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Lindsey and Lisa’s Excellent (Running Date) Adventure!

Hola! I hope you guys all had a great weekend. I definitely did, but it was much too short, as most weekends are.

You may remember me mentioning on Friday that I was participating in The Running Date yesterday, which was an Amazing Race-esque event downtown Toronto that I won an entry into through Sam’s giveaway at Health, Happiness and Skinny Jeans (thank you Sam!!!). I love a good scavenger hunt, so this event sounded right up my alley.

Since Andrew was unable to make it, and the event was made for couples, I brought along my friend Lisa as my backup date!

I brought a couple pairs of glasses along as well, as you never know when they might be needed.

Lisa was the perfect date to bring actually, because she was just as enthusiastic as I was about The Running Date. We had a LOT of fun (even though we pretty much came last, but I’ll get to that). I was worried about bringing a non-lover for my date, but there were a few other couples that weren’t actually couples as well, and we didn’t have to do anything too risqué ;).

My favourite real couple was a husband and wife who were visiting from Colorado, and just arrived on Friday night. I guess they were googling things to do in the city and found this so they decided to register and get to know Toronto! Lisa and I thought that was cute.

I met Lisa at her apartment in Toronto around 9am, and we took public transit over to the University of Toronto campus, where The Running Date home base was located.

We registered our team (team name Lindsey and Lisa’s Excellent Adventure), and picked up our race kit, which included snazzy and official-looking bibs.

So we didn’t look too crazy running around the city like maniacs with our bibs on. But still a little crazy. Actually, apparently one of my beautiful blog readers saw and recognized me! (I am excited about this because I don’t think it has happened before.)

Ana, you should have said hi!

Anyway, after a presentation from the organizers outlining the rules, we received our clue sheets so we could get on our way.

You had 4 hours to figure out each of the 6 locations using the clues, and then somehow get to the location to compete in a challenge. The race spanned a large area, from the UofT campus all the way down to the lake. You were allowed to take public transit (bus, subway, streetcar, etc.) to get to a location but you could not drive or take a taxi. We definitely utilized public transit a few times, as some of the locations were far apart.

Also, you were encouraged to use a smartphone, and I really do not see how anyone could have done this without one. I had my face glued to my iPhone pretty much the entire time, even when I was running.

The first couple that completed the required challenge at each location and made it back were the big winners.

There was an additional sheet with 5 extra challenges that you could complete on your own as well. A couple I remember are take a picture of yourself hugging a stranger while holding a sign that says “Free Hugs”, and take a picture of yourself giving an elderly couple a postcard with hearts on it (finding a postcard with hearts on it was no easy feat!). Each of those additional challenges that you did not complete would cost your team 25 minutes off your time. We did not complete all of those challenges because we were running out of time at the end and just wanted to finish the checkpoints.

Now that I re-read our clue list, the answers look pretty obvious to me, but they were hard. Especially when we were in frantic race-mode. While the other couples (30 in total) immediately sat down and got to work figuring out the clues, Lisa and I decided to just start running. This was a very bad decision, and I believe it was ultimately our downfall. We had no idea where we were going or what we were looking for. We didn’t stop to plan a route, so we ended up zigzagging all over the place, which cost us a lot time.

No worries though, it was a seriously fun time (and a good workout, we ran a lot), and it was a great way to explore the city.

Oh yeah, it rained. Quite a lot. And it was cold and very windy. We were still in great spirits though. We laughed pretty much the entire day.

Our first stop was at Yulla (clue #3), a sushi restaurant in the Financial District. The challenge here was pretty fun. I had to make a sushi roll, blind-folded, while Lisa gave me instructions.

And here is how that turned out.

Oh well, I don’t think attractiveness earned any extra points. And it still tasted good!

Yeah, we also had to eat it…

We are going for a romantic Lady and the Tramp spaghetti thing in this blurry picture.

Another location was the Museum of Inuit Art by the water front (clue #6), which I never even knew existed and was seriously cool. I wish we could have stayed in there for longer.

For this challenge I had to run quickly through the museum, pick a piece of art to sculpt with play-dough, and bring my sculpture back for Lisa to view. She then had to sketch my sculpture and bring her sketch with her back into the museum to see if she could find the piece of art.

We had some troubles with this, as I chose to sculpt the first Inukshuk I saw, which Lisa somehow missed when she went into the museum herself, but instead found an entire cabinet of them just after my original Inukshuk… We had to redo that challenge, needless to say. Inukshuk overload.

We stopped for lunch at a little deli inside the same building (I know, who stops for lunch during a race?), as we were both starving and were having trouble figuring out a couple of the clues on an empty stomach.

I chose a chicken avocado wrap that I had high hopes for, but sadly was only okay. We should have got street meat! I am regretting this.

It worked though, as soon as we had food in our belly we had no problem figuring out the tricky clues we were having trouble with.

One led us to a cute little video shop (clue #1)…

That also served gellato! At the challenge here we had to draw a movie title from a box and then act out the movie. We got Dirty Dancing, and I am not going to lie, I can do a pretty good Patrick Swayze ;).

The video shop was in a vibrant little neighbourhood that I had never been in before.

And our last stop of the day was at the Tea Dynasty (clue #5), where we had to smell three containers of tea leaves and guess the flavours of tea.

The flavours were peach, apple, and milk. It took us a couple tries to get milk, such a random flavour for tea! Sounds pretty gross actually.

And finally we were done! We raced back to UofT and arrived at the finish line at 3:28, two minutes before disqualification and second to last, haha.

But you know it isn’t about just winning, it is about having fun, and we definitely did! We were excited just to finish :).

It was SUCH a fun day. What a seriously great idea for a date. I would definitely compete in something like this again. Lis and I are already talking about next year, and if we do this again we plan to take it more seriously and maybe actually try to win.

We didn’t win any prizes, which consisted of iPad for first place, a couples’ helicopter ride over Niagara Falls for second place, and dinner at the CN Tower’s 360 restaurant for third (we actually made friends with the third place team, they were pretty funny.)

I hope you guys enjoyed reading my long-winded recap, and enjoy the rest of your Sunday! I do not feel like making dinner at all, and PB and jam sandwiches are sounding pretty good to me right about now.

Catcha lata!

Would you participate in something like The Running Date? Or have you ever participated in something similar?

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All-You-Can-Eat Sushi WIAW

Hooray for What I Ate Wednesday!

For my WIAW today, I want to highlight my adventures in sushi last night.

I think I should preface this by mentioning that there are few things in life I enjoy more than a GOOD all-you-cat-eat sushi restaurant (some are not the greatest quality, and obviously those do not tickle my tastebuds as much as the really good ones do).

But last night the sushi was a’flowin’ and the sushi was a’goooood.

I hit up Aji Sai in Thornhill with my Bestie Lisa, her mom Diane, her cousins Katie and Vanessa, and her Auntie Kim.  Yep, it was a big fam party and I definitely crashed it.  Anything for sushi, my friends (what, I was invited).

Lisa and I with her Mommers

I love Lisa’s fam.  I have known them since I was like 10, so I consider them an extension of my own fam :).

We went to absolute town with the menu and ordered a LOT of sushi.

I warmed my belly up with a green tea and miso soup…

Both are non-negotiable order items for me.  I lurrrve them, and they prep my tummy for what’s to come.

Next up was the good stuff.

Come to Mama

And nope, that is not all.

Vanessa & the Giant Plate of Deliciousness

Obviously I loaded up my plate several times…

One of my Many Sushi Plates

I also snagged some yummy shrimp and yam tempura.  I have serious love bursts for this stuff.

Tempura Goodness

And then there was dessert… It’s included, obviously you have to go all out at these places.

I <3 Dessert

A fried banana with vanilla ice cream.  There is nothing like de-healthifying a healthy banana.  Holy yumballs is all I have to say about that.

Ahh I love sushi.  So yummy.  It is a good thing I don’t do this all the time though, or I would be about 300 million pounds.  Probably worth it though…

I am considering this week an extension of my vacation anyway ;).

I had such a great little dinner date with my very bestest and friends.

N'dawww, Besties

Afterwards we dropped by Lisa’s cousin Katie’s condo to hang out for a bit, and to visit with her adorable pugs.

Little Puggy

They are so cute and mischievous.  I totally want a pug now.  I loved how they were down with snuggling, ’cause I’ll snuggle anything with legs if it’ll let me.

Group Shot with the Pugs

I had the ultimate pleasure of meeting the little guys last summer when they were still just babies.

Baby Pugs

I loved them then and I love them even more now.

We were actually dogsitting for Ando’s sister Catherine last night, so I headed by there after to help Alejandrew take care of this little monster.

Bentley, Waiting for his Treat

He’s pretty cute too.  He definitely slept in the bed with us, under the covers between us.  So funny.

I want a dog!!!

I guess I’ll just have to settle for these two cheeky cats for now…

Dexter & Winnie

I do love them a little 😉

Happy WIAW friends!

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5k Race Recap (+ Tappenyaki Action)

Hello!  I am baaaaack from my first 5k and feeling fab!

I am happy to report I completed the race with zero walking.  I ran the entire time, so therefore completed my goal ;).  I also had another goal in the back of my mind that I never said on here, which was to complete the 5k in under 35 minutes, and I made that goal too!

Ready To Run

Let’s get to the deets…

I woke up this morning bright and early and the sun was shining brightly, so I started getting excited and thinking “well maybe it won’t rain after all!”

Wrong.

As soon as we got in the car it started raining, and it did not stop (it was also freezing, I’m sure it wasn’t higher than 8 degrees).  Shortly after I finished, it started absolutely pouring and thundering all over the place, so I’m glad I made it before that.

Anderoni came with me for moral support.  He was really debating running with me, but he hurt his foot last weekend, and then ended up re-injuring it on our run on Thursday, so he was out of commission, sadly.

Ando & I

I loved having him there though.  It was so much better than arriving by myself, and I’m pretty sure it motivated me to run faster.

We arrived at Sunnybrook Park around 9:30am, found parking, and made our way to the starting area (about a 7 minute walk, not so much fun on the way back to the car when it was thunderstorming.)

Registration Area

I had already picked up my registration package on Friday, so we just killed time people watching until it was time for me to get into the starting area.  Cynthia Mulligan was there from CityTV, and they had a few other announcers leading everyone through group stretches, which I semi took part in.  There was about 400 racers in total (about 150 running in the 10k), so it was busy, but not overwhelming.

It was not long before I had to get into the starting area.  They asked for the faster runners in the front, and walkers at the back, so I chose to stand somewhere in the middle.

My View

And then, we were off!  The course was a 2.5k loop, and it was really foresty and nice.  It did not feel like I was in Toronto at all.  If the sun had been shining it would have been absolutely beautiful.  The scenery definitely helped me step it up.

On The Course

Sorry it’s blurry, but hey, I was running.

People had been telling me that when you are in a race situation you tend to step up your game, and I definitely felt like that was the case for me.  It was motivating to have a bunch of people running with me (some of them children), and I also had an actual finish line to get to.  I ran faster than I ever have in my training, by almost a minute a kilometre, so I was really happy with that.

I also made myself a pretty sweet playlist in preparation for this (which I will be updating on my playlist page).

Schweaty Beats

A couple new songs, but mostly oldies but goodies, and a few all-time faves of mine.  When “Danger! High Voltage!” came on it got me really pumped up and I started thinking “throw it down, throw it down” and just booked it.   That kilometre was almost 20 seconds faster than my others, according to my splits on my RunKeeper app ;).  Hehe.

I was feeling pretty good all throughout.  My biggest fear was that I was going to get a cramp, so I stopped drinking water half an hour before the race, and didn’t take any water during.  They had a water station set up at 3k and a line of people started throwing cups my way, wanting me to take one.  I tried to wave them away politely, but then they started yelling “It’s FREE water!  YOU NEED WATER!!!!”  In kind of a…mean way.  I think they thought I was worried that stopping for water would affect my time, but I cramp up so easily, I didn’t want to risk it (if I was running 10k I would for sure).

I ended up getting a cramp in my side at 4k anyway, which made me worried that I was going to have to walk.  I ended up slowing my pace and taking deep breaths, and thankfully it went away.  It was around this time that I went through my entire arsenal of running motivations in my head, including: “I have to run, I do not have to run fast” “Go Go Gadget LEGS!!!” “Just do it” (a la Nike) “Do it for those who can’t,” etc.

I crossed the finish line feeling happy, and proud of myself :D.

Finish Line

Looking like death though…

All Finished

I was also super excited when I saw my friends Emily and Corey there waiting for me, braving the rain!

Rain Bravers

And of course, Andmo.

#1 Supporter

I almost broke into a sprint when I saw him at the finish line (it sounds like I’ve been running for days, and not half an hour…slightly over-dramatic ;))

My iPhone’s RunKeeper app said I finished in 32.52, but I forgot to stop it right away so I just went online to Sportstats.ca and checked out my actual time…

Thats Me!

32.20!  I will take that!  I am very happy with that time.  Like, ecstatic actually.  I came in 90th out of 256 runners, and 43rd out of 141 females, so not too shabby!

PS – All registration money from this race (Cadillac Fairview Run) went to support the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO).  Obviously a great cause ;).

Lunch

After the race I was hungry!  We stayed to watch the winners receive their awards, and then the four of us booked it to our cars and headed to Memories of Japan.

Excited For Japan Memories

We sat at a Tappenyaki cook table, which are so much fun.

Chef Emilio

You order your meal, and they cook everything right in front of you.  Our chef wasn’t too crazy, but at the other side of our table the guy did the onion volcano (my fave) and some other fiery tricks, so we still got a good show.

Tappenyaki Chef

I ordered the shrimp, salmon and chicken, which also comes with steamed rice and veggies.

My Lunch

(I had already dug into that before I remembered to snap a pic)

It also comes with miso soup and  salad…

And Jaundreusse and I also shared some tuna rolls.


And then there was ice cream…

I was beyond full.  But it was very good, and I love the atmosphere of these places.  Plus the company was good ;).

Now it is definitely time to relax!  Hope everyone had a great weekend!

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