Strava

Would I do this race again? Probably! I’m curious to see what the 10k route is like. I’ll have to try it next time!

Toronto Carnival Run Race Photo

Toronto Carnival Run Race Photo 1

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Are you training at the right intensity?

Daniel sent me this really cool article that I want to share with you guys about training at the right intensity. Definitely have a look! It puts things into perspective for sure.

http://www.runnersworld.com/rt-web-exclusive/train-at-the-right-intensity-ratio

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Under Armour Micro G Velocity

The time finally came for me to replace my beloved Gel Cumulus 15s after I noticed the sole was tearing from the body of my shoe. Initially, I had every intent on getting the Cumulus 17s, however on a trip to an outlet mall, I decided to pop my head into the Under Armour store. What intrigued me first was the price. All the shoes were under $115 CAD which is very attractive since I knew the Cumulus costs around $40 more.

After doing some quick research on my phone while in the store, I was torn between the Micro G Velocity and the Speedform Slingshot. Not going to lie, the Speedform Slingshot was a REALLY pretty shoe. Like, really pretty. Taking into consideration that I’m coming off of an injury, I decided to give both shoes a try and see which one felt better. The Micro G Velocity seemed to really give me the support and needed which I felt the Speedform Slingshot was lacking. I’ve ran a total of 10.4mi so far in them, and here’s what I think:

-super lightweight: I would almost go as far as to say that they are lighter than my Cumulus 15s.

-the sole is made from 4D form which molds to your feet and gives you support that’s catered to your foot. This is huge since my left foot has a lower arch than my right – if you’re in this boat, I highly recommend this shoe (or any of there shoes with 4D foam)

-stays true to size

My only complaint with this shoes it the tongue. I find it to be a bit too thick, however it’s not thick enough for it to be an annoyance. Maybe I’m just too picky.

Under Armour Shoe Tongue

Close up of the tongue.

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy approved: Yes

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Goodlife Fitness City Chase Photo Dump

I finally have some photos for you!

2017 GoodLife Fitness City Chase Toronto #1

I love this finisher’s photo!

2017 GoodLife Fitness City Chase Toronto #1

2017 GoodLife Fitness City Chase Toronto #1

2017 GoodLife Fitness City Chase Toronto #1

Face plant time!

2017 GoodLife Fitness City Chase Toronto #1

Digging deep.

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Goddess Garden Organics Sunscreen (Sport Stick & Everyday)

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Goddess Garden’s sunscreen to review for the purpose of this blog. As always, the opinions expressed are my own and I’ll always stay honest to my feelings.

I’ve been on the hunt for an organic sunscreen for quite some time, especially with the weather in Toronto heating up and us getting more sunny days. I also burn pretty easily due to my already tanned skin attracting the sun and my bucket-load of freckles randomly dispersed all over my body. Even a 20-minute run will be enough to get my shoulders rosy. When I found Goddess Garden Organics on Instagram, I was immediately intrigued by their promise to deliver a quality product with quality ingredients.

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 7.11.31 PM

Apparently, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are safe minerals, (by safe, they mean that it doesn’t absorb into the skin and it’s gentle on the in environment), that reflect UV rays and are instantly effective. Generally, sunscreens take about 20 minutes to be “effective” so I really liked this feature. They also don’t have chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which get absorbed into the sunscreen, (hence the delay in affectivity).

I was given a sample of the Sport Sunscreen stick and the Everyday Sunscreen, (both spf 30). I decided to use the Sport Stick at City Chase since it was small and we could easily reapply on the go. I found it to be very effective in terms of protecting me from the sun, however my hugest complaint is that doesn’t rub in at all! It literally looked like I had bleaching cream all over my body which remained from 9:45 am all the way until well after 3:00 pm. Daniel found the same thing happened to him as well and if anything, it was worse for him since his legs have a considerable amount of hair on the whereas mine do not.

City Chase 1

You can’t see it, but the sunscreen stick is in my right hand.

I decided that lack of spreadability could be due to the fact that it’s a stick of sunscreen and not a bottle of lotion, so I tried the Everyday Sunscreen on a separate run. Although it spread a bit better, I found that it STILL didn’t absorb as well! Kind of disappointing. I’m definitely happy that I got samples, because it would’ve been unfortunate to spend more-than-the-average sunscreen on this.

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: sadly not. I really wish I could’ve given it the stamp approval, though!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Race Recap: Goodlife Fitness City Chase

This race is amazing! I’ve done it once before two years ago with Daniel and we had every intent on doing it again. It’s definitely one of those races that are a blast to do and incorporate teamwork, athleticism, and strategy. Since the race was on Saturday photos haven’t been released yet, but when they do I’ll post them in a blog post similar to this one.

The Expo/Parking

If you’re from Toronto or have ever been to Toronto, you’ll know how terrible it is to park here. Especially downtown. The start/finish line was in the Distillery District which is in the heart of Downtown Toronto, so parking was not the greatest. There wasn’t any designated race parking, so although there happened to be a Green P down the street, we had to pay to park. The downside to this is that since the race can literally take up the whole afternoon, parking can get kind of costly. The parking lot is also about a five-minute walk from the expo, so it was a bit inconvenient to get our race kit and then head back to the car to drop stuff off (there was no bag check).

City Chase 1

Sunscreening up! I used Goddess Garden Sport Organic Sunscreen…review to follow!

The expo seemed like an average expo to me. Manitoba Harvest, Ocean Spray and Deep Relief were all there giving out free samples, which really came in handy post-race. Picking up our race kit was a bit of a tedious process though: the first step involved giving them the last name used during registration, which resulted in us receiving a number. We then had to take that number to another table, which gave us our bibs, and then make our way to ANOTHER table to get our race shirts. I should note that we missed pre-race kit pickup, so I guess some of this headache could’ve been avoided.

Pre-Race Warm Up

Goodlife Fitness has a ton of classes at their clubs. I used to be a member, so I’ve taken quite a few classes and they’re a ton of fun. Since Goodlife sponsors the race, they brought in some of their instructors to guide us through a pre-race warm up that was not only effective, but actually a lot of fun. I want to say that what we did was Zumba, but I’m not 100% sure.

The Race

The race starts with all the Chasers getting clues as to where the clue sheets are. The clues on the clue sheets are pretty ambiguous, and although some clues are easy to solve, others are very difficult. They had a different element from the last time we did this race which involved three “hard core” Chasepoints which were deemed optional. Daniel and I decided to take on this challenge, but little did we know what we were in for!

City Chase 2

One of the hard core chase points – we had to pull a bus 30ft!

City Chase 3

And then I face planted…

One of these hard core Chasepoints involved kneeling in a tent-like structure with your partner while solving a puzzle. Although this sounds easy, there’s a catch: a man with a paintball gun is at the other end and shoots you every five seconds. I’ve never been paint balling before, but those things hurt a ton!

City Chase 4

You can’t see it, but just beyond where the people are standing is where you solve the puzzle.

It’s also worth noting how much chasers help you while on course. From willing to take pictures of you completing Chasepoints to helping you with clues, this race is truly one that has me feeling all the feels.

Although we took a half-hour longer to complete the race, we managed to complete all three hard core Chasepoints which all had huge line ups, so I can’t complain. It would’ve been nice to have a better time, but I feel like City Chase is one of those races that you can’t expect anything from because things change from year to year. The “course” is never really the same. That’s one of the things that make this race so awesome!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

What’s in my Bag for City Chase

City Chase is tomorrow!!! Gah, I’m so excited! This is hands-down one of my favourite races. Daniel and I try to do it every summer, however last summer we couldn’t make it due to our busy schedules. I wrote a Throwback Thursday post about City Chase a while ago, so check it out! I’ll break this post up into segments, so I’ll post what’s going to be in my bag, and then a link to the website or applicable already-posted blog posts.

What’s In My Bag:

Clif Shot Energy Gels: I love these things! I’ve blogged about them quite a few times and have nothing but good things to say about them. Since the race can take quite a long time, energy gels will definitely be needed.

Week 7 1

Clif Bars (Nut Butter Filled): this is more so for Daniel since he’s not a fan of the energy gels. My love for these bars goes deep! They’re so delicious.

Clif Bar Nut Butter Filled

Under Armour Trail Hydration Pack: this is the actual bag I’ll be taking with me. I took a backpack last time that strapped up across my chest, but it bounced quite a bit and seemed kind of cumbersome. I’m hoping that by taking a hydration pack, I’ll eliminate the bouncing aspect, and we’ll have quite a bit of water to carry with us that I could always refill while we’re en route.

Under Armour Trail Pack

Goddess Garden Sport Natural Sunscreen Stick: I actually received some samples of this (along with their Everyday Natural Sunscreen Lotion) to review, so this will be the trial run and then I’ll make a product review post sometime next week.

Goddess Garden

KT Tape: I’m not putting this in my bag, but I am wearing it, so I figured I’d put it in here. I need some sort of support for my knee as I noticed I’ve still been getting the odd twinge of pain after runs.

KT Tape

It’s supposed to be 24 degrees (75.2 degrees Fahrenheit), so it won’t be too hot, but it might be muggy. Wish us luck! We’re looking to beat our time of 4:57:00, so wish us luck!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

Brand Ambassador Issues

I have the worst luck. Either that or I don’t do enough research. As you guys know, I have two brand ambassador agreements: one with Insane Labz and one with American Metabolix. Since Insane Labz doesn’t sell whey, I’d get stuff like bcaas from them and my whey from American Metabolix. Last week I was running low on pre-workout and decided to order a pre-workout from Insane Labz called Psychotic. It has great reviews and tastes great, (I’ve had a sample of it before). After entering my shipping information, I got an error message saying that they don’t ship to Canada. Uh, excuse me? When did this happen? Why wasn’t I notified? Apparently the issue lies with some Health Canada snags so they’re halting on shipping here. I tried a few more times after that with no luck, so I figured I’d give American Metabolix a try.

Although I’ve never taken Havok, (the pre-workout from American Metabolix) before, I had high hopes since their whey is pretty on point. Again, I punch in my shipping information and realize that the shipping is $100!! That’s insane! I can easily buy two or three tubs of pre-workout at GNC for that price. What I want you guys to understand is that if I had these issues prior to becoming a brand ambassador, I would’ve never agreed to it. It’s put me in a position that forces me to buy product that isn’t Insane Labz or American Metabolix. Frustrated, I reached out to both companies. This is the email I sent to Insane Labz:Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 12.58.56 PMKeep in mind, the email address that I sent this two was in an email that I had received from Insane Labz THAT DAY, so in theory it should be correct right? Wrong.

Insane Labz Email 2I could literally strangle someone at this point haha. I decided to move on to American Metabolix and direct message them on Instagram. I successfully managed to get an email address from the person who responded to me on Instagram for the person who coordinates the brand ambassadors. I sent this email:American Metabolix EmailSTILL NO RESPONSE. With anger building, I went back to Instagram and messaged Insane Labz via a direct message which looked something like this:Insane Labz DM

No one’s really helping me out, no one’s will to budge. I shouldn’t give free advertising to companies that won’t even ship to my country or will ship but at the price of my first-born child. Frustration doesn’t even cover how I feel. Moral of the story is to make sure that if you are a brand ambassador, make sure it’s for a reliable company that will deliver to your country!

Do you guys have brand ambassador/sponsor horror stories?

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Rugged Maniac Photo Dump

Race photos got released yesterday, so here’s a photo dump of what Daniel and I got tagged in! I was a little disappointed at the fact that there were only cameras at two of the obstacles, but I actually got an email from the founder of Rugged Maniac saying that he was a little disappointed in the quality of the photos. Let me know what you guys think!

Me: Rugged Maniac Race Photo 1

Daniel (they got way better photos of him): Rugged Maniac Race Photo 4Rugged Maniac Race Photo 5Rugged Maniac Race Photo 6Rugged Maniac Race Photo 7