TOPO Runventure 2 Review

36454495_10212256735284894_4073356196231249920_o
Thumbs up for shoe reviews! ft TOPO Runventure 2.

I want to start the following review by stating I am a TOPO Athletic Canada ambassador. I will provide an honest review and this is my opinion on the Runventure 2 shoes.

I want to start off by saying what I love most about these and most other models of TOPO I have used is that right out of the box they feel familiar. There is a less ‘breaking in’ period than with other shoes I have used. I feel I could wear a brand new pair of TOPO for a race.

Races I have used Runventure 2

The Runventure 2 is a relatively new shoe that I have used. Previously, I used other shoes for my trail running and TOPO exclusively for my road running. However, this model has bridged the gap between the trail and road shoe offerings from TOPO. This is my go to shoes for trail running and trail races.

IMG_5217
Joint 3rd to qualify for Canadian Mountain Running Championship. Using my Runventure2.

I have used this shoe for 3 races so far in total. A 5 Peaks trail race in which I ended up DNF because I went off course but I held 1st place all the way until the end. For two MEC trail races (Race 2 and 3) in Edmonton where I ended up taking home the 3rd place (qualified for Canadian Mountain Running Championships) and 1st place. I have also used them for numerous trail runs across a variety of technical trail, double track, single track, muddy and dry trails so they have been through a lot already and are holding up very well.

Podium
Taking home the win!

Some stats

Another thing I really like about TOPO shoes is they are light weight. The Runventure 2  is 9.2 oz (men’s 9), 7.4 oz (women’s 7) and for a durable trail shoe that is very light. The heel to toe drop is 0 mm and as with all TOPOs they feature anatomical toe box to allow for natural toe splay offering a more comfortable run.

In the Runventure 2 they use relaxed heel construction that is found on Topo’s ST-2 road runner; this is ideal for anyone who has achilles issues and prefers a soft fit around the rear foot. Even with this relaxed heel construction I never feel any slipping while running and my heel feels locked in place while I run.

Looks

rs=w-600,h-600
Simple but very cool look.

I own the black and green Runventure 2 and have to say I love the slick and simple look to the shoes. The splash of green at the bottom of the shoe make it stand out but is not over stated. I equally like the other colour co-ordiantions offered.

 

Conclusion

The Topo Runventure 2 is an excellent, lightweight, zero-drop trail shoe.  It has good rock protection and has a competitive weight.  The fit is wide on the forefoot and locks in well at the heel. It is comfortable and responsive.

The Runventure 2 is an adaptable shoe that does well in all weather conditions and different trail surfaces.  I use these shoes on all trail related runs.  I have used this shoe for mostly shorter runs and races but I will use it for my longer trail races towards then end of the season.

rs=w-600,h-600-2
Deeper lugs allow for better grip on trails.

I will say that if you enjoy lots of cushioning in your shoes the Runventure 2 might not be the shoe for you over a longer distance.

Overall, I love the minimal lightweight feel to the shoe where I can feel the trail underneath me. The improved and deeper luges in this shoe compared to other trail shoes from TOPO have allowed for better grip. Like all shoes with deep luges it can lead to some mud build up in wetter conditions but this can be easily knocked off.  This is a shoe I would recommend to anyone who enjoys trail running.

 

Advertisements

MEC Trail Race 3 Review

MEC Trail Race 3, the third of 5 in the race series, was a fun, technical hot race.

36064474_10212223230407293_2336623854413152256_o
Two podiums or seeing double?!

Course Description

There is single track, off camber track, steep hills, light scrambles and some muddy creek banks.  We have interspersed some double wide to give you a chance to catch your breath and jockey for position.  There are some technical sections that have unavoidable obstacles with very narrow sections

This was a fun race which started off with a steep climb for about 200m, racers then went across some grassy fields and back down before climbing back up to tarmac double track. This allowed for some jostling for positions. Racers moved quickly into some single track with some short steep climbs and small descents too. About 3km into the race there was  a big steep decent with dry dirt which gave way under racers feet. The single track continued for another 600m or so and then the course opened into wide double track before racers came towards a road, racer turned right and had a small climb uphill. The course had joined back to the original course so racers came back across the fields and went down the original hill, allowing for a fast finish.

My Race

36454495_10212256735284894_4073356196231249920_o
I love this sport.

This was a fun race for me and before it I said to myself I didn’t want to go all out. I ran it at a tempo pace, easier effort. I was pleased to be able to take the win with the effort I out in. I am focused on two big races (Lulu Lemon 10km on Sunday July 22nd and Servus Edmonton Marathon, the half marathon distance on Sunday August 19th). I am focusing my training on so been able to go easier and still come away with a win (no matter what the level of competition) is nice.

In this race I put in a harder effort in 3 sections. After the big gravel downhill I ended up in 5th place as I was taking it easy and letting other racers from the 10km take their time getting down it and not rushing them. When this happened I was stuck behind 3 other guys in the single track section, it was a very easy effort so I surged and passed them at some opportune moments. Once I passed them I eased the effort back and caught up to the guy in first (still on the single track). As we can to the double track trails I overtook the guy in first and surged here ( to try and break him mentally a bit). Then I coasted for the rest of the race until the small hill in the field section, I upped the pace here as another racer had caught back up to me but as I made it tot he top of the hill he was walking. I kept a steady pace across the fields and on the downhill into the finish line to take the win.

Next up is MEC Race 5 on Saturday July 14th which I will be doing the half marathon for. Then it will be 5 Peaks Race 3 on Saturday July 21st at Sunridge which I am really looking forward to.

MEC Race 4 Review

7c5b81de-84aa-42a0-84c1-ac19484dbb29
The 1/2 combo

MEC Road Race 4 is held at Foote Field at the South Campus at the U of A. It is the first MEC race of the year to introduce the half marathon. The MEC series builds nicely up to a marathon event so you have the option of basing your training around these events as they are well spaced out. For the past 2 years I have competed in the 5km events and each time I was lucky enough to get a PB and the 1st place.

For this race I had the same breakfast I always do for race morning and set my race kit out early before the race. I spent some time with the fam and then it was time to jam and run a fast hard 5km.

Always look good on race day and have a good breakfast to fuel you right!

Race prep for me is typically the same every race. I find the routine relaxing and I don’t have to think too much helping to settle pre race nerves.

Course Description

IMG_5343
Course Map – blue star is turning point.

The course was straight forward and very flat. The instructions before the race were as follows;

Exit south and left (east) on 65th Ave to 113th Street.
Cross Belgravia Road via the footbridge
Continue along Saskatchewan Drive. 5K runner’s turnaround just before 119St and return to the start/finish line.

This was a similar route for the last couple of years, apart from one small bridge that adds a slight up hill it is a completely flat route. The only thing I find slows runners a bit would be how many twists and turns there are. But if you are looking to shoot for a fast 5km this would be the race to do it.

Race Review

As I mentioned this race was very flat allowing for a quick pace. Thats what myself and Packie did from the start, there was the usual kid or two that went out at a blistering pace but we stayed calm and kept a 3.30 a km pace. We were in the lead comfortably after about 500m. We held this pace for the first two kms. There were little turns or anything to slow us down. It felt good but thats when the pace dipped, we came up to the only hill section (if you can even call it that) and powered up that and gained the time lost on the down section of that bridge. We had traded the lead at this stage but were pretty much neck and neck at this point.

Packie said to me if you want to push on you can, I thought im my mind I want that sub 18 minute 5km ( we were still on good pace for it) and I tried to surge when he said that but I really had nothing extra to give. We maintained the same pace. On the way back we argreed to grab a water as it was a hot day and mouths were drying up. This didn’t happen because it was an out and back course and the other racers were in front of the table. We continued on, both knowing we still had a chance at the sub 18 minute 5km. I had to shout at a few kids that were in our way on the course and Packie had to apologize for me.  We also knew we had 1st and 2nd wrapped up at this stage with more than a minute lead. There was one km left and if we wanted the sub 18 minute we would have to run a 3.30 or quicker pace something that I think we both knew wouldn’t happen at this stage. SO we cruised in to the end. 200m from the line you turn back into the festival area over a gravel patch, Packie slipped here and I slowed down to see if he was ok, thankfully he didn’t injure himself so then it was a race to the between us, he took home the victory but a nice 1/2 finish and sub 18.30 was a good days work.

63bd15c4-456c-482c-b567-bf8849cfe159Podiums are fun

Now onto bigger and longer distances for both of us with the Lulu Lemon 10km in July to hit a PB, Half Marathon on the Edmonton Marathon in August and Grizzly Ultra where we will be hoping for a win.

Side note on Packie, he has put a lot of hard work in the last year, trained hard and is following a great program by RunLAB, he is now as faster/faster than me which is good to see. Rivalries with your friends push and motivate you and its what I love about running, even if you are competing against each other there is no animosity where in other sports there can be towards the other players, team etc. It is also exciting as I think team 2irishladsoutforastroll will do some big things for Grizzly Ultra in October.

Also quick shout out to Need For Speed (check us out Tuesday mornings at 5.30am at Scona Track) for amazing speed workouts and even better people. Im always proud to rep them at races. Topo who provided me the ST2s for race day, I wouldn’t wear any other shoe. 5 Peaks and Stoked Oats for the amazing hat. And SKINS for providing me with the best race gear for the last 3 years.

02c9a721-334a-4cf7-8000-d725339c7d74
Need for Speed on the podium = Standard

 

5 PEAKS RACE 2 REVIEW

34201286_10212078864678240_8758208996885659648_o
My very own podium! Pay attention to the course kids!

Course Description

Gold Bar Park! It hosts a variety of challenging and scenic trails for runners, bikers, and cross-country skiers. The park has a bit of everything, paved paths, single-track trails, and hills that will really test your limits! The 6.8 km loop will begin adjacent to the main building (close to main parking lot) and will head immediately north towards the trail along the North Saskatchewan River. This section is mostly flat on a gravel trail allowing for a quick pace and easy to pass. At the end of this trail, you will turn right (south) towards the Esso hill, which will be one of the toughest climbs of the day.
After climbing Esso hill, you will take a quick right, which will enter you into the Goldstick trail system. There are a few rolly hills before you climb to the top of Goldstick and head north towards the end of the park. Here, you will encounter the steepest hill of the day and begin your journey back towards Gold Bar Park.

At the 4km mark, you will reach the main aid station (Hiro) and begin descending gently into Gold Bar Park. When the trail bottoms out, you will turn left into a single-track trail known as Golddigger. This new trail, while fun, will test your endurance and technical skills as it heads westbound towards the 50th street turnaround. There will be a few spots to allow easy passing before you loop back towards the finish line. Enduro runners will bypass the finish line for the 2nd loop.

Race Review

This course started with a flat kilometre which allowed some separation of runners. I was out in front with Nathan (we have a friendly 5 Peaks rivalry going!) with 2 Enduro athletes ahead after this section. 5 Peaks have done seeded starts with the Enduro (typically 2 laps) and Sport (one lap) at the same time which allows the more competitive runners a clear course.

After this the first climb came after some single track, it was a fast hill and didn’t slow the pace down much. Then the real fun started and there was lots of single track technical trails with lots of up and downs some switchbacks and some bike bridges, the ground was soft but not sloppy after the rain fall during the week resulting in some great running conditions. This section was fun and fast. Then there was a big hill climb, which was the toughest of the day, from here there was some down hill sections before you went back into more single track trails from another km.

This is where my own race took a ‘turn’ for the worse literally! I had built a comfortable lead and was confident I would take home the in for the day. It wasn’t meant to be as on some open double track grass section I took a right turn downhill and joined the final 200m of the course and ran across the finish line. My watch clocked 5.90km and I immediately knew something was off. I had a lead but not as much of a lead as when Nathan came across the finish line. I missed an extra 400m of single track after I took the wrong turn, Nathan who is a fantastic sport tried to shout and get my attention to let me know but I was focused on the run ahead. It is something that happened me a lot before and probably my main weakness as a runner. Another DQ to my name but what a fun day at 5 Peaks as usual. The course was fantastic and marked really well.

34178155_10212078863958222_5629266785640382464_n
OCR Peeps at 5 Peaks. Great to see Kody and Amy took home 3rd overall for the Enduro!

The 5 Peaks Difference!

I can’t really describe the atmosphere at a 5 Peaks race, it is something you have to experience yourself. Everyone from participants to volunteers to the race director Kevin Houda Mc Donald make you feel welcome right from the start. There are plenty of things to do for the whole family with a 1km and 3km options for kids, there are many vendors on location to check out. There are giveaways on the day for fun activity related competitions and with your register you get a piece of swag which is worth the registration itself. Again I can’t put into words how fun a 5 Peaks race is. Go to http://www.5peaks.com

SAVE THE DATES:

Saturday, July 21st – Race # 3 – Sunridge. SWIFTWICK socks will be the souvenir.

Saturday August 11th – Race # 4 – Chickakoo.

Saturday September 29th – Race # 5 – Devon (includes half marathon course).

RunLAB Race Review

Event Information

RunLAB presented a fantastic new idea this year by putting on a 5km on a raceway track (Castrol Raceway). This was a brilliant idea and the minute I saw this race advertised knew it was something I had to be part of. What better race to shoot for a PB or the very least a fast time. My good friend Patrick Kiernan has being training with runLAB and has fantastic things to say about their training, he also sliced over 40 seconds this year off his 5km time training with them so I’d recommend checking them out; https://www.runlabtrack.com/

29402443_154959255200131_1125415872618299392_n
‘Edmonton’s fastest 5km’

This was a simple but amazing event, no extra frills, you showed up, got your bib, chatted warmed up and got ready to run two laps of a flat track. The name ‘fastest 5km truly applied. This is an event that I would love to see bi annually, at the start of the season and the end so you can compare results, at the very least I hope it is an annual events. with registration you got a runLAB hat, in an age filled with t-shirts and participation medals (dont get me wrong I am still proud of my own participation medals!) but it was refreshing to see the swag was something different.

IMG_5250.jpeg
Swag at the runLAB race, green is for GO!

Course Description

Really not too much to describe here other than the fact it was probably the flattest 5km course I have done. Again this was refreshing as I see a lot of race directors add lots of hill in road races where sometimes you just need a good flat track and let everyone go balls to the wall.

IMG_5249
Castrol Raceway, flat as a pancake!

The Course was 2.6km in length so you did two laps with the finish line hitting 5.1km which is nice to get that extra for the GPS watch but not an extra 300-400m which often happens at other races. After the turns you would go point to point and not follow the race track on the edges as this would add extra distance plus not be a natural running line.

Some Stats

Winning time for male – 15:49

Winning time for female – 19:32!

11 sub 20 performances! (about 30 participants)

My Race

I loved this race so much, the build up, the course, everything about it was simple, stripped back and purely about the running which was such a simple but fantastic approach.

I paced the whole race with Packie, as soon as the race started we all blasted out and we were running about a 3.15 – 3.20 a km pace but the leaders already pulling ahead of us. We got settled into our pace and Packie and I were soon on our own but it was nice to have one other person to pace with. Our goals are very similar so was good to run with him. He lead for the first mile or so and then I took the lead. It was a blistering hot day so halfway through there was a water station, this would be the first time I ever used one for a 5km race ( I think I spilled about 10 cups as I wasn’t graceful reaching for my cup).33579937_10212014746595328_2271999461490163712_n.jpg
Pacing with Packie.

I was ahead of Packie at this stage but another 500m in or so he was on my heels again and he went in front of me. It was like this until the final 400m, we picked up our pace for the last km of the race but our goal of a sub 18 was slipping out of our grasp. The final 200m came and I thought we still had a chance but I checked my watch one final time and it read 17.50 for 4.91 km I knew I wasn’t going to out run Usain Bolt! Even if I sprinted I would have only shaved a second or two off of my PB which might sound like a bad attitude but I was focused on one thing (sub 18) and when I knew it wasn’t coming I let the pain of an all out 5km subside. Packie pushed hard until the end and got a great new PB of 18.04, I came in at 18.14, a strong effort but not what I wanted. I dropped to the floor as the effort took its toll. I will always say for the first 10 minutes after an all out 5km is the hardest 10minutes of any race, to me longer distance doesn’t always mean a harder race.

33511491_10212021507324342_1096669630736367616_o
Happy that I gave it my all!

Disappointed, I had to process the result as everything felt great, the course was fantastic but the result just didn’t come, onwards and upwards. After a bit of thought I appreciate the experience and look forward to another fantastic runLAB Grand Prix race next year. I urge all runners of all abilities to come to this race, running on a motor track is a cool and unique race experience, I can’t say enough positives about this race.

33923513_10212049360260648_8073129724257239040_n.jpgRepping Need For Speed and runLAB!

 

MEC TRAIL RACE 2 REVIEW

MEC Trail Race 2 was a Canadian Mountain Running Championship qualifying event which I was lucky enough to qualify for last year and run. I would qualify again at this event but unfortunately won’t get to go with other commitments.  This race threw plenty of steep climbs, gnarly technical trail and some scary descents at racers. I chose to do the 10km option.

My fellow Rampage Racing teammate Kody O’Brien also ran this distance and we piggy backed each other for the whole racing and ended up joint 3rd and shared a podium (although Kody didn’t need to stand on the podium to be almost as tall as me!) which was a different and unique race experience, one I would enjoy again a couple of days later at RunLAB 5km Castrol Raceway 5km (race review to follow).

IMG_5217
Sharing the podium with Kody, only time I will be taller than him!

This event was great as a lot of the top runners in the city were out trying to qualify for the championships. Personally, I had some of my rampage teammates there and my family, my wife and two boys to support me which always makes race day extra special.

IMG_5223Team Rampage Repping at MEC Trail Race 2!

Course Description

This is a full on trail race.  There is single track, off camber track, steep hills, light scrambles and some muddy creek banks.  MEC interspersed some double wide to give you a chance to catch your breath and jockey for position.  The 5K course is a green & blue rated course while the 10K & 15K is a blue & black rated course.

Highlights of this course included two major climbs that required a hike instead of running, a really steep downhill section with loose gravel so it was a bit dangerous but added to the fun. There was also plenty of lat sections allowing runners to increase their speed. There was also some great technical section which required a lot of agility.

To qualify as a mountain running race as defined by the World Mountain Running Association, there are certain requirements for elevation change during the race. These requirements are set out in the table below. In alternating years, the World Mountain Running Championships feature all-up races (even years) and up-and-down races (odd years). For World Championship races, courses may deviate from the technical requirements by approximately 10%.

In Canada, a race may still be certified as a mountain race even if it does not meet these technical regulations as long as the course meets a minimum level of elevation change during the race. Races do not need to be in the mountains to be a mountain running race.

World Mountain Running Association Technical Requirements:

Mainly uphill Up & down
distance ascent distance ascent / descent
Junior Women 4 km 400 m 4 km 250m
Junior Men 8 km 800 m 8 km 500 m
Senior Women 8 km 800 m 8 km 500 m
Senior Men 12 km 1200 m 12 km 750 m

IMG_5208
One medal to rule them all!

My Race

I am happy how this race turned out. I wanted to qualify again for the Canadian Mountain Running Championships event though I wouldn’t be going. My main goal was to hopefully snag a podium and use this race as a final tempo effort before my 5km PB attempt a couple of days later. I managed to do this whilst running with my friend Kody and sharing a podium place was a cool and different experience. I was also happy about how my climbing is progressing and hopefully getting back to being as strong as I once was.

Overall a great day hanging with family, teammates and friends.

IMG_5214

Have to end with a human pyramid!

X Warrior Challenge Stadium – Race Review

IMG_5177

Event Information

SPECTATORS

Spectators are always free with X Warrior Challenge events!  Round up the neighbors, family & friends and bring your own cheering squad! Its going to be great fun for all!

POST EVENT PARTIES

Post Race Happy Hour – Melrose Cafe & Sports Bar – Located in Cowboys Casino
Head to Melrose with your Finishers Medal anytime after 230 pm to grab a COMPLIMENTARY  Beer on us! Enjoy great food specials!

OFFICIAL POST RACE PARTY! – Craft Beer Market – 323 10 ave SE
Make sure you grab a ticket to the Official Post Race Bash at Craft! Tickets only $10 & Include access to X Warrior Private Level & 1 FREE Beer!

2018 AWARD CATEGORIES
Top 3 Men & Women

 WANT TO GO FOR ANOTHER LAP?
NO PROBLEM

Your 2nd Free Lap can be attained by visiting the team at the Registration Table!  Simply give our staff your name and let us take care of the rest.

 

I wanted to include the above information because X Warrior is a race that gives back to the OCR community and looks after its participants. Many (if not every other top OCR race charge spectators). This alone makes X Warrior Challenge stands out.

Course Description

The course this year for X Warrior Challenge was changed from previous years. This year the course felt obstacle dense and there wasn’t long periods of running without encountering an obstacle. This year X Warrior Challenge also pushed the level of difficulty with new unique obstacles, longer carries and some favourites from years past to put on a fantastic and fun filled event.

The race started out with a 400m run, then there was a 6 foot war before heading straight into the stadium for some stairs and spider stairs where your crawl under wires up stairs and finished the stadium section of the race with a 6 foot wall. Darcy pushed the boat this year and made this race a lot more spectator friendly with some big obstacles on the main stage (more on that later). Once you can out of the stadium monkey bars were next, a bit more running then the bucket brigade was next, this was relatively light and flat but enough to break up the quick running.

IMG_5196.jpg
Fast and furious start for the competitive wave.

Next up was a next obstacle the Tarzan. This was 4 rope suspended on a 20 foot structure where you have to climb up on to a platform and then swing from rope to rope to the other side of the platform, if you failed it was 20 burpees, this was a great new addition and probably the most challenging of the day.

100347-ad1c3f-1002475684.jpg
The new challenging X Tarzan.

Onto a wall and under climb before a tire flip which was light, next was a log carry that was flat but the longest carry on course. Another under and 8 foot wall before a sand bag carry up the grandstand stairs and back down. The race took you back into the main arena on to rope a dope where you had to climb a platform and jump onto a top  (about half way up) climb to the top ring a bell and control climb your way down, back out of the stadium on to a traverse wall, then an inverted wall onto Tip of the spear. Then the game changer, the axe throw as the second last obstacle, this could change the whole outcome of the race and was the difference maker in the end of the podium of the competitive wave. The final obstacle is the mental warfare obstacle, Dragons back, it was located on the main stage in full view of other racers and all the spectators adding to the pressure on it. The jump between each platform was slightly wider making you think about the jump a bit more.

On a whole this race had it all, it was fast paced, obstacle packed and fun for everyone involved.

My Race

This one started out fast and furious, I started in the first wave (waves of 10 people left every minute – 2 minutes) and I made the joke in the first 200m nice 3.15 a km pace guys are we doing this for the whole race! My teammate from Rampage Racing Jason Gelleny appreciated that one the most. The pace didn’t let up and we made our way through the stadium, once we hit the stairs and few obstacles there the pack had spread out. I found myself in no mans land in 5th place, no one ahead of me and no one behind me.

I kept this place until bout halfway through the race where I fell of the Tarzan, I didn’t swing enough or hook my legs on the rope to gain momentum so I was stuck again in no mans land but this time on the obstacle. I maybe should have jumped of and did my penalty straight away but I heard on and I tried get momentum by swinging my hips. This is where my race fell apart, the chasing pack had caught up and to my disappointment no one else failed. I would go on to complete this obstacle during my titans laps so some redemption was gained.

100347-eab62f-1002474263.jpg
We gonna keep this 3.15 a km guys?

I ran hard after this and caught the pack, we got lost and there was some confusion on where to go as there was a sign or two missing but on later laps this was rectified. I found myself gaining on the running section and losing a lot of time through obstacles even walls but especially on carries. Getting through all the obstacles there was a group of 6 of us who made the axe throw together, 4 people went before me and they all missed. This was my chance to gain back some places, nail this throw and I probably have a top 10 finish, what was to follow was a most pathetic throw which I still kind of laugh at, I don’t think it even reached the wall where the target was. 20 burpees and the dragon back I came in for 17th place finish, disappointing but the fun of the race and of the whole day more than made up for anything bad feelings I had in the moment.

Final Thoughts

This is a race I love and a staple in my race calendar. Darcy Chalifoux the race director truly cares about this sports and the community involved. He listened to the racers and put on a well run, clean, fun and competitive race. It is refreshing to see a race director that is so involved and let shis passion shine through on the course and races he puts on.

I personally want to highlight the race team I am on, Rampage Racing, we got to hang out together as a team for the first time as a while, I am proud of this race family and each one of us crushed the course in our own way. This was the first race with new Race team members, we have 11 on the team this year and I will be doing an article soon on what our individual goals and team goals are soon.

32484616_2044245052463249_4972462751600345088_n
Most of the Rampage Team, watch out for us in 2018.

I want to finish up by saying if you have done an X Warrior race you know how great they are, if you haven’t I 100% recommend signing up, you will not regret it.

Athlete Interview 2 – Mandy and Jamie Milliken

4
Still time for fun on the biggest stage of them all OCRWC

My second interview is with Mandy and Jamie Milliken. If you are part of the OCR community in Alberta, you know Mandy and Jamie. Funny, kind, passionate and caring, we have many power couples in OCR in Alberta and they are certainly a power couple. They are both wonderful ambassadors for both the sport of OCR and how to embrace and live life to the fullest. Some of the first people I met since getting into the sport, they immediately made me feel welcome and our friendship grew from there. Read on for an exciting, honest and raw look at these two wonderful people.

Name:  Mandy and Jamie Milliken
Age:  Mandy (40)  Jamie (41)
Occupation:

  • Mandy: Commercial Property Manager (Industrial)
  • Jamie: Systems Analyst (IT)

Favorite Pump up Music:

  • Mandy: Justin Bieber, P!nk, One Republic, Flo Rida, Fall Out Boy, Marianas Trench
  • Jamie: Eminem, Neffex, Flo Rida, Motley Crue, Sum41 …

Favorite Athlete:

  • Mandy: My Jamie
  • Jamie: Easy… My wife!

22815524_10159471693495331_3315958049818191832_nPodium Pics!

PB’s/Achievements: (list 3 PBs or achievements you are proud of):

  • Mandy: Ultrabeast 3rd Place Masters Dallas 2017 with my Jamie!, Battlefrog Multilap 2nd Place Woman 2016, Tough Mudder with Jamie 2015, so fun!!!
  • Jamie: My two favorite finishes were Tough Mudder 2015 Phoenix and UtraBeast Dallas 2017 with Mandy.  I am proud of most of the events that I have completed – particularly any that pushed me farther than most participants were willing to go (a couple Ultras).  I have a few 1st/2nd/3rd ‘s, and some decent PB’s, but I am prouder of the experiences I’ve had (XWarrior Titans, Battlefrog…)

 

  1. WHAT IS YOUR ATHLETE/RUNNING/SPORTING HISTORY?
  • Mandy: Started running in Elementary, continued through to High School, however having my daughter at 16 put a hold on that. I started up again in my late twenties but only casually and continued till I had major surgery in early 2012. I was off any form of exercise until I met Jamie in Spring 2012, and we started running together…you can ask him about our first 5k ….
  • Jamie: I played almost every sport under the sun in my younger years (basketball, volleyball, soccer, badminton, football, track).  I used to prefer shorter sprints and speed, and have, over the past 15 years or so, took a greater liking to the longer distances.  Then came OCR (Mandy signed me up, thinking I might like such a thing a few years ago – she was right), with gave more of a challenge to conventional running, requiring more strength and stamina – And now here I am…

 

13221689_10156952683770331_5681950589658354972_n
You will get muddy and you will like it!

  1. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN RUNNING AND HOW DID YOU GET INTO IT?
  • Mandy: Serious running, I have been at it since 2012, and I can say without a doubt it was Jamie and Spartan racing that really kicked my drive to run into high gear, plus all the people I have met along the way. Who doesn’t love long run Sundays with your buds!
  • Jamie: All my life – away from home, away from crazy ex-girlfriends (jk)… Seriously though, through junior high/high school, mostly speed/sprinting with very little x-country.  Started longer distance running around 2005.  Stopped for a while when I moved to Edmonton, and then back into it when Mandy signed me up for my first Spartan.

1
Guns out, thumbs up!

  1. DO YOU HAVE A PRE-RACE RITUAL OR A MANTRA WHICH KEEPS YOU ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS?
  • Mandy: To be completely honest, I have suffered from a major eating disorder since I was 13, what keeps me going is the very real fact that by being active, I eat. It keeps my mind busy. I also want to show my daughter’s what a woman can achieve that has nothing to do with outward appearances, just pure determination.
  • Jamie: Not really – I barely warm up or stretch.  So outside of some socializing with good friends… As far as anything that helps me achieve any goals, it’s probably a mix of self-pride for work and training paying off, being able to do some of the things I can, having my family proud, and being a decent role model.

 

  1. WHAT IS A TYPICAL TRAINING WEEK FOR YOU?
  • Mandy: When I’m not injured…sadly I am right now, I usually have Monday off, Tuesday Upper Body, Wednesday AMRAP and Tempo Run, Thursday Off, Friday Weight Train Legs, Saturday OCR Class, Sunday Long Run.
  • Jamie: I have no regular routine.  Do what I can, when I can.  Work on what I think needs work, or is weaker, as I go (no sense putting max effort into the things that are already ‘strengths’ – Although, I don’t ignore them either).

 

  1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE WORKOUT? (RUNNING/STRENGTH or X TRAIN?)
  • Mandy: OCR Class by far!!! I love the energy people bring in a group class!
  • Jamie: I think I like a good regular paced outdoor, off-road run in the summer the most, with some good tunes.

 

  1. WHAT FOODS ALWAYS END UP IN YOUR GROCERY BASKET?
  • Mandy: Spinach, Whey Protein, Egg Whites, Veggie Burgers, Hemp Hearts, Green Peppers, Cheerios etc etc etc ….no fun at all! Except for popsicles…I must have popsicles!
  • Jamie: Spinach, whey, chicken breast, broccoli, green pepper, nuts, Greek yogurt, almond milk, eggs, celery, sweet potatoes, bananas, oranges,, nut butter, cheese, avocado, blueberries, granola/oat cereal …

 

  1. WHAT ABOUT YOUR PRE-RACE MEAL? WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO SNACKS ON A RACE DAY?
  • Mandy: Oatmeal, Nuts, Berries and Egg whites! Depending on the race, if its a longer one I will pack Jelly Beans, Oreo’s, Rice Pudding, Oatmeal, Chocolate, Protein bar.
  • Jamie: Oatmeal, yogurt, nuts, berries, eggs, PB.

3
Couples that race together, well you know…..

  1. HAVE YOU EVER HAVE A BAD EXPERIENCE DURING THE RACE? OR AN EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD ONE YOU COULD TELL US ABOUT?
  • Mandy: When Jamie and I did the Dallas UltraBeast, I can honestly say I had the most fun ever with him. I loved that it was just the two of us out there, we didn’t know anyone, just two crazy kids going for a very long hike together and I just kept my eye on him the entire time, he was usually ahead of me. I felt great despite my leg hurting. I was so happy, the happiest I have ever felt running.
  • Jamie: Bad experience – Top 2 at Red Deer Super.  6km in and broke my foot jumping over a fallen tree.  Finished the last 7km of the broken foot for an 18th place, and lots of FOMO for most of the rest of the season.  Good experience – I would have to say, every time I end up running with Mandy.  Dallas (as she mentioned), Tough Mudder, or even a ‘one more lap’ at the X-Warrior Titan.

 

  1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE RACE OR RACE SERIES AND WHY?
  • Mandy: XWARRIOR!!! One Word. Darcy. The energy and personal touches that Darcy brings to his event is nothing like I have ever experienced at a race. You actually feel like you are a part of this amazing movement, and that you are getting your money’s worth. The fact that he plays JB in the Stadium race also helps…
  • Jamie: I would have to agree with Mandy.  Darcy has done such an amazing job building the X-Warrior series and brand.  He’s an awesome personality with so much energy.  Well organized, well run, and overall great events with a lot of thought and pride put into them.

2

  1. WHAT EQUIPMENT/CLOTHING/SHOES DO YOU STAND BY? WHY?
  • Mandy: Reebok Clothing, super durable and cozy! Shoes: Trail and Road, New Balance!!! I also loved the Reebok All Terrain Shoes that they do not make anymore …
  • Jamie: Clothing would be Reebok, for sure (2XU for compression – but not very wallet-friendly).  Shoes, I like my New Balance and Saucony for street/treadmill.  Trail, I like my Speedcross 4 (longer runs), and shorter/faster would be my S-Lab Speed.  OCR, I do prefer my All Terrain Supers for drainage and grip.

 

  1. ARE YOU AFFILIATED WITH ANY RUN GROUPS? WHEN DO THEY MEET?
  • Mandy: Not really, I will run occasionally with City Fit Shop, they run on Wednesdays and Saturdays, great group of people!
  • Jamie: No ‘affiliations’.  I am typically up for joining in with groups whenever.  Fly by the seat of my pants, I do.

 

  1. IF YOU COULD BE A SUPERHERO OR FICTIONAL CHARACTER WHO WOULD YOU BE?
  • Mandy: Snow White …. little men cleaning a house all day…SIGN ME UP!
  • Jamie: I’ve typically always been more ‘into’ Superman, as far as fictional characters/superheroes go.  And from where I sit now, to be less injury prone would be fantastic!  I just feel like having that ‘Superman’ mentality, is to be the person that others – especially your family – can look up to as someone strong, honest, reliable, protective, and an overall good role model.  On the flipside, there’s the damn supervillains always out to kill you, constantly saving the world from certain doom, and an identity crisis – pros and cons, haha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEC RACE 2 – Review

This was a race I was putting a little pressure on myself for some reason. Its still early in the year so I know I won’t be hitting any PBs yet but had the though in the back of my mind. Spoiler; I didn’t hit the PB! There was a light dusting of snow the night before the race (Its April, Edmonton winters never end!) so I put my goal from sub 39 minutes to sub 40 for the 10km which I thought was still reasonable to achieve. To be honest I would be disappointed with anything less with all the work and training done thus far.

My training leading to this race has been quite good so I was happy going into this race. The morning routine of race day was like any other, get up, race gear on and get my morning race breakfast in. It was commandeered by my son this time but i t was nice to share.

IMG_4878No Daddy, its my breakfast

Course Description

I took this description from the pre race e-mail but it explains the course very well. Race begins at the Park Pavilion, continuing west along William Hawrelak Park Rd.
Runners continue around Hawrelak, crosses over the footbridge to Buena Vista Park
The 5K turnaround point is located just before the rowing club at a water station, 5K runners have a simple out and back course. Returning over the footbridge, continue along the multiuse trail along Hawrelak Park Road. Racers go out of Hawrelak Park and up Groat Road hill. For 10K turnaround, runners will turn on Saskatchewan Drive.  A marshal is located here.  10K runners return to the start along the same route, but you do not cross into Buena Vista Park on the return.

My Review of the Race

When i got to the race site. I dropped my bag off at the pavilion and collected my race bib. I went for a warm up with Packie (he was running the 5km). It was a cool but not cold day. The snow had made the service a little slick with some patches of black ice but overall the footing was good. After our warm up the 15km race went of so I finished the few minutes of mental preparation and then it was time to go.

The race got started while the race director was talking to us so it was more a surprising start. We got off to a fast start almost 3.30 a km for the first one, I knew this was an unrealistic pace and slowed down a bit for the next 3km because we would have a big climb to deal with. I was sitting in 4th after the first 1.5km. At the 2.5km turn around I moved to first. We can back across the bridge and crossed paths with the leaders of the 5km race which included friends Austin Azar and Packie Kiernan, a little encouragement and we were on our separate ways again. I moved back to second place and this is where I would stay for the reminder of the race.

Next up was the big hill climb, I felt this year this is something I need to improve on and that I have got worse at hill climbing in the last year or so. SO I was happy to see I was only 2 seconds slower on the climb from a previous race, still room for improvement on my hills but a step in the right the direction. I didn’t want to lose any ground on first place and I stayed about 250m behind him. After the hill the course was flat again but finding race pace was hard. On to the next turn around I didn’t close the gap on first place but down hill running is one of my strengths so I was still happy with distance. I had about a 300m lead on 3rd place and was confident now at the 7km mark I wouldn’t let that slip.

The decent started and I was down to a 3.30km pace, I was hoping for a 3.15km pace but thought I was gaining ground on 1st. After the decent there was 2km of flat running to the finish line. Now to concentrate on getting my sub 40 minute 10km and holding on to second place. Coming o the finish line a few friends from the 5km were cooling down and encouraged my to pick the pace up. Sub 40 minute 10km secured along with 2nd place, thats 2 in a row in the MEC 10km races. Overall I was happy with the result and I am building better than previous years hopefully o hitting my PB’s (for 5km, 10km and half marathon). Always have to work on those hills though!

ba4ced0a-503f-4a9f-b4a5-a8e41b0dd7d9#2irishladsoutforastroll 2nd in 10km and 3rd in the 5km. Podiums all around this year. 

Next up is MEC Trail Race 1 on April 22nd where I will be running the 8km middle distance. This race is at Goldbar Park which is one of my favorite locations to run in Edmonton.

 

 

Favorite Running YouTube Channels

This post is a look at the YouTube channels I love to watch if im smashing out a treadmill run, looking for some good tips or just some interesting viewing.

The Ginger Runner

TRG_Logov2Black
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSxqXJj9btSS3nrmBg8GXdQ

from the man that brought you Where Drams go to die. A fantastic film about Gary Robbins attempts at the Barkley Marathons from 2016 and 2018. A raw and gritty view of what it takes to attempt the hardest race in the world.

The Ginger Runner also has some fantastic race reviews, gives the best reviews about gear around and has some wonderful interviews on his challenge. I have definitely passed many a hour running with this channel on.

Harry Runs

953794_17b650e4de914b8d84d55768e826262a_mv2

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVptfwYcLxRED8w4Efy0CsA

Harry Jones is an ultra runner who is from the UK but resides in Thailand where he tackles many great Ultra races over there. His training tips are top notch and he provides wonderful motivation and seem fantastic views on his channel. If you are vegan or looking to become vegan he also gives some great advice on nutrition.

On his website he says ‘2016 was the year that I decided to pursue my running career. That meant 14 races, 9 wins, with course records on the trails, roads and up a skyscraper. I competed in my first 100km race and my first international-level ultra. 2017 started with a top 10 finish at Hong Kong 100, the first race of the Ultra Trail World Tour. I went on to win both The North Face 100 Thailand and TransLantau 100 in Hong Kong, and place 2nd in Austria’s Mozart 100 on the Ultra Trail World Tour.

To help and inspire others on their running journeys, I document much of my life and training on YouTube and share my tips and advice on all areas running, training and plant-based nutrition based on the knowledge and experience I have gained from over 15 years of running and a Bachelor’s degree in Sport Biomedicine & Nutrition.’

Check this channel out you won’t regret it.

Gwen Jorgensen

original.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNQaItQ0LLVu5987SD88s2w

A new channel and a channel I have recently found. I will start with some of Gwens achievements

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • 2016 Olympic Champion
  • 2015 World Champion
  • 2014 World Champion
  • 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Member
  • 2013 USA Triathlon’s Triathlete of the Year
  • 2014 USA Triathlon’s Triathlete of the Year
  • 2015 USA Elite National Champion
  • 2014 USA Elite National Champion
  • 2013 USAT Elite National Champion (Sprint and Olympic Distance)
  • First USA Woman to win a World Triathlon Series race
  • 15-time ITU World Triathlon Series Winner
  • 2010 USAT Rookie of the Year
  • 2010 USAT Elite Duathlete of the Year

A look at this shows the has some amazing accomplishments. She recently moved into marathon running and is aiming to get another Olympic medal in Tokyo 2020. This channel is great to get a look into what it takes to be an Olympic level athlete.

Billy Yang Films

by-films-square-logo-vertical

https://www.youtube.com/user/BillyYangFilms/featured

Billy has seem of the best short race videos out there, he highlights athlete with great short interviews. His videos can be emotional but thats all part of the running journey. Looking to see some videos with some breathtaking views, inspirational people and learn more about many races out there this is the channel for you.

Billy says on his site ‘Merging my passion of both mountain adventures and storytelling, I decided one day to spend my days pursuing what I truly love to do. Whether it’s personal stories, race highlights or collaborating with brands to create visually compelling stories and content, I dedicate 100% of my efforts to create the best possible product.’

This channel is definitely worth a subscribe and you’ll find some gems here.

Global Triathlon Network

20479023_1912291662351707_5292728855021223936_a

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJVMrR290HU9pDxaP35u_cg

I love this channel for the tips and training hints. They go through swimming running and biking but I mainly watch the running videos. From how to do tempo runs to the best hill workouts, the GTN channel is fun and has it all. I enjoyed taking tips from the channel and using them in my own training. Learning more will always help with your running.

The Run Experience

unnamed

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjGZ6D8hJFvLur5K_p9vKAA

Another training channel. Strength, speed, hill workouts, this is the channel you need on your subscription list if you are a serious runner. Nate Helming and his team have put together a professional and fun resource for every runner. If you enjoy their channel they also have a great website and offer some fantastic training plans.

Timothy Shieff (Tim the Human)

Ftaoapn2_400x400

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoLwWY9zQ7Jp8aDtYUszmYg

Ah a favourite of mine. Tim has stepped away from running a bit but I believe from watching his videos is working towards racing again. His race/run videos are really fun so search his channel. Tim has some fantastic videos on veganism and what it means to him. A look at the world in a different view, its always good to learn from others and see the world through their eyes so thats the reason I like this channel, he is not afraid to voice his opinions and beliefs. He also owns a great company ETHCs which sells ethical and vegan clothing.

https://ethcs.com