9/6/11

Just a friendly reminder....

Hi friends! I hope you had a fantastic Labor Day long weekend and were so busy having fun that you are just catching up on blog reading now..

So in case you missed it, Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans moved and can now be found here.

If you have a link (G-reader, blogroll etc) don't forget to update that too!


Thanks for reading!!
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9/2/11

Health, Happiness and Skinny Jeans has moved!



Hey there! Thanks for dropping in but Health, Happiness and Skinny Jeans has a new home. Click here to be redirected.

Don't forget to update your reader, blogroll, favorites, links etc so you can continue to take part in all the fun!

New URL: http://healthhappinessandskinnyjeans.com/

So come on over to the new site; you'd miss out on all this if you don't.....


Who wouldn't miss this face?


Thanks for reading but seriously, go there now!


Sam, xoxoxo





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9/1/11

Under Construction

Hi friends! I am in the middle of a transferring this little blog of mine to Wordpress. Bear with me...I am the least tech savvy person on the planet.

Hopefully I'll be back online blogging on the new improved http://healthhappinessandskinnyjeans.com/ very soon!!!
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8/31/11

I'm an Addict and I Had No Idea

Could you have a problem with addiction and not even know it?

If you are like me you are probably thinking that addicts always know that they are dependent.They may not want to admit it but on some level they know.

Except that I had no idea.

Ok, I knew I had a strong like for it. That I really, really enjoyed it. That I gravitated to it often. But addict? Me? Seriously?

Yup! The truth is that I am in fact an addict: A sugar addict.






Hold on..hear me out. Sugar addiction is completely legitimate. Don't believe me, why not ask the rats who went a little off the rails after having their intake of sugar cutoff over at Princeton U?  A bunch a wacked out rodents is enough to prove any theory don't you think?

Alright, if that's not enough to convince you, then you can also ask me. (Here's hoping that I am more reliable that a furry pest)

Since making the change to a clean diet (aka saying goodbye to refined sugar and its cousin the artificial sweetener) 5 days ago I have experienced all the tell tale symptoms of a legitimate withdrawal including:

  • dull headache
  • fatigue/lethargy
  • weakness
  • cloudy thinking

At first I thought it was all in my head and figured it would pass within a day but after 120 hours with no reprieve I figured I'd better do some research.

Survey says: It's completely common to experience these symptoms (and more) when there is an extreme reduction in sugar from your diet.

Huh..well at least I know I am normal right?

The scariest part of all of this is that for 29 years and 3 months I have been feeding my body a substance that causes this much backlash when it's suddenly taken away. Worse then that is I called it a substance-not a food, not a vitamin, not a supplement-  without thinking twice and yet I readily ingested daily! Ummm ....yikes!!






Now to be fair I am still getting naturally occurring sugars in the form of fruit and honey. Yet, without that white stuff my body seems to want to go into perpetual nap mode. That's not good. In fact, it is so NOT good that it has only served to reinforce why I needed to make the switch.

If we look at how unnecessary sugar is (zero nutritional benefit) and how much damage it can lead to (cavities, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and some cancers) why would I wait another day? Yes it sucks to be this tired. Yes the timing is bad given that my marathon training requires a huge amount of energy right now. Yes I secretly want frozen yogurt every hour on the hour. But none of that is important enough to deny that I owe myself the health benefits of getting off it right freakin' now.

After all the first step is admitting to the problem. Now it's time to kick it to the curb.

Don't get me wrong. I am not presuming that I will be 100% sugar free for life. Given the prevalence of sugar in this society and how damn good the stuff tastes, there is a guaranteed chance I will indulge at some point. That said, it will be a very limited indulgence on a rare occasion, if for no other reason than I really don't want to do this "detox" thing ever again!!

So where does that leave me? Tired and with a headache but also believing I am doing the right thing for my body. Now if you need me I won't be eating ice cream but I might be taking a nap...



So tell me, how big of a role does sugar play in your diet? Have you ever tried to cut back or eliminate it? What happened?



*Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert. The opinions in this (and every) post are based on my own experience and circumstance. Please consult with a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle.


 
 
 
 
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8/30/11

Ending It



When I first met you everything seemed so amazing! Anything was possible! You and I were meant to be!

I thought we'd be together for a long time-forever was a real possibility back then.

It just seemed right.

Until it didn't.

Did you change or was it me? Or maybe neither of us did. Maybe we are the same as we always were and our incompatibility was overlooked because of infatuation and hope.

I thought we could reconcile after our first separation and I tried my best to start over but there is something that just doesn't work about you and me.

Truthfully I feel better without you.

Truthfully you've already been replaced.

And you know what, I know you are probably pretty close to perfect- that many others will love you- you're just destined for someone else. Someone who will appreciate you to your full potential. Someone who isn't like me.

You make me obsessive. You made me make poor choices. You make me a little bit nuts.

I hate that and I refuse to live like that and that is why I have to go.

Thanks for the time we had. For what its worth I learned a lot about me from you. That is valuable and will never be forgotten. You changed me and who I am today because and in spite of you is something pretty great.

I wish you nothing but the best and I have no hard feelings.

I'd say we should be friends but that never works. Instead I will just admire you from a far.

Take care,

Sam





It's official, I have broken off my relationship with My Fitness Pal. It's for the best and the split was amicable. We're both doing fine.



So tell me, what bad for you habit have you broken up with lately?


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8/29/11

Eating Clean: A Lifestyle Not a Diet

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert. The opinions in this (and every) post are based on my own experience and circumstance. Please consult with a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle.


I have many philosophies for how I want to live my life but in the end they all boil down to one thing:

 I want to live my best life as my best self.

On the surface many might think that I am on track-perhaps in many ways I am-yet I have always had the nagging feeling that I could be doing better. That there is a piece of the puzzle that is missing, or at the very least, that doesn't quite fit yet

As a firm believer that you get out of life what you willing to put in it I have also begun to seriously apply that to food as well: You can only expect your body to give what it gets.

In other words, you are what you eat, which you've heard here before. Except that along with filling the ol' proverbial tank with spinach and whole grains I also load it up with sugar and refined flour and empty simple carbs.

Bottom line: This project gets a "Need Improvement"

Enter Eating Clean, otherwise known as the way I plan to improve my life from the inside out.

Let me explain....

What is Eating Clean?

Simply put, I define eating clean as eating those foods that modern day humans are meant to eat... naturally. Sure there are arguments that our cave dwelling ancestors ate a certain way and that we such mimic that style but in all honesty I am a firm believer that evolution has matured our nutritional needs as well.

That being said our bodies perform in the most optimal way when given foods that are as close to the earth as possible. Skip the processing and the preservatives because frankly its probably killing you anyway.

Dramatic? Yes, but with good reason. Eating habits are literally a matter of life or death. I choose life.

You can also find a great definition of eating clean here. Then again, I think the sheer nature of the habit allows for everyone to define it for them self and use that definition to apply it to there own lifestyle which is a really great thing.






What Can't You Eat When "Eating Clean"?

Honestly, I don't see this as a restrictive "can" and "can't" kind of deal. There are many things that you should refrain from because they simply aren't beneficial and/or are detrimental to your well being.

As a part of my interpretation I plan to avoid:

refined sugars
refined white flour, pasta and rice
alcohol
saturated fats
artificial sweeteners
preservatives





What Will You Eat Then?

That's a much longer list but I'll give it a try:

Eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and pasta, brown rice, lean poultry, fish, low fat dairy, legumes, seeds and nuts, quinoa, tofu

That's a lot and I am betting I missed a few things. Needless to say, I won't be going hungry.


Where Did You Learn About This Diet?

First, let me clarify that I am hesitant to call it a diet. Instead I choose to view it as a lifestyle or eating habits. The idea of diets have negative connotations and in many cases are viewed as unsustainable. This is meant to be the way I am able to eat now and for always.

I learned about the principles of eating clean through various sources including The Gracious Pantry website and Tosca Reno's The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged. I have also been fortunate to meet very educated people who are well informed on this topic and have and will continue to provide me with guidance along the way.






If Its Not a Diet Then I Guess You Don't Plan to Lose Weight?

I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope to lose weight or that I didn't expect to. The truth of the matter is I have weight to lose. The intention of the change is not solely based on weight loss though. It's meant to overhaul my health and wellness. The weight loss will come naturally once I am able to adopt better eating habits over a period of time.

Aren't You Starving?

Actually I feel the opposite of starving. Since I kick started this a few days ago I am comfortably full and satisfied after meals without feeling stuffed or bloated. The idea is to eat often (five or six mini meals a day) to keep your blood sugar and appetite stable. I also find that when I start to fell a little hungry its time for another meal anyway.






Wait, You Eat More Often and Hope to Lose Weight?

Yes. The food I will be eating is wholesome and nutrient dense as opposed to full of empty calories and fat. My portions are reasonable and my body will keep functioning at optimal levels, meaning not freaking out and storing fat in fear of famine (which happens when I am too restrictive) or as a reaction to a sugar induced insulin spike (which seems to happen the rest of the time).


Does That Mean You'll Never Eat Another Cupcake?

Hell no! The point of this is to be sustainable and I know that if I set such extreme boundaries I would inevitably break the rules and binge on donuts after a week. So I will eat cupcakes again, just once and a while. When the situation really calls for a cupcake.


Can You Tell Me More?

Yes, but another time. First I want to actually live it before I begin fanatically spreading the word-at least more then I already have. But let me say this; I am really excited about this. For the first time I feel passionate about a "diet plan" and not because I hope to ft into a dress or shed 10lbs but because I truly believe this way of eating is the ticket for me to be healthier and happier in so many ways. It just makes sense to me and I am stoked to see the results as they become more and more evident.

I plan to keep you posted so stay tuned.....


PS: The photos I included are just a few examples of the amazing "clean" eats I have enjoyed over the past three days. Yum right??!


So tell me, have you ever heard of "eating clean"? What do you think? What's one thing you would hate to give up?

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8/28/11

Marathon Training Week 12: Run this City

As I write this I am listening to a crazy wind storm outside my window, which has me thinking about all those people on the east coast of Canada and the USA and hoping that they (you) are staying safe during this crazy hurricane/tropical storm. This kind of weather is no joke!

Crossing my fingers that it is over soon!


On a separate note, here's a look at how my training went last week:

Monday: Cycle Pump (75min)
Tuesday: 5km run
Wednesday: 5km run
Thursday:  Spinning (30min) Strength training (30min)
Friday: Hot yoga (75 min)
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 18km run

Total distance ran: 28km


Here's what I learned.... about running in the city:

There are tons of things in Toronto to look at and see and running without music is a lot easier then I thought. Two of my three runs (including my long run) were iPod free and I really enjoyed it. I will bring music to the marathon but only revert to it if I really need to.

Running into downtown is kind of amazing. Yes its a net downhill and so obviously my favorite thing ever, but the view is a close second. Toronto just looks cool, you know?




Training for a marathon is tough when there are traffic lights and crazy, maniacal people pulling out of driveways and making blind left hand turns. You have to be alert and be prepared to stop more often then planned. Following your training plan is important but so is not getting hit and actually being able to attend the race.

City layout is like a built in race, at least as far as water stations are concerned. Its not free but its actually cold and comes in a portable container.




Cities are full of lots of people which also means lots of other runners, which serves as a great motivation. Its hard to slack off on a downhill when someone speeds past you going up the damn thing!

Once you are done with all your crazy running business you can also "run" errands because everything you need is right there. Other patrons may not appreciate my stinkiness but I am all about efficiency and they will just have to accept that.




Secret: If I could pick any other city to run in it would be New York, mostly because I desperately want to run in Central Park. Until then, Toronto has got my heart!

Not to sound all mob boss on ya, but I'm proud to say I run this city!


So tell me , what's your favorite city and why?

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8/27/11

Blogger Date @ Live Food Bar

Today was such an exciting day for me! Not only did I get to try a new restaurant and have a fabulous lunch on a patio on a beautiful summer's day but I did it with some amazing Toronto bloggers.

Perfection






The super sweet Danielle of Body by Nature organized this little get-together at Live, which is a local organic vegan raw food restaurant. Quite the mouthful huh?

Thankfully that mouthful was of delicious food!

The menu was full of so many tasty sounding dishes it was really hard to choose. I landed on a salad (which was soooo good!) but secretly wanted a taste of everyone else's food too (Tacos, waffles and wraps...oh my!)







If you've got doubts about raw vegan food being good you need to try this place- I promise it will change your mind for good!

The only thing better than the food at this place was the company. I've said it before but I love spending time with other bloggers. It's like getting together with old friends who know you, support you and just "get" you. The conversation flowed from the minute we sat down and before I knew it two and a half hours had flown by.






Truthfully I could have stayed and chatted for another three hours and had dinner there too. We talked about so many different things (raw food, blogging, running) and barely scratched the surface of everything we could have discussed.

All that really means is that another meet up is in order for the very near future. Any excuse to chat with these ladies and try those tacos is good by me!



So tell me, how did you spend your Saturday?
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8/26/11

Feature Friday- Runners part 6

Well look at that, it's Friday again and not only am I excited about the weekend, hot yoga, a blogger meetup and a long run that I intend to dominate BUT its also Feature Friday and that pretty much makes its a perfect day, wouldn't you say?

This week we've got two more fabulous ladies with super inspiring stories to tell, so enough from me already!

Mary- Mommy on the Run

Mary has been running for the better part of the last fifteen years, but is just getting back into the swing of things after being interrupted by injury and new motherhood. She blogs over at Return of the Runner  about running, writing, mothering, and trying to balance it all.




When did you start running and what inspired you to start?


I first started running in high school as conditioning for my other sports, tennis and crew. I toyed with the idea of trying out for the cross country team, but never considered myself a "real" runner back then so stuck with the sports I knew I was good at. I don't think I considered myself a real runner until I finished my first half-marathon when I was 31 years old, even though I'd been running on and off for years by then.
 
 
What top 3 things do you love most about running?


I love that it can be done anywhere. I travel a lot for work, and mostly to developing countries. If I insisted on having an elliptical machine or a tennis court to be able to get my workout in, I'd spend a lot more time watching crappy satellite TV in hotel rooms.


I love that even if you half-ass a run, you still end up getting a pretty good workout in. You can go to an aerobics class and leave without breaking a sweat if you aren't in the mood to give it your all. But even if you normally run five, eight-minute miles and you slack off and only run three, ten-minute miles, you're still doing something good for yourself.


I love the way I feel when I'm done.


What is one obstacle you overcame to become a stronger runner?



Well, I don't know if I'm a stronger runner yet, but I'm on my way... I ran a half marathon when I was pregnant with my son (along with a sign on my back that said, "If you can read this, you're slower than a pregnant woman." heehee.) and by the end of it, even though I'd definitely trained enough for it, my knee was aching. By the next day I could barely walk. Either because of the extra weight I was carrying, or because of the way pregnancy hormones effect your tendons, I'd given myself a bad case of ITB syndrome (runner's knee). I've battled it ever since. Between the ITB syndrome and being a new mother, my running took a nosedive in the past couple years. But I've recently recommitted and am signed up for a 5K on 8/27 and a 10K in October.

The reason these setbacks have made me a stronger runner is that they've made me have to fight to be a runner. I used to say, "Anyone can be a runner. You just put one foot in front of the other." But overcoming these obstacles has made me more proud of my status as a runner and that motivates me to stick with it.

 
 
What's your favorite running memory?



Running my first half marathon with my two best friends and my husband. It was such a sense of accomplishment and I'm so glad I shared the experience with them.



Would you rather be able to run 5km really quickly or 50km at a slow and steady pace?


I'd say because I'm not a fast runner and never have been, that running a 5K in under 20 minutes is a fun daydream to have!
 
 
 
What's one tip you would give to a new runner or someone coming back after a break?


Remember that running is like life: There will be good runs and there will be bad runs. Accept that. Enjoy the good runs and brush off the bad ones. Either way, you're only as good as your next run.
 
 
 
 
 
Briana- Nurse on the Go!
 
Briana is originally from Michigan and currently lives in Indiana with my husband of 3 years and their goldendoodle. She keeps busy as a family nurse practitioner and works at the local hospital in town in internal medicine.  When she isn't running and keeping people healthy she likes traveling, reading, blogging, wine, sweets, gossip mags, sunshine, hugs, and family time. You can catch her over at Nurse with a Purse.
 
 
 
 
When did you start running and what inspired you to start?


I grew up playing sports like softball and lacrosse. I was always able to sprint well, but distance running never came naturally. It wasn't until winter 2009 that I decided to (wo)man up and sign up for my first 5K. I was inspired by my friend, Amy, a running superhero in my mind (hey, anyone who runs sub 4-hr marathons is unbelievable; and especially a 3.5!). I did nearly all of my training on the treadmill and followed no specific training schedule. I just got out there and ran. I felt completely unprepared at the start, but found myself dashing down the strip and back in 27:30, light years faster than I had ever imagined. I didn't even get a medal and I was hooked. I love Amy for giving me the running bug!
 
 
What keeps you motivated to run?


I'm extremely happy with the way I feel both mentally and physically since I've become a runner, so maintaining that is a huge motivator. Also, just being a part of the online running community keeps me on track. I've started this new thing via Twitter where I recruit "virtual training" buddies (#virtualtraining). Interested friends and I set up a time and date that we both plan to be running/exercising and make a point to follow up with each other once we're done! It keeps us both accountable for our workouts, especially when it's the last thing we may feel like doing. Shoot me a tweet if you're interested!
 
Are you training for any races at the moment?



Yes! My first marathon will be the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on 10.9.11. I also have the unbelievable privilege to be raising money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and Team in Training in honor of my late grandmother. She battled hard against her fight with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and so it's only fitting for me to do the same. Only my battle will be on the pavement. I couldn't be more excited to be a part of this amazing organization. Please take a moment to visit my TNT fundraising page here. Go Team!!
 
 
 
 
What is your favorite distance to run?


So far I have completed 6 half marathons, so I'd have to say that is my preferred distance. Ask me again on 10.10.11 after 26.2. Then again, don't :)
 
 
What top 3 things do you love most about running?


The mental clarity it provides.

The fact that I can pick up wherever I am and just go.

Buying new gear! ["I have an addiction, sir!" ~ Carrie Bradshaw]
 
 
What's one tip you would give to a new runner?


I think you'll hear this from a lot of people, but the biggest obstacle to overcome is just getting out there and running. Thomas Jefferson once said "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today." It's the absolute truth. If you don't make yourself run today, what is going to change by tomorrow? Nothing. To some of us (ahem, me), running doesn't come naturally. Luckily, everyone was born to run. It's just about training your body to do it and do it well. Believe me, the benefits you'll reap are beyond imaginable. I never thought I would be in the physical or mental condition to be training for a full marathon. But here I am, just over 6 weeks away from 26.2 miles. And I couldn't be more excited!




Even if you aren't a runner I can't imagine not being inspired to lace up after reading about these awesome gals!!


If you want to be featured in the Runner Series all you have to do is email health.happiness.skinnyjeansATgmail.com. And remember, this is about runners on all levels so whether you are brand new and working on your first C25K or you've completed an Ironman, we want to hear from you!!!




Happy Friday my friends!!


So tell me, are you doing anything super exciting this weekend? Do tell!

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8/24/11

Work It Out Wednesday (WIOW) and a 60 Day Countdown

After waking up pretty grouchy and dealing with one issue after another at work I decided that today's workout needed to be a quick but challenging 5km run. After a long day and mixed emotions when it comes to running I figured pounding out a 3 miler would do my mind some good.





Mission accomplished.

I also spent a part of my limited free time today thinking strategy when it comes to the marathon. With 60 days (OMG!) to go I want to make sure that I am as mentally prepared as physically because something tells me this is going to be a test of my wits as much as my strength and endurance.

Here's the deal:

It's a marathon so it's 26.2 miles or 42 kilometres. That's an insane amount of distance and I don't really want to think about it- at least not in those terms.



I'd rather break this bad boy into parts.

We start in the good ol' U-S of A and complete the first 6 miles there. That's the first objective: Just get home to Canada. Like it or not I can't quit for at least that distance because the Boyfriend doesn't have a valid passport and can't rescue me when I call him with a fake injury.

Next point of interest is that after the first 6 miles, the water stations are only a mile apart. Given that I have been training with 10 and 1s anyway and I walk through water stations as a general rule, this will divide the rest of the race up quite nicely.

If you are not quite following along, the plan is to run to each station (which ideally will take about 10 minutes anyway) then walk through the stations, thereby avoiding the almost inevitable water spillage and or choking hazard trying to run through them would cause.




Now, as far as fueling is concerned my body likes gels and Clif Bloks and does not like most liquid fuels (aka: Gatorade, eLoad etc) So the plan is to drink water and consume the electrolytes via the food-like stuff. I will take the first dose at the 50 minute mark and then another 1/2 every 40 minutes. All told that's about 4 gels total (assuming I stick to gels).

Given that I need water shortly after a gel and don't want to be weighed down by a hydration belt, I will probably change this up a little when I am out there. I will probably also make the Boyfriend bring me Cherry Blasters but that's just because I'll use any excuse to eat candy.

As for race attire I am thinking cropped pants and layers on top. The weather for the end of October is typically crisp in the mornings with increasing temps through the day. Seeing as I will be running for hours and hours and hours (and hours and hours) I will need to be prepared for an increase in air and body temperature. Clothes won't actually break up the race for me  but I kinda promised myself my first pair of Lulu pants for the occasion so I guess it can't hurt either right?!

So here it is; I've got eight weeks, which means 7 more long runs to practice all this genius planning and tweak it if necessary. Since I am not even remotely willing to risk having another race like last weekend, I am definitely sticking to the old "nothing new on race day" advice.

I'm determined to rock this so let the countdown begin!!


So tell me, what advice do you have for this rookie marathoner?
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8/23/11

Dating a Healthy Living Blogger (Guest Post)


Have you ever asked yourself what it's like to be on the other side of the "healthy living blogger" coin? To be a part of that life without directly living it day in and day out?

Well tonight you are about to find out.

If you've been around for a while (or even a few days) you've heard me mention The Boyfriend, otherwise known as my biggest fan. He has watched me transform my life over the last two years and has bravely endured the ups, downs and in betweens along the way.

Here's a closer look at what it's like to be my other half (bless his heart!)




So you are dating a healthy living blogger huh? How has that affected you and your lifestyle?

For the most most part its been really positive. I eat better now, I am starting to get back to my old active self and thanks to reading her daily posts my reading skills have gone way up! (I'm kidding...well, sort of) I've even caught myself contemplating my own food choices which is not something I ever did before. My dinner plate actually has vegetables on it as opposed to three different kinds of red meat and while I miss the abundance of steak I can safely say that my cholesterol levels welcome the change!!


Is there any part of her healthy lifestyle that you find particularly challenging or annoying?

I find it a little challenging to reconcile the results that she produces with her expectations. I want her to be happy with her accomplishments but sometimes she is too hard on herself and overlooks those things because she is focusing on what  she could have done better. Its annoying to see her do so much and not have the same level of pride that I do. I would be overjoyed if I could run a 5k at this point and yet she sometimes forgets how far she has come and how amazing it is that she can.


What do you like best about someone who has such a focus on her health and well being?

I love the dedication to enjoying life. I recognize that happiness and health play a huge role in living life to the fullest and I am glad that she takes these steps every single day. In a way, its kind of contagious. When she's happy I'm happy (as they say, happy wife, happy life right?)

I really like that we can go for a hike or a bike ride together and that I know she enjoys it. She even helped me build a fire pit and its awesome that she's not shy to get a little sweaty or dirty.





Tell us the truth, do you really like going to races and being a cheerleader? How about conversations about running/blogging/health trends?

Ok to be honest going to races and cheer leading are still "shoes I am trying to break in", shall we say. 6am Saturdays and Sundays can be difficult, to say the least. On the flip side I have been known to catch a little of that game day buzz and its exciting as well. I do worry about how demanding she can be of herself ..."I could have sworn she said this was fun for her!". And as dumb as it might sound I worry about injury. I quit hockey because I couldn't afford to hurt myself anymore. Running 10, 15, 21, 30, 42 kilometres? I am tired and sore just thinking about it. I just want her to be safe...and all in one piece!

The conversations about blogging, running and health trends are a little over my head. While I admire it, I can't quite grasp the punishment runners put themselves through. I am learning a lot about how to stay on top of things with my own diet and physical maintenance from it, which is a bonus! And she doesn't give me too hard of a time when my eyes glaze over during some of the more random blogging stories...I guess that's because hers do the same during hockey talk. Now trying to keep her blog friends and her "real life" friends straight? That's a whole other story...


What is one piece of healthy living advice you wish she would take from you?


The only advice I dare give out is hydrate (Sam, go drink some water...like now ok?) AND don't be so hard on yourself. Take pride in the incredible things you have accomplished and the goals that you have set for yourself, always looking to improve.


Do you plan to take up running, yoga or spinning after hearing so much about it?


Running and spinning are too hard on my old knees. I may try Yogurtys some day....wait, you said yoga right?? Errr......



What is your favorite healthy meal that she forces  encourages you to eat?

I really like vegetarian chili and homemade pasta sauce which are both remarkably good despite the lack of meat of any kind *tear*






What words of encouragement/support do you want to share with her and all healthy living bloggers like her right now?


The only encouragement I have for all of you, and I am no rocket scientist, is ...go drink some water!! Oh, and keep up the good work because you frickin' rock!!

Sam: You inspire me and have no doubt already added back years to my life by saving me from my own appetites. As a wise man once said "the significance of our lives is derived from our own wisdom and courage". You have both those qualities in spades. I am proud of you and I love you.

P.S, go drink some frickin' water!!!




So tell me, how do the fans in your life help support your healthy life style





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8/22/11

Rebound

"Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you travelled from where you started"

After writing yesterday's post I had the chance to reflect further on running, the race and whether I ever want to lace up my sneakers and hit the pavement ever again.

Dramatic? Yes. A bad race will do that to you.

The answer: I do, with a but. I do but want it to feel good. And not good as in my feet and legs don't hurt at all at the end of this marathon but good as in I am content, positive, accomplished.

Am I afraid that the marathon will go as poorly as Saturday? You bet your ass I am. And with forty two kilometres and months of training on the line I am also concerned (and convinced) that, come October 23, a bad marathon will spell the end of running for this girl.

So, with two months to go before the big day what am I supposed to do other than over analyze and fret about more stomach cramps (or worse!)?

This..



Yup, I am the girl that cried her eyes out on the side of the road after dropping out of a race a mere 48 hours ago and who now signed up for a 1/2 marathon in a month.

Am I crazy? Unless you are new to this blog you already know the answer to that.

Other than crazy I am also in need of redemption- a race that will reignite my passion for running and get me past the race anxiety that has come over me since the last two racing disasters.

No pressure though...

Realistically this isn't meant to be a PR setting race but instead a chance to have fun and enjoy the thrill of lining up at a start line with other people looking to cover the distance with a smile on their faces. To renew the woo, if you will.

Deep down, under all the doubt and disappointment I believe I still like running. Somewhere along the line I just forgot.






Despite evidence to the contrary, these are difference that can be reconciled

Can't you feel the love?







So tell me, how do you get over a disappointment? Do you believe you should hop back on the proverbial horse right after you fall off?
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8/21/11

Marathon Training Week Eleven- When It All Falls Apart

This is not the post that I wanted to write. I've had to write one like this before-hated it then, hate it even more now.  But if there is one thing that I have learned along the way its that sometimes when you have to emotionally dig deep, there is a lesson to be learned. A lesson which was learned the hard way, as many good lessons are.

Before I jump into it, here's a look at last week's training:

Monday: Cycle Pump (1hour 15min)
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 5km run
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 22km run
Sunday: Recovery

Total Distance Ran: 29km

Here's the story:

Sometimes you can do everything right, like for-going the third drink at the wedding, scaling back on training during a taper, drinking lots of water and getting a lot of rest and things can still go terribly, terribly wrong.

I went into the MidSummer Night's Run with the most humble of intentions: to finish the run.

30km, especially given my training thus far, is a force to be reckoned with. And like anything of that magnitude I had the utmost respect. I did not expect it to be easy. I thought I was prepared.

500 metres into the race it became obvious that my body did not agree.

Extreme abdominal cramping like I have never felt before.

Despite my best effort to push through it and control my breathing I had to drop to the side and try to catch my breath. Less than half a kilometre into the race and I was already walking. Not a good sign.

It was humid- that kind of humid that amasses before a storm and makes the air feel thick. That kind of humid that it even worse then beating sun, which would have been a welcomed alternative.

I tried my best to maintain my speed and keep up with the pace group but I was over taken by unavoidable cramping and had to let them go. My heart sunk as they gained more and more distance on me and I knew that I was struggling more then I could have imagined.

It was only the sixth kilometre.

I pushed when I could, tried to steady my breath and pull air deep into my diaphragm but the emotional damage had been done. I was feeling defeated and I wasn't even a third of the way in. Twenty two more kilometres might as well have been a thousand. Impossible is impossible whichever way you look at it.

Text message to the Boyfriend: "I can't do this"

I plodded on for another twenty minutes seriously considering dropping out. I knew I was about to see the Boyfriend and desperately wanted it to be over. Until I didn't. I managed to get into a steady, albeit slow, pace and the cramping had partially subsided and I started to believe that I maybe, just maybe I could do it.

I wanted to believe it.

When I reached the Boyfriend I ditched my running belt, waved off what was supposed to be a "look how happy I am to be running this race" photo and plodded on. The next leg of the race was a gruelling out and back on a thin slice of land with no option to give up. It was exactly what I needed and the worse thing possible all at the same time.

The cramping returned in full force after only a kilometre. The water on the course was warm. The breeze was thick and hot. I was completely miserable.

I pushed when I could, wanting to keep running and becoming increasingly frustrated because I couldn't. I didn't even need to regain my original pace- all I wanted was to finish the race. Nothing is more infuriating then willing your body to cooperate and coming up empty.

The time on the Leslie St. Spit seemed endless. I was tired, disappointed, in pain, hot and confused. I was running south for what seemed like forever and grew more weary as the minutes ticked by. How far could I possibly have left to go before the turnaround? How was I so far behind the pace group who had passed me on their way back? There was no way I would make it to the 21km checkpoint before the cutoff. I was done.

Except I had turned without even realizing it. And that realization was so small but yet big enough to renew my hope that however slowly it would be, I'd get through it.

Until the pain mounted again and I was forced to jog so slowly that I was being passed by speed walkers. I couldn't speed up and I was too panicked by the time to slow down. 135 minutes of pain and I wasn't anywhere near the finish line that I so desperately craved.

I wanted to cross that finish line more then anything in the world at that moment.

Tears started to flow. I was so angry and so frustrated that I couldn't help it. Eleven more kilometres seemed so impossible. I tried to tell myself that I had already made it nineteen but I didn't need reminding. The heavy ache in my legs was enough to know that I had come that far. And that going the rest of the way would be more rough then I could really imagine.

Pain in my abdomen. Pain in my chest. Pain in my legs and feet.

And then the hardest thoughts crept it. "Just quit. This is torture. No one should put themself through this"

I wanted to fight those thoughts and I did my best but at 21 kilometres and the news that the water station had run out of water I gave in. Even my walking had slowed down. I had ignored the sign to stick to the right and just kept trudging ahead, tired and crying and wanting to be away from this race, this nightmare.

I saw the Boyfriend, who had come to look for me when he realized something must be wrong, and bawled my eyes out. I heaved and sobbed for every step I had taken that was now for nothing. I wasn't finishing the race. I was giving up. I was a quitter.

But, and its a big but, I realized that I am not a quitter at all.

I did not finish the race but I endured more of a  physical struggle and mental challenge then I have ever gone through. For three hours of my life I fought through pain, discomfort and a gauntlet of negative emotion because I was determined not to let it go unless I absolutely had to.

At 8:30 last night I had to.

I am disappointed that I didn't complete the race, that I don't have a shiny medal to hang with the rest of them but I also know, as I sit here with sore legs and tell the story I didn't want to tell, that I had the courage to start and that means something.

I could choose to focus on the 8 kilometres I didn't run- the 8 that are the difference between a finisher's medal and a DNF- but instead I will focus on the 22 before that.

I can't get down on myself about 22 kilometres. Two years ago that distance was only a dream to me. And yesterday, however slowly, however begrudgingly, I covered the space against the odds that were against me.

I would have been proud if I had run a great race and gotten my PDR. But the absence of that milestone only means that I am proud in a different way.

I pushed myself when I could but I also recognized when going on was no longer an option. In the face of failure I decided I had another option: To not view not finishing as failure at all.

Will there be other races? Hopefully. But today isn't the day for me to make that decision. Today I will just try to forget the hurt but always remember the lessons that I learned the hard way.

Thank you for being there with me through this journey and this story.


So tell me, have you ever had to give on something that you wanted only to gain more from the defeat?
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8/20/11

A Wedding and Some Pre-Race Ramblings....

As I mentioned yesterday I had the honor of being a guest the wedding of a longtime friend of the Boyfriend's (who I also know from high school). It was a beautiful day for that kind of occasion and on top of being lucky to have one another, I'd say the happy couple had a lot of  good fortune on their side!



The bride and groom looked gorgeous and were glowing with love and happiness. Don't you just love how you can feel the adoration at a wedding? I think that is pretty much my favorite part!



Oh and the food. This was an Italian/Peruvian wedding so the food was in abundance and it was absolutely amazing!! Everything from the yummy anti-pasto bar to the incredible dessert table was fantastic and kudos to the banquet hall for providing the best vegetarian main course I have ever had at an event (eggplant Parmesan...to die for!!)



And because I am running a crazy long race today (hello 30km or as the Boyfriend says, the 30,000 metre dash!) I only had a martini and a beer and then chugged water for the rest of the night. The discipline I exerted with chocolate martinis floating around every was astonishing!

The sweet table is another story. That was carb loading though *wink*



Speaking of the race, as I sit here typing this I am 5 hours away from the start time and starting to get that mix of excitement/nervousness. Thoughts running through my head are ranging anywhere from:


  • What the heck do I eat before a night race??
  • Holy sh*t its hot out there today!
  • 30km? Am I really running this??
  • 30km, I am totally running this!!
  • I wonder if the Boyfriend will bring me Cherry Blasters at the 20km mark??

The afternoon is going to be spent relaxing, trying to get some easily digested carbs into my body and packing for the race. I am pretty picky about that last one because there is nothing worse then getting to a race and realizing you forgot something (and with how nervous I get I wouldn't be surprised if I forgot shoes!!)


Next time we meet I will have a story to tell one way or the other. Fingers crossed that its a happy tale of a great race experience and a new PDR.

Wish me luck!!

(Also running the race are Cynthia and Aneta...go wish them luck too while you are at it!)



So tell me, what's your favorite part of a wedding? Are you running any races this weekend or coming up soon?
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8/19/11

Feature Friday- Runners part 5

Today is a very exciting day for me. Not only is it Feature Friday (!!) but I am off work because I am getting ready to attend a wedding this afternoon. Another long weekend? Don't mind if I do!

This week I have please to showcase another hometown (Toronto) girl, so let's get to it!!


Laura - Scribbles and Sass


Laura is the ultimate firecracker. When she isn't busy being an ever-so-charming-sassy-pants she enjoys yoga, zumba, running, and any other type of fun fitness she can shake her booty to. Her fitness routine got a big wrench thrown in it last year when she suffered an ankle injury and forgot how to walk for a bit. Fun and games aside, she really loves fun and games. Check out her shenanigans at www.scribblesandsass.com or on Twitter @LaurBridge
 
 
 
When did you start running and what inspired you to start?


I started running in University while part of the cheerleading team. Before each practice we would take a spin around the track - I was looking at the basketball players - or through the stadium - I was looking at the football players - To keep my cardio up I ran on off days in between weight workouts.



What is one obstacle you overcame to become a stronger runner?


I'm still trying to overcome this one. About 15 months ago I shattered my ankle, just tore the thing to shreds. It was really disheartening because I was in pretty good shape, and was on track with my fitness. Because an ankle is such a vital joint to running it has been a hard and slow and long recovery to get me back onto the road.


What's your favorite running memory?


This is going to make me sound like an absolute Looney Tune, just stick with me. I run with my Nike+ kicks and sensor that hooks up to my iPod. It tracks how far and how fast I run and keeps it in nifty little charts. I was booking it one day and ran 6km in just over 30mins. I was so jacked up. I had never run that fast (and never have again) I got off the treadmill and was heading toward the water fountain when through my earbuds I heard: "Hi, I'm Tiger Woods - congratulations on running your fastest mile." I had no idea that this program did this...I may have lost it in the gym.



Are you training for any races at the moment?


Just training to run, not training to race.



What's your favorite way to refuel post-run


I'm going to be a brand-whore here - but I'm loving the Gen UCAN Chocolate protein shake. It's great for recovery, is easy on the tummy and it's chocolate.




What's one tip you would give to a new runner or someone coming back after a break?


I'm going to stick with what I know and give advice on coming back from an injury. Take your time and make sure you are healed, youngin', it will probably be longer than you want it to be. After you get doctor's clearance, start with short distances, but push yourself and continue to be awesome!
 
 
 
How amazing is she huh?? I can't believe she lives so close and yet we've never met IRL....yet. I definitely need to hook up for a run or a drink or pretty much anything with this awesome lady!!
 
 
 
If you want to be featured in the Runner Series all you have to do is email health.happiness.skinnyjeansATgmail.com. And remember, this is about runners on all levels so whether you are brand new and working on your first C25K or you've completed an Ironman, we want to hear from you!!!



Happy Friday everyone!!!!


Countdown to my 30km race- 1 more day!



Have you ever had a major injury disrupt to your life for a while? What do you think about Friday weddings- love 'em or hate 'em? (I love 'em..extra day off ..wahoo!)
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8/17/11

Work It Out Wednesday-Easy 5k

Before we begin I should warn you that I am blogging from my iPhone in the car (passenger seat people!) I apologize in advance for the worse then usual spelling mistakes. I'm trying to be efficient since we are stuck in traffic, like it or not, so we will see how it goes.

Today's workout was an easy run with Cynthia. We are both getting over various ailments so we made it a recovery run and didn't concern ourselves with time or pace.

What a difference that made! We chatted and took little break when we needed them and before I knew it we were done!





That kind of run was exactly what I needed to boost my confidence for the race this weekend. It wasn't the fastest but it just felt good.

I've gotta say, I am very relieved!!

Hey 30km....bring it!


So tell me, how did you spend your lunch break today? What was your workout?



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8/16/11

Show Me the Money

This post is one that I have been pseudo writing in my head for a while. Truthfully, its been on my mind ever since this little addition to the site ------------------------------------------------>

Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn't or maybe you are a newer reader (welcome!) and don't know any different but to bring everyone up to speed I joined the Blogher Advertising Network over a month ago and am now amongst a growing group of outstanding women who contribute to some great content on the web.


Source


Not a bad affiliation huh?


It wasn't a decision that I came to lightly. The idea of turning my little blog into a potential money making venture has always been on my mind. I mean what blogger hasn't had the dream of quitting their day job to do something they are so passionate about for a living? Yet, something held me back from taking the next step towards the reality of even making a few extra bucks.

A few things actually.

Will I Be Seen as a Sell Out?

As my readership has grown (thank you all so much for that by the way) I have always done my very best to stay true to my original intention for this blog: To share my life; the good , the bad and the ugly, with everyone or nobody, in a creative and real way.

So would my decision to advertise change people's perception of that intention? Would my blog be viewed as a revenue opportunity for me rather then a place where I feel like I am part of a community of really amazing people who understand and support me?

Would I Have to Compromise the Mission of the Blog?

The requirement to fulfill certain content requirements has always made me shy away from certain ad networks. As an example, Foodbuzz is great for food bloggers who's content is naturally about food most of the time. That isn't me. I tried it and it just doesn't fit for me. So to have to blog about it would force me to provide content that is forced and that's not what this space is about. "I must blog about my boring breakfast" is not real to me. You don't want to see it and I don't want to share it. Its a win-win to leave it out. So no Foodbuzz for this gal.

Would the Ads Compromise the Integrity of the Blog (and me)?

I am sure there is lots of money to be made hocking diet pills, plastic surgery and  raunchy xxx-rated websites. Unfortunately for my bank account my integrity isn't for sale. I am not going to use my personal space on the web to promote something that goes against what me and my blog stand for. If those things are your thing, great! But its not mine and I don't want it on here. No judgement, just a personal choice that I needed to be able to make.

Would an Advertising Contract Restrict My Creativity?

While some networks require certain content, others may limit what a blogger can write about (product reviews and sponsored giveaways are two examples) I want to be free to write in the way that I always have (under my own guidelines and no one elses) so I couldn't take on a contract that would stifle me.

Would It Be Worth It?

Again, making money has it's obvious appeals. But putting up and running ads, working within certain stipulations and consistently monitoring the content of the ads to ensure that they are in line with the blog is a lot of work if I am going to make less than a $1 at the end of the month. I do this because I love it, I did and would continue to do it for free but if I am not making any money down come the ads and we can just resume out regularly scheduled programming.


Source

A girl can dream right?

Fortunately for me BlogHer offers me the ability to stay true to what I stand for and still open up some ad space. Making a bit of money without selling myself short? Works for me!

In truth what I would really love to do with some future earnings is finance a self-hosted blog on a nice, pretty (and costly) Wordpress theme. Long term, a trip to a blogger convention (like Las Vegas or HLS) would be simply amazing!

Blogging is by no means a get-rich-quick scheme nor do I need to every get even remotely wealthy to enjoy it and dedicate myself to it. The money is a bonus, because the true satisfaction I get from this is priceless.


If you want to read more on monetizing your blog check out Katy Widrick's great series on the subject.



So tell me, what do you think about ads on blogs?
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8/15/11

Am I Mid Summer's Night Dreaming?

Alright, it's official, I am running 30 "omigod have I lost my freakin' mind" kilometres this Saturday. That's right, The Mid Summer's Night Run will be completed as originally planned, or I'll die trying (which at this stage is also entirely possible)

You heard it here first.

So why all the "oh I hate running, it makes me so sad" whining to turn around and profess such a grand intention only a few days later?



What can I say...I'm fickle like that.

But seriously, it came down to a few things.

  • I hate going back on a plan, even if its a plan I made with myself. In all reality I could have probably stayed home and ate Doritos and that vast majority of the planet would have been none the wiser, but I would have known and been slightly judgmental about it. Can't let that happen...
  • I'm not ready to give up on running (see the point above) and I need to get my ass back in the game. What better way then a race with people who are all suffering  battling through the same challenges as me. And where The Boyfriend is waiting at the finish line, expecting me not to show up in a cab.
  • I paid for the race. I like money..a lot and thus, I am not cool with throwing it away. And $65 is a lot for a t-shirt and a mini stick of deodorant.
  • I want to finish it. I mean, I am not really jazzed about the 29 kilometres I'll trudge through to get there, but that last kilometre is gonna feel so sweet. And crossing the finish line? Magical!
  • When a Boston Qualified friend suggested that I drop down to the 15km option I really didn't want to. That was my gut talking, because believe me if I was looking for a solid out that would have been it.


So yeah, I've got a few days to mentally prepare and physically get my body in racing/super long run shape. That means limited caffeine, very little alcohol (I'm attending a wedding on Friday or I would say none) a small lake worth of water, wholesome food and good quality sleep.




Then all I need is a miracle and I should be good to go!


Wish me luck!

And hey, to my Toronto running friends: If you are doing this race let me know so I can look for you and say help me hello!!


So tell me, how do you know when to trust your gut and when to listen to advice?
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8/14/11

Marathon Training Week Ten- Considering Some Options

As I write this I am still battling a flu that hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday. Being down and out and once again unable to train for the marathon has given me a lot to think about with respect to running. While I haven't made any concrete decisions since writing this, I have been weighing some of my options.

First let's look at a run down of last week's training:

Monday: Cycle Pump (75 minutes)
Tuesday: Rest day
Wednesday: Triple Threat (20 min sprints, 20 minute strength circuit, 20 min spin sprints)
Thursday: Rest day
Friday: Spinning (50 min) Hot Yoga (60 min)
Saturday: Rest day
Sunday: Sick day

Total distance ran: 3km

Here's what's been on my mind:

I'm not caring for my body as well as I should. I definitely need to hydrate more, sleep better and stress less. Despite all the things I do to focus on health, I am lacking in three major areas.


One major reason that I don't like running these days is because I don't feel like I am getting better at it, at least not the way I hoped. Not training enough and failing to put water back into my body are not helping the cause at all. I need to get my act together if I am going to continue to do this.

I'm not sure if I want to run the 30km race I have planned for this Saturday. There may be the option to drop down to 15km and actually feel accomplished (and alive) at the end. But, on the other hand, if I run it I will set a PDR and hopefully renew my passion for this training program. Sure, it could also go in the other direction and I'll dislike running even more but at this point I'm not sure I have a lot to lose.


Running is hard for me and I really don't like when things are hard for me. It's another big reason why I am not improving and disliking it more and more each day. I compare myself to other runners and get frustrated that I am not as good as them; that I might never be as good. I know you are supposed to run for yourself but its hard to measure success without a gauge and unfortunately that barometer is other people sometimes.

Not everyone is meant to run a marathon. I am quite sure I am one of those people. Yet, because I signed up and committed to it I don't want to give up on it either. It's tough to decide whether giving up this dream is the best or worst idea for me. To be honest, I am not even sure it is a dream anymore. I've still got a lot of thinking to do on that one...


Thoughts this Week: It's funny that I expected marathon training to be physically tough but so far it's proven to be more of a mental/emotion challenge for me. If nothing else I will learn a lot about myself, which is one of the reasons that I signed up in the first place.


Well I'm off to drink about 17 litres of water and try to get a good night's sleep. If you need me I'll be in bed... or the bathroom.




So tell me, what is one thing you could do to improve your health right now? Do you like a challenge or would you rather do something you are good at?
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8/13/11

My Adventures in Moksha Yoga: Is It Hot in Here or is it Just Me??

Much to my extreme delight my work schedule has calmed down for the next few weeks as projects begin to wrap up and new ones don't kick off till the fall. Being somewhat of an opportunist, I decided that a miscellaneous vacation day was in order.

I mean, who doesn't love a long weekend for absolutely no reason right??

I started out my Friday with a trip to my favorite spin studio. This place is pricey and not exactly conveniently located, so the fact that I go there often is a testament to how much I love it!



Fifty sweaty but invigorating minutes later and I was ready for the next part of my day (Side note: don't you love getting your workout in early so you have the rest of the day to do anything you want!?)

Weeks and weeks ago I had purchased a WagJag for a 10-class package to hot yoga here in Toronto. Admittedly I had no clue what I was getting myself into, as I had never been before, but I'd heard so much about it and the price was too good to pass up ($40 for 10 is completely amazing right??)

Now because I had the rest of the morning and the whole afternoon free, and because "clean the apartment" has been lingering on the to-do list for a while, I decided to head to yoga and give it a try.




:Let's just say I was nervous. I am not a sauna/steam room kind of girl. In fact, a super hot shower can leave me nauseated and running for the exit. I made sure to hydrate (thanks to great advice on Twitter) and asked some questions beforehand to ease my uncertainties.

The instructor, who had been briefed that he had a newbie in his 12 o'clock class, was actually shocked that I was uneasy. His exact works were "What? You do all kinds of other things. You are in great shape. You'll be more then fine"

I'm in great shape says the yogi? Cool!




What, you don't practice in the change room before class? Weird....

Entering the studio , I thought "Hey, not too bad...warm but manageable" and proceeded to assume savasana and wait for class to begin.

Then the instructor came in and turned up the heat.

Uh oh.

Truthfully, I was more worried then I needed to be. It was a flow class so we moved through poses fairly quickly and while it was hot in there I actually felt pretty good. My muscles felt more limber and I felt like I was able to breathe deeper. (Yogis: Is this normal for hot yoga?)

Twenty minutes in and just as I had been warned, I was dripping with sweat. I was more soaked then I have ever been while running or spinning. It was dripping in my eyes, my towel was drenched and I was forming small puddles around the edge of the mat.

And I loved it.

If you know me, you know I love to sweat!

Class went on and while I new to this practice I felt like I got the hang of it. I felt strong and calm and could imagine the negative toxins dripping from my body. When I got a little dizzy (which I did twice) I just rested, drank water and resumed when I was ready. Not once did I feel the need to bolt from the room gasping for breath, as I had imagined I would.

And then before I knew it, the hour as up.

My thoughts post-class were: I love it, I want to do it again, boy am I thirsty, ow! my muscles are sore. In precisely that order.

I will most definitely be taking advantage of the other 9 classes and will probably incorporate it in my fitness routine after the package expires.

I love finding new ways to keep my body healthy and in this case, my mind as well. Hot yoga for the win!


So tell me, what's your favorite way to spend a day off work? Have you tried hot yoga? Did you love it too??
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8/12/11

Feature Friday: Runners part 4

Well what do you know..here we are at the end of another week and its time once again for Feature Friday!

Once again I have two fabulous women with truly inspiring running stories to share with you. But enough outta me; here they are!



Amanda- Because Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Amanda is one busy gal from Richmond, Va. When she isn't out training for her first marathon this fall, she bounces between two jobs, studying for her LSAT, hanging out with her adorable Chihuahua mix Daisy and planning her next travel adventure. She's gone from C25K to training for the Marine Corps Marathon, which she will complete with her running team/support system "The Fat and the Furious" on October 30th.




When did you start running and what inspired you to start?


I have always been overweight. I was a cheerleader in high school, but I was the largest and least athletic girl on the squad. I loved it though, but that was the extent of my athletics. I always said I would rather die than run. My motto was "I wouldn't run unless I was being chased, and even then, depending on what the person wants, they can just have it because I don't want to run!"

I graduated college and moved from Wisconsin to Virginia and found myself all alone and completely lazy. My parents came to visit for my 22nd birthday and we were at Monticello touring Thomas Jefferson's home...and I had to walk up this small hill. I was so out of breath. I was embarrassed and knew I had to make a change. I joined Weight Watchers and began running shortly after. Now when I say running, I use that term loosely. I began by using the Couch to 5K program and would "jog" for 30 seconds at a time. Eventually, I was able to complete my first 5K. I finished in 48 minutes and 46 seconds. Walkers were passing me. The cop car at the end of the race was right behind me. But I finished. It was the first time I had finished a 3.1 mile race and I was on top of the world. I didn't care that I was last, I had done something that I never thought I'd be able to do!


What is one obstacle you overcame to become a stronger runner?


Not giving up because I wasn't physically the typical runner. I have to work hard at it. I always will. I'm not a natural runner and I don't think I ever will be. But not giving up is something I have overcome. I want to walk, a lot, but I don't. One of my teammates even called me "Energizer" one day because no matter what, I just keep going.



What keeps you motivated to run?


My various running teams... The Fat and the Furious is my rock for this marathon training. My Aunt said it best, "Who knew a group of SLOW runners could become such FAST friends". It's true. 10 weeks ago, we were all strangers. And now, I don't know what I'd do without them. The man who even really pushed me into joining, has moved to New Orleans, but we all still keep in touch and plan to do the Marine Corps Marathon together still. Accountability by my running teams is what keeps me going!!


Do you have a running mentor or inspiration?

 Yes, my Aunt Lori.  She began running about 11 years ago and lost over 115 pounds in the past 11 years in the process.  She inspired me to begin running and we've done everything from 5K, 10K, half marathon, and now marathon training together




What's your favorite running memory?


Finishing the McDonalds Half Marathon last year with my Aunt Lori. We ran the entire race, step by step, side by side. At the end, we joined hands and ran across that finish line together. I immediately burst into tears because I couldn't believe what we had just accomplished.

 
What top 3 things do you love most about running?
  • the feeling when i finish...i feel so accomplished!
  • i love that its a solitary sport that i can also do with a team...everyone runs their own race
  • i can do it anywhere, any time, no excuses


Aneta- Checking It Off the Bucket List

Aneta is an avid runner from Richmond Hill, Canada who blogs over at www.runningbucket.com. She started the blog under the name Confessions of a Runner, but after a year,  decided to change the path of her blog and make it a big bucket list of her running goals. (You can check out that bucket list HERE.) Slowly, but surely, and with fierce determination she is making her way through all of it. When she isn't running she loves spending time with her loving boyfriend.






When did you start running and what inspired you to start?


I started running in the summer of 2008 after a big breakup with a boyfriend. My first run was just a few days after my breakup and it was one of the first things that I did after crying in bed for a few days. I remember this run very clearly. I had to go send the RSVP for my best friend's wedding and I told myself that if I can run to the post office without stopping, I can do anything. The post office is about a 1.5k from my parents' house and I made it all the way there. I did not stop, I did not take walking breaks....I just ran. When i got to the post office, I mailed the RSVP and sat on the ground in front and decided to run a race. And i did just that by running my first race - a Half Marathon in October 2008.


What's one running pet peeve or drawback?


With all the technology and gadgets, sometimes I forget to run for the love of running. I worry too much about pace and time and distance that I forget that I run because I can, and should enjoy it more!
 
What's your favorite running memory?


I have a few fave memories:

  • My first Half marathon - it was such a great accomplishment in a short time. I felt so proud and so strong, I felt like I could accomplish anything! I wore my race medal to work that whole week! haha 
  • Running a 5k with a friend - My friend, Just K, ran her first race ever in May 2010 and running beside her made me love the sport even more!
  • Walking a half marathon with the bf's sister - walking a half marathon might be harder then running one. But with good company and a camera in hand, it was a party!
  • Running my first Full Marathon - this day I will remember for the rest of my life. Despite the injury, the pain, the tears, the wall that i hit at mile 18 - it was sooooo worth it. And knowing that people were waiting for me at the end, was unbelievable and so motivational.

Are you training for any races at the moment?


I am currently training for a 30 K which is on Saturday, August 20th. and my big goal race is the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon on October 16, 2011 where I will try one more time to get that sub-2 hour time.
 
 
 
 
 
 
What is your favorite distance to run?


I like a nice 5 or 10 miler. (8-16 k). Its not too short where you have to sprint, but not long enough that you have to worry too much about too much training or nutrition during the race.
 
 
 
What's one tip you would give to a new runner or someone coming back after a break?


My one tip to a new runner would be to keep at it. Running is very simple, yet very complicated. Practice makes you better! You will get faster, you will get stronger and you will be able to run longer, I promise. But it all takes time. Walking is ok. Actually, taking walking breaks is good. It prevents injury and will allow you to run for longer distances. And don't forget to rest. Rest is important for recovery and to grow strong muscles. And enjoy it! Smile at the end of your run. One of my fave running quotes comes from Jeff Galloway, founder of the Running Room: "When I finish a run, every part of me is smiling"
 
 
 
And once again, I am completely inspired by these awesome ladies!!
 
 
If you want to be featured in the Runner Series all you have to do is email health.happiness.skinnyjeansATgmail.com. And remember, this is about runners on all levels so whether you are brand new and working on your first C25K or you've completed an Ironman, we want to hear from you!!!



Happy Friday!

So tell me, do you have a bucket list? If you do whats one thing that is still on it that you plan to tick off this year?

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