I want this shirt for the Terroir Run on May 24!

I want this shirt for the Terroir Run on May 24!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an awesome little run in Prince Edward County called the Terroir Run. This small 11K run culminates in a catered party and wine tasting and it won my heart immediately. Wine + running?! Say no more. I’m in. Both my husband and I signed up immediately, along with my good friend Tina and her husband Bergen.

Recently, I caught up with Terroir Run co-founder Rebecca LeHeup and asked her a couple questions about this unique run in wine country. Here’s what she had to say:

How did the Terroir Run start? What was the inspiration for it? 

Andrew [Terroir Run co-founder] and I were sitting on our waterfront patio 4 years ago on a sunny March Sunday. We went to register for the Ottawa Half Marathon in May only to find out it was SOLD OUT! We decided that we needed to train for something so why not create our own run and incorporate our other passions – wine and food. Hence – the Terroir Run was born.

What kind of experience can people expect? 

Our runners can expect a leisurely (this is not a race) run along paved county roads that are lined by vineyards and farmers fields. At the post run lunch (after completing 11km) our runners celebrate the bounty of the county with a locally sourced lunch featuring wines from the wineries in the region.

Why is registration limited to just 100 people? Are there plans to make it bigger in future, or is that part of the appeal?

The Terroir Run is an intimate experience where our runners get to meet and socialize with each other post-run. Our post-run celebration location reaches its capacity at 100 people – so while we could grow it – it would lose part of the charm. We’re more likely to expand the number of runs that we do in wine country Ontario rather than make our run larger.

If you had to describe the event in three words, what would they be?

Run for Wine

What type of person would this race most appeal to? 

Our run is not for the hard core race junkie. Anyone can complete our run as its only 11km – whether they choose to run or walk. Those who appreciate an authentic taste of place will love it!

Is the event timed, or is it more of a fun run? 

This is a fun run. We always have a run tracker at the finish line to take runners names and time as they come in. The first three men and women get complimentary registration for the following year. We don’t post the times.

Can you give any hints about what will be in the race kit?

In your Wine Country Ontario wine bag you’ll find an awesome custom t-shirt (we use a different artist every year), some Ontario treats care of Taste of Nature and Pluck Teas, a passport for complimentary tastings at participating wineries and a discount card to get your kitchen goodies at Zest Kitchen.

What can participants expect at the post-race party, aside from wine of course! 

We’ll be serving up Humble Bread delights prepared by Chef Cynthia Peters of From the Farm Cooking School, there will be chilled PEC Lavender Tea from Pluck Teas, fresh spring salads featuring greens from Vickis Veggies, woodfired pizza from the crew at Norman Hardie Winery. Of course, runners can sip on a variety of County wines, County Cider and Barley Days Brews! New for this year is our Zest Costume Award – runners who show up in costume are entered in a chance to win an awesome Zest Kitchen Picnic Prize.

At the time of publishing, there were only 27 spots left, so if this sounds like an event you want to be a part of, make sure you register right away. I’ll see you at the wine-line.

Disclosure: In return for my blog posts on this run, I received free race registration. 

As if there was any doubt.

As if there was any doubt.

The Toronto Yonge Street 10K marked my first race of 2014 and what I am affectionately calling a personal (second) best. With a final time of 51:04, I was just over a minute off my goal time, and my all-time personal best of 49:59.

I was really hoping to squeak in under 50 minutes, but I just couldn’t do it. Strategically, I ran the race backwards. I started out WAY too fast. I blasted off the start line with an average pace far outside my comfort zone. Coupled with the downhill, I was flying. Well, I felt like I was flying. If you take a look at my race photos, I look like I’m lumbering along on the brink of a stroke. But I felt fast!  So fast in fact, that I think I actually got a PB for 5K. I crossed the halfway point at 24:55 – on track for my much coveted sub-50 time.

But I couldn’t keep it up. I fell apart around 6K. With a mixture of self-pity and anger, I watched as the 50 minute pacer overtook me and soon ran out of sight. I tried to push myself to stay next to him but I was suffering. I knew I couldn’t keep up the pace and I had to pull back.

I was mad at myself for making such a rookie mistake. For months, my plan was to run a more conservative 5K and then let it rip in the last 5K. Instead, I did the exact opposite. I’m usually very good at pacing myself but I just got aggressive. I’ve been training at a great pace lately, but mostly for quick, short runs – like 5-6K. No wonder I couldn’t keep it up!

As usual, the race was super well organized and efficient. It doesn’t hurt that we live 800 metres from the starting line.

The bag check was the best I’ve ever experienced. I was just making my way to the buses to pick up my bag, talking on my phone to my husband who also ran a great race and someone tapped me on the shoulder and handed me my bag! One of the volunteers saw my bib number, found my bag and gave it to me without me even asking or standing in any sort of line up. Brilliant!

A big shout-out to Mother Nature for giving us perfect racing conditions. A great day makes such a difference. And big thanks for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K Digital Champions. What a great support network of awesome runners.

The good news is that a sub-50 time is totally attainable. I know exactly what I need to do now. I’ll keep working on speed and endurance and I’m confident I can shave off 65 seconds before The Sporting Life 10K in May.

Toroto Yonge Street 10K

That time I forgot a hair elastic and went for a run anyway.

That time I forgot a hair elastic and went for a run anyway.

My first race of 2014 is just fourshort days away. I’ll be running the Toronto Yonge Street 10K along with thousands of fabulous runners and my fellow Digital Champions. I’ve been working on speed this winter and I’m excited to see what time I can achieve this weekend.

On Tuesday night, I had one of my fastest runs in recent memory. I went for a 6K run with the folks at the Briar Hill Lululemon and we maintained a pace close to or slightly under 5:00 minutes/km. It was tough. But I did it. It gives me hope that a sub-50 10K is a real possibility. And if it’s not, then I know how much work I need to do in advance of the Sporting Life 10K in May.

I plan to run the first half of this race fast, but slightly under my race pace, taking advantage of the steeper downhill at the beginning of the route. Then, if I’m feeling OK, I’ll let it rip in the last 5K and soar across the finish line like a cheetah.

That said, I’m going to try really hard not to get hung up on time. Overall, I just want to have a good run to kick off the 2014 race season.

The weather also looking promising. Double digit temperatures are in store for Sunday!  I might only need to wear 1 layer. How liberating!

Good luck to all the runners this weekend! I’ll see you at the finish line.

Sister 10KA few weeks ago, I published my first guest post from my friend Danielle who convinced her older sister to train for and run her first 10K race. They have reached the halfway point in their training so the following post is an update on their journey so far. 

As far as I am concerned the mid training update couldn’t have come soon enough.  I have so much to share. My heart is swollen with pride.

Both Dee and Alanna literally took the 10K challenge and “ran with it!” I originally thought that the only way to get Alanna to commit to the race, along with all of the training, was to make it public.  But now that we have reached the half way point, I have realized  that just isn’t the case.

Somewhere deep within, Alanna has tapped into her running chi and is more driven than ever.  She is so motivated, it’s motivating!  Let’s face it, if anyone needed an excuse to skip a run, this frosty spring has provided us with many opportunities.  Alanna, however, hasn’t let anything interrupt her training.  I was nervous as she hit a road block in the very first week of conditioning.  She had to take her son to a hockey tournament in Windsor.  I have to admit I thought, “Here we go. Already running will be pushed aside.”  Well, I couldn’t have been more surprised and more delighted when late Saturday night I received a text along with a picture of Alanna’s first run on the hotel treadmill!  I can’t lie, it made me cry.  She also thanked me, rather than curse me, for encouraging her to “do this.”

Every day Alanna continues to impress me.  She maps out runs, asks if we can try to go further (yesterday we hit 6.1 K) and  seeks running advice.  She even finds porta-potties while running rather than turning around and calling it quits when a sudden urge to pee threatens the completion of a run!

My family and I all see a new woman.  She is confident.  Hell, she even runs the track in front of her ex and all of the parents while her boys practice lacrosse!  If you ask me, there really isn’t a better way to show the world, “Hey, I’m doing okay.  I’m working on me, and I’m going to be just fine.”

2013 was brutal, but my family (especially my parents) never wavered in their support for a second.  So naturally they too have jumped onto the running train.  My dad, who just turned 60 two weeks ago, books it around the block, sprints for the finish line, and is always the first to start back up when we take a little walk break.  My mom busts a move too and then always whips up a delicious kale salad as a post run meal for us all.

The benefits of running are endless: more family time, the desire to eat healthy, better sleeps, and plans to keep on going once the race is over.  My entire family is already gearing up for the Kitchener Colour 5K in June!

We have all received so much support and again, I thank Miranda for sharing our successes with the running world!

Alanna, I am so proud of you.  So are your boys. I hear it in their voices when they ask you if you are running today.  Mom and Dad are proud and so is Dee.  Keep going sister.  You got this!

Stay tuned to hear how we do and help us celebrate our journey.  We are so appreciative of all of the support.  It definitely adds a little pep to our step!  Fingers crossed for warm weather on race day!


April 10K Running Room training clinicAlright folks. We’re trying this again. I’ll be leading a new 10K Training Clinic at the Liberty Village Running Room starting on April 22.

You may remember that I was leading a 10K clinic back in February that was sadly cancelled due to lack of registration. Boo.

And listen, I get it. Only crazy people run in a polar vortex through the dark streets of Toronto three times a week, not to mention our Sunday morning wakeup call at 8:30 a.m.

But there’s nothing holding you back now! Any reservations you had in February are gone. There’s no polar vortex or lack of sunlight. Spring is here! Hibernation is over. It’s time to dust off your shoes and join me for an awesome, 11-week training session.

We kick things off on April 22. I’ll be co-instructing this clinic with an awesome partner named Christy. She’s a pro. Not only has she run an Ironman (!!!), she has taught several 10K clinics so you’re in good hands with the two of us.

This clinic is perfect if you’re targeting a late June race. The goal race for this particular clinic is The Run to Finish Huntington Disease which takes place on June 22 at Wilket Creek Park in Toronto.

We meet three times a week: Tuesdays @ 7pm, Wednesdays @ 6:30 pm and Sunday mornings at 8:30 am. I know Sunday mornings are a tough pill to swallow, but if you can get into a routine, you will feel like a total rockstar for getting in a great run before most people you know are even out of bed.

In addition to weekly runs that gradually increase in distance, we’ll also incorporate speed work and hill training. I know hill training sounds particularly awful but trust me, you’ll thank me on race day. Speed work and hill training are the sorts of workouts you never do on your own and they make you a better runner. Every week, we’ll also bring in engaging guest speakers to talk about interesting topics like nutrition, pacing, stretching and choosing the right shoes.

To sign up for the clinic, click here.

Hope to see you on April 22!

This pretty much sums it up: my Runner's World water bottle and a bunch of drugs.

This pretty much sums it up: my Runner’s World water bottle, an Ottawa Marathon pen and a bunch of drugs. And no, I did not stage this photo.

I was feeling the hints of a cold on Tuesday. A tickly throat and stuffy nose. It was minor, but I could feel something coming on.

To fight it, I thought I would run it out.Yes, I thought. A good sweat on the treadmill should do it. I went for a fast 7K run and felt great. Take that cold!

The next day, I felt about the same. I would have preferred to skip my evening workout, but I promised someone I would lead their run – a 5K along the waterfront. The last thing I felt like doing was running 5K along the cold, windy waterfront, but I did it anyway. Maybe it will cure me, I thought optimistically!

Incorrect. I am now 100% sick.

I missed my Thursday and Friday workout and worked from home today in an effort to keep my germs to myself. I feel anxious and squirrely. Runners are the worst. We never want to skip workouts, even when we’re sick. But when is it OK to run, and when should we take it easy?

The general rule of thumb is that if your symptoms are below the neck (chest cold, fever, body aches, bronchial infection, or cough), you should take some time off. If the symptoms are above the neck (runny nose, sneezing, or stuffiness), you’re good to go.

It’s a fine line though and you should always listen to your body and proceed with caution. Overdoing things could cause a minor cold to escalate into something much more serious.

I do love a good Friday workout but I’m going to sit this one out. The weather forecast looks promising for the weekend so maybe I’ll be cured in time for a long run on Sunday.

mapIt’s hard to believe that the Toronto Yonge Street 10K is less than one month away. All winter long I kept dreaming about Spring race season and with the frigid temperatures, it still feels like Spring is a loooong way away. I woke up this morning, ready to tackle 10K with my other Digital Champions and was thrilled to see the sunshine. Finally, I thought. A nice day for a run.

For those that don’t know, I am working with Canada Running Series as a Digital Champion. Myself, along with several other awesome runners, are sharing our training adventures online through blogs, Twitter and Facebook to raise awareness about the race and encourage other people to join. We also get some cool perks, like this PowerBar gift pack that arrived in the mail recently.

After getting dressed in what felt like 47 layers, we made our way to the Yonge Street Running Room for the tune-up run, a training run designed to make sure we’re on track for race day. I was looking forward to seeing everyone and testing my speed after weeks of indoor and outdoor speed training. As soon as I walked out the door, I knew this run wasn’t going to be the swift, warm run I envisioned. The temperature was -9 and it felt more like -500. My face was numb after 800 metres.

Whenever I run in the cold, I can’t talk properly. My face freezes and I can’t move my lips. I slur my words and I sound drunk – an awesome first impression for some of the other Digital Champions that I’d only ever met online!

The route went through some delightful neighbourhoods with giant homes and gorgeous landscaped yards. But there were a lot of loooong, seemingly endless up-hills. I tried to stay strong but ended up taking more than a few walk breaks.

All this complaining aside, we did get to meet Olympian Eric Gillis. In fact, we even ran with him… for about 12 seconds. He dashed away almost as soon as we could exchange one sentence, but it was an honour to run beside him, even for a fleeting moment. Where’s the picture you ask? I was far too cold to even entertain taking off my gloves to snap a picture. Sorry friends.

We made it back to the store in just over an hour. Definitely not the speedy 10K I imagined. I went home and was immediately overcome by post-run shivers. I am pretty well convinced I will never be warm again.

I know everyone is tired of hearing people complain about the weather, but Mother Nature is really sabotaging my outdoor runs. I am SO over winter temperatures. I’m not asking for a lot. Two, three degrees would do. I can only hope and pray that by race day on April 13, I will be able to wear fewer layers!

Are you training for any Spring races? How has the chilly winter effected your training?