Meet me halfway – #STWM Training Update

I was originally going to try to blog about my training every two weeks, but as you can see that fell apart quickly. I’m now a little over halfway through my training plan for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (aka #STWM), so I decided to recap some highlights. I also have a blog post with race day tips for your friends and loved ones who are spectating your race on the Canada Running Series website. You can check it out here. Let me know what you think.

Digital Champs and Community Leaders at the first tune-up run of the season

Meeting community leaders and other digital champions for #STWM. What a great group! Photo courtesy of Canada Running Series.

#STWM Tune-up Run #1 – June

My training actually kicked off back in the beginning of June. It seems like forever ago now. I was feeling out of shape, having just taken a few weeks off from running for my trip to Peru. In major need of a tune-up, I attended the first #STWM tune-up run of the season. I’m a digital champion for the race, so this was also a good chance to meet other digital champions and community leaders. We took our pictures (and some selfies) before heading off in High Park. I felt so out of shape and it didn’t help that High Park is notoriously hilly. A few of us got lost along the route, so we made up our own route. It all worked out in the end and we made it back.

Me with @dohanley and @freshierundutty. Photo courtesy of Canada Running Series.

Me with @dohanley and @freshierundutty. Photo courtesy of Canada Running Series.

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A post-run selfie with @cherylkozoriz and @freshierundutty.

#STWM Digital Champions Tweet Up – June

Digital Champions and Community Leaders stop for a picture in Graffiti Alley during the tweet up. Photo courtesy of Canada Running Series.

Digital champions and community leaders stop for a picture in Graffiti Alley during the tweet up. Photo courtesy of Canada Running Series.

Less than a week after the tune-up run I was excited to get to meet more digital champions and community leaders for the race. #STWM organized a tweet up, which, naturally, started with a run. Still feeling out of shape I lagged behind the other champs. There was one person behind me and she had just finished running back-to-back 50k races! I was really inspired by everyone. We stopped for photos along the way. At one point the race director Alan Brooks was riding beside me (he is unable to run anymore so rides his bike instead). When I introduced myself he called me “Mei Ling from the Beach!” I was thrilled. I run in the Beach all the time now, with some pretty incredible runners, so it’s an honour to feel like I may be representing them in a some way. I hope I make them proud. After the run we had a special treat and got to visit Twitter Canada’s headquarters! We watched a presentation, learned a lot about Twitter and Periscope and went on a tour. (Incidentally I have been on Twitter for 6 or 7 years and you can follow me here: @yling). After many selfies, we were also treated with a Twitter tote bag, which came with an umbrella (#catsanddogs). It’s a good quality umbrella and I’ve gotten good use out of it since the tour. It makes me smile every time I use it.

Another photo stop with the Digital Champions. This is the bridge that was featured on the Yonge St. 10k medal. Photo Courtesy of Canada Running Series.

Another photo stop with the digital champions. This is the bridge that was featured on the Yonge St. 10k medal. Photo Courtesy of Canada Running Series.

Selfies at Twitter. You know we had to! Photo courtesy of Canada Running Series.

Selfies at Twitter. You know we had to! Photo courtesy of Canada Running Series.

Training with The Running Room

It was Hawaiian Night the other night at the Running Room in the Beaches. I didn't dress up but someone who ran with us had a coconut top and grass skirt. It made me smile every time I saw her running up and down the hills with us. Photo courtesy of The Running Room Beaches.

It was Hawaiian Night the other night at the Running Room in the Beaches. I didn’t dress up but someone who ran with us had a coconut top and grass skirt. It made me smile every time I saw her running up and down the hills with us. Photo courtesy of The Beaches Running Room.

I had such success training for my first marathon with the Running Room that I decided to do it again. My marathon clinic started on June 24 and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s a great group and even though I can’t keep up with many of them, everybody is really friendly. As always, my long runs have been filled with good conversation and many laughs. I’ve learned a lot and we have already had 2 pub nights (very important when you’re training for a marathon!). What I love about this group, and pretty much everybody who I have met out of this Running Room is how supportive they are. I’m completely inspired by all of them. Runners really are the best people. I was very sluggish a few weeks ago and found myself way behind everybody else on hill training night. When I reached the last hill most of the group had already finished and they started clapping and cheering for me. I even had company going up the hill, which I really appreciated. The next night I also lagged behind on our recovery run and again, everybody clapped and cheered as I finished. Seriously, runners really are the nicest people!

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Hill training on the hottest day of the year. These are a few of the ladies who inspire me and keep me coming back for more!

Canada Day – You never know who you’ll run into

On Canada Day I went out for my run a little later than usual. I was feeling lazy and procrastinated so ended up going when it was hotter than I would have liked. I made the last minute decision to reverse my run and run the Cherry Beach Trail first (usually if I run Cherry Beach on my own I save the trail for the end to make my run more interesting). As I was running towards the beach I heard someone yelling my name. I stopped and looked around and saw a hand waving out of a cube van. My first marathon clinic instructor Jason is a mover so I realized that it must be him. I went back and I saw him and he told me that he would pull over up ahead. This was a funny coincidence because I haven’t seen Jason since he moved out of the province over a year ago! It was great to catch up and he mentioned that he recognized me by my running gait. This actually makes sense since he trained me for 18 weeks, and I’m pretty sure I could recognize most of my runner friends by their running gaits too. I guess it’s a runner thing.

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Ran into Jason on Canada Day! He trained me for my first marathon.

Run TO Beer – July

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Enjoying a complimentary beer at the Run TO Beer event. It was such a hot day!

#STWM organized a beer run with Run TO Beer, a group in Toronto who, as their name implies, run together and then go for beer. Dan and I attended this run and were thrilled to discover that it was to a brewery in the east end, so we didn’t have to go too far. They had three distances to choose from and we opted to run the shortest distance – the 3k route. I had just finished running 13k that morning with my running group and Dan is coming back from injury, so the 3k route was perfect for us. The run was organized so that the 10k group started and along the way picked up the 5k group, and then along the way they picked us up and we just joined in and started running. It was so hot and I was thankful that we didn’t run further. The run ended with some free beer at Left Field Brewery. What an awesome way to cool down!

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I’m hoping to go to another Run TO Beer run in September. I wonder which brewery we’ll run to.

#STWM Medal Reveal

Runners at the site of the landmark that is featured on this year's medal. What an awesome way to reveal it! Photo courtesy of Canada Running Series.

Runners at the site of the landmark that is featured on this year’s medal. What an awesome way to reveal it! Photo courtesy of Canada Running Series.

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Arlene and I taking a selfie with the Humber Bay Arch Bridge. It was so good to run with her again. Just like old times!

Last week, #STWM held a medal reveal run. Every year, their medal features a Toronto landmark that can be found along the marathon route. This year, to unveil the new design they planned a run where we met at a brewery and then followed the run leaders to get to the route. Arlene, who trained for my first marathon with me (and is doing an awesome job coming back from injury) drove in from Brampton to join me. We thought that the run was 4k and only after we started did we realize that it was 4k out and 4k back! Oh well! It was exciting and I also got to say hi to other digital champions and catch up on how their training was going (and somebody also recognized me from Instagram! It was fun to meet her in real life. By the way, my Instagram account is @ylingp if you’d like to follow along). After much anticipation, we ended up at the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, which is the featured landmark on this year’s medal! I’m so excited! I had actually never run on the bridge before, being from the east end, but this bridge represents a lot to many runners in the city. A lot of people run on it during their training and I used to dream about running on it when I passed it from the highway. I’m glad my dream finally came true! At the unveiling, Arlene and I also met Canadian Olympic marathoner Eric Gillis! He also ran and chatted with us for a while on our way back to the pub. He’s so nice (and such a fast runner). We were starstruck.

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I can’t wait to have this medal hanging around my neck! Less than two months to go until the race!

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Arlene and I with Canadian Olympian Eric Gillis! We were thrilled.

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Arlene and I met @jzlivinlife. She’s training for her first half and doing awesome!

So, now that I’m just past the halfway point in training I’m feeling pretty good. I feel stronger and faster. We have two more weeks of hill training and start speed work next week. On Sunday I was supposed to run 29k but my friend and I got lost a few times and ended up running closer to 32k. Oh well, we had to do it eventually I guess! I’m feeling pretty good. So we’ll see how the second half goes. I’ll have some more updates soon, including race recaps from the three half marathons I’ve run in 2015 (I’ve pb’d at every half that I’ve run this year!) and a recap on one of the highlights of my summer, the annual Berger Pit Fun Run!

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