A Look Back at 2016

sunset californiaRunning wise, this year has been a mixed bag for me, I’ve learned some tough lessons but also had some great races. Personally, I’ve had a great year – Callum and I got married, I have a new niece and we left Toronto at the beginning of November for an extended roadtrip across the USA.

Let’s start at the beginning. Last winter was another cold one and I managed to run through it which is always a big accomplishment. I had a recurring knee injury throughout the first few months of 2016 which eventually flared up causing me to DNF at the Sulphur Springs 100 in May. That was my first DNF and caused me to question a lot about running. I took a little bit time off and re-evaluated what I wanted from running.

sulphur springs 100

I actually didn’t train much during the summer, I temporarily hired a coach that had me running really low mileage. I ended up running the Black Spur 54km with my longest training run being 15km! Black Spur was also my first mountain race, something that I’d wanted to try for a long time and it was tough.

black spur ultra
During the summer, my goal was a fast fall marathon. As it got closer, it was obvious that I hadn’t done enough long training runs to attempt that so I signed up for the half-marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM).

In mid-September, my friend Sigrid and I road tripped to Wisconsin for the North Face Endurance Challenge Series Wisconsin. Race day ended up being beautiful weather and the flatish course allowed me to get a 50km PR there.

north face endurance challenge 50km
To close out the year, I raced the STWM half and had a really tough race but managed to take almost 5 minutes off my PB!

Looking back, what started off as a tough year allowed me to reevaluate what I really wanted to do and try some new things.

Stats for this year:

  • Total kilometres: 2,654 km (1,649 miles)
  • Runs: 214
  • Total elevation gain: 20,076 m (65,866 ft)
  • Races: 10
  • Ultras: 5
  • Set personal records for the 10km, half-marathon and 50km

In early November, Callum and I left to start our van trip to the US. In the last two months, I’ve run in the desert, at elevation in the mountains, along the ocean and through forests. I’ve also spent a lot of time struggling to get in enough mileage but the amazing places I sometimes get to run more than make up for it.

van rocky mountains
On NYE, I closed out 2016 with a long run along the ocean in LA with Callum. I have some big running plans for 2017 already and I can’t wait to take all the lessons I’ve learned this year to make 2017 an even better year!

What’s on the calendar for 2017 already –

San Tan Scramble 50km outside of Phoenix, AZ next week (Jan 7)
Lone Star 100km race in El Paso, TX in early February
Ragnar Relay from Cobourg to Niagara Falls, ON in late May
Sulphur Springs 100 miler – I have some unfinished business there!

How was your year? What’s your biggest goal for 2017?

Happy running!

Running in California


We’ve been in California for a couple weeks now and I thought it might be time to share my adventures! Running wise, it’s been a mixed bag. I’ve had some incredible runs and I’ve also spent a lot of time trying not to die while running on the side of the highway.

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-1-09-02-pm

I’m training for the Lone Star 100 (100 km) and following a schedule with two hard weeks followed by an easy week. Finding places to run on the weeks where every run is 10km+ has been really challenging. Thankfully, Callum and I have been running together usually 3 out of my 5 runs a week. It’s been really nice to have the company and he has also been pushing me to run a lot faster than I would on my own.


Highlights:

  • Running through the redwoods in Humboldt Redwoods State Park – those trees are inconceivably big if you’ve never seen them! We tried to follow a trail for a while but kept getting lost and eventually gave up and ran on the road lined by redwoods.
  • Following part of the North Face Endurance Challenge Series course through the Marin Headlands – I had heard a lot about the Marin Headlands so I knew we had to go run there! We parked at Muir Beach and ran up to the Muir Woods National Monument, apparently there are beautiful views but all we saw was fog!
  • Running through the vineyards in Napa – while it’s not the traditional way, this was a great way to experience wine country. It was a beautiful run surrounded by miles and miles of vineyard.
  • Running along the beach in Santa Barbara – after a lot of rain and chilly weather, we lucked out on a perfect day! It was warm but not hot and it was really sunny. There are lots of km of paved paths along the ocean that are easy to navigate (big bonus and happens surprisingly rarely). It was a day where I happily would have kept running for hours!
  • Running in a singlet in December! – obviously we’re in southern California in December so you’d expect warm weather but this one still makes me so happy every time (and it actually hasn’t happened that often)!

I am spending the next week in Long Beach, CA for Christmas and New Years and then heading to Arizona for the San Tan Scramble 50km!

Anyone have any LA area running suggestions?

I hope everyone has a great Christmas and holiday season! Happy running!