Scenes from the weekend!

The blog world is a weird place.  We are basically a bunch of nosy people who like to read about each other’s lives.  We cheer each other on, offer support and words of encouragement, share ideas, recipes and race recaps, and then sometimes we just catch up and talk about our weekend.  My weekends are far from exciting but if you’re anything like me, I like reading about people’s non-exciting weekends.  It’s the everyday stuff that makes life life.  So here’s mine!

Saturday started with a 6-mile run…in pants (boo).  It was 3*C.  WORST. EVER.


My cousins and I took our cute little grandmother out for lunch.


We forced her to take about 37 self-timer selfies.


I got a fortune in my fortune cookie that made me curious.


We tried to make some progress on this 1000-piece puzzle.


I got home and did some food prep on Saturday night – chopped and washed romaine, cauliflower and carrots, pan fried tofu cubes, spiced chickpeas, and peanut sauce.  The I watched Legally Blonde.  It was on TV and I forgot how cute of a movie it is.


I woke up Sunday and went shopping with my mom.  We checked out the new Sport Chek at Yorkdale.


We made a quick stop for some bagels and pickles (!!!) from Michele’s Baguette.


Then headed to my condo to wipe down the new floors and tidy things up before the painter comes this week.


Made a pit stop at Decorium to see if I could find dining chairs.  No such luck, but they did have a vending machine so…


Took Princeton for a walk.


And ate a sundae while watching the AMAs.  I fell in love with Jennifer Lopez last night.  Holy smokes.  I’m impressed I was able to stay up for the whole thing but I was literally holding my eyelids open near the end waiting for Justin Bieber to perform.  Not ashamed.


And that’s it!  Hope you had a good one! 😀

Friday Five!

Friday.  My favourite day for several reasons.  It’s burrito day at work, the weekend is upon us, and I get to share five random things with you.

1.  I haven’t logged into my Netflix account since my OITNB marathon in June but that all changed last weekend when I was in bed sick and needed something to do (other than feel sorry for myself).  Enter The Mindy Project.  I’m only a few episodes into season one but I am loving it!


2.  This Moving Comfort FineForm sports bra.  Guys.  GUYS.  This sports bra is everything.  I have never had a sports bra that fits so well.  It has really great support, a back hook to give you a racerback option (as illustrated in the below photo), a hook and eye closure (like “real” bra) so you can adjust it to fit you comfortably, and it’s made of the softest material in the history of soft materials.  Plus, look how pretty it is.

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3.  I feel like I need this shirt as it does a pretty good job at describing my current life:


4.  Buzzfeed’s 31 Hilarious Tweets About Eating Healthy That Will Get You Every Time.  My personal favourites:

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5.  Beet hummus!!  I’ve seen people post photos of beet hummus from Trader Joe’s but unfortunately we don’t get TJ’s here in Canada.  I was pretty excited to come across the Humm! brand at Metro last weekend.  It’s delicious.


That’s it for today.  Have a great Friday and weekend!

P.S. I posted a heart rate training update a little late yesterday if you’re interested!

Heart rate training update #1

So I’ve had a lot of people ask ow my heart rate training has been going.  I’ll be honest – I’ve only gone on a handful of runs since I started training by heart rate but I thought I’d try and post regular updates for anyone else that might be interested.

After calculating my target heart rates last week, my running pro coworker (who is a math teacher – figures!) informed me there was a better way to to do it based on MY fitness level.  It takes an extra step but it has been worth it because I get to run a little faster now!

It’s called the Karvonen Formula and it looks like this:

Target Heart Rate = ((max HR − resting HR) × % Intensity) + resting HR

Looks confusing, right?  It’s not!

Step one: Figure out your max HR and resting HR.  I haven’t done a max HR test so I used the traditional formula (220 – age).  So we’ll say my MHR is 190.  To find my resting HR, I strapped on my heart rate monitor as soon as I woke up.  I did this for a few days just to make sure it was around the same number.  My resting HR is around 55-61 so I’m going to use 58.

Step two: Decide what intensity you want to be running at.  Since my focus is on running “easy”, I should be running at 65-75% (we will do calculations for both).


220 – 30 (Age) = 190
190 – 58 (Rest. HR) = 132
132 x .65 (Min. Intensity) + 58 (Rest. HR) = 143 Beats/Minute

220 – 30 (Age) = 190
190 – 58 (Rest. HR) = 132
132 x .75 (Max. Intensity) + 58 (Rest. HR) = 157 Beats/Minute

So according to the Karvonen Formula, my heart rate training zone should be 143 – 157 beats per minute.  Last week’s calculations gave me 123 – 142.  It might not seem like a big difference but holy smokes, it is!  It was really, really hard to keep my heart rate under 142.  Almost impossible.  I was running 10:30-11:00 minute miles and still having a hard time keeping it that low.  Now I’m running in the 9’s which feels so much better.


It all makes sense, right?  I think the original formula I used (220 – age × % Intensity) is a great starting point but it lacks in accuracy because the only number you have to plug in is your age.  I can’t compare myself to someone of the same age who has never run before or someone who has been training for marathons for the last 20 years.  We are all at different fitness levels and so our resting heart rates, max heart rates, and target heart rates will all be different.

I think the Karvonen Formula is a better indicator, but once again, there are probably better and more accurate ways to do this.  Some people, including Coach PK, have suggested getting a VO2 Max test done and I intend on doing that someday.  I know they’re expensive but I it will be worth it once I try and ramp things up again.  Maybe I will look into it early next year.  Right now, I’m content with using the numbers above as a starting point.  I’m enjoying running comfortably and staying within the range calculated for ME!

Okay, I think today’s math lesson is over (thank goodness).  SEE YA TOMORROW!

Life lately

What. A. Whirlwind.  Some weeks I feel like I have the time to blog 3-4 times while other weeks, even if I have drafts ready to go, I can’t seem to find the time to finish editing and publishing.  Those of you who have full-time jobs, families, train for marathons, and find time to blog regularly – you deserve daily medals.  And massages.

I know I’m going to sound like a broken record but renovating and furnishing a condo SUCKS YOU DRY in every way possible.  I’m so tired and my mind is all over the place.  My bank account also hates me.  I just have to keep focusing on the end result -> having a place to call my own.  A place that is perfectly designed and furnished the way I want.  It’s hard to see past all the contractors, bills, and dirty work…but I’m trying.  One long day at a time!

Anyway, it’s been a while since I just shared random non-running things about my life so here are some snapshots of what life has looked like lately —

Furniture shopping –


Choosing materials for said furniture –


Paint samples –


A puppy play date (Princeton is the runt!) –


A few runs thrown in for good measure –


One of the many housewarming gifts from my cousin that I am totally in love with (you can find it here) –

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Lots of mother-daughter time – she has been coming to every condo-related thing with me 😀  (old photo from our trip to Vegas!) –


The new Thug Kitchen PARTY GRUB cookbook that I finally got my hands on –

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A little retail therapy because your friend gives you a coupon code and because you can never have too many shoes (P.S. I always thought my feet were too big for kids shoes but turns out a 6.5 youth = 8/8.5 women’s AND THEY ARE CHEAPER) –

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+ working and eating a lot on the go…which hasn’t been the healthiest so my goal for this week is to cook more of my meals.

I’m going to post a heart rate training update this week.  I’ve only gone on a handful of runs but I’m going to try and share as much as I can along the way.

Have a great day!

Changing the way I train

I talked briefly about wanting to shift my training and focus on heart rate over speed for the next little while.  The information out there is pretty overwhelming but I think I’m starting to gain a better understanding.  The first step to heart rate training is to find out your maximum heart rate (MHR).  Runner’s World suggests using the following equation: MHR = 205 – (.5 x your age) and Robin told me she used a different equation: MHR = 220 – your age.  Both equations gave me 190 as my MHR.

Once you have your MHR, you can calculate what your heart rate should be during your workouts.  According to Runner’s World (again), easy/long runs should be at 65-75%  of your MHR, tempos at 87-92% and interval repeats at 95-100%.  So my heart rate should look like this during my runs:

Easy/long runs: 123-142

Tempo runs: 165-175

Interval repeats: 180-190

Since I’ll be sticking to easier runs for a little while, 123-142 is the range that I’m aiming for.  Whether I’m running at an 8-minute mile or an 11-minute mile doesn’t matter.  It’s all about training my heart and learning what an easy pace should actually feel like.  I’m hoping that this will benefit me in my next round of marathon training.


I tried it for the first time last Wednesday and set my watch to show only heart rate so that I wouldn’t be tempted to run faster.  I had such a hard time staying under 142, especially on inclines.  It was really, really hard to control.  I ran 5 miles at a 10:08 average pace with an average heart rate of 140.  It’s crazy to think I was running my “easy” runs in the 8:30s in my last training cycle.

I’m not going to lie, seeing the average pace at the end of my run made me a little concerned.  I texted Robin and asked her if this was normal and if I’d ever get faster while keeping my heart rate low (I will…eventually).  I’m still learning about the science behind all of this.  She assured me that this process is going to take a lot of time and will definitely test my patience.  At the same time, I will be able to run more miles and feel GOOD doing it because I’m not “taxing my ticker” like I used to.  Slower runs = lower heart rate = faster recovery = more miles.


I was curious as to WHY heart rate training is beneficial and the most discussed reason (across several websites) is that it ENSURES PROPER RECOVERY.  I think I can speak for a lot of runners when I say that we don’t treat our “easy” runs as we should.  I’m guilty of wanting to get my runs done and over with as fast as possible, even if it’s a long run or a recovery run.  Even when my pace isn’t supposed to be the focus of my workout, it still secretly matters – and it shouldn’t!  I know this but I’m stubborn.  We need our easy days to ensure proper recovery and to save our legs for those workouts and races where we want to push ourselves.  It doesn’t make sense to destroy our legs every day, only to go into a tempo workout and fail to hit our prescribed paces because we are completely exhausted.

So it’s all about training my body to adapt and learning how to run slow for the next little while.  I’ll ramp things up again soon and incorporating some hard/fast workouts into my heart rate training.  Even though it’s proving to be a bit more difficult than I anticipated, I’m looking forward to the change.  I’m going to be recording everything in hopes that I see an improvement (declining average heart rate) over the next couple of months.

There is so much more that I want to say about heart rate training (and a lot more benefits to discuss!) but I’m still new to it so I’d like to do a little more research and get more experience first.  I’ll put together another more thorough post soon!

Do you train by heart rate??  I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Friday Five!

It’s pouring buckets out this morning but there are so many reasons to love today.  It’s an early day at work so I’m off at 1:30 – WOOHOO, I’m going for Indian food tonight, and it’s FRIDAY so I’m linking up with Jen to share this week’s Friday Five!

1.  Adidas Supernova Storm Jacket – I wore this to the runmore 10k on Sunday and I love it so much.  The top part is reflective so it’s perfect for early morning or late night runs when it’s still dark out.  It’s not super heavy so I got mine in a size up so that I can still wear a thicker long sleeve underneath when it’s cold.

supernova storm


2.  These Hungry Buddha Coconut Chips.  I am already obsessed with their Thirsty Buddha coconut water and now they’ve reeled me in with these tasty snacks too!  The sriracha is my favourite out of the four…so good.

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3.  I don’t know what has happened to me but I find myself googling furniture and home accessories more than running shoes and Lululemon these days.  HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED.  I still haven’t found any furniture but I did fall in love with this $6 colada pineapple vase.  Hah!  Who needs furniture anyway?!


4.  My new iFit Vue.  This band tracks daily steps, distance, calories, workouts, and sleep.  Most of the data is right on the band but it also syncs to your phone where you can see all the details of your day.  I’m hosting an Instagram giveaway for one of these and it’s super easy to enter -> check it out HERE!


5.  Princeton with his new haircut.  He makes my heart melt.  He turns his face whenever I pull my phone out to take pictures of him so this was the best I could get yesterday!


Have an awesome day and weekend!

My reset with CEDAR JUICE

Let me preface this by saying that I love food.  I mean, I have an extensive list of foods that I hate but for the most part, I love food.  I don’t like giving it up or restricting myself from eating certain things because food is meant to be enjoyed and savoured.  It makes us HAPPY.  Have you ever seen someone eating a burrito or nachos looking sad??  I didn’t think so.  Food makes my world go round.  I will admit though that ever since my marathon, I’ve given myself a big, fat free pass to eat like a quarterback.  I did zero running for two weeks but ate as if I was training for an ultra.  I’m not even exaggerating in the least.

I received an email a while back from Ashley at Cedar Juice asking me if I was interested in doing a cleanse.  I’m not going to lie – I was really hesitant and a part of me felt like it was against what I believed in and practiced.  Anytime a juice cleanse is brought up in conversation, I’m always the one to dismiss the idea and preach a balanced lifestyle.  The other part of me became curious after exchanging emails with Ashley and I thought maybe it wasn’t a horrible idea.  If I hated it then I could stop, right?  If it reset my post-marathon body and made me feel amazing then that’s GREAT, right?  I wanted to put myself up to the challenge just to see if I could do it.


Cedar Juice has a 1-day, 3-day or 5-day cleanse.  I chose the 3-day option because 1 day didn’t seem challenging enough and 5 days sounded absurd.  The 18 organic, cold-pressed juices (6 for each day) arrived at my door (in a box with ice packs) on Friday so that I had it in time for Monday (when I planned on starting the cleanse).

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The juices are numbered and the idea is to drink them in order every 2-3 hours and if you feel like you’re going to die (slight exaggeration) then they suggest drinking veggie broth or eating green veggies.

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*Note: I never received #3 in Tropic Kale.  In my package, #1 and #3 were the same (Kale Made Good), as illustrated in the above photo.

I probably should have gone into the cleanse a bit more prepared.  They suggest cutting out caffeine and processed foods in the days leading up to the cleanse but it was Halloween weekend and I had leftover candy soooo…yeah.

So, how did I do?  How did I feel?

Drinking the juices at work was easy and I didn’t really think much about food.  The trickiest part for me was being home and not eating.  I usually raid my fridge and cupboards after work so not doing that was a bit of a challenge for me.  I also started to crave something warm by the end of the day.  I wanted a big plate of hot food!!

I had to pee ALL. THE. TIME.  Along with the six juices, you’re supposed to drink water in between so it was like a constant flow of liquids all day.  Other than that, I felt pretty good.  I wasn’t as ravenous as I thought I’d be.  The juices are substantial in size and I’d take my time sipping rather than chugging them.  It seemed like it wasn’t very long in between juices.  The first day was the hardest and I experienced some headaches, which I’m guessing were a symptom of food withdrawal.

According to the Cedar Juice website, you can expect the following benefits from a cleanse: more energy, better complexion, less bloating, clearer mind, and sounder sleep.  I don’t know if three days is enough time to change your complexion so I can’t really speak about that…and a clear mind is almost impossible for me at the moment with everything that’s going on.  What I can say is that I didn’t have my usual bloat for the three days I was on the cleanse.  I can’t remember the last time I had a flat stomach from morning until night.  I was also much more energetic than I thought I would be.  I assumed I’d be tired and weak but turns out consuming a billion nutrients in the form of juice makes you feel awesome.


How did the juices taste?

I was not the biggest fan of Kale Made Good (juice #1 and #3).  It’s veggie-heavy and has almost no sweetness to it so it wasn’t as easy to drink as the others.  It’s not horrible – just probably at the bottom of my list in comparison to the others.  The Pineapple Head (juice #2) was delicious – really sweet and tropical.  I didn’t love Lemon’s Your Lucky Day (juice #4).  I thought it would be sweet because it’s got coconut nectar in it..but it tasted like straight lemon juice to me – really sour!!  Skip to the Beet (juice #5) was awesome and didn’t taste too “earthy”.  The apple adds some sweetness and the ginger gives it a nice kick.  I think Cracked It (juice #6) was my favourite.  It’s perfectly creamy and sweet.  I looked forward to it all day!


Now what?

I’M EATING EVERYTHING.  I’m glad I did this and I truly feel like I gave my body what it desperately needed after so many days of indulging.  I feel refreshed and clean but at the same time, I’m SO ready for food.  They suggest easing back into your “normal” diet slowly so I’m keeping things fairly light today but I have plans to go for Indian food tomorrow night.  WOOHOO!

If anyone is interested in trying a 1, 3 or 5-day cleanse from Cedar Juice, you can use the promo code theathletarian10% to receive 10% off your order!  😀

Disclaimer: I was provided with a 3-day juice cleanse from Cedar Juice ($210 value) in exchange for an honest review.