Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chasing a Dream: the 4:15 Marathon (part two)

I made it through the two week taper period leading up to my 5th Full Marathon with the usual mix of questioning if you trained enough, hunger for carbs, and unexplained tears in the grocery store.  

The weekend of the race I headed downtown on the Friday for Race Kit Pick up with my friend Janice and WITHOUT KIDS! A first for me! I so enjoyed actually being able to wonder about the expo and shop without having two kids in tow.  The Saturday before the race I spent the entire day nursing phantom pains in my leg and calves that came out of no where and were likely only in my head.  My amazing husband gave me more then one calf massage that day.  I hydrated, and rested like a boss and went over my race strategy a thousand times.  I even managed to sleep fairly well the night before the race. 

The morning of the race I was up before my alarm, the butterflies dancing already! I had my breakfast fuel, packed my kit, got dressed and took 26.2 Selfies of myself in my run gear LOL.  I was heading to the race with my girlfriends Sharon and Janice, also running the Marathon.  We were smart and had executive cab booked to take us downtown.  



GOOD LUCK SIGN NO. 1: I used executive cab for my first marathon and he remembered me! 

The weather the morning of the race was cool and not hot, I decided on not taking my Camel Back and to use the water stations instead.  Sharon and I found the 4:15 pace bunnies and got in our Corral. 

GOOD LUCK SIGN NO.2: same 4:15 pace bunny as my first marathon! Seriously same guy! 

The gun was off and so were we! My goal pace for the race was 9:47 min/mile and I hoped to stay around 9:50-9:55 for that first 3 miles and not go out to fast.  Writing this blog so many months after the race I can't remember how well I did at that.  I do know that around the third mile I met up with my freind  Sharon who was doing 10 and 1's and running with the RUN/WALK 4:15 Pace Bunny.  We said hi had a quick chat, which was so surreal as I have never talked to anyone DURING a race like that before. Just meeting up and saying hi like you ran into them on the street.  I was stuck in the walk/run group at that point and it was not fun.  I am a wee bit competitive and they RUN FAST in their 10 min before they take a walk break.  I had been doing so well at ignoring the crowd and running my own pace, and not weaving and surging around runners. I found myself trying to keep up with the pack.  I chatted some more with Sharon and was enjoying the company and even started to question if I should just ditch my plan and run 10:1's with them.  But I decided to stick to my plan and moved way off to the side, and mentally put my head down and tuned into my own race. 

I checked my watch often and was surprised to see that my avg pace seemed to be around the 9:30 min/mile mark.  Much faster then my planned pace. But I felt really good. I kept trying to tune in and dial back as well as to not watch my watch to much.  My goal was to hit each 5km in 30min and I was doing that ok.  Around 15km I ran into some knee pain running on a slanted road and my mind went instantly to the OMG I am screwed place.  But I calmed myself down, slowed a little, and even took a quick walk break to shake it out.  I focused on my music and it went away.  

I feel like this having been my 5th Marathon, I had a lot of experience that came into play to help that day.  I knew to step to the side and run my own race.  I knew that taking a short walk break early on to shake the tightness out would be better then slowing down more and more with pain later on.  I also knew not to get ahead of myself and that despite the fact things were going really well, I knew that they could all go to crap pretty quickly.  

Having decided to walk through the water stations was a really good idea, unlike the last time, I didn't feel like I struggled to get my pace back.  I felt renewed after each little break and less stiff and my pace came back "fresher".  

I remember hitting the half marathon point and being surprised that I was there already...it was all so surreal.  I think my time was 2:07-2:08 pretty much what it was on my first Marathon.  I was feeling very hopeful but again trying to not get too excited.  

I caught up with Sharon and the run/walk group sometime after that, we had another little check in and chat.  I loved that we kept meeting each other and having little chats.  We would separate again and meet up again.  My pace starting picking up around mile15, I was feeling really good, mile 16 still feeling good and really starting to feel hopeful.  I was ahead of the 4:15 pace bunny.  

Mile 17 I was high as a kite on endorphins, the runner's high hit me! That has never happened that far way from the finish before.  At one point I looked down and I was running my 5km pace! I slowed down right away knowing this was not smart.  I remember saying loudly in my head. "MARATHONS ARE FUCKING AWESOME!" My pace that mile was 9:03 min/mile.  

Mile 18 I slowed right down to a 10:03 min/mile pace and no longer thought that Marathons were awesome. 

At this point I KNEW, I BELIEVED that my goal was in sight! I just had to keep it together, be smart and keep going! It was hard not to feel the butterflies building.  

Before long I hit 20 miles and now it was RACE TIME! The last 10km, this is where goals are met or  lost.  I had prepared a special playlist of songs and motivational audio files to keep my going.  I had stuff like this playing for me. 


I ran with goosebumps! I also had messages from kids, the same ones from that first race playing.  Their little 3 years ago voices cheering GO MOMMY! Your strong Mommy, Your Awesome Mommy! 

22.6 miles, yes that exact point, I looked at my watch and thought OMG I still need to get to 30! I can't do this, I'm done.  I got confused here, my mine was fuzzy, I thought I had to hit the next set of 10 miles. I forgot that I "only" had to go to 26.2.  I ran for a little bit feeling defeat coming.  Then I clued in that I had just about 5km to go.  I can could do this.  

Those last 5km hurt! They hurt! My hips were so tight, my legs so heavy.  I was so tired.  The Pace Bunny caught up and passed me at some point.  But I had my messages playing.  

For the first time, I did not start the negative reel in my head.  I did not start giving myself excuses and reasons why I did not meet my goal.  I kept going. I was slower.  But I knew that if I just kept going I would make it.  I have limped the last 7 miles of a marathon, I could do this! I did not give up on myself that day.  

I hit 26.2 miles on my garmin at 4:11:58!  I was so proud of myself.  I could hardly believe it.  But the finish line was not even in site.  This is the part of the marathon that is truly the worst.  I am done, mentally I am done.  My watch pace had me getting here...but now I have no idea how far the line really is and will I squeak in my goal? How much zig zagging did I do?  I had to pick it up!  It was incredibly hard to push here, it took so much effort.  I saw some green arches finally and thought thank God! But no! It wasn't the finish line, WTF! I actually said something to that effect out loud!  

Finally I crossed the finish line at 26.64 miles with a time of 4:15:47! I'm taking that as goal met! The 4:15 is in there and I hit 26.2 well under that! 

Most of all I ran with joy that day, I took it all in and actually enjoyed myself.  I ran because I chose to, and not because I felt I should.  

The very best part of the day, the part that made it all worth it was when I finally saw my kids waiting for me at the finish line.  I did the Ugly Cry!  


This is my very favourite picture of the day.  One that I actually hesitated posting because you can see  my fluffy tummy in it.  I can't believe I almost let my silly self consciousness take away finally achieving my goal after 3 long years of chasing it! This is my fluffy belly that I PR'd my 5th Marathon in! Damn proud of it! 

I did it!!!!!






Chasing a Dream: The 4:15 Marathon (Part 1)

I've been chasing a Marathon PR for three years! Every since running my first Marathon in 2012, I have been trying to recreate not only that time but that feeling! I ran with such joy in my heart that day.  I swear I cried tears of happiness for 26.2 miles.  

I made this picture college right before running my 5th Marathon to remind me of where I had come from. 
I ran two more marathons right after that, all 3 in a 9 month period, which I know wasn't smart but I was on a high. My 4th was the following year and still I was struggling to recreate that first experience, but I am proud to say I finished happy waving at my kids for the first time, my heart full.



I took the following year "off" from the Marathon, and started road biking and did my first Duathlon.  I trained over the winter running and biking and ran a fun half marathon with friends at Pelee Island, in the Spring.  A few weeks later I did my first Duathlon, an Olympic Distance! It was an amazing experience and thanks to a small race I even placed first in my age category (there were two of us lol but I will take the props wink) and 3rd over all female! 

I got a little cocky after that and signed up for a half iron duathlon in late August.  I continued training, stepped it up and also travelled with my bike for 6 weekends straight with my family on our summer travels running and biking and wearing myself out.  I ended up backing out for the first time in my life on a planned race.  I was done. Burnt out.  It was the best decision for me, and I spent the rest of the fall finding the joy again.

I took my time deciding to sign up for another full.  I told myself I wasn't even allowed to think about it till December.  When December rolled in, I really really thought about it.  I had been out doing runs, garmin free, just reconnecting with my body and soul running. I needed to rediscover why I loved running so much.  It didn't take long to remind myself, because I am a runner, an endurance girl at heart.  I love the way my body feels when it's running (injury free) and I am free! So I did it and hit submit on the OTTAWA MARATHON 2015! I was going back to where it all started! 

I took my training one step at a time, trying not to look to far ahead and just work at the week in front of me.  I was not used to winter running.  That first year of winter training wore me out and made me hate the winter.  The year prior training for a spring half I admit I ran in the snow ONCE!!! It's much easier to run 21km on a treadmill then 32km.  

The funny thing is I found myself ENJOYING the snow runs! They forced me to ditch the pace watching and just focus on getting through the snow and roads.  It allowed me to let go of the pressure I put on myself and just focus on the moment.  I found myself smiling through the snow covered roads. 


Another benefit to running in the snow was that I think it helped me get stronger! I think it was one of the keys to that first Marathon success. I often would ditch the planned distance and just run for time.  If the plan was 10 miles I would run for about 1:35 using effort and time vs. distance.

In terms of training I did do some things differently this time around.  I am a 3 day a week runner, it is what works best for my body.  I struggle with foot pain and more then 3 days gives me pain in my feet.  So I bought a 3 day a week plan, after looking at a variety of plans on line.  I liked this one because it had a lot of recovery built in.  It had the dial back every 3 weeks but it would dial back to 10 miles! I nice recovery run.  The first long run started at 10 miles too, which is my base endurance.  The other two runs in the week were an "easy run" and a "work" run.  The work run varried from a tempo run, Mile repeats, or Hill work.  I bought the 4:15 plan, and it had pace goals for all the runs.  I admit I did not follow them.  They were to slow.  Instead I focused on my effort, putting out a mile speed effort, or tempo effort.  During the winter I did my short runs for the most part on the treadmill, I can't run speed work in the snow :(  I used the incline to simulate being outside.  One day I did my mile repeats on a 2% incline and OMG it was hard!  Once the roads cleared I stayed outside and worked my pace.  The other thing I did differently this training period was adding fast finish long runs into my training.  I would do the first half to 3/4 of a long run at a LSD pace and then pick it up and practice my goal marathon pace.  I got used to running on tired legs.  I did two 20 mile training runs this time.  In the past I have done 3, I struggled with what to do and should I go further, but in the end I stuck with the plan.  I'm glad I did as I didn't feel over trained or stressed. 

I should note I am far far from any kind of expert, I am not even close to Boston Awesome and this is what worked for me and helped me get a little better this time around :) 

The other thing that I did this time around is I still focused on my strength work!  In fact, I made strength the main focus from Sept till Dec and worked on my posterior chain.  I worked hard building my glutes and hamstrings, as well as core.  I am quad dominate, and tend to not activate my glutes well when running.  All of which leads to IT band and knee issues. Once my marathon training began I still made it a priority to get TWO full body strength workouts in. I didn't go heavy, I used my TRX mainly and did a lot of single leg work.  I did not do 2 other days of cardio cross training like years past.  I wasn't on the bike two days a week, instead I did strength.  I also was somewhat better at getting one yoga like class in a week.  I added other cross training in here and there, when I had time and felt like it.  I truly believe this played a big role in running injury free for the first time! I didn't have any IT band or knee issues! I did have a small "issue" with my foot, that lead to limping and cutting a run short and needing to cross train a long run with a bike.  I had new inserts and tied my shoe to tight and it caused bruising and pain for a week.  Other then replacing that one long run with a bike, I made all my long runs on my plan, and switched out two of the shorter runs for cross training during my training when I was feeling pain in my feet.  I think I did a pretty good job of staying dedicated but also listening to what my body needed.

The highlight of my training was my first 20 mile run, which I did away from the flats of Barrhaven and in the very hilly cottage roads of Norland.  My Husband and kids drove out to the half way point and had signs, water refills, and BODY GLIDE (which to my children's horror I stuck down my pants lol).  I set off feeling renewed and ready for the next 10 miles.  With about 8 miles to go, I saw my parents on the side of the road waving at me.  As I ran by my Dad slipped a pic of my grandfather and I in my hands and said run the rest of the way with him.  CUE THE WATERWORKS! I grew up watching my dad run at the lake and my grandfather would be waiting for him with water and a leg rub down when he got home.  I was charged up with emotion and memories and picked up my pace.  At 5 miles to go, I was running up a bitch of a hill when I saw my dad start to cross 3 lanes of highway traffic to get to me.  (I was silently praying go Daddy go, don't get run over!) he made it and high fived me! I powered up that hill! 3 miles to go and I was tired, and starting to get sore.  Running down the steep slanted hills really hurts my knees.  I was beginning to think do I really have it in me to do this?  That's when I saw my mom up ahead and she pulled her pants down and MOONED ME! I was dying of laughter! I might add that it was pretty cold and windy that day!  My parents were there for the last mile spaced apart cheering for me.  I ran the last 8 miles or so of that 20 miler faster then I have ever run a 20 miler! Even with all the hills.  I ended that run, so full! I was so full of love and support from my family.  I said that as of that moment I had gotten everything I could possibly ever want from a run/race.  I am so blessed.  3:19:46 was my time.

Signs from the kids and the pic of my Grandfather and I 
My second 20 mile training run was run at home and in the heat.  I wore my camel back because at the time I thought I might wear it for the race.  It was a chance to start practicing the hydration for the race, now that the bitter cold and snow was gone.  I have to say this run wasn't nearly as fun without my family there to cheer me on, but it was very good practice for the long and solitary moments in the Marathon.  I did get to check in every now again, via text with my good friend Janice also out running her last 20 mile run.  It was fun to take those wee mental breaks.  I focused that day on practicing my starting pace, keeping it slow and not speeding up.  I tried to hold a steady pace and then pick it up and practice that race pace again.  I remember struggling with very tired legs, and tightness in my knee in the last 3 miles.  I remember crying when I only had one mile to go.  I pushed hard that day and did it just a tad faster then Norland in 3:19:01.  

My last 20 mile training run! 
So if your still with me after all that babble, wow, thank-you! You must be a runner! I think we like these race reports :) So that's was it, last 20 miler in, I was ready....the training was in the bank so to speak.  Two weeks taper to mentally get through and then the big day.   Would I recreate the joy of my first marathon and maybe just maybe squeak in under 4:17 for a PR? I'll let you know in yet another gripping long winded post.









Thursday, June 25, 2015

Confession....

I have a confession to make, and your going to rap me upside the head for it!

After the Marathon and during the post race crazies I took my scale out again.  DUMB. Everything was fine, started a new strength focus and then last week my weight went up a little.  mmm? got my period.  Ok.  Just numbers and I felt so good in my skin.  My weight was up even more this Monday, no surprise after an indulgent booze and food camping weekend.  But it didn't climb back down to my "normal" this week (I know my weekly ebb and flow from way to long daily scale weighing.)   It went back to last week's slightly higher number.  So this is where that nagging body image yuck has crept in :( BUT I have worked so damn hard to kick its ass.  I have stood butt naked in the mirror and said I love my body, fluffy bits and new rock hard bits and all.  I have looked at pics and said "see healthy and fit girl nothing wrong here move on".  I even wore a bathing suit I haven't worn in years yesterday because I did feel good in my skin! I have not let the number tell me to cut back and restrict, I have not let the number really get a hold in my head.  THIS IS HUGE! a year ago this would have thrown me into a diet tail spin.

This body peace stuff really does work, and I am far from effing perfect, case in point getting back on the scale.  But I've come so far in loving myself.  I'm not hiding the scale again, I kind of like that my mind is fighting back.  I'm curious to see is this my new number? It's just a number.  I've moved from Marathon Training to Strength and Power taking the focus.  I looked back at pics and this is where being a nerd with the selfies pays off.  I see a difference in last years pics and this month.  I see a slightly more "solid" girl now.  I see STRONG. (ok really they look the same, but I swear I see a little more strong)

June 2015 "lift weights faster" plus endurance and speed work, also steady weekend diet of wine debauchery  

Summer 2014, ENDURANCE training for Duathlon, biking and running like crazy! Very little strength work and again steady weekend diet of wine debauchery. 

Yesterday, when I was feeling some of that Body Image Yuck creep in I kicked it's ass to the curb by putting on my shortest booty shorts and short non fluff covering tank top and ran hill sprints up the street (with a moving crew out to see I might add, yikes).  As I powered up the hill I could feel my shorts and top climb and the jiggle.  But I didn't care because all I actually felt was POWERFUL!

 I had an AHA moment then.  I exercise not to punish my body into submission, instead I move my body in POWERFUL ways so that my mind can catch on to that feeling! 




Monday, May 4, 2015

Body Peace: Update

Mondays used to be a day of getting back on the wagon, of tightening the reins, punishing myself and trying to get the scale to move down after an indulgent weekend.  The emotional ups and downs of being really restrictive and "on point" during the week and then wildly swinging on the weekends took it's toll on my "Body Soul".  But it worked for years to maintain my weight loss and allow me to enjoy things on the weekend.  But the enjoyment came with a price: GUILT!

Fast forward to this Monday and I woke up like any other day, put on my gym clothes and looked in the mirror.  I see a healthy and happy girl.  Not my leanest body, not my most muscular body, and yes I have some softness to my belly that isn't just the lose skin of losing a shit ton of weight (wine belly hehehe).  But I like this body, in fact I dare say I LOVE THIS BODY!  This body ran 32km on Friday and will fingers crossed be running my 5th FULL MARATHON in 3 short weeks.  This body hopped on a Mountain Bike and rode the trails for fun yesterday and felt like a child with my little squeals of weeeeee (no one can hear you in the forrest right?).  This body spent the day hanging out with my oldest girl sipping Starbucks, painting, and taking our first bike ride of the year together.  This weekend I enjoyed a Friday night with good friends, wine and food.  Saturday I enjoyed a date night at Le Nordic with my husband and again some delicious food and a little wine.  Sunday we made an incredible homemade Sunday dinner and I might have been found in bed enjoying some popcorn and some Dark Choc PB cups :)

Kay and I heading out for a bike together :) 

In some ways this weekend doesn't sound that different from weekends of past, there was much fun to be had, and indulgence and enjoyment.  But there is a POWERFUL DIFFERENCE.  I now know that this is not my last opportunity to enjoy that PB CUP.  There isn't a restrictive diet waiting for me on Monday.  I am much better at listening to my body, and usually do stop when full.  Sometimes I still overeat, especially when it's really delicious! but it's because I am enjoying it so damn much! Not because I feel I need to stuff myself because this is a limited time experience.  Also when I do overeat a little, I don't think DAMN YOU"VE FALLEN OFF, and therefore might as well keep on gorging yourself because you know your going to have to be really restrictive to make up for this.  It's embarrassing to say but many a Sunday has been spent in the past eating way past fullness and thinking what else can I eat because I won't be "allowed" this again.  Now that's some disordered eating.  Part of that is certainly carry over from years of binging and purging, struggling darkly with bulimia, in my youth and the over eating that led to gaining 100 pounds when "recovered".  But I also think it's very "normal" eating behaviour for so many of us that fall into the ON/OFF, BAD/GOOD, black and white of the diet mentality.  There are 38 years of behaviours to change here.

I feel like I have been striving to move to this "Body Peace" place the last two years but only touching the surface and hanging on to habits like a security blanket.  But these habits no longer serve me well.  Reading the Body Peace book has been the catalyst to some major change for me. At first it was really uncomfortable and scary.  I wanted so many times to return to my old habits, to "gain control" to make sure I wasn't gaining weight etc.  But I kept telling myself that I needed to see it through, to really try, or I would never see if there really was peace on the other side.  In the past couple weeks I have found myself feeling more free and "lighter in my soul" then I have in a long time.  Food is a thing of enjoyment.  I enjoy cooking and making new wholesome nutritious recipes.  I love trying new things.  I spend more time cooking in the kitchen then I ever have.  I am mixing things up and enjoying a waffle covered in homemade sun butter in the am, instead of a smoothie (Still have lots of morning smoothies but not afraid to change it up and have a CARBY breaky too, remember it's fuel for that run).  I'm doing things like eating white pasta during the week because it's no longer a forbidden food (don't have any food allergies) and my lord is it ever good! Might have over eaten a bit that night but it was sooo good.  But here's the funny thing, this magic thing happens and I remember reading about it in a INTUITIVE eating book.  My body seems to regulate it's self when I listen to it.  I don't keep gorging myself, that evening I was still full and didn't have my usual evening snack.  Or if I do it's later when I am HUNGRY again.  It sounds so simple! But it's a significant change in behaviour.

I find myself walking past the mirror and liking my reflection, not picking it apart first or comparing it to an ideal in my head.  Just reacting and feeling good about myself.  Do you know how good it feels to walk away from the mirror feeling like that? So different then standing on the scale and seeing a number achieved.  It's like a feeling deep inside. I feel content, happy, and yes at peace with myself of late.

Oh I have my moments where doubt creeps in, or I am triggered by "diet" talk and wonder what am I doing? I should be trying to lose this soft belly or fit into smaller pants. But for the most part I am doing pretty well at following my own path.  That's the thing, it's MY PATH.  As much as I would love everyone to stop dieting, throw their scales out and love themselves.  I know that not everyone is ready for that.  It's SCARY! I'm also realizing that you can have body peace and still care about eating nutritious food for your body and working on fitness goals and yes even caring about feeling good in a summer dress.  It's just doing so in a way that empowers you instead of adding guilt or shame.

Yesterday's ride on the trails was so fun, and I had an AHA moment where I realized that this is what being fit is about!  Being fit enough to jump on a bike and ride hard up the hills, and weeeee around the corners, to feel your heart pumping and to grin from ear to ear!  This summer is going to be about FUN, enjoying the outdoors and making my heart pump with excitement.  I"m going to enjoy not having a big race to train for and enjoy living a fit and fun filled summer.
Heading out for my last 32km training run last Friday after dealing with some  pretty awful foot pain.  I wrote never ever give up to motivate myself to get through the run but now when I see this I think of my desire for Body Peace and not giving up on myself. 
I thought it would be fun to share some tips, some things that have made it easier to get more comfortable in my skin.

  • Instead of using the scale I take daily selfies in my workout gear and clothing.  I find it so much better for my sense of self to see a happy fit girl staring back at me then a number on the scale. When I am having a moment of self consciousness I look back at the pics and think nope your ok let it go. 
  • I am inspired by food and food blogs.  I love finding new healthy and wholesome things to cook.  There is something about making my own food from scratch that fills me with joy.  I'm embracing this love and spending more time in the kitchen.  I am savouring the tastes and textures and trying new things.  But as much as I love the really wholesome stuff I love jube jubes and choc just as much and treat myself regularly.  
  • I'm learning as well that workouts don't need to be "hard core" all the time.  I short 20 min strength session is often perfect for me.  I am spending more time taking yoga classes, anti grav yoga, tune up yoga, things without a big calorie burn or sweat factor but they do so much good for my body and allow me to keep doing the things I love.  
  • I've unliked and stopped following pages and IG accounts that trigger me and make me feel less then.  Instead I have filled my feeds with body positive messages and yes pictures of people eating a God Damned Sandwich! :) 
  • I am surrounded by positive empowering women and friends and that makes a world of difference in how I feel.  We lift each other up daily and that is a blessing.  
  • I have goals that have nothing to do with weight.  
  • I am playing more again, recently began painting again.  I stopped doing a lot of my creative hobbies because my thoughts were so taken up with the business of food and losing weight.  How sad is that?
  • I am seeing that fitness can be just playful and fun and spent with my kids
  • I try to think about what my kids are learning by watching me, and knowing that there are habits I don't want them to pick up.  I would much rather they swear like a trucker then pick apart their selves and put there self worth in a number on the scale.  
  • I'm practicing "let it go"...might even sing the song a little sometimes....but I am letting this Sh#t go! 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Write your own page, follow your own path


I had a rough night last night up with my sickie big kid, and spent the later hours browsing the internet looking at health and fitness pages.  I was looking at training plans for races, strength building plans and nutrition. I found myself feeling overwhelmed and questioning my own training and habits (mind you I was tired).  But here's the thing, I've been experimenting and learning what works for me over the last 5 years and there are certain things I have figured out.  Yes, I am always learning and tweaking but there are certain things that just work for me right now.  

We know our bodies best, and what is going to work for our lifestyles.  This is what I know for sure, that works for "me": 

  • running three days a week, anymore and my knee and my foot get sore.  When training for a race that's one LSD, one "work" run tempo/speed/hills and one other run at maybe an easy/moderate run or another technical one.  
  • When running Full Body Strength Training sessions works best, as I only have room for 2, maybe 3 days of strength training.  When training for a race bodyweight, TRX, and "lighter" weights 8-10 rep range (ie. DOMS can't effect the run).  I've also learned that I am pretty quad dominant and need to work hard training my hamstrings and glutes.  
  • I know that the more time I give to working on hip mobility and yoga type restorative exercise the better I feel.  I also really suck at making this a priority.  
  • I do better when I am enjoying what I do and my favourite type of "strength" workout is a circuit style workout with lots of intensity.  
  • but I also enjoy a heavy, slow, big rests in between type of lifting session...it's almost relaxing.  This really only works when I am not training for a race though.  
  • I need to mix it up every now and again and add some fun classes in to recharge my fun meter
  • I need to be able to modify my running plan based on my family life, and how my body feels
  • posting my workouts on Daily Mile and sharing them, motivates me, because I am blessed with amazing cheerleaders, so thankful for them.
  • wine is important, and I will have a fluffy wine belly :) no visible abs here! but they are there and strong! 
  • I'm a cheerleader at heart, and want to fill other's with that feeling of awesomeness too. I will cheer you on, and always want to help build you up and not tear you down. 
  • Even if our paths our different I can cheer you on yours :) 
  • lastly this body was built for LIVING and that's what I plan on doing! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Food...Food...and More Food: What I am loving right now

I've mentioned that I have been reading the book Body Peace and I want to share one of the pages that really has had an impact on me.  An AHA moment if you will.

seriously read it again, let it soak in, what does it mean for you?
I think this quote will mean many things to different people.  But for me it was a way of letting go of "diet" thinking, calorie counting, tracking of food and instead focusing on eating wholesome, energy giving, delicious, filling, comforting, food.  It was a shift in thinking and a powerful one.  

Funny enough, it wasn't much of change in what I eat.  I've been eating in a "whole food" kind of way for a long time, but I've also been entering it diligently into My Fitness Pal and thinking about the calorie content and balancing the macros thinking that all this attention to the numbers would help me maintain or at times lose weight.  I want more then that, I want to not think about this stuff anymore.  

This quote has somehow helped me change my way of thinking.  If wholesome, nutritious, energy giving food is going in my body, I don't need to stress over all the other stuff.  As I let go of the mental energy that the "diet thinking" takes, I find myself better able to listen to my body.  AM I HUNGRY? AM I FULL? DO I WANT SOME CHOC for comfort? YES? OK :) 

I actually feel lighter, and more content.  I am also satisfied and well fuelled and feeling strong! 

Now the danger to this kind of thinking is taking it to the other extreme, and only eating "wholesome" or "clean eats" (I hate that word! so if I eat jubes I'm dirty?).  Again, going back to finding a place of balance I would say that 75-80% of what I eat is "whole foods" and well the other is WINE, and Choc Chips, and FANCY CHEESE and other yummies.  There is a good healthy balance of indulgence there.  The more I follow this, what I am now going to call "eating in the light" the less I BINGE eat the indulgences because they are no longer a forbidden food.  My "weekend" food behaviours swing less wildly and my weekday food habits are less restrictive and that magical place of balance is in sight! 

I"ve gone through this before, this idea of letting go of the all or nothing, black and white thinking in regards to food.  But truthfully, it seems to sneak back in. I'm really working hard this year to finally let go this and find my Body Peace. I want my girls to grow up learning these balanced behaviours and not the "diet like" ones.  

OK now on to the fun stuff, FOOD!!! 

I'm lucky that as a stay at home mom I have more time to grocery shop, prep and cook meals.  But even then I often fall into a "I'm too tired to cook" mode and well dinner becomes take in, going out, or pretty boring eats at home.  I love the pics of FOOD PREP that people share on Instagram and FB where they prep a week's worth of healthy food to make things easier for them.  But the idea of eating  mostly the same thing each night bores me.  I've been doing something a little new of late that is working really well and wanted to share it.  Who knows maybe you will get a few ideas that will work for you.  

So Monday is my kitchen day and I love it! I work out in the am and then hit the grocery store armed with my meal plan and groc list.  I also down a shake after my workout because there is no way I will make it through the grocery store with out stopping to eat cereal out of box in hunger.   Once home I eat lunch while the oven heats up and then I start prepping!  

Typically I will make a batch of hummus, bake some chicken, roast various veggies, make freekeh and some kind of a soup.  If the kids are lucky I might make some muffins or cookies. Kayleigh is still peed at the one time I made choc chip cookies with beans in them! All of this turns into easy meals.  


I am in love with these, I call them Nourish Bowls.  They are so easy to change up each week based on what I feel like roasting veggie wise.  Hummus is always a must in them! 

Even Ryan loves these and the kids will eat components of them  with other stuff I make for them.
A hearty comforting bowl (ok usually two bowls) of soup for a dinner and a lunch or two each week is something I really enjoy.  


The kids don't really love my soup :( So I usually make them a grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner,  when we have soup.  Or if  it's a Mexican tortilla soup like this I will make them sweet potato nachos and cheese with avocado and salsa. I try to make a "similar" dinner for them.  Yes I am guilty of making more then one dinner, I want what I want and I don't want the drama of making them eat stuff they hate, and it works for us. 

Monday and Tuesday are easy and I am going strong, and then I start to lose steam.  Tonight I was tired and thought about making breakfast for dinner and then found this amazing and easy recipe for Pizza Crust with chickpea flour! It was so easy to make, and really savoury and filling as well.  The toppings were a cinch as I still had left over chicken and sautéed onions, garlic and bok choy from my prep on Monday.  

Easy Peasy and Voila!


pssst. I doubled the recipe and it made 4 crusts...I ate TWO! 
Prepping on Monday doesn't get me through the whole week but it's a good start and my fridge is full of bit and bops (is that a thing?) for snacking and getting creative.  

The other thing I am LOVING right now is making my own treats!  Whether it be energy balls, choc cups or NUT BUTTER! 

Salted Tahini and date cups 


Almond and Coconut Butter Choc Cups

and OMG the best NUT BUTTER EVER! 

walnuts, almonds, pecans, dates and coconut oil! 
These treats are so filling and satisfying and leave me feeling CONTENT.  

I know I spend a lot of time posting pics of food and sharing recipes on FB/Instgram and I wanted to share why with you.  This stuff makes me happy, makes my belly happy and my soul happy.  I love getting new ideas and seeing like minded people finding their own way as well.  So hopefully, you find a little treat in here you might like making too.  

Oh and don't forget this stuff as well :) 

cheers! 









Monday, February 23, 2015

Coming back JOYFUL

I had almost 2.5 hours of fighting, I mean running in the snow yesterday to think about running.  Despite the ankle deep snow, sometimes knee deep snow, the wet heavy snow, and that one really high snow bank I actually enjoyed my run yesterday.  The weather was warm, my face was uncovered and I could easily breath in the fresh air.  My mind felt free and light, not being tethered down to a dreadmill.  I was happy.

It is winter and I am running and I am happy.

Last year, this was far from the case.  I hid inside the gym on the dreadmill, last winter training for my spring half.  I ran once in the snow and hated it.  Every run was a chore.  I was chasing a new PB.  I was burnt out after two winters of training.  I had a rough year last year.  I did try some new things in an attempt to shake off the burnout that was quickly chasing my heels.  I got my road bike and loved learning to ride.  I had moments that felt childlike again and full of weeee.  My favourite race last year was the Olympic Duathlon, I was really really proud of it.  But I didn't allow myself to just enjoy something new and be playful.  I drove hard to strive for bigger and better and I burned myself out.  I am a slow learner at times, it takes me awhile to finally listen.  But I did eventually, and I canceled doing the iron duathalon.  It felt awful to do so but once done I instantly felt like an elephant had been lifted off of me.  I started to exercise based on what I wanted to do and not what a training plan had me doing.  I joined a new gym and started doing fun classes again.  I started focusing on weight training again.  I didn't run much.  I gave myself permission to not run.  I gave myself permission to have fun. I gave myself permission to rest when needed and to not feel like I had to be "hardcore" all the time.  I gave myself permission to take the time I needed.

It wasn't easy, the pull to sign up for races and to make a race goal would come up when listening to other peoples training goals.  But I would tell myself that these were their goals and not mine.  There was a time when I felt like I had to keep up with all the races that everyone was doing, I didn't want to miss out.  There was a time when I felt like I needed to have a full race calendar and be striving towards some kind of race goal to be worthy? WORTHY? Worthy of what? I put all my self worth in this "running persona."  It's not a new game, I have done it before, put all my worth into some sort of external basket, at one time it was scrapbooking.  No wonder it's so easy to burn yourself out and when that basket is empty you feel lost.

I let myself take the time to just be.  I took a break from running.  I admit that when I saw people out running I would get that little green jealous feeling (come on runners you know what I'm taking about ).  When my friends started talking about races they wanted to do the following year, I told myself I wasn't allowed to even think about it till December.  I knew I still needed time to just be.  Slowly, I started running again.  I went out with out my garmin for a few runs, and just ran.  I ran without a planned distance or goal pace.  I paid attention to how my body felt and more importantly my spirit.  I felt happy and light after each run.  I started to rediscover that JOY I first had when I started running.  I ran for a few weeks like this just enjoying it without jumping on any race sites with my CC in hand. I truly let myself come to the decision of doing another Marathon because I WANTED to and not because I felt like I HAD to.

So it's winter and training is underway and it's not easy.  It's cold and the snow is a pain.  The treadmill is a mental soul sucking device.  I struggle to keep my strength training up and fit it all in while honouring rest days.  Yet despite all of this, I am happy! Yesterday's run was tough physically but I had a grin on my face for most of it.  I realized that this awful snow was actually a gift.  The snow forces me to slow down, to take my time, to watch the terrain, and take walk breaks when needed.  The snow helps me realize that just covering any distance out there is something to be proud of.  I forget my garmin, I forget the numbers, I actually stop caring about my pace.  I run because I like running.  I love how my body feels when I am running.  My spirit feels joyful when I run.  Yesterday, the snow helped me remember my goal this Marathon.  I want to run with JOY.  To celebrate this healthy body and mind that can do this crazy thing.  My WHY is evolving!

I read this awesome post on FB last week, about a lifter who's WHY has changed.  My why has changed.  I'm running now because I enjoy it and it's honestly my favourite way to sweat.  I don't feel like filling up my calendar with races.  I am so looking forward to my first summer in years, free of training!  I am going to camp and travel and enjoy my family without the pressure of training for a race.  I am going to bike and run and lift heavy things because I want to and how I want to.  Right now I am exercising because it is what makes me feel good physically and mentally. It helps me deal with my anxiety and it makes me feel good in my skin.  I'm not doing it for badges of bad ass honour,  or to burn calories like in the past.  I am doing this for me, and my true self not the crazy voice in my head (I totally just made myself sound bat ass crazy).

So my little moral of the post is this, take the time, grant yourself the time to recover from pushing pushing pushing, and rediscover where your joy is?  Find your WHY :)