Running links I liked this week…

The inspiration Pic:

I love this because I started running to lose weight, but the more I run the stronger I feel. Now I run to stay strong and to push myself to see what I can accomplish next.

The gear:
Lululemon Base Runner Long sleeve

I’m loving the Base Runner long sleeve running top by Lululemon. I have this one in the blue stripe (got it on right now). It’s so soft and comfortable, a great layering piece and so cute! (check out the little ruffle details and thumb holes – you must have thumbholes)

The Race Link:

5 Peaks Trail Running Series

This is a goal for me someday. Registration just opened for this great series. I like the idea of mixing up my 10k and half marathons with some challenging trail races.

The healthy recipe:
Fudge Black Bean Brownies recipe

Okay – it’s always good to have a good gluten free recipe for when you have company with gluten issues. She says these don’t taste healthy – I’m skeptical, but I’m going to give this recipe a try this week. (I hope it turns out better than my Quinoa Mac n’ Cheese…)

The not-so-healthy recipe:
Crab Mac n Cheese recipe

Because that’s also why I run. (And because there is no Quinoa in it 😉 )

And finally – a good idea to try: (my feet need some attention)

Five ways to show your feet some love!


Getting out the Door

For me it’s true that the hardest step you take in running is that step out your front door.

first step

Yesterday I donned my running gear, then spent 2 hours doing things around the house and not running. I finally figured I should just get out the door and do a 3k and then I would have at least done something – it did look nice out. I got my running shoes and Garmin and last minute grabbed my water bottle. When I stepped out the front door, I decided to set my Garmin to a 10 minute run, 1 minute walk workout – this sometimes encourages me to go a bit further when I’m not feeling particularly motivated.

Well, it turned out to be a beautiful day. It’s been so cold here and yesterday was mild enough to run with no gloves, hat or jacket. The sun was out, there was a mild breeze and the smell of fall was all around. I went out for a quick 3k but was rewarded with an enjoyable 9k – yes I said rewarded, it’s kind of neat when you get to the point in your running where the run (not just the Starbucks after) can be the reward. I’m going to try and remember this run all winter. No matter how I feel before I open the front door – I’m always glad I went out.

Oh, and I saw a chicken on the sidewalk. (But of course I got pictures of boring trees, not the chicken – brilliant)
Enjoy your run today!

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Mandy’s Dream Races

I think every runner has a to-do list of races.  I keep a list of races that I am planning on running in the next year taped to my desk.  It gives me something to look forward to when I’m bored and stuck inside at work.  But tucked away in the back of my mind, I also keep a list of my dream races.  They are the races that, above all other races, I’d love to run!

Some of them are local, realistic goals, and others are far away and will probably never happen.  But each one is special to me.  Here they are:

1. Around the Bay Road Race

Around the Bay is a race with a lot of history.  It is the oldest road race in North America, first run in 1894.  That’s pretty cool, and for that reason alone, it’s on my list.  But on top of that, it’s only an hour away from home in Hamilton, Ontario!

Jackie and a few friends ran this race last spring.  It was a hard route, but they loved it.  The longest I’ve ran is a half-marathon.  So, although it scares me, I think this race may be in the not-so-distant future.

Image via Around the Bay

Image via Around the Bay

2. Waterloo Marathon

This is a small, local marathon that is held every spring.  The route is very scenic.  It winds through country roads, and even includes the famous covered bridge in West Montrose.  I think it’s important to support local races, so I would love if this was my first marathon.

3. Ottawa Marathon

Ottawa is a beautiful city, and this race takes you through some of its prettiest spots.  Running this one would make for a fun weekend away in the capital, but wouldn’t require too much planning or expense.

Image via Ottawa Tourism

Image via Ottawa Tourism

4. ENDURrun International

This is another local event, but it is CRAZY!  They call it the Tour de France of running events. It is a week long series of races in the heat of summer.  It includes a half-marathon, 15km time trial, 30km trail run, 16km hill run, 25.6km alpine run, 10km time trial, and then finishes off, just for the heck of it, with a marathon.  It’s pretty impressive that our relatively small community hosts such an epic event.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever have it in me to complete this race, but it’s fun to think about!  (You can also enter as a team, with one person tackling each race.  That might be a good place to start.)

Image via ENDURrun

Image via ENDURrun

5. Subaru Triathalon Series Milton Try-A-Tri

I think it would be amazing to complete a triathlon.  However, I can barely swim. If I could get past doggy-paddling, I would love to “Try-a-tri.”  It’s a mini triathlon, consisting of a 375m swim, 10k bike ride, and 2.5km run.  I think this race would take me far out of my comfort zone, but is still achievable.

6. Appalachians Ragnar Trail Relay

Running and camping with a bunch of friends!  How can you beat that? I don’t think it’s possible.  🙂

Image via Ragnar Trail Relays

Image via Ragnar Trail Relays

7. SeaWheeze Half-Marathon

This half-marathon is put on by Lululemon in Vancouver, BC.  Every picture I’ve seen from this race shows a sea of colourful Lulu-wearing runners.  I think it would be a fun, festive atmosphere, and I’ve always wanted to visit Vancouver.

Image via SeaWheeze

Image via SeaWheeze

8. Nike Women’s Marathon San Francisco

This race is up there on my list.  San Francisco is my favourite city that I’ve traveled to, and I’d love to visit again.  I can’t imagine all the beautiful sights you’d see running 42.2k through that city!  At the end of this race, firemen hand out the medals, which are Tiffany & Co necklaces.  I like the thought of being able to wear your medal everyday without getting strange looks.

9. Klondike Trail Road Relay

Jackie told me about this relay.  It starts in Alaska and crosses into the Yukon.  As you can probably imagine, it has some serious elevation.  It would be an amazing experience, but the logistics of finding a team of runners crazy enough to travel that far to run up a mountain are nearly impossible!  This race will probably remain a dream.

10. Big Sur International Marathon

I’ve listed the previous races in no particular order, but my holy grail of all races is definitely the Big Sur International Marathon.  I’ve driven the Highway One coast line twice, and the beauty of that road is unbelievable.  It has a special place in my heart.  I imagine running that route would be life changing, and I hope I get the chance one day!

Image by Doug Steakley via

Image by Doug Steakley via


I have to admit that I tend to hibernate through November and December. I always have good intentions of keeping up my training and maintaining the fitness level that I have achieved over the summer, but it never fails that November and December are a complete failure for me running-wise.

Every spring I plan a large run, this year I have a 30k (Around the Bay 30k in March) and a half marathon (Mississauga Marathon in May), that makes me start running in January to get ready. Then I have 10ks throughout the summer which keeps me motivated through the hot weather. In the fall I plan another long race like the Toronto Marathon or the Springbank Park Half Marathon – that, along with a few fall 10ks where after all that marathon training I’m gunning for a PB, keeps me going until the end of October.

The problem occurs in November when I don’t have any local runs to plan for and when the weather gets cold, I just can’t force myself out the door. Then December gets colder and I really, really don’t want to get out. I always do the Resolution Run on January 1st, which is a lot of fun by the way – and you get a great jacket, however, since it is a fun run and there is no official time recorded, I don’t feel overly motivated to keep training. So, when January begins and I have to get my butt out the door to start my 30k training, I feel like I am starting from square one.

Well, this year I want it to be different. After reading my fellow Outrunning blogger Mandy’s “Hindering Hibernation” post I decided what to do. Mandy had some great suggestions:
1. Join a social running site such as (I am on Strava and love it)
2. Sign up for an online running challenge. (I do that, but this helped my form my plan)
3. Get some new gear. (yep, got that covered – perhaps a little too well :o)
4. Plan out each week. (Okay, I don’t do this at all unless I am training for a big run)
5. Reflect on what you’ve accomplished during the last few months, and think about what races you want to do in the spring. (I want to maintain the level of fitness I’ve attained)

Mandy’s suggestions, coupled with a recent article I read in the December issue of Runner’s World magazine (A Season to Streak) helped me form a plan. I’ve decided to do a 31 day run through December challenge. I want most of my runs to be 5k, 8k and 10k, but on days when things are less than ideal, like perhaps a snow storm or feeling a bit under the weather, I’ll do at least a mile (1.6k). On days when I’m tired I’ll do the walk/run method (run 10 minutes then walk 1 minute) to help avoid injury. I’m going to take Mandy’s number 4 suggestion and work on a schedule over the next couple of weeks. It should be interesting when I’m away on holiday for a week, but I have some ideas on how to make that work too. (How about running up Smuggler’s Notch Road in Stowe Vermont – it’ll be closed for the winter season – I have that planned with my running friend Cathy.)

I’m going to keep track of how it went and write a weekly post of my progress, so check back throughout December. I hope this helps me maintain, or even increase my ability so that I can start my Around the Bay 30k training schedule more prepared than I was last year.

Who’s up for it?



The Rundown Race is a favorite of the Outrunning girls. It is run twice a year in Waterloo, ON. A fun race where the winner is the person who comes closest to their predicted finish time.  Here is a little recap of how the Fall 2013 Rundown went.
Jackie: I signed up for the 10k for this race. It was a brisk and gray day but it didn’t rain as forecast, so it turned out to be a good day for a race. The runners bundled up, wore blankets or stayed warm in the car until their assigned start time. I predicted I would run my 10k in 51:50 so I started at 12:08:10 and I was the third runner to start. Because the runner ahead of me predicted a time a couple minutes slower than mine, I was a little lonely at the start of the race since there was no one in sight, but about a km into my run I met up with my friend Shannon who had taken a wrong turn and was running back towards me – she promptly turned in the right direction and off we ran. (I’ve taken a wrong turn in this race in the past as well.) It cost her some time, but I sure enjoyed having someone to run with. It made for some amusing stories at lunch too. Except for a short blizzard around the 8k mark it was a smooth race – and the gray sky made for some great pictures. I got a time of 50:57 which explained why I felt like I was pushing myself the whole thing. (Oddly enough I find that sometimes I run races faster without my Garmin)
After the race we gathered at the Lancaster Smokehouse for our results, awards and gift table, as well as an awesome meal that Mandy said even running a Marathon wouldn’t justify. I enjoyed my giant bacon cheeseburger – it was worth it. I came home full and tired but happy, with a new pair of running socks from the gift table. (btw the 10k winner came in under 4 seconds from his predicted time – kudos!)

How was your run Mandy?

Mandy: Pretty good, Jackie! 😉 After running a few 10k’s this fall, I felt like trying something different, and ran the 5k race.  Short and sweet.  My predicted time was 26:30, and I was the second last person to head out at 12:33:30.  It’s a weird feeling having everyone start the race before you, almost like you are being left behind.  The volunteers at the start/finish line were very friendly and fun to chat with so the time went by quickly.
When I run, I rely way too heavily on my Garmin watch.  I look at it constantly.  It’s not a good thing.  For this race, watches are not allowed, and I felt like I was missing a limb.  I had no idea how to pace myself or any concept of whether I was running too fast or too slow.  I think this winter I may need to challenge myself to not rely on my watch so much.  Nonetheless, the turnaround point seemed to come quickly, and around then I started to get passed by many of the 10k runners, including Jackie.  It was nice to see them!

I came over my predicted time at 27:35.  At the finish line, we waited around for a few minutes in the cold for some walkers to come in, and then took the traditional group photo.  You know a race is small when you can fit all the runners in one picture!  Despite being small, it’s a great race with a fun group of people!


The Rundown Race – Waterloo, Ont



Okay, would you like a different kind of race experience? The Rundown race is a fun and unusual run to try. This unique race allows any runner of any speed or level of fitness to go home with the trophy. The key to winning is knowing your own ability.

The cool thing about this race is that you are really running against yourself. Runners email their predicted time a week before raceday, they are then given a start time based on their predicted time. Your start time is based on all the runners finishing the race at 1:00, so if your predicted race time for the 10k is 51:30 for example, your start time will be 12:08:30.  Of course, no watches are allowed. The runner that finishes closest to his or her predicted time is the winner and the runner that comes in the most under his or her predicted time goes home with the “Shoe of Shame” award.

This run works sort of backwards because you start one at a time and as the race nears the last km, runners start to get closer to each other. Finishers usually all come in within a couple minutes of each other at the end.

The Rundown offers a 5k and 10k race (trophy goes to the 10k winner). The out and back course follows a scenic paved path running through Grey Silo golf course and continues into a quiet neighborhood on the edge of town. This Friday afternoon race happens once in the spring and once in the fall and is organized by a friendly group who just love to run. Prizes and times are given at the restaurant of choice after the race. Want to do this race? Check out their website, under current info, and email the Race Publicity director to get on their email list. The Outrunning blog girls love this one and we seldom miss it.


I think I ran one of my favorite races this month at Pinery Provincial Park. It was a beautiful crisp but sunny October morning. The 10k was a fairly flat course with slight rolling hills. An out and back starting at the visitor center and going out towards the Dunes area and back. I enjoyed how peaceful this run was. Just a line of runners, a nice rolling paved road and plenty of trees and scenery. I felt happy and relaxed the whole run, not a car or a house to be seen.

The run was well organized even though it was a small run. Although they didn’t offer timing chips, they said they are thinking of having them next year. A friend of mine enjoyed running the 5k and our kids had a blast doing the 2k. The 200m Fawn Run was a joy to watch – little runners in the making.

This is a great race to go to for a personal best.

The Pinery Park race weekend also includes a Saturday 4k or 8k trail run (a 4k loop) that looks like a challenging but fun 4k or 8k run that includes paved road, stairs, beach and paths.

The only things that put a damper on the weekend were that I was unavailable for the Hog-nosed Snake trail run and that my fellow Out Running blogger Mandy wasn’t there running.  Next year the Road Race and the Trail race are a must do on my race roster.