Paramedic Mike

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Twice is Nice! @RBCRunForTheKids 2015 review

It’s time for another race review!  Saturday September 19th I ran the RBC run for the kids for the second time.  It was also my second time being an Ambassador for the race!  I must say: twice is nice!, times 2! 😉

Ambassador-Badge

Being an ambassador for two years in a row allows me the unique opportunity to reflect on last years program and compare it to this year.  I cannot express enough how much the program has improved in one short year.  Myself and 5 others returned as ambassadors along with 19 others to form a very diverse group of runners.  I was very excited at who was selected because many of runners selected I had already befriended or met so I was really looking forward to working with them more closely.  The program was expanded this year from 13 Ambassadors last year to the 25 this year.  Our jobs were to use our social media profiles to create buzz around the event, interact and support other runners and complete one blog post for the race website.  This year we worked very hard to create that buzz and interact with people to encourage them to sign up and meet their fundraising goals.  The race again sold out well before race day!  We were very supported this year by our leader Greg and communication between group members and him was fostered by emails as well as a newly created Facebook group.  The Facebook group proved to be a very invaluable tool for us all to stay informed, learn about each other and coordinate social media promotional events.  New this year was an Ambassadors run which was organized to help us get acquainted with one another.  I, unfortunately, was not able to attend this event but from what I heard from others and saw on social media was very successful and fun!  Next year!…  Also new this year and something I was very excited and extremely thankful for was that New Balance Toronto provided each of the Ambassadors with a $250 gift card to spend at their stores for gear to use while training and during the event.  I couldn’t have been any happier with the gear I selected, how it performed as well as New Balance Toronto’s commitment to us and the race!  You can read more about the gear that I selected and what I thought of it here.

Race day came and we were all told to meet at 730 for a picture and a brief meet up before the 15k runners were to go to the corals.

We ended up being a quite pressed for time so there wasn’t a lot of time for mingling or meeting these people I had been working with for the last few months which was kinda disappointing but there was some time for a couple of other pics.  Like this one with my favorite people left-right: Lisa RootCathy van DergeestMe, Matt Small, Melly Ciffo & Sandi Swan

The 5 of us were all running the 15k together so we made our way to the coral.  No race for me would be complete without some mid race runfie’s of course!

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Who says #Running can't be fun!

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The course was the same as last year and, again, I had no real problems with it.  It was a good mix of hills and flats as well as street vs park environments.  There was just the right amount of water/gatorade stations and I also saw lots of porta-potties along the route.  Many of the streets in the area were shut down and drivers, for the most part, were very understanding.  Well except for one tiny street we crossed I believe it was Grantbrook street where we heard a lot of angry honking, sorry! At this point I would like to send a huge thank you to all the Toronto Police Officers who were out controlling traffic for us!  It made a huge difference to know you were keeping us safe along the route!  Also this event could not have run as smoothly as it did without the many volunteers and event staff.  They all did such an amazing job, THANK YOU!

As the finish line approached Melly and I decided that we would try to finish sub 1hr 30 mins.  We were able to meet that goal, just barely,  and get our bling!

Now that we had our bling (which was the same as last year but the ribbons were different for each distance {a welcome change}), it was time to enjoy the post race party and food!  I always love the post race party after this race.  Two years in a row now I have nothing bad to say.  The music and entertainment is great the food variety, supply and quality is unmatched.  There were baskets everywhere with bananas and chocolate milk, there was grilled cheese, amazing cookies, egg wraps, coffee and I don’t even think that was all that was available!   Please keep this up for future years!

I had such an amazing time “going further for youth mental health”   I would recommend this event to all my running and non-running friends.  With the change to 5, 7, and 15k distances it really caters to all abilities.  I was surprised to see how many young children there who had completed the run!  As I’ve said multiple times before this race makes a huge impact in the lives of our most vulnerable youth and I am so happy it sells out every year!  So please make sure you include this run in your calendar each year and register early!  Thanks to you the $1000 we raised contributed to over $2 million in total for the Family Navigation Project! Way to go everyone!!  I look forward to participating in this event next year and I hope I will be selected a 3rd time as an Ambassador since it gives me great pleasure to raise money and spread awareness of youth mental illness in our community.

Twice is nice but I’d love a three-peat 😉

#KeepSmilin 🙂

Twitter Thank You

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New gear! @NewBalanceCan sponsors the @RBCRunForTheKids Ambassadors

Ambassador-Badge

This is my second year now as an ambassador for the RBC Run For The Kids and New Balance Canada has stepped up their sponsorship game with a $250 gift card to spend on gear!  This comes with the preface that we use this gear while training and post on our SM wearing the gear.  There was no obligation for me to do a blog review and I do so at my own choice and offer my honest review here for your benefit.

Thanks New Balance Canada

Thanks New Balance Canada

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Bayview Village New Balance

I chose to visit the Bayview Village location.  The staff there were more than helpful as I explained what sort of items I was looking for.  First and foremost I wanted a new pair of kicks!  I showed the associate what I am currently running in so she would have an idea of what type of shoe I needed {she didn’t even mind that it was a competing brand ;)}.  With the general idea in mind of what I wanted she still did a proper gait and walking analysis to ensure she would be bringing me the proper models.

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My “Foot Print”

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Just a small selection of the men’s shoes available

I was then presented with these shoes:

 New Balance 880v5:

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Vazee Pace:

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Fresh Foam Zante:

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While they all really felt amazing and gave me great support I found the Zante’s fit my foot the best.  I prefer a shoe that doesn’t feel like it has a high sole and the Zante gave me exactly what I was looking for under my feet.  I find with some shoes that the top sometimes is too snug across the top of my foot and the upper of this shoe wrapped around my foot like a grove.  Since it fit so well I did not need it to be laced too tightly until I got to the last eyelets where I like the back to be tight around my ankle.

My new Zante's in all their glory!

My new Zante’s in all their glory!

Along with the shoes I also picked up some sweet New Balance clothes!

Windcheater Jacket

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Technical deets:

  • Material: 100% Polyester moisture wicking fabric
  • Athletic fit
  • Lightweight performance woven
  • Reflective logo
  • Reflective tape at back
  • Two zipper enclosed pockets
  • V-fold binding at hem and cuff
  • Water-resistant
  • Wind-resistant

Accelerate 5 Inch Short

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Technical deets:

  • Material: 100% Polyester moisture wicking fabric
  • 5 inch inseam
  • Athletic fit
  • Contrast color mesh insets
  • Internal key pocket
  • Reflective logo
  • Sleek woven

My thoughts:

The shoes are amazing!  The have performed exactly the way that I need my shoes to perform!  They are not heavy and feel so light on my feet! The cushioning on the sole is exactly right.  The upper is the perfect fit for my foot shape and requires little tension on the laces to keep my foot snug.  The toe box is roomy and airy and with the all the vents on the shoe they breath really well!  I never have any soreness on my feet from my short runs to my long runs.  I have a really good feeling that New Balance is going to be my go-to shoe from now on!

The jacket and the shorts are both made with the same NB DRY material. They but work perfectly at wicking the moisture away from my body.  I wore the jacket for a run along the lake on a windy but still very warm day.  I found it worked very well as a wind breaker and at the same time did not find I was sweating or overheating any more than usual in the heat.  The length of the shorts is perfect for me since I don’t like long shorts riding up and down my leg with each stride.  They come with and inside liner which does exactly what I need it to do.  The NB DRY material means all of the sweat I generate is quickly evaporated away from my body!  I actually find myself reaching for these shorts over all my others now!

I am so happy with all the New Balance gear I was so lucky to have been given!  I would recommend all these products to my friends when asked.

I want to send out a thank you first to RBC Run For The Kids for giving the opportunity to be an Ambassador again, New Balance Canada for sponsoring the run and providing the gift cards to the Ambassadors and to Fit4Balance for all their expertise and help with selecting and purchasing this amazing gear!

See you out there!

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#KeepSmilin 🙂

My very first race recap @RBCRun4theKids

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Well the day had finally come and I was super excited to say the least!  1 because I was selected to be an ambassador and 2 because it was my first official race!  Now I must say that the feelings of excitement were mixed with nervousness.  Nervous about my first official race and also because this would be only the 2nd time ever that I would be running 15k.

It all started the night before…. I had to get everything ready since I had wake up at 4:45am ugh! Thankfully for me waking up at that time is not unusual at all and I am quite comfortable waking up at that time of the morning. So that night I prob spent over an hour pacing back and forth and going up and down the stars trying to pack a bag that in hind sight I prob didn’t even need!  “What should I pack??’ “Should I bring a change of clothes?” “Do I bring my flip flops since I love being able to take my shoes off right away after running?” “Do I pack a Clif bar for after? Will I need it during the race?”  I ended up settling on taking my backpack with a change of clothes and flip flops as well as my running gear: HR monitor, Garmin, headphones.  This way I also had a place to keep my wallet secure!  I even slipped that Clif bar in after all!  If i was bringing the bag then why not!

Finally I went to bed still nervous about sleeping through my alarm and probably a later then I should before a race.  I usually don’t have an issue with 4-5 hours or sleep.

 “I hope I don’t sleep through my alarm!”

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Morning came and I bounced out of bed with excitement!  I ate my oatmeal grabbed my bag and jumped in the car…. Somehow I am 10 mins later then I wanted to be!!  Grrr. I still made it there in good time and was able to park and be out of the car by 610!  One of my fellow ambassadors was gracious enough to pick up my shirt and bib for me a few days before so I bbm’d him to pick a place to meet.  Crap he’s going to be a lot later then I had expected!!  Oh well time to check out the surroundings!

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I found the stage for all the amazing entertainment that was planned post race!

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Really cool idea! They had a bus to get all the amazing volunteers out to various points along the route!  Special shout out to all the volunteers that day!  They were all knowledgeable, directed people to al the places they needed to go, handed out water along the way, kept us all on track and cheered us on!  I tried to thank each one that I ran by!  These people really made race day run smoothly and kept us pumped!

6:45 met up with my fellow ambassador quickly changed shirts (the race shirt was amazing! It was a Karbon fitted race shirt I now LOVE fitted shirts for running!) and pinned on my bib!  Got my bag checked; which was amazingly smooth, kudos again to the volunteers.  Now it was off to the start line to make the 7am kick off!

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All smiles here on my way to the start line!  Thanks to a Toronto Police Officer who was willing to take this pic for me!

I made my way through the sea of people and found my way to the pace bunny that I thought I would keep (1:15-1:20).  Time to set up my music and get my Garmin all cued up!  Wow NOW I am nervous lol.  All this is SO new to me and standing in a huge corral all by myself and just my thoughts is not easy!!  Thankfully the race announcer and a representative from the Family Navigation Project  were speaking on the podium so I cold listen to that and ignore my nerves!

And then we were off!! When you’re not at the very beginning of the line the bang of the gun and confetti are just not as dramatic.  But for me it was still very thrilling.  The pack then starts to move and people start jockeying for position and space.  I am not a run the whole way kinda guy.  I subscribe to the Jeff Galloway Run/Walk/Run method and had set a goal for this race of 6min run and 1:30min walk.  This method works amazing when your at home and running by yourself.  However I quickly learned that in a race/run setting the challenge is finding the right place to slow to the walking pace without getting in someone’s way! Then when I was on my running phase it was difficult to get passed other runners and back to my 8:30 min/mile pace.  As the race went on I learned quickly where to place myself to make it happen!  It didn’t work all the time and often found myself caught behind a group that was running at a slower pace but I have a lot of patience and eventually found a way to break ahead again.

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I even had time to take some #Runfie’s …..I didn’t know how hard this is to during a race until now! lol.  These shots were taken at approximately KM5 and I was feeling great!  I was a little nervous having to run basically in the centre of Finch Ave however there were lots of cones set up and many of Toronto’s Finest (police) out to direct traffic and keep us all safe.  This is another time I took the opportunity to thank each one I came across!

Speaking of the route, I thought it was amazing!  It was a little tight with my pace group running in the middle of Finch but not too crowded.  I had heard that the water station just after the 5th KM was a challenge for runners since they had to cross live traffic to get to it.  However, I actually didn’t even notice this station, perhaps because it was so far off the track but also because I didn’t require water at this time.  From what I saw (I only tried to stop for water once and found it really difficult and annoying to try and drink from a cup and run at the same time) there were lots of water stations as well as porta-potties ( thankfully I did not require these either).  I suggest, however, that large garbage buckets be placed right after the water station for runners to throw their cups away.  It was a big mess on the grass and road of empty cups when I went through.  The run through G Ross Lord park was beautiful and I wish I had taken a pic during this section to show you!  The best I have is this selfie at the 10k mark I took to pump people up at getting to the 2/3 mark of the race!

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At this point I was still feeling great and not burned out; thanks to the run/walk/run method.  Mentally for me this point meant that it was almost over.  I had broken the race into 3x5K sections so now all I had to do was get through the last 5k and I did not feel burnt out at all!  In fact after multiple attempts to take this selfie and the frustration being there so long I was able to run faster than my 8:30 pace to catch back up with the group I was running with.

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KM 13 and still smilin! 🙂 I run for the experience not the times so I love taking pics and documenting my runs!  From this point I am getting really excited and tell myself “Ok from KM 14 you’re not taking a walking break and you’re going to power through to the finish”  This seemed to be a very manageable goal and my legs and cardio felt ready for it.  So I started running, and running, and running, and running ….. Insert Dory’s voice from Finding Nemo “Just keep Running” ….”What the hell!  My watch says 15K and I’m not even close to seeing the finish or the runners making any sort of turn to the finish! So I keep running…. now my cardio and legs are starting to complain…. I start to have this mental war with myself “Ok just take a break your legs are starting to hurt and you’re really starting to get out of breath” “No you said you were going to finish strong for the last KM” back and forth and back and forth.  The one thing that was keeping me going was that I was being beginning to pass a lot of runners (love how the run/walk/run really conserves your energy).

Then finally the finish line!!

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Note the final distance on my Garmin 15.94 so when I told myself just run that last km?  Yeah it was actually 2!  lol  Definitely something for the organisers to look at correcting for next year.  Since I’m such a positive person I give myself more props now for running the last km AND completing a 16km run with and official time of 1:27:36

My first OFFICIAL race finish time!!  I am quite proud of myself for this time!

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The best part of it all was getting my first ever bling!!

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Now that the hard part was done and out of the way it was time to check out the post race expo!  I finally got a a chance to try HoneyMaxx since so many people have been raving to me about it!  Loved it gotta try more!  Then I turn around to the booth beside to see one of the media sponsors Global Toronto where I found the emcee Leslie Roberts.

Mr. Roberts was very happy to meet and chat with me!  He is also a very big supporter of Paramedics. He even ran the 5k run that day!

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From then it was time to grab my bag (again seamless!) and get some food!.  There were baskets of bananas juice and chocolate milk perfectly spread around the square so I grabbed my self a sampling as a I walked around.  Next it was some coffee (perfect idea btw since the 15 & 25k runners had to be up so early) and a breakfast burrito.

The digital ambassadors were asked to meet up at 950 for a 10 am photo its unfortunate that I was unable to meet everyone; I was really looking forward to that.  The 4 I was able to meet in person were amazing and it was so nice to finally meet them.  I want to take this opportunity to commend all the social media ambassadors for all their hard work and dedication to fund-raising, education and promoting the run!  The run has doubled in participants in just two years; some of that success has to be attributed to all our hard work!  I can only wish that I as well as all the other are asked back next year to continue to build this amazing race!

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From there we parted ways and myself and Dave decide to sample the grilled cheese that everyone was raving about and we weren’t disappointed!  In hind sight I kinda wish I had stayed around longer to enjoy the live music and meet some of the Canadian Olympians that were there to support the runners.  There is always next year, maybe my kids will even be able to attend so they can enjoy the Nickelodeon Kids Fest!

Overall for my first racing experience I couldn’t have picked a better race!  From what this race supports to the whole experience on the day to the feeling of satisfaction of being an ambassador I dont think any other race from now on will compare!  I highly recommend you consider this race next year in your running schedules!  I would like to thank all of my donors!  I never imagined that I would be able to raise over $700 for this worthy cause. Thank you to Claire our Jedi master of sorts for providing us with all the guidance, support and information we would need to fulfil our role as ambassadors.  Thank you to my fellow ambassadors; pat yourselves on the back I loved working with you all and you all did amamazing job!  Thank you to all the volunteers the Toronto Police, Toronto Paramedic Service and all the corporate sponors who made this all come together!

If you would like more information about the Run, the Family Navigation Project and the RBC Children’s mental heal project I have created a fact sheet here (thanks Claire).

Do you remember your first race/run? How did it go?

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Introducing the @RBCRun4theKids #Ambassadors

Let me introduce you the the wonderful team of ambassadors for the RBC Run for the Kids!

Carolyn Pleasance

Catherine Cameron

Crystal Ellis

Daniel Cook

David Kittner

Louisa D’Costa

David McDonnell

Delia Xenophontos

Ida Marelli

James Clarkson

Sarah Gunn

Sherrie-Mae Guthrie

I count myself very lucky and grateful to be a part of such an amazingly talented group.  I look forward to sharing my talents with all of them as we work towards our common goals.  These wonderful people along with myself are committed and dedicated to ensuring you have the best running experience as well as helping you meet your health and fitness goals. Whether you’re looking for a cheer squad to finding the perfect training plan or motivation to keep you going on those tough days (we all have them) you will find everything you need in this fine group!  We will also be promoting the run to ensure it gets the exposure it needs to connect our youth with the right professionals who can meet their individual mental health needs. Please take moment to check out each ambassadors bio and shoot them a follow on their listed social media channels.

It would be really cool if you would consider running with us or donating to the event.  All running types and skills levels are welcomed and encouraged.   Hey they let me run right? 🙂 All the money you donate will directly impact the only 20% who currently receive specialized treatment for conditions such as anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, depression or addiction.

Looking forward to making a difference with you!

Thank you for your support!

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I would also like to take a moment to thank the generous contributions from the race sponsors; it couldn’t happen without their support:

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