Feature Friday- Runners part 2

Here we are with another edition of Feature Friday which highlights the exciting experiences of runners from all different backgrounds and experience levels.

This week we have two more terrific women who found running at a tough time in their lives and have been pounding the pavement ever since. So without futher adieu.......

Brooke- A Single Gal on the Move

Brooke is a 32 years old and live in Richmond, Va. She is recently separated, which lead to her journey of self discovery, and the commitment to training for a marathon which she will cross off her bucket list this November! She works full time at a fine jewelry store that's been a part of Richmond for over 100 years. When she's not running you'll find her to relaxing with yoga or a glass of wine with friends. Her favorite quote is "The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret"

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

I started running May 2011. I have always been active and gone to the gym but running had never been my thing. I would attempt to run and would usually stop/give up 5 minutes in. I signed up for my first 10k and decided to just go for it...showed up for the race with no training and just told my self have fun, and walk if you need to. I was AMAZED by the adrenaline that pumped through me. The excitement that came from the cheering fans was overwhelming. From that moment I was hooked...I decided its time to train for a marathon.

What keeps you motivated to run?

November 12, 2011---the day I will run my first marathon. Its also very motivating to see such improvement from the first day of training.
Running Pet Peeve

Running with an IPOD- Which I cant believe I am even saying??!! When I first started running I was completely attached to my IPOD. I couldnt even imagine running with out it, I NEEDED that intense beat and loud music to keep me going. When I started training for the marathon they made the rule, No IPODS. I was devasted...how would I ever run without it?! They wanted us to focus on the roads we were running and most importantly talk to the people in our group so that we could have a group of running friends. I gave up my IPOD and it was the best decision ever made. I have met an amazing group of lifelong friends. But most importantly it allows be to focus on my breath, the beautiful surroundings I am running through, and natures noices. I know my IPOD would drive me crazy now!

Running Inspiration?

All the amazing men and women in my marathon training group, and every runner out there. They have all inspired me through their strength and commitment.

One tip for New Runner

Stick with it...you will be truly amazed with your accomplishments and what you can achieve.

Carolina- A Running Pea

Carolina is a sports marketing professional and a humanities graduate student; She lives with her adorable miniature schnauzer Rocco in sunny Orlando, FL. She is a fitness and vegetarian food connoisseur who loves running, cooking, baking and experimenting in the kitchen. Carolina is a marathoner-in-training, art enthusiast & lover of cilantro. Along with her best friend, she writes about vegetarian fare and fitness adventures at Peas in a Blog. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook or contact Carolina by email at thecooks@peasinablog.com

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

I started running a year & a half ago, compliments of heartbreak. My ex boyfriend & I had just split up when I met a girl who was training for a marathon, she suggested I take up running as a way to release some of my emotions. I had never ran before but it seemed like a healthy outlet so I decided to find a race, sign up & go. But I didn’t start off with a 5K, instead, I signed up for a half marathon – go big or go home! After I crossed the finish line I got a glimpse of the infamous “runners high” & have been running ever since.

What keeps you motivated to run?

I feel very fortunate to be active & be able to run. I’m lucky enough to live in Florida where we can
run year round (though Summers are not as enjoyable aka way too hot!). When you’re constantly
surrounded with sunshine & palm trees how could you not want to be outside? I love enjoying the
beautiful days by going on a run.

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

When I first started running I couldn’t run a mile without feeling out of breath; now I’m training for my
first marathon. By sticking to my training & getting out there I’ve been able to build endurance, cardio
vascular health, stronger legs and a deeper love of the sport. I feel like a much stronger runner today.

Are you training for any races at the moment?

I’m currently training for the NYC Marathon (I got selected, so lucky!), which is on November 6. I’m
currently just a few weeks into training & have a long journey ahead. It’s very exciting & scary at the
same time.

What's your favorite way to refuel post-run?

Confession: I’m slightly obsessed with smoothies. After a long run I love having a big, fruity protein
smoothie. My current favorite combination is water, ice, peaches, pineapple, vanilla whey protein
powder & a drizzle of agave – tastes like summer!

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

When in doubt, run. When you think you can’t keep going push yourself, you can & will finish. Pride is
forever. These are my mantras & I encourage all runners to find their own (or borrow mine) & hold on to them as they run.

Thank you so much to these awesome ladies for giving us an inside look at their amazing journey!!

If you are a runner (novice to elite) and want to me featured in an upcoming edition of this series send me an email at health.happiness.skinnyjeansATgmail.com

Happy Friday!

So tell me, have you ever started something new like running to get through a challenging time in your life?


My 7 Links

I've seen this post quite a few times in my travels through the blogosphere and thought that it would be fun to play along and share of few of my older posts with you.

Most Beautiful

International Women's Day- While the photos are not mine they are some of the most moving photographs I've seen on the internet.

Most Popular

I Got Babies on the Brain- Baby fever has definitely hit the blogworld and this post's popularity is a testament to that.

Most Controversial

Baby I Love Ya but You're Making Me Fat! I didn't receive any overly negative feedback but the "f" word is always a sensitive topic.

Why I Won't Read Your Blog- It's my honest opinion but I think it rubbed a few people the wrong way

Surprise Success

Blogs>Magazines- I really didn't expect the amount of feedback on this one but of course, I loved every single comment and shared opinion about it.

Not Enough

Looking for a Few Good Blogs- I definitely would have expected a lot more nominations..there are so many excellent blogs out there!!

Most Proud

Finding My Healthy Happy Weight , I'm Too Sexy for My... , In a Moment of Weakness and My Battle with Compulsive Eating- All necessary discussions that were hard to write but essential to share

There you have it...some of my favorites.

And here's to many more...

So tell me, if you could have me read one of your best posts what would it be? (link please!)



The Work Trap

The other day I came across an article (that I now can't find the link for...grr!) detailing how working in an office can be detrimental to your health. For obvious reasons (aka: I work in an office) this caught my attention and got me thinking....

Could this be an issue for me?

Overall I like to think I am a pretty health focused individual but could I be caught in the trap without even knowing?

There are definitely some potentials:

1. I sit at a desk or in a meeting room for most of my day. Given that a work week is 40+ hours that's a lot of time parked on my butt.

2. The never ending cycle of office potlucks, birthday celebrations and otherwise unhealthy fare that makes its way into the fold. All that tempting food is hard to turn down when it's everywhere, all the time.

3. Recycled air. Studies have shown that air inside a building can be substantially dirtier then the air outside. Pollutants from air conditioning and bacteria plaoting around can pose health risks for some people. Source

4. Germs. Sharing office equipment and working with dedicated people who battle through colds and flus at work can expose me to viruses and bacteria that can wreak havoc on my overall health.

5. Stress. Working under pressure to meet deadlines and solve issues as they crop up certainly weigh on me both mentally and physically.

So how do I combat this possible problems since winning the lottery and retiring by 30 isn't quite panning out the way I had planned?

1. Get up and walk around when I can. Instead of sending emails or making phone calls I try to get up and go talk to people when I have time. Not only does it get me moving but the face to face interaction is a nice break from staring at a computer screen all day.

2. Pack a healthy lunch and stock my drawers with healthy snacks. It's a lot easier to say no to the slice of birthday cake when you aren't starving and looking for a 3pm pick me up.

3. Make friends with the healthy coworkers who encourage active living and keep me motivated. Its much harder to skip a workout when someone is standing at your desk with her gym bag, ready to go for a run.

4. Take the stairs. It doesn't seem like a big deal but any extra physical activity sure can't hurt!

5. Use the work gym. It's in the building and its free. How could I say no?

6. Make a healthy lifestyle a priority. There are a 168 hours in a week, meaning that 128 of them aren't spent at work. That's a lot of time to make up for all the desk sitting, dirty air breathing, stress accumulation that takes place.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a LottoMax ticket to check...

So tell me, is your job a healthy living hazard? How do you avoid the trap?


Ode to a Runner's Boyfriend

There is something extra special about a man who will....

See this face and think "beauty" not "tomato head"

Watch this and not run from your assumed masochist ways

Keep quiet about the fact that, while you once smelled nice most of the time, these days you kinda stink

Accept that workout gear accessorized with a headband is dressed up now

Deal with the fact that a 6am wake up call for a Sunday long run usually means a 6:15 "have you seen my keys/running belt/iPod?" wake up call for him

Accept that this is considered a hairstyle (and that taking pictures of that back of your own head is really, really hard)

Understand that taking a "shot" doesn't have the same meaning it once did

Come to terms with that fact that you'd rather spend money on races than pedicures because the polish just rubs off any way. He won't even hide your flip flops when things start getting really "rough"

Learn to be okay with the fact that you are certifiably obsessed with your cats. (Okay so that's more a me thing then a running thing but its special all the same)

For everything you do, this one is for you.

Wait, I feel like I am ripping off a commercial or something...


Oh screw it...thanks times a million and yeah, I love you lots and lots and all that stuff.

Isn't love grande??

So tell me, what does your partner or family put up with because they love you?



Marathon Training Week Seven- But I Just Don't Wanna

Hey friends! How are you surviving through all this heat?? (assuming of course that it is hot where you are) Today was the first day in what feels like forever that I didn't absolutely melt when I hit the sidewalk. Humid weather, like the stuff we've been having here in the Toronto area, completely zaps me of energy so I am looking forward to some more seasonl temperatures in the next few weeks.

Here's a look at how my training went last week:

Monday: Strength training (1 hour 15 min)
Tuesday: 5km run, Spinning (30min)
Wednesday: Elliptical training (1 hour) Jillian Michaels workout DVD (45 min)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 2km run, Elliptical (15min)
Saturday: Spinning (50min)
Sunday: Spinning/Strength (50min)

Total distance ran: 7km

Here's what I learned:

Sometimes I don't want to run. Like really don't want to run. Marathon training or not, I am simply not going to torture myself for 2 hours if I am actually dreading my long run. So this morning I opted out and I am okay with it. This is about my health and my happiness more than anything else.

Finding what sweaty form of activity you love is a crucial backup plan for "The thought of running makes me cringe" type days. This weekend it was some hardcore spinning. It was a great choice!

Marathon training is 5 months of your life and interests are bound to change. I am confident that I will be back in the running game next week but until then I am all about making my body and mind feel good. I mean really, the Olympic gold medal isn't at stake if I skip a run here and there right?

Sometimes you have to focus on the positives of summer (trips to the cottage, ice cream, thunderstorms) because when the thermometer creeps to 48C/118F there is a LOT to be sour faced about. (I am so not a super hot weather girl)

All crankiness about heat and lack of motivation to run aside, I really love to break a sweat (except when I am sitting on a bus in traffic and its 2 million degrees but I digress...) I went to spinning twice this weekend because I really wanted to get my exercise groove on. I love that!

Thoughts this week: I don't live and breathe running the way some people do and I am perfectly fine with that. When I love it I will do it and when I don't I will scale back. Like most things, the relationship has its ebbs and flows and I am prepared to go with it. The most important part to me is that I feel driven, passionate, motivated and accomplished. I will get there however I can, as long as I get there!

Hope you all had a great weekend and managed to stay cool!

So tell me, what is your favorite non-running way to get your exercise groove on? Do you ever love doing something one day and secretly kind of hate it the next?



A Change Will Do You Good..

I briefly mentioned it in previous post, and while I don't often mention too much about what it is that I do between the hours of 9am-5pm, I thought I should revisit the fact that I was recently promoted (Yippee!)

Why? Well other than liking the idea of sharing good news on my blog it also effects my workout schedule pretty significantly. In the past I was able to work out on my lunch breaks, which meant running with co-workers,  teaching classes like Cycle Pump and Tabata Circuit and having lots of time for the rest of my life once the day as over.

Needless to say, lunchtime workouts were a huge bonus in my life.

Now, due to a heavy meeting schedule, I can't fit it in during the day, which leaves me with two options: Get up early or find the motivation (and time) to go after work.

Lately after work is winning because I deeply value the extra sleep but depending on the day (or what cool stuff is happening in the evening) I may make a few pre-work trips to the gym too.

What isn't changing is that fact that I am going to go the gym. No. I will go. And you will make me. Do we have a deal??

It also means a change to my rest day(s). Since I clearly have more time to sweat it out on the weekend now I am no longer planning to rest on Saturdays. Instead I will do biking or spinning (like today) and rest Friday when I am wiped from a long week at work and not wanting to hit the gym at the end of the day.

Change happens. I'm rolling with it.

Speaking of change, I decided to give myself a little makeover:

People are always telling me to lighten up...they meant my hair right??

I thought so too.

You know what's not changing but should? This heat wave! I hate to be the girl that complains about summer but c'mon! There's hot and then there is this. I am not down for this.

Heat? Humidity? Doesn't Mother Nature know I am training for a marathon?? Gimme a break would ya!

And to think there are people who are all "I love this weather...summer rocks!"

Some people's interests are so self-motivated. Sheeesh! *wink*

So tell me, what's the best change you've made recently? Do you hate the extreme heat or are you weird and actually enjoying it?


Feature Friday: Runners

Welcome to my new series Feature Friday which will showcase some really awesome people who add to their sheer awesomeness by also being runners!

Each week I will feature a few runners with all different experiences and exciting stories to tell.

Are you ready to meet some totally kick-ass people? Of course you are!

Katy: The Singing Runner

Katy  is a 21-year-old college senior who blogs about healthy living, running, food, and social media at The Singing Runner. Katy has ran two half-marathons and is currently training for her first marathon. In her spare time, she loves singing, acting, traveling, cooking, and writing.

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

I have participated in numerous sports since elementary school and even did cross-country for a year in high school (but hated it!). It was not until last June that I laced up my shoes and started running again... and the rest is history!

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

This past spring, I developed a left shin splint, which kept me out of running for six weeks. I had intensive physical therapy two times a week for those six weeks. Not only was I in physical pain with the injury, but it also took an emotional toll on me.

What top 3 things do you love most about running?

Crazy strong and sexy legs ;), being considered by others as “one of those crazy running people”, and pushing myself further than I ever thought imaginable.

Are you training for any races at the moment?

I am currently training for my first marathon, which will be the Chicago Marathon on October 9th!

What's your favorite running memory?

Definitely when I crossed the finish line of my first half-marathon: the 2011 Disney Half-Marathon in January. I had battled through injuries and setbacks during my training, but I powered throughand broke my expectations running it in 1:56:20!

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

Talk to others about your running progress! Most of my friends are not runners but I talk to them all the time about my latest run and marathon training progress. It may not be their “cup of tea,” but it keeps me accountable (to go out and get the runs done!) and motivated. Who knows, you may inspire them to get out there and join you!

Cynthia: The Newlywed Duathlete

Cynthia is a women with a thirst for life and a new challenge. 2011 has been a big year for her as she was married to the love of her life in April, competed in her first duathlon in June and is training for her first marathon this fall. When she's not out running she loves to spend time with her hubby enjoying a glass of wine or taking her black Lab Penny for a walk in the park. Cynthia blogs about her active life over at Cynthia's Adventures.

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

I started in 2008 in preparation for a 5K relay at work. I was always a sprinter so it was crazy hard to run 5k!!

What's one running pet peeve or drawback?

Rest days!! Your body needs it but its hard when it falls on the perfect running day!

What is your favorite distance to run?

For now, a 10K. Easy enough to try and push yourself a little!

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

Doing more cross-training. I used to think run, run, run. Now I only run 3-4 times a week.

What's your favorite running memory?

Training for and finishing my 30K race in March 2011. It was such an amazing feeling to have completed it!!

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

50Km at a slow and steady pace! Hey that's an ultra, wouldn't you be excited!? :)

You can catch much more of Cynthia and Katy on their blogs so be sure to check them out!!

Are you a runner (any experience level) and want to appear on Feature Friday? Send me an email at health.happiness.skinnyjeansATgmail.com and I will send you more information!!

Happy Friday everyone!

So tell me, do you run? If yes, what motivated you to start?


Detour! Healthy Living Obstacles and How I Avoid Them

Just when I thought that the blogosphere couldn't get any better and along came last night's #Fitblog chat and my very first chance to moderate. I was (and still am) completely blown away by how amazing the experience was!

To everyone who joined in: Thank you for making it absolutely awesome!

If you didn't get a chance to chat with us you can check the archive for a rundown of all the great answers and dialogue that took place.

Now, because I was so busy reading and thoroughly enjoying everyone's responses I didn't get a chance to provide my own answers to the four questions that I posed. So here they are:

Topic: Healthy Living Roadblocks and How to Avoid Them

Q1. What is the biggest roadblock preventing you from living your very best life?

Stress. I tend to take on too much and not ask for help and that can weigh on me. I also let little things bother me more then they should. Its something I am working because I know how important stress management is in a healthy life.

Q1 f/u How are you addressing that roadblock to eventually overcome it?

I try to manage my time better by not being afraid to say no. I also take a few minutes to myself before bed to read a book and decompress. Working out definitely helps in stress reduction too.

Q2. Are there people in your life that act as roadblocks and if so, how do you deal with them?

No one is an intentional roadblock but there are people who inadvertently encourage less healthy eating patterns or drinking because they do it in my presence. Ultimately though I am responsible for me and what other people do or eat shouldn't effect me. If it does then I need to work on why I am not able to control my own choices.

Q3 When lack of time becomes a roadblock, how do you fit it all in?

I recently got promoted at work (yay!) but it means I am in and out of meetings all day and not able to workout at lunch as often. I have shifted my schedule and now go after work. That might mean less t.v time or that the dishes don't get done but it's a priority and I make it happen.

Q3 f/u Do you use any online tools to help you better manage your time or keep you motivated?

I use Daily Mile and My Fitness Pal to keep me motivated but the biggest tools for accountability is my blog and the ones that I read. The community of bloggers that I visit regularly is very inspiring. And #fitblog chats is definitely a part of that!

Q4. What is the biggest obstacle that you have already overcome in order to be a healthier person? How did you do it?

I made health a priority. I use to make a lot of excuses for being complacent and lazy or for making poor food choices. Now I remind myself why its important to me and how the excuses will prevent me from meeting goals that I have. I think I have grown up a lot in terms of my lifestyle (a LOT less partying and late nights) as well as the way I view healthy living, nutrition and exercise.

Ahh...now that's a road sign I can work with.

So tell me, have you had to overcome any roadblocks towards being a healthier person? How did you do it?


How NOT to be a Role Model

As someone who takes a lot of pride in being a part of this wonderful little healthy living community I also take on a certain level of responsibility for the message I put out there. People (albeit a relatively small but extraordinarily awesome group of people) read what I have to say, and on the small chance that anyone is inspired by it I need to be responsible. Real and honest but responsible.

Which brings me to my issue: Celebrities, who have a much, MUCH larger following of people who look up to them, should also take on a personal responsibility to send a positive message.

Likewise, magazines geared at women who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle should also feel a sense of obligation for putting healthy messages out there.

So imagine my disgust when I stumbled upon this:

1,100 calories a day? Are you freakin' kidding me! C'mon Kim, I know you want to look your best for your wedding but with your intense workout schedule (see above) this is pretty much starvation!

Not cool (or safe) seeing as you used to represent the curvy gals of the world.

Here's another example of too little food for a severly active person being touted as a good way to live

Ugh! Two hours of tennis four times a week and this singer is limiting herself to 1,300 calories a day?

Even worse she suggests that a glass of wine in the evening would make her feel guilty. One glass?? Really?

Enough with the "guilt talk" people. Women already have enough negative associations with food without reading about their favorite star suggesting that this drastic way of eating is normal. There is no reason someone should feel guilty about their food choices, especially something as measly as 120 calories of wine!!

As someone who admittedly is trying to drop some extra weight and who is using food tracking to aid in that process I will put this out there: 

 I aim for 1200-1300 calories on the days that I do no form of intentional physical activity (ie: my complete rest days).

On days that I do exercise I add back most of the calories from my workout, putting me up to 1700-2000 calories.

I also ensure that I add in 100-200 extra calories, in the form of carbs, the day before a long run. This is on top of my existing carb intake for that day.

I should also note that this is my strategy to lose the weight. Once I am in a maintanence phase I will  strive for anywhere between 1600 and 2400 calories a day on average.

1,100 and intense workouts? Umm...no thanks!

Oh and then there is this ad that keeps popping up in magazines

There is nothing obviously wrong with it but it irks the hell outta me! Who looks like that when they eat a protein bar? When I eat one its because I just did a killer workout and for the most part I am a hot mess who will snarl at anyone who tries to get me to pose awkwardly for a photo before biting into it.

But that's just me.

And I'm not even a famous role model.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or nutritionist. The opinions expressed in this post are my own based on research that I am done over an extended period of time. If you need advice on calorie or food intake please consult a professional.

So tell me, how do you feel about celebrities and their "stay fit" tips?



#Fitblog Chat

Hi everyone! I just wanted to stop in and remind you all that I will be hosting #Fitblog chat this Tuesday (july 19th) at 9pm EST and to encourage you all to join in!

The topic is: Detour! Healthy Living Obstacles and How to Overcome Them

If you have never participated in a #Fitblog chat before this is a great time to start! All you need is a Twitter account and you can participate in an awesome hour of conversation with some really amazing people who are on healthy living journeys just like you!

You can log in to the chat using Tweetdeck, Twitter or the chatroom and you will follow along and join in using the hashtag #Fitblog.

There are a number of questions that the moderator (that's me!) will ask and you can answer by prefacing your response with Q1, Q2 etc.

Like I said, it's a great chance to meet new people, find friends to follow on Twitter and new blogs to read too!

You can follow me @SamSkinnyJeans too if you'd like!


I am so excited for this opportunity and I hope to see you there!

So tell me, have you ever taken part in a #Fitblog chat? Do you plan to join in this week??


Marathon Training Week 6- Hot, Hot Heat

Wow! I can't believe it's Sunday already. I feel like I just wrote the post about leaving for the cottage and its already time to come home. While I am not liking leaving and heading back to the city even a little bit, I am pretty sure the week will fly by (wishful thinking right?) and it will be time for weekend antics all over again.

Here's how last week's training went:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 9km run
Wednesday: 3km speed session, 30 min spinning, 5km run
Thursday: rest
Friday: 6km run, taught Cycle Pump (45 min)
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 20km run

Total distance ran: 43km

What I learned:

Run when you can, rest when you need to. This applies to long runs as well as running in general. I found that there were days where my body wanted to take it easy this week and I let it.

Running in the summer means getting up early. Seeing this time on the clock on a Sunday is annoying when you like sleeping in as much as I do

Getting up for a long run and realizing you don't have: your running belt, iPod arm band or gels might have detered non-marathon Sam. This Sam though needed to make due (money in shoe, iPod in hand, Powerade along the way)

While running in a cute matching outfit might seem like a lot of fun, there is no, and I mean no fun when you chafe the hell out of your inner thighs and have to keep going despite the stinging pain. Shorts might not be a reality for me afterall (I tried BodyGlide and it didn't work) unless I magically acquire thighs that don't touch (more wishful thinking)

It's absolutely okay to walk. I did it alot today and I am fine with it. In fact, when its hot as hell at 9am not-walking is NOT an option

Thoughts this week: Training is going well. There have been a few medical setbacks and hot weather running is challenging but all and all I'm feeling good about running again. The marathon distance still scares the hell out of me but I am also confident it will still to feel a little more manageable as time goes on and the weather cools down.

Hope you all had a great weekend!!

Attention Runners: I am starting a series featuring runners with all different levels of experience and stories to tell. Whether you are a beginner or you've been running since middle school, whether you are working on your first couch to 5k program, are training for your first big race or have completed several marathons I would love to feature you!

If you are interested in being a part of this series send me an email health.happiness.skinnyjeansATgmail.com

Also: Join in on #fitblog chats this Tuesday at 9pm EST. I will be the guest moderator and would love to hear your thoughts on Healthy Living Obstacles and How to Overcome Them

So tell me, is it super hot where you are? What's your favorite thing to do when it's scorching outside?


Get Yer Motor Runnin'...

Alas, the perpetual wait for Friday at 5pm is finally over and it's time to get the weekend started right!

It supposed to be like 11 million degrees again this weekend so I am so pumped that The Boyfriend's parents have loaned us the cottage. Goodbye cement city and good riddance!

My bags are packed and we are about ready to jump in the car and get going. Of course I made sure not to forget any of the important stuff.

If you run and blog I think its virtually impossible to go away for the weekend without at least 23 chargers. Phone charger? Check! Garmin charger? Check! Camera charger, memory card, SD reader? Check!

Its ridiculous.

Oh and looks who's totally torn about me going away and leaving the place unsupervised for a few days.

He'll be having a couch scratching party before I even get on the highway I'm sure.

On deck for the weekend:

Biking (30km)
Running (18-20km)
Blogging (daily)
Relaxing (no maximum)

I can't wait! And on that note, we're off.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

So tell me, what are you planning for this weekend? What's the one thing you always forget when you go away for the weekend?


No Regrets....

So I know I haven't talked about it in a while, nor did I give you the promised update on my progress since I signed up for My Fitness Pal a few months ago (I am such a lying jerk, I know!) and because I suspect you have all been just waiting on the edge of your seats, here it is:

I haven't lost a freakin' pound.

Alright that's another lie (its becoming compulsive!)

I lost 5lbs in the first two weeks, got lazy and careless, stopped using the tool altogether and gained the 5 back. Then I gained a few more for good measure.

Not exactly the game plan.

That was in May. Now that its mid July (holy crap where is the summer going!) I am really starting to feel like I let myself down on this one. Too many excuses, too many I'll start tomorrow's and here I am at my "not happy weight" and regretting that I let it get here ....again.

In the words of Karen Lamb:

A year from now you may wish you had started today

On other (Sam) words:

What the hell are you waiting for??

I know that if left to my habits from the past few months I would definitely be wishing I had started something today. So instead of giving myself 365 days to build up some really crushing regret I'm just going to go ahead and start today.

Or rather Monday. As in last Monday.

As of the beginning of the week I am back on My Fitness Pal and keeping track of my food intake and exercise. I am focusing on wholesome food and portion control as well as maintaining my typical activity level in the hopes that I can shed some of the excess weight that is literally bogging me down.

And yes I am still the girl that loves herself at any size. That hasn't changed at all. On the flip side I can't lug around unnecessary pounds because it isn't good for my health or my training. Let's be honest, would you want to run carrying a 15lb back pack?

I think not.

So this is it..no more excuses! I need to own my choices while keeping my goals in mind. I get up and run because I have a goal (ie: marathon) so this really shouldn't be any different. And like the occasional missed workout, a slice of pizza here and there won't destroy my ability to meet my goal.

A slice of pizza and a skipped workout every day might be a different story.

Now I know this is not a "weight loss" blog but sometimes losing weight is a part of an overall healthy lifestyle so my plans are to keep you in the loop as far as progress and insights are concerned. If you are the type to steer clear of this type of conversation because it might trigger an issue for you (or because you find it D-U-L-L) I completely understand. There will be plenty of other posts for you to enjoy.

And yes, there will still be cat photos (who just breathed a sigh of relief on that one??)

Here's a little trick that I picked up along the way: When trying to eat a calorie controlled yet nutrient dense diet, always fill up on veggies.

Yeah, I would say I got that down to a science don't ya think?

Now that's no lie!

So tell me, what's one thing (big or small) you should start today so you won't look back with regret?


The Day the Music Died

Remember that time that I did a brick workout?

Did one again today..

Remember that time I ran without an iPod and actually didn't hate it?

Did that too...

Something has definitely come over me and whatever it is, I like it!

As a general rule I will always workout when I feeling like breaking a sweat. In fact, I could be in the middle of a wedding and if the mood hit I would run a lap around the hall before the reception started. Don't believe me? Well you'll just have to invite me to your wedding (ahem.. Maria) and see for yourself.

That being said, today was the kind of day that I felt the urge so I hit the gym for a run, bike, run kinda of workout.

The routine:

2 speedy (for me) miles @ 9:20/mile
30 minutes spinning with varying tension and speed (seated and standing)
2 slow recovery miles @ 11:00/mile

All done without an iPod I might add. If you know me, the girl that would leave the gym if my battery died, you know this is a big deal.

Running without music is actually a lot easier then I thought it would be. I can think more without it. And thinking leads to distraction. And distraction is gooood.

Now before we get all "Samantha is selling her iPod on ebay" around here, I discovered another reason why earphones come in handy at the gym:

Drown out the "I know everything about working out and I'm going to blab on about it for an hour while I hammer out a measly eight 10lb reps" guy. Ick! I swear, this dude talked non-stop the entire time and all I could hear was him flip-flopping from knowing everything to having 63 excuses for why he couldn't actually do any legitimate working out. How obnoxious.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be all catty and judgemental, but seriously if you are going to talk the talk you better damn well walk the walk. Don't be the guy that gives unsolicited advice to the guys who are actually busting their ass, while you stand there in your barely damp t-shirt rambling about ....well everything.

Not cool dude, not cool. And if I need to I'll substitute earplugs for earphones. Because really, I'd rather listen to the belt on the treadmill then that. Just sayin'.

In sum, I give this workout 2 thumbs up for butt kicking and a half a thumb down for noise pollution. Still a big win in my books!

So tell me, what annoys you about the gym? Do you workout without music?



When You Just Need to Sweat...

Wow! I can't believe all the positive response I got to my post. I am so pumped that so many of you read it and actually liked it. Thanks a million for all the feedback and link love here and in Twitterland today. As always, you're the bestest! (Its a real word I swear)

Ultimately when it comes down to it the biggest thing that will impact whether I read a blog isn't how fast of a runner you are, how interesting and creative your recipes are or how many marathons you've ran. It's how good you are at keeping it real.

If I can sense a genuine awesomeness about you I will want to be friends with you. And because I can't pick up and move to every state and province (or convince you all to come to Toronto...although you should, you really should) I can be the next best thing: your blog stalker friend.

There is no perfect way to blog or template that will make you more popular. So just be you. It's the same way you made friends on the playground and it'll work on blogland too I promise!

Fitness/Health Update:

After a 5 day, doctor ordered, fitness hiatus I felt a need to get in the gym and just sweat today.

Isn't it funny how our fitness perspective can change? A few years back I was lucky to make it to the gym once every 5 days and now that same span of time off feels like eternity!!

Not wanting totally over do it I decided a slow and easy run was just what the doctor (would have) ordered (had I have consulted her first...oops!)

5.5miles in an hour. Not too shabby and I got all the sweat I was looking for and then some. Sweet!

The plan for the rest of the week is that there is no plan. I am going to take it day by day and see how my body feels. Hopefully I'll get some more sweat-sessions in but if not, that okay too.

There's always next week.

Well, that's it for me... I'm off to get ready for tonight's #Fitblog chat. Hope to see you there!

So tell me, how has your fitness perspective changed in that last year or two?


Why I Won't Read Your Blog

Hey friends! Have you listened to Katy Widrick's 10 Tips for Killer Blog Posts yet? If you haven't, you are definitely missing out! So go do that now and come back. I'll be waiting here, I promise.

Welcome back! How great was that huh? So much of that seems so simple (and obvious) and it basically sums up a lot of the things that draw me to a blog post or even better, a blog. I'll keep coming back for more and more and more (because I'm a blog glutton like that) if I like what I see and read, if you are funny or interesting and I feel like I know you. Accomplish that and you've got a friend for life.

On the other hand...

Yes, I'll just go ahead and say it. There are things that make me stop reading, whether its half way through a post or the entire blog altogether. There are only so many blog reading hours in a day and I want to spend them on all the blogs that I enjoy.

What can I say? I know what I like...or in this case what I don't like.

One Long Paragraph

Katy's mentions the short attention span of readers in her webinar and in my case its totally true. I can't read sentence after sentence after sentence all strung together for what seems like forever. Do that and you've lost me. I will skim, look at pictures and probably just click away.

Don't get me wrong, I want to read what you have to say. But please break it up so I don't lost interest and lose out on all your insight and hilarity!

For the Sake of Posting, Posts

I get it. We all want to post often because we know it helps us build and maintain a readership but nothing is more obvious then the quick "I got nothing to say at all but here's a photo of some toast and a link to an old post because I was too lazy to write anything fresh" post. And I am not interested.

I'd rather read you once a day, or week, or hell month for that matter if your content is interesting and refreshing. I am really so tired of looking at toast with almond butter I could scream!

Now, if you are strapped for time (who isn't) or feeling some writers block and you want to post, what I can say that I like looking at really interesting photos. Putting together a wordless post that captures the essence of a weekend/event/race is still really entertaining and a nice change from the talk, talk, talk everywhere else

Miss I'm So Perfect

There is nothing that is going to lose me faster than a blogger with a perfect diet, fitness routine, family, house, job and hairstyle. Why? Because she is not REAL!

 I don't care who you are, what side of the globe you blog on or what your experience is, there is not a blogger out there who doesn't mess up sometimes. And those are the bloggers I want to know! Give me the girl who skips an occasional workout to go to happy hour, eats candy with breakfast sometimes and fails to brush her hair every once and a while and you've got someone I can relate to.

I refuse to read the blogs that make everyday seem like easy, peasey sunshine. And I don't want to read all about your perfect anything unless you are also willing to post a photo (or at least a story) of that time your dress got tucked in your underwear on your way to meet your in-laws for the first time.

We've all been there. And I know you have too, whether you share it or not.

Get All Preachy

For the same reason that I don't want to read that so-called perfect blog, I also can't stand a blog that is nothing but advice and how to's and "I'm such and expert" blah blah blah. If you're blog reads like eHow.com I'm a goner.

If I wanted expert advice online, I'd turn to Wikipedia...duh!

Be a real person. Ask for help sometimes. Tell me a story of that mistake you made. It's called authenticity and I like it.

Never Post Real Photos

I love photography. It doesn't even have to be great photography for me to love it. What I enjoy is how a photo captures a memory or a moment, can make you laugh or make you cry, but nonetheless brings you in on the story.

Show me your life in your blog. If all you ever use are someone else's images to illustrate your point, I don't feel like there is a real life author behind the message. I want to see your face. Hell I want to see your dog's face! Give me something to look at and I'm gonna hang out, I promise.

Cross that Line.

I am all for a blogger who curses now and then, pokes fun at herself and celebrities and makes the occasional mildly offensive joke.

On the flip side, anything blatantly racist, sexist or homophobic or an attack on another person and I am out. Permanently.

Keep it clean(ish) people, my grandma reads this sh*t. ...Ok, she doesn't, but someone's does. Aim for PG13

A few things that surprisingly enough, don't bother me:

  • Lots of pet photos. If the photos have captions and add to the story, even better!
  • Celebricizing on a healthy living blog...I can snicker at Lindsey with the best of 'em
  • Healthy living turned wedding/baby on the way blogs. If I like you I like your life. Those are big parts of your life so share away!!
  • Spelling mistakes. I'm guilty of that in a big, bad way.

Believe me, I am far from a perfect blogger and I know that but where I lack in one area, I make up for in another.So if there is one thing I know its what will keep or lose my attention quicker than the sellout of the NYC Marathon. But really, this is just my opinion. You do what you do and maybe you'll catch me stalking my Google Reader for a fresh post from you.....

So tell me, what is one thing you HATE about certain blogs that make you stop reading. (Do not name the blog please...let's play nice)


Marathon Training Week 5: When You Can't Run

It's the end of another week and I am happy to report that I am finally starting to feel like my old self. I want to thank you again for all your support as I battled this ailment. And as much as I hate having illness get the best of me, I am very grateful that I am also able to bounce back to be a total weirdo regular ol' me in a short amount of time.

Here's what last week looked like:

Monday: Bootcamp (40min)
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 2mile run, strength training (15min)
Thursday: Sick
Friday: Sick
Saturday: Sick
Sunday: Sick

Total distance ran: 3.2km

Here's what I learned:

While a class may not feel difficult while you're taking it, it can totally kick your ass! My legs and butt hurt until Friday after Monday's bootcamp.

Sickness sucks but it happens. It will derail training and you'll hate it but at the end of the day possible long term damage is not even an option for the sake of a long run. Take the advice of your doctor, boyfriend and pretty much everyone else and be lazy. Not sure how? Ask a cat..

Missing a week of running won't derail your training plans. You'll get back into it slowly and be back on track in no time!

But its okay to make yourself feel better with a splurge on an item you've been wanting for a while. Just call it a "healthy living tool" (which it is) and it's completely justified!

Take your time getting better and before you know it you'll be hammering out another 18km long run. Until then, enjoy relaxing and not having that feeling of "needing to do something" is really good for you too.

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Stay tuned for more fitness-related stuff in the very near *fingers crossed* future!

So tell me, what recent splurge are you most excited about??