A Look Ahead: 2011 Goals

As the year winds down I always find myself reflecting on how far I have come and where I want to go. Some may say that resolutions are for those who haven't yet learned to accept their own greatness, that they are looking to change something because they aren't satisfied with who they are now. I don't believe this to be true. For me, a resolution (be it New Year's related or otherwise) is more of a goal for how I can continue to evolve, as I have always done and will continue to do.

With every passing year I grow as a person and 2010 was no exception. I had a great year, full of many great memories and "firsts" that I will always be proud of. I challenged myself in ways that I never thought possible and exceeded my own expectations. I am proud of who I became this year. Goals for the year to come simply mean I can continue to add to my long list of accomplishments. I haven't reached my limit yet and I am definitely not willing to stop now!

In 2011 I vow to......

  • Blog more. I love my blog (and all of you!) I really do. Through blogging I have held myself accountable, learned new things, been inspired and motivated and dealt with challenges. I want to do more of all of that and hopefully be a bit of it for you while I am at it.
  • Make time to relax. I plan and schedule for everything possible except for time for me. I never intentionally give myself a chance to wind down, take a deep breath and just be. I will do that in 2011, even if I do have to put it in my day planner in order to get it done.
  • Practice the principals of Intuitive Eating. I have struggled with mild bouts of binging and stress eating throughout the years and I want to adopt a more healthy approach to food by giving my body what it needs when it needs it (even if what it needs is a cupcake from time to time!)
  • Experiment more in the...... kitchen (ha!I bet the Boyfriend almost did a cartwheel reading that) I plan on giving myself the fuel to be healthy, strong and happy but in doing that I want to be creative and awaken the taste buds and culinary skills I don't yet know that I have.
  • Take more photos. I treated myself to 2 new cameras this year (Olympus Pen and Nikon Coolpix point and shoot) and I plan to put them to good use.
  • PR at the 1/2 marathon in May. After much contemplation I am forgoing the 30k race in March to allow myself to train consistently for the Mississauga 1/2 marathon on May 15th. For some it may not be a one or the other deal but I know the training in April will matter if I plan to beat my own personal best and with a planned vacation to Cuba mid-month I can't afford the recovery time. Its a sacrifice but one I am willing to make.
  • Try long distance cycling. The intention is to eventually complete a sprint duathalon.
  • Make happiness the priority. I am currently reading The Happiness Project and plan to apply some of the principals to my daily life  After all, whats the point of the rest of this if I am not smiling when all is said and done right?
So there you have it. A list of ways that I plan to become an even better me! I can't wait to get started!

Happy New Year everyone!!

So tell me, what is one of your goals for 2011?


2010 in Photos

I rekindled a high school romance

I went on vacation to the Domincan Republic

I adopted the best dog ever!

I ran my first 10K

One week later I ran another one

I turned 28

I participated in a 24 hour relay for charity

I bachelorette partied it up

I ran a 10 Miler

I fell in love with photography (and cute dogs!)

I was a very proud bridesmaid

I went to the fake prom

I ate healthy food (most of the time)

I ran my first 1/2 marathon

And then I ran another one a few weeks later

I had a lot of fun!!

I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store for me (Check back tomorrow for my goals and resolutions)

So tell me, what is your favorite moment in 2010?


Meet my newest running buddy...

On a rainy day where both the dog needs a walk and you need a run sometimes you have to get creative...

I should mention, Barkley's not the "best" on a leash. Let's just say that Cesare Milan would have a field day with him. He's a sweet heart in every single way but the boy thinks he's a sled dog!

Nonethless 4k later, the pooch and I were damp and exhausted. Something about running with the dog (and making sure he didn't trip me about a zillion times) sure takes it outta ya!

I think Barkley agrees.

So tell me, who's your favorite workout buddy and why?


With the best of intentions..

With the best of intentions I wanted to run today...

With the best of intentions I meant to run three hills as a part of my training plan...

With the best of intentions I hoped to cover 5k total...

With the best of intentions I was going to keep warm despite the fact that it was cold and dark...

With the best of intentions I was going to burn off the Chinese food I had at lunch...

The odds were not in my favor.

I was tired.

This was the weather:

This was the elevation:

But guess what??

I ran the three hills (5k total, up and down) then proceeded to add another 4k to that total.

That's right kiddies, I ran 9 freakin' kilometres in zero degree Celsius temperatures (with 35k/hr winds), after a long day at work, when I wasn't sure if I wanted to even leave the house again after I got home.

Who am I??

Proud (and exhausted) is who I am!!

So tell me, when was the last time you exceeded your own expectations?


To run or not to run...

When faced with many of life's great decisions I will often make a list, outlining the pros and cons, or as I like to call them, the risk to reward factor. Most choices involve risk. Hopefully those same choices involve reward (or there really wouldn't be a choice to make one would think). This minor dilemma is no exception.

The 90th Annual Boxing Day 10 Miler (see website) A race around Hamilton Ontario, on, as the name suggests, Boxing Day.  The idea was thrown out there by Cynthia, who has since signed up and committed to the event. I've mulled it over for days and days and can't seem to get past the "should I?" to actually sign up myself. That's where the list comes in:

Pro: It will keep me motivated to train as the weather gets colder

Con: It means actually having to get out there and run on some potentially frigid and icy days, even when my better instinct tells me to stay warm and dry inside

Pro: Its a fun organized event that will get me moving after a calorie dense Christmas season

Con: It means I have to think "race" on Christmas Day, when I really want to think "second helping of pie" and "third glass of wine"

Pro: Its a training run for the 30k race in March (which I have yet to sign up for but probably will if all goes well this month)

Con: It's a training run that might solidify the fact that I should be signing up for said 30k (I guess this is both a pro and a con depending on who and when you ask)

Pro: I get to spend the morning with friends who will be enduring the same conditions as me

Con: It means I won't be with the other friends and family who are celebrating a day off work with leftovers and cheesy movies

Pro: I get to say "I ran 10 Miles today...what did you do??" and be even a bit smug about it

Con: I have to listen to the answer "I slept in, ate delicious food, and cracked a bottle of vino all before 2pm

So my friends, you can see why this isn't easy. I'm giving myself 'til the end of the week to make up my mind but I would sure love our advice: Should I just do it or what??

So tell me, how do you go about making a tough decision?


Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

Remember me? The last time we spoke I was probably 8 inches shorter and missing a tooth but I promise we were once really good friends. Every year I left you those chewy chocolate cookies that you love and you made sure I got the toys I wanted. It was a pretty good deal for the both of us if you ask me.

I'm back this year Santa and I promise I deserve to be on your "Nice" list. In case you haven't been keeping an eye on me I do my best and I am always usually really polite, kind, and considerate. And I promise a big ol' plate of chewy cookies if you can come through for me on a few things.

You see, I'm attempting outdoor running this winter Santa, and as a guy who lives at the North pole I am sure you know how c-c-cold it can get out there! So whats a girl to do on a cold winter morning when a 12k training run is calling her name but bundle up and make the best of it? And that's where you come in. With just a few key items I think I could really kick some winter running butt this year!

Sugoi running jacket. It's water and wind resistant and its purple. What more do you need right?

The Bust Stops Here sports bra from Lululemon. Cuz every girl can use some support. 'Nuff said!

Pearlizumi F3 Thermal Sport Tights. These are performance oriented, multi-sport tights that transfer moisture and keep you warm. It doesn't hurt that they have a reflective strip for added protection during low visibility.

Hot pink CEP Compression Socks. Flirty and functional...I love it! Plus they'll keep my legs and feet nice and toasty on the really chilly days out there.

Santa (or anyone else who might be reading and who just happen to be shopping for a gift for lil' ol' me this year) I'll be a very happy girl on Christmas morning if I find these little goodies under the tree. I'll even leave some carrots for the reindeer if we can make this happen, okay??


P.S If you run into Jack Frost can you ask him to take it easy on us this year? Thanks!!

So tell me, what's on your Christmas wish list?


Tabata totally kicked my butt!!

I'm not up on the latest fitness trends. I don't know if people are Shredding, going Insane or Latin dancing their way to a healthier life. I'm just not that savvy I guess. So I also don't know if Tabata is new or old, been there or done that, the next big thing or yesterdays news. What I do know is that Tabata kicks my ass...big time!

For those of you who don't yet know (or can't remember because it was so long ago), Tabata is circuit/strength training done in 4 minute blocks. Each set is 30 seconds in length, 20 seconds of intense exercise and 10 seconds of rest. Each exercise is repeated 8 excruciating times.

Each exercise is meant to engage the major muscle groups (lower body, upper body and core) so they might include combined weighted bicep curls with squats or lunges. Other sequences can include pushups, situps, burpees or sprinting on the spot. And believe me, 20 seconds might seem short now but by rep 6 you'll be anxious to just get it over with.

The interval training involved in Tabata is said to significantly increase both aerobic and anaerobic fitness as well as increase fat loss and muscle endurance. All definite reasons to grin and bear it if you ask me but hey, I'm no expert so go ahead and read more about it here. And while you do that I'll be over here cringing. Did I mention that I got my butt kicked?? 

So tell me, have you heard of Tabata? Have you ever tried interval training?


Running in the Winter...I Need Your Help!!

After a tired, post-Tabata chat with Cynthia today I realized that I have been shying away from this blog because I have been lacking motivation lately and don't feel quite right about representing myself a a healthy living blogger when I've been embarrassingly unhealthy as of late. I just can't bring myself to write about the copious amounts of junk food I've scarfed and the workouts I've skipped. Just. Can't. Do. It. But then I realized that rather then run from the blog I need to embrace it in my time of need. As Cynthia pointed out, blogs keep us honest and accountable to our audience (however small) and ourselves. Hello! Why didn't I think of that??

So here I am, working through another lull on my quest to a healthy life. I hear it happens to the best of us and I am hoping it will be short-lived in the grand scheme of things, And all the while I am also trying to wrap my head around a somewhat scary, almost unfathomable concept: winter running.

Winter running? Really? Seems like an oxy-moron right? I mean, c'mon, I live in Canada people and while we don't actually live in igloos and travel on dog sled we do get some serious snow and sub-zero temperatures. Can you say BRRRRRR!?

The truth is there are at least 32 things that I would rather do on a cold winter morning than head out for a 10k run but on the other hand I don't want to lose the fitness that I have managed to build up in the last 8 months either. And since moving to Florida isn't a viable option for this gal I am going to have to suck it up then bundle up and get my butt out the door.

In times of sheer desperation (and I would say finding motivation when its -15C outside qualifies as desperation) I must look to small rewards for my efforts. Much like the Starbucks Vivianno smoothie reward of the summer I will be seeking out a delicious treat to acknowledge my hard work and dedication. Enter Starbucks Hot Chocolate with whipped cream.

Yea, I'll run for that!!

But as a new winter runner I could sure use some advice; after all the hot chocolate is only going to get me so far. Share your tips pretty please (with whipped cream on top!)

I've got a few other ideas in mind for motivation but I will leave that for another post and wait to hear what y'all have to say first.

So tell me whats your best winter running tip? Not a winter runner? What's your favorite outdoor activity during the winter months and how do you get motivated to get out there on those chilly days?


Are you sick of all the pumpkin talk yet?

It goes without saying that the blog world has been overcome by pumpkin fever. 'Tis the season, as they say. I've seen pumpkin muffins, scones, oatmeal, smoothies, squares, pies, cookies, bread, lattes and the list goes on. No wonder there is a pumpkin shortage! (I read somewhere today that grocery stores won't let shoppers purchase more then 2 cans of pumpkin at a time due to a supply/demand issue!) But I must join in on the pumpkin love affair with this:

Meet the Country Garden salad by Dole, otherwise known as my favorite thing in life right now! The salad itself could be a little more substantial (I usually throw in spinach and extra carrots) but what really makes me swoon is the add-ons. What's not to love about dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and a delicious pumpkin vinaigrette dressing. *Drool*

I can't describe to you how much I adore this salad or how sad I will be when it goes out of season so-to-speak.

Coupled with a yummy veggie burger, topped with spinach, tomato and homemade guacamole and dinner was a tasty success!! Don't ya love it when that happens?

So tell me, whats your favorite pumpkin inspired food?

Looking for a great running blog? Check out my friend/running partner Cynthia's new blog here.


Boys will be boys....

Let me tell you about a (BBM) chat that I had with The Boyfriend lately. I messaged him with what was about to be every guy's worst nightmare:

"I feel gross"

He responded wanting to know why.

I wrote "I feel large"

Guy response #1 "Dumbass"

I thanked him most sincerely (and by sincerely I mean I raised an emoticon eyebrow at him)

"You're silly if you ask me" he wrote.

Me "I'm not. I've gained"

Guy response # 2 "So? Look good to me"

I gasped and almost did that thing some of us girls do (you know, THAT thing) and fained insult that he was in fact acknowledging my weight gain. Instead, I took the moral high ground and wrote:

"I don't like it". If BBM had a pitiful pouty face emoticon you better believe I would have used it.

His most matter-of-fact response? "You'll change it"

What the what?? Where was my pity party? I was having a woe-is-me moment and he wasn't jumping on the bandwagon? How was I supposed to continue sulking under these conditions??

I didn't know, but I sure tried. "Ughhhhhh! I feel like a blob!"

Good guy response #3 "Sam, you're as beautiful know as when we got together"

Not falling for it! You won't change my bad attitude that easily mister "But I'm mad that I let this happen"

"So use that anger and kick some ass"

I could have thrown my Blackberry across the office. How, oh friggin' how could be make this so simple? I mean, what was I supposed to do, actually do something about what was bothering me??

Oh wait.....that's actually what I was supposed to do. Duh!

And that my friends is how a little dose of Male Mentality (aka Stop Your Whining and Fix Your Problem!) made me realize that all these years when I was bitching about the fact that I had gained weight/been lazy/couldn't run I'd wasted much too much time that I could have used actually improving my life. Who knew!!

Thanks babe!

Here I go, off to do something with myself instead of just sitting here talking about it! Have a great night everyone!

So tell me, has a member of the opposite sex ever given it to you straight and changed the way you think??

*Disclaimer: My weight gain is a few pounds. I in no way believe that this makes me "large" nor is this meant as a judgement of anyone else. I plan to address the weight gain by being more consistent with my healthy eating habits and active lifestyle. If I have offended you in anyway I sincerely apologize as that was not the message or the intention of this post.


I sure over-promised and under-delivered on this one

So, here it is, the long awaited 1/2 marathon recap that by now you probably forgot that yo were waiting for.

First off, I should say that this isn't the post I wold have wrote if I'd gotten around to it that day..or the next day..or even 4 days later for that matter. This, my friends, is the post that stems from 10 days of rest and recovery and the benefit of a fading memory. Much the same way that they say you forget how much giving birth hurts (I wouldn't know but please don't correct me if I'm wrong), I know this one sucked in a big bad way but I can see past that now. Thank goodness!

To pick up where I left off in my last post would only draw out the agony from whatever recess of my mind that it is hanging out in, so instead I will leave it at this:

I would have had a better race if...

I didn't have to stop and find a washroom in a local Second Cup up at kilometre 5...

If I didn't start cramping, first on my right side then all across the top of my abdominal wall, at kilometre 7...

If my legs didn't turn to lead shortly after kilometre 7 and stay that way for the rest of the race.....

If when they told me 200m to go (in other words, "Girl, start running your ass of now!!") they hadn't been asking for a miracle that I only somehow managed to pull off....

If when I had tried to call The Boyfriend after the race to report that I was exhausted, in pain, cold and hungry (in that exact order) and could he come find me quickly please, my Blackberry hadn't been full of moisture and thus not working AT ALL!

So yeah, not the greatest run of my life. But now, 10 days later I can look back and even laugh about it. You can't win 'em all and I definitely didn't come out on top this time. Oh well, there's always next year right?

Another good sign that I have moved on from this mild disaster? I am thinking about signing up for a 30k race in March....but that's a story for another time!

So tell me, have you ever had one event go from bad to worse, to EPIC FAILURE? If yes, share with me please!!


Writer's Block

I'm back but once again empty handed as far as race recaps go. I just can't seem to find the words this time around. That and I really want to add photos but they won't be available until later tonight or tomorrow I am told.

What I will leave you with is a teaser of sorts to hold you over until the recap is ready.

On the morning of the race I woke up feeling good. I had gotten more sleep this time. I had been more relaxed the night before this time. I knew what I was getting myself into this time. This was going to be a good race!

That was until I accidentally deleted my running playlist on my iPod when trying to add a couple extra songs. F%^&!!! Not good. Not good at all!

Then, after frantically reloading some songs and gathering what I thought was everything I would need for the day The Boyfriend and I headed out the door and were on our way to the race site. That was until I gasped loudly after realizing that I had forgotten the Garmin at home (I had borrowed it from a friend to keep on pace for this race). Immediately we turned back to retrieve the gadget and then continued on our way.

The mayhem didn't stop there though. When The Boyfriend went to take a picture of me before the race began we realized that the Garmin wasn't the only thing that had been forgotten. The camera was in the bag but alas, the memory card was not. F%^&, F%^&, F%^&!!!

At this point I trudged to the starting line, trying to shake off the annoyance I was feeling but lets just say this was unfortunately only the beginning of what would be a very frustrating morning .....

Stay tuned for the rest of the recap tomorrow.


Another 1/2 marathon in the books..

Good afternoon friends. I'm here to say hi and as much as I would love to stay and chat about today's Toronto 1/2 marathon but I'm tired and oh so sore and need to just veg out in front of the current Jersey Shore-a-thon that's taking place right now.

Back soon with the recap. Enjoy our Sunday everyone!!


My Everest

Thank you all for the support and encouragement on my last post. It is always difficult for me to give up on something but I feel really confident that this was the right choice. In a busy life where a full time career, running and other fitness goals, a relationship, friendships, family and personal time are all hugely important and very much a priority, something had to give and in this case the part time job was the one thing I would miss the least. Its all about balance and priorities, right?

And now that I have freed up some time I am able to take on challenges like this:

Meet my Everest, otherwise know as the hill that will meet me at kilometre 3 of my upcoming half marathon. I'm not even sure if this photo does it justice but let me just tell you this one is a calf/quad/lung killer.

Bottom line, it intimidates the hell outta me. So much so that I wasn't going to sign up for this race because of it. I have attempted it before and it literally takes my breath away.

That was until I reminded myself that you can't avoid the things that are tough, you have to face them head on. I had avoided running for the very same reasons and had to get past it. When I did I proved to myself that I am stronger and capable of more then I give myself credit for. I changed my mindset then and can do it again this time. I will get over it, in this case literally.

And so in the battle of me and that hill I say "Bring it"

6 days and counting....

So tell me, is there something that you have had to get past to achieve your goals or prove your own strength to yourself?


Sometimes you just have to walk away...

By nature, I am not a quitter. I will relentlessly look for solutions. I pride myself in being resilient. I hang on, at times beyond reason, when everyone else would give up, call it a day, say goodbye.

This my friends, might all at once be my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. It all depends on the situation. It kind of depends on who you ask too.

That being said I uncharacteristically quit my part-time job today. The truth is that I was miserable, disgruntled and under no uncertain terms, a huge downer when it came to that job. I was selling my free time and in essence, a part of my happiness, for a few spare bucks. Not exactly a fair trade if you ask me. It was a resignation that was a long time coming and no matter how hard I tried to convince myself to get past all the unsatisfying things about it I just couldn't do it. Not for one more stinkin' day.

So that's it. I walked away. And I feel relieved. Sure I might have a little less cash to play with but I will also have my time and a little piece of my sanity instead. Now that's the kind of deal that I'm a little more comfortable with!

And now that I think about it, being a quitter kinda kicks ass!

So tell me, what have you quit and felt great about


The run that started it all...

One year ago today I completed the CIBC Run for the Cure, in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Society, for the third time. It was an important day for me because it's a cause that I feel strongly about but also because it was the day that I decided that I wanted to run. After years of excuses- Oh, I'm not built to run...Oh, its not in my genes...Oh, I have diminished lung capacity- I got out there and ran because it felt good and it was for something so much bigger than me. And for the first time ever I ran for over 1k without stopping and that was what I needed to finally believe that I could become a real runner.

2009 time: 34 minutes

Flash forward to one year later. I can now say that I have completed two 10ks, a 10 Miler and a 1/2 marathon. I have also logged countless kilometres in training and learned a hell of a lot about the importance of cross training, rest, stretching and good nutrition. To say that I have come a long way from where I was 365 days ago is an understatement. To say that I am proud of me would be the same.

2010 time: 27 minutes (my new 5k PR)

Today was definitely about the cause, but like finding a cure, this run proved to me that sometimes you just have to believe!

So tell me, what have you accomplished in the last year?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1/2 Marathon Recap- Part One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now that's a bit better!

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

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

So tell me, what made you happy this weekend?


The Expo and some pre-race thoughts..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Yogurt 1, Samantha 0

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Never fear, Samantha this here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


You can keep your Manolos..

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

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

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

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

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

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