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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4 Tips For a Healthy Workplace Over The Holidays

The holidays are here and this evening I’ll be attending my first work holiday party, my first of four!

During the holidays we tend to eat more and exercise less. Sometimes that means the only consistent in our day is our workplace, so to help prevent our healthy, active habits from taking a holiday of there own, here are 4 tips to have you moving more and eating healthy while at your workplace.

Keep the Focus on Fun, Not Food!

Many of our workplace holiday festivities revolve around food. It’s time to change that! How about a workplace “sweating working” event at a group fitness class? Maybe a noon hour walk through the community to check out holiday lights? Or through the team cutting and decorating a holiday tree. Moving more and sitting (and eating less) is the key!

Sneak Activity In!

This is a great idea for the workplace all year long. Taking the stairs, parking far from the door, and standing while taking a call. There are many ways to sneak movement in during your work day. Bring a pair of sneakers and get a move on!

Don’t Take A Holiday From Healthy Eating

The are lots of tips and tricks to eat healthy during all the holiday parties this season brings. A few of my favourites include eating a healthy meal before you head out, bring a healthy snack you love to a pot luck, or find that one dessert you really want and enjoy it! Healthy eating is all about balance, not about depriving yourself. Eat more of the good stuff and leave the unhealthy stuff there.

Start A Team Challenge

Accountability partners are a great way to stick your goals and make healthy, active living fun while at work. Get a team together and try using an app or pedometer to give a step challenge a try. Track your daily steps and see who can walk the furthest each day, week, or over the month. How about challenging your work colleagues to a squat or push-up challenge? Perform 5 of an on the spot exercise you can do in work dress at the top of every hour, ding a bell and get moving! Instead of a workplace gift exchange hire a fitness professional to come into your office and lead a yoga or group fitness class.

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What do you do to stay healthy and active at work or over the holidays? Share it in the comments below!

Wednesday evening I have the joy of speaking to the partners and clients of Wise Goodies, a company building healthy workplaces one fresh snack pack at a time. I’ll be sharing these tips and inspiring healthy workplaces. Check them out and get up and move!

Race Recap: Famous Canadian Beer Run

On Sunday September 18th I had the pleasure of being part of the Brew Crew at the first official Famous Canadian Beer Run.

img_4302Hundreds of beer and running enthusiasts ran around Ontario Place for a 5K run-meets-craft beer and food festival. This was the first race of its kind in Toronto, pairing participants’ passion for running and love of a post-run cold one.

Being part of the “Brew Crew” didn’t require me to “pace” or anything serious – it was in fact the opposite or “serious”, my goal was to dress up and help runners have a blast and well at a themed run like this it was very easy to do.

img_4346This run route was awesome. The route ventured around and through Ontario Place, where we checked out the scenic lake and city skyline views while touring the east and west islands. We definitely went to places in Ontario I had never been, and some I haven’t seen for many years. In addition, we were also treated to a preview of the art installations which were set up as part of the in/future art experience taking place simultaneously.

Post-run participants kicked back, danced, and waited in line at the Craft Beer and Food Festival. As part of the race entry we were given free beer tickets for samples of the finest craft brews from Ontario brewers, as well as  gourmet food from the city’s top food trucks. These were also available for purchase (cash only). Live entertainment also took place at the Heritage Square post-race party.

The $50 run entry was a great value which included

  • Entry into post-run Craft Beer & Food Festival
  • 4 beer/beverage chips (good for two 8 oz. beers, or four 4 oz. beer samples)
  • Commemorative beer stein
  • Run t-shirt
  • Customized race bib
  • Race kit filled with samples

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The run did have a few logistical problems resulting from lack of volunteers and being a first time experience. The lines everywhere were very long. Registration had to be checked when entering Ontario Place as there were two types of tickets – the run – the festival – so they had to confirm everyone had paid. Once you were in the park we lined up again and this time it was to get our race kits. Had the bib numbers been emailed prior, or even a link to check them ourselves online, we would’ve saved time. More volunteers could’ve helped more things along here as well. As a result of these two lines the start of the race was delayed and all subsequent waves were pushed back. The wave starts were pretty relaxed and even with these lines people were in great spirits.

Now the other problem…the 5km run route was only 4.3km long. Obviously not great, but this was a run, not a race, and it wasn’t timed at all, BUT integrity is important and I think this is a big mistake, but one that can easily be fixed for next year.

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The run was promoted really well, had a great route, and a wonderful atmosphere and energy. Even with these two hiccups, the runners had great attitudes and very few people were getting upset. I’m sure if the run happens again they will be on top of these two mishaps and so I would highly suggest anyone who likes beer gets in on this event. Bring your friends, dress up, and have an awesome afternoon.