Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kay and Mike Take Toronto By Bike: The Port Lands

Mike and I have made it an unofficial goal to visit as many neighbourhoods as possible in Toronto via public transit and biking. This is a multiyear adventure, and has no order, very few rules, and no deadline. The only rule with bike club is that we don’t talk about bike club. Just kidding! The only rule is that we have to get there without using a car, and then I have to blog about it. 

Bike adventure number 3! (See Dundas ON, and Leslieville from last year)

Sometimes bike adventures just spontaneously happen. This Sunday, Mike and I were planning on attending a free intro to sailing class over in the Port Lands. Our plan was to drive over, do the sailing class, and then drive back. But then CRAZY TRAFFIC JAMS happened, so we decided to skip frustratingly waiting in traffic and biked over. It was one of those moments where we were like "herm..its only 50+ km of biking, we should be able to do that!" Spoiler alert: we did! 

22.5 km one way!

The first 15 km of the ride was very familiar as it is my normal commute to work. I have started biking to work and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I take side streets for a few blocks and then boom: water front trail. Especially with the amazing updates to Queen's Quay, the bike to work is actually cycling friendly! It is crazy to see how much the biking infrastructure has improved in the past few years. Only thing to note is that on a nice summer weekend the pedestrian traffic can get a little nuts, but I don't mind sharing the trail, it just means biking with more caution than early on a weekday morning. We did however see a guy on a old timey bicycle about 8ft in the air so that was pretty neat! 

After the waterfront area, we continued our trek down through the Port Lands, our main destination for this trip (20km from home). 

It is a Mike!

The Port Lands area wouldn't necessarily be considered a "tourist" destination. It is definitely a part of Toronto that shows off it's historical industrial side. However, there are some pretty cool things out that way. Pulson Pier (driving range, indoor soccer, go karts and more), Cabana pool bar which has some of the nicest views of the city, Cherry St. Beach, and lots of Sailing Clubs.  It will be interesting to see what it will look like in 2o years after more development. 

We were at the Sailing Fanatics club for our short lesson, and Alex our guide took us out to show us a catamaran style boat. It was a lot of fun! I love being out on the water, and in the future I really want to look into getting a small boat/kayak or something that we can bring down to the water near our house and go for some water adventures! (Kay and Mike take Toronto by Water?). 

 After sailing, we decided to add more kms to the bike and explore Tommy Thompson Park, (otherwise known as the Leslie Street Spit).

It is a spit!

You could go check out wikipedia or you can read my summary below:
Back in the 50's shipping was a big deal. So they decided to build a breakwater to create a second harbour for shipping traffic. Shipping traffic died down, but now the city had a convenient place to dump fill. So they created a man made spit. Then because nature is awesome, things started growing (as green things do) and nature started to take over the man made spit. In the 70s they decided to open the area to the public as a park/wildlife, and even though it is still an active dumping area (some of the cells still have a 50 year capacity), it has also become an important bird conservation area. Pretty cool example of humans doing something kind of good for the environment by accident! Definitely felt like we were out of the city for the afternoon, and it gave us some pretty cool views! 

After the spit (now we were up past 30 km of biking) we decided to grab a bite at Cherry St. Restaurant. It is a cool old building that has been around since 1907! Since it was a weird time of day, we spilt a club sandwich, salad and some pretty delicious sweet potato fries (and a beer-vrage!). 

The Cherry
Om nom nom

After that nice stop we headed back on the road, only to be stalled at the bridge as a huge ship drove through....
I'm very excited!!

That is a big ship!

...and then another 20km to get home! It was a little tough on the legs, but we made it!! Just in time to have some leftover BBQ for supper, and call it day! 50+km of biking, one more area down...a ton more adventures to go! 

Monday, June 1, 2015

#MotivateMe Monday: A Recap of Science Chase, Spartan Race, and Mud Hero

May was a crazy month. I somehow signed up for all the things, and ended up spending most weekends doing some sort of crazy adventure..which is exactly how I like it! I have started writing this re-cap many times, and mostly due to Spartan it turns into a 100000 word post..so I'm going to simplify with STATS! (Ugh it is still super long..too much to recap!!)

Hopefully this motivates EVERYONE, and motivates myself to have another super awesome active month!
A weekly linkup on Mondays for you to share your weekly fitness plans and meal plans #MotivateMe http://www.fitnesscheerleader.com
Motivate me Monday is a weekly link up with fitnesscheerleader and runningrachel

Science Chase: 

Where/When: May 8th/Toronto.
What: An amazing race style run through down town Toronto, just like city chase (see here, here, here, or here), but this time with SCIENCE.
Jazz hands for Science

Challenges completed: 11 (but then we went and did the other ones for fun)

Projectile Motion..and a GIF!!

Place: 4th...again, running joke is that we are the 4th placers at city chase events
Time: ~2:20
Steps: 24,400
Distance travelled: ~10km
It was easier to do a screen shot this way I swear. 
Reasons why it was awesome: Somewhat science based, but also very physical, lots of running. Mike and I did really well with the challenges, and there was a fun after party! We also got a sweet prize.

Oh and it was REALLY affordable! Highly recommend it for people next year.

Computer Programming...you got this Mike!

Highlights:  Before the race started, they had a "nerd" challenge, and a "jock" challenge, I didn't volunteer for either, but when they announced that the jock challenge was push-ups, and I was in pre-spartan mode, I got "strongly encouraged" by Mike to go up. I did 31 push-ups in front of the crowd...from my toes. It was awesome. The "jock" boys did 42, and won free pizza. Never would have referred to myself as a jock before that point!

Lessons Learned: READ THE WHOLE CLUE!! Also, this event (like city chase) is for everyone, doesn't matter fitness level or nerdiness, just come and do it. It is a blast.

Spartan Race (Super Distance): 

Where/When: May 17th, Mt. Tremblant

Yes that is a mountain with snow. 

What: A 13km race with obstacles, and penalties for not completing obstacles (30 burpees). Oh and you climb Mt. Tremblant 3 times.
Place: doesn't matter, we (my partner in crime, Erin blogging over at Assorted Adventures of Erin and I) finished.
Time: ~6 hours.
Distance Travelled: 23 km (even though it was a 13 km course?)
Equivalent flights of stairs climbed: 401
Steps: 32720
From Erin's Fitbit

Number of burpees completed: 275
Reasons why it was awesome: This was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. The mental challenge of climbing a mountain for 4 hours, plus doing 275 burpees was friggin hard. Physically I was ready for the running (I love trail running), but maybe not so ready for the obstacles. It was one of those things while doing it we were like "WE ARE NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN", but then by the next morning I was thinking of how to improve for next year. Erin thinks I'm insane, and her actual words when I mentioned I want to do it next year cannot be repeated on this blog, but I think I may do it again.

Highlight: Finishing. Actually sticking with the training (as detailed in previous motivate me posts, the last week I missed about 2 workouts to fit in the taper, but overall stuck with the plan) and feeling like a champion. There were quite a few things I did during that race that 10 weeks before I wouldn't have been able to do (mostly the lifting heavier weights), so seeing that progress was huge for me. Also, I loved the team effort of the race. Everyone is in it, against the mountain.


Lesson learned: Oh there are so many, and perhaps this will warrant a longer blog post, but I would say the following: WEAR SUNSCREEN (I did have some on..but not enough)...

... don't plan to do anything that night (we made the mistake of driving down to Montreal and trying to go dancing..bad call), and it will be 10x harder than you imagine. You need to train for this event (as recaped in my training posts). Even with following the training plan, I was still not prepared (heavier weights and more upper body would have helped).

Spiddeer (wo)man

Mud Hero Urban

When/Where: May 23rd/Downtown Toronto
What: A much more reasonable 6km obstacle course race ...with more mud!!
Place: 470/7691 overall, 99/4711 for gender, 21/1069 for category (more on this below)
Distance travelled: 6km
Time: 43:35
Number of burpees: 0...the way it should be.
Cars Jumped on: 4

Reasons why was it awesome: Mud hero is a fantastic entry level obstacle race. It is just intense enough to be a little outside your comfort zone, but totally doable by most fitness levels. I had raced in 2012/2013 with my friends and work peeps, and this year Mike's coworkers signed up. We joined in the last minute, and took the opportunity to try to see some big improvements from a few years back (see below).

Highlights: You get to smash cars. It is always my fav obstacle. And the after party is the best, live music, good food, and free beer-verages. Personal highlights include being the first girl in my leg to finish. I was neck in neck with this chicky most of the race, and she caught up with me at the last cargo net. As someone with a slight fear of heights, I am very cautious..so she almost got me, but I managed to finish the obstacle, and WIN. Also, being able to bike there and back was pretty awesome.

Lessons learned: (from the previous mud heros but worth repeating) wear a bathing suit under your clothes. You will be stripping down to change. Also, bring warm clothes for after..the water to wash off is always very chilly! Also, you will never get the dirt out of your finger nails...

Overall Recap

As much as mud hero wasn't the most physical challenging out of these 3 it really showed me how much I have improved.

2012 (Mud hero was my big event of the year)
Time 1:07
Place: 70th percentile overall, 64th percentile gender, 71th percentile category
Feeling after: DEAD TIRED.

2013 (Mud hero was right before my triathlon):
Time 0:59
Place: 38th Percentile Overall, 29th percentile gender, 29th percentile category
Feeling after: Pretty good! Cardio was fantastic due to tri training

2014 (Slightly easier course than 2012/2013, which is why I focused on the percentile):
Time: 0:43
Place: 6th percentile overall, 2nd percentile gender (99/4711!!!), 2nd percentile category!!!
Feeling after: No big thang...was able to bike home (another 10km), and wasn't sore the next day at all.

Seeing those CRAZY differences, blew. my. mind. I consider myself active, but never athletic, but to see it in cold hard percentiles is a true testament to the hours of workouts/runs/zumba classes/hot yoga etc. I guess maybe I am a "jock" after all (lol)!

I'm keeping things relatively chill for the next two months or so (I was specifically told no more adventure runs before the wedding), but late Summer/Fall is already looking to be a jam packed time..and maybe a half marathon!!???

Oh man this post was still super long...if anyone is still reading they get 10 gold stars!