Hills training...blech!

It is not a well kept secret that I don't like running hills. In fact some may say I avoid them like everyone else avoids the coughing guy in the office.Yeah, hills and I just don't get along.

Yet, whenever I seek advice on hills training I am always met with the same two answers:

"Yes you should be doing it"


"If you want to like it more you have to do it more"

Ugh, I guess, despite my best efforts to try, I can't avoid hills forever. And if there is any truth to hills make me an overall stronger runner I am willing to make the sacrifice.

Hey hill...bring it!

650m of never-ending incline. I cringe just looking at it.

I set out with the intention to complete 3 full repeats, running the entire way up no matter what (thanks to Cynthia for helping me set that mini goal)

Running down I thought about anything and everything, including "Oh no now I have to run back up this monster!" Downhill running is just awesome. I want to downhill run forever!

My first climb was tough. My pace was slow (around 11:15/mile) and my breathe laboured. Note to self: You NEED to do this more! Nonetheless I ran the whole way and felt pretty relieved to get to the top.

The second climb was even more difficult and I started to suffer from some stomach pain. In addition to being tired from a long day (including a Tabata class at lunch) stomach issues were the last thing I needed during some tough training. Again, I forced myself to get all the way to the top but that's where I cut it short. Some is better then none but I wasn't in the mood to push it.

Truth be told I need to run more hills, both in my running routes and during specific hill focused training. And because I need to I will. I won't like it but I will.

Speaking of not liking, that is NOT how I felt about my dinner tonight. Unlike running up a ridiculous hill, raw veggies with chicken, lime salsa and guacamole is enjoyably good for you. Yum! No stomach complaints for this one, that is for sure.

In other news I met Vanessa from Vanessa Runs today. We were both at Starbucks and I recognized her from her blog so I thought I'd say hi and introduce myself. It was my first accidental blogger meeting and it totally made my morning!!

So tell me, do you "hill train"? Have you ever unintentionally met another blogger?


My Obsession

I realized something today as a scanned through my memory cards trying to organize my photos:

I am certifiably obsessed with pet photos.

I take more pictures of pets then anything else.

It's crazy, it really, really is!

Don't believe me? Here, see for yourself.

We have Barkley photos..

The crazy cats (who I also affectionately refer to as my little piglets because I'm sweet like that)

Other people's pets (I am not above snapping a photo of a stranger's dog!)

Quite possibly my favorite pic of all time!

Believe me when I say that these barely scratch the surface. Its quite out of control really.

But what does it really mean?

Well for one, if there is money to be made in pet photography someone let me know! I am all over making Cat Calendars and any other zany gifts you can think of so you just tell me what you want me to do!

Secondly, I love doing things I love. And so what if this makes me a crazy Cat Lady? At least I'm a HAPPY crazy Cat Lady right? I believe happiness is what its all about (duh, it's in the freakin' title of my blog) so get there however you can!

And thirdly, until I get my Cat Calendar/Pet Portrait business off the ground I will continue to share my love for pet photography with you. And if you happen to be out walking your dog in Toronto and someone comes running up to snap a photo don't be afraid. Say hello and make sure you grab my business card so I can send you an 8x10 in a nifty paw print frame.

So tell me, what do you like to photograph? Any other odd hobbies that you want to share with me?


1/2 Marathon Training- Week Five in Review

Hi everyone and happy Monday! Aren't you glad its almost over because then we're one day closer to the weekend? Me too!!

Its a day late but I wanted to update you on training now that I am approaching the half way point (I just started week six of twelve) Click here for the full plan.

Last week looked like this:

Monday: 10 mile (16k) run
Tuesday: spinning (30 min) abs (15min)
Wednesday: taught Tabata (45min)
Thursday: rest (sick)
Friday: rest (sick)
Saturday: rest
Sunday: rest

Total distance ran: 16k

What I learned:

  • Sometimes sickness can derail your training. It's not the end of the world and you'll be back on track in no time so don't sweat it!

  • Sometimes You can't predict the weather and that means you are probably going to run in the rain. Thankfully you aren't made of sugar and you won't melt. You will pout about it a little instead and that's okay too.

  • Sometimes you should listen to your Boyfriend who tells you to drink more water and stop being so hard on yourself. He's a wise man (he loves you after all!!)

  • Sometimes the best part about running is that other people are doing it. Being a Super Fan is awesome!

Well that's all for now! I am in the process of recovering from a long (treadmill) run, but that's another story for another day. For now its a bath and then bed! G'night friends!!

So tell me, what good piece of advice have you received (and taken) lately?


Team Cynthia!

It wasn't a typical Sunday for me folks. Instead of rolling out of bed around 9 and contemplating a long run I was up and out of bed at 6am, getting ready for the day ahead. What you must understand is that 6am is early, because hello! its Sunday and who doesn't want to sleep in on a Sunday?

It's also early because I goofed up and misread the Around the Bay website and thought we needed to be in Hamilton for 9 o'clock. Turns out it was closer to 10.

Oooops! Hopefully The Boyfriend will forgive me for that one if he gets in a little nap this afternoon.

You see we were headed out to surprise Cynthia, who as I mentioned yesterday, was running her longest distance to date. She has no idea we were planning to be there so it was extra crucial that we be on time. Oh, I got us there on time alright.

Tim Horton's solves everything, it really does!! (in case you were wondering I was given the honor of playing again on my RUTR)

The Boyfriend, while a great cheerleader on any day, probably wished he got that extra hour of sleep. He still loves though....err, as least I hope!

I doubt I am winning back any points by posting this photo either. But he's getting used to the whole "all photos are blog eligible" thing. And just to test my theory..

I swear we actually made it to the race and didn't just spend the day goofing off!

Once in Hamilton we did a quick tour of the downtown area to make sure we knew exactly where to go when it was time to go there. The last thing we wanted was to miss her after all the extra time we had.

I was ready. I had my sign. We were going to rock this cheerleader thing!

And then she ran right by us, blocked by a crowd and clearly very focused on her run.

Spectator fail!

Suddenly I was a little worried that trying to surprise her wasn't going to prove to be the best idea. But I wasn't giving up. If Cynthia was out running 30k on this cold morning the least I could do was get the cheering part down pat!

Cheering on runners is a lot of fun! Especially when you know they just climbed a gruesome hill at kilometre 27. And especially when you know how much the cheering would mean if you had been crazy brave enough to run that hill yourself!

Trying to find Cynthia again in what seemed like a sea of pink jackets was interesting but then, before we knew it there she was.

At first she had no idea who I was or why some silly girl was screaming her name but she quickly realized and gave us a wave. I was happy to see that she felt good enough to smile and wave so far into the race (I would have flipped my own mother off at the point, guaranteed!) She looks strong huh? Tough cookie that one!!

It was even better when we caught up with her at the finish and saw the huge smile on her face. She'd had a great run and the high had definitely set in!!

Congratulations on a fantastic race Cynthia!!! You rocked it just like I knew you would! We are very happy we could share in this big day with you!

Up next, your wedding in Cuba....can't wait!!!

So tell me, do you like surprises? How about surprising people?


A Winner and a Drop Out

Hi everyone! I hope you are having a great weekend so far. I took a luxurious 2 hour nap and can't complain at all. Saturday's are great aren't they!!

Thank you all for your supportive comments on my last post. I took a bit of a blogging break, in part because I came down with a nasty cold but also because I needed one less thing to do. Don't get me wrong, I love you all, but I needed to disconnect and I did. And that's ok right? Right!

But now that I am back I have a few announcements to make:

First up, the winner of the Getting Fit for Spring giveaway who will be receiving a fabulous prize pack complete with a yoga mat, water bottle, stretching band, Epsom salts, hot/cold packs, a neck pillow and Rub A535 products.

In the spirit of a good ol' fashion raffle The Boyfriend and I wrote out all the entries on separate pieces of paper, folded them up and threw them in a ball cap. Then we drew a name from said hat and....

Drum roll please....

The winner is K, also known as @ruskayeg. Congratulations K!! I will email you the details.

Whoo! That was fun huh? I love giving things away and making people happy. Love it!

Moving on to the second announcement which is somewhat less fun and exciting but instead a bit of a necessity.

I don't like to quit. I hate to back down or give up or throw in the towel. I'm not a fan of "calling it a day". Yet, if you read my last post you also know that I am feeling a lot overwhelmed these days. So, whether I like it or not I need to put on my big girl pants and admit that a) I can't do it all b) that's perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of.

It also means that something has to give. In this case, its the Pipes Challenge that I recently signed up for. Why this of all things you ask? Well the truth is I am training for a 1/2 marathon, teaching twice per week at my office gym and trying to maintain my own fitness through other cross training. In other words I don't have the time or more importantly the space for more pressure to do something this specific. I simply can't take on one more thing right now.

Can I say that I feel a bit better already? Sometimes its just stepping back and giving yourself some room to breathe that makes all the difference.

That said, its a great challenge and if you want something to push yourself with I highly recommend it. Check out Life After Bagels for more information.

That's all for me...I've got some relaxing to do!!

If you have a minute head over to Cynthia's blog to wish her luck on her big race tomorrow! She's is running a PDR (30k) that she has been training super hard for all winter and I am totally proud of the dedication she has (She runs in the coldest temperatures ever...it's crazy!!)

Good luck Cynthia! You are going to totally rock that race and I can't wait to hear all about it!

So tell me, have you had to give up anything to make your life a little easier lately?


The "S" Word

Have you ever felt a little frazzled?

A little "almost gonna tear your hair out" stressed?

A little ready to "call it a day"?

A little lost in a frenzy induced la-la land?

I haven't.

Ha! Who am I kidding? For one reason (or 20) I have been feeling really stressed out over the last few weeks and I definitely owe a huge public thank you to everyone who has been able to put up with my lack of patience, snarky comments and flair for the dramatic.

Thank you!!

To say that I am in need of and desperately looking forward to my upcoming vacation is an understatement. That said I still have 19 days to get through and co-workers/bosses/friends/a boyfriend to keep the peace with and unless someone invents that 28 hour clock I need an action plan, otherwise known as "cutting myself some slack"

So in the spirit of giving myself a break for the next few weeks I have created an "it's ok" list:

It's ok if....the dishes aren't done and there are dust bunnies under the sofa. Call it the "lived-in" look and leave it at that!

It's ok if...you have more than one pair of laundry-day undies because you don't always feel like hiking down to the laundry room even when its almost absolutely necessary!

It's ok if...you lock the cat out of your bedroom at night so you can get some undisturbed sleep. She'll discreetly claw the furniture and suddenly you're even!

It's ok if...you don't answer the phone right now. Call display and voicemail come in handy when you need to disconnect for a while. I'm not a doctor so the odds are good that the call isn't that urgent!

It's ok if...you don't finish that book. This isn't university and there won't be an exam. Life is too short to waste on a boring read!

It's ok if..you read that you should eat more eggs and conveniently interpreted that to mean these babies!

It's ok if....you miss a workout or eat a big ol' bowl of ice cream. In the grand scheme of things neither will matter even a little bit!

It's ok if....you stop saying it's ok and get back to holding yourself accountable. Being true to who you are is important too!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have foiled wrapped chocolate to eat before I get too serious again!

So tell me, what "It's ok if...." do you need to implement for yourself?

Psssst...Hey Canadian readers. Don't forget to enter my giveaway! (I do apologize to my international readers and solemnly swear that if there is any Easter chocolate left over I will send it your way. But umm..don't get your hopes up too high on that one!)


Pipes Challenge and a Giveaway!

As I mentioned last week I am taking part in a new challenge courtesy of Morgan @ Life After Bagels entitled 6 Week Pipes (follow us on Twitter using the hashtag #6weekpipes). The basic premise to this fitness challenge is to concentrate on upper body strength for the duration of the challenge, working towards a specific goal.

My goal? 100 pushups

I'm a total maniac, I know!

But thanks to the One Hundred Push Ups program I am hoping to get there. And really if nothing else I'll have fierce arm and chest strength at the end of this right?

To start the program you are asked to complete the initial test, which measures your current fitness by determining how many pushups you can do until exhaustion. (Option: perform a modified version from your knees)

My result: 38 (modified)
My rank: 4

I will kiss the feet of anyone who ranks a 7..modified or not. Honestly!

I plan to begin working through the program tomorrow basing it on Week Two, as recommended by the program. Updates will be posted on the tab created for the challenge.

Wish me luck (and join me if you haven't already signed up!)

And while we are all busy getting stronger and welcoming spring what better time for a fitness related giveaway, aptly named the:


What you can win:

The prize pack includes a yoga mat, water bottle, stretching band,epsom salts, hot/cold packs, a neck pillow and Rub A535 products. Awesome or what??? I am already envious of the winner of this one if I am being up front about it


  • This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only
  • The contest will run until Friday March 25th at 6pm EST
  • Each contestant can enter up to 5 times per day (see methods below)

How to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post letting me know how you are challenging yourself physically this spring (comments on future posts will also count as an entry)
  • Tweet about the Getting Fit for Spring giveaway (include @HHandSJ so I know you did it!)
  • Post about the giveaway on your blog and leave me a comment linking me back to your page.

So there you have it..there's lots going on around here. And with that its time for bed (Yes it is 9:20...that's just how I roll my friends!!)

I suggest that you enter the giveaway and then head to bed too...after all, we can all use the extra sleep!


So tell me, how are you challenging yourself this Spring?


1/2 Marathon Training- Week Four in Review

Good morning! I hope you all are having a great weekend. It's Sunday and that means it time for another recap of my 1/2 marathon training. I just completed week four and here is what the original plan looked like:

Click to enlarge

For the full plan click here

Here is how the week went:

Monday: Strength training (40min)
Tuesday: 1 mile run, 40min spinning, strength training (40min)
Wednesday: 1mile run, 40min spinning, taught Tabata (45min0
Thursday: rest
Friday: taught Cycle Pump (50min), 7k run
Saturday: 4k power walk
Sunday: rest

Total Distance Ran: 10k

What I learned:

  • Sometimes things like migraines and knee pain might get in the way and that's okay. Its a temporary setback and it won't have a big impact on your overall training

  • Sometimes healthy eating the day before a planned long run is a priority, even on the road

  • Sometimes sneaking chocolate ships and brie cheese is just as much a priority

  • Sometimes a fartlek style run after a long week at work is the best thing for you. You run fast. You slow down. You come to a dead stop to catch your breath. You tackle huge hills and a few smaller ones. You just run!

  • Sometimes with all the training you have to schedule in time for fun (even if it is alcohol free)

Pre-St Patty's Day fun

  • Sometimes you have to call in reinforcements to deal with pain and that too is a-ok

  • Sometimes you are looking forward to your 1/2 marathon but REALLY looking forward to you trip to Cuba (19 days!)

Well I'm off to enjoy a rest day Sunday (I moved my long run to Monday this week) by hanging out and maybe going for a drive....Have a good one!

So tell me, what are you REALLY looking forward to right now?



A raccoon hanging out in a tree....and when I say in a tree I mean waaaay up in a tree! Crazy little rascal!

C'mon, what do you mean he can't see him? Keep trying, its like a puzzle to keep you busy when you're bored. Feel free to refer back to this little Where's Waldo-esque game at a later date ..maybe even use it as a party game.

Riiiight. Moving on.


Chobani. In Canada! It's a miracle!

I have searched high and low for Greek yogurt in this city and all along it was at my local discount grocer. Go figure! (And is it just me or is this post turning into an episode of MTV Cribs? What's next, a shot of where the magic happens???)


The most delicious sandwich ever!

Turkey, brie, spinach and tomatoes on a herb foccacia bun. Yum, yum, yum!!!


Samantha sneaking a handful of chocolate chips before dinner

Did it ruin my dinner? Hell no! Did you see that sandwich? I could have eaten 97 marshmallows and still found room for that baby!!

That's all for me kiddies...enjoy your night.


Gossip Girl...errr, I mean Samantha

So tell me, did you spot anything interesting today?



R is for Rest- Umm....sort of. If you count spinning and strength training rest. Low impact is pretty much rest right?

I is for Ice- Doing that. Not enough but I'm trying and I promise to do better!

C is for Compression- Doing that too. Also looking into a brace if the pain/discomfort persists

E is for Elevate- Hello ...did you see how elevated that knee is in these photos? I could join a marching band with high knees like these!!

Fingers crossed that this is inflammation from lots of varied high impact activities (damn you jump squats!) and will bounce back quickly with some TLC. Get well soon knee!!

So tell me, whats your favorite thing to do when rest is what "the doctor ordered"?

If you are interested in donation to Japan Disaster Relief please click here. Angela @ Oh She Glows is hosting a Glo Bar raffle, with one entry for every $5 donated.


A New Challenge

Hello friends! Is it just me or is the second day after "Spring Forward" even worse then the first?? I am draggin' my butt big time today..ugh! But, on the bright (pun intended) side it is after 7 o'clock and there is still light out there. Yippeee!!

I wanted to post tonight about a new challenge that I will be particpating in but first I have two very exciting things that I must, must, MUST share with you.

First is this life changing little treat:

Ok so maybe I am brand new to planet Earth and these have been around forever but they are new to me and I couldn't be more excited!! Single serving sundaes of the pecan variety are totally up my alley! They are so yummy and so portion controlled...really whats not to like (well except the price tag..they are a little expensive if I must admit). So if you are newer to this globe then I am and haven't tried these yet go do it now. I'll wait here but can you bring me back one??

Another super fun little find are these babies:

Please ignore the fact that I clearly took a picture of the wrong foot and instead subjcted you to my latest running by-product. It's not as bad as it looks I swear! But moving on, aren't the shoes cute? I love the wedge and the peep-toe and can't wait to debut them in Cuba in a few weeks!!

Alright, now that I have gotten that off my chest let's move on to the real reason for the post: My Newest Challenge.

Once again Morgan @ Life After Bagels has come up with a fun challenge only this time its fitness related.

Starting March 21st all participants will be taking part in the Pipes Challenge, which is basically a 6 week event to push your upper body strength to the limit!

Click here for more info

My intention for this challenge is to work on my upper body strength through a variety of exercises and at the end be able to also complete the 100 push ups program. Ideally I would also love to be able to do a full pull up. Let's call that the bonus.

Again, this challenge starts next week (I've got time to polish up on my technique!) and you can follow along on a Pipes Challenge page that I will devote to the challenge or on Twitter via the hashtag #6weekpipes.

The Pipes Challenge is officially replacing the 6 Weeks to 6 Pack challenge that I started a few weeks back for a few reasons:
  • I can't feasibly commit to a full 30 minute DVD on top of my existing training schedule. Pushups can be worked in much more easily
  • I like the idea of being able to do 100 pushups because I think strong women totally rock!!
  • I like that other people are taking part in this one because we can share our progress (and pain!)
  • My arms are already my favorite body part and I want to make them even more fierce!

Oh and did I mention that I just look freakin' awesome when I do pushups?? Yeah, I think I might have left that out for a reason....

So there you have it, another challenge to keep me motivated (and ice cream to reward me with!) Now I am off to get the laundry done so I can hop into bed and try to get back some of the energy I love with that damn time change!

So tell me, have you ever participated in a fitness challenge? What's your favorite body part?