2016 Running Year in Review

Happy new year! I hope everybody’s 2017 is off to a good start. I was originally going to have my first run of the year at the annual Hair of the Dog 9k race located in the Beaches area of Toronto. I was all set to go and got into my car only to discover that it was dead. We hadn’t allotted enough time to cover the 5kms to get to the start line (and sign up, and check bags etc.) so I said forget it. It was a sign. We celebrated Jan. 2 with a brand new car battery.

I’ve really neglected my blog this year and have many half written posts in the draft section. Now that it’s the new year I thought I’d get off to a good start by doing a quick sum up of 2016. While 2015 was my year of PBs (personal bests), this year was full of slower times and many struggles to finish my races (my own fault for doing too much). This year was also full of many positives and if I had one word to sum up my running experience in 2016, then it would be community. I think deep down we’re always searching for that feeling of belonging, and this year I found it in the running community. Here are some highlights.

Disney, Disney, Disney

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My 2016 RunDisney medals.

2016 was also the year of Disney.  This year we ended up running at not one, but three different Disney parks! We ran the Rebel Challenge (10k and half marathon) in Disneyland, then the Dark Side Challenge (10k and half marathon) in Disney World where we completed the Coast to Coast Challenge (run in Disneyland and Disney World in the same calendar year) and Kessel Run Challenge (run the Light Side half and Dark Side half in the same calendar year).

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At the Star Wars Light Side Half marathon with my newly earned medals.


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At the finish line of the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon.


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Dan and I at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival at the end of our Dark Side race weekend.

After that for good measure, we also ran the Disneyland Paris half marathon where we earned the Castle to Chateau Challenge medal (run a half marathon in Disneyland or Disney World and Disneyland Paris in the same calendar year). I can’t resist a good challenge and we also spent a week eating our way through Paris!

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High fives while running down Main Street USA at the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.

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I love Paris!

I love Disney and hope to go back someday to Disney World to tackle the Dopey Challenge. Another highlight was meeting Mickey Mouse five times on our trip to Disney World (though kind of hilarious considering we’re a middle aged couple with no kids!).

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Mickey and Minnie sandwiched me with hugs!

Beaches Running Room

The Beaches area in Toronto is like my second home. This year I continued to run with friends in the area as well as make new running friends. I had the privilege of running in clinics instructed by my friends Beth and Lyndsey (with Jose as the team leader), and Larry. I learned a lot from them and they continue to give me advice and encouragement.

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Enjoying our post-race porridge at the Robbie Burns 8k race (now an annual tradition for us!)


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We had to get a picture with the chili pepper at the Chilly Half Marathon.


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Beth gave me this picture of us. We had just finished Around the Bay together (I’ll post my race recap on this soon!).


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With our medals after the Race Roster Spring Run Off.


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Jumping for joy after the Waterfront 10k.


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Arlene and I actually became friends through the Running Room in Brampton. I was happy to see her at the Waterfront 10k and share some laughs.


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My marathon clinic after a 17k hill workout in the pouring monsoon-like rain!


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We also have a quarterly reunion with our clinic instructor from the winter 2014-15 half marathon clinic.

Ottawa Marathon and STWM

I had such an amazing time (both chip time and experience) at STWM (Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon) in the fall of 2015 that I decided I wanted to run more marathons. Both marathons were hours slower than my PB so I’ve learned my lesson; respect the distance. I signed up for the Ottawa Marathon on a whim, thinking that “it would be fun.” Instead it taught me how to persevere. I wanted redemption at STWM but the summer kicked my butt and the hot and humid temperatures turned my goal into finishing. This year I’m taking a break from full marathons to give my body time to recover and hopefully not repeat these mistakes again!

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Screenshot from my GoPro video at the Ottawa Marathon.


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Training for STWM involved lots of community running events thanks to Canada Running Series. This one was co-led by Night Terrors Run Crew. Photo by Inge Johnson.


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Exactly one week after running STWM I climbed 1,775 steps up the CN Tower to raise money for United Way. Surprisingly, I took over a minute off of my time (Last year I finished in 20 minutes and change).


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Celebrating finishing STWM and the end of our marathon clinic.

JP’s Team

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Jumping on the dock with JP’s Team.

I also had the privilege to join JP’s Team for a few fun runs and cheer for them/be cheered by them at races. They are an amazing group of runners and I’m proud to support them as they raise money for The Gatehouse and Little Warriors, as well as awareness of childhood sexual abuse. I made a video of one of our fun runs.

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At JP’s book launch.


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With my shoe twin Gillian. We even wear the same size shoes!


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Running a few kilometres with JP during his quadruple marathon.


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At the holiday fun run with JP’s Team. Even Santa joined us for the picture! Photo by Edison Yao.


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Brunch!

RunTOBeer

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Photo by Inge Johnson.

This year I also ran a lot more with RunTOBeer. As a regular attendee I’ve now met more runners through them (enough that some of them have recognized me and said hi at other races). They’re a fun and inclusive group and give me an excuse to run and explore a different part of the city, as well as try different craft beers. I’m looking forward to more running, beer and high fives with them in 2017.

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Running through the high five tunnel. This is one of my favourite parts of RunToBeer. Photo by Inge Johnson.

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Larry and I in our matching RunToBeer singlets (though I actually know him from the BRC and Running Room).


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We met and got to chat with Canadian Women’s Marathon Record Holder Lanni Marchant at RunToBeer.


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Leanne (fellow Ginger Runner-watcher and Oiselle-lover) and I got to meet and chat with Lanni again at RunToBeer a few weeks later.

Beaches Runners Club
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This year I started running with the Beaches Runners Club (BRC) though some of their members have been telling me that I’m a member since last year. They also run out of the Running Room, which is how I met most of them. They’re a great group! There’s a lot of overlap between groups (most of the pictures that I put under the Running Room also include members of the BRC).

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The Tannenbaum 10k is run by the BRC and it was my first race where I wore my shirt. I wasn’t having a good race and Patrick saw my shirt, caught up with me at the end and ran me in! My last kilometre was my fastest and I finished with a smile on my face. Photo by Larry Lewis.


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The BRC’s end of year bash and annual awards night. Larry won Member of the Year (Karen was nominated as well). Sam won Rookie of the Year. Dave started talking about an honourable mention for somebody who ran “approximately 30 races.” I was standing there thinking “Who is this crazy person who ran so many races?” when he asked me “What’s the actual number?” Then I realized that he was talking about me! (and the answer is 16:).

Other non-running related highlights

In 2016 I also got to celebrate the marriage of one of my oldest friends, as well as the marriage of one of my closest friends.

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Serena and Simon’s wedding (also the night before the Waterfront 10k).


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10 years of weddings with my friends. The last one was exactly ten years and one day after the first one. What an honour to celebrate with everybody throughout the years.

We also had a girls weekend in Florida where we saw dolphins (probably one of the best moments of my life. No exaggeration!).

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One of several dolphins that we saw from my friend’s uncle’s boat. We also saw baby dolphins!

For 2017, I’ve decided to take it easy and run less races, focus more on quality workouts and cross training, and continue to have fun.

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