Running to BQ and running for a good cause

At this time last year, I was coming to terms with the fact that even though I qualified to run the 2016 Boston Marathon in 2015 with 1 minute and 3 seconds to spare, I did not make the cut off that was capped at runners who were 2 minutes and 28 seconds faster than their qualifying time.  The cut-off times for the 2017 Boston Marathon have yet to be announced, but my fingers and toes are crossed for those who are in the 5-minute plus registration category and are eagerly awaiting to find out if they will be one of the lucky 30,000 runners toeing the line in Boston in 2017.

Worst email ever.

Worst email ever.

Even though qualifying is an accomplishment in itself, I know it sucks to hear the experience you worked so hard for and achieved does not pan out the way you planned. Since I had a horrible second BQ attempt at the Phoenix Marathon in February, I’m not one of those people eagerly checking my inbox this time around – but I hope to be at this time next year after my third BQ attempt in 11 days. (more…)

Goodlife Victoria Marathon training week 12 – Beating the Blerch (with a half marathon PR!), new FitBit Charge 2 and training update

fitnessfriday

Apparently I can’t count.

Even though I clearly have on my training plan that after the Beat the Blerch half marathon on September 16, I would run a 15 km and 10 km for my last long slow training runs, that technically puts me at a four week taper, not a three week taper as I generally like to do. Last time I did my longest run four weeks out I had a terrible marathon, so I’m keeping my volume relatively equal to the week before cutting back. What usually causes me to hit the wall in the marathon is not having enough long run time in ahead of the race – whether that’s a confidence thing or not I don’t know, but it’s always my legs that go before my cardio and energy levels.

So this weekend I plan to do a 24-26 km long run instead of a 15 km long run, followed by a 12 km run the following week, which is 7 days out from the marathon.

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Want to get better at backbends in yoga? Try a Yoga Wheel!

backbends yoga wheelRemember in January of 2015 when I set a goal to hold a scorpion pose by the end of the year?

Yeah… that didn’t happen. Although I improved my headstand and could get into scorpion position propped up against a wall, I definitely didn’t achieve the forearm-balancing, back-bending badassery I had hoped to by the end of the year.

After the marathon on October 9, my post-race plan is to focus on strength and flexibility again until I inevitably start training for my next race (and who knows when that will be). So I was stoked when YogDev, a Vancouver-based yoga prop company, asked if I would like to try their Yoga Wheel and write a review for my blog. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as I’ve been incorporating more yoga and stretching into my training plan and have been using a big foam roller for releasing lower back tension at the end of the day. (more…)

Race Review: 2016 Beat the Blerch Half Marathon

race-review_-2016-beat-the-blerch-half-marathonI ran for agony.

I ran for serenity.

And I ran for cake (which was delicious, by the way).

The 2016 Beat the Blerch half marathon in Seattle on Saturday was one of the most fun races I’ve run in awhile for obvious reasons, but was also in it’s own category for a half marathon race experience. It’s meant to be a fun run, yet I was racing it as a pre-marathon tune up, so there’s that. The course was also 90 per cent trail, which can slow you down a bit but also has less of an impact on your legs and feet. And instead of warming up by doing butt-kicks and leg swings before the race, people were entering doughnut-eating competitions, downing bacon cake and eating marshmallows thrown into the crowd at the starting line by a dude dressed as a Blerch while Mathew Inman (aka The Oatmeal) read us Bill Pullman’s Independence Day speech (hahaha what???).

I’ll recap my race experience below, but first here’s what happened leading up to the race and what I thought of the race itself. (more…)

Fitness Friday: Goodlife Victoria Marathon training week 11

fitnessfriday

Happy Friday, friends!

After a great long run last weekend and solid week of training this week, I’m feeling ready to run hard at the Beat The Blerch Half Marathon in Seattle this Saturday! Although I’m not sure how realistic running faster than my marathon race pace will be at this race, given that I’ll be fully amused and distracted by people chasing us in Blerch suits, Nutella and birthday cake aid stations, and Mr. The Oatmeal himself, Matthew Inman, who will be there running (hopefully in a Blerch suit?) and signing copies of his comics. I also read that there will be a KITTEN TENT. FOR CUDDLING AND ADOPTING KITTENS. The only thing that would make this race more amazing is free post-race wine and chocolate. Oh, and a puppy tent, too.

If you live under a rock and are unfamiliar with The Oatmeal and what this race is all about, you have some reading (and cry-laughing) to do:

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West coast fall and winter workout gear essentials

fall-esstentialsLiving on an island off the west coast of beautiful British Columbia definitely has its perks. The ocean surrounds us, the wilderness here is beautiful, there are plenty of places to explore for hours on end without seeing another human being, and the weather here is never too extreme. That means year-round outdoor adventures and not having to spend the winter cooped up in a gym to stay fit and healthy.

Even though we hardly get any snow here at sea level and the temperature rarely drops below -1°C, outdoor enthusiasts still have to consider the elements when exercising outside during the fall and winter months. Here are a few key pieces of apparel us northern west-coasters should add to our workout wardrobe for fall and winter: (more…)

Goodlife Fitness Marathon training – Week 10

I can’t believe my last long run of training is already here — and it looks like it’ll be a perfect day for it! I’ve been pretty lucky with the weather for almost all my runs during this round of training; it certainly makes for a more pleasant running experience when you’re not out in the cold and rain for hours. Even though the heat can get to you sometimes during summer marathon training, I’d take that any day over winter marathon training. Fall races FTW!

Falling running sure beats winter running!

Falling running sure beats winter running!

I’ve got 34 km to run today (once I finish this blog and, more importantly, my coffee), then the Beat The Blerch half marathon next week, followed by a 15 km run, a 10 km run then race day.

Here’s how my week of workouts shaped up: (more…)

Get back to basics with these delicious and simple after-school-snack inspired smoothie recipes

Get back to basics with these deliciously simple after-school snack inspired smoothie recipesEven though I’ve been out of post-secondary school for over six years now, I still get a sense of anxiety on Labour Day. I actually have to sit down and remind myself that I’m just going to work tomorrow at my regular old job, not spending thousands of dollars on textbooks I’ll never use again, missing the bus because it was too crowded and walking in late for my first class, and reviewing the course syllabus only to see a presentation on there worth 50 per cent of my grade (which pretty much means FAIL to someone who has a fear of public speaking).

Going back to grade school each September was no different. Summer was over, I didn’t know if my friends were in my class or not and if the teacher was going to be nice or mean, and I didn’t know if what I was wearing was considered “cool” or not until I saw what everyone else was wearing (so Nike sneakers and Adidas tear-away pants are out, and platform sandals and black flares are in? Okay then…).

Ugh — school was a stressful time for this overly anxious and introverted kid. (more…)

Living In-Sync: How I balance my body and mind on a daily basis to be my best self

Living #InSyncHow I balance my body and mind on a daily basis to be my best selfWhat’s one thing that every parent, student, spouse, caregiver, entrepreneur, and salaried or part-time employee (so pretty much everyone who has to juggle working for a living with multiple responsibilities) is always striving to achieve?

Balance. Or more specifically, work-life balance.

It’s a term that often gets thrown around in lifestyle and career magazines and in the blogosphere, and one that I always have trouble defining. A few years ago, entrepreneur and former Facebook market development director (and Mark Zuckerberg sibling) Randi Zuckerberg famously said (well, tweeted) that in order to be successful in life and business, you can only pick three things to focus on out of the following five important categories: friendship, work, time with family, fitness and health, and sleep.

I have to disagree with Ms. Zuckerberg. I believe you can make time and focus on the first three (friendship, work and time with family) by giving the last two (fitness/health and sleep – I’d also add mental health to that list) your attention every day. It’s something I’ve done for the past five years, and it has allowed me to run multiple races and qualify for the Boston Marathon, become physically and emotionally stronger and more flexible, start and grow a personal training business on the side, advance in my communications and writing career, maintain longtime friendships and make new ones, and foster and grow healthy and happy relationships.

So how do I do it? How do I balance everything while finding the time and energy to work out, eat healthy and set aside time for passion projects and self-care every day?  (more…)

Fitness Friday: Goodlife Fitness Marathon training week 9

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What happened to summer?

Even though I appreciated the slightly cooler running temperatures this week, I don’t appreciated the wet trails, dark and foggy mornings, and dry, brown leaves all over the ground reminding me that winter is just around the corner. And as a chronically cold person who has to wear five layers of clothing when exposed to temperatures under 10 degrees C (you think I’m kidding), I feel a true sense of dread I when I realize our west coast Winter Is Coming.

Me from October - May.

Me from October – May.

At least I should be done the majority of my must-do-outside training runs before the weather takes a turn for the worse — I can’t believe I only have two big long runs to go! After this weekend’s 31 km run, I’ll be doing a 34 km, then heading over to Seattle for the Beat The Blerch half marathon. Is anyone else doing that race? I’m so excited for the birthday cake aid stations!

YES

YES

Here’s how my week of workouts shaped up: (more…)

{Thinking Out Loud Thursdays} Things I’m loving lately

Happy almost Friday!

I usually like to save Thursdays for deep, well-thought-out and researched blog posts about health, wellness, fitness, mindfulness and nutrition… but this week all my brain capacity has been sucked up at work on a big project that has me feeling like I’m back in Uni writing a year-end term paper, only this time it’s actually important and effects people’s work. SO, that said, here’s a collection of things on my mind or that I’ve discovered over the past few weeks and love.

Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud, after all, so here we go!

Thinking-Out-Loud2

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Monthly Goals – August Recap

Where did August go? Why are the leaves turning brown already? Why are there Christmas decorations at Costco?? I’m not ready for tall boots, layers, infinity scarves and pumpkin spice lattes. I don’t even like pumpkin spice lattes!

I definitely prefer warmer climes, and as soon as I noticed a smattering of dry, yellow maple leafs on the trails near my house, I started researching our next tropical vacation and decided we needed two weeks this time.

Fall, you sure are pretty but please go away.

Fall, you sure are pretty but please go away.

The only good thing about fall — aside from the prettiness of the leaves when they just start to turn, not when they look all dead and brown on the trail — is that marathon day is just around the corner, and October has the perfect race-day temperatures. No more of this running for 3+ hours in 28 degree heat. Although I love the warmth, even I have my thresholds. (more…)

Fitness Friday: Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon training week 8

fitnessfriday

Before I get into a recap of my weekly workouts, I have some exciting news to share!

I will be sharing the rest of my marathon training trials and tribulations as a blogger over on the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon’s website as well as on my own blog. This will be my eighth straight year running this race — two half marathons and six full marathons — so I’m excited to help promote the race somewhat more “officially”, because it’s still my most favourite race to run (yes, even more than the Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon… mainly because it was way too hot during that race that day and there wasn’t enough water on the course). Thanksgiving weekend just wouldn’t be the same without running 42.2 km before enjoying a big turkey dinner with family and friends, so even though I was on the fence about running another marathon this year, I’m glad I signed up.

The reason why I started this blog in the first place was to document and share how my training was going ahead of my first race ever (which was the 2009 Royal Victoria Half Marathon), so naturally I’ve been posting race recaps of this race ever since. Apparently I raced a lot without “training” over the years, which is not something I recommend most people should attempt, but it’s fun to go back and read them nonetheless. I’ve definitely come a long way in terms of speed and knowledge about running and racing!

    (more…)

    Product Review: HUM Nutrition supplements

    Although the majority of us probably DON’T need to waste our money on vitamins and supplements to be healthy human beings, some of us — like female endurance athletes who live in Canada, are vegetarian, have poor circulation and wacky hormones (*cough* me) — might need to take supplements to support their health to help them continue to do the activities they love.

    HUM Nutrition review

     

    Because I run marathons, work out six days a week and don’t eat red meat, my doctor suggested I take zinc and magnesium (since I sweat pretty much every day) and iron (I’m borderline anemic but my levels have improved quite a bit with supplementation). And because I’m female with a problematic gut, my doctor also suggested I take calcium (when I don’t eat yogurt), a probiotic for my gut health and vitamin D in the winter.

    These are the essential vitamins and minerals I need to add in daily (depending on my diet and the time of year) to support my health so I can keep running marathons and doing other active things I love as recommended by my doctor. And I suggest you also visit your doctor FIRST if you’re not feeling your best to see if you might be lacking in an essential vitamin, mineral or nutrient before buying up the supplement store. (more…)

    Fitness Friday: Marathon training week 6

    fitnessfridayHappy Friday, friends!

    I’m finally back in the swing of marathon training after a few inconsistent weeks due to travel, festivals and vacation. Since Monday last week I’ve been hitting all my workouts as planned, and my legs have been feeling really good despite taking two weeks in between long runs.

    Here’s a breakdown of how my week has gone so far (which I can now properly recap thanks to my new Believe Training Journal!):

    FRIDAY (last week)

    I was home on staycation, so I did a random upper body and core workout in the garage for 35 minutes before cleaning the house for two hours (a workout in itself). (more…)

    Recipe: Healthy blackberry peach crumble {vegan, low sugar}

    Healthy vegan blackberry peach crumbleOver the last two weeks or so when we’ve taken the dogs out for a walk after dinner, I’ve made a mental note to myself to bring a bucket along next time to pillage the blackberry bushes lining our street, which were starting to overflow with perfectly ripe black globes or deliciousness.

    I kept forgetting, of course, until I saw our neighbour post on Facebook about the blackberry haul she collected that day. “Dammit! Those berries were mine! I want to make a crumble!” I said to myself as I leashed up all three dogs (for protection from hungry bears? To keep the neighbours away?) and set out to get every last ripe blackberry on our street.

    Aside from Gus diving head first into the bucket when I bent down to try and get a few big ones hiding at the back (and proceeding to gobble up as many berries as he could before I could yank it away), I collected a decent berry haul — just enough to make my healthy blackberry peach crumble! (more…)

    The surprising reason why I haven’t been able to lose weight

    The surprising reason why I haven’t been able to lose weightRemember when I signed up for the Tone It Up Bikini Series Challenge after the Phoenix Marathon in February, lost an inch or so, then gained it all back (and then some) a few weeks later?

    I decided to do some research into why I’ve been struggling this time around to get down to my racing weight for the Goodlife Fitness Marathon in October, which I can usually do when I really put my mind and body to it. And although summertime BBQs, patio drinks and chips and salsa has contributed somewhat to my predicament, the surprising reason why I haven’t been able to lose weight comes down to approximately a handful of berries, a lick of peanut butter, and a couple more pieces of my daily dark chocolate quota (yes, I’ve started eating chocolate again – but not as much!) per day. So roughly 150-200 extra calories per day.

    Those few extra nibbles a day (which I accounted for in MyFitness Pal) added up to a small weight gain and now maintenance, even though I’ve been in a small calorie deficit almost this entire time. Which wasn’t actually as much of a deficit as I thought, based on MyFitnessPal logging data from two years ago when I made a concentrated effort to lose weight. (more…)

    IDEA World Fitness Blogfest 2016 recap

    Blogfest 2016 RecapIt’s Monday and I’m still tired and sore.

    But heading down to Los Angeles for IDEA World Fitness Blogfest 2016 was so worth it.

    In case you want to just skip to the good parts, here are the highlights:

    • Meeting Ariana, Beth, Megan, Susie, Jessica, Lea, Christiana, Ashley, Ivanna, Carleeh, Stephanie, Kelli, Teresa, and Jamie and Alyse (as well as many other fabulous bloggers) in real life and getting to hang out with them for the entire weekend
    • A sweaty group run through downtown LA
    • All the free food, swag and snacks we got – seriously, I’ve never been so spoiled at a conference. Sweat Pink and all the sponsors truly outdid themselves! Buffet breakfast and lunches, all the protein bars, yogurt, hummus and veggies we could possibly eat, and lots of take home goodies
    One whole suitcase full of free swag!

    One whole suitcase full of free swag!

    • Watching 90-year-old Elaine Lalanne (Jack Lalanne’s wife) take on Tony Horton in a push-up competition
    My goal is to be able to do this at 90!

    My goal is to be able to do this at 90!

    • Hearing Amy Van Dyken‘s story – it was truly inspirational and she’s a very funny lady
    • Getting my butt kicked (and slapped by Susie during a plank exercise where we had to partner up and try to push the other person off balance) in bloggers-only a workout with Gunnar Peterson
    Everything hurt after this strength and cardio circuit with Gunnar Peterson

    Everything hurt after this strength and cardio circuit with Gunnar Peterson

    • Late night Whole Foods dinner runs, business chats and celebrity spotting with Ariana
    • Getting yelled at by Jillian Michaels during her BodyShed workout
    "I heard you guys were trainers, so I turned the 'what the fuck' button up all the way for this circuit" - Jillian Michaels, explaining our workout

    “I heard you guys were trainers, so I turned the ‘what the fuck’ button up all the way for this circuit” – Jillian Michaels, explaining our workout

    • Doing a combo workout of Insanity/P90X/Turbo Kick/Cize and Country Heat (I couldn’t take that one seriously) with the Sweat Pink crew
    country heat workout

    Yeee haw!!

    • Checking out all the latest, greatest and weirdest in fitness and health at the expo (LOL at that car-buffer massage thing)
    • Hearing and being inspired by lectures from David Katz, John Berardi and Yoni Freedhoff at the nutrition and behaviour change summit (these people are smart and get it – follow them if you aren’t already!)
    So much good stuff at the nutrition and behaviour change summit

    So much good stuff at the nutrition and behaviour change summit

    • Did I mention all the free food and swag?

    Blogfest sessions
    On Thursday and Friday, we sat in on a series of blogger-focused lectures and workshops, which included sessions about how to use SnapChat, how to collect/use emails, content marketing, iPhone food photography, blogger round tables and peer reviews. (more…)

    Challenging myself to be #evenbetter in 2 weeks with Ocean Spray®: My 5K run challenge!

    Challenging myself to be #evenbetter in 2 weeks with Ocean Spray®_ My 5K run challenge!In two weeks, I’ll begin training for my third and final attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon while I’m eligible for the 30-35 year age bracket. (This means I need to run a 3:35 marathon time to qualify – which I’ve done – BUT actually need to train for and run a 3:30 or less to get into Boston.) Even though I’m only 31 and could keep trying to hit that 3:30 before I turn 35, I feel like I will need a break after this attempt due to general life busyness and other fitness goals I’d like to focus on – I love running, but I really don’t love marathon training. It always makes me feel really run down and those long runs really beat up my body if I don’t take a long enough break in between training cycles.

    I’ve really been enjoying strength training and the Tone It Up workouts these past few months since my last BQ attempt in February of this year, and although I’ve still been running a 5K to 8K once or twice a week to maintain cardio, I’ve been taking it much too easy and letting my pace slip down more and more each week.

    That’s why I was excited when Ocean Spray® challenged me to be #evenbetter by setting a healthy goal I could obtain within two weeks, making myself accountable to it by announcing it on my blog, and updating my readers and social media followers about my progress in reaching said goal over the next two weeks. So what’s my #evenbetter challenge goal, you ask? (more…)

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