6/30/11

Up We Go!

Because I had done quite a bit of running and biking in the last few days I decided to declare today a rest day, at least as far as those two activities were concerned. Instead I suggested a hike at nearby Blue Mountain and to my delight the Boyfriend was all for it!

After a few errands in the morning and a light lunch we headed into "Blue" for our little adventure.

Lucky for us we left our toboggan loving horse at home. Phew!


For those of you that are not from this neck of the woods, Blue Mountain is known for it's skiing and snowboarding. Its become so popular, in fact, that they have designed a village at the base of the mountain that has a very "Whistler Blackcomb" vibe to it. In the summer the area is home to many outdoor activities such as mountain biking, kayaking, hiking tours, zip-lining and more. If you are ever in the area I highly recommend a stay in Collingwood ON.


I've got to say we picked a perfect say for hiking. It was warm (but not too hot) and breezy enough to keep us cool once we started moving. Of course you add in the gorgeous sunshine with a view like this and you just can't beat it!

We started our trip at the top of the mountain and decided to take a free gondola ride down to the bottom. I'm slightly afraid of heights (by slightly I mean I usually panic and cause a scene) so it was kind of a big deal that I just hopped in and took the the ride down.


At the bottom we took a little tour around the village and then started our trip up. Being that its a pretty serious ski hill the hike up was steep. My calves and quads got a serious workout from all the climbing.


Living in the city I don't get a chance to enjoy nature as much as I would like, so a hike is always on my list of things-to-do when I get a chance to visit the cottage. Finding a way to incorporate fitness and the calm of the woods is a win-win in my books!


And of course there is the added benefit that the comforts of home (including non-out house style toilet facilities) are only a hop, skip and a tumble jump away. You can take the City Girl outta the city but you can't take the city outta the girl...

This might have added to the appeal too.


If you are one of my southern neighbours I will speak on behalf of Canada when I say you need to take a trip here if for no other reason then one of these babies. A Beaver Tail is deep fried pastry goodness coated in cinnamon and sugar. It's the pride of the nation (or it should be...it really, really should) Tomorrow is Canada's birthday so come up and join us for the party and the pastries!!


Before you ask I do in fact go hiking and then eat dessert before dinner. It's a special technique that you too can attempt if you practice long enough.

To somewhat make up for that deliciousness I came back to the cottage and did some strength training:

100 squats
50 lunges
50 crunches
50 oblique crunches
50 pushups
50 tricep dips
1 minute plank

Now that all the fitness stuff is out of the way its time for another BBQ and some lounging on the porch with an iced cold beer.

Have I said it yet today? Life is good!!


So tell me, what is your favorite outdoor activity? How are you celebrating the long weekend?

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6/29/11

So That's Why They Call it a Brick Workout

This morning I woke up with a difficult combination of sheer determination but very little actual get-up-and-go motivation. The sky was grey and the air cold for a summer's day and I felt like curling up in front of the television and calling it a day.

That was until I remembered that I had blogged a little something about a brick workout not even 12 hours earlier. Oops! I guess when you put it out there you'd better be prepared to follow through. Now how's that for accountability?

So off I went. And when in doubt tell yourself that you "really, really want to work out today!!!". Sometimes you gotta fake it until you make it, as they say.


The first leg of the workout was a 2km run. My legs felt a little heavy from my workouts yesterday and with it being my first EVER brick workout I thought I should take it easy and let my body set the pace.


Next up was a 10km bike ride. I've got to say there is nothing more refreshing then the cool breeze on the bike after a run. I was instantly cooled down and feeling much more alert. Suddenly before I knew it my 10km ride turned into 15km and I was feeling pretty good!


The last leg was a 5km run. For this one I grabbed a Hammer gel, a bottle of water and my iPod and off I went. Within a few steps it hit me:

Ah ha! So that's why they call it a brick workout!!

My legs were so unbelievably heavy and I was shuffling along so much that I almost expected that I would look down and see a 8min/km pace (and a cement block tied around my ankle). Luckily I was still managing my marathon pace and although I felt fatigued from the waist down I was able to keep my spirits up and push through it.

I took a few minute long breaks to stop by the beach and check out the conditions. It was windy today and there were a lot of waves which got me thinking that I was grateful I wasn't attempting an open water swim as a part of this combo.


Getting back felt absolutely great. I was exhausted but so pumped that I had just pushed my way through something that was completely out of my element. So I did what I always do after a tough workout: My "I'm a rockstar dance". And when that was over I got back to reality and the business of refueling and relaxing.

And by relaxing I mean a 3 hour nap.

Hey, I totally kicked butt today. I earned all 180 minutes of that. Okay, well I earned 167 of them at least. The other 13 were on account of luxurious laziness that can only come from vacation.

Life is good!

So tell me, whats the toughest workout that you ever pushed yourself through?
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6/28/11

Run, Bike, Eat

Okay, so not to rub it in or anything, but I freakin' love being on vacation! And while I do enjoy getting away to foreign destinations I have got to admit that cottage life is truly the life for me!

Today I woke up and immediately parked myself on the porch to enjoy the sights and sounds of non-city life. Living in an apartment has really embedded in me a certain appreciation for the ability to relax outdoors and look at anything other then traffic.

Once I'd had a chance to read a few blogs and fully wake up I decided that a recovery run was in order. Because my hamstrings were still very tight after the relay this weekend I planned to take it easy with distance and pace. Around the cottage is a series of streets that, when ran in a loop, equal 1.25km. This was perfect as it gave me a chance to pass the cottage several times and grab water and take a little breather.

Four laps later (all ran without my iPod I might add) later and I was done what seemed like a surprisingly manageable 5km. I guess there is something to be said for changing it up a little huh?

Next up was more blog reading and a late breakfast enjoyed out on the porch. I really plan to take advantage of every single second that I can out there!


After breakfast the Boyfriend and I moved to the backyard to soak up some sun. Its a hard life but someone has gotta live it. I am glad to be that someone this week.

A little while later (there is no actual "time" on vacation is there?) we agreed to go on a bike ride to enjoy more of the amazing weather.



Now, I should remind you that while the Boyfriend is a huge supporter of my physically active lifestyle, this is usually because he gets to admire it as an observer. I am not sure that he expresses the same sentiment when he's dragged brought along for a 24km bike ride. I know his butt was probably not my biggest fan by the time we got back. I'm just grateful that he's such a good sport.


Besides, bike riding is super fun right?!?


Of course it is! (Note to self: Buy him padded bike shorts for his birthday)

Getting back to the cottage meant more time relaxing and reading out on the porch until I couldn't satisfy the growling of my stomach with trail mix anymore. It was most definitely time to make dinner.

And oh what a dinner we made. Have I ever mentioned how much I love barbecuing? Its another one of those things I miss due to apartment living so I take every opportunity that I can when I am up here. On the menu tonight was marinated chicken breasts (so delicious) baked potatoes and spinach salad with tomato and goat cheese. Yum!


And because its summer vacation I couldn't resist a tasty ice cream cone. By the way, if you haven't tried almond bark ice cream you truly are missing out!


Tonight will probably be an early night for me (again) because I have another active day planned tomorrow. The Boyfriend is heading into the city for work so I am going to spend part of the day attempting my very first brick workout . I think I will most likely try a 2km run, a 10km bike ride and a 5km run. Wait, who the heck am I all of a sudden!?

I'm "Take Advantage of the Time You Have on Vacation to Try New Things" Girl, that's who!

I can't say it enough...life is good!


So tell me, what's the furthest distance that you've ever rode your bike? Have you ever tried a brick workout? What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
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6/27/11

Post Relay Recovery

You know that term "slept like a rock"? I pretty sure that they coined it after me. Last night, despite every effort to get through a movie, I ended up crashing hard on the couch around 9pm. The only time I woke up was to move to the bedroom where I tried to convince the Boyfriend to tell me the ending of the movie but failed to stay up long enough to listen to his explanation. I was Exhausted, capital "E"!!

Today, after 9+ hours of sleep I woke up feeling a little achy all over and a lot achy and sore in my hamstrings. As a heel striker any considerable distance does a number on that muscle more than any other. My foam roller and I have deepened the level of our love/hate relationship as a result of that relay.

I kicked the day off with a dose of healthy in the form of honey flavored Greek yogurt, blueberries, fibre cereal and chia seeds. After snacking here and there during the weekend I needed the boost in a big, bad way!!


After breakfast and catching up on some blogs I started to pack for my much anticipated trip to the cottage. After a few stressful weeks and restarting my training I could feel the need for a getaway creeping up on me. Luckily the Boyfriend's parents were nice enough to lend me their cottage for the week, which provided the perfect destination for relaxation.

The trip up was scenic and I enjoyed a quick snack on the road to hold me over. I don't do it often enough but I would much prefer to pack a healthy meal for road trips then try to find something wholesome on the side of the highway.


A wrap filled with black beans, spinach and goat cheese definitely hit the spot!

A couple hours later and we'd arrived. My legs were starting to really stiffen up so I was definitely grateful to be able to hop out and walk around. Long car rides and sore legs aren't exactly the best match but the pain was well worth it once I got here and instantly felt myself relax.


Its such a cute and quaint place isn't it? I am especially looking forward to running near the water (once my legs feel better) and sitting out on the deck and reading. I borrowed Water for Elephants and I'm so excited to get started.

I also found some of these laying around which should also keep me entertained 


I can't help but love some "fluff" reading when I am on vacation!

The plan for the week is this: Lots of sleep, sunbathing, running, biking, hiking, barbecuing and a few trips to the beach. Sounds pretty perfect don't ya think?

I'm off for a late dinner and a movie which I will hopefully stay up for this time. If not, there is always tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after to get caught up.

Ahh...the good life!

So tell me, what is your favorite way to spend a vacation? What's on your summer reading list?


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6/26/11

Marathon Training Week 3: 24 Hour Relay Edition

Well here we are, at the end of yet another very busy week. Lot's has happened in the last 7 days, including the official arrival of summer (yippee!) and an epic all nighter full of running, refueling and fun.

Here's how the week went:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Yoga (20min)
Wednesday: Spinning (40min) Abs (10min)
Thursday: Taught HIIT training (40 min)
Friday: Taught Cycle Pump
Saturday and Sunday: Ran 19.5km

Distance Ran: 19.5km

Here's what I learned:

Some weeks will have more cross training then others. What will ultimately matter is the full balance of running, strength training etc. over the entire training period

Running a 24 hour relay one lap at a time is multi-purpose training: speed, distance and mental strength


Blog friends are completely amazing! Both Vanessa and Aneta showed up and ran laps for our team at this weekend's event. Their contribution to the effort was absolutely priceless and it was great to hang out with both of them as well as officially meet Aneta for the first time.( Unfortunately I failed as a blogger and somehow didn't get a picture with either of them. Duh!)

Sometimes you will start out with the same attitude (and cool shades) at the beginning of a relay that you finish with. The event changes you but not that much.



Running all out for a lap then resting for upward of 30 minutes to a few hours is taxing on your body. At times that one lap (1.4km) can feel harder then the 1/2 marathons that you ran last year. Thankfully you have great friends and an excited atmosphere to keep you going all day and night. (Cynthia kicked major ass and ran 20 laps for our team, including some key ones overnight when we needed the support the most)




You can find a second (and third and fourth wind) and even manage to pull out 3 laps in a row 25 hours after arriving at the park. You dig deep, you bring your boyfriend along for one of them, you play hopscotch at the end if you have to. Bottom line is you do what you gotta do to get it done. What a great mental lesson for a runner like me who notoriously gets hit with doubts and frustrations out on the road.


That's some serious early morning hop-scotching!

You'll run without an iPod and like it! You knew??

Running is great. Running for charity is even better. But nothing, and I mean nothing is better then finishing that very last lap


Runners are amazing. One of our teammates was able to recruit a group of awesome running buddies to come in at midnight and run laps until morning at the last minute and they were nothing but cheerful and positive about the entire thing. Talk about support from like-minded people! I am so impressed and appreciative of these runners who helped carry us through the late hours of the night.

Your amazing team made of of coworkers, friends, blog friends and running buddies will pull out 283kms in 24 hours, impress the hell out of everyone around and win the award for most laps for the second year in a row. This was truly team work at its finest!

Thoughts after week three:

Running with a purpose other than simply training changes the entire experience and your outlook. I can't say it enough; I am so impressed that so many people who don't work for my company came out to support us and run laps for hours on end. I am so glad to say I was in the company of these fantastic and giving people and it truly left a lasting impression on me. Running is so much more then fitness. It's friendship too and for that I'll continue to lace up my sneakers even after the toughest of runs.

What a great weekend!!


So tell me, what has left a lasting impression on you lately?
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6/25/11

Run for 24 Hours? Sure, why not?

**Check it out as Cynthia and I live tweet from the event. Follow us @SamSkinnyJeans and @CynthiaLaforge for the full day play-by-play**


As you read this I am participating in the Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay which is an awesome event that supports a really great cause here in Ontario. The relay is held in a park near the lake and basically my teammates and I pledge to run one mile laps for the full day and night to raise money and awareness for great kids who have disabilities.

If it sounds like I lot let me assure you its not. First, no one runs more then one lap at a time so there is lots of opportunity to recover, refuel and have a lot of fun. There is baseball, volleyball, karaoke and live music to keep us entertained. I am hanging out with a great group of coworkers, friends and The Boyfriend for the entire time. And of course the cause is worth every minute of lost sleep.

Preparing for the event:

Knowing that it was going to be a long day I loaded up on a wide range of snacks to get us through


Yes sour keys are a crucial fuel for lap running. It's a scientific fact. Google it.


Someone begged me to "make him famous". I'm flattered that he thinks that this blog will bring him some sort of fame. Not so flattered that I refrained from calling him glory hog. (Or camera "w" word that I shall not repeat here)


I also made sure to pack some essentials. The poncho is for fashion because Mother Nature and I have a deal ....right Mama N??



In the bag is about 7 different outfits because no one wants to smell me after 10 laps and a day of sitting in the sun. The wardrobe changes are for everyone else and to guarantee that I'm not a one-woman team come midnight.


There's also lots of water, sunscreen, deodorant (you're welcome Cynthia and friends), and other "chilling in a park and being super active at the same time" type stuff.

It promises to be a great event and I can't wait to get back and blog all about it.

Stay tuned for a full recap on Monday and until then tune in to Twitter for live details all throughout the event.

Have a great weekend everyone!!


So tell me, what do you have planned this weekend?
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6/23/11

Run Around With Me

The first (and only) thing I wanted to do when I got home from work tonight was to plop my butt on the couch and just do nothing. Nothing to the extent of refusing to waste energy to change the channel when some "Police Women of...." show came on. Nothing to the extent that I contemplated skipping dinner.

*gasp*

I know. How crazy is that? I mean I'm tired not dead. There's no way I'm missing out on dinner. Instead I decided a light meal was in order. The only condition: salsa. Salsa was a MUST!


Dinner in this house means vegetables. He can pout all he wants but The Boyfriend knows even Taco Night means spinach. He's so hard done by huh?




I threw my ground chicken and veggies onto some iceberg lettuce (I was much too sleepy for carbs) and loaded up on the fresh salsa. It was the salsa that made the meal but I knew that going in. Unfortunately while full and satisfied I am also still really tired. I guess the only option is a good nights sleep at this point.

Speaking of which, have you ever sacrificed a good night's sleep to run around in circles in a park all night? No?? Is this not normal human behavior? Damnit!

Well normal or not I will be doing that very thing this weekend when I participate in the Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay. I am really excited for the event because not only is it running for a good cause but its a really fun day spent with friend and colleagues.



Website

My goal for the weekend is to raise awareness for an important cause, successfully captain the team of runners and complete between 15-20 miles. You can follow along as Cynthia and I live-Tweet from the event, starting June 25th at 9am.

I am still collecting pledges so if you'd like to make a donation please click here for more information.

Check back next Monday for a full relay report!

Now, seeing as I am already exhausted and I have an all-nighter in my very near future, its time for me to get to bed. I'm aware that the sun is still up but there is no shame in having a 6 year old's bedtime.


So tell me, whats your favorite light summer meal? Have you ever done a relay event?
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6/22/11

Sweat It Out

Sometimes life gets all muddled up (is muddled a word or am I making it up because I am in fact "muddled" in the head?...lets go with it being a word, okay?) and you don't feel like yourself. You feel unmotivated, antsy, unsure and overwhelmed. It definitely sucks when it happens but when it does you have a choice: Sink or swim.

Or in this case spin.


Oh yeah, I take spinning that seriously. It was go time!

There is nothing like a good sweat-fest to work through some problems. You can just leave them all on the bike (or when running, on the road) and for the 40+ minutes that you are there is just the physical.

And slowly but surely you start to feel a little better.


You start to realize your problem(s) aren't insurmountable but instead that you are one tough chick and you can get through anything life throws your way.



And sure, those problems might not go away in that time but they aren't going to stick around for ever either. You are going to be a-ok no matter what and that alone is something to smile about



I love what exercise does for my body but even more then that, I love what it does for my mind. I am stronger, mind, body and soul with every drop of sweat (and believe me, there are a LOT of them!)

So when the going gets tough, the tough get spinning.

Now what was I saying about muddled again.....?


Speaking of sweat (because who doesn't want to talk about that?) you should submit your sweaty pic to Cynthia to be featured on her blog. Let's all share in the "afterglow"! Click here for more info---> Cynthia's Adventures


So tell me, whats your favorite way to work up a sweat? (and lets try to keep that PG13 here people!)
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6/20/11

When I was Young...

Spending time with toddlers like I did yesterday reminds me of two things: One, I have an undisclosed case of baby fever (I can literally hear the "tick tock" at times) and two I miss the innocence and freedom of being so young.

On days that I feel less then sure that I am on the right path (as was the case for a few moments today) I often find myself looking back to my youth for hints at who I wanted to be before money and prestige even became a factor.

Like someone who was active as a part of her every day life (learning to sit the right way on the bike made a huge difference in this venture)


Or someone who lived creatively and channelled her inner artist when she could (being a drama queen doesn't quite count!!)



A girl who take pride in the continuous pursuit of formal and informal education


Someone who could literally "tackle" new tasks no matter how strange, icky and foreign they seem at first


And a person who stayed true to herself, her passions and her love for all living things (pandas included!)



When I was young I wanted to be a writer, a veterinarian, a dentist, and a teacher. Yet, despite my many career aspirations there were elements that never changed. And while today I have none of the professions  I once that I would have I can safely say I did my very best to stay true to who I always was.

I'm on the right path after all.

And thankfully I grew out of that hairstyle and flower costume just in the nick of time...


So tell me, what is one thing you learned at a young age that you still hold true today?
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6/19/11

Marathon Training Week Two: Timing is Everything

Another week has flown by (can you believe we are nearing the end of June already?) and its time for another training recap.

Here's a break down of how the week went:

Monday: 6k run
Tuesday: 4.5k hill training (3x600m + warmup and cool down)
Wednesday: off
Thursday: off
Friday: off
Saturday: 6k run
Sunday: 15k

Distance ran: 31.5k

Here's what I learned:

Sometimes you are not in the mood to workout. If you are normally quite active just go with it. Your body or your mind is trying to tell you they need a break. Let it happen. You'll be back on track in no time.


Attempting a long run after 10am in the morning in June is bad idea. I made it 6km and called it a day. Listening to my body say "its too hot" was the best thing I did for myself that day

Learning that the 10/1 training method (run for 10 minutes, walk for 1 minute) may be the most beneficial to get you through the 26.2 miles you have coming up in October


Running hills might be the worst thing that has ever happened to your lungs/legs/life but that probably means that they are really good for you (Whatever doesn't kill you right??)

Running for incentive makes running more tolerable. Enter the bait...


Staying hydrated throughout the week really makes a difference in how much water you feel the need to consume on your run. It was hotter this week and I actually drank less because I wasn't parched.

After running a long run, playing with the little members of your family and eating copious amounts of delicious foods you might want to fall flat on your face and take a nap. I feel your pain lil' man..


Thoughts after week two:

Looking good. Training to 10/1 seems like it will make the daunting distance of the marathon a lot more manageable because its broken up into intervals. I am not looking at over all time or kilometres but just getting through to the next walk break.



So tell me, how was your weekend? Do anything fun for Father's Day?
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