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.




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.


Bay Race Training

One month down!!!

The month January moved along very quickly and the weather cooperated for the most part here in Ontario, Canada.  Training for the Around the Bay 30km Road Race again and I was quickly reminded of why I took a break for a few years.

You have to train through the winter!

The race is at the end of March and there is just no getting around the winter running.  There is no amount of treadmill running that can prepare you for this race.

Now…I have used the treadmill for the days I only have to run 5km.  The shear boredom of treadmill running is enough to limit me.  I have a theory as well that the treadmill, although I find good for speed work, is harder on my joints that the road.  I tend to pound my feet harder when I run on it and ‘feel’ it the next day.


So we have completed the first month of training using a great schedule I found online.  The training so far, is basically 3 runs through the week and a long one on the weekend.

For January, we ran two 5km runs and one 10km during the week, with one of the 5km runs a little faster.  The long run would come on the Saturday or Sunday, depending on our schedules.  We have built up to 18km, which we have done twice so far.

One of the best years I had running this race was when I trained on the hardest part of the course.  Living about 5 minute drive from the course is really at my advantage here, so for that I am thankful.  For the 18km runs and the next long runs that will be coming up, we decided to drive over to Dundurn Castle, which is right on the course, and park there to run the hardest part of the course.  This part comes at about 5 km from the end of the race.  This part is also home to Valley Inn Road.  Valley Inn Road aka The Hill, is probably about 1 km in length and all up hill.  The last two years, the road has been under construction and has not been included in the race but it is all done and ready for race day!

The pictures are from before construction but it basically looks the same.  They certainly didn’t shave any incline from it!

The hardest part of the Around the Bay is the last 10 km.  The route is hilly, rolly, and long.  This part of the race is mainly on North Shore Blvd and it culminates at Valley Inn Road. By training the long runs and running out and backs along North Shore, we end up running the worst part of the race twice.  I know this seems almost masochistic but it really does help on race day.  The crazy part is that we run down Valley Inn Road and it is just as steep going up the other way.  We then have to run back up to get to our car!  I question my sanity on many occasions.

During the race, once you’ve run 27km and come to the top of Valley Inn Road, you will be greated by The Grim Reaper.  Seriously. There has been a few times I wanted to join him at that point.

So far the training is going well. With the exception of 5 days of flu there have been  no injuries to speak of and the joints are feeling pretty good.  I am trying to include a lot of Yoga as well to keep the muscles stetched out.  We have been using some really good fuel gummies that seem to help with the energy levels.  They are called Skratch energy gels.  They are made from real fruit purees and contain no gelatin.  Great tasting and don’t leave a weird taste in your mouth.



This weekend we will add on and make it an even 20km for our long run.  The weather looks pretty decent and the roads are still pretty clear for footing.

I have to admit that I am actually looking forward to the long run this weekend.

If you’re looking for a challenging winter race, and are in the area, give the Bay Race a try!



Run for the Toad-Race Report

The 15th Annual Run for the Toad was held on October 1 in Paris, Ontario.  All week we kept our eyes on the weather and no matter how many times we checked, it didn’t change!  Rain was in the forecast for the entire morning. The temperature looked pretty good but we were going to get wet.  Well, as much as I wanted a nice cool, sunny day, I was ready to run and get wet and muddy if need be.

Well, Mother Nature was pretty forgiving after all.  The day was misty, cloudy and maybe a few drops of rain but for the most part, we escaped any down pours and the trails were superb.

There is something about this race that just keeps people coming back.  The great atmosphere and organizers are second to none.  The food after the race is awesome and we are never disappointed.

The Tent city they set up was ready for any rain that may fall and it housed vendors, free coffee and donuts or cookies as well as the race kit pick up area.  As we walked through the vendors we noticed the merch tent for The Toad.  Rayanne has a nice jacket she got on her first of the 6 times she has done the course but I have yet to purchase anything…until this year.  We gravitated to a shirt that we knew was going to be coming home with both of us and raced back to the car to get our bank cards as they were quickly running out.  Maybe it was that warm up run to shop that helped our race!

Rayanne and I have ran The Toad in many different conditions ranging from sunny and warm to cold and pouring rain.  We have slipped through the muddy trails and felt the scorching hot sun in the meadow. We mentally prepared ourselves for the rain but were relieved that the day turned out as ‘nice’ as it did.

Rayanne and I have our pre race picture tradition. We have yet to post a post-race pic…lol


The race begins with ‘Opening Ceremonies’.  Race organizers make sure to thank the people at Pinehurst Conservation Area for their work at preserving the trails and then introduce any elite athletes that are there competing that day.  Both the US and Canadian national anthems are played by a live military band.  The first to line up are the kids.  There is a one mile Toad Junior run for the little ones.  They even receive a medal for their efforts.  Really great to see this run grow as people are getting their kids into the joys of trail running.

Next to line up are the 50km and the relay runners.  Some of these 50km runners will finish before we finish 25km …let that sink in.  They can run twice as far faster than we do.  It is truly unbelievable when you see them pass you like you’re standing still even though you may feel like you are running at a blistering speed!

Race time for the 25km runners (and walkers too).  The cannon (yep, I said cannon) signifies the start and we are off.  The runners tend to bunch up here but it won’t be long before things spread out.  They have installed new wood stairs to a portion of an up hill on the trail which I have to admit was really nice to go up.  I am sure it is not just for aesthetic reasons, but also for erosion control.  Either way, thumbs up on those.  Rayanne and I are used to talking throughout our runs.  It is amusing though to look back afterward at the conversation over the course of 25 km.  We talk about movies, music, kids, family and of course running and runners.  We are never without admiration for some of the older runners that blow by us with ease.  Inevitably we say, “Ok, I want to be like that”. As we discussed movies, the topic of Vietnam war movies came up. Things really go on a tangent sometimes so let’s just say trying to think of ‘Full Metal Jacket’ took up about 8 km.

Over the course of the race, which is a 12.5km double loop, the volunteers are well placed and water or Gatorade stops every 3 km.  Second loop also includes candies, cookies, and fruit at the water stops too.  That cookies came in handy for sure.

We weren’t really sure how our time was going to be. We knew we were running at a pretty steady pace.  We both felt really good throughout and didn’t have any pressing problems while we made our way around the second loop.  The chip timing now is great because it is linked to your email and you can get your results immediately after finishing.

We finished in 2:59 and were super happy with it.  I am forever a mid pack runner and totally fine with that.  To anyone who hasn’t run a trail race before, and believe me, this one is very hilly, to equate your road times to trails just doesn’t work.  We learned that long ago.

All in all very happy with the results:

First 12.5 loop – 1:27

Second 12.5 loop – 2:59  That means only 5 min difference between first and second loop!

Overall finish:  312/578

Female: 146/321

Age group: 34/91

Our training this year was consistent and strong.  We mixed road and trail well and made sure those long runs were logged.  Really can’t say enough good things about this race and if you have never done it, I would recommend giving it a go.

So that leads us to the next question.  We felt good about this race.  We feel good after the race and without any issues for either one of us.  So…what’s next?  Maybe Around the Bay number 10 for me in March.  I may need to watch the Barkelys again to get the motivation.