Scenes from Spring Break

Anyone else feel like things get busier when you’re not working?  Geez.  Last week was Spring Break around these parts and I didn’t even scratch the surface of my to-do list.  The days went by much too fast.  I did get some good runs/workouts in and spent some time with friends and family so I have no complaints…except that I could have used a few more days! ;)

Here are some scenes from my Spring Break:

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Kind of loving PRO Compression mid socks right now.

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Potato pizza — the. best.

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Avocado toast – also the best.

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Angela’s good-bye party (she’s moving to Vancouver on SATURDAY!!!!!!!) called for this super high quality self-timer photo.

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These beautiful canines belong to Danielle and made for a very entertaining sleepover.

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I know there are people who love olives and those who hate olives…there’s no in between.  I’m on team LOVE.

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I finally got an aeroplan card this week…  Yup, that’s me.  MR. Christina.

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Texts from my sweet friend Sara always make my day.  #Bostonherewecome

………………

I finally feel like I’m getting back on track with running and am sort of loving the fact that I don’t have to run super long distances right now.  I have more time to do other things at the gym and it feels good.  Last week’s workouts:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 5 miles + strength training

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: 7 miles + core

Friday: 8 miles

Saturday: 7 miles

Sunday: 3 miles + plyometrics

I can officially say HAPPY SPRING!!  Hope the new season is off to a good start for you, even if it’s -6* outside (like it is here)!

TWO things you need to know

Happy Friday eve, beautiful people!!

Just popping in to tell you about two things that I’m kinda excited about.  Let’s get down to business.

1.  You already know I have a bit of an obsession with Albion Fit, yes?  WELL, they’ve got something pretty rad going on.  The giveaway of your MY dreams.

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Details:

RELAX. RECHARGE. REFOCUS. RETREAT. For 4 days, and 3 nights, immerse yourself in one of the world’s most pristine mountain settings at the exclusive, Forbes 5 star, Stein Eriksen Resort and Spa in Deer Valley, Utah. Begin your retreat with a welcome basket, brimming with fabulous fitness and beauty gadgets and accessories. Enjoy an Albion Apparel gift card for a weekend’s worth of premium fitness, swims, and loungewear. Exercise your body under the watchful care of Awaken Retreat instructors, industry-leading professionals available around the clock to help you set fitness goals and create a plan to achieve them. Create your own schedule from a broad selection of fitness activities: Start your day with a sunrise Vinyasa atop a mountain overlook at 9,000 feet. Sign up for daily pilates reformer classes with hands on instruction. Experience weightlessness for the first time in aerial yoga, gracefulness in a barre class, or hit the mountainside in an adrenaline-boosting trail run. Alongside elite fitness classes, Soulstice also offers a wide variety of intellectual and soulful workshops, providing experiences and memories to take with you beyond the retreat. Have fun with new friends learning healthy eating tips from a New York Time’s best selling author, taken an oil-painting workshop and create a landscape portrait to hang on a wall at home, or learn how to use natural light from a professional photographer. In your free time, take hot air balloon ride over the Wasatch mountains, go horse-back riding on aspen-laden trails, or pamper yourself at the 5 star spa and get a 90 minute, hot stone massage. Enjoy exquisite cuisine with fresh, local ingredients hand crafted by America’s finest artisanal chefs and shop on Park City’s historical Main Street. At Soulstice, your time is yours, to spend as you please.

I don’t know about you, but these are the kind of things I dream about at night.  It’s an Instagram giveaway, so check out my feed (@the_athletarian) and find that photo (same as above) to see how to enter.  P.S. it’s so easy.  All you have to do is follow a few accounts and tag your BFF in the photo.  And just like that, you’ve entered yourself and your BFF sooooooo I sure hope you tag me because I really wanna go.  Deal?  Deal. ;)

2.  PRO Compression just added HEATHER pink, grey, and blue socks to their collection.  SAY WHAT?!

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The grey.  Dying for the grey.  40% off too.  GO GET ‘EM!

Okay that’s it for today!!  GOOD LUCK (if you enter the giveaway) and HAPPY SHOPPING (if you decide to buy some socks)!!

Almost Wordless Wednesday #2

Toilet paper rolls > toys…obviously.

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Accurate:

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This was pre-“free speed” talk.  THAT CHEESE.

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Fun fact: I have never tried a peep.  They make pink bunnies now?!  Or has that always been a thing?

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This car wash was an interesting experience.  I wish my camera could have captured the crazy colourful light party that was happening.

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Breaking the rules and doing a throwback on a Wednesday.  Say hi to Carlee and Kelly!

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Carlee (on the left) just sent me the sweetest card in the mail along with a pura vida bracelet (every bracelet purchased helps provide full-time jobs for local artisans in Costa Rica!).

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I swear I have no idea how this girl’s heart fits inside her little body.  She is so sweet, thoughtful, supportive, and encouraging.  And now she’s got me kinda obsessed with these bracelets.  Can I have them all?!

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Chocolate almond milk > regular almond milk (especially with Love Grown Foods LOVE O’s).

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…it comes in GOLD?!?!  Never thought I’d be so happy that my current MacBook Pro is about to kick the bucket.

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I think it’s almost time for an UPGRADE!!  Especially considering it took me about a million hours to put together a post about nothing.  My Mac is soooooo sloooooowwwwwww.

Time to tackle the rest of my to-do list.

Happy Wednesday!!

“Free Speed”

On Saturday I went for a run with Jess.  She was in town and had to get a long run in (she’s training for Boston!!) so I joined her for part of it.  She’s much faster than me so I had a bit of anxiety at first but she slowed down the pace so that we could chat and catch up.  It was one of those good-for-your-soul kinda runs.  Exactly what I needed.  I ran almost 9 miles with her and then she headed out to do 6 more (I think).

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While we were running, we chatted about ALL the things – life, boys, work, food, and…running.  Duh.  One of the things I asked Jess about was her nutrition.  I know that she generally eats everything but from reading her blog, she dials into her nutrition a bit more when she’s training for something big.  I needed details.  All the details.  I love picking the brains of my fast runner friends.  When I train, I don’t normally make any changes to what I eat. I just eat more.  I’ve also found it very easy to slip into the “I’m training for a marathon” excuse to eat things that I normally wouldn’t have on a normal basis.  I’m still learning how to do things “right” and although I know that what is right for someone else may not be right for me, I can still take in as much information as I can to help me with my own progress as a runner.

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Jess outlined what a typical day looks like for her and the first thing I asked her was, “no Nutella?!” (girl LOOOOVES Nutella).  She said she will treat herself with things like a burger once once in a while, but typically keeps things clean and limits her sugar.  Why?  FREE SPEED.  You know when people just say something and it clicks?  I had one of those moments.  Something about hearing those words was a bit of an “A-HA” moment for me.  Kind of like when Phaedra told me to hill train even though Phoenix was a downhill/flat course.  She used the same words – free speed.  There are some things that you do which may not be your favourite, but in the end they help you to become a better runner.

I have days where I’m short on time and grab a plain English muffin after a hard workout while running out the door to get to work.  Or nights where I’m too lazy to make dinner so I’ll eat a million crackers with hummus instead.  Or weekends where I tell myself I just ran 15 miles so I can eat a whole pizza, donut holes, nachos, and a loaf of bread.  So yeah…this isn’t every day (let’s freaking hope so) but I know there is room for improvement.  It’s not just about rocking those runs and hitting goal paces.  Nutrition plays just as big of a role in getting stronger and faster, not to mention has an impact on your overall energy and drive to train.  Who wants to wake up and run after a night of gluttony?

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I’m ready to use my full ass.  No one can take away my pizza and nachos…but I’m going to give this whole “train and eat like you want to make it to Boston” thing a try.

I have a 10K in less than 5 weeks and I would really love to cross that finish line in under 45 minutes so I’m going all in.  Speed training is going to be my main focus but I will still be doing one longish run per week in case I decide to sign up for the Toronto Goodlife Half Marathon in May.  And if being a bit more diligent about fuel is my ticket to free speed, sign me up.

Thinking Out Loud #45

Holy smokes.  I am going through a bit of a rough patch right now in regards to energy and motivation.  I know this is normal and it has happened before, especially after big races but I cannot remember the last time it has been this bad.  Getting up to run is a major struggle and everything STILL HURTS!!!  I took 9 full days off with absolutely no physical activity and when I went out to run on Tuesday for the first time since the marathon, I thought my legs were going to fall off.  To make things worse, my eating has been off. the. charts.  This is not a bad thing but I’m not sure how long I can pull off the “I just ran a marathon” excuse.  It’s cyclical – if I’m not training, I don’t eat as well and if I don’t eat as well, I have no motivation to train.

So today’s Thinking Out Loud post is about things that I THINK will help me get back on track.

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1.  I think I need a race to look forward to…so I just signed up for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K.  I PRd at this race last year and I would love to give it another go.  It’s just 5 weeks away!!

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2.  I think I need to find new places to run.  I am so bored of my neighbourhood and lacing up to go run outside, even with the warming temperatures, has completely lost its appeal.  I am thinking I may drive out to another part of the city this weekend and just explore new grounds.

3.  I think I need to run with people.  I am a solo runner.  I always have been, probably always will be.  I like having the time to myself and prefer not to have conversations when I’m running.  I get into my own head and enjoy challenging myself without the stress of having to slow down or speed up for other people.  With that being said, I do feel like I should incorporate even just one “social” run a week.  No pace goals, no time goals, just good running company.  I have been taking my training so seriously and need to implement more FUN into my schedule.  Now it’s just a matter of finding people who will put up with me… :D

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4.  I think running with music might make a comeback.  I became very dependent on my music years ago and it got to the point where I wouldn’t run if my iPod was dead.  Last year I ran two marathons in the RAIN and both times, my iPod stopped working about halfway into the race.  It was frustrating and it put a huge damper on my energy.  So I nixed it and quit running with music COLD TURKEY.  I also hate making playlists and uploading music.  It takes too much time so music-free running just became easier.  Maybe it will help to have some good tunes on hand for the days when I need a little extra motivation.  I may need to get a new iPod though because I’m pretty sure there’s no reversing the water damage on mine.  Wireless headphones might be nice too.

5.  I think I’m going to have to sit down and come up with some sort of training schedule because not having something to follow is driving me BANANAS.  It’s funny because in the last couple week of marathon training I said “I cannot WAIT to finally not have to follow a plan!” and now I’m all like “GIMME A SCHEDULE!!”  I need structure in my life or things get wacky.

6.  I think running socks have a weird way of making me feel badass when I run so I just ordered a few new pairs from Pro Compression.  All of their Socks of the Month are 40% off with the code ROCK, including the new Shamrock sock!!

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7.  I think I need some new recipes.  I’m in a bit of a food rut and even though I prepped a bunch of things for this week, I still found myself reaching for less healthy options more often than not because “I just ran a marathon”.  I’m tired of eating the same things so I am on a mission to try some new recipes this weekend and next week.  I have all of next week off because it’s Spring Break for the students so I’ve got plenty of time to find some new favourite dishes.  Angela’s Down To Earth Bowl seems like a good place to start.

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8.  I think that ultimately I need to believe that getting back into the swing of things is going to happen.  Having downtime after a marathon is normal, treating myself more than usual is normal, and wanting to switch things up is normal.

Now it’s time to put some of these things into action so I’m going to start by trying to make some sort of training schedule that includes running, cross training, and strength training.  I want to keep things fun and varied but also make sure that everything I do helps to improve me as a runner.

HAPPY FRIDAY EVE!

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Sometimes I go through the photos on my phone and think, “hey I should share that on the blog!” but never get around to it because they don’t really fit in with anything.  These photos aren’t really that extraordinary but sometimes make me laugh or smile…or even make me hungry.  Or just random things I feel like showing you/telling you about for no other reason than…just because.  So Almost Wordless Wednesday has emerged.  Maybe it’ll become a thing…maybe it won’t.

Go see the movie Focus.  Will Smith is in it.  That is all you need to know.

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You should also bring snacks.  I highly recommend chocolate-covered raisins because 99% of the world’s population hates raisins and you won’t have to share.

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Emily handed me this giant strawberry after a trip to Costco the day after my marathon and her exact words were “Happy dinner!”  Hah.  Mom, I can assure you Emily didn’t only feed me a strawberry.

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Yes, Mr. Stamos.  Yes I will.

(meme credit goes to Michael)

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My recently used emojis.  The ‘laughing so hard I’m crying’ face is always in first place.  Always.

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9/10 times I’m faking it for the camera.  I don’t actually run like this.

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Why don’t I look this good in the morning?

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Finally.  Above.  Zero.

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The things that get posted to my Facebook wall.  I love my friends.

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Hope you had/are having a great Wednesday!!

Why I changed my reasons for exercising

It’s Monday and that means STORY TIME!!!  We usually do the whole Marathon Monday thing but since I am currently not training for anything and had an entire week of doing absolutely nothing but eating, we are going to skip it.  I’ve actually been meaning to write this post for a while because I like sharing all parts of my journey and not just the ‘training’ part of it.  It’s great that I write recaps and record my weeks of workouts but there’s a lot more behind why I do what I do.

I honestly don’t know what triggered the beginning of my exercising journey.  I played no sports in high school, dreaded gym class, and much preferred reading over breaking any sort of sweat.  When I started going to university, I had full access to a pretty sweet gym/training centre and it so happened that on some days, I had a lot of time in between classes.  For some very strange reason I thought it might be a cool idea to try working out and kill some time.  I was scared of all the fancy machines so I would just run laps around the track until I got tired or use the stair master because that was basic enough.  Exercising was just exercising, nothing more.  It still didn’t excite me but I didn’t absolutely hate it either.  It just became a part of my schedule.

Fast forward a few years….and somewhere along the way exercise became everything.  I got a gym membership once I was done school and sweating was something I needed to do at least six days a week.  I would feel like my day was ruined if I didn’t get the chance to sweat.  I remember when I used to wake up at the crack of dawn, take the bus to the subway station (I didn’t have my car yet), take the subway downtown (where my gym was), exercise for about two hours and then take the subway all the way back uptown to work.  By the time I got to work I had already been up exercising and commuting for at least four hours.  I wasn’t training for anything.  I ran 6 miles on the treadmill and spent an hour on the bike every day.  I was just going to the gym for the sole purpose of burning calories and getting skinny.

At some point along the way I switched focus and I wanted muscles and abs so I started doing things like pretending to lift heavy weights and eating things that bodybuilders eat.  Egg whites, chicken, fish, cauliflower mash (no matter what people tell you, it does not taste the same as mashed potatoes), protein pudding, Quest bars…you name it.  I wanted to look like a fitness model and wear a sports bra and tiny shorts and not have anything jiggle.

Well that didn’t last long.  Something eventually clicked and I asked myself what the heck I was doing.  Why was I putting myself through workouts I hated?  What did I love doing?  So I started running again and discovered I was kind of good at it.  Sure, I had some bumps along the way – minor injuries, small periods of down time/loss of motivation, doubt in my direction and abilities, etc.  But I finally enjoyed something and found purpose in my workouts.  I train to get better, faster, and more confident.  I want to get to Boston and I will bust my ass until it happens.  I train hard.  I run.  I cross train when I feel like it.  I take rest days.  I eat whatever I want (within reason…usually).  I’m happy.

My goals are now related to ability and performance versus aesthetics.  I want to remember all the times I crossed finish lines, not the times I fit into size 00 jeans.  I want to remember being paced by friends during a marathon, not doing everything in my power to try and be skinnier than all my friends. I want to remember how hard I worked to get to Boston, not how hard I worked to deplete myself.  And I want to remember eating delicious meals, not forcing tasteless and calorie-less food down my throat just to have abs.  I may not be the skinniest or the most shredded anymore, but I am sure as hell that I am happier than ever before.

And I’m not hating on people who find joy in doing the things I don’t like doing or eating things I don’t like eating.  Everyone has their passions and works towards goals that are important to them.  I respect and admire those who have discipline in areas that I do not.  I’m just saying that for me, my reasons for exercising no longer have to do with what it makes me look like.  That has taken a backseat and I have chosen to focus my energy on the way exercising makes me feel and how every run, every workout takes me one step closer to my goal.

Not THAT was a wordy post.  Like always, thanks for reading my rambles.  I think it’s important to share stuff like this sometimes.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Who knows!!  Either way, have a great Monday!!! :)