Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Training & A Mini Getaway

Happy Tuesday! It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I can feel it when I train. I physically feel heavier than usual so I'm going to try my best to clean up my diet leading up to my race. To be fair, eating Pizza Pops before speed training is never a good idea. I used a Snapchat filter to hide the pain.

It's been a while since I took my speed training outside and I forgot how much I love it. I like to go to this bare-bones outdoor track not far from where I live because I can see the lake from where I'm running.

Michael's birthday is today so on the weekend I took him to Kingston to visit one of his favourite breweries - Stone City Ales. I wish I had taken more pictures but I promise you the beer and food was amazing.

We went back to the hotel room with the intention of napping and instead just enjoyed being away. It was fun to be snuggled into a king-sized bed and watch cable TV (neither of us have it at home anymore so we live off of Netflix).

This week I'm into the green smoothies. Frozen mango chunks, banana, almond milk, and spinach to start the day. I'm only on Day Two of eating better and I already have the worst sugar cravings so I really think I'm going to look forward to my morning smoothies.

What's your favourite Snapchat filter?
What's the best smoothie ingredient?

August Goals Recap

How is it possible August is almost over? I think because I had so much going on this month it felt like it flew by even faster than usual. Let's look at what I accomplished in August:

1) Half marathon training
Yes - kind of. I gained a lot of mileage this month. I could have went on more runs but I'm happy with where I'm sitting. 

2) More stretching. More foam rolling. More yoga.
I did OK but I halfway through the month I realized I need a new foam roller. The shape isn't bouncing back like it used to so I think I need to invest in a more durable roller. 

3) Throw an amazing party for my mom
Definitely. It went extremely well and my mom was really happy. All the planning, time, and effort was so worth it. 

4) Hydrate
I'm not drinking at much as I used to but I feel like I'm drinking the right amount for me. I never feel thirsty or dehydrated anymore, but I also never feel like I'm bloated with water. 

5) Finish two books
I only managed to finish one but I did start a second!

How did your August goals come along? 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Too Busy for the Gym + That's OK

Have you ever had a week where you wrote a post, got too busy to publish it, tried again the next day, and the next day, and the next? It was one of those weeks. Tomorrow my sister and I are throwing a party for our mom's 50th birthday so I've been running around like crazy all week. I haven't even had half an hour to make it to the gym. Usually I would be guilting myself but I want tomorrow to be perfect and this is how my priorities are listed this week.

Here are some highlights from this week:

The weather has been cooler (above 20 degrees but not higher than 30's - before humidity). We even had some rain on Tuesday. I had my first hot cup of coffee this summer and something about the coffee with the falling rain just felt magical.

Despite usually being the Queen of Sunscreen I allowed myself to get extremely burnt at the beer festival last weekend. I finally stopped feeling pain around Wednesday and I did a pretty good job of hydrating and moisturizing my skin so I have minimal itching and peeling.

Last Sunday I spent the morning on the couch watching the women's Olympic marathon. There were no words to describe how inspiring it was to watch the race go down and get the updates for my Canadian heroes.

My sister was going through our photo albums to create a collage of my mom and she Snapchat'd me this gem:

How was your week? 
What priorities do you put before exercise? I hate when people say, "no excuses," because I think there are a million valid reasons to skip the gym. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Courtney Hearts Craft #2: Roundhouse Craft Beer Fest

This weekend I went to my first craft beer festival and it was amazing. The weather wasn't great - we went from overly hot, and humid, to wet and rainy, but it didn't stop anyone in the crowd from having a good time.

The festival was put on by Steamwhistle in Toronto outside of their brewery in Roundhouse Park. This location is perfect because while there is lots of room for the vendors to spread out it was easy for the group I went with to find each other without even having to text.

I tried as many different breweries as possible, even if it just meant a taste from a friend, and I still couldn't get around to everything. In total I had a taste of 13 different beers. I liked everything I tried but these were my favourites:

There's No Way of Knowing by Sawdust City Brewing
My Untappd Rating: 4.5/5
Untappd Average Rating: 3.75/5
Untappd Badges: None

Cross Border Citrus Porter by Muskoka Brewery
My Untappd Rating: 4.25/5
Untappd Average Rating: 3.5/5
Untappd Badges: Wheel of Styles (Level 4)

Expansion Sour by Stack Brewing
My Untappd Rating: 4/5
Untappd Average Rating: 3.75/5
Untappd Badges: None

Maverick & Gose by Amsterdam Brewing
My Untappd Rating: 4.25/5
Untappd Average Rating: 3.75/5
Untappd Badges: None

Gobble Gobble by Block Three Brewing
My Untappd Rating: 4.25/5
Untappd Average Rating: 3.5/5
Untappd Badges: Power Month

I also tried:

- Rhubarb Saison by Wellington Brewery
- Steam Whistle Pilsner Unfiltered
- American Wheat by Royal City Brewing
- Exhibition Session IPA by Royal City Brewing
- King Street Saison by Block Three Brewing
- Across the Pond English Special Ale ESB by High Park Brewery
- Maris Pale Ale by Left Field Brewery
- Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale by Left Field Brewery

Have you ever been to a beer festival? 
Did you try anything new last week? 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Free Ice Cream, Tomato Face + Toronto is Really, Really Dry

I don't typically go crazy for ice cream but it's been such a hot summer that it's all I want. Like on Tuesday when I ate a Dairy Queen Blizzard for dinner instead of going to the gym. I had Cooper with me in the drive-thru and the girls at the window were so excited that they gave us a free vanilla cone for the lucky dog. I think it's the first time he's had ice cream and he went crazy for it.

I'm still getting used to my new hours so I'm a little tired but I love it. I feel like I have all the time in the world to run errands, socialize, be lazy, and run or go to the gym. When I was working afternoons until 10:30PM my gym routine didn't go over 45 minutes. Wednesday night I was able to be there for almost an hour and a half, getting in strength training and speed training, and it felt so good. My gym has finally lowered the temperature in the gym but I still left with my usual tomato face.

Also, please note the temperature and time when I left the gym. The temperature felt like it was closer to 40 degrees and this is when the sun was starting to go down. Apparently Toronto has hit its 100 driest days on record since the 1930s and I'm beginning to pray for the thunderstorms that are might hit this weekend. They'll ruin my weekend plans but we're definitely in need of some rain.

Despite the insane temperatures I thought it was a good idea to get in a workout while outside. I worked on a five-move circuit for six rounds. I was outside for only half an hour and I was absolutely drenched in sweat. I honestly wasn't thinking about the heat, I was just too lazy to drive five minutes to the gym.

How did your workouts go this week? 
How do you survive the heat? 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Things I Didn't Expect About Quitting a Job

For the first time in my life I quit my job. I've had a few jobs since I turned working age but most of them had an end date in sight: retail for the holiday season, summer student positions, an internship, contracts positions.

I had been at my job for almost two years and it was time to move on. My hours had been cut and I was forced to work two jobs to get full time hours. I was working an afternoon shift that left never seeing the family I live with, yet alone having the opportunity for a social life. I was barely getting paid more than minimum wage. I was generally unhappy with my job tasks and had reached the point that I was unchallenged and no longer had anything new to learn. This job took a huge toll on my mental health and after consulting a few people I trusted deeply, I knew it was time to leave. Upon hearing this, my second job offered me full time hours and I accepted. I liked the environment, I was still learning, and I was being paid a more livable wage.

I took the plunge on a Tuesday afternoon, right as my shift began, and walked into my boss's office to tell her I would be leaving in two weeks. I wish I had known what would happen after that. Maybe my delivery would have been different, or at least I would have been prepared, but I want to share what I learned in the short time that followed my resignation.

1) Your boss might not take it well. 
To be fair, my boss and I were fairly close. I confided in my boss many personal things and we had a personal relationship outside of the office, but we were not friends prior to me taking the job. When I told her I was leaving she accused me of betraying her, using her to get my second job (when she cut my hours she led me to the second one), told me I had no morals, respect, or consideration for other people. She even asked me if it was because I was closer to the girl I work with at the second job. She took it extremely personally and let the line between personal and professional blur.

2) You might cry (but probably not, I'm just very sensitive and emotive). 
I prepared myself and ran through potential dialogue in my head but nothing compared to the attack on my character I endured. I was able to quit and lay out my reasons without a tear, but being accused of being someone I knew I wasn't really hurt me.

3) Telling people you work with that you're leaving is weird. 
After the encounter with my boss I told very few people. I told my closest co-worker, and someone else in the building that I had talked to about how unhappy I was with my job. From there I let my boss break the news to most people the way she wanted. I was no longer going to be working there so if she wanted to tarnish my name there was no point in fighting it.

4) Do not wait until the last day to clean out your desk. 
 After hearing how my boss handled my resignation, someone half-joked I should have my lunch-bag ready to go. I took this advice seriously and cleaned out my desk. I took my snack-stash home and cleaned up my files and computer to make sure I wouldn't leave anything personal behind. I was fairly safe but on my second last day, as I had literally one minute left to my shift, my boss told me I didn't have to come in the following day because she had my shift covered. While she didn't say it, I felt it was implied to not come in versus the "didn't have to."

As much as this experience downright sucked I feel that in just two weeks I have grown to be a stronger person. If/when the situation arises for me to move onto the next big thing, nothing will compare to what I went through. But if it does, I know who I am, what I stand for, and that is enough.

Have you had any horror experiences quitting a job? 
What is your stance on personal relationships in the workplace? 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Courtney Hearts Craft #1

My work schedule has changed and I'm finally working hours that give me a social life. My boyfriend and I actually were able to spend time with each other during the week so last week we went to his favourite local restaurant that has a pretty big craft beer selection. As someone who hasn't been much of a drinker since my second year of university it's kind of funny that I'm really starting to enjoy craft beer. It's fun to try different kinds, hear the names, read some of the funny labels, and have my boyfriend give me some mini lessons in beer.

Here's a look at what I drank last week:

Monday, August 1st
Beer: Cruiser Pale Ale by Amsterdam Brewing Company.
My Untappd Rating: 3.25/5
Untappd Average Rating: 3.6/5
Untappd Badges: None

Thursday, August 4th:
Beer: Mad Top IPA by Muskoka Brewery.
My Untappd Rating: 4/5
Untappd Average Rating: 3.7/5
Untappd Badges: IPA Day (2016); Wheel of Styles (Level 3)

Beer: Cockpuncher IPA by Indie Ale House
My Untappd Rating: 3.75/5
Untappd Average Rating: 3.9/5
Untappd Badges: I Believe in IPA; Photogenic Brew (Level 3)

Saturday, August 6th
Beer: Armed 'N Citra by Rainhard Brewing
My Untappd Rating: 4.25/5
Untappd Average Rating: 3.8/5
Untappd Badges: None

Beer: Hop Cone Syndrome by Rainhard Brewing
My Untappd Rating: 4.5/5
Untappd Average Rating: 4.1/5
Untappd Badges: The Great White North (Level 6)

What are you drinking lately?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Making Training Progress

This weekend I actually made time for a training run. It was extremely hard and I feel so out of shape, but I actually managed to hit my mileage goal. Full disclosure, I did include a significant amount of walking but as a slow runner speed has never been important to me.

I used to be the queen of the ponytail but recently I started wearing braids while running and it's amazing. Less dripping sweat, my hair doesn't fly into my face, and my little wispy hairs also stay down. Basically I just make two French braids but instead of braiding the strands over you braid them under.

Things I missed about running: the views.

My boyfriend is a huge fan of having a beer in the shower. I, however, sat on the floor of the shower post-run and ate an apple. It was glorious.

New things I'm trying out this week: eating a big breakfast. So far it's been great to ward off the second day runger I usually fight with. Also - see that "bacon?" It's actually smoked salmon and it's amazing! It's only 71 calories for two slices (2.6F, 6.4C, and 6P). I love smoked salmon with breakfast so this was so exciting to me.

What's the last product that got you excited in the grocery store?
Are you training for anything? How is it going?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Long Weekend, Long Run

Last week felt like it last longer than any other week so I was so thankful for the long weekend. Part of me feels like I did so much while the other part of me feels like I did nothing at all. 

After spending Saturday morning running errands I laid in bed and mindlessly streamed Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and it was glorious. 

My boyfriend was kind enough to share some beers with me. Just a few weeks ago I had no interest but trying new brews and logging them into Untappd is becoming really fun. I'm up to 29 distinct beers.

I had started Stranger Things on Friday night but it started to freak me out so I had to turn it off. Sunday afternoon I was feeling brave so I turned it back on and found myself lost in the last six episodes. There was something so magical about the show and I'm so sad I'm already done. I highly recommend it. 

Also, forever obsessed with Farm Boy's tortilla chips and guacamole. 

Monday I finally pulled myself off off the couch and went on my first run only seven weeks out from my fall half marathon. I only made it 8.5 kilometers. It was hot, humid, and overall awful. 

However, the view was absolutely beautiful. 

Despite the awfulness of the run I'm glad I finally pushed myself into training. The next seven weeks are going to be filled with running - long runs, easy runs, speed training, hills - along with necessary cross-training and strength training. I feel more motivated than ever and can't wait to crush the Army Run.

I was almost tempted to add another half in October. It's the first year since I've started long distance running that I won't be running the half marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I know that mentally I can't do two halfs that close together but they released the medals for this year and they were so cool that my sister and I registered for the 5K. This is the first time that I've ever signed up for a race based on the medal.

Have you seen Stranger Things? Are you into Netflix's original shows?
What makes you want to register for a race? 

August Goals

1) Half marathon training
I went on a run today (finally) and re-evaluated my training plan. Surprisingly it's my lungs that were giving out before my legs so I'm going to chock that up to the crazy hot and humid weather we've been having later. I spent some time re-writing my plan and I really need to stick to this one. 

2) More stretching. More foam rolling. More yoga.
Not only for my body, but for my mind. The end of July was extremely stressful and the first couple of weeks of August are going to be the same. As great as being in the gym or going for a long run is great for me mentally, I find that stretching is a quiet, mindful, and necessary practice for myself.

3) Throw an amazing party for my mom
My sister and I have been planning my mom's 50th birthday party. It's happening on the 20th so I want to make sure I keep organized over the next few weeks, especially the week leading up to it. 

4) Hydrate
I'm usually a pro at hydrating myself. I guzzle water like it's going out of style and I constantly carry a bottle around with me. Unfortunately this is another thing I've been neglecting lately. I'm aiming for at least three litres a day.

5) Finish two books
I've started reading again lately and have a shelf full of unread titles. I always forget how much I love reading until I sit down with a book. Reading two books is easily doable if I make the time for it. 

What are your goals for August?