More about the 1/2 marathon and an announcement....

Once again my utmost gratitude to you all for your kind words and ongoing support. I can't begin to tell you how much it all means to me. You guys rock!

As I mentioned in my last post my very first half marathon was a HUGE running success for me. Not only did I accomplish a major goal but I found a renewed love for running. Isn't that crazy? The longest and most challenging run of my entire life ends up being my favorite. Ever. Who woulda thought that right??

I can't say for sure what it was but I am almost positive that my ability to enjoy the run was significantly impacted by my mindset that day. Of course my training and diet played a huge role but let's be real, running is a mental sport too. You really have to dig down deep sometimes to get your head out of negativity, pessimism, boredom and defeat. Thankfully my head was in the right place last Sunday and left the hard work up to my legs.

Now you might think I am utterly crazy (and maybe I am) but not two days after the race, with sore, stiff legs, I went ahead and signed up for this bad boy:

That's right boys and girls, I am running another 1/2 marathon! And what's even more wild is that I am doing it in 17 days! Wowza!!

I don't know if it was a prolonged runner's high or what but I just couldn't help myself. I first dared think it out loud to The Boyfriend nearly 20 minutes after finishing on Sunday. He laughed it off figuring I would change my mind when the hurt kicked in. Obviously he does not know that I am not so easily deterred by a little lot of stiffness and swelling.

To be fair I did let myself get through the initial 24 hours without making any rash decisions (unless you count the decision to go on a 4k walk 3 hours after I got home from the run site as a rash decision). But by Tuesday I couldn't deny it anymore, I wanted, no NEEDED to run it!

So $85 later (holy freakin' gawd!) and I am committed to another 21k in less than 3 weeks. This should be interesting to say the least. Call me crazy but sometimes its all about beating your (newly acquired) PR!!

So tell me, what's the craziest thing you have done lately?



1/2 Marathon Recap- Part One

I want to start this post by thanking you for the words of encouragement, for the advice, for the support, for the inspiration. I am grateful and I want you to know that. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Sunday started out for me with a 5am wakeup call. Well actually it started when I woke up at 1am and 3am and mentally did the math for how much more sleep I was going to get. I guess my mind must have been racing (no pun intended) because I just couldn't sleep soundly but in an effort to stay positive I thought about how good it was that I could still sleep for 4 or 2 more hours rather then only get to sleep for that much time. As I have mentioned before, a postive mindset was key for me going into this event.

Once I was up I felt somewhat sluggish and not at all like I wanted to feel (ie: pumped!). I milled about for almost half an hour, forcing myself to choke down some toast with peanut butter. I had built this day up and was so terrified that I might fail that I contemplated staying home to avoid it. Not the place I wanted to be in my head at all!

As I got out the door at almost 6:15 (nearly 15 minutes later then planned....crap, crap, crap) I realized that I was obviously frazzled. I hadn't drank an ounce of liquid yet or brought water with me and I'd forgotten my camera. This was after almost forgetting both my race chip and my bib. Geez Samantha get it together already!

Luckily all that changed when I got to the race site. The Boyfriend dropped me off so he could head over to the 10k point to see me and I was on my way to find Cynthia when it hit me: I was really and truly about to run a1/2 marathon. And it didn't matter how fast I was going to do it or if I had to walk for most of the freakin' thing because I was there. Every where I looked there were runners, all gearing up for the very same thing and it just felt so inspiring to be in the company of so many of these people. I even saw a few of the Elites warming up and I just knew that no matter what this was going to be an experience that I could hold on to for the rest of my life.

Cynthia and I found our corral (ok, we snuck into the one ahead of ours but we wanted to be near the 2:15 pace bunny) and chatted as we awaited the gun. With no pressure or expectations I was just ready to run for the sake of running. And that felt great!

The race started and we found our pace and for the first time ever I noticed that the kilometres were just ticking by. When Cynthia tapped me to point out the 5k sign my jaw dropped. I felt like we'd just started and already we were at 5? This was going to be a gooooood run for me!!

Watching the other runners and just taking in the experience really helped my mindset and even though I was moving a little slower then usual I knew I was at the right pace for the distance. Everything just felt really in-sync and I didn't need to force positivity because I just genuinely felt that optimistic.

Around the 7k mark Cynthia tapped me to point out that the Elites were already on their way back. As I watched them run in a pack formation with such speed and determination I was in awe. The athleticism and talent is absolutely unbelievable. And because I was feeling so good I began to cheer them on. How could I not show my appreciation for these guys??

The race continued and I knew I was approaching the point that I would be seeing the Boyfriend and was just thinking about how I couldn't wait to give him a thumbs up. I wasn't counting down or dreading the next stretch of the run which I did do in the 10 Miler in July. I was just grateful for something so upbeat to look forward to.

I saw him at around the 11k mark (long before he saw me...apparently I was lost in a sea of female runners with purple shirts!) and barely got a chance to make contact before I was gone again. Seeing him helped a lot though and I was so glad he was there even if it was so brief.

As we looped back and headed down the back half of the course I started to feel fatigue set in. I willed myself to stay strong and  to ignore the pain in my foot (blister) and ankle (not sure about that one) and just focus on moving forward. It was at the 14k mark that I made myself the deal that I could now walk if necessary but that it would be at the water stations. That really helped because it broke up the remainder of the race into 2.5k increments rather then "I'm so tired and I still have 7k to go!"

Admittedly I did slip into a little negativity when I lost the pace bunny at around the 18k mark but I tried hard to shake it off and just think about finishing. I was really tired and the thought of 3 more kilometres was weighing on me. I started to doubt that I could do it until I reminded myself that I had already run 18 and 3 more was totally do-able. I was exhausted and sore but I was gonna finish this gosh darn race!!

At the 20k mark I was filled with mixed emotion. In one sense I was so excited to see 20k and know that I had ran that far for the first time in my entire life but on another level I wa so tired that the thought of another 1000 metres seemed daunting. I was definitely ready for that race to be over. And as I ran up Bay street amongst a crowd of cheering spectators I was overcome with the emotion that I had daydreamed about so many times. I was about to finish my first ever 1/2 marathon and I was almost in tears. Crossing the finish line after a speedy sprint for the last 100m filled me with such a sense of accomplishment and relief that I had done it after months of training and hardwork!

As you can see I have not mastered the finish line smile by any means!

Now that's a bit better!

Total time (chip time): 2:16.05. With an unofficial goal of 2:15 (or at least less than 2:30) I am extremely happy with my results.

So there you have it, some of the race recap from the best race I've had to date and if I may dare say the race that convinced me to keep on running. I have more to say on that subject but you'll have to stay tuned because this lady and her stiff and achy legs need some sleep!

So tell me, what made you happy this weekend?


The Expo and some pre-race thoughts..

Well my friends, the big day is almost here. I've been training for and thinking about this day since the spring and I can't believe that as I write this I am 14 hours away from the start of my very first 1/2 marathon. Oh. Em. Gee!!!

In order to pick up our race kits and as a way to take in the excitement of this event my running pal Cynthia and I headed to the race expo this morning.

The Expo proved to be a great place to take in some pre-race excitement. Runners with all different backgrounds and experience gathered to browse the merchandise and products and talk running. Being with such a large group of people who are all going to gather tomorrow morning for the same purpose was really motivating!

Cynthia was also able to get her knee taped up (and will be able to avoid wearing her brace yay!)

We also got lots of free stuff (score!!) And you can never go wrong with free stuff right?

I must admit I am a little nervous for tomorrow. With anything new, the unknown is both scary and exciting and I am trying to stay as positive as possible.Visualising a strong run and the accomplishment that I will feel when I finish has helped me through training and will hopefully help me while I am out on the course.

At this point in the game many people might talk strategy and goals but I'd rather focus on how far I've come. A year ago I wasn't a runner and the idea of a 10K was overwhelming and now I'm complete about to complete a race that I never even dreamed of 12 months ago. So really, no matter what happens tomorrow I will know that I have already achieved so much. The medal that I will wear proudly at around 9:45 tomorrow morning will only serve as a reminder that I am stronger and more capable then I ever thought possible.

I hope no one thinks its weird if I wear it to the office for a few days ;)

So tell me, what have you done lately that exceeded even your own expectations?



Yogurt 1, Samantha 0

In an epic battle of me versus dairy I hate to admit that I am not the victor....at least not today my friends.

In what can only be assumed to be a temporary lapse of good judgement this morning I decided to ignore the fact that, even without proper medical diagnosis, I know that I am mildly lactose intolerant.

Enter the price to be paid for such foolishness. As a result of my need to indulge in some yogurt and granola on-the-go this morning I have been suffering ever since. Not cool. Bloating and pain? Not cool either. Gas and flatulance....need I say more about the coolness there? It has been a rough day, let me tell you.

And for your viewing pleasure my "no I'm not pregnant I just ate some dairy" tummy:

So what can I say other then lesson learned. No more yogurt (non-Greek), ice cream or cheese for me. Bring me the almond milk cuz baby, I'm gonna need it!

So tell me, any annoying food sensitivities that you'd like to share? Make it embarrassing..I talked about farting after all!!



A serious case of the woulda, shoulda, couldas.....

Never fear, Samantha this here!

Okay maybe you weren’t afraid…maybe you didn’t even notice that I was gone. And you know what? That’s okay. I love you anyway.

Friends, in the spirit of honesty, I have been intermittently MIA lately because somewhere between the dog days of summer and today I simply lost my “me” factor.

I didn’t want to run (still don’t but I’m working on it), I didn’t want to blog (but here I am) and didn’t want to eat the healthy food I previously craved (ask the waistline of my jeans, they’ll attest to that fact)

I don’t know what happened or why but I just lost me. Or rather,  I MISPLACED me.. I make the distinction because lost implies that it might never be found whereas when something is misplaced there is hope that its right around the corner (or in the couch cushions or in the refrigerator or under the dog bed….and if you’ve ever lost money or keys at my place you know to look in these places first)

With a ½ marathon only a few days away I have slipped into a yucky place, where what I should have done is taking more of a priority in my mind then what I have managed to accomplish this year. It’s a bad place to be and I need to shake it off. Yes I could have run more. Yes I could have ate more healthy food, slept more hours at night, drank more ounces of water, and stretched my tired muscles more. Yes I could have done a lot of things more but the truth is I did what I did and while it may or may not have been enough it’s going to have to be good enough. I have 5 days until run this race and dwelling on how bad it could be might surely guarantee that it will be. (The ol’ self-fulfilled prophecy coming back to bite my ass!)

So with less then a week to go I can and will commit to the following :

I, Samantha, will eat good wholesome food that will fuel my body. I will get quality sleep every night and adequate rest in between. I will drink lots of water and will myself to relax. I will visualize myself crossing the finish line. I will turn this sucky, good for nothing mood into something positive and helpful. I will smile even when I’m not in the mood to because I will be again very, very soon.

So tell me, how do you turn your frown upside down (yea, I said that and no I don't teach the second grade)


You can keep your Manolos..

Sure some gals get excited over a new pair of fancy Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos. The Carrie Bradshaws of the world might even spend their rent money on a pretty new pair but me, I get giddy over these:

Really, there is nothing better then a new pair of running shoes is there? (Ok so an all expenses paid trip to Fiji might be better. Maybe)

The truth is my Mizunos might have gotten me through the tail end of my training but I also knew I'd be replacing them in early October anyway so I figured it was better to get these guys now and have fresh shoes to run my 1/2 marathon in.

Sorry Mizunos, you've been replaced. Get thee to the "dog walking only" pile!

On another unrelated note I did some grocery shopping today and made a point to really focus on organic. I'm haunted by Food Inc, what can I say? And yes I paid $5.79 for a carton of organic free-run eggs but I will sleep a little more soundly tonight for having done it.

So tell me, have you made the switch to organic? What products (if any) are an organic must?


Confession: I've never had almond butter........

Shocked? I know, it's completely crazy!

Well while we're at it, I've never had VOO (vegan overnight oats for the 2 people out there who have never heard of them). Did you gasp? I don't blame ya.

Ok maybe I do....a little. The thing is I just can't get on board with the preparation involved. I can barely throw together dinner when my stomach is growling some nights never mind have to think about breakfast too. Now that doesn't mean I am not down for a healthy and satisfying breakfast, because this girl, she likes her some food in the morning. All it really means is I need something a little more on-the-go.

Enter my breakfast of champions almost every weekday.

Looks yummy don't ya think? Well it is. And its simple too. Sugar-free instant oatmeal (ya I went there, don't judge), chia seeds, blueberries and raspberries (or sliced banana depending on the day). Sometimes when I am feeling a little more adventurous I even throw in some almonds. Crazzzy!

So there you have it, a healthy living blogger who's never had two of the most popular foods out there. I'm such a weirdo.

Food Inc.

So as I promised day ago I am going to write a little about Food Inc. tonight, although in truth it could easily be a 12 part series if I really got into it. There is just so much to say about that film that its hard to know where to start (or stop) which is why its taken me days to get this out. But here I go, on my soap box, for all the world my 12 regular readers to hear:

Food Inc. disturbed me. I hid my face on more then one occasion. I considered turning it off at least 3 times. I recoiled in horror, cringed and even cried and yet I would recommend this documentary to every person, everywhere. There is so much revealed in Food Inc that is so unbelievable that it may leave you wishing that you never knew and yet the biggest problem of all is that not enough people do.

Too few people know the horrors of factory farming and the mistreatment of both workers and animals. (Click here for information)

It's not well known that the average food product travels 1,500 miles to get to the grocery store and that that contributes 30,800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. (Read about that here)

People are not given enough exposure to the damaging effects of pesticides and food born illnesses. (Here and here)

It isn't common knowledge that 1 billion people worldwide do not have secure access to food (For more information click here)

And this is definitely not a time to be a naive or want to beg that ignorance is bliss. Knowledge is power and we need more of it.

I am shocked and appalled not only because this is going on in my backyard (and yours) but that I really didn't know it until now. Like an ostrich with my head in the sand I was blind to the fact that these types of issues are plaguing this continent. Yes I knew that organic was probably the better choice, as is vegetarian and locally grown food. And sure I even realized that access to affordable and healthy food was something that governments all around the world need to make a priority but I can honestly say I just didn't get it.

And no, Food Inc. didn't turn me into a full blown vegetarian/vegan, nor have I stormed the steps of Parliament with a petition in hand. What I have done is reconcile that I can make a difference and, if for no other reason then my own peace of mind, I have to.

Changes that I plan to make include:

  • Purchasing free range chicken and eggs
  • Buying more locally grown produce
  • Avoiding products with high fructose corn syrup
  • Buying organic when possible
  • Continuing to avoid dairy products
  • Examining food labels
  • Continuing to eat vegetarian meals regularly
It's not a lot but for now its a start. And I think if every made little changes it really would start to add up. The industries that perpetuate this atrocities need to see that people are not going to stand for it. Threatening their bottom line is really the only way to compel them to action. Its time to take back our right to healthy, chemical free, hormone free and affordable food!

As I said, I could go on about each of these issues ad nauseum. Instead I will finish here but hope that you take a moment to read through some of this information. And if you only have time for one link may I recommend this one--> Eat Well Guide. This resource allows you to input your location (zip code or postal code) and it will provide you with links to local and organic food in your area.

So tell me, have you seen Food Inc.? Do you want to join me on my soap box and let me know what you thought?



A Change in Plans...

When I left the house this morning I was already thinking about my post tonight. I was excited because I was finally going to Fresh (a popular vegetarian restaurant in Toronto) and I was going to catch up with an old friend, eat good food and then come home and tell you all about it.

Alas, it was the post that would never be written. Something came up and my friend was unable to make it and we are going to reschedule for another time (but definitely not another place!).

So what was a girl to do? Well never fear cuz Cathy's here!

In truth I had double booked myself this evening. (I'm just that popular...riiiiight) A friend and coworker who moved out of province to our Alberta office last summer was in town tonight and was stopping by for a drink after work. I had planned to mix and mingle with that crowd for an hour and then head to Fresh but when plans changed I quickly decided a night with Cathy & Co. was in order.

Ok, so it wasn't exactly the best night outside. C'est la vie because indoors was just fine. The beverages flowed almost as well as the conversation but I limited myself to just one in honour of the special guest.

Because I was now staying for dinner I looked over the menu, on the hunt for something appetizing and healthy. My first inclination was a veggie burger with salad but when I eat out I usually aim for something different then my typical fare. And there it was, in all it's goat cheese glory...

May I introduce you to the new love of my life: (sorry Boyfriend but if you were there you would understand) Grilled Mediterranean Chicken. Smothered in goat cheese, resting on a bed of Asian vegetables and chickpeas and finessed with pomegranate molasses this is delicious personified!

So all and all, even though plans were changed at the last minute this turned out to be a fantastic night. I guess the best laid plans are plans that weren't really laid at all!

Oh and I almost forgot, like the good lil' lady in training that I am I skipped over dessert at the restaurant but made myself a yummy bowl of Banana, Peanut Butter and Coffee soft serve when I got home.

Cuz that, my friends, is how I roll...

So tell me, what yummy dish have you discovered lately? If it's homemade and you blogged about it, leave me a link won't ya??