Race Recap: Run Barbados

Last week I had the joy of traveling to Barbados with Tribe and Canada Running Series for the Run Barbados race series which consists of 5 races including a 1 miler, 5km, 10km, half marathon, full marathon, and 5km walk. Over the three days, Dec 1-3, of the events I participated in the 1 miler, 5km, and half marathon races.

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Here’s a little recap of my experiences over the race weekend.

1 Mile

The 1 mile race took place at 7pm, it was 30 degrees, and pitch black out. The course was pretty straight forward (yes, I know it as only 1 mile so what would I expect but still). We pretty much just ran around the Garrison Historic Area in St.Michael which was one of the main areas of the islands 50th anniversary party two nights before.

The atmosphere was fun as they lead car was blasting Bob Marley and creating the perfect island vibe. The weather was host and just standing at the start line had me soaking before we even started. The course had very little light as the sun had set and the street lights were few and far between. It was almost unbelievable how dark it was. This also left it to be somewhat unsafe as the road contained many potholes and was very uneven.

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The finish line was the same for all five racers. Finish line food and hydration included in the race experience was minimal, including water, Powerade, coconut water, as well as meals and drinks, including beer for sale. Runners and walkers of all levels and ages participated and everyone received a very nice finisher medal.

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5km

The 5km run began at 4pm on Saturday. The temperature was still hot, around 30 degrees. I spent the day hydrating (with water) while lying on the beach. Throughout the duration of our trip I used an entire bottle of sunscreen. It was so important for me to stay hydrated and sun burn free. Matt Loiselle (2009 Canadian Half Marathon champion) who was racing as staying at our hotel spent the entire day inside his hotel room keeping his body cool. It must’ve worked as he placed 3rd in the 10km.

The 5km started near the finish line and was an out and back, fairly straight with one little loop and the furthest point. We ran through Bridgetown, the downtown/tourist area in St.Michael, and it was very cool exploring this new area of the island during the race. The course at 4 water stations. At each station I took a cup to drink and cup to dunk on my head to try and manage the heat. While my goal was to go slow and have fun, I felt great on the second half deciding to pick up the intensity and pace. I ended up seconds away from my time at the Holly Jolly 5km (a down hill 5km the happens before the Santa Claus parade) so I was happy. The awards happened after every runner from the 5km and 10km had finished and this made for a late night. We went back to the hotel, grabbed dinner, and 8 hours later the next race was on!

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Half Marathon

The half marathon start time was 5am, which meant we were up way before the sun leaving for the start of the race at 3:50. As I knew our hotel wouldn’t be open from breakfast I snuck some food out the night before and had a croissant and jam, along with a banana, and Powerade for breakfast. Not ideal, but I made due with what I had and felt fine while racing. Similar to the 1 mile and 5km the race start line was a spary painted line on the good. In pitch black we took off and began on our out and back course. The full marathon did 2 of these loops. The course was pretty straight forward, had a couple hills, and some interesting sights as we ran along side the water, but also a residential area, and industrial area. Not all of the roads were closed which made for an interesting experience dodging buses and cars out on the road.

As we started before sun rise vision was a challenge again with limited street lighting, but as if a switch had been hit, roosters started crowing, and at 6am, the sun came up and the daylight was on…along with the heat. There was plenty of water/Powerade on course as well as marshals riding bikes offering gels.

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Similar to the 5km I went in with the goal to complete the race and manage the heat. I set a challenge to stay under a 5:50min/km and did a great job at it, spending most time around 5:45. I felt great when I hit the half way point and tried to stick around 5:40 for the second half. This was way easier then I anticipated and raced the final three km at 5:30, a pace faster then my 5km only 8 hours prior. While I didn’t PB (remember that wasn’t my goal) it felt awesome to have my pacing so on point.

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At the finish line coconut water, powerade, and popsicles available. Food and beer was available for purchase. The medals were great and recovering on the beach was truly amazing.

Challenge Medals

The race series also include a “challenge” option for those doing multiple races as I had. I wasn’t aware of the challenge until after I had registered for all there, but with my minimal training I don’t believe I would’ve run any other distances. The challenges included:
Gold Challenge – Run the Fun Mile, 10K and Marathon and receive a special commemorative gold medal.
Silver Challenge – Run the Fun Mile, 10K and 1/2 Marathon or the Fun Mile, 5K and Marathon and receive a special commemorative silver medal.
Bronze Challenge – Run the Fun Mile, 5K and 1/2 Marathon and receive a special commemorative bronze medal.
I received the bronze challenge medal.

While it certainly wasn’t my plan to make this series a regular in my schedule, we had a blast and I will be back next year. I love the island and the races were so much fun. Next time I would be sure to bring more of my own breakfast foods, or buy some there, in order to be more prepared prior to the race.

If you’re looking for a hot race, check it out, and join me in 2017!

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Waterfront 10 Runners Yoga

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Are you racing Toronto’s newest 10km next weekend?

Join me at the Toronto Waterfront 10 Expo for a pre-race yoga class which will have you stretched out and ready for race day.

Calm your mind and relax your body with a 30-minute yoga session, then pick up your race kit and browse the expo.

With Canada Running Series, Tribe Fitness, and New Balance Canada we are offering 4 free classes over Wednesday June 22 and Thursday June 23. Mats available to borrow thanks to New Balance Canada.

Space is limited, so please sign up via this link.

Guest Post: What’s It Like To Rock Tribe’s My First Race Program

Through the Tribe “My First Race” mentoring program I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and running with over a hundred new or returning runners. Folks who literally got off the couch to join our run, those returning after having a baby, and those looking to connect with family through fitness.

As we begin our third “My First Race” program I wanted to share a story of an amazing inspiration, Ljiljana Stanojevic, a fierce mother who not only met her goal of racing Spring Run-Off as part of our training program, but then went on, with the motivation of her daughter, to race a 15km road race and a half marathons during 2015. Ljiljana has a drive and energy that is truly contagious and you can’t help but be inspired when you sweat with this gal. Please enjoy the “My First Race” story of Ljiljana.

When I joined the ‘Learn to run’ program I couldn’t run. I thought it would be easy to start running, but all my attempts failed and I ended up with sore muscles and an injury. During a weekly yoga class held by Tribe Fitness at MEC Toronto, I heard about the ‘Learn to Run’ program with Canada Running Series and signed up without too much hope that I would ever be able to run, was I ever wrong.

IMG_2043My first day of training was interesting. I was nervous and I thought that all the other participants would run with ease while I fell behind. Thankfully, all of the Tribe mentors were there and were so encouraging, patient and supportive, explaining what to expect and the difficulties that everyone can face when beginning to run. We were all given a training schedule provided by Tribe. During this first session we ran for 1 minute, walked for 2 minutes, and repeated that for a specified amount of time. During the week we were told to run two times on our own as part of the program and once a week we would meet and run with Tribe. The running time would increase and the walking time would decrease every week.

A draw to this free program is that we were teamed up with experienced run mentors from Tribe. We would connect through email and in person at the weekly runs. My mentor, Jenna Pettinato, was amazing. She helped me by providing valuable advice and sharing her own experiences. She understood the difficulties that I had and followed up with my training through emails. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be running today.

IMG_2042What I loved most about the ‘learn to run’ program is that Tribe is like a family. They care and help each other and always welcome new members. I felt very comfortable during my training and later on during the runs with Tribe. Tribe’s founder Heather Gardner invited various representatives of sporting goods and supplies stores to come during the training sessions to talk to us about proper clothing, running shoes, nutrition etc. which was very helpful. We learned more than just running, we became part of a community.

The goal race was Spring Run-Off. Everyone knows it finished with a giant hill. During the Spring Run-Off killing that hill would have been impossible without the Tribe cheer squad standing at the bottom cheering everyone on. You get an energy boost when you see a bunch of people yelling words of encouragement, holding signs, dancing, and telling you that you can conquer the hill.

One thing I would tell a new runner would be, you can do it! It’s an amazing program. Your mentor and all the Tribe members will be there to help you all the way. You will not regret it. Trust me, you are going to kill that hill!

If you’d like more information or to sign up for this free training program, find all the details here.