Tag: beer

Fitness Swellness: 2018 Ultra Night Run 10k race recap

I Like Beer

You guys, I’ve found the secret morale booster for when you’re having a really tough season of marathon training:

Run a fun run.

By that I mean a short distance race where the focus is more social; there’s usually a theme (in this case, it’s the #liveultra life) or there may be some costumes involved, for example, or rainbow colours (as in the Color Run). I’m not talking about the often larger in scale races (in Toronto, that’d be the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon or the Sporting Life 10k, as two examples). See, those more conventional races draw the elite runners and serious running folk. Fun runs? You’ll get a small group of dedicated runners, but you’ll mostly get a lot of weekend warriors. Not to diminish less frequent runners who are more drawn to a race by the social aspects; I fully support that, too!

In fact, that’s why being an ambassador for this race was the perfect fit for me, if I may say so myself. I am typically quite committed to my training, but I also don’t have my entire life centred around running. My friends and enjoying good times with them is just as important to me as running marathons. I have a fairly relaxed approach when compared to other marathon runners.

Disclosure: while I am a Michelob Ultra Ambassador for this summer’s race, this post isn’t part of my partnership. I’m posting because, well, I like recapping my races. It helps me to track my training and learn from my races…however…

Let’s get real. The main reason for this recap: so I can not-so-humble brag: I finished 1st in my division, and 8th woman out of 332!

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How did I finish so well in this race? The elite runner types don’t do these fun-run type races, so more moderate runners (like me!) can place high in the race standings. There’s no chance I’d ever finish FIRST in my division in a more serious race.

The race vibe:

As for how Saturday night played out, kudos to Michelob for putting on a great and fun-filled event! There were glow  in the dark bracelets, Brooks had lights to attach to your shoes, and mandatory high-quality headlamps (which I’ll now use for camping!) Along the route, there were a few DJs and a live band or two, along with a few fun displays, like a section lit up in red in the shape of the Michelob ribbon.

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And last but not least, there was the Michelob beer garden at the finish, where my friends and I had a cold beer and hot dogs and bananas (a strange post-race fuel combo!) and a  live band playing (the first song I heard them play? Backstreet Boys “Everybody”! That was the best and funniest thing to happen after the race — I LOVE BSB, in case you’re unaware).

How my 10k race played out:

The temperature had dropped overnight so it was, in my opinion, the perfect running temperature, maybe about 14 degrees (I heat up a lot, and quickly, so I opted to run in a sports bra and shorts, however most people were dressed more warmly). The route through Sunnybrook Park was quite dark,  making it seem a bit dangerous (the path was narrow and there were some fairly sharp turns). This was new running experience to me, I’ve only run one other night race before.

I started in the corral practically right at the start line (the closest I’ve ever been to it ever; my gun time and chip time only differ by four seconds) and I planned to run it as a tempo. My legs were tired going into the race; I’m currently training for the Chicago Marathon, so I’d run all week, including 32k on Thursday night, and 6k on Friday morning. These were not rested legs, whatsoever. I wasn’t expecting or trying to PB, but just ran it comfortably hard. I suppose I could’ve run it “easy” and actually as a “fun run,” but as I explained to my friends Aylin and Anna Lee as we waited for the race to start, I don’t function like that. I put pressure on myself in most scenarios… (I’m type A, what can I say.)

Ultra Night Run with Aylin

I could tell from the start that I was one of the few women in the front of the pack, so that was a bit of motivation to keep my pace going strong.  With everyone’s headlights on, it made for a bit of a blinding glare when you had runners coming towards you so I tried to keep my head down but I inevitably found my eyes drawn to the lights.

I hustled at about an intensity of 7 or 8 out of 10 and completed my race in 49:30, which is a far cry from my 10k PB, but a decent time given my marathon training-weary legs and mind. I finished in 52nd place out of 605 runners, 8th out of 332 women, and 1st out of 93 in my division. As for what I’d have done differently? I’d have brought my earphones for some entertainment as I ran (there were some stretches of the route without entertainment and I like as much of a distraction from the sweaty task at hand as I can have!).

Would I run this race again? Most definitely yes. It’s renewed my optimism for my upcoming races and my enjoyment for running in general. Post-race beer garden hangs with friends and goofy things like flashing lights on your shoes are a refreshing departure from my usual stressed out status when it comes to doing a race, and, well, it’s kinda great to finish in the top 10.

Cheers! See you at the next race! And I’ll post soon about my marathon training!)

pre Ultra Night Run

 

 

 

Leave a Comment September 11, 2018

Fitness Swelless: 5 reasons you should light up the night and do the Ultra Night Run

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The best part about running is completing a race—for me, anyhow. It’s a huge sense of accomplishment, after all of that training, to cross the finish line. Throw in some post-race festivities and that’s a winning combination. Which is just one reason why you should also do the Ultra Night Run.

Let’s get into why this is the race you should add to your fall goals:

  1. It’s the first year of the Ultra Night Run so you can forever brag about how you took part in the inaugural one. The race is happening in six cities across Canada including Toronto (where I’ll be taking part on September 8th), Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal. Find out about each city’s race here.
  2. There’s a 5k and a 10k distance. So you’ve got options. Maybe one of those is your preferred race distance, or maybe you’re new to running and want to stick to a 5k distance to get your feet wet.
  3. It’s a night run. These are more rare and hey, you don’t have to get up at 4 or 5 a.m. like you do for most races. The temperature will cool for the evening, and running at night is a different experience. Every runner will get an Energizer LED headlight you must wear for safety (but that’ll add to the fun of racing the course in the dark).
  4. It’s a chip-timed race. OK, now I know this race will definitely be more on the fun side rather than nail-a-PB type of race, but if you’ve got a personally competitive streak like I do, you know how important a race being chipped is!
  5. Did I mention the post-race celebration? After the race, you’ll get an ice-cold Michelob Ultra to toast with the other runners, along with some food and music. Picture a beautiful early fall evening, you’ve all got a runner’s high from the race you just completed and you have a refreshing beer in hand. Maybe getting to that party will push you to run even faster? Sounds like a pretty perfect way to party after a great workout (Bonus: Ultra is only 90 calories and 2.6 grams of carbs!). That’s what #liveultra is all about.

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I’ll be there, headlight on and ready to light up the night. See you at the start line!

To register (all runners must be legal drinking age, btw) or for more info, visit Ultra Night Run. Don’t wait too long to register, though, as the number of participants is capped in each city!

(sponsored)

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5 Comments August 8, 2018

Fitness Swellness: Famous Canadian Beer Run recap

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I don’t think I’ve ever run a “fun run”, as in a race that isn’t timed, but I guess there’s a first for everything, and my first fun run was the Famous Canadian Beer Run held on September 18, 2016.

Having run the RBC Race for the Kids 15k the day prior, I wasn’t gunning for a fast 5K time anyhow (that plus the fact I haven’t been training consistently). The weather was very hot and humid that day, which always brings me down in speed by a ton. but I wasn’t focused on pushing to go fast by any means anyhow. But I did in small stretches find myself pushing myself to go a little harder, motivated by the mere factor of just wanting the race to be over with (I was uncomfortable in the sunshine, and I had a puppy I was sitting for the weekend waiting for me at home). I ran most of the race with my running pal, Shawna, who was pacing the last wave of the race, I lost her a few times as I kept stopping to take photos, but I could always hear her shouting how close we all were to beer at the finish. And she was always easy to spot given her fun run pacer outfit:

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There was a frustratingly slow race kit pickup (which was only held on the day of the race) but there were lots of positives to this run including the drumline along the route, being able to see the city from Ontario Place, and of course, the beer, cider and vodka cocktails at the end of the race. The “medal” being the plastic beer stein was a fun touch, too. I didn’t get to hang out at the finish long since I had to get back to puppy-sitting, but I’d consider running the race again if the race kit pickup is improved (I should add that the organizers sent an apology email immediately after the race, and a survey for feedback recently, so they are making the effort to improve from their inaugural race this year, which goes a long way in my books!).

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For more of a recap, check out my post on the iRun website here.

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Leave a Comment September 28, 2016

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