Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Slippery Stairs and Mini Flu

We had an awesome snowfall Sunday night in Toronto and seeing that white stuff everywhere maked me so happy. 36 hours later the roads are perfectly clear but the lawns and boulevards are still covered in snow, so it makes me hopefully that we'll actually get a white Christmas. I've pulled out my ugliest winter boots with the best traction so Cooper and I can continue our evening walks safely.

Speaking of walking safe, I have to admit that I only pulled out the boots after slipping down all of my front porch stairs. I have road rash in two perfect lines across my upper and lower back, and a huge, purple bruise covering almost half of my butt. I felt pretty good about going to the gym yesterday night but midway through leg day my left glute was throbbing and tight so I stretched it out and switched to some low-impact cycling. I definitely could tell the difference between general discomfort and what felt completely wrong.

Last week I was so proud of myself for all of the work I had done in the gym but then on Friday night my plans to bake eight different cookie recipes were cut short when I started feeling so exhausted that I had to lie down. I ended up slowly finishing my baking over the course of the weekend, but I also took a lot of naps. It didn't feel like a full-blown flu but I'm not someone who naps easily so something was definitely off.

With less than two weeks until Christmas I have a lot of loose ends to tie up so thankfully the gym is keeping me sane and coffee is keeping me awake. Don't get me wrong - I absolutely love the holiday season - but man, it's draining!

Are you ready for Christmas?
Are you a fan of holiday baking? I went a little overboard and had to force my co-workers to eat some cookies.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December Woes + Pre-Holiday Indulgence

Christmas is three weeks away as of today. How crazy does this feel? Although we got a light dumping of snow last night it barely feels like December, and it's a little disappointing to hear we are expecting rain tonight, which will wash away all of the white stuff we have.

I only have a couple of gifts left to get, but I did stand in line for longer than I would have liked at Bath & Body Works on Saturday. They had their 3-wick candles on for $10.50 (Canadian) so I picked up a few for my sister because literally the only thing she wanted besides cash was candles. Go figure.

Ways it feels like December - I'm getting ready to fight my annual lip-battle. Cold, dry weather coupled with the stress of the holidays means I'm about ready for a nasty cold sore. I woke up this morning with dry, slightly swollen lips so I'm carrying my essentials in my purse hoping I can fight it off.

My favourite person on Snapchat is What's Gaby Cooking. Almost every Friday she posts a "Snapisode" where she shows you how to cook a recipe. Last Friday night I was lying in bed watching her make Snickerdoodle Blondies when I realized I had all of the ingredients I needed. The first batch was gone by Saturday night, and as of this morning we were halfway done the second batch. Definitely a new staple recipe.

Is anyone else already struggling with holiday indulgence? Snickerdoodles, Christmas parties, cold-weather comfort food (I ate grilled cheese two nights in a row last week, followed by a night of Thai food), and more is already making me feel more bloated than usual. I carefully laid out my meal plan for this week, got my water bottles ready, and am making the gym a priority this week.

Friday, December 2, 2016

December Goals

Like everyone else, I'm utterly shocked we've already made it to December. It felt weird to open up my advent calendar this morning (a new tea each day? Yes, please!) and watch my co-worker write, "24 Days Until Christmas" on our whiteboard.

Weirder than it being December, is that it's December and still six degrees. I get to keep wearing my cute fall, jacket and walk around in non-salt stained boots for a little longer.

Anyway, here are my goals for the last month of the year:

1.) Make a kick-ass Christmas dinner.
I've volunteered to make Christmas dinner for 10-12 people this year so my mom can relax. I'm a good cook but it'll be my first time making a turkey and having to time a meal this big. I've already started sketching out my plans so hopefully I'll be prepared on the big day.

2.) Make time for me.
December is going to be hectic. I have at least three Christmas parties and two Christmas dinners I can think of, plus picking up final presents, getting groceries for Christmas dinner, a beer tasting event with Michael, and a play with some girlfriends. I'm not going to feel guilty if I want to snuggle up with some hot chocolate and a holiday movie, or run three kilometers instead of five. I'm going to do what feels right and try to focus on how I feel mentally because this can be a tough time of year for struggling with depression.

My winter aesthetic: old lady - oversize sweaters and tapestry scarves
3.) Write out my training plan.
My next training cycle officially starts on Christmas Day so while I'm going to take December easy, I want to be prepared to run a strong, happy half-marathon in the new year.

4.) Do some Christmas baking.
I'm finalizing my list of Christmas cookies, need to write out an ingredient list, and pick up some cookie boxes so I can bake my face off and then deliver goodies to all of my favourite people.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November Goals

Happy Day After Halloween!

After the mess that was my health in September and October, I didn't create any goals last month. It was nice to just relax and take everything day-by-day. I seemed to be busy all of the time so I'm grateful I don't have any goals to look back on and feel guilty for not completing. However, I've been thinking about November for a while. We're about to get into the ugly weather between colourful, crisp fall and white, festive winter. The cold, sometimes slushy, biting rain of November has already started and I just want to take refuge under my covers.

Get Outside

As I mentioned, November weather just makes me want to hide away under a heavy blanket and that's the last thing I need both physically and mentally. I really want to do some hiking, running, and even some ordinary walks with my dog (I tend to get lazy since we have a big yard).


I still have eight weeks until training starts for my March race and I really want to work on getting stronger. When I strength train my runs because easier with a tighter core and stronger legs, and (a completely vapid reason, I know) my body looks less "soft." 


My body seems to be stressing out lately. My skin is breaking out like crazy and I'm constantly unmotivated. I need to incorporate yoga back into my routine so I'm aiming to go to one class a week and do smaller practices at home. I also need to cut back on the sugar and keep working on my newest habit - turning the TV off before I fall asleep. 

What are you goals for November? 
Do you hate November as much as I do? 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Kahshe Barrens Trail

This Saturday I pulled myself out of bed bright and early to make a trip to Gravenhurst, about an hour and 40 minutes north from where I live. I want to say it was with all the best intentions, that I wanted to get outside, go on a hike, be active, and enjoy the weather... all the good things that were actually secondary to my true plan - I wanted to visit my favourite brewery.

I've been dying to make a trip to Sawdust City Brewing for weeks now, ever since I saw their Oktoberfest releases. However, as much as I love their beer and they're my favourite brewery, it's hard to justify a trip. So, on Friday, I started searching trails in the area and settled on the Kahshe Barrens Trail.

Even wearing my Sawdust hat
It was incredibly easy to find. If you're coming from the Toronto area you take Highway 11 North and get off at the Muskoka Tourism Office, between Washago and Gravenhurst. You can't miss the building and there's lots of parking. The trail head, as well as the rest of the trail, is clearly marked.

The trail consists of two loops and I believe it was just under five kilometers in length. With the ground slick with wet leaves from rain the night before I was glad I wore trail shoes instead of my usual running shoes. I also found that because the entire path was covered in leaves I had to be a little more cautious about my footing as there were lots of rocks and roots to trip over.

I brought Cooper with me and it took us about an hour to cover the trail, including stopping for a few pictures. We didn't encounter any wildlife but Cooper picked up on a ton of scents. Even on an overcast, occasionally drizzly day, I thought the Kahshe Barrens Trail was beautiful and it was easy to forget we weren't far from the highway.

If you're driving through Muskoka from Toronto I highly recommend pulling off for a little adventure, even if you only complete the first loop.

Where have you hiked lately?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Busy Being a Big Sister

Long story short, my sister was diagnosed with appendicitis on Sunday and it's been a whirlwind of a week ever since. She went in for surgery on Monday evening and I took some time off of work this week to be with her. Yesterday I spent the bulk of my day with her, wheeling her from the hospital to her nearby apartment, helping her "take walks" up and down the hallway on her floor, heating up food, and brushing through the rat nest she created after three days in a hospital bed. I don't mind taking care of my little sister because as her big sister it's been in my nature to "mother" her (even though she's 23 and our mother is 120% around and nurturing).

Needless to say my mind has been elsewhere. Whenever my "excuses" arise (mental health, physical health, etc) I enjoy being reminded that there are so many things that are more important to me than setting some crazy running PR or losing 10 pounds.

So, here I am, spending a Thursday night with some takeout, snuggling my dog, and enjoying a show on Netflix. Tomorrow is a new opportunity to eat something better, make it to the gym, or choose water over beer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Race I Almost Didn't Run

First things first - I'm (almost) all better. I have a very slight cough that's lingering but it's really not affecting me anymore. My breathing is much better and I am sleeping through the night so this week I'm going to be back in the gym - finally!

Yesterday I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Maraton race for the fourth time. The first three years I ran the half-marathon but this year I was doing the Army Race the month before so I made no plans to run STWM... until I saw the medal. I am never someone who runs a race for the medal or the t-shirt, but it was something I had to add to my collection. Instead of doing another 21.1K, my mom, sister, and I decided to run the 5K race.

I guess I've always been wrapped up in the half that I didn't realize how well executed the 5K is. First of all, the start line is actually in a different location from the half and full start lines. I guess I always assumed it somehow was set up like the other two races. The race begins at 8AM so shuttle buses line up along University Ave to take you to the start. If I hadn't stayed at my sister's place downtown I would have taken the GO Train into Exhibition Station, not far from the start line at Ontario Place.

The 5K itself is fairly flat and flat. After not having run for over three weeks due to my chest infection and cough I was definitely out of shape and almost five minutes over my average time, but the course had me feeling pretty good. It was a great alternative to the half I wouldn't have had my heart in.

Other things I like(d) about STWM:
- there were on-going shuttles to the expo from downtown
- great location; the heart of Toronto means incredible race views
- besides the food tent, there was a McCafe truck and a Liberte truck, and Volteran was giving out samples like crazy
- lots of bathrooms
- always the best spectators
- amazing selection of elite runners, Ed Whitlock broke a World Record, and J.P. Bedard is always blowing minds

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is always one of my favourite races and I'm glad I registered for it.

Have you ever run a race for the medal?
What's your favourite distance to run?