Ambassador Sandra Combines her Annual Canoe Trip with a “Run-Cation”

August 9, 2014

We have had a busy summer at our family home. We have kids in day camps, as well as soccer at night. I still work all summer as well, but lucky me…I get a couple of weeks of vacation!! ! We are leaving for our annual canoe trip to Algonquin with our oldest two kids. Our packs are loaded, we have food and supplies for 5 days and 4 nights in the interior. For me, this is a mini run vacation as well. I have yet to figure out how to sneak in an extra pair of running shoes and training clothes in my well loaded pack. It kind of stresses me out, but this is one holiday I have yet to figure out how to train on. We did it last year though, and I still managed to personal best Rock the Road!

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We were fortunate enough to have another week off this summer, and took the family to Sherkston Shores. On our way there, I noticed a multi-use pathway. With some research, I discovered that it was called the Friendship Trail, and it stretches over 25km from Port Colbourne to Fort Erie. Sweet! There was also some well laid out farm roads that were quite joyous to run. ! ! As with an earlier March Break Florida trip this year, I have found I always underestimate how much running I will do on a vacation. I end up only bringing two pairs of run outfits, and one pair of shoes <gasp>! This results in me washing out clothes daily in the sink with blueberry kids shampoo, hoping they will dry out hanging on the shower rod!


To make a long story short, I have found that any family vacations we have had ended up with me sleeping really well, waking up early, and having a blast out running. Always the opposite of what I expect. It makes for some really awesome vacations, and the opportunity to do some cool site seeing by sneaker! Have you have any great run-cations?

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Learn from Ambassador Leanne’s “Wardrobe Malfunction” and don’t let it happen to you!

August 9, 2014

My name is Leanne and I am a race-a-holic! I love racing year round. I love the adrenalin rush and how I feel afterwards whether I reach my goal or not. Up here in Northern Quebec I get to race winter races where the temps dip to -30 with a wind chill, -25C without a wind chill. I have a mask with holes in it to wear when I train year round and I have become a master of what to wear when it is so cold you don’t even want to look outside.

1482739_10152090078385763_2104229924_nSummer is a different story. Summer I feel clueless sometimes. I cannot run early in the morning since that would mean leaving my kids alone and they are way too young for that so I am often running in the middle of the day when the sun is high and the heat is brutal.

I ran a marathon in July which was actually a cool marathon with rain for the first 3 hours and 10 minutes of running and then the sun came out and it got hot fast for the last 34 minutes of running. I wore a pair of Nike 8 inch shorts and a running dress. The rain kept me cool and I ended up running it 5 minutes faster than I had intended. It was only supposed to be a training run for me. Nice and easy, no racing, just having fun. I did it nice and easy, and I couldn’t help racing since only 3 women were in this first time marathon in Amos, Quebec. I was the second female overall and first in my age group (out of 2 women between 30-39). I am sure I will never again be able to say I won my age group for a marathon! I felt so great after that marathon that I decided to do a 24 hour race 2 weeks later. The shorts had been great for the marathon so I decided to wear them for the ultra. BIG MISTAKE!!!!

amos in air again

After 3 loops on the 10 km race course I had a 3 inch long raw patch on my lower back. I was sure I had the perfect shorts to run and run and run. Instead I had to grab another pair of shorts because I was on vacation and the 24 hour race was on the way back home so I foolishly had only brought one other pair of shorts that were not suitable for running long. I took a 2 hour break to play with my kids and then I set out and did 2 more loops that night. Put Vaseline a few times on my back and went to bed in a tent to rest up for 1 more loop on the trail. One of the golden rules of running is to never wear something new on race day. I break this rule all the time. I wore new socks for a marathon in 2012 and I wore brand new shoes for a marathon in May 2014, and the running dress for the July 2014 marathon was brand new too. And most recently I wore brand new running crops for a 5k race. Of course an ultra 24 hour race is very different than a 5km race. That is why I went with my Nike 8 inch shorts. They survived a marathon. I was sure they could survive an ultra. Maybe I will go back to new things on race day only!


August is a big racing month for this race-a-holic. Two 10 k races, a 25 km trail race and a marathon. All while on vacation! My family in London can watch my kids during the race and I get added motivation to run fast to see them at the finish line. The highlight though is running the kids’ race with them. I love that there is something for them on race day too so they can share in the excitement.podium d and p

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Ambassador Sue Blogs about the Benefits of Running “Social”!

August 1, 2014

Running in a group or on your own can each have their own benefits. One of the biggest benefits to running in a group for me has come when I’ve moved to a new city where I didn’t know anyone, let alone know where to run or more importantly where not to go for a run. When I moved to Vancouver I found my way to the local running store, Forerunners. Forerunners is a pretty special store with Canadian Olympians and probably some soon to be Olympians working with customers in the store. Being part of the running group I instantly met an amazing group of people, learned my way around the city on the runs, as well as getting an extra push on the speed workouts (Runner’s World Article Link). They really helped make Vancouver feel like home.

Gunner Shaw race in Vancouver, BC

However, after 2 years in Vancouver I found myself packing up the Ford Escape and setting off on a new journey. After leaving Vancouver, life started again in a new city of strangers, this time Hamilton, Ontario. My expectations weren’t very high, I knew two things about Hamilton, Around the Bay and Stelco … running was going to be rough. My first week in Hamilton I found my way to the local running store, this time, Runner’s Den. Once again I met some amazing people who helped me find my way around a new city. Hamilton also turned out to be a pretty amazing city to run in with tons of trails through the Dundas Valley trail system and a beautiful waterfront path.

When I first started running it was purely for fitness goals, but it has become a lot more than just the benefits to the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. Many of the people I have met through running I am quite certain I would not have crossed paths with otherwise.

So if you’ve never run with a group before, it’s something to consider. But whether you run solo or social … enjoy the run.


Sunset race series in Hamilton, Ontario. Race #4 is August 6th at 8pm (

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Ambassador Leanne tells why she will be traveling 900 kms to participate in Rock the Road this year!

August 1, 2014

My road to my second Rock the Road 10 k race started back in the fall when I signed up for the race. Every summer I travel 900 kms back to London with my 3 kids so they can have time with my family. Last year I was elated to find a race in London at the same time as my vacation there and have decided that Rock the Road is now my yearly 10 k goal race!

My first 10 km race post having babies was in 2011. I ran a race with two of my kids who were 2 years old and 6 months old. It was a big mistake! The race ended up being a cross-country race with gravel roads, dirt roads, single track paths and a few climbs. At one point a root engaged the lock on my stroller throwing me into the stroller. I was happy to be done with that race! Once winter came I was excited to run free without a stroller. I added speed work back in January 2013 and have been pushing myself to see how fast I can go. My goal last year was under 50 minutes which is down 19 minutes from that cross country double stroller race. I beat my goal last year and am hoping to better it this year!

I am currently on a running streak and have been since May 20th 2014. It’s not always easy to sneak that run in so sometimes all I can get is 2 kms running (often barefoot) around a park while my kids play. 2 of my 3 kids love coming to run with mommy for a little bit before going back to the slides and monkey bars. What helped me a lot last year was running the race route. My mom lives nearby so I was able to run it starting at the halfway point. It gave me a good sense of the route and where I knew I would need to dig deep.

d rock road

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Ambassador Sandra Blogs about training through a hot summer with 5 kids!

August 1, 2014

I love the idea of summer. Lots of sunny days, no snowpants, or slushy boots, no coats and hats. With 5 kids, the lack of extra clothes makes for huge time savings in getting out the door. I imagine lazy days at the beach, shorts and flip flops. For the running folks like me, summer is a time to enjoy those early sunrises, and the late sunsets….ya…ok!


If you have kids at all, you are well aware of Olaf and his desire to enjoy summer. Despite the many, many times I hear Olaf repeating this mantra, I’m not buying. Training for, and running a race in the summer months is brutal. You feel soooooo slow on your trainings runs, sweat rolling off your face, salt burning your eyes, and you have to carry water on your runs (a peeve of mine). I regularly come home dripping wet, and feeling very disgusting overall. One of the reasons I like Rock the Road is that they have the London Firefighters hosing you down mid race. That is welcome moisture. This is not welcome moisture—these are my shorts after a training run-yes, I can wring them out. UGH!


Because of my busy kids and work schedule, I do almost all of my training runs at 5am. The pavement is cooler, no blazing sun, no traffic, and some pretty awesome sunrises. I check that weather forecast every night before bed, and have a panic attack if it says I’ve got a humidity level over 90% or heat over 25C. In the winter, that is -15C, in case you were interested. Summer breezes are good, winter gusts…not so much.During the week, I run 10k most mornings before work. On the weekend, I currently do a long run. My summer/fall racing schedule includes Rock the Road 10K in August and the Chicago Marathon in October. Anything I run over 15k in bad heat, I have to carry water in my belt. On the weekend long runs, anything over 20k in the heat requires my backpack. I drop some Nuun electrolyte tablets in there, and occasionally take Salt Sticks if the humidity is horrid. I really should wear a visor, but Oh, and because I get tired, I often don’t start my long runs until after 7am, and the sun is cooking. Every weekend, I swear I will be up earlier, and every weekend, I fail. If you ever thoughts runners were cool, I really think this will change your mind. This is me post run, dressed as a sweaty highlighter with a cool backpack.


The long and the short of it, I hate summer. I hate sweating through all my clothes on my runs. I love fall racing, and that is the greatest motivator I have to keep going through the yuckiness. I should mention that post weekend long runs, it is awesome to take your kids to the pool or lake, and enjoy cooling down your legs and feet in the water. Feels fantastic. Plus, kicking out a few laps of swimming after a hard workout is a nice way to stretch things out and loosen up. “

Happy summer running! In case you got this song out of your head, here it is again!

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