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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

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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…)

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