Marathon Monday: This year I’m hoping to…

Soooo…

goals

Anyone else feel like this??  Haha!  Sometimes a year goes by and I’m like WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?!  I took a look at my 2014 goals and fell short of a couple non-running related ones which is slightly disappointing but hey, it’s a new year with new opportunities, right?  I’m pretty happy with how things went in the running department last year, as I mentioned in last week’s Marathon Monday post, so 2014 wasn’t a total flop.  I learned a lot about myself and my abilities, which leads me to bigger and scarier goals for this year.  I got my planning on over the weekend (with the help of my personal planner!) and came up with a list of things that I’d like to achieve in 2015.

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In 2015 I’m hoping to…

  1. BQ.  There.  I said it.  I technically need a 3:35 to qualify for Boston but I would really need to run closer to a 3:30 if I want to get in.  Those who got accepted into Boston for this year needed to run 1:02 faster than their qualifying time and those who ran Boston in 2014 needed a time of 1:38 faster.  Who knows what the next round will hold but it looks like a 3:35 just won’t cut it.  It’s going to be a lot of work as my current PR stands at 3:53 soooo just an easy 23 minutes faster, right?!  Right.
  2. Run a sub-1:40 half marathon.  It would be awesome to PR in every distance again but my main focus is going to be the half (and my BQ, obvs).  I was so close in October and I know with some more speed training and a little bit of that thing called faith, I can get myself into the 1:30′s.  I’ll be happy with a 1:39:59.  Truth.
  3. Log 1500 miles for the year.  I ran 1309 miles last year, averaging 109 miles a month.  In order to hit 1500, I’ll have to crank up my monthly mileage to 125…which doesn’t seem too bad!
  4. Complete at least one trail race.  I already talked about trying new things and I’d like to add trail running/racing to that list!
  5. Pace/crew/cheer/support my runner friends.  In my own experience, having friends out there on the course and at the finish line really motivates me and I’d like to do the same for them.  I love being at races even if I’m not running them.  All that energy and witnessing those finish line smiles is THE. BEST.
  6. Do what it takes to stay injury-free – strength train, yoga, cross train, PT, chiro…  Last year I had a few minor setbacks and I know they were a result of me neglecting these things so I’ve got to be more consistent to ensure my body stays happy.

So that’s it.  I don’t think any of these goals are out of my reach so I’m ready to push myself and step out of my comfort zone this year.  WHO’S WITH ME?!

Non-running goal list is still in the works…  I have a lot to think about.

HAPPY MONDAY!

Trying new things!

I will be doing a more thorough post on what some of my goals for 2015 are in an upcoming post but I will reveal one today – TRY NEW THINGS.  As happy as I am with my running performance this year, I know that it is beneficial to vary my workouts so I want to try and incorporate different ways to get my sweat on.  I got a little jump start on this goal and purchased a 30-day trial pass at Yogathletix, a studio in Leslieville (Downtown Toronto) which offers a variety of classes including yoga and barre. The pass was $40 and it gives you a whole month of unlimited classes so I thought even if I just went to two, I’d get my money’s worth (classes are $20 for a drop-in).

The studio:

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Yesterday I ran 8 miles in the morning with 5 at tempo-ish pace so I thought it would be a good idea to hit up an evening yoga class since my legs were a bit sore.  One thing that was confirmed during yoga: I am still extremely inflexible and this will not change unless I continue to work on it consistently.  It felt so, so, SO good to stretch.  The only thing I didn’t like was that this studio doesn’t offer any hot yoga classes and I prefer dripping in sweat and feeling like I’m going to pass out when I stretch.  Tell me I’m not the only one…?

Right after yoga there was a barre class sooooo I stayed for that too and HOLY GEEZ MY BUTT CHEEKS.  Has anyone else tried this before???  It was my very first time doing barre so I had no idea what to expect.  It burned like no other workout I have ever experienced in my entire life.  Squat, pulse, lunge, pulse, and then keep pulsing until you curse at your instructor.  It works your entire body – we did some resistance band stuff (for upper body) and a lot of core work at the end after all the barre (aka burn your butt and legs) exercises.

Our rad instructor, Johnny:

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Both of these classes would compliment my running so well.  Yoga forces me to stretch while barre is an awesome way to strengthen muscles without lifting heavy weights.  I’m not sure how often I will go (the studio isn’t very close to home) but I do want to try my best to incorporate these kinds of classes/workouts into my training schedule.

This isn’t a sponsored post or anything — just sharing my experience because I truly loved it and can’t wait to go back!

In other news, Princeton finally got a haircut (and in case you couldn’t tell, he hates wearing hoodies):

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And I’m done running for 2014 as of yesterday:

2014

And that’s it.  The year is OVER.  How the heck did that happen?!  Whatever your plans are tonight, be safe and have fun!  Happy New Years Eve!

Marathon Monday: 2014 running highlights!!

Anyone else feel like the Holiday came and went way too fast?  Geez.  Two weeks off work sounded like a long time and now with New Years in just a couple days, this week will fly by too.  Before I know it, it’ll be back to the grind.  I’m pretty happy that the weather has been so mild this month and I’ve been able to run outside without the fear of falling on my face.  I’ve been getting all my training runs in and am finally starting to feel like I’m training for a marathon – haha!

Last week’s training:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 7 miles + 30 minutes stairs + HIIT

Wednesday: 7 miles (hill repeats)

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 4 miles + 20 minutes stairs + 50 Bosu burpees

Saturday: 17 miles

Sunday: OFF

Not too bad!!

For this week’s Marathon Monday, I want to go over some of my running and racing highlights of 2014!  It was quite a good year for me in respect to running and I am soooo looking forward to setting new goals for 2015.  If there’s one thing I learned about myself this year, it’s that I am capable of way more than I ever thought.  I set a new PR in every distance from the 5K to the marathon.

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My first race of the year was the Phoenix Marathon and I had no idea what was going to happen there.  I hadn’t run a marathon in years so I just went with the intention of finishing and I did (!!) in 3:53.  My previous marathon time was 4:19 so I was able to take quite a bit of time off and am hoping to do the same in February when I head back there.  The best part about the race was that I had Emily there for almost the entire way.  I don’t talk much when I run (with the exception of cursing when blisters pop on my feet) but knowing she was right beside me feeding me words of encouragement is what got me to that finish line.  Recap here.

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About a month after my marathon, I ran Around the Bay 30K and set a new PR of 2:42.  I love the 30K distance.  LOVE.  Recap here.

Two weeks later and it was time for a 10K!  If you live in Toronto, you need to run the Toronto Yonge Street 10K.  The course is flat/downhill - perfect for a PR.  Since I had been training for longer distances and not really working on speed, I didn’t really know how to race a 10K but still managed a new PR of 45:42.  Recap here.

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Less than a month after the 10K, I had the opportunity to go to Vancouver and run the BMO Vancouver Marathon.  This race was not on my radar AT ALL for 2014 but when VEGA asked me if I wanted to be a part of their #fuelyourbetter campaign which included a trip to BC to run the marathon, I said HELL YES.  I didn’t set a PR here but it goes down as one of my favourite experiences in history.  They secretly flew Emily to Vancouver (from Arizona!) to surprise me and cheer me on.  She even ran the last 6 miles with me, baby bump and all.  Recap here.

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When I returned to Toronto, I had the Sporting Life 10K lined up for the following weekend.  I knew this wasn’t an opportunity for a PR because of the state my legs were in but it was a really fun race and nice to not have the stress of time/pace.  Recap here.

The Toronto Women’s Runs series are also some of my favourite races.  They have three – May, August and October.  In May I ran the 5K and although I was hoping for a sub-23, I came a little short but still PR’d with a 23:11.  Recap here.

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I took a much needed break over the summer and still trained but didn’t race again until August when I went to Vancouver to run the Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon.  This race is the most. fun. EVER.  I cannot wait to do it all over again in 2015.  Recap here.

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Shortly after I returned from Vancouver, I ran the MEC 10K (recap) and the Toronto 10-miler where I received an automatic PR (because I had never raced 10 miles before) and a surprising podium finish – 3rd in my AG with a time of 1:18.  Recap here.

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Performance-wise, my favourite race had to be the Scotiabank Half Marathon in October.  I have never, EVER felt this good racing a half in my entire life.  I remember looking at my watch after it beeped every mile and wondering how the heck I was running such a consistent pace, especially towards the end of the race.  I finally set a new half marathon PR (after years of trying) and finished in 1:41.  Recap here.

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A week later, I ran the Toronto Women’s 8K and PR’d with a 37:18 (recap) and the following week was the Hamilton Road2Hope Half Marathon aka my last race of 2014!  Thank goodness.  I remember seeing Phaedra cheering close to the finish and as I passed her I said “I’m so tired!!”  Recap here.

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It was a pretty good year of racing for me!  I originally had the goal of running 14 races in 2014 but it ended up being 12 and I’m okay with that!  I’m really happy with the way things went and with how my body held up.  I had a few minor setbacks but nothing a little rest, physio and chiro couldn’t fix!  I’m really looking forward to new experiences, memories, and (hopefully) some shiny PRs in 2015!

Thanks for coming along this crazy ride with me and for your continued support.  It means so much to me!!

Hope you all have a great Monday!!

One week later…

Wowzas.  Taking a week off blogging was not intentional.  To be honest, I just didn’t have the urge to pick up and write over the last few days.  Christmas also got a little bit hectic and busy so I didn’t have much time either.  But one week later and I’m still alive!  I just wanted to pop in and say I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.

My Christmas Eve started with hill repeats nice and early.  I logged seven miles total and yep, wore the Santa hat the whole time.  Doesn’t hurt to make a few people smile in the morning, right?  Either that or they thought I was crazy.  Even crazier was the fact that it was warm enough to wear a running skirt.  IN DECEMBER.  I don’t know what’s up with this weather but I AIN’T MAD.

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I got home, showered, walked to the bakery to buy some fresh bread for dinner, wrapped some gifts, and then headed on over to my aunt’s place.  She hosted both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year because my mom threw her back out two months ago and pretty much cannot be on her feet for more than 20-30 minutes at a time.  She was able to make her amazing spinach and ricotta cannelloni with cream sauce though so thank you, mom.  They were delicious.  My family is really big on eating fish for Christmas Eve – shrimp, calamari, mussels, salmon, lobster – #allthefish.  Since I don’t eat it, the pasta is the main event for me so I was really looking forward to it!  My aunt also makes the best pizza in the history of pizza-making so she had some out pre-dinner for us to snack on.  It was real cute how she cut the pieces into tiny little squares so that it made us feel like we weren’t eating much.  About 14 pieces later…yeah.

The best part was hanging with all of cousins who are just like me and cannot take a serious photo.

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I played Jenga (and Taboo) for the first time ever!!  Not going to lie, both games were a bit stressful.

We opened gifts (we don’t wait until Christmas Day!) even though we said no gifts and in case you were wondering, I found out on Monday that our “no gifts” rule was no longer being followed.  I work well under pressure.

I got home a little after midnight, went to sleep and woke up on Christmas Day at 10:30am (!!!) and headed back to my aunt’s for lunch.  We brought a turkey and ham which everyone seemed to love.  My cousin made a chickpea dish which was great and veg-friendly! :)  I also had some roasted potatoes and tomato/cucumber salad.

Another successful Christmas that will have me wearing stretchy pants for the rest of the week!  Princeton enjoyed himself as well and has been quite tired all day today.

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Finally – the winner of my VEGA giveaway is…

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Congrats and Merry (belated) Christmas, Eden!  Please email me at theathletarian (at) gmail (dot) com so we can get your goods to you!

Hope you all have a great day and if you attempted any Boxing Day shopping, let me know if you found anything good!  I’ll be back on Monday with a Marathon Monday post!  :)

xx

My VEGA favourites [GIVEAWAY!]

Hello and happy Thursday to YOU.  Loving all the positive feedback I got in regards to the Personal Planner I posted yesterday!  Let me know if you end up getting one – I’d love to see how you design it!!

I know it’s Thinking Out Loud Thursday but I thought I would interrupt regular scheduling this week and do a giveaway instead (sorry Amanda!).  I truly do love sharing my favourite things with you and doing giveaways when I can.  I’ve been working closely with Vega for quite a while now and not only are their products amazing, but the company and the people that work there are incredible.  Genuine, down to earth people who love their job and are passionate about giving people nothing but the best.  They are always coming out with new products or updating old ones, making them better, healthier, and even more delicious!

I decided to round up all of my favourite products and give one lucky person the opportunity to win EVERYTHING.  How does that sound?!

Here is what you’ll get:

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1.  Vega Sport Sugar-Free Pre-Workout Energizer

2.  Vega Sport Protein Bars

3.  Vega Sport Performance Protein

4.  Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator

5.  Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator

6.  Vega Shaker Cup

7.  NEW Vega One All-In-One Nutritional Shake (think just came out and I’ll be doing a full review on it shortly!)

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below telling me what you are most excited for this Holiday Season!  Winner will be announced on Monday, December 22.  Giveaway open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.  Good luck!

My Personal Planner!

I know I’ve already briefly mentioned this planner twice this week but I wanted to talk a little more about it today because I know there are freaks like me out there who have an obsession with writing things down.  I’ve tried to go the electronic planner route a gazillion times but it just doesn’t work for me.  I need a pen and paper.  I need to be able to flip through pages.  And I need it to be beautiful and organized.  I’m kind of Type A if you haven’t come to that conclusion already!

Anyway, a while back Lisa from Personal Planner reached out to me and asked if I would like to design my very own planner.  I sad yes.  Duh.  Now what I didn’t know was how much control I had over the design.  I had seen Personal Planners before and I assumed you just got to personalize the cover and maybe some colours on the inside.  False.  You pretty much design every bit of this thing.

First you get to choose from four different sizes:

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I picked the Wide option because it suited my cover photo really well.  I kind of turned mine into a training-type planner so I chose this photo from a spring photo shoot:

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You don’t have to use a personal photo if you don’t want to – they also have a lot of solid colours and patterns to choose from!

The inside:

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There were a variety of options for the space designated for each day.  You could have it completely blank, partially ruled, fully ruled, or striped (like mine).  I chose pink for my stripes.  Obviously.  You could also add daily details like  a ‘training’ box (what I chose – on the bottom right corner of each day).  Other options included ‘weather’ and ‘work’.  This is also where you have the option of adding personal dates like birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special occasions you have on your calendar for the entire year.  How cool is that??

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The bottom space was where you could add different modules (up to four).  I decided to just have one (a ‘to do’ list) but there were SO many – pre-school, dinners, exams, graph, idea, tune, etc.  I left the rest as ruled lines so that I could write whatever I wanted.

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The back pages were left for year overviews or blank/ruled/squared pages.  I chose an overview of 2015 and 2016 for my first section and then left the second section as ruled pages.  I’m always looking for space to write in a training journal so I appreciated the extra pages to jot things down!

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The owner info page was the last part to customize and I made mine super simple.  “2015 will be MY year” up top and then my name, personal email, and phone number at the bottom (deleted from above photo for privacy!).

And that’s it!!  I loved the entire process of designing this planner and that’s why I am sharing it with you guys.  I honestly think that it’s such a great idea and will definitely be using this site for future planners!  I spent about $40 for my current Kate Spade planner this year which I do love but the fact that you can design your own and make it SO personal for the same price is pretty awesome.  I can’t wait to get mine in the mail!!

This is not a sponsored post but I was given the opportunity to design my own personal planner free of charge.

Happy Wednesday!

A wish list that has nothing to do with running (!!!)

I’ve already posted some gift ideas for runners and if you missed it, you can check it out here!  Believe it or not, I like things that have nothing to do with running as well.  Crazy, I know.  And for some reason, I’m a sucker for all things pink, grey and gold.  All three colours by themselves or together just make me really happy.  Here are some of the things that are pulling at my heart strings…and that I wouldn’t be totally opposed to getting… ;)

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1.  Personal Planner ($29.95 – $39.95) – I actually designed one of these over the weekend and had so much fun in the process!  So it’s not on my “wish” list anymore but on my “I wish it would get here ASAP” list!  Mine looks a lot different than the one in the picture above (posted a preview of my version yesterday) and I’m really excited to receive it.  I’m a total planning nerd so I will be doing a more in-depth post about the site tomorrow!

2.  Anthropologie Monogram Mug ($10) – I’d probably drink a lot more tea if I had this beautiful mug!  Or maybe I can just drink my smoothies out of it…?  Love, love, love the gold.

3.  Albion Fit Petal Pant ($68) – Albion has had this style for a while but they just added the icy pink/grey combo and I just about died when I saw them post it to their Instagram.  So feminine and cute and way too nice to wear for working out!  they’re like fancy stretchy pants for special occasions.  Don’t look at me like I’m crazy.  You know you have fancy tights and not-so-fancy tights separated in your closet too.

4.  Lululemon Blissed Out Circle Scarf ($88) – Cozy.  Warm.  Reversible.  Pink and Grey.  #enoughsaid

5.  Tory Burch Reva Flat ($250) – I know I mentioned these already but I’m still thinking about them…

6.  Thought Blossoms Simple Initial Necklace ($35) – Heather’s jewelry is just so delicate and perfect.  I’ve already got a few of her pieces and this one is next on my list.  It comes in silver too!

7.  Milk and Honey Luxuries Cereal Killer Spoon ($16) – HOW CUTE IS THIS?!  I came across their Etsy shop over the weekend and they hand stamp ALL THE THINGS!  The spoons were my fav for sure.  They’ve got a lot of cute little sayings available (good morning sunshine, my ice cream spoon, let’s spoon, nom nom nom…) but you can also get a custom one made.  These would make such cute gifts for any occasion.

Happy shopping!

Christmas Eve is one week TOMORROW!  Hope no one is too stressed out!  :)