5/31/11

Wordless Weekday


When its 40C/104F...in May...in Toronto, Canada..there really are no words







And yes, that is Grey's Anatomy in the background. I'm addicted and I'm okay with that.

Happy last day of May!!!


So tell me, what are you looking forward to in June? Was it hot where you live today?
Reactions:

5/30/11

Fact: Runners NEED Friends Who Run

There are few things in life that I will go on record as claiming to be facts. Life is a little to tricky for the black and white nature of facts. However, this I believe to be a true statement if ever there was one:

Runners need friends who run

Don't believe me? Well here's a solid list of reasons that proves this to be true.

1. Very few of your non-running friends (NRFs) knew that the IAFF Diamond League was held in Rome this past weekend, that the 5000m men's final was ran in less than 13 minutes or what IAFF Diamond League is for that matter.

2. While we are on the topic of the 5000m, most of your NRFs don't know that a sub 13 minute 5k is kind of a big deal.

3. I doubt many of them know who this dude is either



Source
 4. If they do I'm going to bet that they will slap you if you say "But he ran 100m in 9.72 seconds!" even one more time

5. Same goes for you discussing how fast Kara, Ryan or Meb ran their last marathons

6. You NRFs don't want to talk pre and post race fueling. To them that's called eating and they do it every day.

7. They also don't want to discuss the danger of poor fueling ("Runners trots" makes for very bad dinner conversation with NRFs)



8. Your NRFs don't know what PR, PDR or PB stand for. They also don't know what the hell you mean by mile splits or running a negative split. They will most likely look at you like you are crazy when you talk in this alien language.

9. Your NRFs don't understand why the hell you said no to the second glass of wine or yes to getting up at 7am on a Sunday for fun

10. They don't think running is fun at all

11. Your NRFs will not go out in sub zero temperatures to train with you. Instead they might even laugh at you and remind you that they slept in and drank piping hot coffee this morning.


12. Your NRFs will not understand why you pay money to race when a) you don't stand a chance of winning and b) you can run for free everyday

13. They will not buy the "But there are water/Gatorade stations" excuse for one single second

14. Your NRFs will not understand why you keep, re-read and quote every issue of Runner's World ever

15. They won't understand why you spend more money on issues of said magazine, GPS thingy-ma-bobs, new sneakers every 18 days and Body Glide ("what the hell is Body Glide???!!!") then they do in rent

16. Your NRFs probably don't care that Skinny Runner is organizing a running/blog conference and can't for the life of them comprehend that that's what you'd do for a whole day in Vegas!

17. They could probably also list 23 things they'd rather do on the Vegas strip then run, unless its after a celebrity or away from crazy running types hopped up on Gu (freaks!)

18. Even your very best NRFs thinks you are completely crazy that you'd run for hours on a treadmill and end up exactly where you started

19. Most of your NRFs would not consider losing a toenail as an accomplishment

20. And almost all of your NRFs wouldn't even have finished reading this list

So to all the Running Friends out there, I thank you on behalf of every runner who ever needed someone to talk them through the wall at mile 20, who told a story about poop, who rambled on about Kara's post pregnancy training schedule and who compared (for the sixth time) foam rolling over stretching.

And for all the NRFs who even know what the hell a foam roller is, high five to you too!! We truly couldn't do it without your support even if you do secretly think we are a bunch of self-loathing maniacs!!

So tell me, as a runner how much do you adore your running friends? If you are a NRF what's the craziest story you've ever heard from a friend who runs?
Reactions:

5/29/11

Preparing for Marathon Training

Well I did it. I officially registered for the Niagara Falls International Marathon.


Website
 I haven't ran more than 5 miles in weeks but I signed up for 26.2 of them this morning. Maybe I have officially lost my mind. I guess only time will tell...

Prior to registering I put together a training plan that more or less was intended to map out my long runs and determine the feasibility of working up to at least two 20 mile training runs. According to the plan, which is dependent on a fitness base that allows me to start at around 8 miles, its possible. Then again the plan doesn't have to actually run all those miles in the rain/heat/gross humidity so really, what does it know right?

Just kidding...well sort of.

Here's a basic outline of my plan otherwise known as Marathon Training for Dummies Who Think that They Can Run Marathons When Really They'd Rather Be Sleeping (in bookstores soon!):

Running:

  • Minimum 3x per week
  • One long run eventually building up to 20 miles maximum, per week
  • One fartlek run of 4-5 miles per week
  • One hills/speed training session weekly
  • Two 20 mile training runs total
Cross-Training/Strength Training

  • Minimum 2x per week
  • Includes body weight training, spinning, yoga, weights, biking
Nutrition

  • Wholesome foods like whole grains, fruits & vegetables, lean poultry, legumes, dairy
  • Less (much less) refined sugar
  • 2L of water per day
  • Less processed foods
The 3 "R"s: Rest/Relaxation/Recovery

  • Minimum 1 rest day per week (up to 2 later in training)
  • Regular foam rolling and stretching
  • Minimum 3 sports massage appointments
  • Minimum 7 hours sleep per night
  • Stress reduction through calming activities: yoga, bubble bath, reading, walking
Other

  • New shoes within the next two weeks

I have decided to start marathon training earlier then originally anticipated meaning that I officially start on Sunday June 5th. I will be posting weekly updates so stay tuned for the good, the bad and the ugly (which I hope is not lost toenails) of my first attempt at training for a marathon.

Wish me luck!!


So tell me, have you ever trained for a full or half marathon? What parts of training did you love the most? What did you hate? Would you do it again?


Attention Toronto Bloggers/Health Enthusiasts:

Details for the June 12th meetup have been sent out via email. If you are not on my mailing list yet, send me an email and let me know you are interested! (health.happiness.skinnyjeans(at)gmail(dot)com)
Reactions:

5/27/11

At Last...My Love (aka my DSLR) Has Come Along

After many failed attempts and a preview of some of the most unsatisfactory and down right embarrasing customer relations that I have ever seen the drama with my quest to purchase a DSLR finally came to an end today.

The good news is that the conclusion leaves me with a shiny new camera and a savings of $120. Perhaps the saying good things come to those who wait is true after all.

Love it!




















A few people that have seen or know of my previous camera asked why I bothered to upgrade when, in their estimation, the Olympus took really good photos. The reality is that it takes great photos. In fact some of my favorite photos ever were captured with it:






































































The Olympus Pen e-pl1 is an excellent camera. The reason I changed is I am interested in photography as more then a means to capture memories. I want to learn the camera and embrace picture taking as a hobby in the future. I even plan to take classes to learn technical skills. Utlimately the DSLR is the tool with which I hope to accomplish another life goal with: Find Fulfilling Creative Outlets (blogging is another one of those)

So here's to a weekend of learning the basics (I'm admittedly a little overwhelmed) and hopefully snapping more future favorite photos!

So tell me, what are your favorite hobbies? What are your creative outlets? 
Reactions:

5/26/11

New Camera Fail....Again?

I threw it out on Twitter a few days ago that I knew deep down I would never be happy, at least as far of photography goes, until I was the owner of a shiny new DSLR. Anyone who knows me well knows I am very ridiculously particular about the quality of the photographs that I take and while I have had great experiences with the Olympus I owned I am ready to take this camera business to the next level.



Source

















Apparently the universe has other plans for me.

First it started with the camera I chose not being in stock even though the online inventory stated that the store had that model available. Customer service fail numero uno.

Today I called the store and after waiting on hold, being transferred and being hung up on I finally got through to a sales associate who physically went and checked the stock again and put the one camera they did have on hold for me.

Or so I thought.

When I arrived at the store I was told that there was no camera on hold, that they didn't know where it was and that someone else would help me. Ugh oh, not a good start to the second round at attempted camera purchasing.

When the sales associate that I had spoken to sheepishly ducked into a staff-only room behind the customer service desk with his manager I knew there was definitely something up.

Lesson number two about me; I am customer service drill sergeant. I expect a high standard because in every service oriented job I have ever had, that was expected of me. And the way I see it, if someone is going to spend their hard earned money you'd better show some appreciation through the service experience. Is that too much to ask? I don't happen to think so..


Source





















Things were not looking good for me or this store tonight.

The sales associate finally made his way out of the back but the look on his face spelled trouble. He looked nervous and that worried me.

"Umm...we have a problem"

Great! As it turned out the model that had been put on hold was the wrong one and the only available camera was an open box (as in it had been returned) He quickly explained that the camera was in perfect condition, that I would be fully covered by the warranty and return policy and that I would get an additional discount for all my trouble.

Hmm...maybe some running around was proving to be worth it??

Guess again.

After excitedly checking out the camera itself I paid for my new gadget and left with a smile. I now owned a DSLR and could continue my beloved hobby. All was right in the world again, or so I thought.

After running a few more errands I came home to play with my camera and discovered that while the box contained the camera and the lens, it did NOT contain anything else. No cables, no charger, no software.



Source




















Ahh!!!

And to make matters worse I had sold my Olympus on to a very friendly person from Craigslist. Other then my point and shoot I have been rendered camera-less and very, very, VERY annoyed!

Deep breath.

Customer service mistakes happen. I get that. But this many over the course of two days? That's just not right! The worst part is that I will unfortunately have to devote more of my time tomorrow to resolving this little debacle and but looking to the bright side I will hopefully be in possession of a DSLR for the weekend.

Wish me (and the store manager) luck!

It's time to watch an episode of Grey's Anatomy and then head to bed. Its been a long day and I'm wiped!

So tell me, how picky are you about customer service? Any stories you want to share?
Reactions:

5/23/11

Long Weekend Roundup

Hi everyone! If it's a long weekend where you are I hope you are enjoying your holiday Monday. And if its not, well look a the bright side, at least the world didn't end on Saturday after all. Phew!

Here's a little look into how my Victoria Day long weekend has panned out:

Friday:

The weekend got off to a great start when I hit up a local club to check out FirexFire which is an awesome local indie band here in Toronto. Admittedly I personally know these crazy-talented musicians but I promise I would dig them even if I didn't. They rock, what can I say!?!
















It was a great night spent with friends celebrating the start to the weekend, awesome talent and my birthday too! Fun times!!


















Saturday:

I spent most of an absolutely beautiful day indoors cleaning and doing laundry. Not exactly the best plan but the cleanup needed to happen in a big, bad way. I really need a more trainable boyfriend housekeeper.

After clean-a-palooza I headed midtown to my favorite spin studio for another intense spinning/strength class.I made a point to walk some of the way before hopping on transit so I could soak up some rays before heading back indoors for the sweat fest.

Then I hunkered down for the night for a TV series DVD marathon


















Can you believe I have never seen Grey's Anatomy? I'm a complete freak who has lived in a cave for the last 5 years, I know! I started right from season one and have been working my way through all weekend. I am addicted!!

Sunday:

The Boyfriend got home early from a weekend with his family and we headed out to watch Bridesmaids. While we tried to anyway. The theatre at the mall was jam packed and the 6:50 show was completely sold out. What the what??I have never seen a sold out comedy in my life! That's just crazzzy! Making the best of things we decided to grab some dinner and head to another theatre in the north end for a later show. And guess what?? That freakin' show was sold out too! Holy sh*t! If its that popular it must be amazing right? Now I wanted to see it even more badly and was so disappointed that we had to come home instead.

Well not that disappointed really...we just watched more Greys!

Monday:

This morning I headed out for another spinning class at my fav studio. The Boyfriend was super cool and drove me to it and then waited at Starbucks until it was over to drive me back. Sweet right? And the class, as usual was killer. In a good , but my butt is gonna be screamin', kinda way!

Now I am hoping in the shower and rushing out to a mid-afternoon showing of Bridesmaids. I'm determined to see this movie and might get a little ruthless if there is a line. Stay tuned for the evening news for major dramatics at the theatre just in case.















Old people and children be warned..things could get a little rowdy. I will see this movie today or else!


So tell me, how was your weekend? Have you seen any good movies lately? Do you love Grey's Anatomy?
Reactions:

5/19/11

Back in the Saddle....Literally!!

Finally, after days of dealing with a slight physical ailment and the flu I woke up today feeling like I was finally starting to get back to my old self. My chest still felt slightly congested but I had my long lost friend Energy back and I was ready to hit the gym and burn some of it off.

I taught a bootcamp style Tabata class at lunch and while I actually instructed more and worked out less than usual, it still felt really, really good to sweat (and not the kind of icky sweat that comes with the flu...blech!!)

After work Cynthia and I headed to a spinning studio nearby to take an intense spin/strength training class that really forces you to push yourself to every limit. Needless to say that the class was a toal butt kick and felt amazing!! And much to surprise I didn't cough up a lung. Yay me!!

There were definitely some happy endorphins floating around after that class!


And some serious sweat too!



You gotta love crazy, sweat drenched girls snapping photos in a random parking lot in the middle of the city. You truly know you are a blogger when.....


We are a wacky bunch huh??

I'm so glad to have bounced back from this illness and grateful that I am healthy enough that a down and out flu is really the worse ailment I've had to deal with in a long time.

I'm also so glad that I am feeling well enough to head out to celebrate my birthday and my friends' musical talents tomorrow night when I go see FIRExFIRE headline a show at a club downtown. The band is awesome and I am so proud of my friends, not to mention excited to hang out and party with some really cool people!! Oh, and I have been asked to assist the band with some social media related endeavours which is such a cool project to be involved with. I won't say much more then that for now but know that I am so freakin' pumped!

And on that note I should really head to bed. After two serious workouts I'm going to need my beauty sleep to get ready to dance the night away tomorrow!


So tell me, after being sick for a few days what's your favorite part about feeling healthy again?
Reactions:

Grateful

Thank you all for your kind bithday wishes. I can't say it enough: I am lucky to have each and everyone of you who take the time to read my little blog and that wanted to add to my special day. It means so much to me!



















Have a wonderful day!
Reactions:

5/18/11

Happy Birthday to....Me!

I woke up today one year older and hoepfully, as with every passing year, wiser then the one before it. When it comes to birthday wishes I try to stay pretty realistic, seeing as the pony I've been hoping for since I was three has yet to arrive. Wisdom, along with continued health and happiness top this list again this year for things I hope for in my 29th year.




















Okay, well that's not exactly it. I do have one more wish:

On June 25-26 I will captain my company's relay team at the Easter Seals' 24 Hour Relay which raises money for totally awesome children and young people with various disabilities in Canada. Over the course of the 24 hour period my team will run 1 mile laps in Coronation Pak to raise funds and awareness for this awesome cause. As the captain I  pledge to be there for every minute of the event. It really is that important to me.


My birthday wish is actually two fold so here goes:

If you live in or around Toronto and want to run a few miles for a great cause join my team as an honorary member and come check out the fun that day. (email me for more information about participating in the event)

and/or

If you can, please sponsor me as I aim to raise $500 through pledges and other fundraising efforts

If you'd like to make a donation please click here. Even $5 makes a huge difference in the lives of these children.


The way I see it is I am so lucky for all that I already have that I want my birthday to be about helping others this year.

Oh and cake! I'm not quite ready to give up cake.



 
So tell me, what's your favorite way to spend your birthday? When is your birthday so I can come and wish you a HB on your special day?
Reactions:

5/17/11

When It Rains It Pours (And a Save the Date)

It's another gloomy day in southern Ontario


















In fact it doesn't look much different outside then when I posted this picture a few days ago. And the worst part is that its been like this everyday since that post and the forecast calls for continued rain until Friday at the earliest. Not even a little bit awesome!

To make matters worse my health issues went from a sore knee to a sore knee and a sore throat to a full blown flu over the last few days (silver lining: at least my knee feels a bit better!!). Its safe to say I've been throwing myself a full blown pity party since Sunday and if you follow me on Twitter you know that to be a very true fact.

So true (and so pitiful) that I let myself soothe my sorrows with a whole lot of unhealthy food and barely anything wholesome to balance it out. No wonder I don't feel better today huh? This little revelation dawned on me when I called in sick to work this morning and a colleague commented on how much worse I sounded. I am supposed to be healing and I sound worse? Something is not right here.

That's when it hit me. If you want to BE healthy you have to ACT healthy! Sounds so simple and yet somehow in the midst of one health issue after another I conveniently forgot all about it.

Well, not anymore. Enter an onslaught of wholesome, nutrient dense foods that are going to kick this flu in the butt and send the jerk packing once and for all!



















A smoothie packed with raspberries, Greek yogurt, orange juice and 3 heaping handfuls of spinach. If that doesn't scare this illness I don't know what will. Oh and serving it in an adult version of a "sippy" cup helps the cause I swear.


















And some comfort food with much more nutritional benefits than yesterday's cheese pizza and sour gummy worm debacle. Let's just say, lesson learned.

The name of the game here is getting better. Tomorrow is kinda special for me and I would like to be able to enjoy it, raining or not!



So tell me, how do you combat a cold or flu?

SAVE THE DATE:

For Toronto bloggers, readers, runners and healthy living enthusiasts

I am organizing a MEETUP so mark Sunday June 12th in your calendars!

I'm still working out the details but it will probably include yoga, a potluck picnic and of course a really awesome group of people!!

Email me health(dot)happiness(dot)skinnyjeans(at)gmail(dot)com if you want to be added to future emails for this event. I will post the details here as well as soon as they are confirmed.
Reactions:

5/16/11

So Now What??

First off I want to thank everyone for their kind words and sympathy on yesterday's post. I spent a good part of the day feeling pretty blah (the rain and a sore throat were not at all helpful in that department ) but I did perk up when I found out that Cynthia had gotten a PR and a colleague of mine qualified for Boston at the race. I'm all about celebrating other people's success when I need a pick me up!!

Oh and a scrumptious breakfast makes a big difference too


















Yes I made those and yes you can come over next Sunday. I also believe in celebrating the yum!

Now that the 1/2 marathon hype has come and gone I'm starting to contemplate my next move. While I am planning to maintain my cardio base in preparation for the 30k in August I also want to take a temporary step back from all the detailed training and focus a little more on cross training for the next month.

The thing is, as much as I enjoy running I enjoy cross training just as much, if not ever more. I love the feelings of strength and power that I get from strength and cycling, not to mention that my body responds well to them too.


Source

















So here's the idea: No formal training plan until mid-June. Instead I will run once on the weekend (long) and at least once throughout the week (tempo or speed) and focus the rest of my energy on some of the other things I really like. All things considered I hope to maintain most of my endurance but also return to training with a refreshed outlook, ready to take on some personal distance records (PDRs).

Mixing things up a little? Works for me (and my unhappy knee)!!



So tell me, how do you keep your physical activity fresh and interesting? If you run, do you ever take a break?
Reactions:

5/15/11

What's Going on Around Here??

*This post republished as new. For today's post click here

I don't know if you've noticed (and maybe you haven't) but things are a little different around these parts lately. A little less workout talk. A little more of a focus on body confidence/self esteem. Less cat photos *gasp*!

Never fear, nothing is changing, well as least not drastically.

There will still be lot's of this stuff


















And of course this stuff



















And this too


















Can't forget these


















And naturally a good dose of this for good measure


















Because really it wouldn't be my blog without it!

What you will also notice is more of my ideas around self-esteem with a little fashion and lifestyle goodies to keep it all interesting. Its important to me to talk about self-worth and  confidence because I truly believe these are make-it or break-it factors in a happy and healthy life!

So stick around...lots more to come on Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans

Oh and I also take reader requests. Let me know if there is something you want to see or see more of ok??? OK!!


So tell me, what topics do you like reading about on blogs? What makes a blog stand out? How does that blogger keep it interesting and fresh and leave you wanting more?
Reactions:

There Will Be Other Races

It is very frustrating that I am sitting here writing this, when I should still be out on the course in Mississauga finishing my first 1/2 marathon of the year.

It came down to a swollen knee and a tough decision in the very, very early hours of this morning. I can't even pretend to be happy with the outcome of said decision but here I am, home in my pajamas instead of racing.

I am also icing said swollen knee with a bag of frozen fruit because I couldn't find my ice pak when I first got up, only adding to my upset because let's be honest, bratty-ness is the name of the game when you have to drop out of a race less than a few hours before it starts.



I'll keep the actual story short and bittersweet: I felt some achiness and stiffness in my right knee before heading to bed last night but chalked it up to rainy weather and the fact that I had sat around for hours on end and didn't think much more of it.

That was until I got up to use the bathroom at 2:30am and realized I was in even more pain, my knee was more stiff and looked somewhat swollen. Being as stubborn as I am I wasn't going to let it get in the way and figured I'd reassess when it was time to get up.

One problem; now I couldn't fall back asleep. I was noticing my knee in every position I tried to lay in and I started thinking about all the articles I had read about backing down when you are injured. I tossed and turned, contemplating whether this race was going to be the best idea.

It became more obvious that it wasn't when The Boyfriend woke up to find me stressing, took a look at my knee and agreed it was quite swollen looking and asked the question "Are you prepared to start this race, potentially never finish and worse off never run again?"

Umm...no.

Sure I trained for months and was looking forward to this day but its not worth exacerbating a slight injury and potentially sidelining myself for months or more. And realistically it was 4am, an hour before my alarm was supposed to go off, and I had only slept for three hours. Under none of the circumstances was I physically prepared to race today.

And so I cried about it.

Then I realized (again through the help of some serious sage wisdom on the part of The Boyfriend) that I had already accomplished most of what I set out to do, which was train for a 1/2 marathon. I knew I could run the distance and the race itself was just the culmination of all the hard work. And besides, there would be other races.

That's one smart cookie huh?

And he's right, there are other races for me to work towards. Like these bad boys for example:




Website


 

Website
 

And hell, maybe once my knee issues are resolved, I will even find another 1/2 marathon in the next few weeks to run for redemption!

Maybe I will wait for my new life coach (aka The Boyfriend) to ok that idea before I sign up though. I'll leave the big decisions to the Magic 8 Ball and him from here on out!




So tell me, how do you deal with disappointment? Have you ever prepared for something for weeks and had to drop out?
Reactions:

5/14/11

Rain, Rain, Go Away....

This is what it looks like in Toronto today:


















Those are rain drops, and a lot of them, hitting that puddle. Pretty gross huh?

The worst part is its supposed to look like this again tomorrow. And nn case you forgot, tomorrow also happens to be my 1/2 marathon.

Sure, I get that I took a risk by signing up for a spring race but you should be aware that it was sunny and warm all week when I was stuck in the office, working away. Then the weekend, and a race weekend no less, gets here and this is what we're faced with?? Not cool Mother Nature, not cool!!

Oh well, rain or shine I'll be up bright and early tomorrow morning, ready to hammer out 13 miles. I mean seriously,  I didn't train this long to let a little water get in the way!

And I might have gone ahead and signed up for another race at the Expo last night...






I'm a total mental case. I mean, its a 30k, which will be the longest distance I have ever run and its also in the middle of the freakin' summer but I saw it this way: I will be in training for a marathon by then anyway and was planning to run 25 or so kilometres as a part of my training, so really whats 5 more if I get to run it with a bunch of people (including Cynthia) and I get this snazzy little jacket free just for signing up!



The jacket is worth 30k of running in my opinion. At the very least its worth the price of registration if I suddenly get my sanity back and realize I don't want to walk 4 blocks in the heat never mind run nearly 19 miles!!

So I'm off to settle in with a bottle of water, some macaroni and the movie Blue Valentine. After all,I got some serious ass kickin' to do in the morning. It'll be soggy but asses will be kicked just the same!

Check back later tomorrow for a race recap.


So tell me, is the weather affecting your plans this weekend?

Reactions: