Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Stair-Climbing Begins!

Today I'm hobbling around on two sore calves. This is something I almost never experience because, when I'm running, it's usually my thighs that feel it. However, training for my second CN Tower stair-climb shocked my legs, especially since I skipped the (in my opinion, lame) StairMaster and went for a parking garage stairwell.

Anyways, today I'm skipping the gym and have been foam rolling my calves. Likely I'll do some yoga later. As usual, my goal is to never negatively affect my (half) marathon training so taking a rest day for this is something I can live with.

PS: I'm obsessed with homemade hummus. Easiest thing to make, hardest thing to refrain from eating.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Iced Coffee Obsessed

Surprisingly, I love iced coffee. I'm not a huge coffee drinker besides the occasional latte from Starbucks, but as soon as the heat hits I get this thirst for iced coffee that can never be quenched. Unfortunately, this habit gets expensive over three-ish months. Now, I've been trying to make it myself on the days I really need a pick-me-up.

I've seen this easy recipe on a ton of blogs so credit goes to everyone but myself. All I do is wake up, brew an espresso in my Tassimo, let it cool while I get ready, mix it with a cup (or more) of almond milk, and a dash of sugar. We have a ton of reuseable travel cups for both hot and cold drinks in my house so I usually just throw it in one and head out the door.
I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner just how simple iced coffee could be.

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than a big plate of fruit for breakfast as I sit in bed and catch up on my favourite blogs... except cherries on sale for $1.88/pound. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Training Log -- July 25, 2014

Weeks left until Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 12
Kilometers scheduled: 23
Kilometers clocked: 22.8

Originally I had meant to run on Thursday, but when I woke up sore the morning after an intense flow class I thought was a great idea to take after four weeks away from yoga, I decided to switch my run to Friday. It didn't help much. 

The first few kilometers I fought through pain in my left IT band and in my right foot (I think the foot is because of all the hop-backs onto my toes in yoga). I ran slow, running about 2.85 kilometers before walking 0.15 kilometers, and repeating the cycle. The pain mostly subsided as I ran. 

As I got to 22 kilometers I came to the awful realization I was still at least two kilometers away from home and I was seriously tired. Running after a full day of work is really draining and I've decided that running on my day off is a blessing. Luckily my boyfriend had been kind enough to surprise me with water (again!) so I hopped in and decided to call it a day, just under my goal of 23K.

After a quick-ish shower I drew a cold bath. After slowing sinking in I couldn't decide if this was the best or worst thing I had ever decided to do. Maybe it's all in my head but I really felt like it helped (coupled with obligatory foam rolling, of course). 

My IT band is still a little sore today and my foot is also tight. I'm going to keep stretching and icing to see if it helps. 

Overall I'm happy with my progress. Each run is a lesson for me and I'm learning, adapting, and growing with every stride I make. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Re-evaluating My Workouts

I've made the decision to put down the weights. As much as I like lifting I just find that on my self-designated gym days I'm trying to fit in way too many things and I have to sort my priorities. For example, I've neglected my yoga practice the last three weeks and this actually upsets me. It's good for me physically, but more importantly it's great for me mentally. I need to fit yoga back in to my life.

As I summarize my long-runs every week, we know that my running and the training that goes along with that is also high on my priority list, if not the top priority for me. So my long-run day, my speed training day, and my cross-training also remain. 

Also, in October I'll be participating in the CN Tower Climb for United Way and I'm going to be adding some stair-climbing into my schedule so I can beat my time from last year (23:15). 

Really, lifting is all that's left. The problem I'm finding lately is that I'm not recovering as fast as I should be. I don't know if it's the heat, the running, a deficiency, etc., but it's making it difficult for me to exercise as much as I would like to. 

So, for now, I'm forgoing the lifting. I was drafting a tentative schedule this morning on how my week's could look once I get rid of the weights and I'm already looking forward to the change.

Monday: 20-40 minutes of stairs. Cycling. 
Tuesday: Speed training. 
Wednesday: Cycling. Yoga.
Thursday: Long run. 
Friday: Rest. Walk at least 30 minutes.
Saturday: Easy run/trail run. 
Sunday: Yoga. Walk at least 30 minutes. 

Maybe once the fall comes or I finish my next big race I'll re-introduce the weights. As much as I'm going to miss them, I think I'm going to feel more fulfilled. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Warrior Dash - Toronto 2014

Since I started running I've entered into a few races. I started with a Santa Shuffle, ran two Color Me Rads and their sister race, ElectroDash, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront (half) Marathon and the Goodlife Toronto (half) Marathon, and today I completed the Toronto leg of the Warrior Dash.

The Warrior Dash is a hugely popular obstacle race and I can see why. It was organized and efficient, fun, and challenging. The race took place on a ski hill and the elevation was crazy! Some of the hills were so steep that I found myself sprinting hard up them only because I didn't want to tumble backwards if I lost momentum. 

As someone who is incredible scared of heights -- meaning the fear of falling from heights -- I can't believe I accomplished this race. Pulling myself over walls and crawling across beams much higher than I feel comfortable with was an exhilarating feeling. Also, there's something about running through knee deep mud and leaping over fire that makes you feel like a bad-ass. 

Participating in the Warrior Dash was a great break from my usual gym and running routine. I'm also feeling inspired to add some more trail running to my schedule -- once I figure out where I can find trails nearby. 

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Farmers Market Lunch

I woke up this morning to my needy fur baby looking for some love. No one in my house got out of bed until nearly 10am and sleeping in drives me insane. Him, too. All he wants is love from everyone. 

Like most Saturday mornings I headed over to the Farmers Market. Fresh corn, basil, blueberries, pears, and fresh baked goods. There are few things I love more than coming home and digging into a big bowl of the fresh fruits or veggies I just bought. 

What are your favourite Farmers Market products?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Training run -- July 17, 2014

Weeks left until Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 13
Kilometers scheduled: 22
Kilometers clocked: 22.2

Does anyone else find that the more detailed your plan the more you end of deviating from it? This always happens with my running schedule.

After a long-run I make my plans for the following week based on how my run went and how my calendar looks (work, social, etc.). Last week I scheduled a three-hour training run for 6:30 am so I could run, shower, and have time for my other plans for the day. Two days before (Tuesday) my plans change for the first time. I was going berry picking with my grandparents and they decided they would pick me up at 9:30 am. Unless I wanted to get up earlier it looks like there was no morning run for me. I had rescheduled my run for noon but I didn’t get back to my house until 11:30… and I had only had a juice so far that day. No way was I running on an empty stomach so 2 pm was my next goal. Now, I could have said “no” but my mom offered up Starbucks at 1:30 pm. Okay, let’s try again.

Finally at 3 pm I left my house. Despite having slight muscle soreness in my thighs from adding leg work into my gym routine on Monday, it went well. I foam rolled twice and I feel pretty good today. No glute or leg soreness, except for a weird, tight muscle near my left knee. I guess I must be feeling off because I haven’t been hungry. Before I left for my run yesterday I only had consumed a juice, a smoothie, some fresh berries, and a cookie. Usually after my run I’m ready for a huge burrito bowl but I didn’t want that either. I ended up with a handful of frozen grapes immediately after, and then a bowl of cherries and some guacamole on pita for dinner, but I definitely did not eat back the energy I burned. Even this morning, the day after, I only had some oatmeal and a latte. Usually I wake up the day after feeling famished. Maybe I just need a good, long rest.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fighting PMS

PMS usually means I'm met with cravings of sugary, fattening chocolate. I just couldn't do it (again). Chocolate doesn't fuel a running body, as much as I'd like to think it does. What's an alternate? Homemade guac and a big bowl of cherries. Chocolate cravings have completely disappeared and I feel much more satisfied. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Note: The labels do not depict what the juice is complete of -- it's so I remember how they might differ

I might be obsessed with juicing.

Usually I'm a smoothie person. Every morning I wake up, throw some fruit and spinach into my blender and chug as I get ready for work or whatever I have planned for my day. Instead, I'm going into my third week of juice for breakfast.

I use breakfast as a loose term because, while it is my breakfast, I usually follow this up with a snack earlier than I would with a smoothie-breakfast. I'm not doing a juice cleanse and I'm not trying to lose weight, but there are definitely a few things I have noticed about myself:

1) I have more energy. I'm not relying on tea or coffee to keep me alert at work now. I'm ready to start my day, my thoughts are clear, and my morning tea is not for a small caffeine boost, but as something that makes me feel warm and peaceful.

2) Less binging. Now, I can't say for sure that this is the juice. It could be my eating habits are better and I'm simply learning not to binge. It could be the natural sugar is more satisfying. All I know is that since I've started drinking juice in the morning I find that I'm less hungry and when I do eat full meals I don't want to follow it up with processed junk.

3) Clearer skin. Again, I can't officially link this to the juice but I've had less breakouts, less inflammation, and brighter skin since drinking juice. I like to believe that this influx of nutrients is calming my system down.

4) Less bloat -- for the most part. I make a lot of my juices with items that are great for the digestive system and reduce inflammation (hello, ginger in everything!). I'm also finding I don't have to focus on hydrating myself as much as I used to because a lot of the produce I use has a high water content (cucumbers and celery). However, as I type this I'm currently super bloated so some days it just doesn't matter.

I'm having so much fun trying out different combinations and actually look forward to waking up just so I can drink my juice.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Eggplant Lasagna & Salad Life

Oops, I did it again. Totally went back to the vegetarian friendly place I went last week (The Table) and this time I ate the eggplant lasagna and a smaller salad sampler with a Swiss chard salad, a watermelon-feta salad, a white bean/chickpea salad, and the kale salad I already tried because it's that good.


Training log - July 8, 2014

Sometimes I feel bad that I don’t have a proper training schedule. I’ve mentioned before that I usually schedule my long-run on Thursdays because that's my day off from work. Well, this is one of those weeks where my long-run is being moved. Finding out that there is a meeting I need to be in on Thursday morning means my run gets rescheduled and my dentist appointment gets cancelled. Despite the rescheduling, I have to remember that a run is a run, no matter which day I choose to do it on… and it’s much better than forgoing my run altogether.
Anyways, here this week’s long-run recap:
To be quite honest, my training right now is not for a half-marathon, although it’s my next race. Being 17 weeks away and previously running two halfs (including one in May and no, I did not mean halves) has not left me worried. My only goal for this race is get over my 2:41:xx time.
I was also excited to change my running day because the weather had forecasted rain. Rain might be my favourite weather to run in. Unfortunately the first half of my run was dry and humid, and I only experienced rain near the end.
Either way, this week’s goal was 21 kilometers, and I completed 21.1 kilometers – a half marathon. I aimed to run at 7:30 so I woke up early and ate a bagel with cream cheese. Well, then I felt sleepy and went back to bed, and didn’t leave for my run until 10:30. I drank a cup of tea and half a liter of water to pre-hydrate but the humidity left me incredibly thirsty. For all of my long-runs I take my Fuel Belt. I drank my two 8 oz. bottles and refilled them once I got to a fountain around 11K. I also drank a good half liter straight from the fountain while I stopped. By approximately 16K I had drank the two bottles I refilled so I stopped at a chip truck and bought another bottle (there were no other fountains around). I drank this by the time I finished my run. I have never experienced such extreme thirst during a run before.
I was so wet and tired that I was struggling to peel my running clothes off. I ended up sitting on the floor of my shower, under a stream of water, with a bag of frozen grapes because I couldn’t decide if I needed fuel or a shower more.
Next week I’m aiming for 22 kilometers but as my run yesterday was such a struggle I don’t know if I’m going to be able to hit my goal. Here’s to hoping.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Training Log - July 3, 2014

The goal of this week's long-run was 20 kilometers and I finished it with 20.77 kilometers.

Typically I choose to run on Thursdays because its my full-day off from work, but with the holiday this week I ended up working a half-day.

I woke up that morning, drank a green juice and a tea, and picked up a latte on my way to work. There I ate my usual berries and  yogurt snack, a small, unsweetened apple sauce, and a handful of dried strawberries. At noon I came home and drank a small iced peach green tea, and had some oatmeal that I added chia seeds, hemp hearts, and flax seeds to. About an hour later I ran.

The first half of my run was in light rain but it went awesome. It's been so humid that it was nice to have the water to cool me off. This half went really well and my pace was about :45 to 1:00 faster than usual. I was able to run without needed a walking break until 15 or 16 kilometers in. After that I walked a kilometer to 17, ran two more to 19, and then walked/ran the last bit (0.1 kilometer walk, 0.25 kilometer run, repeat).

Overall, it was a great run. After the rain stopped it got really humid and I just felt drained. However, I'm really excited that my first half saw a huge improvement in time. I don't know if it's all the cross-training and core-work I'm doing when I'm not running, but whatever I'm doing, I'm doing it right.

I'm also lucky that my boyfriend knows me so well. We were supposed to hangout after my run so he checked my location, knew approximately how many kilometers I had left, and came by to refill my Fuel Belt. Forget flowers or chocolate, that is the best surprise I could get.

After my shower I refueled with some fresh watermelon/lime/lemon/mint juice and devoured a huge burrito bowl. The more I train the more I'm learning what my body wants,  needs, and deserves after a run.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Table

I've found my new lunch spot and it might possibly have the most delicious vegetarian/vegan friendly options I have ever tasted.

My mom, sister, and I met for lunch downtown Oshawa at a place called The Table. I've known for a while its been there but between going to school and its hours (closes weekly at 4 pm) I've never had a chance to go. Boy, have I been missing out.

I had checked the menu ahead of time and thought I knew exactly what I wanted. Once I walked in and saw the specials I immediately changed my mind. I chose the lentil loaf and a salad-sampler. Online it said the sampler came with three salads, but they let me choose as many as would fit on my plate. I went with a leafless Greek salad, a kale salad, an arugula salad with macadamia nuts and artichoke, and a chili corn and edamame salad.

Everything was amazing. I devoured it and felt so satisfied after my meal. Sometimes when I'm eating vegetarian options as other places I'm left feeling hungry, but not here. I ordered the vegan chocolate pie for takeout and ate it later that afternoon at my desk. If I didn't know it was vegan I wouldn't have even noticed it was so delicious.

My sister had ordered an ice tea, but as someone who likes it pre-bottled and full of sugar this wasn't her favourite. Instead, I took it from her and drank the entire thing. They make their iced tea as soon as you request it and even ask you what flavour of tea you would like. She had a strawberry, long-island flavour. It was light, refreshing, and had just the right amount of sweetness. My sister just doesn't know what's good for her.

The atomosphere is really cool. It was a sunny day so there were a few tables on the sidewalk, and there were comfortable looking chairs at the front of the store, but I opted to sit at the namesake, The Table, which literally features a large, communal table across the restaurant. I loved the layout and thought it was an awesome match for the restaurant.

Clearly I am in love with this place. I have nothing negative to say and am the happiest vegetarian, even remembering my experience the next morning. I will definitely be going back again and I am determined to try every vegan/vegetarian item they have.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Attacking the Closet

I pulled the trigger and attacked my closet. I was surprised that I only got rid of two garbage bags and that I still have a full closet/clothing rack/shelves full of clothes. However, I feel almost lighter and definitely feel less claustrophobic in my small room.

The best tips I have for a good closet clean out are the following:

1) Prepare yourself with everything you need. Besides picking up a Tupperware container and some large garbage bags, I made sure I was also equipped with a large iced coffee and an awesome playlist. Motivation on all levels.

2) Schedule the time. About a week in advanced I scheduled two hours into my Google Calendar devoted to cleaning out my closet. I hate to deviate from my Calendar so I knew I had to do it. Just make the time.

3) Ask for help. Even if it's as simple as talking out how much you truly want to keep an item or the use you'll get out of it, ask an outsider. My mom and sister helped, but if I got really stuck I was ready to message my best friend or boyfriend for their opinions.

4) Take a breath. You don't need to make any decisions right away. The Tupperware container I purchased was meant for items I might not be wearing now but could potentially see myself wearing in the future, or might have sentimental value. For example, I have four university sweatshirts that I don't wear, but all mean a lot to me. I also found a bunch of concert tees that my dad had bought in the 80s. How could I give those up?

What are your tips for a successful closet clean out? What items do you refuse to toss?