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!


Getting Ready for #ECSWI

I’m leaving in a couple days for a road trip with my friend, Sigrid, to Wisconsin for the North Face Endurance Challenge Series. When I first looked into this race, it became obvious pretty quickly that the most logical thing to do is camp at the state park where the race is held. So that’s just what we’re doing! The ultra + camping will be quite an adventure.
The plan is to leave Toronto on Thursday and drive just over half way there that day. We’ve rented a cabin in Michigan for the night which I thought would be a great way to break up the drive. On Friday, we’ll stop in Brookfield, WI to pick up our race kits and then to Kettle Moraine State Park to set up our campsite. We’ll be camping for two nights and then we’ve rented an Airbnb on the way back to ease back into civilization.

Quite honestly, it’s been quite a while since I’ve been camping. Now that we have the van, it’s usually a lot easier to just bring use that. A couple weeks ago I had to assemble our tent to make sure that we had all the pieces and I could do it. The tent is good to go!

It turns out that camping plus an ultra is going to require a lot of stuff! Here’s what I’m bringing:

– tent
– sleeping bag
– sleeping pad
– cooking equipment
– propane stove
– coolers & food
– warm clothes (it’s supposed to get pretty cold at night)
– bathing suit (hoping for a post race swim)
– rain jacket
– hammock
UD hydration pack
– road and trail shoes
– singlet
– shorts
BibRave hoodie
– Pro compression socks
– nutrition for the run
– hat

There are probably more things that I’m forgetting but I still have two days to make lists. I’m getting really excited that this is happening so soon! I have wanted to run in Kettle Moraine for a long time so I can’t wait to see what it’s like.

This is my last planned ultra for the year too!

What’s your next race? Have you tried camping + running?

Happy running?