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Quick update!

Happy Saturday, friends!

I’ve been MIA from the blog and social media this week, and haven’t even had time to think of let alone write interesting blog topics. Aside from the general busyness of this month, I’m working on two projects that are taking up most of my time and brain cells (one being a family Christmas gift project, and the other an arduous application for the graduate degree program I’m trying to get into). I promise I’ll be back to normal posts in about a week.

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8 tips to help you have a happier, healthier holiday season

8-tips-to-help-you-have-a-happier-healthierWith American Thanksgiving/Black Friday this week and Christmas too not far behind, you’re no doubt starting to experience that familiar holiday feeling: Stress.

Standing in line at Wal-Mart to get that Lego Star Wars kit for your 10-year-old; spending hours on hold with UPS trying to track down that package you ordered from Amazon early (because you were trying to beat the rush) that’s been shipped to the wrong address; hitting up grocery store after grocery store trying to find baking supplies for those thoughtful homemade gifts you’re planning to make (apparently everyone had the same gift idea); and trying to find the time to whip up a different appetizer to bring to each of the seven holiday parties you’re invited to over the next several weeks… it’s exhausting.

And let’s not forget about the guilt you’ll feel after mindlessly inhaling all the delicious holiday baking available at said seven Christmas parties (and the leftovers coworkers bring into the office after the weekend) and not being able to get to the gym because you have baking to do, decorations to put up, and Christmas parades to attend. (more…)


My personal, professional and fitness goals for November

AWESOME GIVEAWAY ALERT: Before you read what my personal, professional and fitness goals for November, head on over to my Instagram page, find the image below, double-tap it to like it, and follow the instructions in the caption to enter to WIN $500 worth of awesome fitness gear and goodies that Kaella, Jen, Ange, Carmy, Heather, Allison, Janice and myself love from some of our favourite brands, including a Yoga Wheel from YogDev, Vega One Nutritional Shakes form Vega, Mizuno cold weather running gear, Starbucks Coffee and more! But hurry – it’s only open until November 9 (for US and Canadian residents only), so get your entry in today!

Giveaway time! We are giving you a chance to win an amazing package full of fitness gear and goodies from your favourite Canadian fitness bloggers’ most loved brands to help keep you fit and healthy this fall. The prize (valued at $500) includes: * Vega One Nutritional Shake (2 tubs) and a Vega shaker cup * YogDev Yoga Wheel * Mizuno Breath Thermo accessories pack (hat, gloves and arm warmers) * Tiux Compression socks * Damn Good Sports Group One More Mile leggings * Starbucks gift card ($80) How to Enter: 1. Follow me (@runliftyogi). 2. Like this post (this is your entry). 3. Go to @salads4lunch 4. Continue through loop. Follow each participant and like each photo until you end up back here. 5. For additional entries, follow @vega_team and @teamtiux (one entry), and tag 2 friends on this post you think would love this giveaway (one entry). You MUST follow all participants in the loop to be entered to win. Once you have made it back to the original images, you have entered to win this amazing prize pack. Good luck! Giveaway Rules: All entries must be completed by November 9, 2016 at 11:59 pm. Open to US & Canadian Residents Must be 18 years or older Profile must be public for duration of contest and 48 hours after to confirm entry This giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed or otherwise affiliated with Instagram. No purchase necessary. #chasethisskirt #mizunocanada #bestlifeproject #runjumpgo #yogdevyoga #loopgiveaway #giveaway #giveaways #win #fitnessgiveaway

A photo posted by Bri (@runliftyogi) on

In light of last week’s post about why you should focus on consistency with small habits instead of end goals, I’ve decided to change up what I plan to focus on this month from previous months. Although most of my goals are already small habit changes, sometimes I still focus too much on my end goals: having more money available to spend on vacations and paying off debt, leaning out for faster marathon times, finding more meaning and purpose in my career, and spending quality time with loved ones. While it’s important to know what you’re working towards, too much big-picture thinking and not enough consistent action slows down progress – at least for me, anyway. So here’s what I plan to work on this month. (more…)


Forget goals: To get healthy and fit, focus on this instead

focus on the steps that will lead you to the goal, not the goal itselfWe often hear about how important goal setting is when it comes to achieving anything, from becoming more successful at work to improving your overall health and fitness. While setting short- and long-term goals are still important and a part of the process of achieving a more happy and healthy you, sometimes focusing too much on an end goal can be more of a barrier than a motivation factor.

I was listening to an episode of the Lift Like a Girl podcast the other week that touched on exactly this topic. In the episode, fitness coach JC Deen and Nia Shanks were discussing the perils of fat loss (you can listen to the whole episode here) and how where you’re at is a process of your habits. When asked how someone can successfully overcome the perils discussed earlier in the episode, JC read a quote from trainer Amir Siddiqui that I thought was a great analogy for why focusing on the end goal doesn’t always work:

“Get obsessed with consistency and the actions that feed the goal – getting obsessed with the goal won’t work and neither does having moderate goals. It’s like thinking about laying down the perfect foundation of bricks, perfect brick after perfect brick, rather than going nuts over seeing the building emerge.”


JC goes on to explain: “Your goal of seeing the building emerge is your ideal body or place in fitness. You can be so focused and obsessed with that you can forget to actually do what it takes right now to essentially create the process. A lot of times are habits are so low key that we don’t think about it; food, exercise decisions in the morning, etc. … we are a product of our habits. In order to make long-term lasting changes and improve everything, we have to start with building the processes. Either create new habits or change habits. Get obsessed with the habits and the processes, and then one day you’ll wake up and finally notice the change.” (more…)

Spooky encounters from the most haunted city in British Columbia

Since we didn’t do anything this past weekend to celebrate Halloween (except for watch a few scary shows on Netflix and eat mini chocolate bars… but we do that on a regular basis anyway), I thought I’d share a few true spooky encounters I have had in my hometown of Victoria, which is considered to be the most haunted city in British Columbia thanks to our “climate, geography, cowboy culture of the city’s early year — which included many murders — and presence of First Nations burial sites beneath the city’s foundations.” Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, it’s still fun to read if you like to get creeped out like I do for some strange reason, especially at this time of year.

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If you want to read some of Victoria’s most famous ghost stories, check out this article in British Columbia Magazine. (more…)


October Goals Recap – How did I do this month?

Happy Friday and Happy almost Halloween!

Since Halloween falls on a Monday this year, I doubt we’ll do anything aside from watch a few scary movies and eat candy. I bought a huge box of treats from Costco, but we get zero children visiting our house since it’s in the middle of nowhere and also kind of creepy and ominous-looking from the street. If the odd neighbourhood kid was out treat-or-treating in our neck of the woods (we’re literally in the woods), they’d probably skip our house anyway.

So yes, that Costco-sized box of mini chocolate bars is for us.


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But on to my monthly goal recap! (more…)

How to apply Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success principles to running

johnwoodenbrirunI like to listen to fitness, health and business related podcasts when I’m on the treadmill and getting ready for work in the morning, and one name in particular kept coming up on several of my favourite podcasts that warranted an online search to see who this wise and influential person was. This person had clearly impacted and shaped the lives of the podcast hosts and guests, so I wanted to know what he was all about.

If you’re a basketball fan or participate in sports of any kind, you may have heard about John Wooden. Wooden was an English teacher, American basketball player and coach who, during his time as head coach of the basketball team at UCLA, won 10 NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including a record seven in a row. No other team has won more than two in a row since.

It’s no wonder he was named national coach of the year six times and is one of the most revered coaches in the history of sports.


As a strength and conditioning coach, I’m always looking for tips and tools to not only help my clients reach their full potential in whatever health and fitness goal they want to achieve, but also to help develop myself to become a better coach and athlete.

During his years spent as an English teacher and coach, Wooden developed a guide to help his students and players become the best version of themselves that he called “The Pyramid of Success”. (more…)

It’s time to woman up and stop apologizing

Seeing the world from a new perspective

Seeing the world from a new perspective

Imagine you’re in a meeting at work and your boss compliments you in front of your coworkers on the stellar job you did getting a project together. Do you:

a) Smile and look embarrassed
b) Say, “Well, so-and-so actually presented it, so really he deserves the credit.”
c) Say, “Well, it was really a team effort.”
d) Say, “Thank you.”

I’m pretty sure I’ve done all of the above except D. An not just in work situations.


Receives compliment on attire: “Oh, this dress? I think I got it on sale at Old Navy.”
Receives compliment about hair: “Yeah but it’s so dry — just look at my split ends!”
Receives compliment about writing: “Oh yeah I just do it for fun, hardly anyone reads it.”
An activity is suggested that I don’t want to do: “Sure, yeah, whatever you want to do.”
Someone says something I don’t agree with: Silence

I am the ultimate conflict-avoider. I do it at work and in my day-to-day life. I apologize, I bend, I push aside my opinions to make sure everyone is happy and likes me. I’m agreeable and highly sensitive. Although being a highly sensitive person is an excellent human trait — especially now in our current culture where we need more people to consider the health of our planet and the other organisms that live on it — it can get in the way of being our true, authentic selves sometimes.

Authenticity is scary for a conflict-avoider. It means we need to show up and be real. Be honest. Let our true selves be seen. (more…)

{Five Things Friday} 5 kinds of protein and energy bars that kept me fueled this week

five things fridayHappy Friday, friends! I’m finally feeling back to normal after my pre- and post-marathon illness and got back into the gym this week to do some light circuit training and short treadmill runs. I’d say my body is about 80% recovered and I’m actually itching to start running again, which isn’t usually the case after a hard marathon.

The only good part about being home for most of last week (well, aside from resting and taking the time to get better) was that I was around to receive a few protein bar samples that came my way in the mail to try.

Here are a few new protein bars I tried this week, as well as three of my trusty go-to bars I keep on hand when I need an afternoon snack at work or something quick after a workout.  (more…)


A runner’s review of the FitBit Charge 2 Heart Rate Plus

gear-review_-the-fitbit-charge-2-heart-rateAbout a month ago, my FitBit Charge HR got a random crack in the display so I contacted FitBit support to see if I could get a replacement as it was still under warranty. They offered to send me another one free of charge (which was awesome because I relied on it daily as a watch, silent alarm clock and easy way to track my workouts), but since the Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate Plus was coming out soon I asked if I could have a discount off a new purchase instead. They agreed, and I got my snazzy new FitBit several weeks later.

How the FitBit Charge 2 compares to the FitBit Charge

The display is bigger, but not too big. I love being able to see two activity stats (that you are able to choose) along with the time when I tilt my wrist up to check my FitBit. To see more stats, such as distance travelled, calories burner, steps taken and heart rate, you just have to tap the watch face to scroll through. I also love that it’s roughly the same size as the Charge, so it’s still very comfortable to sleep with.

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There are more ways to track workouts. When you press the single button on the side of your FitBit Charge 2, you can scroll through to the workout function that gives you several kinds of workouts to track by tapping the watch face. You can select a run, treadmill, elliptical, bike, weights, workout or interval workout, which actually has a built in timer to vibrate every 30 seconds so you know when to go hard and when to rest. The run function shows your time and distance on the main display, or you can tap through to get your pace, heart rate, average pace, steps and calorie burn. The only workout functions I haven’t tried yet are bike and elliptical, so I’m not sure if those have any unique features to them. I wish it had a yoga function!

FitBit Charge 2 vs. a Garmin 235

FitBit Charge 2 vs. a Garmin 235

You can see and do more things from your wrist. Since the display is bigger, you don’t have to tap through as much to see your stats. You are also able to set and turn off alarms from your wrist and check your pace, heart rate, resting heart rate and other stats while working out instead of relying on the FitBit phone app to see everything.

There’s a breathing tracker. The FitBit Charge 2 has a function that can track your breathing and guide you through a slow breathing exercise for two or five minutes. You can do it all from your wrist, which is handy.

The wrist bands are replaceable/interchangeable. I had to replace my previous FitBit Charge because the wrist band broke, so I was super happy to find out the FitBit Charge 2 bands are replaceable and interchangeable. Finally, no more plain boring black all the time!

Things I don’t like about the FitBit Charge 2

The breathing tracker isn’t very helpful. I tried the breathing exercise a few times but didn’t find it very relaxing to hold up my wrist to stare at it to follow along. What would be really helpful is an alert that tells you when you’re breathing too shallow and remind you to stop and take a deep breath. I feel like I need that!

It still doesn’t track runs as well as a Garmin, even when using the GPS on your phone. The FitBit Charge without the GPS is still slightly off when it comes to tracking runs. It’s good for a generally distance, but if you’re training for a race I’d suggest using something more accurate.

Verdict: Overall, I love the Fitbit Charge 2 even more than the original and it’s totally worth the $200 price tag if you’re a regular fitness tracker wearer.

Do you wear an activity tracker? What’s your favourite type?
What are your “must-haves” for a fitness tracker?
What features do you like/dislike most about the FitBit?

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Disclaimer: This post contain Amazon affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

The
Linking up with the lovely:

Annmarie at The Fit Foodie Mama, Nicole at Fitful Focus, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Jen at Pretty Little Grub

Hustle smushustle: Why it’s okay not to always have goals

havegoalsThis past week — save for one day when I made it in to work and one day where I worked from home — I struggled simultaneously with recovering from a marathon, a head cold and the worst fever blisters I’ve ever had all at once, and being productive with my downtime. Normally I would have had several freelance articles on to go I could have worked on, a few blog posts to write and some strength training plans that I could have completed in my time at home and felt satisfied that I used my sick time wisely and productively.

But I didn’t have anything I “needed” to do. I wrote two blog posts and one strength plan in half a day, then started to stress out. I have time at home and can’t workout, which is rare — I need to be working on something!

Instead of relaxing with a book or a bowl of popcorn and Netflix like any normal person would on a sick day, I started researching all sorts of things I should be doing. Writing more blog posts. Brainstorming a book proposal. Looking into more ad networks. Planning my next training cycle. Reading other fitness blogs. Figuring out what I want to do with Koru Personal Training next (marketing? A downloadable guide? Online groups?).

In my frantic search for something I should be doing to better myself or my side businesses, I came across this article on Brainpickings.org and let out a deep breath after reading the following quote: (more…)

My post-marathon recovery plan and why runners need a post-season

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In the pain cave at the 2016 VIctoria Marathon

So far I’m having a fairly typical post-marathon recovery.

My legs are incredibly sore and I’m walking like a zombie. The head cold I got just before my race is still kicking around (because I ran a marathon instead of resting like a normal person). My underarms are still sore and chafed, so I’m applying lotion liberally and not wearing scratchy sweaters. My marathon hanger has subsided, and I’m ensuring I take in lots of protein to aid in muscle repair and recovery. And as usual, I totally compromised my immune system by running hard and have the worst fever blister ever covering 75% of my nose and a bit of my chin. It’s so bad I actually had to work from home today — I look like quasimodo with my poor nose and shuffle-limp. I’m currently locked away in the bell tower hunched over my computer, only lumbering downstairs occasionally for tea and snacks. (more…)

Goodlife Victoria Marathon race recap: A tough race with lots of lessons learned

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At the starting line for the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

You didn’t train enough. You didn’t run your tempo runs fast enough. You should have gone up to 36K in training. You should have focused more on running and cut back on strength training. You should have tried harder to be at your racing weight. You went out too fast.

These were all the things swirling around in my head at kilometre 33 of yesterday’s Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon. I was having a good race up until that point, deciding to run by feel instead of constantly watching my pace. My quads were burning at about the 25K mark, but I was able to push through to find a comfortable pace again and feel confident about my race. It wasn’t raining, the sun came out, my head cold was almost gone, and I wasn’t injured going into the race. Conditions were seemingly perfect.

It was at the dreaded 30K mark when things fell apart for me. The 3:30 pace group, which I’d been just in front of for the majority of the race, passed me and I couldn’t keep up. There’s a yucky, twisty incline after the 30K mark that goes on for about 5K that usually slows me down, and even though I pumped my arms and legs as hard as I could, I just couldn’t stick with the group. As the shiny, sparkly 3:30 pace sign bobbed out of sight, I started to beat myself about everything I thought I did wrong during training. “If I’m not going to make 3:30, why bother?” I told myself. That’s when my legs and mind threw in the towel and I starting plodding along, walking through aid stations and looking back behind me expecting to see the 3:35 group hot on my heels, ready to overtake me and crush my BQ dreams altogether. (more…)


Fitness Friday: With 3 days to go until the Victoria Marathon, guess who gets sick?

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Well… I almost made it.

I’ve been feeling off for the last week or so since my half marathon PR race, and have being taking it easy with lots of rest aside from my scheduled workouts to help prevent whatever I seemed to be fighting from turning into illness.

I felt like I was winning until late Wednesday when I got a headache after lunch that stuck around until the evening. I felt a bit stuffy and “off”, but nothing I didn’t think a good sleep might fix. I went to bed at 9 pm, and as soon as my head hit the pillow, one sinus plugged up 🙁

I felt like I had a head cold when I woke up but slightly better after a shower, so I went into work. My symptoms progressively got worse (sneezing, stuffy and runny nose, headache) as the day went on, so I went home. I felt bad for my coworkers since I was lecturing everybody for the past few weeks at work about how you should stay home when you’re sick so you don’t spread germs around the office and how I have a race coming up and don’t want to be sick… then I get sick and come in anyways. Sorry, everyone!

My plan for the rest of the week is to just rest, stay hydrated and get better for Sunday. If things improve by Saturday, I might attempt a short run, but honestly, at this point, running will do more harm than good. I’ve been here before (getting sick days before a race) and know that rest is best.

Here’s how my last week of marathon taper went:

(more…)


Recipe: Pumpkin lemon walnut freezer oatmeal

pumpkin lemon walnut oatmealWe all know and love the tastiness and convenience of overnight oats for breakfast (served in a mason jar, of course, for optimal Instagramification). But have you ever tried freezer oats?

They may not be as pretty as overnight oats layered with berries and nuts in a mason jar, but they’re super convenient and just as delicious—simply grab a pre-made oat cake out of the freezer, pop one or two in a bowl and microwave for a few minutes. You can eat it as-is, or mix in a bit of yogurt, almond butter or coconut milk, and topped with your favourite oatmeal topping, such as nuts, chia seeds and berries. You can also add berries and nuts to your oat cakes before you freeze them.

And the best part of all? You can make a whole two weeks’ worth of grab-and-go breakfasts at once.


Here’s a recipe I tried inspired by my friend and chef Laura who came up with the pumpkin lemon oatmeal combo. You could take my word for it that it tastes AMAZING, or you could make it yourself! (more…)

October Goals

So here’s the thing.

I totally forgot to post my goals for September on the blog, even though I recapped August and said I would put some thought into my September goals and post them on the blog the following week.

I suppose it’s best that I forgot, because I think it’s safe to say that September was a FAIL.


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And it kind of was in all aspects except for fitness. I’ve been hitting 95% of my workouts, had a great half marathon tune-up race, and am in the last week of taper before the Victoria Marathon next weekend. (more…)

Fitness Friday: Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon training week 12 recap

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I need to stay healthy, injury free and well rested for at least the next nine days.

I always seem to have something come up just days before a goal race, which probably has something to do with the time of year I like to run marathons (fall, when flu season hits), how hard I run my last long run or if I do a tune-up race near the end of training at a tempo pace (my immune system gets knocked down a bit), and how much sleep I get in the two weeks leading up to the race.


Because I’ve been feeling yucky since Monday (headache, stomach ache, generally blah-ness), I’ve been taking it easy this week on workouts and runs. I usually like to do shorter duration, higher intensity runs in the last two weeks leading up to a marathon, but I think I’m good for speed since I nailed my half marathon race pace two weeks ago. This week and next I plan to focus on some easy runs with a few pick-ups near the end, yoga and foam rolling.

(more…)

{thinking out loud Thursday} The weirdest search terms that have led people to my blog this year

“Old man eating spaghetti painting”.

Why someone would need to look that up, I don’t know… but how that term led someone to my blog a few years ago is a real head-scratcher.

I love looking at analytics and finding out how people came across my blog. Not only do these insights help me understand where my readers are coming from, what they’re interested in and what questions they want answered, but also help me to optimize my posts so they’re a bit more discoverable on the interwebz.
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So honour of Thinking Out Loud Thursday, I thought it would be fun to share some of the weirdest search terms that have led people to my blog this year.

Before I get to the weird stuff, some of the most common search terms people have used this year that led them to my blog are anything to do with the FitBit: how it calculates calories burned, how it tracks your calories and if it’s accurate or not. That probably has something to do with this post, this post and this post (a new FitBit Charge HR 2 review will be coming soon!).

But sometimes, much to my delight, I get a totally random phrase show up in my site stats and wonder how in the world that term led someone to a blog about running, lifting and yoga. Most of the time I can figure out what post they stumbled upon, but sometimes… I just don’t know. So without further ado, here are some of the most unusual search terms that have led people to my blog this year and my response to whomever was looking for that kind of information. (more…)

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

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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

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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

fitnessfriday

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

(more…)

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…)


    Five Things Friday: What am I doing with my life, Seaweeze and GPS art

    five things fridayI had planned to post a few informative fitness and health related blogs last week, but I just didn’t have the motivation to write. To be honest, I was at a loss for words over the election in the states, and writing a blog post about my favourite protein bars or the most effective strength training exercises for your glutes just didn’t seem like the best use of anyone’s time (me writing, anyone reading). My concern and sadness for women, minorities, the environment, the future for our children and humanity in general took up more space in my brain than I could deal with last week, and I just needed to disconnect and think.

    I got into the health and fitness business to help others — to share my experiences and use my skills to do something meaningful and fulfilling with my time. And while it’s still important to me and something I enjoy to do, I’ve lost that initial passion somewhat. I’ve been thinking about what to focus on next — what I can do to make a bigger impact, either in the health and wellness industry or elsewhere.

    After several weeks of researching options and talking to friends and colleagues, I’ve decided to go back to school and do a masters degree next September. Not only to hopefully open more doors career-wise, but also for the opportunity to challenge myself and get exposed to global issues. I’m about 99% set on doing an MBA, but an MPA is also an option since I work in government.


    The downside to this, of course, is probably zero time to write blogs and fitness articles come September. But we’ll see, depending on the program I choose to do. Both programs offered at the University of Victoria (where I did my undergrad) have a weekend or online option, which I would do so I can continue to work full time.

    So that’s my big life update. And even though I called this post Five Things Friday, I don’t really have five things to hare. But here are two more things that happened this past week. (more…)

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