I am officially an urbanathlete!

I don’t even know where to start with this race…or this trip to NYC in general.  It was so amazing and ridiculous at the same time that I don’t think words can do it justice.

Here we go.

The good:

I was prepared for the weather and for tackling the obstacles (equipment-wise).  I felt perfect in terms of body temperature for the duration of the race.  I wore compression socks to help out my sore ankles/shins/calves that have been hurting for days.  I also bought football gloves to help out with the monkey bars and parallel bars (who knew football gloves were sticky?).

The race was a lot of fun.  Despite the terrible weather, I love the idea of an obstacle race.  It definitely gives you a “break” from running and something to look forward to.  It was sometimes terrifying to see an obstacle up ahead but once you got there, it was loads of fun.

The people running the race were awesome.  The crowd was way different from a lot of other races I have run.  The Urbanathlon attracted a huge variety of people who weren’t JUST runners.  All sorts of athletes came out and tackled this course with so much power.  What I also loved was that everyone helps each other out.  I couldn’t get over the 5-foot hurdles on my own but I paired up with a really nice girl who gave me a boost over all six of them.

The not-so-good:

I ate cuban food (Dean’s choice) and rice pudding (chocolate chip flavour topped with toasted coconut and coffee crumble) the day before the race.  Not a good idea.  I had cramps for probably the first 3-4 miles.  Grease + sugar is not the best pre-race combo for fuel.  I know better than to put weird food in my body the day before a run.

The weather (lots of rain) sucked big time and affected a lot of things.  There were puddles EVERYWHERE and for the first three miles people were trying to avoid them and tip toe around them which slowed a lot of people down.  I know I didn’t really have a time goal for this race but knowing I could have finished faster is a bit frustrating.  After getting down and dirty in the first couple of obstacles people finally stopped caring and ran/splashed/trotted through puddles like crazy.

Just to show you what the city looked like by the evening…

There was no festival or post-race fun.  Once people crossed the finish line and realized how cold and wet it was outside, it was over (plus, snow was starting to come down).  Most people pretty much bolted.  I didn’t get any food, drinks, nothing.  I grabbed my bag, changed into dry clothes, and hopped on the subway back to the hotel.

I have almost no pictures from the race.  It is nearly impossible to carry a camera and complete obstacles at the same time.  I relied on the photographers but as of right now, there are only two photos of me on the race website and I’m not even completing any of the obstacles (I’m just running).  Boring and disappointing.

My best photo…

The ugly:

My bruises.

Just one of many…

The result:

I finished in 1:34:56… Although I had no time goal, I still had 1:30 in my head.  I know I could have gotten a sub 1:30 but I think being backed up for a small part of the race and also a little bit of hesitation at some of the obstacles cost me a bit of time.  I will get it next year though!  I am proud of myself for tackling this race.  It is something that I never EVER thought I could do.  I know exactly what I need to work on for next year (STRENGTH) so that is going to be my focus because I know I’ve got the running down!

I am really proud of Dean, who finished in 1:13:27.  He is a rockstar and smoked a lot of the guys in the “elite” first wave :D

More on NYC (the non-racing part) tomorrow!

HERE I COME!

I will be in NYC until Sunday night so I won’t be able to blog/read your blogs unless I want to get hit with a gazillion dollars in roaming charges.  Canadian phone in the US = no good.  I hope everyone has an amazing weekend!  If you are racing, GOOD LUCK!  Wish me luck at the Urbanathlon…they are calling for rain…and SNOW.  I know, right?  Perfect weather conditions for an obstacle race.

Off to the big city!  I will catch up with you when I get back :D

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my latest giveaway!

BYEEEE!!!!

A Dash of… & a WINNER!

I would like to introduce you all to an awesome blogger – her name is Meg and she blogs over at A Dash of Meg.  She blogs about some pretty sweet recipes and gives you some great examples of strength workouts.  I tried one today and it seriously kicked my trash and made me a sweaty beast by the end.  It was a leg workout and it burned so good.  I love working out my legs so much and I notice improvements in my strength really quickly!  I’m going to check her blog out again tonight so I can steal an upper body workout to do tomorrow :P

One of the exercises was “kickbacks” which can be done different ways.  You can do them with no weight at all but I brought my handy little ankle strap along to the gym and hooked it up to a cable machine to increase my burn.  Love.  The angle of this picture makes me look like I have cankles.  Don’t love.

I also did something a bit random.  The Urbanathlon is next Saturday.  Yep, it’s that close.  And my arms are still noodles.  There are 5-foot hurdles that I am going to have to get myself over and I have no idea how I’m going to go about doing it.  I set up a bar so that it was about 5-feet high and tried to pull myself up into a stiff arm position.  It’s hard.  Really hard.  I needed to use a little step but once I got up I was able to hold my weight up.  Apparently people are great at the race and help each other out so I pictured the step being someone giving me a little boost.  I think it’ll be okay :)

I also squeezed in a 1-mile sprint and a short rendezvous with the stairmill (there are like a gazillion stadium stairs at the race that apparently slow a lot of people down so I really want to be ready for that!).  It’s a love/hate relationship with this guy.

I am so pumped for this race.  It’s so different from anything I’ve ever done.  I know it’s be tough but I like it that way.  I’m not going to set any time goals for myself because I have absolutely no idea what to expect.  I might not even wear my Garmin…I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself!

Okay, now for what you have all been waiting for…the winner of my Fashletics giveaway is…

Congrats Jennifer!  E-mail me at theathletarian [at] gmail [dot] com so we can arrange your winnings!

What is your favourite muscle group to strength train?

Do you think I should wear my Garmin for the race?  Or will it add to my already existing anxiety??

 

Giving thanks and monkeys

So it was (Canadian) Thanksgiving on Monday and I am still bloated.  I said in my October goals that Thanksgiving didn’t count, so I kind of went bananas…twice.  I don’t know what it is about stuffing but I can eat it until I feel like I’m going to explode.  I literally ate the majority of this pan.  No joke.

Good times were had by all, especially when they were forced to take pictures with me.  I swear they are all genuine smiles.

Not pictured: like 10 other family members who were “too busy” for photo shoots and Thanksgiving #2 at Dean’s brother’s house (just picture more food and crazier pictures like these).

Summary:  Thanksgiving is the best – another excuse to get together with the people you love the most and eat as though you will never see food again…ever.  I am thankful for these things :)

Post-Thanksgiving (not the same day…the day after…there’s no way I could move after eating all that stuffing) Dean and I went on a mission to unleash our inner monkey-ness.  The Urbanathlon is just over two weeks away and I have yet to master monkey bars.  We set off to the beach (because the weather was ridiculously hot…I know, weird), located some monkey bars, and guess what?

Success!  Well, kind of.  My hands felt like they were going to rip off and I skipped the last two rungs but I now have a little bit of faith in myself.  I know I don’t stink as bad as I thought.  I think most of it was fear.  I don’t know why I was scared.  Maybe I thought I would sink into the ground if I fell.  Who knows.  All I know is now at least I have a teeny tiny bit of confidence in myself and won’t have to resort to this during the race:

I’m wearing Dean’s Oakley shades here and they kinda make me feel like a superhero.

One step at a time.  Now I just have to find an 8-foot wall to climb over because that is the last obstacle in the race and there is NO WAY that I am ready for that.

If you haven’t entered my GIVEAWAY yet, I think you should go right now and do it. If you like workout clothes and think it’s cool to be strong and mighty, then this giveaway is for you.

What was the best thing you ate on Thanksgiving (Canadians) OR what are you most excited to eat (Americans)?

Any tips on the best way to tackle an 8-foot wall?

Live Love Lift! Fashletics GIVEAWAY!

So most of you may know that I am currently training for the Men’s Health Urbanathlon.  It is coming up so I have been trying my best to get into the gym at least 3-4 times a week to strength train so that I am better prepared for all of the obstacles.  I have also been doing a lot of researching on people who strength train and became super inspired by Sarah of Fashletics.  She is the definition of an athlete, with a history of competing in endurance races and a current passion for CrossFit.  I love that she emphasizes the importance of strength.  Though it has taken me a long time to learn, strength training definitely helps athletes to be the best they can be (even runners!).  Sarah has created her own line of apparel and accessories for both women and men which I immediately fell in love with.  I contacted Sarah and told her my story (I won’t bore you with it) and she was so kind to send me one of her tank tops (and has also convinced me to look into CrossFit)!

Seriously, how cute is that thank you note?  I love how SHE is thanking ME…when I’m the one getting an amazing piece of apparel in the mail!  I tried it on IMMEDIATELY and could not take it off for the rest of the day.  It is super soft and comfortable.  I love the Fashletics slogan, “LIVE LOVE LIFT” and the kettlebell is a nice touch :)

Sarah was kind enough to give my readers an opportunity to win a Fashletics top for themselves!  How excited are you?  Everyone needs one of these (yes, everyone).  I am definitely going to get myself more pieces because I am in LOVE with everything on the site.

So you wanna win?  Thought so.  Here are some ways you can enter:

Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect or Facebook and leave me a comment saying you do (if you do both, leave two separate comments!)

Follow me on Twitter

Follow Fashletics on Facebook

Follow Fashletics on Twitter

Check out the Fashletics website and tell me what you NEED to have!

Blog, Tweet, or share this giveaway on Facebook (or do all of them and leave a separate comment for each!)

The contest will go on for a week so you have until Monday, October 17th to enter!

GOOD LUCK!

Firsts

I haven’t blogged in the last couple of days because I have been trying to switch over from Blogger to a self-hosted blog.  It has proven to be a lot more difficult than anticipated!  I will still be working on it today and tomorrow but in the meantime, I would like to share with you a few “firsts”.
(1)
On Saturday I ran the Toronto Women’s 5K with a good friend of mine.  It was her very FIRST race and I was SO proud of her for getting out there.  I ran the entire race with her and even though we had to stop and walk for about two minutes as she fought off a cramp, we still crossed the line at 28:06.  How amazing is that for someone’s first race?!?!
I had a lot of fun at this race.  I have never run alongside someone so this was really fun and special for me.  I didn’t have to worry about my time or pace.  We just had fun and it was awesome.  I think I passed on the running bug because she went home and signed up for another 5K in September.  She is determined to beat her time and I LOVE it!
(2)
After the race on Saturday I scurried home to get ready for my very FIRST blogger meet-up!  The lovely Dani at Body By Nature set up this get together at Live Food Bar in downtown Toronto.  I had been to Live once before and loved it.  It is an organic raw vegan restaurant, though they do offer some cooked food on the menu as well.
I met some really amazing bloggers and we shared stories about food, fitness, and all kinds of other fun stuff.  Mostly food though :)
Marlie, Danielle, Jill, Shayna, Myself, Katy, Laura, Samantha, and Kristen
I ordered the gluten-free vegan waffles with a side of roasted potatoes and they were DELICIOUS.  Almost to pretty to eat…almost.
After lunch Katy from Fit In Heels and I had a little self-timer photo shoot on the street.  I had to stand on my toes because she wore 19 inch shoes and I was practically barefoot.
Look who joined us!!
It was a fantastic experience.  I made some new friends, learned some new things, and enjoyed delicious food.  Thank you Dani for organizing everything!  I can’t wait until the next meet-up so we can do it all over again!
(3)
Today I am hitting a track to do some speed work for the FIRST time.  I knew this day would come sooner or later.  I have been avoiding outdoor speed work like the plague but I decided it’s about time I divorce the gym treadmill and get my butt outside for some real training.  The Urbanathlon program I am following calls for speed training on Mondays and Wednesdays, but not for a very long distance.  Today’s run will be under 5 miles with warm up and cool down, so I’m not too afraid.
Wish me luck!

Today is the last day to enter my giveaway so go DO IT and let’s be on our way to 100 push ups!

If anyone out there knows an EASY way to get your EPP code (whatever that is) from Blogger, PLEASE SHARE.  I tried doing exactly what Google Apps advised me to do (get my code from GoDaddy, who apparently hosts Blogger domains) but it’s the WRONG code.  Awesome.

What is the secret to speed work?

48 minutes and the best day ever.

BEWARE OF PICTURE OVERLOAD!
48 minutes is how long it took us to RUN 3 MILES today.
Now before you start laughing, it wasn’t ANY 3-mile run.  We were trying to simulate the Urbanathlon that we are running in October so we stopped anywhere we could find some sort of obstacle.
Along with the running…
we did some jumping (PS This rock was enormous and Dean is a kangaroo.  He actually did a squat jump from the ground and was able to get onto the rock)…

 

stairs…
rock running…
monkey bars…
and a few pushups, planks, and downward dogs!
SO MUCH FUN!!!
We continued our best day ever with some post-run coconut water.
Mandatory tan session :)

 

AMAZING FOOD!
veggie sandwich with basil pesto spread on the softest multigrain bread ever
gazpacho that we shared :)  
Dean’s braised lamb sandwich
I really couldn’t have asked for a better day!
A perfect workout with the perfect person!
Amazing weather and amazing food!
————————————————
Now, I NEED YOUR HELP!!
As you can see in the pictures, I am wearing the Titika tank to that I talked about here.
Titika is having a contest and I want to WIN!  Here are the details that I got from their blog:
Send in a picture of yourself, your friends, or your family, being active in a picture worthy location (preferrably in Titika clothing but not a must) and let us know where you are! The pictures that we find the most inspiring will be featured on our website and the Winner of this contest will have a new Titika item of clothing named after them!!!

I was thinking of submitting either the first picture of me running on the boardwalk or the one of me running on the rocks!
WHAT DO YOU THINK??

Also – what are your opinions on coconut water??  
Love it or hate it?