Despite my bad news on Wednesday, I had a solid week of workouts, client training and program developing, freelance writing and actual work-work. Thank you all for your comments on yesterday’s post — though I’m disappointed I won’t be getting to experience Boston this year, I know I’ll get there eventually. I was kind of hoping to take a break from structured marathon training for awhile, but in order to attempt another BQ between now and September I’m going to aim for a March-May race. There’s the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1, a race I’ve done and really enjoyed, though I hear the full marathon route is rather hilly. I could also travel to a destination race, like the Phoenix Marathon in February, and combine it into some kind of a vacation. But I think I’d rather stay closer to home in a climate similar to what I’ll be training in.
Next weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving AND the Goodlife Victoria Marathon, of which I’m running the half. I haven’t trained much other than a few 15 km runs on the weekend since I’ve maintained a good level of fitness since the Finlayson Arm 28K. I almost considered signing up for the full just to see how fast I could run… but logic won. Ange is coming to stay with me for the weekend which will be super awesome as well.
Today I’d like to share the inspiring story of one of my clients, Ximena, who I’ve been providing online coaching services to since January of this year. She’s gone from nights at home on the couch seven days a week to strength training, yoga and running most days of the week, plus preparing healthy meals for her and her family. And this past weekend, she ran her first ever race – the Terry Fox 5 km in Vancouver. Her enthusiasm, determination and positive attitude is so inspiring, so I asked her to share her story on my blog. Here’s Ximena’s story, in her own words:
Ximena at the Terry Fox 5K run in Vancouver this past weekend
I’m a 36-year-old mother of two girls. In late 2014, I was introduced to a wonderful lady who shared with me that she used to be as “big” as me (not in those exact words, but close) and that she had slowly started running to the point where she now runs marathons. I thought to myself, “If she can do it, maybe I can, too!” Looking at her current Barbie-doll waist was for sure a motivator. I had reached a stage in my life where I was thinking to myself, “Why bother trying to lose weight and get fit? Once your figure is gone it’s impossible to get it back…” Well, I can tell you now that is NOT TRUE!
This wonderful lady introduced me to Bri and the unbelievable journey began early this year. Slow and easy (but not painlessly… 10 squats can really burn if you are in the shape I was in). The initial goal was never to run a race, but rather to enjoy being off of the coach and as healthy as possible (the weight loss was just the icing on the cake!).
I started by walking for 20 minutes three times a week, and doing yoga and strength training at home two to three times a week. A funny thing happens when you start strength training: with each passing week you notice that your body feels better and stronger, you start to notice and feel muscles that weren’t “there” before, and people start complimenting you on how good you look. (more…)
Are you unhappy with your body? Do you wish you were faster, stronger, bigger or leaner? Do you long to be one of those neon-clad runners who pound the pavement at the crack of dawn and actually enjoy themselves while doing it? Do you wish you didn’t love ice cream, cheese, chocolate and salt-and-vinegar chips so much?
I’ve got good news for you.
Evan Thompson, a philosophy of mind professor at the University of British Columbia who recently published a neuroscience paper on the concept of what we perceive to be our ‘self’, has discovered that “the brain and body is constantly in flux. There’s nothing that corresponds to the sense that there’s an unchanging self.” Now, this doesn’t mean that one day you’ll spontaneously grow bigger bicep muscles and develop cravings for kale and wheatgrass smoothies – but it does verify what Buddhists have believed for ages; that our self is ever-changing and that we are not our thoughts.
“Buddhists argue that nothing is constant, everything changes through time, you have a constantly changing stream of consciousness,” Thompson explains in this article. He found evidence that “self-processing in the brain is not instantiated in a particular region or network, but rather extends to a broad range of fluctuating neural processes that do not appear to be self-specific.”
So what does this have to do with health and fitness? (more…)
Mine started off fairly disappointing when I learned that it’s going to be even harder to get into Boston this year, thanks to 3,000 faster people registering before the five-minute-and-under qualifiers could 🙁 I knew I’d be cutting it close, since last year the time cut off was 1:02 (and I finished within 1:03 this year). Although I haven’t completely given up hope yet, I have a feeling this won’t be my year. I’m sad I will miss out on running it in 2016, but I’m still proud of myself for qualifying. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be, and I’ll need to run even faster next year to get in for 2017. I’m thinking I’ll need to run AT LEAST a 3:29 to guarantee myself a Boston bib. Sigh.
On the upside, all that money I was saving for a Boston trip can now go towards some other trip, perhaps a tropical vacation?? I got a few items in the mail this week from my cousin in New Zealand to entice me to come and explore NZ’s amazing trails. Maybe?? (more…)
Why do we sometimes feel the need to get lost to find ourselves?
Where did we go?
Are our comfortable, 9-to-5 lives with practically the whole wide world available at our finger tips so bad?
We bask in the glow of our tech products instead of the warm light of the sunrise. We go to a big room full of sweaty humans and various sizes of black iron and rubber objects and machines with levers and pulleys for a few hours each week in order to maintain our physiques instead of chopping wood, tilling the ground and playing outside. We go to warehouses stocked full of delicious and nutritious food from around the world located just minutes from our homes — most of the time we don’t even have to walk to get there. We’re not under constant threat of predators, we don’t go to bed hungry wondering where our next meal is going to come from, and we can generally fair okay in the elements.
Though a fitness partner can help, this tool works well, too.
Trying to break bad habits and implement new, healthy ones is no simple task. Not only does it take an excruciatingly long time for a new behaviour to become a habit, but it may also feel like a constant uphill battle to get where you want to be.
For example, you may want to lose weight and get fit, but in order to do so, you will need to make a variety of changes — both small and large — to reach your goal. Doing one small thing, such as cutting out pop or skipping dessert twice a week, is definitely a good start; but you know that if you want to achieve the “get fit” part of your goal, you will need to add in more exercise at some point as well. Sometimes when you take a step back and think about all the things you need to do to reach your goal, you feel overwhelmed and hopeless, which can lead to roadblocks and speed bumps along your path to health and wellness.
Luckily, you don’t have to focus on all those goals and tasks at once to stay motivated. Forget “keeping your eyes on the prize” — simply keep your eye on one or two small things each day to stayed focused and motivated. (more…)
Highly productive people. They’re everywhere. They’re working at your office busting out project after project, they’re in your run group discussing that book they’re writing/tech start-up they just launched while still working a secure 9-to-5 job, they’re your friend who’s a mom of two young kids with a full-time job and still finds the time to work out.
They’re impressive, and exhausting. How DO they fit it all in?
According to most books and articles written on the habits of highly productive people, they write a lot of to-do lists. They only focus on one thing at a time. They get up early. They exercise. They do their most important task first. They don’t read emails on the weekend. They have a daily morning routine.
While highly productive people have found ways to fit exercise into their busy lives, can someone who might not be a textbook productive person find ways to hack their fitness routines to at least make THAT part of their day a bit more efficient (and more likely to be done)?
Happy Friday, friends! What are you up to this weekend?
With the Finlayson Arm 25K out of the way, I now have my sights on training for the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon coming up on Thanksgiving Weekend. Which won’t actually involve much training since I ran almost 30 km last weekend. I figure I’ll do a 16 km this weekend, 20 km next weekend, 12 km the following weekend then race! My primary goal for this race is not to run a PR, but to create a good calorie deficit so I can handle a possible double turkey dinner feast that day, haha! Also, it’s one of my most favourite races (the first one I ever ran almost seven years ago now!) and I hate to miss out on it. It’s become my Thanksgiving weekend tradition!
I’m also running because Ange from Cowgirl Runs is coming to Victoria to race and will be staying with me for the weekend! I’m so excited to finally meet her IRL.
I don’t have a ton of best reads in fitness, health and wellness for you this week unfortunately as I didn’t have that much spare time to read awesome things on the internet, but I DO have a cool announcement and a documentary you absolutely need to watch. (more…)
Happy Friday, friends! What are you up to this weekend?
I have the Finlayson Arm 25K (but really 28K) trail race this Saturday, and I must admit I’m a little bit nervous about it, despite running the majority of the course two weeks ago. Debbie pointed out to me that there was a cut-off time for the 25K of 5.5 hours, which seemed strange as the 50K runners will be coming across the finish line well into the afternoon. It took us 5 hours (well, 4.5 hours if you don’t count us getting lost) just to run 22 km, let alone 28 km. And the part we missed during our training run is the fairly challenging. What are they going to do… prevent us from crossing the finish line that will be open for another 5 hours or so if we don’t finish by the cut-off time? I reached out to the race director to voice my concerns, and he said since the 50kers had a cut-off time it was only fair we did, too. Also, he said last year the average finish time for the 25k race was 4:15, and the last person came through at 5:18. Hrrm. Fingers crossed I can actually run faster on race day… even though I’m a BQ’er, I’m a fairly slow trail runner.
Although training for this race could have been better, I did okay despite lots of missed runs due to vacations and illnesses. I was pretty good about sticking to my strength training plan and shorter training runs, but didn’t get out on the trail as much as I should have this past month. Oh well — this is a just-for-fun race, anyway. Plus, there will be free post-race beer!
Since I’ve missed doing a Friday favourites link round-up these past few weeks due to freelance article deadlines, here are the best reads around the web this week in health and fitness, plus some of my favourite reads from last week you may have missed. (more…)
Have you ever been in a situation where you shared something that was important or meaningful to you with another person or group of people, only to have it ignored? Or to not illicit the reaction you were hoping for? Or maybe even you’ve set some kind of expectation for yourself and let your own self down by not following through. If you have — like I have regularly — that sinking feeling you feel is most likely shame, according to bestselling author Brene Brown in this INC.com article I came across yesterday. And there’s only one question you need to ask yourself to combat that emotion of shame you’re feeling in that moment: “What story am I telling myself right now?”
UGH. That’s so me. The spinner of stories. You could be thinking/feeling something completely different than what I perceive, and one wrong gesture or voice inflection and I’ve made up an entire scenario in my head about why you don’t like me/don’t agree with me/are mad at me/think I’m stupid. Ridiculous, I know — but as a highly sensitive person, I’m hyper aware of verbal and non-verbal cues and the general energy of other people, and can pick up quite easily on when things aren’t all rainbows and puppies. The problem is, I always assume it’s because of something I said or did, not because the person might be feeling upset/low/irritated/stressed due to something else going on in their life. (more…)