Valley Harvest Kids Run Recap ’17

WHAT A BEA-U-TI-FUL WEEKEND! We had summer like temperatures over Thanksgiving weekend – what more could you ask for!

We started off our weekend by moving a cord of word…yeah…all four of us. Though I’m sure it might have been more productive if it was just 1 or 2 of us big people moving it but the girls wanted to help. PSA – playing the soundtrack of “SING” can make your kids enjoy outdoor chores that much better. And it can provide entertainment when they start randomly dancing and singing.


After that, the girls and I grabbed a quick lunch and left for the Valley Harvest Kids run while my husband stayed back and finished cleaning up the last bits of wood. It was HOT; like 27c but felt like 34c! They got their race shirts and bibs and we hung out with some friends.


There were a few age categories before us (under 5 girls/boys A-M, N-Z), then Hilary ran 800m (5-6 yrs) and Lilly ran 1200m (7-9 yrs). Hilary wasn’t too sure she wanted to run it by herself so her and her friend B started the race and I joined them. They both had smiles on their faces and were just LOVING it! They were the happiest runners I’ve seen in a while!


This would be Lilly’s first time running 1200m; around the track, outside the stadium, around another field and back into the stadium to finish. Again, she had a smile on her face that you couldn’t wash off. She walked a little around the field but said she felt good and just kept going when she was ready.


Once all the kids in our little group finished we quickly went inside to hide from the heat, get a snack. After sorting out a little meltdown with Hilary, we decided to head home for the day so Mommy could go carb load for her race the next day 😉

It was such a great event. SO MANY KIDS running! Though for parents it might be a crazy and busy time waiting for your child’s race to start in the heat but it’s so worth it. To see your kid run and enjoy it (hopefully) is a pretty awesome thing! Whatever sport or activity my girls participate in, I love watching them. I like to see the joy on their faces, see them making decisions on their own and coming up with their own strategies to navigate through those decisions.

Fun medals!


It was also so much fun watching other kids run (and some parents too). They ran so fast, so hard, so happy and there were a few tears here and there. I greatly appreciate the time and energy that goes into a running even and even more so when it’s a FREE kids event! Yeah, it was free for all kids! Great job Valley Harvest Marathon!

Anyone’s kids run at the VHM?

Do you enjoy watching your kids (nieces/nephews) at races?

Can you believe the weather we had on {Canadian} Thanksgiving Weekend?


Valley Harvest Marathon 10k Recap 2016

It seems as if the Valley Harvest Marathon is now becoming a tradition during Thanksgiving weekend. I’ve run it six times! I’ve ran the half in 2014 (my PB), paced the 10k (1:10 finish) in 2015 and this year’s 10k. In 2013, I ran the 5k, I skipped it in 2012 as I was very pregnant with Hilary. In 2011, I ran the 5k and in 2010, I ran the 10k four months postpartum after Lilly. I only have one distance I haven’t completed….yet.


Sunday morning I got up at 5:30 otherwise known as stupid-early o’clock and left the house at 6:28am. Acadia University is only a 15 minutes for me on a good day and I had no problems with traffic or road construction. I ran into some friends, hit up the washroom one last time and met up with Krystol who was running her 10th half marathon! I really miss running the long distances right now so I tried not to think about what distance I was doing. At 7:45 the half marathoners took off and then us at 8 am.

Traditional pre-race photo & Krystol finishing her half marathon.


Before the race, I got to meet some  people from Instagram {teamaldred, fit_pedagogue and newshell73), some during the run as they passed by and then after as well. It’s always nice to put a real personality to a face from IG/Twitter and having a conversations beyond 140 characters or “heart likes”.

I stood by Matthew, the 1:05 pace bunny from White Rabbit Pacing. They are awesome and I felt a little disappointed in myself that I wasn’t pacing this race again. It was on my list of things to do this year but being injured and having an unreliable pace, I couldn’t commit. It wouldn’t be fair to the runners if I couldn’t keep up the pace. I didn’t see the 1:10 pace bunny so decided while waiting for the gun to go off, that I’d keep with the 1:05 (6:30/km) pace bunny however that didn’t last long.

My main goal was to run a steady race and don’t give up. Obviously, I know I could do the distance but with little training and motivation lately, my confidence was rather low. My Green Garmin beeped at the 1k mark 6:24…not bad. Comfortable. My stiff ankle was to be expected and that feeling went away after the first k. I hadn’t gone out too fast, as I have before at the beginning of a race. I was just where I wanted to be. 🙂

I was keeping my pace relativity consistent and had the 1:05 pace bunny behind me somewhere. I kept looking forward as I didn’t want to know how close I was with him. Then kilometre two hit: 6:16 – that felt nice even with the hills where people passed me right and left. My goal wasn’t to be fast, it was to race smart and steady…forget about everyone else passing you. Sometimes that’s hard to do!

As kilometre three hit we neared a long downhill where I tried to just glide down it easily. I grabbed some water took a sip and put the rest on my head and neck as the humidity was starting to increase a bit. The first place male was approaching us FAST and I was amazed by his speed. I then saw the first female! The next little stretch was flat so I picked up my pace a little more during kilometres four and five {see below}.


I felt really good but knew I still had another 4k to go and didn’t want to push it too early. I hit the turn around spot and took a short walking break and was back at it.  Sometimes I find this long stretch of road very daunting and was trying to focus on other people running in the other direction.Occasionally I would find someone to catch up to and pick them off one by one – I’ve never done that before.

I saw Kendra who was running fast shout “stay strong”.  After the straight stretched we approached another hill, near the Irving station (for those that now the area). I slowly moved up the hill passing people walking and heard a women saying “great job, looking strong pushing up the hill” which gave me a little boost. I then had to stop at the top of the hill to catch my breath. I conquered the hill but knew my limits and took a good walking break which is reflected in kilometre seven {6:46}.

anna and kendra.jpg

As I approached 8k, running downhill then up another my fitness level or lack of started to show. Taking 6-7 weeks off consistent running really takes a told on your body. Though I was active by cycling, yoga and swimming it wasn’t enough to keep me in running shape. This is when I just kept thinking “one foot in front of the other” with a few brief walking breaks. This was a rough patch.

I had nothing left but a long incline with lots of people watching everyone finish. As I approached Raymond field (track), I was just done. That last little incline or what felt like a long incline took the last bit of energy out of me. As the group of people bottle-necked the entrance to the track, I took short steps and slowed down enough to catch my breath again. It felt relieving. As I ran on the soft track underneath my feet my body felt happy and I was able to pick up my pace. It felt nice finishing strong around the track and turning off my Green Garmin at 1:03:59. Not a PB but such a great run for me right now. I couldn’t have asked for a better run/race and time. Though I’m still a good 8-9 minutes off a PB, it felt great.

vhm finish 2016.jpg

My ankle felt great post run which was also a key piece to this run. The Physiotherapy and exercises are working. I saw lots of friends and chatted with them before I realised Krystol would soon be finishin. I decided to walk the track backwards so I wouldn’t miss her and saw her approaching the finish with the clock ticking 1:59:xx ….she made it under 2 hours! I was a little concerned for her as she came across the finish line not looking great so I immediately got her attention and met up at the end of the chute. She was 2 seconds off a PB and has been dealing with Achilles pain for a month now.

Another great run/race done! No regrets, no complaints, no “what ifs”. I ran into more people who successfully grained new PB’s which is always awesome. Thank you Valley Harvest Marathon committee for a great event, it’s greatly appreciated. And thank you to all the awesome pace bunnies from White Rabbit Pacing.

That was a long post…thanks for sticking around. After my run, we drove to the city for Thanksgiving dinner with my family and had such a great visit and I ate all the food!


I think that is my last official race of the year! I’m hoping to run a Santa Shuffle in December but that’s it for big races. My head is spinning for next year but I need to focus on my PT and some good cross training to avoid injuries next year.

Anyone race last weekend?

Do you use pace bunnies?

Canadians – how was your thanksgiving weekend?

Have any holiday races planned in the coming months?







Friday Five: Running & Thanksgiving

Oh me oh my, I finally ran last night on the treadmill and it was great. Yesterday I said I was going to get on my running gear as soon as I got home but I lied! Well, I didn’t intentionally lie but I just didn’t bother changing out of my work clothing until after the girls went to bed.

Getting back into running regularly after figuring out my ankle injury hasn’t been easy. No motivation, lack of energy, exhausted from long days at work and being up in the middle of the night with the girls. One thing after the other has kept me from running and it’s only up to me to change that. It’s the life of a mother runner, a dad who runs or life without kids too….and it’s okay. I’ll get there.


Last night’s treadmill run was just what I needed. I hopped on the treadmill around 8:10 and watched Chicago PD on my tablet. Mid way through I had to run upstairs, which is fun to do when you’ve been on a treadmill for 20 minutes or so. I desperately needed something to drink and had made a tropical Nuun before my run. I guzzled half of it and back down I went to finish off 5k. It wasn’t much and I wanted to run longer but Hilary has been struggling lately with some night terrors. I decided to stop at 5k and of course after I finished my PT exercises she woke up screaming. {Any tips on night terrors with kids?}

Favourites This Weekend:

One: It’s Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada! That means family, friends, running and ALL THE FOOD!!!! We are having Thanksgiving dinner at my parents place in the city and I’m pretty sure I’m making this vegan apple pie:

Thanksgiving Vegan Apple Pie

Two: We just got a big box of vegetables from Nourish Nova Scotia. It was a fundraiser for Lilly’s school. In the box was sweet potatoes, beats, onions, potatoes, acorn squash, carrots, turnip, kale and parsnips! ALL THE FOOD!!!!!


Three: The Valley Harvest Marathon is this weekend. Since getting in my run last night I’m feeling a little better about my 10k on Sunday.  There will be no PB’s or close to 60 minutes but I’m just looking forward to doing a long run and getting back into training fo another half.

The course has three hills on an out and back course. Some people don’t like the hills on this course but I actually don’t mind them. They are long and gradual and there is something about getting to the top of them that I like. I paced the 10k (1:10 finish) last year and had so much fun doing it. I wish I could have paced this year but due to my ankle injury I didn’t think it was fair to commit to that and have to back out. I’m just not reliable enough to keep a steady pace for others.

The girls are also running the kids run tomorrow around the track at Acadia University. They are both really excited about that.

Lilly last year

VHM Kids Run 2015 Lilly

Four: Swimming lessons start tomorrow for both girls and it’s either going to go two ways. One – awesome or two – horrible for Hilary! She hates the water and really isn’t happy we signed her up for swimming lessons. She’s okay if she can wear a PFD (which they will for this level) but isn’t loving the idea. Fingers crossed it goes well. The good news is after swimming, we head off to the kids run which Hilary loves so I’m thinking that will be a good way to end the day for the girls.

Five: Last but not least: I’m looking forward to time with my little family AND big family. It’s been close to a month since I’ve seen my niece Ava so I’m looking forward to getting my mitts on her 😉 and the girls are going to go nuts over her. They can’t get enough of her.

That’s it for me. Keep an eye on Instagram for this weekends shenanigans. I’m linking up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia who are hosting the last of the Friday Five Link Ups.

DC Trifecta Friday Five linkup

Anyone racing this weekend? 

What are you doing for Thanksgiving weekend? 

Favourite food item at Thanksgiving dinner?

Good luck to all those running Valley Harvest Marathon and Chicago Marathon this weekend!

Friday – Get Your Happy On

IT’s FRIDAY…….get your happy on!

The Happiness questions - and how to reach it.:

I’m really happy it’s Friday…just looking forward to being with my girls and hopefully spending some time outside! This morning I got up early, did my 1:15 minute plank and then painted my nails….cause that’s what this mama does at 6am and her kids are still sleeping. What I didn’t really plan out was how much my outfit would match today!


Devour! Food Truck Rally

At lunch today, a co-worker and I took in the Devour! Food Truck Rally in Wolfville. Though I was rather disappointed with the turn out of actual food trucks (3 if you count the hot dog guy), the food was awesome! There were supposed to be four trucks at today’s rally but there was two and a hot dog guy. Apparently last night there were 8 trucks and up to an hour to wait for food – woah!

Devour Food Truck Rally

It was tacos all around. From the “Edible Sideshow Food Truck”: I got 1 refried beans/cheese taco and one pulled pork taco. I loved the pulled pork one – it may have been the hot sauce I put on it or just the amazing taste of the pulled pork. Oh and of course I got desert. It was called “Banoffee Bites” from the “Nomad Gourmet”. Naan bread with baked bananas in a drizzle of caramel/ nutella sauce and whip cream……so, so good!

This was a pretty good way to start the weekend! I’m pretty sure we have some leaf piling and jumping to do this weekend with a side of bike riding in what will probably be our last warm weekend for a while.

What are your weekend plans? 

Anyone going to the Devour! Food Film Festival this weekend?

Favourite food truck you’ve been to?

Fall Eats & Treats for Thanksgiving Dinner

With Thanksgiving coming up this weekend, all I can think about (besides pacing the 10k) is all the yummy food we’ll be eating. Turkey, ham, sour cream potatoes, sweet potato bake, veggies galore and special family recipes that we *hope* the person brings to meal.

My aunt always makes these amazing chocolate coconut {Queen Anne Squares} that are to die for – I’m holding out that she’s making this. I’m on the sweet potato bake (mashed potatoes with peanut butter and maple syrup on top) and of course a few vegan treats!

Last night instead of running *gasp*, don’t worry I went to a great yoga class at lunch time 🙂 Last night I did a little baking…muffins, cookies and pie crusts for the weekend.

Since we went apple picking last weekend we have a bag full of apples to use up: apple pie, apple crisp and I might even make some apple muffins this week too! Since Saï is a vegan, I do all my baking vegan so he can enjoy it. Okay, that’s a lie, I do 90% of my baking vegan.

Some of what I made last night and still to come…..

Vegan Apple Pie


Pumpkin Muffins


Pumpkin Pie (maybe)


I’m not sure if I’ll get to the pumpkin pie but I’m pretty sure I’ll be hungry {or should I say “rungry”} after my 10k on Sunday. I’m a few days and a 1 hour drive with the girls and Saï away from Thanksgiving dinner!

What’s your favourite part of Thanksgiving dinner?

What’s your favourite part of fall?

Do you make a secret family recipe to bring to your family dinner?


Giving Thanks & Valley Harvest Kids Run Recap

Happy Thanksgiving (in Canada)! We’ve had such a great weekend and I have so much to be thankful for.

  • Time with my little family. Sai, Lilly and Hilary – I love you all to the moon and back.
  • My big family – I couldn’t do a lot of the things I do without them – thank you 🙂
  • My friends – those near and far.
  • My health and my family’s health.
  • Beautiful weather Nova Scotia is having this Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Strangers. Yes…I know. I got a flat tire last week and these young kids made me pull over on the highway and helped me. Thank you to both of them.
  • Completing my half marathon training.
  • Completing my 2nd half marathon (new PB) with my family watching (recap to come).
  • Naps, especially post race AND post thanksgiving dinner.
  • Chocolate. Yes, I am thankful for chocolate.

Valley Harvest Marathon – Kids Run

Lilly ran her 3rd run on Saturday night under the lights at Acadia University. It started to rain about 4 PM and I wondered if the rain would keep people from attending. We ate a quick dinner and left the house about 5:45. I asked my husband if we were crazy for taking Lilly to her run in the rain? He responded with “we’ll, we are teaching her that even if the weather is bad you can still be active/run”. Smart fella, eh!

Once we arrived and got inside I took one photo and thought we should head out on the track to wait for the 6:30 start time as it was 6:15. When we got outside I heard “all the girls under 5 are lined up and ready to go”. Thank goodness the stairs took us right onto the track and the start area; I stripped of Lilly’s rain coat and told her to make her way up to the front as she could and to have fun! She said okay Mom and didn’t even turn back once.

L Oct 2014 VHRun

Within seconds they were off and running. We dashed across the turf field and I snapped a few photo’s there. She was running happy and just loving life! After she finished she was SO excited to cheer on the boys next, it was like the whole experience she was on cloud 9.

PR Lilly's Run Oct 2014

We left shortly after the boys finished and were home by 7:15. My husband and I loved watching her run and see how happy she was. Hilary just took it all in and ran around the soccer turf with some other kids too. It was a great event but I’m disappointed they decided to start the run 15 minutes early without any notice; we just made it to the start line and we were early as the start was supposed to be at 6:30. What can ya do?

PR Family 2014 October VHRun

The rest of the night was spent prepping for thanksgiving dinner, prepping for my half marathon and a last-minute blog post. I was rather excited when I went to bed so it took a while to fall asleep.

Half Marathon Race Recap up next!

What are you thankful for?

Do your kids (niece/nephews) participate in kids runs?

Thoughts on taking kids to events in the rain? Yeah or Nay? 

Valley Harvest Marathon 5k Race Recap

It’s been a few days since I ran 5k at the Valley Harvest Marathon but it was Thanksgiving weekend so I had to get all my ducks in a row before writing this post. Lilly ran her first race on Saturday and then I ran Sunday morning followed by Thanksgiving dinner with the fam. Let’s just say I was beyond exhausted when we got home and all four of us were in bed by 8:45 pm!

The night before my run was a bit of a gong show….in brief; Sai came home, both girls were up multiple times, we all had very little sleep and I had very little training as Hilary was pretty sick for 2 weeks.


My day/run went something like this….

5:15 am Up with Hilary – got her back to sleep at 6 am. (We were up at midnight and 1:30 am also).

6:30 am Alarm goes off – I get up and get ready.

Somewhere between 7 and 8:22 am we all ate breakfast, got dressed, packed up and hit the road for the run.

8:40 am Arrive at Acadia University in Wolfville where the run was to take place. We parked are car, loaded up the stroller and headed down to the start area. There were lots of runners going by as the Ultra, Full and 1/2 Marathon started before the 10 and 5K runs.

9:00 am 10K runners start – we cheered them on and then it was my turn to delayer my new jacket and fleece pants and wait in line.  I lined up in the “Sub 30” group hoping to finish under 35 minutes. While waiting for the start, I saw two people I knew; one girl I coached 10 years ago in under 12 soccer…I felt a little old at that point 🙂 But it was great to see her.anna vhm 2013

Pre-race cuddles (warmth), finisher and family photo!

9:15 am 5k Run starts…I started my Green Garmin and off we went. Sai, Lilly and Hilary were up ahead and as I approached them Lilly was happy to see me…and I tossed my sunglasses to Sai. Even though it was sunny and BLOODY cold (+2 C ) I decided I didn’t want them.

Not even a minute into the run and my pants started falling down. NOT A GOOD SIGN!

It was an awesome flat course through the Town of Wolfville, then onto the Dykes (trails) and then back to the Acadia track via crusher-dust trails. The views were pretty sweet looking over the dykes and ocean (Minas Basin). There was one small, smallest of small inclines and it killed me AND the professional photographer was RIGHT there taking my race photo. AWESOME!

Terrible photo of me running :)

Terrible photo of me running 🙂

My Garmin did not disappoint! It told me when I was ahead of my pace, behind my pace and how fast I was running each kilometer. Best. Running. Purchase. Ever!

The last kilometer was completely a head game. I KNOW I can run the distance but my body hadn’t put in the time and I wasn’t sure how I would do. My goal was to run the last 1k as much as I could. In my head I would say don’t walk until this point and then my legs would stop. Twice I walked when I really should have just kept running and that may have cost me 20-30 seconds on my time … which would have been awesome to get!

I came up to the track and finished the race strong but as I crossed the finish line buddy beside me took a step to his left and STOPPED right in front of me …. so I had to dodge his body or I would have smacked into his back. Thank goodness NO ONE was watching the finish line… oh well, I don’t think my finish looked too bad.

I found my little family hanging out with our good friend Meredith. We hung out for a bit, got some snacks, water and enjoyed the sunshine as it had warmed up.

mileage at VHM 2013

My stats: 5 K (3.1 miles)

Garmin Time: 32:11

Chip Time: 32:10

Finish Time: 32:21

Average Pace: 6:26/k

Overall place: 224 out of 468 runners in the 5k

Division Place: 67 of 156

vhm medal

I was really happy with my race and my time. After I started running my goal of finishing under 35 minutes dropped to finishing under 33 minutes and I did that. However, if I only pushed it a little more during that last kilometer I may have broken 32 minutes.

swag 2013

My running outfit and awesome swag!

My ultimate goal is to run a sub 29:18 either at a race or in training. Knowing where I finished at this race, balancing two girls (sometimes on my own), and not always getting out to train, I know my goal is in sight I just have to make it happen now.

Have you ever almost run into someone at the finish line?

Ever run into your mind saying one thing and your body doing another?

What’s your favourite FALL race to run / watch ?