Shoe Review: Adidas Ultra Boost Uncaged

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Last week I received an email from Adidas Canada asking if I would be interested in receiving a pair of their new Ultra Boost Uncaged running shoes. The answer of course was a “YES” please! In case you didn’t know, the hype surrounding Adidas Ultra Boost is insane and certain colour ways can be found on eBay for 100s of dollars. The original Ultra Boost has plastic “caging” on the sides of the midfoot, so for the uncaged version this is not present. The Ultra Boost Uncaged were released for the first time a few weeks ago and sold out instantly!

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The specs on theses shoes are:
Weight: 9oz
Heel drop: 10mm
Price: $209 CAD

I tested these shoes for comfort while standing and walking in them for 6 hrs at work. They felt wonderful. I also took them out for an 11km run which consisted of a 20 minute warm-up, 8 x 2 mins @ 8km pace, and a 20 minute cool-down. They were a great choice for this workout due to the incredibly responsive, energetic “boost” sole of the shoe. I also really enjoy the hugged sensation provided by the “primeknit” material on the shoes’ upper. It is a pleasant and secure hugged feeling without being restricted in your range of motion.

The Ultra Boost Uncaged was originally released in grey and pink for women. I LOVE the grey colour way. More colour ways are coming very soon! I have my eye on the triple black (sole is also black), they are a great looking shoe.

The Ultra Boost Uncaged meets Adidas promise of providing a super responsive ride. They were great for a run that included speed work and I have no doubt they would continue to feel great on a longer run. Plus, they get mad style points, not many performance running shoes offer that! My rating is a 5/5.

*Though these shoes were given to me by Adidas, the opinions are my own.

Training Recap July 18-24

I have 11 more weeks of training until my 1st ever marathon! Yes, that is almost 3 months, but I have a feeling it will fly by and soon I will be toeing that start line anxiously! So, what did my training consist of last week?

Monday: 16km “easy”, part 1 with Sport Chek Robson Training Club, part 2 at The Adidas Runners Vancouver Launch x East Van Run Crew (my regular run crew), part 3 my solo run home. I also did Gracie Gold’s Core Strength Workout from The Nike Training Club app.

Tuesday: OFF. I did a strength training circuit, lots of body weight exercises like planks, squats, lunges etc.

Wednesday: Interval workout with the Sport Chek Robson Training Club at Beaver Lake. This was a 1-2-3-2-1-2-3-2-1 fartlek workout. They said it was hard, which was the idea. The total was: 10.82km. I also did Joselynne Boschen’s Alpha Abs Workout from The Nike Training Club app- my abs were sore for 2 days after, but it was great.

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Thursday: 40 mins “easy”, this ended up being 7.33km, while I tested out my new shoes. You can about them here: Shoe Review: Under Armour Gemini 2

Friday: Run and circuit workout with Sport Chek Robson Training Club. We ran to China Creek Park and did laps around the park as well as body weight exercises using the exercise equipment there, we included hill sprints in our circuit too! The total was 10.07km.

Saturday: I did a 20 minute warm-up, 3 x 10 mins @ marathon pace, 20 min cool-down for a total of: 13.73 km. I also did the same strength training circuit from Tuesday.

Sunday:  I did a 45 min yoga class with the Sport Chek Robson Training Club, followed by 45 min “easy” run, 8km.

Total Weekly Mileage: 65.95km

I will be in Squamish for half of the week participating in a running camp led by my coach! I am super excited.

Shoe Review: Under Armour Gemini 2

imageAs a runner and shoe nerd, I have tried many brands and styles of athletic shoes. However, until this evening I had never run in any Under Armour shoes. I was lucky enough to receive these from work (#workperks), so before I tell you my review here are the specs:

  • Offset: 8mm
  • Weight: 9oz
  • Price: $160 CAD

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I took these out for a 20 minute walk and a 7km easy run. They were great for walking, and I felt like I was being propelled forward. This was followed by a 40 minute easy run which was just over 7km. At 9oz the Gemini 2 are quite light in weight, which I liked. They pack a lot of cushioning into those 9oz. Each brand has their own type or name of cushioning and Under Armour uses speedform. They feel springy and I would consider them to be quite responsive. These would be an ideal shoe for any kind of speed work.

In terms of fit, I found them true to size.  The Gemini 2 hug the midfoot in a way that feels secure. They are spacious in the toe box, which I liked. My feet are on the wider side, but these fit perfectly!

They come in many different colour choices and let’s be honest, colour matters to MOST people. I especially like the fade detail on the side of the shoe that goes from turquoise like the shoe’s upper to green like the laces.

Overall, I was impressed with the Gemini 2 and would give them a 3.5/5.

Summerfast 10k and Weekend Recap

This weekend my friend Tory came to visit, we went to high-school together in Toronto and then were roommates at University of Guelph. She is living in Calgary for the summer to complete a placement at a law firm there. Since Calgary is much closer to Vancouver than Toronto, she was able to visit for the weekend! This was her first time in BC so I got to play Vancouver tour guide for the weekend. This is a recap of what we did, ate, and saw.

Friday: 

Tory’s flight arrived at 6:30pm, I finished up with my Sport Chek Run Group just in time to meet her at Waterfront Station. A few months ago, a Catfe (cat cafe) opened in Vancouver which I have been VERY eager to visit. If you know Tory, you know she LOVES animals, especially cats and dogs, so I reserved us a spot for Friday night. Before we arrived at Catfe, I had this vision of a small room filled with cats and kittens, by filled I mean like a ball room with cats instead of balls. Obviously, this was unrealistic for many reasons, but I was still a bit disappointed when there were only 15 cats. Also, there were 10 other people, requiring us to “share” the cats, many of which were fast asleep! I would recommend going earlier in the day when the cats would potentially be more awake and haven’t spent the whole day entertaining humans. Nonetheless, it was still enjoyable and really, how many of us can say we have visited a cat cafe before? IMG_4240After almost an hour at Catfe, and many photos later, we decided to move on and grabbed some chicken burritos at Tacofino. They were good, but probably not the ideal pre-race food. We stayed up pretty late (well for me) catching up about everything and eventually went to bed at around 11:30pm.

Saturday:

My 6:20am wake-up call interrupted my regular pre-race nightmare of my alarm not going off and me missing the race. I got dressed, had my regular breakfast of coffee, oatmeal and WATER, and ran slowly to Ceperley Field in Stanley Park, the start line of the Summerfast 10k. I got my bib, dropped off my bag and continued to warm-up before the race. I was probably a little too excited to receive this bib number -for those who don’t know, 416 is Toronto’s original area code and the reason why Drake refers to Toronto as the 6.IMG_4245

My goal going into this race was to finish in an even 45:00 (or less), my coach’s advice was to be patient for the first few km, run the first third with my head, the second third with my mental strength and last third with my heart. This was great advice, but it didn’t play out that way on Saturday. We started running and I was aiming to start at a 4:40-4:45 pace, this was no problem, but I was just not feeling that good, my stomach was not happy. The second km was 4:49, not a pace I was ever intending to drop to. The third km was 4:41, not bad. After the first 3km, I was going to increase the speed to 4:35-4:40. The fourth km was 4:45, too slow. The fifth 4:36, the sixth 4:45 (too slow). All throughout this run my thoughts were a mix of: I feel terrible, should I run into the woods in place of a washroom?/ This does not reflect my training / Where is my energy? The seventh km was 4:49, again a pace too slow for my target. The eighth km was 4:45, ninth was 4:42. With 1km to go I decided to at least finish STRONG, since I hadn’t stopped for the washroom yet, at least there would be one at the finish line. I ran that tenth km in 4:00 minutes and found myself passing everyone in sight. Yes, I am very competetive. With 500M to go there were 5 guys in front of me and I felt a wave of ecstacy shouting, “500m to go guys!” I was hoping they would pick up their speed and join me in a strong finish, but only 1 person reacted. I finished in 46:40, no PB but no PW either. It’s easy to sit around being mad at yourself when your race doesn’t go how you wanted it to, so instead I decided to focus on the positive: I still did it and had a great finish. There are many more races in my future. Next up: Squamish Days 8km!

Tory met me at Forage on Robson for brunch where we enjoyed a brunch of blueberry pancakes for her and french toast for me. Then it was time to head over to Denman and rent bikes to ride around the Seawall. IMG_4294

It was definitely a good idea to  get out there early as all Vancouverites know how busy and mentally taxing it can be to tour the Seawall on a weekend. We saw a seal, stopped for a few photos, and made it to Sunset beach before heading back to return the bikes. We decided to walk Robson to grab some lunch and do a bit of shopping. After an early morning and lots of activity we headed back to Gastown to relax for a bit before dinner and indulge in some TLC classics including My Big Fat American Gipsy Wedding, there is seriously a show for everything.

No trip to Vancouver is complete without eating sushi, so that is what we had for dinner at my go to spot: Tsuki. It was great as always. We went back to my place and hung out for a while waiting for another highschool friend, Rachel to come over, who also happened to be in town. We watched the sunset from my rooftop patio, which we had to ourselves luckily enough.IMG_4296

Saturday was a late night as well and for some reason, when I stay up late, I still wake up early in spite of being very tired. Tory was more fortunate than I and able to sleep in, so I planned the running workouts and routes for this week’s Sport Chek Training Club and filled out my own training schedule spreadsheet.

We spent Sunday morning at Granville Island, looking around, taking photos and eating breakfast at Siegal’s Bagels. We then walked to Kitsilano to look around there and have lunch. We chose Peaceful Restaurant to indulge in some Chinese food. We continued walking around, got ice cream from Rain or Shine and walked over the Burrard bridge, though Yaletown and back to Gastown.

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After a weekend of running, cycling and lots of walking, I feel like I need another day off to do nothing, but no such luck. Time to get back to the grind and run off this weekend’s indulgences. Tonight will be a long run split between the Sport Chek Training club and The Adidas Runner’s Vancouver launch at East Van Run Crew’s Monday nighter.

My First West Coast Trail Run

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I am, and have always been a road runner. My legs are used to pounding away on the pavement without issue. However, since moving out West, I have been longing to hit the trails, the mountains are calling me!  I committed to a training camp with my coach and other athletes in Squamish at the end of July, but wanted to get onto the trails before then. The only hold-up was, I train alone mostly and with trail running it is much safer to go with a partner or group.

I knew my friend Julianne had started to dabble with trail running and was pretty open to running adventures, so we made plans to head out to Norvan Falls. First, I made sure to pick-up the appropriate gear. Since road shoes don’t offer the tread necessary for trail running, I headed to Atmosphere at Park Royal to get some supplies. I ended up choosing the Solomon Speed Cross 3 (pictured below), they are water resistant, which ended up being a great choice when we were running through streams!

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Normally, when I go out for a run I try to avoid carrying “stuff” at all costs. It is typically just my house-keys, IPhone and fuel. For hydration, I rely on fountains which are plentiful on my regular route. You can’t expect to find water fountains when you are running on a trail, so I also got a hydration pack. This is probably the most important piece of equipment to have, especially if you are planning to be out there for many hours at a time. I chose the 1.5L (which is the smallest option I found) Camelbak. If someday I completely transition from a road to a trail runner or become an Ultra Runner, I will have to size up my hydration pack, but this little one is fine for now!

IMG_4178The last thing I made sure to pick-up was fuel. I always bring fuel when I am going to be running for longer than 1.5 hrs. When road running, I tend to go for Honey Stingers Chews because they are easy to eat while in motion and provide the necessary carbohydrates. For trail running, I figured we would probably take a break to re-fuel so I chose Honey Stingers Waffles and Vega Protein Bars.

FullSizeRenderNow, enough about supplies, it is time to talk about the actual trail running experience! As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, we were greeted by an older couple who had just finished their trail run from The Grouse Grind to Lynn Loop, they were super friendly and enthusiastic and told us about several races they had planned for the next few months. It really set the tone for the run and we met many other runners and hikers throughout the morning and exchanged friendly “Good Mornings”.  We started our ascent to Norvan Falls and the wall of trees from the mountains in the background made for some awesome scenery. What made it even better was the sense of being in the “wildnerness” though it is only a short drive from downtown Vancouver. The only sounds were the gushing water from the falls and the sounds of your breath. On the way out, we were lucky enough to have the trail to ourselves! We didn’t see anyone until the bridge, about 300m from the falls. We met a couple of hikers there who took a photo of us.

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After a few more photos we headed to the falls to look explore, re-fuel and take more photos of course! I was absolutely starving, so I ate a waffle AND half a Vega Bar. There was a group of about 8 people at the bottom of the falls who were just finishing up their break, so they took a photo for us also.

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Shortly after this photo, a lot of people started arriving at the falls and it was time for us to start the return trip. It seemed, the rest of Vancouver was now awake and many had a similar idea of how to spend a Sunday morning. We saw many more people on the way back, I would definitely recommend heading out early so you can have a more private experience in the trail. We decided to choose the more technical route on the way back, it was still a beginner level trail (I think), but a bit more challenging than the route we took on the way out.

From my experience yesterday, I can say trail running involves a different kind of engagement than road running. For road running, the pace is the focus, but the scenery and footing may not be. I tend to go into this state where I zone out from everything except the workout I am doing or paces I am targeting. Sometimes I don’t remember seeing certain landmarks I have passed.  For trail running, you absolutely have to focus on your footing, it is kind of like a puzzle at times. Your pace is definitely not the focus, there is a lot of climbing and the terrain makes it difficult to go really fast. For me it was a combination of where should I put my feet/ wow it’s so pretty in here. I was engaged with those two focuses for the entire run and felt very happy doing it. I had an amazing run yesterday and plan to hit the trails once a week for an alternate running experience. The next trail I have my eye on is: Garibaldi Lake.

Training for my first full marathon!

imageRunning a marathon has been on my to-do list for quite some time now. I grew up watching my dad train and complete countless marathons, including Boston (multiple times). So, it’s not hard to understand where my thirst for running comes from!

I have known for a while that I wanted to dedicate myself completely and train for a marathon, but in April this year I officially made the decision. I was watching the live streaming of the Boston Marathon and found it incredibly inspiring, at that moment I knew I was going to complete my first marathon this year. I also knew that running the Boston Marathon was something I wanted to do in the near future. By near future, I mean my original plan was to fly to Regina, Saskatchewan in September and run the Queen City Marathon on September 11 with the intention of qualifying for Boston 2017. That is literally, the last day you can complete a marathon and use it to qualify for the 2017 event because the registration opens the following day!

I registered for the event and told my family of my plan. My coach told me I was more than capable of running a sub 3:35 marathon -the qualifying time for my age, though it has to be at least a few minutes faster than that or more depending on the field. What I didn’t fully realize was that while I am capable of this time goal, it doesn’t mean I am capable of it on my first attempt at a marathon. For 2 months I went along thinking this was attainable and telling various co-workers and running buddies of my goal. And then, last week, reality started to set in, it was just over 2 months until race day and I had yet to run more than 23km on a single run. How was I going to double the mileage and maintain a sub 5:00 min/km pace for 3.5 hrs?

With the realization that my original goal may have been a bit over zealous, came the realization of the financial commitment of flying to and staying in Saskatchewan for a weekend. Flights are pretty steep for that weekend and to be completely honest, Regina isn’t my ideal weekend getaway (no offence). Plus, I am completing another one of my bucket list races in November: the remix challenge at ROCK’n’ROLL Las Vegas, Run the Strip at Night, so it would be more responsible to put my money towards that! Anyway, for all the above mentioned reasons, I decided to give myself an extra month of training, save a bunch of money and run the GoodLife Victoria Marathon on October 9, 2016 instead.

The extra month of training will be beneficial for many reasons, plus I can get more “training” races in before my big day. So far, I am registered for: The Summerfast 10km, The Squamish Days 8km, The Seawheeze Half Marathon, The PNE Donut Dash 5km (doing this one for the medal, let’s be real), and The Eastside 10km. I am also thinking about adding The 5 Peaks Whistler 10.6km enduro course to my race roster. I am a newer trail runner and looking to get onto the trails once a week for now. Fun fact: my second half-marathon ever was a trail half-marathon. It was in Guelph, Ontario and on Halloween weekend while I was in undergrad at University. So, no mountains, but a 6-pack of Corona the night before. Oh have times have changed, and for the better!