Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy Canada Day + July Goals

Happy Canada Day! I'm up bright and early to head into Toronto - Michael and I are going to a Jays game for the third year in a row. We're having a barbecue later but I have my heart set on a foot-long at the game. Maybe it's because I played baseball for years, but few things bring me a unique cross of nostalgia and joy like a ballpark sausage.

For the first time I'm setting monthly goals. I like to plan most of my routine week-by-week but I'm looking to aim a little broader.

July Goals:

1) Foam rolling
I've been foam rolling a lot more recently and I really want to continue this habit. Between hiking, increased strength training, and sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours each day my limbs have been thankful.

2) Half marathon training
I'm running the Army Run in Ottawa in September so as of July 3rd my self-made training plan begins. I've mapped out days my long runs, speed training, rest days, free days, and strength training, and I really want to stick with it.

3) Try a new recipe
Lately I've been busy with work, my relationships, and fitness. I haven't had time to experiment in the kitchen but this month I'd really like to try something new. I kind of want to make my first pie crust. Hmmm...

4) Buy some protein powder
I calculated some rough macros and for my goals I need to up my protein intake. I thought I consumed a lot of protein but when I ran the numbers I was behind. I stopped using protein powder a few months ago because my go-to was no longer agreeing with my stomach. I need to find a new protein powder that not only agrees with my stomach but also has a good taste and texture, because those things are important to me.

5) Snack smart
I'm a huge fan of snacking but when I start consuming too much processed sugar it starts to upset my stomach and I also fall into binging. So, I'm looking to avoid sweets and work on getting in my micronutrients.

Is there something that makes you feel nostalgic?
What are your July goals?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Race Recap: Rattlesnake Point - 5 Peaks Series

Two weeks ago I was dealing with an awful customer at work and he made me cry on the phone. As I was sniffling away I was looking for something to make me feel strong, so I registered for a trail race that was taking place nine days later. I had been eyeing the 5 Peaks series for the longest time but kept talking myself out of trail racing. With a half marathon already booked for September I wasn't sure how training for trail races would fit into my schedule.

I really enjoyed the race. The sun was shining and the humidity had increased the temperature to over 30 degrees but I took my time and I survived. I did take a little tumble less than 1K into the race, while running on even ground, but besides two small bruises and one small scrape that didn't even draw blood, I felt great. I had these grand delusions that I would run the race in about the same time as my road times, but I finished 5.3K in 47:46 (9:01 pace). I came in 211/236 total finishers, was 17/18 in my age/sex category, and was 124/145 female finishers. I know these stats are nothing special, but I'm just so excited I found the courage to run and finish.

The course itself was more difficult than I thought it would be. The organizers kept referring to a "rock wall" and I kept imagining a rocky path. No, it was a legitimate rock wall that, while I didn't have to scale, I did have to be careful and walk it as it was a complete rock incline. After my fall at the start of the race I did do some walking over the more rough terrain but I was still sweaty, had laboured breathing, and my legs felt heavy. Although I primarily run on paved surfaces it definitely helped that I've done a few trail runs and I love to hike.

I used a discount code for $5 off and I believe I paid under $60 with tax for the race. It was a chip timed race, there were free photos on Facebook (you can pay the photographer more for high resolution copies), and with the bib was a sample of Nuun and a hat. I don't mind having a smaller "swag bag" when the fees are low.

They also provided great post-race snacks! I munch on some orange slices, watermelon, cookies, and pretzels. Apparently there had been candy but I think the kiddos had gotten to it, first.

I went by myself but 5 Peaks is really family-friendly. Besides having the sport (5.3K) and enduro (12.7K) distances, they also have a 3K for kids, and then a free 1K for kids. It was awesome to see entire families getting to race and share their love of running with each other.

I would 100% run a 5 Peaks race again. There is another in July that I think I'm going to register for (I'm just confirming my schedule and half marathon training plan, first), and next year I think I want to get their season pass (for five races).

Have you run any of the 5 Peak's races? They're also in Alberta and British Columbia!
What draws you into registering for a race? 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Day in the Life: Race Day

6:00AM: Alarm goes off.

6:10AM: Second alarm goes off.

6:14AM: Turn off third alarm and set a new alarm for 6:45AM:

6:45AM: Alarm goes off. Get out of bed. Brush teeth, hair, and wash face.

6:50AM: Eat some instant oatmeal and banana. Get dressed. Hunt down some sunscreen. Fill my water bottles. 

7:25AM: Get into car. Realize I forgot I needed to get gas.

7:30AM-8:45AM: Usual gas station is closed. Have minor heart attack and find second gas station. Pick up some carbonated water from the gas station because I’m not used to being up this early and my stomach feels off. Set GPS and I’m off!

8:50AM: Pick up race kit and head back to the car to smother myself in sunscreen.

9:00AM-10:20AM: Sit in the shade, do some stretching, take advantage of no lines at the bathrooms. Watch the kids 3K race and then the kids free 1K race.

10:20AM-10:37AM: Walk over to the start line. Corral’s are based off of an honor system and you choose where you belong. I get into the last wave because I’m a slower runner and it is my first trail race.

11:30AM-11:45AMish: Finish race. Even for my first it was slower than I expected. Grab some snacks and cooldown. No one came with me so I headed back to the car to blast some AC and post some pictures before I leave.

12:00PM: Stop at the Popeye’s Supplements store I saw on my way in. Grab some more snacks for the drive home and get ecstatic that they have Oh Yeah! ONE bars. I can’t find them locally so I can’t wait to try them. I eat a protein brownie and drink a litre of water mixed with my favourite BCAAs. 

1:15PM: Arrive at home. Immediately head for the shower and start stripping of my clothes. With humidity I was running in temperatures of 30-40 degrees so even after sitting in my air-conditioned car for over an hour, I am a sweaty mess.

1:30PM: Join my boyfriend and my sister outside for a beer while I continue to cooldown. 

2:00PM: Boyfriend was hot so he went inside. I followed and he convinces me to try another beer. After those two I really work on getting more water in. I’m tired and want to have my nap but my boyfriend put on a Batman movie because he knows I’m a sucker for
the superhero movie and I push the nap aside. He also pulls out my favourite tortilla chips from Farmboy, along with a carton of their half salsa-half guacamole dip.

5:30PM: I’m being grouchy and needy so I curl up in my basement bedroom and sleep for an hour.

6:30PM: I wake up just as my boyfriend is getting ready to barbeque. He also bought me my favourite Farmboy burger (blue cheese!). I feel like I have a slight case of heat exhaustion so I drink some club soda.

7:00PM: Back to the couch. I’m still tired so my boyfriend and I watch the second season of How I Met Your Mother while I work on getting in another litre of water before bed. I’m having trouble drinking it so I take it with more BCAAs. The flavouring does the trick.

10:00PM: Cravings hit so I reach for Ben and Jerry’s (The Tonight Dough = my favourite), watch another half hour of TV, then crawl into bed. Despite my nap earlier I have no problems falling asleep and I pass out for a solid 11 hours. 

Are you a trail runner or a road runner?
Do you have any race day rituals?
How many alarms do you need to wake up?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Apple Cider Vinegar + Adapting

Apple Cider Vinegar is supposed to be this magical, cure-all liquid but I cannot stand the smell and the taste is also something left to be desired. I’m trying to see if it really works to reduce hunger and cravings, as well as help mellow out my digestive woes. I found I like to drink one teaspoon in chilled green tea, juice from half to one whole lemon, and two tablespoons of tart cherry juice. This is still a new thing in my life so I’ll share my conclusion soon.

I chose the green tea for a caffeine kick, the lemon for its powerful taste and immune boosting properties, and the tart cherry juice to help with muscle recovery. I’m thinking of adding some grated ginger next week.

On Monday I went hard with leg day. I added more weight, and while I felt strong and had a good sweat at the time, I was hurting for the next three days. I’ve been keeping up with foam rolling but on Wednesday I very gingerly did some yoga. I don’t have an injury but I can’t believe how long it took my body to recover. Also, check out the cutest yoga partner.

I’m also super excited because when I got home Tuesday night I had a package waiting for me. I’m a huge fan of MegSquats and because I didn’t purchase her t-shirt the first time around I knew I had to order the cropped tank top and the shaker bottle. Proud to be a Strong, Strong Friend!

I’ve been counting calories lately but I had to take a break this week. My hormones/PMS was out of control and the more I tried to stay within my 1600-1800 allotment the more I wanted to binge because I felt so hungry and restricted. I rather incorporate a couple of extra snacks and go a little over my calories than binge and go WAY over my calories. I’m trying to still make healthier choices and focus on nutrient dense foods.

Also, I’m on a breakfast-salad kick this week. A handful of spinach, half a cup of cherry tomato, chives, quarter of a cubed avocado (I eat another quarter later in the day), smoked salmon, and two eggs. It looks so much prettier before I try to dice it like a mad-woman with a steak knife and a fork in the bowl.

Have you tried ACV? Any tips for making it more bearable?
Who do you watch/follow on social media?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Heat Warning Weekend + My Introduction to Craft Beer

This weekend was so hot that my boyfriend and I finally went out and bought a patio umbrella so we could sit outside without sweating to death. We had Heat Warnings in effect all weekend, and this morning we had hit 26 degrees at 7AM. However, in six months time I will be complaining about ice, snow, and cold weather so I will cherish this heat with my entire heart. Plus, I can get through anything as long as I have iced coffee.

Michael works a lot of overtime and a lot of weekends so it was nice to spend some time with him this weekend. He's really into craft beer and after months and months of having me "try" his beer he has finally convinced me to start sharing with him. I'm not typically a drinker but I'm starting to really enjoy his craft stuff. Yesterday he gifted me a whole Kolsh.

And today he split one of his special, limited beers with me. Last weekend when we were driving home from Killbear we stopped in at Sawdust City Brewing Co on a whim, and he picked up two of only 2000 bottles.

Then, because he wants me to continue enjoying craft beer with him and he knows I can't resist a social media platform, he convinced me to join Tappd. I'm killing it with FOUR whole check-ins. ;)

Sundays are my favourite days to prepare for the week ahead. Although I've always been one to meal prep I've also started sketching out my workouts for the week, right down to the type of moves for strength training days. If I don't have a plan I get completely lost in the gym. 

Do you prefer hot weather or cold weather?
How do you decide on your workouts? 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

From the Stationary Bike

Happy Saturday from my spot on a stationary bike at the gym. Cycling and blogging seems a little a) counterproductive and b) dangerous, but it's only an easy session.

I'm drinking my favourite BCAAs and reflecting on this past week. It was a weird one, requiring a lot of patience an adaptability, but I survived!

Since going camping last weekend I was suffering from tight muscles in my back/ribs and in my glutes and hamstrings. Monday was supposed to be a leg day but I switched to upper body and took it easy.

Then, along with my muscle pain, I had some mental health issues with my depression and anxiety running on high. One of the symptoms I get is really physical and I suffer from extreme nausea. After that I decided to forgo my workout plan and stick to getting my body better with lots of foam rolling and stretching.

I put in some extra hours at work this week and by Friday night I was exhausted. So I decided to celebrate by splitting a large pizza with my best friend. I have zero regrets because I woke up today with my heart feeling full and I'm cycling with a smile on my face.

This week was a week of growth for me by learning to listen to my body and my mind, without completely letting go of my goals. 

I hope you had a good week and an even better weekend is coming your way - Toronto has nothing but sunshine and hot temperatures in the forecast so I'm looking forward to barbequing and trying some craft beer with my boyfriend.

What are your plans this weekend?
What was a point of mental or physical growth for you that stands out in your mind?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Killbear Provincial Park

This weekend my boyfriend, our dog, and I went camping at Killbear Provincial Park. Due to crazy work schedules we only stayed for one night but as someone who is fairly new to camping, sometimes one night is all I need.

The park is located in Nobel, approximately 277 kilometers North of Toronto and just outside of Parry Sound. There are 9 campgrounds and it’s really easy to reserve a spot through Ontario Parks online.

My car was the one registered to the campsite but I prefer to let Michael drive. I actually spend a lot of time being the passenger in my own car.

I ate: strawberries and smores for snacks; hot dogs for dinner; a bagel for breakfast; sandwiches for lunch. Easy peasy.

I read: half an issue of Women’s Health and started reading Open Heart, Open Mind.

I did: we took a few walks on the main campground trail and the Lighthouse Trail. We went once during the day and then returned again at sunset. Also, for the first time I played a card game with  my boyfriend. He’s super competitive so in five years we have NEVER played any sort of game together.

I slept: badly. It got super windy and cold during the night, making it hard to fall asleep. The last time I checked the clock it was 1:30AM and just after 6AM I finally got up and took Cooper on a walk.

I heard: not much. We were in a quieter, less populated section of the campground. Just birds and the wind.

I wish I had: more blankets. Seriously. Oh, and Benadryl because my seasonal allergies were out of control.

Our dog was actually fairly well-behaved and there are dog-friendly exercise/beach areas to hangout, but it’s really hard to do all of the things you want to do. Our next camping trip is at Arrowhead Park on July 9/10 and Cooper will not be coming with us. As much as I love him it will be nice to get to canoe or kayak, go swimming, and wander around without worrying about him.

On the plus side, all of the things we did do tired him out and he spent most of the drive home sleeping.

Do you like camping?

Are you a car-camper or a backwoods camper?

Do you have any tips and tricks that are essential for camping?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Thoughts on Friday Night

Edit: while writing a new post on Monday I realized this never fully published properly. Annoying.

Currently: lying in bed, watching Chelsea Handler's Netflix show, and realizing I have a blog post on my computer that I meant to post but I am too lazy to open it so I'm typing through my mobile app.

Thoughts and moments from the week:

I wish I had waited just one more day to write my recap because I missed getting to post this gem. He is my favourite.

My heart, mind, and under-eye bags made is clear that iced coffee was super necessary on Wednesday. Midweek slump > midweek 

I have Fridays off so Cooper and I went for a walk before I hit the gym for an upper body workout.

That workout was immediately followed by the best protein cookie in existence. Buff Bake has the most amazing products.

We're leaving tomorrow to go camping for a night but they've been calling for rain. The amount of rain keeps changing but hopefully the latest forecast is correct and it stops in the afternoon.

What are you up to this weekend? 
Would you rather eat one big protein cookie or seven Oreos? I get the argument but these cookies are so soft, chewy, and I like the macros 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Furry Friends 5K

Happy Monday!

Yesterday my dog and I ran the Furry Friends 5K in Whitby. The race benefits our local animal shelter and two other local animal rescues. It was the sixth year it was held but the first that I signed up for it.

Over the last year Cooper has become my favourite running partner. Whether it’s a trail or the roads, Cooper is always ready for an adventure. 

Unfortunately his neck was too big for the bandana he got in his race kit so I put his bow-tie on him instead.

The day was overcast but it was still around 20 degrees and humid. We ran along the Waterfront and the breeze coming off of the lake was necessary. I was sweaty within the first kilometer and we weren’t even running hard.

We kept our pace slow and I stopped at the water stations along the course so Cooper could have a drink. For a “fun run” I was excited to see it was chipped, and Cooper and I ran our 5K in 38:31. Had we not stopped for water breaks I think we would have been on our usual 35-minute 5K time.

I’ve been doing a lot of strength and speed training, and I think it’s really paying off. My body felt strong and I think I could have pushed myself further if I really wanted to, but it just felt good to run among all the other dog lovers/runners in my community.

Cooper and I will definitely be running the Furry Friends 5K again next year.