Lake Superior – Gate to Gate Run

Goals and Friends

Running has allowed me to meet so many amazing people. I’ve met a number of people online and sometimes I get the opportunity to eventually meet in person. That’s what happened with my friend Agnes. Agnes and I met through facebook a little over a year ago when a number of our mutual friends kept popping up in our news feeds. Agnes and I both support i2P (Impossible to Possible) and we have the same running coach, so it seemed natural to connect.

From the beginning we supported one another with our running goals. The very first time Agnes and I met for coffee we chatted about our running goals ūüôā Agnes mentioned an idea she had for an epic run that she wanted to organize to raise awareness for i2P. My hand went up immediately, please sign me up!¬†Over the next several months whenever Agnes came to Ottawa, we would get together for a running adventure of our own making. It’s been fun. She is seriously a beautiful person with a¬†genuine heart to encourage others.

That of course was before I had any idea what my¬†own epic run in 2017 would require of me. ¬†When Agnes messaged me recently, with the details of her run, I wasn’t sure if I could commit. Would it sideline me from my own training? ¬†Did I want to put finances out when I was already under pressure for the financial commitment to my own run? Would my coach think it was a good idea? ¬†When my coach gave the thumbs up, I decided I had to do this with Agnes and the other stuff would work itself out.

I love what Agnes wrote on facebook about what we were doing? (copied below)

“ad‚ÄĘven‚ÄĘture: n. A challenging journey that pushes us beyond ourselves in a positive direction and allows us to engage the world directly, defy personal limitations, expand our understanding, and inspire others.” Tomorrow, this team is heading up to Lake Superior Provincial Park. This Saturday, we will be running from the North Gate to the South Gate, along one of Canada’s most scenic routes on King’s Highway 17 (part of Trans Canada Highway). This 83 km stretch hugs the rugged shores of Lake Superior, providing spectacular views that were a huge inspiration to Canada’s Group of Seven painters. This is not a race, there will be no medals at the end – we are doing this to bring awareness to impossible2Possible, an amazing organization that inspires us all to reach beyond our perceived limits and create memories of a lifetime.

The Weekend

The weekend started with a 12hr drive from Ottawa to Batchawana Bay, ON. I picked up Gesine early Friday morning and we were off. We ended up driving 12hrs, including a 2hr detour accidentally, but the drive was beautiful, the company amazing and I gained a new friend family member. Finally we arrived, met the rest of the team, had dinner and then a quick photo before heading off to our hotel to get organized and hopefully some sleep.

The Runners

The Runners

Woke up at 4:50 am with the sound of trucks whipping along HWY 17, the same hwy we would be running on. I’ll be honest, this made me somewhat uncomfortable to think that we would be running along this for most of the day/evening. There was no turning back, I pushed those thoughts aside.

Gesine and I realized we were not going to get anymore sleep so we got up and rechecked gear, clothes and of course water/nutrition (in the end we forgot our cooler of extra water/hydration mix)!! We met the other half of the team to start the drive to our drop off point, a 1.5 hr. drive along Lake Superior. We missed our drop off (construction on the road), making our starting time later than we had intended.

On route to our drop off

On route to our drop off

We finally got started close to 9:30 am and the temperature was already climbing, we knew we were in for a hot day.

The entire route was made up of rolling hills (part of the beauty when driving), with some inclines continuing for 2-4 kms at a time. The final 4 km was by far the the worst and steepest, but we completed it!

Shot this video at the 11 km mark along the route.

Some of my thoughts during the run:

  • I am not trained for road running
  • what was I thinking
  • man this is amazingly beautiful
  • no doubt people must think we are insane
  • these truckers are amazing – very supportive – I bet they are messaging other truckers to watch out for us
  • okay, seriously I am not going to be able to complete Bad Beaver let alone Grand to Grand Ultra
  • I don’t think I even want to! (see above thought)
  • Why am I even doing this…oh right, I wanted a BIG goal to demonstrate with hard work and a commitment to working towards my goal I could do the seemingly impossible – to encourage others to dream big….hmmmm
  • UGH why does this right foot always give me issues? I seriously need to have Ryan assess it
  • Just focus on counting, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; 1, 2, 30, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 20; etc.
  • This is spectacular! There are so many fire flies! ¬†It’s seriously magical.
  • Okay, for sure people think we are insane now – running in the dark on hwy 17 with headlamps/wrist lights and reflectors – what a site!

I’m sure there were a lot more positive thoughts as well but mostly they escape me right now ūüôā The whole experience was truly remarkable, I do not regret any of it! The reward was so great!

By mid-afternoon a thunderstorm rolled in with some lightning.  Obviously this caused some concern and we were careful to take cover when necessary. I believe we thought if we took refuge in the van the run could be over! I think we were all avoiding getting in the van. The temperature dropped significantly during the storm and we were drenched. When the rain finally stopped, the warmer temperatures and humidity returned. It did not take long for things to heat up again.

About 11.5 hrs into the run we needed to start preparing for night running. We had headlamps and reflective gear ready to go and of course we were very mindful of traffic (both directions). It was a unique experience for me to be running on a hwy in the dark with fireflies all around. I was accomplishing something I had never done before, the entire experience being etched in my mind and heart.

This video is of Anna and I with 5 km’s to go (for distance runners you get this time in a run when your brains have shut off and it’s hard to think clearly)

The goal: run from the North Gate to the South Gate along Lake Superior, a total of 83 km’s to raise awareness for i2P.

The start - North Gate

The start – North Gate

The Finish - South GAte

The Finish РSouth Gate

 

 

 

 

 

 

The experience: a total of 85 km’s (look out points/beaches along the route, running in and out of bushes (potty breaks) added to the total km’s. ¬†The route provided spectacular views of Lake Superior and gorgeous tree lines. The hwy proved to be incredibly hilly, the first 20-30 km’s seemed to be a consistent¬†incline. ¬†The middle portion seemed more flat(ish) with the decent towards the end. There was a final 3-4 km steady, steeper incline to finish the run. The support from truckers throughout the day was really special. 90+ % of them would move over (if possible), honk their horn and wave! Like cheering us on. Parks Ontario were on route to cheer us on and get some photos, they were really amazed that we were doing this.

Some of the views along the way:

(photo credits to Agnes, Pearl, Anna, Gesine and myself – as we uploaded a bunch and I can’t remember whose was whose ūüôā )

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Park Warden stopping in to meet us.

IMG_1483 IMG_1474 IMG_1467 IMG_1462 IMG_1428

Leanne RunsHere is what I learned about myself:

  • quitting was NEVER an option – did not even cross my mind
  • I will need to have salt tablets with me and use them before my fingers swell
  • little pieces of cold grilled cheese sandwiches does the body good
  • my mind truly is able to push my body to do more
  • I can run 85 km WITHOUT music – yup I did not play music the entire run
  • long steady inclines no longer intimidate me (steep hills I still despise)
  • I am trained more than I think – I was shocked at how fast and well my body recovered
  • I need to start asking more questions BEFORE¬†I agree to do things ūüôā

Most of my training has been in trails¬†so my biggest hurdle to push past was the physical and mental exhaustion of running road. It’s boring! With trail running my mind is busy looking ahead and anticipating where my foot is going to land next. I feel more engaged in the run when I’m out on the trails. Thankfully the route was beautiful as road running can get monotonous, just keeping one foot in front of the other.

We were five women who came together to share one goal, raise awareness for i2P (Impossible to Possible). We finished, having accomplished that goal but accomplished so much more in the process. The experience allowed some of us time to heal, a time to be renewed, to gain confidence, and a chance to encourage others. We also witnessed that some of our weakest moments  somehow were also our strongest.

My New Family

A highlight of the whirlwind trip was the company, the views were spectacular but the people I ran with are beautiful. When you drive a total of 22 hrs. with someone, you have a chance to get to know each other. I’ve never met any one like Gesine (The German Gazelle), I am inspired and in awe of her strength and her life story. Of course there is Agnes (Aggie Bear) who I admire for her experience and knowledge of the outdoors, her passion for inspiring and helping others achieve greatness and have fun! Precious Pearl is an angel, who took time off work to crew us and genuinely wanted to be with us and encourage us in every way possible. She stayed on course for 14 hrs to ensure we had food, hydration, we were safe and during the storm she circled around to make sure she was available to pick us up at a moments notice! Lastly there was Anna Da Bomb! Anna and I shared the experience of achieving a whole new level of distance together. We had both only ever ran 50 km’s prior to this run, so this was kind of a big deal for both us. Like myself, Anna seems open for anything, seems to enjoy an adventure and doesn’t ask a lot of questions. Anna quickly became my sista, someone who I knew was like me in a lot of ways.

Family

Family

I arrived on Friday in the company of strangers and left on Sunday saying good-bye to family.

Do you have a tribe either in person or online?¬†I’m extremely grateful for the running friends I have, in person and online.

 

 

Bringing Together My Two Loves For One Grand Adventure

I did not go into 2015 with the intention of running so many races.  I knew that I would do a spring and fall marathon but all the in betweens just kind of happened.  Running can be an individual sport but also very social.  Given an opportunity to travel with running friends and run my first Ultra was too good to pass up!  AND I have no regrets in doing so.  I found out that my mental strength was quite strong.  This of course boosted my confidence for bigger goals.

I remember just prior to running my Ultra I thought I was going to take it easy in 2016. ¬†Allow myself to recover fully and give my body a rest. ¬†If I could just get through running this race then I would likely slow down for a bit. ¬†Ummmm, so that didn’t happen!

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Help! Tips On Fitting in Fitness/Running

There are so many reasons why “life can get in the way” of our own fitness/running goals. ¬†Have you heard these comments, or perhaps even said them yourself?

    • I’m too busy, I just do not have time
    • My kids are to young, it’s difficult with them around
    • I can’t afford a gym membership
    • my spouse/partner is not supportive of my goals
    • I’m a single parent and do not have any support

 

As mentioned in my previous post, we all have 24hrs in a day.  However, we all live very different lives mostly.  So how can we balance our lives in order to achieve our goals.  First up, know what your goal is.  Do you want to workout 3x/week?  Do you want to learn to run? Run a goal race?  Know your goal and then write it down.

For myself, I tend to look at seasons and I’m about to enter a slightly more relaxed season but I do not want to lose my consistency with running, my base. ¬†However, I will be adding in home workouts for variety and strength training. ¬†I highlight any races coming up with purple, my running days get highlighted in orange and the rest just get marked on the calendar. ¬†This is my “plan”, but if I have to adjust I just change it on the calendar ūüôā ¬†We cannot always control our lives, but making “appointments” for ourselves helps us to intend to get them done!

FullSizeRenderAs you can see, I have 3 races in October and two marathons! ¬†So I’m actually slowing down with my running to get ready for those bigger races. ¬†However, I still want to be working out, more yoga/piyo and some running.

There are a number of challenges we are faced with as mentioned above. ¬†I’ve chatted with a number of people about this topic. ¬†Some ride/run to work, others get it done over their lunch hour, or hit the gym on the way home from work. ¬†Some single parents put their heavy workout schedule on the week their ex has the children. ¬†The challenges are real, here are few more tips:

Ray shares: (Adventure Runner; both parents running long distances)

It’s about recognizing that you both have goals. ¬†Respecting each other and stepping in where you need to, in order to make it happen. ¬†Getting the runs in where ever they fit in for that day. ¬†Sometimes that means an exceptionally early run, running when the girls are at school or one parent prepping dinner, hanging with the girls while the other gets a run in. ¬†Whatever works! ¬†Working together as a team!

Find our more about Ray and follow his blog.

Noel writes: (new dad) 

What I find tough is finding time to run and trying to adjust to à new way of life.

So far I have switched to running at lunch and after work (run home) so when I arrive at home I am ready for daddy duties. On the weekends I now run when I can, not always when I want to lol. Now that Morgane  is 4-months old I have just started running with her in the stroller and this allows me to run with my daughter but also give mom à break at the same time.

As an uber new dad, I have been able to train and got quite fit but dad duties, family stress with new baby and adapting to everything made races almost impossible. I ran one 5k and had to bail on planned fall marathon. BUT happy, have great family and still running.

I think there is always a way to find time to run, but its about being flexible, adapting to à new lifestyle and defining your priorities and determining your goals and what is important to you.

Find out more about Noel and follow his blog

Brent writes: (Brent and his wife are new runners)

Having two boys 5 and 7 it’s a bit more of a challenge for us but a good jogging stroller and two tablets keep them happy for an hour or so. Most of the time my wife goes for a run at 6pm when I get home from work and I go at 9pm when the kids are asleep. We have had the luxury of my mother in law being available to watch the kids for us to do ¬†full day events.¬†

Laurie Ann writes:  (Author, Mom and Outdoor Adventurer)

Parenting and fitness is a tag-team, juggling event in our household. During the weekdays I am often like a single Mom with Bryan’s travel schedule. I have Fridays off so during the school year I am able to hit the gym with a friend and now that my son is old enough he can watch my daughter from time to time. Bryan and I also take turns plus we do fit things that include the kids. After all, they need to keep moving too. When my daughter was little we used the running stroller and a bike trailer. When our son was 11 or 12 he’d cycle back and forth on the trail while I ran or he’d run with one of us. When he wasn’t old enough to babysit on his own he’d watch a movie with my daughter in the same room as my treadmill and I’d run with them in view. When Bryan and I would run at the track I’d start my run and then he’d show up later with the kids. They’d run with us for a bit and then we’d walk while Bry finished his run.

Oh and with the stroller… a MEC Newt Suit is indispensable. Kaia would sit in her stroller and even in the worst weather that one piece rain suit would keep her toasty dry.

Find out more about Laurie and follow her blog

Liette writes: (both parents running)

Challenges? Getting homework done is my number one (why so much, whyyyy??!!). My number 2 would be getting the laundry, groceries and any other household task done that I can’t accomplish during the week. Especially when the Sunday distances are long. Sometimes, it’s 2 o’clock by the time I’m cleaned up and fed. That reduces my weekends to just under 1.5 days.

So how do we manage? Barely. LOL! I do the bulk of my running during the lunch hour. He runs after work while I get dinner on the table. He cleans up my mess while I do homework with the little one and make sure the teenager is on top of his workload. We tag team the chores on the weekend. And meal planning is key! If I’m lucky, I can get a pot of soup, sauce or chill on the go Sunday afternoon so weeknight dinners are easier.

Jennifer writes: (mom and business owner)

It is super hard to make time for fitness as a mom of little ones. I only started when my youngest was 2yrs old, prior to that I just couldn’t get it together! But once my little one was in daycare it gave me much more time freedom. As soon as I started I became happier and much more productive in all areas of life. I realized that fitness/running/being outdoors gave me time to be alone, focus on my dreams and goals and in turn be a better mom and wife. It really changed my life.

In terms of time management, I only work out Monday to Friday so that my weekends are free to spend time with the kids. School/daycare are my saviors! 

Find out more about Jennifer and follower her blog.

Cathy writes: (mom of fur babies)

My hubby and I don‚Äôt have kids, but we are joint owners of a small business and our needy 3 dogs (one very senior, 2 rescues with separation anxiety). ¬†For me, I have a very understanding husband who knows how important running is to me. ¬†He is willing to ‚Äėhold down the fort‚Äô for my long run on Saturday. ¬†I do the same on Sunday but for him it is so he can work. ¬†During the week, I combine my run, walk or cycle with my commute to work. ¬†So I do arrive to work later than he does (he drives and brings the doggies) but again, he is very understanding and the amount of time for this varies depending on the season/closeness to a race.

Find out more about Cathy and follow her blog.

So as you can see, regardless of who you are, what challenges you have, what you do for a living or the goals you set for yourself, if you want something bad enough you’ll figure out a way to make it work. ¬†It’s often not easy, sacrifices often need to be made but you can figure out what can work for you. ¬†The key is to know what you want to accomplish, set a goal and then work towards achieving that goal.

my daughter keeping me company on the bike path

my daughter keeping me company on the bike path

Getting fit can also be done with your family.  Planned hikes, workouts at the park, kids riding alongside you as you run.  Be creative, have fun and find what you love to do!

Lastly, for those that find that they cannot afford a gym membership or that they struggle with getting to the gym at the times available for group classes, here are a few of my favourite home workouts.

PiYo (great for body strength exercises and a fantastic workout compliment workout for runners).

21 Day Fix (focuses on portion control with your diet and has a great mix of workouts to jump start anyone looking for a great workout).

I have a ton of dvd’s I rotate through but I seem to come back to these two often.

Do you have a tip on how you fit in your workouts/running with a busy life? ¬†I’d love to hear about it!

#Runfie – What’s the Point?

Online Friends or Foes?

I belong to a number of closed groups on facebook and to often I see posts from people saying, “I know you guys will understand, I can’t post this on my personal wall because my friends and family don’t get it” or “my friends and family are sick of hearing about my running, blogging, (insert whatever)”. ¬†More hurtful, “my friends and family have posted for me to shut up, or messaged me telling me they do not appreciate or care about the things I post”.

I understand¬†that what others post (myself included) can be annoying to some, I really do. ¬†I also get that sometimes we simply do not relate or have any interest in what some people post about. ¬† If you do not like what is coming up in your newsfeed all the time then you can choose to unfollow someones posts, this allows you to still connect or message one another (especially helpful if it’s family ūüėČ ).

Everyone uses social media for different reasons. ¬†For some it is to stay connected with friends, for others it may be to connect with a special interest group, hobbies, favourite past times. ¬†Still for others it can be used mainly for business. ¬†Whatever the reasons shouldn’t we respect one another more and judge others less? ¬†Why is it some people expect others to use it the way they do? ¬†Why is their way correct? ¬†Is there a correct way?

Why Post?

So why do I post? ¬†Why do I take selfies or “runfies” as we call them. ūüôā

If you know me it should not come as a surprise that I love to encourage people. ¬†I think it comes out of my own life of being misunderstood and not really having people believe in me or support me much. ¬† Our past shapes us and for whatever reason I believe in people. ¬†I have a soft spot for people who seem to be misunderstood or not heard at all. ¬†I am naturally open and vulnerable–“what you see is what you get”. ¬†I don’t pretend to be someone I am not. ¬†I have long since stopped trying to be liked by everyone, because the reality is not everyone is going to like me.

What really bothers me is when someone judges me and they know nothing about me. ¬†OR worse, they actually should know me, yet they assume the worse. ¬†This can be difficult for me as I naturally assume the best in people most of the time. ¬†So it’s hard for me to accept that sometimes, someone is just plain mean, critical and judgmental.

Okay, so back to why I post about running/fitness. ¬†It is a way for me to be accountable to myself! ¬†I have many goals and if I share my journey it helps me get out the door. ¬†It is a way for me to connect with some amazing friends I’ve met online who are also chasing dreams. ¬†We encourage one another with cyber high-fives and way-to-go chatter. ¬†I hope to inspire others to find something they are passionate about and do it. ¬†I often help people privately who reach out and want support, encouragement and accountability.

I have also been blessed with being involved as an ambassador for a number of my favourite fitness products.  Part of being an ambassador is posting, tagging and doing shout outs to introduce others to the products that I love and believe in.  I am honoured to be teamed up with these companies and I love sharing about them.   I am also involved in a number of online fitness/sports related ambassador programs that require you be active on social media.  That means sharing your journey, with the idea of encouraging others to be active.

I feel bad for the people who feel they cannot post on their own facebook walls! ¬†Seriously, it’s their wall. ¬†We all have “negative Nellie’s” on our feed, again you do not need to follow their posts. ¬†Why should someone be made to feel bad for getting in shape, or setting goals and achieving them. ¬†Why should they feel guilty if they are changing their lives for the better?? ¬†Why should they have to seek a private group on facebook, with strangers, to be encouraged because their facebook “friends” criticize them.

At times, we may post an opinion about politics, movies, events in the city, etc.  This can open a door for others to jump in and offer their own opinions.  I think we can expect this, however, I also believe we should be grown ups about it.  Be respectful.

I also use social media at times to highlight how proud I am of each of my children. ¬†I love to support them and over tell everyone the great things they do. ¬†I am their biggest cheerleader and will forever be proud of them. ¬†Social media allows me to share with others some of the neat things my kids do. ¬†My intention isn’t to make someone else feel bad, I just want to give a shout out to my kid. ¬†I’m also very respectful to my kids, I almost always ask their permission (to be that mom).

I understand that maybe you just do not want your feed filled up with things you just do not care about, that’s cool. ¬†It’s YOUR feed! ¬†As previously mentioned, you can control whose posts you see? ¬†You can actually unfollow someones posts, but remain their friend (mine included).

Truthfully, I’m just being me, doing what I love, trying to enjoy life and hopefully connect with others along the way.

www.dontbeachicken.com

www.dontbeachicken.com

Can I perhaps challenge you? Maybe instead of being annoyed or frustrated, maybe you could message someone and encourage them on their journey. Tell them you are inspired by them or you are proud of them for their hard work. ¬†Maybe their posts have nothing to do with fitness, but instead just maybe they’ve been going through a hard time and have been sharing their story of getting through it. ¬†You’ll be amazed at what a kind word can do for someone.

2015 Book Club: January’s Book Review

In an attempt to read more this year I decided to participated in an online book club. Every month we have a book theme and will link to others’ book reviews in hopes to give our readers a quick highlight of what we hope to be great book suggestions. ¬†January’s theme was a motivational book.

DSC_0001For my motivational book I chose “The Compound Effect“, by Darren Hardy

If you are looking for a motivational book to help simplify what you need to do to be successful, then this is it.¬† The author shares from first hand experience how he learned “the compound effect” in his own life and how he saw first hand how it led to his own success and the success for others.

Darren Hardy is the publisher of Success Magazine.¬† He is responsible for researching countless articles and books and he helps in choosing who will be featured in the magazine and then reviews all their material.¬† Everyday he sifts through an enormous amount of personal achievement information.¬† He is surrounded by success everyday.¬† He has spent a huge amount of time and money testing out different ideas and philosophies.¬† He has been studying success and human achievement for over 20 years.¬† He has trained tens of thousands of entrepreneurs. ¬†I’d say he’s a bit of an expert when it comes to identifying successful ideas.

He recognizes that we are bombarded by every trick in the book to sell us on quick fixes and overnight success ideas.  He sheds truth to these ideas and brings us back to the basics to attain success in our lives.  He strips away all the false claims and gives it to us straight.  There is no fast and easy solution but instead we are told that it is small consistent steps that will bring huge returns for us.

Hardy shares with us how he started learning the compound effect throughout his upbringing by his dad who raised him as a single dad.

Throughout the book we are given real examples to help solidify the concept that he is trying to teach us.  The truth is, most of what he is revealing I think most of us already know to some degree.  Most of us have an idea of what we should do or should no longer do, but we lack the discipline or desire perhaps to do what needs to be done.

We are taught that there are things that we do, every single day that are either helping us achieve our goals, or sabotaging them.  There are mindless decisions that we make every single day that affect our success.  We need to learn to identify what they are and develop healthy habits that will bring about the desired outcomes we are looking for

At the end of each chapter we are given action steps to apply what is shared with us.  Included with the book is access to online assessments to help you identify areas that you need to improve on or pin pointing the specific bad habits, etc. that might be preventing you from accomplishing your goals.

I’ll admit I didn’t take the time to go through all the assessments but did walk away from reading this book with some motivation to do some small things every day to help me achieve greater success in areas on working on. ¬†I’ll likely go back and still do the assessments at a later time.

How about you? ¬†Have you read a good motivational book lately? ¬†If yes, I’d love to hear your recommendation. ¬†Also, please check out other motivational book reviews below.