Share your SWEALFIES!

Just popping in to tell you guys something reeeeeeal quick!  I’ve been working with Sport Chek over the last few weeks to celebrate reasons why I/we sweat.  It has been pretty awesome and I just LOVE the messaging behind their #SWEATFORTHIS campaign.    They are offering a pretty sweet (and EASY to enter) contest right now where you can win a $5,000 gift card as well as a shopping session guided by a Sport Chek pro.  WHAAAAAT?!

How do you enter?  Like I said – EASY.  All you have to do is go to their Facebook Contest page HERE, upload a post-run/post-workout sweaty selfie (aka SWEALFIE) or import one from Instagram, fill out the required fields (name, postal code, email), and hit ENTER.

Yep, that’s it.  Now you only have until Friday (sorry I’m so late in telling you about this) so get SWEATING and SWEALFING!!! (P.S. the contest is only open to Canadians.)

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A quick 5K for me this morning!  I took two full days off after Sunday’s race and I’m back to feeling FRESH AS A DAISY.  Now it’s time to upload my tired-faced selfie and cross my fingers!!  $5,000?!?!?!?!  IMAGINE ALL THE RUNNING SHOES!!!

Have a great Wednesday!

Nike Women’s 15K Race Recap

Well that weekend came and went!  Race weekends always go by way too fast and I often find it  hard to put my thoughts down but I’m going to try my best!

The day before the race I was hit with a headache from the second I woke up.  I tried to get rid of it a bunch of different ways and nothing helped so I went on with my day in hopes that it would magically disappear.

I first went for a 5K shake-out run to test out my legs for Sunday’s race and then this happened:

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So. Freaking. Gross.  This has never happened to me before and since it’s supposed to mean good luck, I took it as a sign that my race would go well.

Once I was showered and had some lunch, I decided to drive down to Yonge and Eglinton to walk around and window shop.  I ended up staying quite a while so I worked up an appetite again and popped into Fresh for dinner.

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I ordered the Powerhouse Bowl – brown rice, avocado, chickpeas, crispy tofu, sunflower seeds, toasted mixed nuts, tomato, spicy tahini sauce, and about a thousand sunflower sprouts.  Hit the spot.

I got home, organized my race gear, set my alarm for 4:20am, and hit my bed nice and early.  I was pretty restless but I think I managed to fall asleep before 11pm.

My alarm went off and I questioned my sanity (just like I do the morning of every race), got ready and was out of the house by 5am.  I drove over to my friend Gemma’s place and her fiancé (bless his heart) drove us to the ferry dock so we could get on at our scheduled time of 6am.  They were running a tiny bit late but it didn’t really matter as we still got to the island by 6:30 and had 3 hours to kill before the race started.  This was probably the hardest part but it made for some good photo opps (and toilet stops) before the island got too busy.

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We lined up in Wave 1 at around 9:15 and it started to RAIN.  It was supposed to hold off until the afternoon but Mother Nature decided to change her mind and thought it would be funny to make the course a bit more challenging for us.

The gun went off and so did we!

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I’ll say this – it’s a serious pain in the ass to get to and from this race but it is worth it.  The course is incredible.  The views of the city from the island are awesome, the out-and-back portions are great because you get to see people and give high fives, and the terrain varies from pavement to grass to sand to boardwalk.  This was a tiny bit hard on the legs, especially given the rain…but it definitely kept things interesting.  There was music, bands, a choir, and lots of people cheering throughout the entire race.  Everyone was really positive, motivating and so, soooooo NICE!

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Now I had no idea what to expect as I have never actually raced a 15K before.  I did run a 10 miler last year in 1:18 (but was in better shape) so I figured that I could run the 15K in around 1:15.

My stats:

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4:49/km average pace = 7:45/mile

I’m pretty happy with my performance at this race given that I have done ZERO speed work in months.  Marathon training starts in just a couple weeks so I’ve been pretty lax about my runs lately.  My goal was to have fun and push myself juuuust enough to run a challenging 15K.  I think I achieved that.  Not sure I could have gone any harder yesterday without collapsing.

We got custom Tiffany & Co necklaces at the finish…

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Photo cred: @andrewchak

Made for some pretty sweet bling!

Post-race was when things got a bit messy.  The rain started coming down pretty hard and I couldn’t find anyone I knew.  I made my way to bag check and changed into dry clothes, tried texting some people, wandered around the island like a lost hobo, cheered/watched some of the runners come through, and then finally decided to start making my way back home.  The lineup for the ferry to get back to the city was about 30-40 minutes when I got there and from what I heard, the wait got longer as more time passed.

I know that Nike put on a really great post-race celebration but honestly had no desire to stick around, mostly just because I was tired, cold, and wanted to get home to take a hot shower.  I heard nothing but positive things from people who decided to stay though so I do hope this race comes back so that I can get the full experience next time.

My day was made when Nike Toronto tweeted this photo:

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My friend Lisa spotted it and notified me!  I posted it to Instagram and the photographer who snapped the photo actually came across my account and left me a comment, which I thought was pretty cool!  She’s based in LA and came to Toronto to photograph the event.

Huge thanks to Sport Chek for the cozy Nike Zoom Structures that let me #SWEATFORTHIS incredible race experience!  Finish line moments = THE. BEST.

Thanks for reading and being so awesomely supportive!!  I hope your week is off to a great start!!!

Getting race ready – Nike Women’s 15K

So I was actually considering NOT running the Nike 15K this weekend.  After picking up my race kit on Tuesday, I was trying to figure out the logistics and it seemed like a heck of a lot of work for a 15K race.  I’m in Wave #1 which means I have to get on the first ferry at 6am (the race is taking place on the Toronto Island).  Now I don’t live anywhere near the ferry dock.  It is located in downtown Toronto and I live uptown – about a 40ish minute drive.  Planning it all in my head was giving me a bit of anxiety – wake up at 4am, get ready, drive downtown, find parking (and probably pay a lot of $$$ for parking), walk to the ferry dock, get on a boat, get to the island, wait until 9:30am for the race to start, run, take the ferry back…you get the point.  It’s basically a whole day affair for a 15K race.

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I was *this close* to bailing and then a little chat with my friends Gemma and Martina convinced me not to miss out.  I mean it’s a Nike race and is bound to be a good time.  Right?  Let’s hope so!

Here are a few of the things I do to get race ready:

1.  Eat well.  The days leading up to a race matter a lot more than we think.  I make sure to fuel my body with wholesome foods that will make me feel good.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes in the past where I have carb-loaded to the extreme or eaten greasy fast food the night before a race.  Some people can handle it and still perform well.  I have learned that I cannot so I stick to the basics – easily digestible carbs (rice, potatoes, bread), protein (usually tofu) and healthy fats (coconut oil, nut butter, avocado).

2.  Lay your gear out the night before.  The last thing you want is to find yourself scrambling on race day morning because you can’t find your favourite shorts.  I make sure to have my bib pinned onto my shirt, all my clothes organized and ready to go, extra HAIR ELASTICS, and a post race bag filled with snacks, water, my wallet, a towel, and a change of clothes/shoes.  I hate the feeling of being late to races (or anywhere) so I literally organize myself so that all I have to do is roll out of bed, put my clothes on, brush my teeth/wash my face, and leave.

3.  Have a game plan.  Some races are easy and straightforward.  You drive there, you run, you drive home.  Other races require a little more planning so try to have things planned out in advance so you’re not Google mapping at 4am trying to figure out where to go.  How long does it take to drive there?  Where are you going to park?  How much will parking cost and do they take credit or should you bring cash?  How long is the walk from the parking lot to the race start?  Are there shuttle busses available?  What time do they leave?  There are so many things to consider and plan for.  Do it early enough so you’re not freaking out come race day.

4.  Make sure all of your electronics are charged – iPod, watch, cell phone (race day pics or it didn’t happen, right?).  Bring Ziploc bags if there is rain in the forecast.  I learned this lesson during the Vancouver Marathon when my iPod failed me halfway through due to water damage from all the rain.

5.  Know your race strategy.  You will go into some races with the plan to just “run for fun” with no strategy, no time goals, no stress.  But there are going to be other races where you have certain goals and you want to go into these ones knowing exactly what it is you need to do.  What pace do you need to be running?  Are you planning to negative split?  Will you be running with a pace bunny?  Where do you need to be on the course at what time?  Will you be taking water/gels?  At which miles?  PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.

Most importantly – trust your training, have fun, take in the experience, and be proud of yourself.  Training for and completing any race distance is a huge accomplishment.  Sometimes we forget just how hard we work in the weeks and months leading up to a race.  Runners are pretty badass, dedicated, awesome people.  Get to that finish line no matter how hard you have to fight for it and give yourself a pat on the back,  Maybe buy yourself a slice of pizza too.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!  I’ll be back on Monday with a race recap!

What’s in my gym bag? (+ a workout!)

BREAKING NEWS!!!  I went to the gym this morning.  Yep, you read that correctly.  I failed miserably at my goals last month and didn’t strength train once.  NOT. EVEN. ONCE.  So I’m giving it another go and hoping it’s here to stay.  Once upon a time I used to do it regularly.  Remember the #5amworkoutclub days?!  No?  Well it was a thing.  A very good thing that made me feel strong and wonderful while helping to keep me injury-free during my entire marathon training cycle.  With Scotiabank training starting in just a couple of weeks, I’m ready to get back into a solid routine when it comes to both my running and my strength training.

One thing I do, especially on weekdays when I’m waking up at the ass crack of dawn, is make sure I’ve got my gym bag packed the night before so that (a) I don’t forget anything and (b) I know my outfit will be on point, even at 5am.  Don’t judge me…I’ve got a thing for spandex and sneakers no matter what time of day it is.

Here is a peek at what I stash in my gym bag (I may or may not have gotten made fun of by some employees at Sport Chek when I picked up some outfits a few weeks ago – they seemed to find humour in my need for colour coordination! 😉 ) :

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Nike Pro Shorts

Nike Run Dri-Fit Cool Breeze Short Sleeve Top

Nike Pro Classic Bra Top

New Balance Zantes

Vega Sugar-Free Energizer

Personal Planner/Training Journal

Jump rope (I bought mine at a Reebok store a few years ago)

All of my gym workouts are typically a series of short circuits with a bunch of different exercises that incorporate all of the muscle groups.  I do this because (a) circuits help keep my heart rate up (b) they are less boring than just standing there and doing a million reps/sets of one single exercise (c) if I only make it to the gym once a week, at least I know I worked my entire body rather than having a whole week go by and only working my shoulders.  You know what I mean??

Here is the workout I did (3 rounds of each set of exercises):

  • Medicine ball jack squats x 15
  • Burpees x 15
  • Jump rope x 100
  • Kettlebell swings x 15
  • Box jumps x 15
  • Assisted pull-ups x 15
  • Step-up with bicep curl x 30 (15 each leg/arm)
  • Pushups x 15
  • Mountain climbers x 30

I also did a one mile warmup on the treadmill before I started with the circuits and finished with a one mile cool down.  The entire workout took less than an hour to complete!  Sometimes I’ll use machines but for the most part, I like to keep things as simple as possible!

Not sure if this is something you guys would like to see more of, but I can share more of my workouts/circuits more often if you’d like!  Let me know! :)

Not the weekend I expected

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  Truthfully, I couldn’t wait for it to be Monday.  This weekend was definitely not what I expected.  When I got home from work on Friday I received a call from my mom telling me she had been at the hospital all day with my grandmother.  She had been having trouble breathing for the last couple of weeks so my mom took her to emergency to have things checked out.  My grandmother has asthma so she hasn’t always had the best breathing but things seemed to be getting worse and she was having a really hard time going up the stairs in her own house.  After a series of tests, they found blood clots in her lungs as well as nodules in her throat.  They are doing further testing today to figure out where these things stemmed from and what her treatment plan will look like.

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The weekend included three hospital visits which were not my favourite but my grandmother seemed to be in pretty high spirits.  We are hoping for some good news today.

I did take some to run this weekend – 6.2 miles on Saturday and 11 miles yesterday.  Nothing speedy, just some quiet time to myself.

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Tank from Sport Chek can be found here!

One of the things the doctor asked was whether or not my grandmother was active (which she is not).  Apparently the blood clots could sometimes be a result of a sedentary lifestyle.  Just a reminder that it’s so, so important to make that time for yourself every day to move, even if it’s just a short walk.

Dogs make walks more fun :)

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And ice cream is the best post-walk treat :)

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So this is where I’m at.  Not the most upbeat post so I apologize for that.  I do have some good news though — Pro Compression is having their half yearly sale so you can get 42% off EVERYTHING on the site using the code JUNE at checkout.

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I’ll be back on Wednesday though with a workout for you.  Hope you have a great Monday!

Some big things happening this month!

Long time no talk!  I’ll be honest – I’m trying to get back into a blogging groove.  Things have been a little hard to juggle lately and when I get home from work I just want to sleep.  No joke – yesterday I napped for 2.5 hours.  I almost fell asleep driving home from work.  Scary.  I opened the windows and sang really loud to stay awake so when I got home, I took me and my 100-pound eyelids to sleep.  I miss blogging often and I miss reading other blogs so one of my goals this month is to re-organize myself and do a better job at managing my time.  Oh, and to GET. MORE. SLEEP.

Some big things are happening this month —

1.  Yesterday was National Running Day!

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I feel pretty lucky to be able to do what I love.  Some days are really hard but I never, ever regret a run.

2.  The Toronto Women’s Nike 15K is in 10 DAYS!  I haven’t really trained seriously for this.  I know I can run the distance and I’m not looking to “race” it.  I’m going into it expecting nothing but a good time and a super cool experience.  I have a feeling Nike is going to put on a really amazing weekend so I’m looking forward to not only the race itself, but all of the other events surrounding it.

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3.  Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon training starts at the end of this month.  I’m really excited to start following some sort of plan again because this whole “no direction” thing is starting to kill me.  After my last marathon, I was SO HAPPY to not have to follow a program.  I loved the freedom of doing what I wanted, when I wanted.  Now that some time has passed though, I’m craving structure and purpose.  I’m a little scared too as my runs have been pretty far from impressive lately.  I hope I can get some speed back and have these legs move the way I need them to!

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I’m enlisting the help and expertise of Phaedra again because she’s done wonders for me over the last year and a half.  I am never letting her go (she just doesn’t know that yet).  Seriously though, if you are looking to make improvements, I highly suggest getting a coach that you mesh well with.  PK has helped me tremendously with both the physical and mental aspects of running and I couldn’t be more stoked about this next training cycle with her.  It’s also going to be my first full marathon in Toronto so she may actually be able to come see me run!  Danielle is running it too so I’m all set with the best people by my side!  The three of us will have to recreate the above TEAM PK photo.

4.  I don’t know if this is really considered a “big” thing but Fresh has got this crazy amazing juice for the month.  It’s a bit pricey at $11 per bottle so I made it last three days!  It’s got watermelon, strawberry, coconut milk, lemon, and pink salt.  I sadly drank the last of it after my run yesterday and don’t know if I can justify spending $11 again!  I just got really excited when my server recommended it on Monday night and had to try it.  She sent me home with another bottle of juice at no cost and also gave me a coupon for a free drink the next time I go so I’d say it was worth it!

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P.S. I’ve had a few people ask about my thoughts on the New Balance Zantes that I got at Sport Chek (in the above photo).  I’ve only worn them to run in twice so I will post a review when I get more miles on them.  What I WILL tell you is that I’ll probably get the black and coral/orangey ones too.  I guess that means I kind of love them! 😉

5.  Next week is my LAST week of work and then I’m OUT. FOR. SUMMER!  I foresee a lot of running and ice cream in my near future.

That’s it for today!  Hope you’re having a great week!

What are you sweating for?

Happy Friday!!  Hope everyone had a great week.  The weather in Toronto has been incredible lately and it has put me in a pretty awesome mood.  Crazy how a little vitamin D can do wonders for you, huh?  Another thing I’m stoked about –> I can finally tell you guys about Sport Chek and their #SweatForThis campaign!  This has been in the works for a while and it’s so great to see everything come together.

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“There’s a reason why the bottom of you foot’s called a sole.  Running’s part of who we are.”

I just LOVE. THIS. VIDEO.  You may also recognize Krysten in there!! :)

I will be working with Sport Chek over the next few weeks to bring you running-related posts (for a change!).  We are ultimately celebrating the reasons why we SWEAT.  It can be anything and heck, my reasons change daily!  Sometimes I sweat to keep my sanity while other times I head out with a specific workout in mind to take me closer to my BQ goal.  I’ll even admit that there are days I solely want to sweat so that I can break in new shoes or a new running outfit.

Speaking of, I was able to pick up some new-to-me brands from Sport Chek over the past couple of weeks and it’s been fun trying them out!  Here are just a few of the things I’ve been running in:

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Nike Air Zoom Structure 18

Nike Run 2N1 Short

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New Balance Zante

I’ll show you the rest of the goodies in upcoming posts! 😉

I’ve definitely stepped out of my beloved Mizuno comfort zone with these but I honestly have nothing but good things to say so far!  I can post more thorough reviews of the shoes once I run more miles in them (if anyone is interested).  They’ve been good to my feet and have done a great job at helping me get my sweat on…so I call that a big WIN.  Truthfully, my runs haven’t been anything to write home about lately.  They’ve been slower and a little more difficult than usual but I’ve been trying not to be too hard on myself.   Marathon training starts next month so I’ve been pretty relaxed with my pace but there are still days where I get frustrated.  Going back to that Sport Chek video though, “if you put one foot in front of the other, you’re a runner” …even on days you don’t feel like one (which has been the case lately!).

I’m excited for the weeks to come and looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.  Training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon starts in just a few weeks and Sport Chek’s #SweatForThis campaign is the perfect way to kickstart it.  Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SweatForThis on Instagram and Twitter to share your running stories/reasons why YOU sweat!  I think we can all draw inspiration and motivation from each other!!  I love the running community so much.

I hope you have a wonderful day and weekend!!!