YouTube Thursday! Barkely Marathons

Four more days until Around the Bay 2017!!!!

Well…I wish I could say I’m ready to go.  But I’m not.  Not because of lack of training or motivation, but because of an unusual injury that has reared its ugly head over the last week and a half.

A couple of Thursdays ago it was quite cold here (actually it is cold again today but that is how it goes in Ontario this time of year), so I wanted to get a really good 8km in and maybe do a little speed work or intervals.  I decided to head over to my gym and use the treadmill.  Now, I am not a fan of the treadmill, but see its necessity especially in our climate and conditions.

I ran a really great 8km with some intervals training mixed in and felt quite good, both physically and mentally.

The next day, there was a little tweek on the  outside of my right knee.  I ignored it.  I rested the Friday and ran 8 km on Saturday.  After my run on Saturday, it was a little sore but still, not that bad. Sunday was long run day and we set out for 18km.  I finished but was definitely in some pain by the end…actually about 5-6km in but again, I ignored it.

After a slathering of Voltaren and some Advil and some stretching, I thought a couple days rest would give it the time it needed to get back to normal.

I didn’t run all week.  In fact, I hobbled along like I remember my 85 year old Grandma hobbling along before she broke her hip.

We were poised to run again on the weekend and I did all I could to ice it, stretch it, Advil it, and Voltarenize it (I think I just made up a new word…trademark that) but made it 4km into an 11 km run and had to walk (more like an Igor shuffle) the other 7km while apologizing to my running partner and super friend Rayanne.


It is easy to start to feel sorry for yourself at this point.

I’ve Trained for 3 months!!! Through the winter!!!

The reality is though that I have ran for 20 something years…and (knock wood) I have only had one injury set back, ironically while running the Around the Bay Race one year.  So in the grand scheme of things, I really can’t complain, although the timing of this injury is not the best.

This week was met with more rest, and Googling the issue and talking with friends who are in the sports medicine business.  Kind of looks like an IT band issue or Popliteus injury; to which there are no quick fixes.  With 4 more days…it isn’t looking good.


So I tape my leg, take my anti-inflammatories, stretch, Epson salts bath, take my Magnesium and Turmeric supplements and ice my wound and hope for the best for Sunday.

I will do one more thing though…and that is to watch the all time best documentary about running…The Barkley Marathons.

Now I know I’ve highlighted this doc before but if you haven’t seen it, even if you’re not a runner, you can’t help but get sucked into the stories.  I’ve included the trailer for this awesome doc as part of our YouTube Thursday!!


Well send some positive vibes my way!  I will definitely keep you all posted on whether my knee decided to take me the 30km Around the Bay.  I will be cautious though in my decision as I really don’t want to do more damage that may stop me from enjoying running through the trails this summer.




“Allll by myself….don’t wanna bee…”

Too much?

My super awesome running partner, Rayanne, had to work this past weekend.  But the Bay Race doesn’t wait for any man…or woman in this case.  The training must go on!

So off I went to brave the 21 km on my own. running is a sport for loners, of which I will admit to being one.  I ran for many years alone and with the exception of our weekend runs and one through the week, I really don’t mind running alone.  We adopted a Golden Retriever last year and she is a pretty good running partner as well and also gives me reason to take a break whenever a stick needs to be picked up.

BUT This was 21 km!!! 

I haven’t done this distance alone for a very long time and like I said in my last Bay Race update, I have been actually looking forward to the long runs with Rayanne.  We usually chat about family, movies, and inevitably the conversation turns to food (usually nearing the end of our run when we are both out of fuel)

Our Bay Race training has been going well and we’ve been trying out new energy chews that I highlighted last post too.

So looking ahead on the weather, I noticed that Saturday looked to be the better of the two days to head out on my own.  I packed up my water bottle, a fresh pack of Skratch Raspberry chews and cued up my Spotify on my phone and plugged in the earbuds.

The weather could not have co-operated any better.  As weird of a weather day it ended up to be with shifting from sunny and warm to hail to snow to wind in the afternoon, the morning was beautiful.  The sun came up and the temperature started to rise.

It wasn’t long before I stripped a layer off as I made my way down to the Waterfront trail here in Hamilton.

Tunes are everything!

Seriously.  When you’re running alone…I don’t know how anyone runs alone without tunes.  I’m so used to conversing with someone else I was afraid if I didn’t have music I would start talking to myself.  As it was I know there were a few songs from the Hamilton, The Musical soundtrack I was listening to that I am sure I was singing to out loud.

I am not throwing away my shot…I am not throwing away my shot….


I listened to Hamilton for about 15 km and then switched over to Alicia Keys newest album, Here.  Every time I listen to it, I love it more.

I decided to pause for water and energy chews every 5km. This chopping up of the run made things go by quite nicely.  I did, however, eat an entire pack of energy chews on my own.  Needless to say I had a lot of energy.


The sidewalks were beautifully clear and the sun stayed out just long enough for me to finish the 21 km and grab a coffee…alone…

This weekend is another LSD…not that kind of LSD…Long Slow Distance…27 km…

All I can say is thank goodness I’ve got my right hand man (woman) back!!!  (see Hamilton The Musical for that ref…:)

Bay Race Training – 20km in the snow

The title says it all…

Well just a short update on our Around the Bay race training.

This weekend was a 20km run. The forecast looked pretty good so when the snow started to fly on Friday, it caused some concern.

We both wanted to run on Saturday morning and there is something to be said for having someone counting on you to be there…you just don’t want to be the one to ‘call it’.

The temperature was decent, especially the last half of the run, as the sun peeked through the clouds to warm us up even more that we were.

The first half of our out and back run was met with slick, snow covered sidewalks.  The footing was a little treacherous and seemed to wear on the legs a bit.  The second half, when the sun showed itself, was a lot easier as the snow melted on the sidewalks allowing us to speed up a little on the way back, despite having fatigue.

The long run is all about the mileage.  It is easy to get a little disheartened if you look at your watch and realize how long you’ve been out there, but one thing to remember is that the long run is just for the purpose of building the endurance.  The shorter, tempo runs will be the runs that benefit your time on race day.

This week we have to do three runs before the weekend.  We have to run 7km, 12km and 7km this week and a 23 km on the weekend.  The forecast looks good so we hope it won’t be too cold!

I took a picture of Valley Inn Road, the bottom half of the 1 km hill that is placed at the 26km mark of the race.


Around the Bay 2017

Let the training begin!

Call it temporary insanity, but something possessed me to register for the Around the Bay race here in Hamilton.  I’ve done it in the past – 9 times in fact- but there is a reason why it has been a few years since running this 30km road race.  It sucks.

The Around the Bay race, which by the way is OLDER than the Boston marathon, making it the oldest road race in North America, is run in my home town of Hamilton, Ontario.  We are very proud of this race here in Hamilton.  The race attracts world class elite athletes and has grown in numbers every year.  In fact, if you haven’t registered by the end of January, you probably aren’t getting a spot.  A few years ago they started a relay option so that those who don’t necessarily want to run all 30 km, do run it  as a team of 2 or 3 and still feel that they have been part of the excitement.  The Bay and Back 5km is also available for those who enjoy the fast paced blast of a 5km run, or those who are just starting their running or walking routine and want to get involved in a road race.

The Bay race (if you want to sound like a local), isn’t pretty.  Not that my city isn’t pretty, but the race itself isn’t.  The race starts not far from the finish at our minor hockey arena, The First Ontario Centre (formerly Copps Coliseum).  From the start, the route has changed over the years and over the 9 times I have run it, I have done a few variations of the first 10 km.  This year, the route takes us down James Street North, which is the art centre of our city, so that should be a nice bit.  Then we make our way to Burlington Street. Not much can be said about this part.  The first year or two I ran this race, this stretch went down Burlington Street, which houses the industry that our city got its nick name of ‘Steeltown’ from.  So, luckily, it is in the first 10km of the race and hopefully we are feeling good enough to blast through this part fairly quickly.  We make our way over to Beach Boulevard, which by name gives you the location of where we are running, right along the shores of Lake Ontario.  This street that runs along the beach is lined with beautiful older homes that were once summer houses and cottages.  The resurgence of this area has been a wonderful addition to our city.  Crossing the lower bridge, we make our way into the City of Burlington and over to North Shore Boulevard, which is technically a section of the town of Aldershot, although the border line is melted with Burlington.  This is where things get a little crazy.  The first 15 km of this race is fairly flat.  The second half, not so much.  North Shore Boulevard is nothing but rolling hills, through which is thankfully a really nice neighbourhood, so your mind may be distracted by the beautiful homes and park land of this area.  The rolling hills, especially in this section which ranges from 18km mark to the 26km mark is brutal; at least it is for me.  Placed in the section of the race where your body is beginning to tire, you have to dig deep to find your way up the hills, only to get you to Valley Inn Road.


My history running the Bay race has always included the Hill at Valley Inn Road. The last couple of years, it has been under construction so the lucky people running it the last few times have been diverted around it.   According to the 2017 route map, it is included again. So should I be happy about that?  I sort of am.  It may not feel like the Bay race without it to me.  The Hill at Valley Inn Road is likened to Heartbreak Hill at the Boston Marathon. Placed at the 26km mark, it is placed strategically to bring you to the Hamilton Cemetery not far from the top.  There at the cemetery entrance is the Grim Reaper, waving you in as you contemplate your fate and whether you can do the last 4 km.  The last 4km are weirdly enough, the most fun.  As you make your way down York Boulevard towards First Ontario Centre, the crown support is huge.  You can see the entrance to the arena where you cross the finish line inside, and it feels like forever that it takes to get there, but once you get inside and hear your name called over the loud speaker, you realize you have completed one of the hardest 30km anywhere.  map-30k-1

What Makes it Hard?

I’ve put together a short list of why this race is tough.  I know it isn’t a full marathon, and I have never ran a full marathon before, but if I had a dime for all the times I have heard from those who have ran The Bay and a marathon who have said it is just as hard, if not harder than a full marathon, I would be rich.

  1. Training in the winter.  The race is at the end of March, so do the math.
  2. Race is at the end of March.  In Ontario. In Canada.  You could potentially run through a blizzard.  No joke.  I have ran in conditions ranging from 25C and sunny to -20C and wind chills.  I have ran in driving rain for 3 hours. I have ran in very temperate and sunny conditions.  So you just never know.
  3. The wind could be your demise.  Seeing as you run a really good portion of this race along the shores of Lake Ontario, you just never know how the wind will play a factor.  You just hope for stillness.
  4. Hills.  I have gone over this point but it is so true.  Rolling ups and downs the last third of the race is one that you have to train for.
  5. The Hill.  No explanation necessary. It is big. It is steep.  It is at 26km mark.

So what did I just do that for?

I am seriously questioning my sanity after registering.  BUT…there is just something about the Bay race.  Yes, the training sucks.  Yes, the race day can be brutal.  But there is no feeling quite like crossing the line (in hopefully sub 3 hours) and getting your medal.  There really isn’t. I know I am preaching to the converted for some of you.  Heck, there are some who have done ultras that will be reading this and saying ’30km? I just did that last weekend.’ I totally admire you and maybe one day I will join in the fun of an ultra, but for now I have 12 weeks of training ahead of me.

Day 1 of Around the Bay Training begins with an 8km along the Waterfront Trail.